The Lady of NXT and the Pirate Princess are tied, and tonight is the rubber match! Will Lacey Evans use her Woman’s Right to leave Kairi Sane shipwrecked? Or will Kairi keelhaul Lacey on her way to the top? Plus, Roderick Strong and Danny Burch battle 1v1 ahead of TakeOver: Chicago’s NXT Tag Team Championship match!
All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service
- TM61 VS Mike Hughley & Robby Grand; TM61 win.
- Roderick Strong VS Danny Burch; Strong wins.
- Kairi Sane VS Lacey Evans; Kairi wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Shayna Baszler heads to the ring!
Somehow, the NXT Women’s Champion has her belt back after Crazy Nikki Cross literally stole it from her. The Queen of Spades is still the champion after defeating Dakota Kai in last week’s championship defense, but the Looney Lass did cut her celebrating short last week.
Shayna speaks on that, as she showed the entire locker room that when you step to her, you get smacked in the face with a dose of reality. “It doesn’t matter how brave you think you are to stand up to me,” Shayna is tougher, stronger and better. “And the strong will always defeat the weak. But there’s always gotta be one.” Fans chant “Nikki! Nikki!” for the would-be champion, the one who thinks laws don’t apply to them. Shayna tells Nikki that if she ever gets in her face again, it’ll be the last thing she ever does. Speak of the devil, here comes Nikki!
Shayna glares at Nikki as she stands on the stage and walks down the ramp. Nikki takes off the coat and sunglasses and has her wild-eyed grin as she hops into the ring. Fans sing “Nikki’s gonna kill~ you~” as Nikki and Shayna stare down. Shayna tells her to her face, that Nikki’s “stunt was a joke.” Don’t get it twisted, Shayna is the real NXT Women’s Champion! The only place Nikki is better than Shayna is in her own whacked out mind. Shayna asks what’s wrong with her. Is she crazy? “YES! YES!” Well if she ever tries that again, just know Shayna can put her out in a heartbeat. Shayna then tosses the mic at Nikki, but it just bounces off her. Nikki picks it up, and says “Do it, Shayna. Do it. Do it!!” She repeats “Do it! Do It!” and the fans join in.
Nikki begs Shayna to do it, and starts laughing maniacally. Shayna says the champion calls the shots. Nikki steps, and Shayan flinches! Shayna shoves Nikki, and Nikki tackles Shayna! It’s a brawl and it’s all going Nikki’s way! Shayna gets Nikki off her but only for a minute as Nikki hammers and stomps away in a corner! Nikki is all fired up, and she sees the belt on the mat. She goes to grab it, but Shayna rocks Nikki with a right. Shayna tosses Nikki out then throws her jacket off. Nikki crawls back in and hits Shayna back! Nikki climbs, for a flying crossbody! Shayna rolls out of the ring, and Nikki scurries back to the belt. Shayna’s bleeding from the mouth as she crawls away from Crazy Cross. Will Shayna get payback for Nikki drawing first blood? Or will Nikki officially become NXT Women’s Champion?
Something’s gonna happen, because this is happening at TakeOver: Chicago!
TM61 VS Mike Hughley & Robby Grand!
The Mighty Don’t Kneel, but they do bend the rules. Shane Thorne & Nick Miller have been on a win streak lately, because they use the ropes to help in pinfalls. The Street Profits and Heavy Machinery have fallen victim to The Mighty’s tricks, will the same go for ??? tonight?
Miller starts against Hughley and circles with him while the fans chant “Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi oi oi!” Miller knees Hughley low, then clubs him down before giving him a chop. Miller chops more, then puts Hughley in the corner to tag in Thorne. Thorne is whipped in for the European Uppercut, then feeds Hughley into Miller’s forearm. Thorne stands on Hughley’s head to show disrespect, but backs off at 4. He brings Hughley up, but Hughley jawbreakers and tags in “Mr. Upgrade”. But Robby runs right into a dropkick! Thorne rains rights and lefts and forearms onto Robby, then backs off at 4. Miller tags in and brings Robby up by his nose. Fans duel but Miller lets go of the nose at 4. Robby hits back but is clubbed back down.
