Triple H looks to set NXT straight!
Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano nearly destroyed each other AND the WWE PC! Triple H returns to NXT to lay down the law!
- Tyler Breeze VS Austin Theory; Breeze wins.
- Killian Dain VS Tehuti Miles; Dain wins.
- Cameron Grimes VS Tony Nese; Grimes wins.
- NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Qualifier:
Xia LiIo Shirai VS Aliyah; Shirai wins and advances to the Contender’s Ladder Match.
- Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch VS Shane Thorne & Brendan Vink; Lorcan & Burch win.
- NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Qualifier: Candice LeRae VS Kayden Carter; LeRae wins and advances to the Contender’s Ladder Match.
- Matt Riddle VS Roderick Strong; Riddle wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
NXT must change plans for TakeOver!
With the world in crisis, NXT can no longer host their show in Tampa Bay. However, the show will go on, as many of those matches originally planned for TakeOver will happen on NXT TV! Starting with next week’s episode on April 1st, the WWE Universe will experience the action meant for the WWE Network live on television instead! HHH will address this on top of the Gargano-Ciampa conflict later on tonight.
Tyler Breeze VS Austin Theory!
Prince Pretty was NXT First Class, but he needs to show the new kid what that really means. Will #AllDay be just another “flash in the pan”?
The bell rings and Theory circles with Breeze. They tie up and Theory puts Breeze on the ropes, but Breeze powers Theory back. Theory turns things around to have Breeze back on the ropes, and the ref calls for the break. Theory lets up and says this is his ring now, because he is the future but Breeze is the past. Breeze brushes the trash talk off and ties up with Theory again. Breeze powers Theory around the ring but Theory pushes back. They end up on ropes again and Theory again lets off to talk trash. Theory mocks the top rope lounging! He hops off to circle with Breeze and tie up again. Breeze headlocks but Theory pops out the back. Theory headlocks now, but Breeze powers out. Theory runs Breeze over then things speed up.
Breeze hurdles and dropkicks Theory down hard! And then he shows Theory how to lounge properly. Theory laughs it off then runs at Breeze. Breeze shows Super Model Kick and fakes Theory out! Breeze rallies with big forearms and then a whip. Theory reverses but Breeze kicks and clotheslines him down! Breeze runs into the corner but into a boot! Theory somersault BLOCKBUSTERS! Theory kicks Breeze while he’s down then taunts him as he stalks him. He kicks Breeze at the ropes then drags him up for a snap suplex! Cover, TWO! Theory keeps on Breeze with a chinbar and chicken wing. He continues to insist he’s the future and Breeze is the past as Breeze endures. Breeze fights his way up but Theory knees low and clubs him on the back.
Theory digs his knee deep into Breeze’s back and has a chinlock. He continues to taunt Breeze but Breeze continues to power up. Breeze elbows and jawbreakers free! Theory staggers but runs at Breeze. Breeze puts him on the apron, and Theory hotshots back! Somersault shotgun dropkick! Things aren’t looking good for Prince Pretty as NXT goes to break.
NXT returns as Breeze mule kicks Theory! Breeze runs to shotgun dropkick Theory back! Breeze goes corner to corner for a big forearm smash! He keeps moving for another! Breeze tries a third time, but Theory moves! Breeze lands on the rope and leaps back, but onto Theory’s shoulders in a torture rack! Theory spins Breeze for a TOWER HACKER BOMB! Cover, TWO!! Breeze survives because it isn’t the future yet! But Theory grins as he scrapes Breeze out of the ring. Breeze crawls and Theory pursues. Theory drags Breeze up and throws big forearms. The ring count climbs as Theory headlocks Breeze and brings him around for more forearms. Theory THROWS Breeze into railing! The ref reprimands Theory but he goes back to the ring.
Breeze crawls as the count begins again. Theory taunts Breeze as the count reaches 5. Breeze reaches the ring at 6 and stands at 7, to get inside at 8! But Theory stomps him right down. Theory drags Breeze up, powerbomb lift but Breeze huricanranas! Cover, TWO! BIG KNEE from Breeze to Theory! Breeze hops up, but his huricanrana is countered with a BUCKLE BOMB! Theory runs but is put back on the apron. Theory somersaults into the SUPER MODEL KICK! Cover, TWO!! Theory survives and shocks Breeze, but Breeze has more to give. Breeze brings Theory up but his back makes it difficult. Theory resists but Breeze clubs him on the back. Theory shoves Breeze out, but runs into an enziguri!
Breeze goes to a corner and climbs up top. But Theory drags him off the top, USHIGOROSHI! Cover, TWO!! Breeze still lives! Theory grits his teeth and works through his frustration. He drags Breeze up for furious fists over and over! The ref warns Theory but Theory keeps going. Theory backs off to stomp away on Breeze, then backs off again. Theory gets an idea, and grabs the smartphone. He opens up the camera mode to take a selfie video of himself. Theory brags that he’s the future. He drags Breeze up to get him in the shot, then fireman’s carries. But Breeze fights out and hits the BEAUTY SHOT! Cover, Breeze wins!!
Winner: Tyler Breeze, by pinfall
Theory may have ego #AllDay, but Breeze has the win! Will Theory learn his lesson? Did the phone get that finish?
