The NXT Championship Three Stages of Hell take form!
Before going around one more time, Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano choose their stipulations! What will each man pick in order to settle their NXT Championship feud? Plus, the Breakout Tournament begins the semifinals!
- NXT Breakout Tournament Semifinal: Jordan Myles VS Angel Garza; Myles wins and moves on to the finals.
- Bianca Belair VS Xia Li; Belair wins.
- Io Shirai VS Kacy Catanzaro; Shirai wins, by disqualification.
- Keith Lee VS Damian Priest; Priest wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Adam Cole had a lot of fun rubbing his win in the faces of the Gargano Family and the Cleveland indie prospects, and even had a successful Download Festival match (not that anyone outside the live audience has gotten to see it…) But when he tried to make a pawn out of Twan Tucker, Cole got a rude awakening as Johnny Wrestling came to get even with him! The brawl that ensued would force NXT General Manager, William Regal, to give us a third match between Cole and Gargano for TakeOver: Toronto! But to make this trilogy truly epic, this time isn’t just 2 Out of 3 Falls, it is THREE STAGES OF HELL! Each man gets to choose a stipulation, and so does William Regal for the if-necessary third round. Who comes out of this finale finally THE NXT Champion?
NXT Breakout Tournament Semifinal: Jordan Myles VS Angel Garza!
As TakeOver: Toronto quickly approaches, this inaugural tournament with a golden opportunity at the end heats up! The third generation luchador leaped over Joaquin Wilde while the Austin anime action hero come to life overcame Boa. But now it is speed versus speed and stunning smile versus stunning smile in the semifinals! Who is first to qualify for the finals in Toronto?
The bell rings and the semifinals officially begin with fans dueling. Garza offers a handshake, and Myles takes it, only to be left hanging. Garza does some last stretches, but Myles shrugs it off. They tie up and go around. Myles waistlocks but Garza standing switches. Myles drops down and gets Garza in an armlock. Garza headscissors but Myles pops out, and the two stand off while fans continue to duel. Garza calls for a test of strength, and he wristlocks Myles around. Myles reverses and smiles as he wrenches Garza back. Myles switches to a short armlock but Garza uses ropes to flip through! Garza wrenches one way then the other to another wristlock. Myles rolls and slips through to another arm-drag takedown! Myles has the armlock and another smile as he grinds Garza down.
Garza endures as fans rally up. Garza fights up and whips out, but Myles reverses. Things speed up and Myles dodges a punch with a cartwheel. Myles back flips and dropkicks Garza down! Then he shoots that three pointer! Garza is on the apron and eggs Myles on. Myles runs over but Garza drops down. Myles jumps the sweep and wrecks Garza with a dropkick. But when he goes out onto the apron, Garza sweeps the skirt out from under him! Myles crashes and burns and Garza grins now. Garza then drags Myles up to throw him into steel steps! And into barriers! Garza leaves Myles behind in the ring, and tears off the pants! Fans fire up while Myles slowly stirs. The count passes 5, but Myles is in at 8, only for Garza to kick him back down! Garza rains down rights then toys with Myles.
Garza brings Myles up and underhooks, to lift Myles into a butterfly backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Myles writhes but he still survives, but Garza still grins. Garza looms over Myles to knock him down. Garza then drags Myles into a camel clutch. Myles resists but Garza clubs him in the head to finish the Caballo clutch! Myles endures the invention of Gory Guerrero and gets his arms out. He reaches for ropes but Garza grabs each arm to bring them back. Garza jumps to stomp, but Myles spins to sunset flip! Cover, TWO! Garza SUPERKICKS Myles right down! Cover, TWO! Myles survives again but Garza kicks him from the ropes. Garza grinds his feet into Myles but the ref counts. Garza backs off to then Penalty Kick Myles in the corner! Then he bumps Myles off buckles, and again!