Miller hits Hughley for good measure, but then turns around into haymakers from Robby! Robby runs but into a cheap kick that the ref doesn’t see while Hughly protests. Miller grabs Hughley and throws him to the floor. Thorne tags in, and TM61 drags Robby up to feed him to Thorne’s clubbing clothesline to the back of the head! Or as they like to call it, the King Hit!
Thorne covers, TM61 wins!
Winners: TM61, Thorne pinning
The Mighty use more sneaky tactics, and even more aggressive moves, and they win again. Will Miller & Thorne climb up to the top and challenge the NXT Tag Team Champions in the future?
TM61 speaks in the ring.
Fans boo and jeer while Miller says “We’ve proven that we’re the best team in NXT.” Street Profits, TM61 won. Heavy Machinery, TM61 won. This is about winning and TM61 are winners. They will win against War Raiders, “Oney & Danny”, or the Undisputed Era, as long as they’re man enough to face them. All the teams shall kneel before The Mighty! Thorne & Miller have reestablished themselves with their true name, but will their words come true in the following weeks?
Lars Sullivan trains ahead of his NXT Championship match.
The Leviathan makes trainees tap to bearhugs and clubs them down with one arm at a time. Lars would slam and club and clobber the trainees until no one was comfortable, physically or emotionally. Even the biggest of the trainees that stepped to Lars still fell to the Freak Accident!
With his powers and aggression fully on display, will Aleister Black stand a chance of retaining his title at TakeOver: Chicago?
Roderick Strong VS Danny Burch!
The Undisputed Era’s Messiah of the Backbreaker takes on one-half of the one-two combination of brawlers. Strong and his friends don’t see Lorcan & Burch as a serious threat to their tag team title reign, but will the British Brawler change their minds?
The bell rings and Strong circles with Burch. They tie up, they push each other around, and Strong gets the takedown and float over to headlock. Burch slips out but Strong gets back on with a rear mount, and headlock. Burch slips out again and gets the arm wrench, but Strong snapmares. Strong wants the headlock back but Burch slips out again to put him in a hammerlock. Fans applaud the technical exchange while Strong stands. Strong headlock takeovers but Burch reverses back. Strong scrambles away to the ropes, and Burch honors the break. Burch dares Strong to come back, and the two tie up again. They go shoulder to shoulder, but Burch spins and trips up Strong to pull him around and kick out the arm! Burch goes after that arm, and puts it back in the hammerlock. Strong endures while reaching for ropes.
Strong runs around and puts Burch on the apron, but Burch shoulders back in. Burch climbs back in but Strong kicks him on reentry! Strong stomps and stomps, then rains rights down before bending Burch back in a half-clutch. He rakes the face then elbows Burch down. Burch gets to a corner but Strong gives him a sharp chop, then another even sharper one. Strong lifts Burch for the first pendulum backbreaker. Cover, TWO, but Strong keeps on Burch with a facelock. Fans rally for “Danny! Danny!” while Burch endures and powers up. Burch fights back with body shots, then runs, but into a dropkick! Cover, TWO! Strong dropkicks Burch while he’s down, going after that back more. Strong kicks Burch, then drags him up for a standing abdominal stretch.
Burch endures again, but he feeds off the fan energy. Strong puts on a waistlock but now Burch throws Strong out. Strong returns, but misses in the corner! Burch headbutts and brings them both down. Fans rally as they both stir, but Strong stands first. Strong clubs Burch, Burch hits back and we have a brawl. Burch clobbers Strong with haymakers, then European Uppercuts. Burch hits a running EuroUpper, then a clothesline. He throws Strong out and hops up to missile dropkick Strong down! Burch kip-up, EuroUpper, then German Suplex! Burch is all fired up as he flips Strong over with a clothesline! But as always, the Undisputed Era come out to bail out their pal!