Fans still duel as Garza stalks Myles. Garza eggs Myles on, then stands him up. Myles blocks the bump this time, and elbows Garza back. Myles gives Garza some buckles, and some kicks! He fires up and dodges, to run and rally with big forearms! Garza flounders and Myles sweeps the legs to then dropkick him down! Myles kips right up and fans fire up again. Myles runs in at Garza, discus corner clothesline! Garza drops down and Myles climbs up top, but Garza rolls away. So Myles springboards, but into Garza’s dropkick! Cover, TWO!! Garza is furiously shocked! But Garza drags Myles over, climbs up, and moonsaults, but lands on his feet as Myles dodges. Myles blocks, sweeps and SUPERKICKS! Myles fires up again, runs in, another discus clothesline!
But Myles isn’t done there, he waistlocks and deadlifts Garza for a bridging German Suplex! He also manages to hook a leg, and he wins!!
Winner: Jordan Myles, by pinfall; advances to the finals
Myles even shocks himself! He didn’t think he got Garza with that, but he did! And now Myles smiles all the way to the finals! Will it be Cameron Grimes or Bronson Reed that meets Myles in Toronto?
But wait, Shane Thorne shows up and goes to commentary?
“The Worst” doesn’t get what the point of debuting new stars is when he was here all along! Even on their best days, the Breakouts aren’t even on his level! They don’t have the talent, skill and good looks Thorne has on his worst day. Thorne has been here for three years, jumping off scaffolds while the others were stuck in obscurity. But Thorne doesn’t even care about this Breakout tournament, because he’ll find a way to breakout all on his own. What will Thorne do to be a thorn in the side of these new superstars?
NXT hears from Johnny Gargano.
Johnny Wrestling seems to reference Tommaso Ciampa with how he frames this video. “TakeOver: Toronto, Gargano-Cole III.” Cole involved Gargano’s family and made it personal. In New York, Gargano said he’d do whatever it took to finally be NXT Champion, and he did. Gargano won in New York, but that’s not even what this is about anymore. In Toronto, Gargano will do whatever it takes just to beat the hell out of Cole. Cole can bring weapons, his boys, but he just needs to bring that title. Because Gargano’s choice is a stipulation he knows very well, and has come to enjoy. Gargano’s stipulation… is a Street Fight! “Oh boy.” Will either man even have anything left after such a first fall to make it to the second?
Bianca Belair VS Xia Li!
The EST is back and takes on the spiciest superstar for the first time ever! Bianca wants to fight her way back to NXT Women’s Championship contention, but the martial arts expert wants to have her first taste! Who comes out of this match red hot in the midst of the summer heat?
The bell rings and Bianca tackles Xia right to a corner! She rams her shoulder in again and again until the ref backs her off. Bianca stomps Xia down then backs off again. Xia hits back but Bianca clubs her down. Bianca shows she is the fiercest right now as she throws Xia to a corner. Xia dodges but Bianca grabs Xia’s hair! Xia goes to elbow out but she gets chicken wings, for the Glam Slam! Shout out to Beth Phoenix, then a handspring moonsault! Bianca kips up to remind us she’s also the nimblest! Xia bails out while Bianca tells her to kiss this. Bianca then goes to fetch Xia at the apron. She hip tosses Xia in, and then stalks her to the other side. Xia elbows back, but runs into Bianca’s arms for a Fall Away Slam! Bianca doesn’t even need to fall with her to do it, because she’s also the strongest.
Bianca eggs Xia on, and toys with her. Xia shoves back, but Bianca clubs her down. Bianca drags Xia up for a suplex, and holds her up for some squats! But Xia slips out to kick away on Bianca’s legs! Then on Bianca’s chest in the corner! Xia whips but Bianca reverses, but Xia goes up and jumps over! Xia comes back but Bianca runs her over! Bianca drags Xia up, torture racks, and hits the KoD! Cover, Bianca wins!
Winner: Bianca Belair, by pinfall
The Kiss of Death puts another one away, but Bianca is not satisfied. She wants at the title, but when and where will she get her next chance?
Killian Dain is back in the film room.
“I’ve heard what everybody’s saying.” He wasn’t going to attack anybody from behind. But Matt Riddle isn’t just anybody. Matt Riddle is a “somebody.” A former UFC fighter, and the toughest in his world. The Beast of Belfast brutalized the Bro because in his world, there is no discipline, no weight classes and no rules. Putting Riddle through that stage was just a glimpse of Dain’s world. Dain can’t wait to show Riddle everything, and welcome him to his world. What will happen to Riddle when he enters Dain’s world between those four corners?
Mia Yim strikes again!
Jessamyn Duke was wrapping up in the WWE Performance Center when the Head Baddie in Charge got her just like she did Marina Shafir! A slam of the locker door, “Surprise, motha f****!” Mia would slam Jessamyn into a counter then kick her into the lockers. “You think this is a game?!” Mia uses a second locker door to SMASH Jessamyn’s arm! The HBIC ain’t nothin’ to play with, but will these guerrilla tactics force Shayna Baszler to give Mia a title match?
The NXT North American Champion, Velveteen Dream, is here!
Fans cheer as the Patrick Clark Experience makes his way out, sporting a new take on his Hollywood Dream jacket. Dream takes up the mic and says, “The only way that the Dream will step down as the NXT North American Champion is the day the Dream dies!” And that day the Dream dies, Dream will go straight to hell! Because that’s what it would feel like to be without this title. Because that’s what it felt like the day Roderick Strong sold his soul to Satan himself to win over Dream. Dream couldn’t even finish that sentence.
Strong is a hell of a man, and Strong can go all night. But no matter who or what Strong is, if he gets the Experience he wants, the same Experience everyone wants, it’ll be the same as before! “The spotlight will hit, the Dream will be over, and just like that, Strong will know he is not big enough to ride this ride.” Fans like the sound of that. But Dream does feel there is someone big enough and bad enough. If they’re within the sound of Dream’s voice, then Dream wants to experience them! But here comes Roderick Strong himself to respond!
“Oh, wow, Dream. Cool story.” But Strong doesn’t think Dream believes his own words. But at least now Strong knows why Dream’s been ducking him. “You’re scared.” Yes, he said it! Even with those glasses on, Strong can see it in his eyes. So Dream takes the glasses off to show his eyes. But Strong says he is not only the most deserving challenger on this continent, he is also the real deal and could take the title like that! So Strong wnats Dream to listen: “Give me what I want.” Dream VS Strong, TakeOver: Toronto! The result: The Experience DIES! And that is Undisputed.
But wait, is that… PETE DUNNE!? The Bruiserweight is away from NXT UK to be here on NXT Prime! And while the longest reigning WWE United Kingdom Champion finally lost that title, he has come back for a title he’s wanted ever since the One and Only had it. And he also gets some revenge on Strong by grabbing and SNAPPING the fingers! Strong goes reeling, and now Experience is alone with Bruiserweight. Dunne smiles at the title, but Dream holds it close. Dream leaves without a word, but will NXT GM William Regal have something to say about this potential Dream match?
Roderick Strong storms his way to William Regal’s office.
Just the man they each wanted to see. What is Dunne doing here?! And who does Dunne think he is staking a claim at Strong’s opportunity? Strong pinned Dream, so he should be next in line! Not Dunne! Regal does agree, but he was talking with Johnny Saint, the NXT UK GM. They’ve talked it out, and they agreed that Dunne would be part of the NXT Prime roster for a little while. Oh just great! But TakeOver: Toronto was going to be Dream VS Strong, as it should. But now it’ll be Dream VS Strong VS Dunne for the title! Oh of course! This favoritism again. But Strong will accept that, so long as he gets Dunne next week to make sure he doesn’t make it to Toronto. Regal will consider that, but for now he dismisses Strong. Will Strong and Dunne get even with each other on the road to their shared Experience?
Io Shirai VS Kacy Catanzaro!
The Evil Genius has changed just about everything, from her entrance to her gear to her attitude, after losing another NXT Women’s Championship match. But will this change of character change her luck and get her back on top?
The bell rings, and Shirai shotgun dropkicks KC down to a corner! THen corner to corner meteora! Shirai drags KC up, underhooks, and hits a butterfly backbreaker! But here comes CANDICE LERAE! Mrs. Wrestling wants revenge and she goes right at Shirai!