But in response, Oney Lorcan & Pete Dunne appear and go after them!
The British Bruiserweight and the Boston Brawler brawl with Kyle O’Reilly & Adam Cole, and Burch cheers them on. However, Cole turns it around and throws Lorcan into steel steps! Dunne goes after Cole, then intercepts Kyle’s leap with a powerful forearm! Strong goes to pounce on Burch, but Burch sees him coming. Burch dodges the knee, then wrangles Strong down into the crossface! Strong endures, reaches, but Cole comes back up. This distraction gets Burch to let go. Burch hits Cole, but Strong comes back with the Backbreaker Strong!
Cover, Strong wins!
Winner: Strong, by pinfall
The Undisputed Era members help each other out, but there’s a certain someone lurking…
Strong turns around, and faces the wrath of Pete Dunne! Dunne fires off on the traitor, rocking him with that killer forearm. Dunne prepares the pumphandle, but O’Reilly chopblocks him down. Then Strong brings Dunne up for End of Heartache! Strong makes his leave, literally walking all over Burch. The Undisputed Era stand tall with lots of gold, but how long will it last?
Kassius Ohno finishes up a photoshoot.
The Knockout Artist is showing off the black and yellow, when Mr. Top One Percent interrupts.
EC3 wonders why they’re taking photos of Ohno. “Are we trying to break the camera?” EC3 is just joking, Ohno. But Ohno is a tremendous “wrassler”, but he’s not Top One Percent, he is not the golden goose, he is not the best here, the best there, the– We get it, EC3, you’re a lot of things, too. One of those is a narcissist. If he keeps talking like this, he’ll be 1% away from 99% unconscious. Ohno is ready to fight, but EC3 is booked up. Then how about a week from now? Ohno VS EC3, put it up in lights. Challenge accepted, but who will win this knockout of a match?
Aleister Black responds to The Leviathan.
“Lars Sullivan. You dared to do what the people thought was the unthinkable, and make it into a reality.” By that, he means STOP the Black Mass to then topple the champ. “But your actions last week do not determine my reality.” Aleister says Lars showed him what lies ahead. But next week, Aleister will make Lars’ reality #FadeToBlack. What does the Dutch Destroyer have in mind for his opponent in Chicago?
NXT looks at the coming “One & Only Dream” Match.
“For a while, the name ‘Ricochet’ always coincided with ‘this kid who can do flips’.” He set an expectation for himself, and would either keep it or exceed it. For 15 years, Ricochet clawed to the top of every promotion. “The One and Only? That must mean you’re blessed.” The Velveteen Dream sees himself as someone who is also blessed. “When you’re truly blessed, you don’t need to struggle.” You just have “it”. “It” is every word, every move, hooks the fans. Ricochet has the moves to wow, but can he make someone feel? Dream claims that anything Ricochet can do, Dream can do better. Ricochet wants Dream to prove it.
Dream was in and was eliminated from the Tough Enough show, but he didn’t let that stop him. He came back to be part of NXT. Ricochet has also earned his spot. “King” Ricochet isn’t on top. Dream chose to be a Prince. “And the difference between a King and a Prince, is that the King was good”, but the Prince will take over. Ricochet is focused, The Dream is confident. Who will take the throne that is the spotlight in Chicago?
Kairi Sane VS Lacey Evans!
The Model Soldier feels it is her duty to straighten out and clean up the NXT Women’s Division, but the Pirate Princess is not letting her do as she pleases. The series between these two is all tied up, who will take the tie breaker tonight?
Lacey shows Kairi that her right hand literally has Kairi’s name on it. The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, and they power each other back and forth. Kairi wrenches the arm, but Lacey pulls hair. Lacey swings hands but Kairi ducks them to double chop in return. Kairi whips but Lacey reverses, so Kairi slingshots up for the headscissors! Kairi then runs to tilt-o-whirl into an inverted DDT! Rather tranquilo of her. Kairi keeps on Lacey by stomping that right hand! She wrenches the arm then whips Lacey. Lacey goes up and over, but Kairi catches the legs. Kairi shoulders but Lacey kicks her back. Lacey yanks Kairi down by her hair, then slingshots for the elbow drop! Cover, ONE.