Winner: Io Shirai, by disqualification
Enziguri rocks Shirai out of the ring! Candice then DIVES and takes Shirai to the barriers! Fans are fired up as Candice grabs herself a chair. She chases Shirai into the ring but then Shirai bails out. Candice is furious but Shirai just shrugs this sneak attack off. Shirai no longer wants friends, but she’ll surely regret making an enemy of Candice. When and where will Shirai have to face the consequences of her actions?
NXT hears from Adam Cole.
“Once again, NXT Management trying to screw over the Undisputed Era.” First, Roderick Strong, the rightful #1 contender to the North American Championship, now has to face two men for no reason. Strong is one of the best, so Cole has faith Strong will walk out the new champion. Then the Street Profits accept the challenge of O’Reilly and Fish. Toronto is becoming the Undisputed Era’s prophecy of holding all the gold realized! Which brings Cole to him and Gargano. Gargano claims his fall will be the definitive one, but as far as Cole is concerned, what is definitive is just a classic wrestling match. You know, the stipulation Cole beat Gargano in at TakeOver: XXV. How fitting that Johnny “Wrestling” will lose and no longer be able to use that name anymore. And that is Undisputed. But will Cole really be able to repeat TakeOver: XXV knowing he’ll still have Gargano’s Street Fight to deal with?
Keith Lee VS Damian Priest!
The Limitless One has been in NXT for a full year already, but he doesn’t feel very fulfilled. Opportunities should’ve come his way but for some reason they just didn’t. And now he looks to ascend and become infinite! But can he do so against the Archer of Infamy?
The bell rings and Lee circles with Priest. Fans sing “Oh~ Bask in His Glory~” for Lee but Priest just smirks. Priest and Lee tie up, and Priest wrenches Lee to a wristlock. He reels Lee in for a headlock then shifts to a hammerlock and back to the headlock. Lee powers Priest up with one arm, but Priest holds on. Lee powers out and the two collide. Neither titan topples, and they both smirk. Lee wags his finger, but Priest says he’ll run again. Only to kick away on Lee! Lee shakes it all off and keeps his cool. The two put up their dukes, and Priest dodges those fast hands from Lee! Lee dodges Priest’s kicks but so does Priest, even as Lee leaps for a sabat! Fans are shocked but the two just smirk.
Fans chant for “NXT! NXT!” while Priest relaxes against ropes. But Lee has the fans chanting, and that annoys Priest. Priest rushes Lee but things speed up, Lee rolls over the back to run Priest over! Lee drags Priest up with one hand for a knuckle lock. Priest endures and pushes Lee, but Lee reels him in for a one-arm lift! Lee puts Priest down but Priest forearms free. Priest backs off, and baits Lee into a corner. Priest kicks a leg out then fires off strikes! The ref counts and Priest backs off, to come back and stomp Lee into the buckle! Lee is rocked as Priest brings him back up. Priest tries to suplex but Lee is too massive and mighty for that. Lee shoves but Priest counter kicks and clotheslines. Lee stays standing, but Priest kicks him again to then hit a discus clothesline! That takes Lee down! Cover, TWO!
Priest stays on Lee with a chinlock, digging his knee into Lee’s back. Lee endures and fans rally up for him. Lee pries free but Priest knees low. Priest goes to suplex again, but can’t get Lee up. Priest throws another forearm, but Lee blocks the whip. Lee reverses but Priest goes to the apron. Priest dodges then blocks, but Lee knuckle locks back! Priest powers back and climbs up the ropes, to go Old School for a crossbody! Cover, TWO and with power! But Priest isn’t upset, he actually seems to like Lee has this much left. Priest drags Lee up by his jaw, but Lee clamps on. Priest clubs Lee down, but Lee comes up. Lee denies the bow ‘n’ arrow pose, and holds on even as Priest clubs him again. Priest can’t break free or club Lee down. Lee clubs Priest down now! And again, and again!
Lee shoves Priest to a corner for a heavy left! Then runs to LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Priest is dazed but he’s still in this. Lee drags Priest up again and into a bomb, but Priest spins out. Lee elbows Priest but Priest elbows back! And boots back! But Lee counters, swings, but Priest throat chops! Priest manages to hit the Falcon Arrow on Lee!! Cover, TWO!! Both Priest’s power and Lee’s resilience are incredible! But this is far from over as Priest drags Lee back up. Priest fires off hands and kicks, and a spinning elbow, but Lee gives that one back! Priest boots, Lee Grizzly Magnum CHOPS! Lee whips, runs, and POUNCES! Priest flew to the corner! Fans fire up with “Keith Lee! WOOP WOOP!” and Lee gathers their energy.
Lee goes over to Priest but Priest bails out. Lee follows and puts Priest back in. Priest knees Lee out, then catches his breath while Lee is down. Lee climbs back up as the count climbs, but Priest FLIES out, to be caught?!? Lee has Priest up for a bomb, but Priest slips out to ear clap and BOOT Lee into the steps! Priest grins as he watches Lee wince. But then Lee gets up with a glare on his face! Lee backs Priest down and they go into the ring. Priest uses the ref as a shield! For a sucker Cyclone Kick! And the Reckoning rolling cutter!! Cover, Priest wins!!
Winner: Damian Priest, by pinfall
The Archer of Infamy denies Lee from being infinite! Will Priest continue to #LiveForever by any means necessary?
A really good episode of NXT right here! This week’s Breakout Tournament match was great, even with it being less high impact and high speed. We get a lot of character out of Myles and Garza this time, which is perfect because these two guys have a lot of charisma. I was shocked Myles wins with a German Suplex, even if it had that modified bridge. This is going to be huge for Myles since the finals will be at TakeOver: Toronto. Bronson Reed VS Cameron Grimes next week might be the high impact match since both guys are big and bulky. Either guy would be a great test for Myles as far as clash of styles, but I feel it has to be Grimes that wins. I’m more aware of who Grimes was as Trevor Lee than Reed was as Jonah Rock.
I did not expect Belair VS Li tonight but they did really great, especially with Belair being so aggressive and dominant. Maybe Belair comes out after Toronto primed for another shot at the title. And it’d be great if it was Mia Yim as champion, because those two had a pretty solid series. Mia was amazing with this second ambush segment. This is a great way to write in how the Horsewomen won’t be able to help Shayna this time, and I expect Mia and Shayna to have an amazing match for that reason. I thought Shirai VS Catanzaro was going to be a squash, but Candice attacking was even better! Between this and Dain VS Riddle, TakeOver: Toronto might as well have multiple grudge matches to rev things up at the start. These just feel too important to make for the “post” TakeOver episode.
Gargano and Cole did great with their stipulation selection promos. I’m only a touch disappointed in Cole choosing a normal match, but he does have a point that the TakeOver: XXV match was that and he won. Their match has to go to the end, because then we can get the amazing moment of Regal announcing his stipulation is something truly wild, probably Last Man Standing. Dream, Strong and Dunne had a great segment together, and it’s pretty great that we’re getting a Triple Threat for the NXT North American Championship. Also this gives us an understanding of what Trent Seven has been talking about on NXT UK about Dunne being busy somewhere else. Dunne might very well be the winner instead of Strong, or he could technically be why Strong wins at all. I still predict Toronto is all or nothing for Undisputed Era’s prophecy.
The main event tonight was great! Priest VS Lee was so good, and it totally works for Priest to resort to cheap tactics to win. It will up his Heel status while also pushing Lee’s story of feeling down. Lee’s pursuit of “becoming infinite” is going to be a great story to carry him and NXT through the summer towards TakeOver: WarGames III/Chicago on Survivor Series weekend. If anything, Lee moves up to be in position for a title by then, and I really, really hope this year’s WarGames match has the Undisputed Era in a Winners Take All situation against big names like Lee, Riddle and maybe Street Profits in a rematch assuming they lose to reDRagon. I say Street Profits because I don’t see another new tag team springing up in the time between then and now.
My Score: 8.6/10