Kairi shoves but Lacey blocks the kick to then punch Kairi in the stomach. Lacey makes Kairi look at that right hand before grinding it into Kairi’s face. It’s also a cover, TWO. Lacey taunts Kairi, but Kairi hits back. Lacey drags Kairi into a cobra clutch, and sits her down with a backbreaker. Fans rally while Kairi endures. Lacey thrashes Kairi around, but Kairi refuses to quit. Kairi stands up but Lacey swings her around before throwing her away. Lacey then runs in for the swinging bronco buster. Cover, TWO, and Lacey grows frustrated. Lacey drags Kairi up, daring her to do something. Lacey winds up, but Kairi blocks the backhand. Kairi ducks the roundhouse, and uses the pumphandle to flip Lacey over. Kairi winds up and gives Lacey rights of her own, but then runs into a knee!
Lacey drags Kairi back up, scoops her, and then slams her with authority. Push-up cover, TWO. Lacey walks over to a corner and climbs up, and spin jumps for a moonsault, but it flops as Kairi rolls out of the way! Kairi fires up, Interceptor spear! And another! And then a third!
Lacey crawls away after the hat trick of spears, but Kairi fires up even more. Kairi stomps the plank, then runs in for the Sliding D! She climbs up to the top, and gives the Flying Kabuki elbow! Cover, TWO! But into an armbar! Kairi goes after that right arm, and Lacey screams in pain. Lacey pushes up to a cover, TWO and Kairi lets Lacey go. Kairi brings Lacey up and onto her shoulders, for an Alabama Slam! Kairi keeps going, and climbs back up top. She sets sail on the Seven Seas with the InSane Elbow!
Cover, Kairi wins!
Winner: Kairi, by pinfall
The Pirate Princess takes the tie-breaker! The inaugural Mae Young Classic winner proves why she’s one of the best in the world, and why she deserves to be in NXT. Can Kairi continue her quest to the top and claim the gold of the NXT Women’s Championship?
Tommaso Ciampa is back.
Fans boo and jeer as the Psycho Killer slowly walks his way out to the ring. It’s a familiar scene for Ciampa, so he ignores the chants of “You Suck! You Suck!” Ciampa even chuckles, actually. But then they duel with chants of “Johnny Wrestling!” and “Psycho Killer!” and that gets him to pause. Ciampa grabs a mic and sits up on the corner while they shift to “You Tapped Out!” in reference to their Unsanctioned match. But the fact is, the fans gave up on him long before he gave up on them! Those chants disgust him. But he’s still going to talk, so either they make noise or shut up, it doesn’t matter to him. The fans chant “You Still Suck!” and “Johnny Wrestling!” Spare him the “Psycho Killer” crap, and then let’s talk about Johnny Gargano!
Ciampa says that last week, Gargano does what Gargano does, interrupting a match to make it about himself. Ciampa lets the fans chant “You Suck!” as he continues. Gargano had to announce to the world that he signed his contract for their Street Fight. Johnny Wrestling is now “Johnny Badass”? Fans chant that for him. Ciampa gets it, it’s adorable really. Gargano was doing it to take the heat off of how he almost crippled his wife, Candice LeRae. “And you know what the best part is?” This is on Gargano! Gargano brought Candice here, he called out Ciampa, and he insisted to have this fight, even when “blondie” and the refs insisted not to do this. Ciampa just defended himself. “The truth hurts, Johnny, I know that.”
But what Gargano should’ve done was listen to his wife. This fight is now on Gargano. Ciampa says Gargano has to not show up at Chicago on 6/16. “Your wife is broken, you will be broken, I win.” But speak of Gargano, here he comes!
Gargano has security all over him, but he throws them off and rushes the ring! He goes right at Ciampa, and Ciampa is ready! But then Gargano fakes Ciampa out and throws hands! Security gets on Gargano again, but they get thrown off again. Gargano goes after Ciampa more but now referees stop him. Ciampa gets away but Gargano breaks free again, to DIVE!
This sends Ciampa into the crowd! But Gargano won’t stop, he throws security into steel steps. He chases Ciampa down but Ciampa hits back. Ciampa kicks Gargano while he’s down but now security grabs Ciampa. They try to keep these two apart, but Gargano breaks free again to LEAP from the stands!!
Gargano wipes Ciampa and security out, but the others come back and take him away. Ciampa runs for it, but Gargano manages to return! They both return to the ring, but security holds Gargano back while fans chant “Let Them Fight!” Ciampa clobbers Gargano from behind! Fans boo while Ciampa staggers to his feet and stomps Gargano out. Ciampa then steals the GargaNO Escape!
Referees try to pry Ciampa off Gargano, but he won’t let go until he’s good and satisfied. Ciampa grins, then finally takes his leave. Gargano glares back at Ciampa, but Ciampa gives him another wave good-bye. But when Ciampa turns to go up the ramp, and Gargano sparks to life again, clobbering Ciampa from behind now! Gargano doesn’t stop, he puts Ciampa into the LED titantron! Then, to the same LED as weeks ago. Ciampa is BLEEDING from his forehead! Fans are in shock as Gargano barrels through the refs to put the bloody CIampa in the GargaNO Escape!!
Gargano is not letting go, no matter how much Ciampa taps or the referees pull on him. Will this coming Street Fight be what ends their year-long grudge? Will either man even be able to walk out of Chicago in one piece?
Another great and very full night for NXT. The time they have on the Network without commercials getting in the way should be reason enough not to put NXT on a television network. But that debate can be a different article.
NXT opening with a promo works a lot better than other WWE opening promos, though I will say Shayna did get a bit repetitive with her point of if Nikki ever pulls that stunt again, she’d make her pay for it. Though maybe she felt she had to repeat it since it didn’t seem to sink in with Nikki. Nikki and Shayna have a great brawl, and as I’d been wondering, Nikki is proving to be Shayna’s toughest challenge already. But as I also have said before, I don’t think Nikki wins this given SAnitY is on standby over on SmackDown. Nikki can definitely give Shayna her best match since joining NXT, and it serves as a great good-bye match for Nikki before graduating to SmackDown. Then Nikki can do this all over again with Asuka, IIconics, etc.
TM61 wins again but their cheating might be going to their head. It’s good that they’re finally able to call themselves “The Mighty”, but it’s too soon to be calling out Hanson & Rowe like that. I did sense they’d have a feud with War Raiders, but I was expecting them to be the more cowardly Heels about it. Lars’ “exhibition” segment was actually a good way to have him on the episode without taking up spots on the match card, and gives screen time to trainees who could one day be on the roster. Strong and Burch have a great match, but it was expected for the Undisputed Era to be why Strong wins. The NXT Tag title match will be great, and obviously win or lose, Dunne VS Strong must happen right after.
EC3 VS Ohno is going to be great, but when is Ohno finally moving up? That Ricochet VS Dream package was spectacular, and worthy of this great match. It does a great job of giving fans an idea of both men’s careers before NXT, and frames how they’re polar opposites in the way Dream VS Aleister were opposites in another way. Kairi VS Lacey III was great, establishing both women as strong members of the division. Kairi wins the match and breaks the tie because otherwise the MYC winner looks weak. Since Shayna will retain, she and Kairi can settle their series with a title match at TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 for Summerslam weekend. That feud can go either way. Same goes for the Gargano-Ciampa feud, but this ending segment puts things in Gargano’s favor. The Unsanctioned Match was pretty brutal, this Street Fight might make that look tame.
My Score: 8.5/10