Killian Dain VS Tehuti Miles!
TakeOver won’t happen the way it was meant to, there is still a path open to the NXT North American Champion. Will the Beast of Belfast feast on this debuting superstar?
The bell rings and Dain rushes Tehuti in a corner. Dain grinds forearms in before backing off at the ref’s count. Tehuti shrugs that off and circles with Dain. Dain makes a move but Tehuti dodges. Tehuti baits Dain in and gets him in a corner with shoulder rams. Dain pushes Tehuti back but Tehuti dodges the boot! Things speed up and Tehuti hurdles Dain, only to leap into Dain’s arms! Dain scoops but Tehuti slips out and shoves. Tehuti runs in but is put on the apron. He forearms Dain away but Dain BOOTS Tehuti down! Dain goes out to fetch Tehuti and throw him into steel steps! And then into railing! The ref counts but Dain drags Tehuti up to put in at 5.
Dain stalks Tehuti and pushes him around. Tehuti throws body shots but Dain KNEES him down. Dain stomps Tehuti and puts him in a corner to stomp more and more! The ref counts, Dain lets up at 4, but Dain is still seething. Dian drags Tehuti up to back suplex high and hard! Tehuti writhes as Dain covers, TWO! Dain keeps on Tehut with a chinbar but Tehuti fights back. Dain clamps onto Tehuti and back suplexes again, but Tehuti manages to land safely on his hands and knees! Tehuti is in the corner and Dain runs in, but Tehuti boots back! And then dodges, sending Dain into post! Dain staggers and Tehuti throws big right hands! Dain shoves but Tehuti kicks! And SUPERKICKS! And dropkicks! Dain stays on his feet, and DECKS Tehuti!
Dain drags Tehuti to a fireman’s carry, for a WASTELAND and SENTON! Then he goes to the corner, VADER BOMB! Cover, Dain wins!
Winner: Killian Dain, by pinfall
Big Damo returns victorious, but still hungry. Will the North Ireland Nightmare become a nightmare for the North American Champion?
Cameron Grimes VS Tony Nese!
Speaking of the NXT North American Championship, the Carolina Caveman had his run-in with Keith Lee and lost. But he hasn’t lost any of his #CountryConfidence for it. Will Grimes win some more of that swagger against 205 Live’s Premier Athlete?
The bell rings and the two circle. They feel out the grapple before tying up. Nese powers Grimes to a corner but Nese lets up to flex. Grimes pushes Nese and talks trash, but then uses the ropes to defend himself. The ref pulls Nese back and Grimes comes out. They circle again and tie up. Nese waistlocks and drags Grimes down to the mat. Grimes headlocks back and brings Nese down. Nese endures the grind and powers his way up. Grimes gets the arm for a takedown and wristlock, but Nese moves around to get to his feet. Grimes brings Nese down but Nese wrenches and arm-drags back! Now Nese has the armlock and digs a knee into Grimes’ head.
Grimes works his way up but Nese Oklahoma Rolls! TWO and Nese arm-drags Grimes again! Nese cranks on Grimes’ arm and pulls, but Grimes endures. Grimes fights his way up, pushes Nese to ropes and throws in knees. Grimes clubs Nese down then whips him to ropes. Nese holds ropes to boot Grimes back! Nese runs into a flapjack hotshot! Grimes snarls as he covers, TWO! Grimes keeps on Nese’s arm now with an armlock of his own. He also pulls Nese’s hair and chinbars the beard. Grimes cranks on Nese’s neck but Nese fights his way up. Grimes wrangles Nese back down and pulls on the ear! The ref reprimands but Nese gets up to throw forearms. Nese CHOPS and CHOPS Grimes, then whips. Grimes reverses and CLOBBERS Nese! Cover, TWO!
Grimes drags Nese up by his ear but the ref reprimands him again. He reels Nese in but Nese flails to resist the bomb. Grimes tries again but Nese resists. Nese back drops Grimes, Grimes sunset flips but Nese rolls through. Nese spinning MULE KICKS Grimes down! Both men are down but rising. Grimes staggers over but Nese counter punches him. Nese knee smashes then runs to BOOT and WINDMILL! Grimes is dazed as he goes to a corner. Nese runs in for a big back elbow! And he keeps moving, but Grimes spins and scoops him! Nese slips out, and bulldog hotshots Grimes down! PREMIER TRIANGLE! Cover, TWO!! Nese was so close and yet still so far from a victory!
Nese Alabama lifts Grimes but Grimes fights out. Grimes digs an elbow in, but Nese lifts again. Nese tucks Grimes in, but Grimes sunset flips. Nese again slips out, but Grimes ducks the mule kick this time. Grimes SUPER FOREARMS Nese, but Nese SUPERKICKS Grimes! Grimes is down in the corner and Nese brings down a knee pad. Nese runs into a SUPER FOREARM! Grimes whips, CAVE IN!! Cover, Grimes wins!
Winner: Cameron Grimes, by pinfall
Grimes takes down a former WWE/NXT Cruiserweight Champion! Will this help his case towards the NXT North American title?
NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Qualifier: Xia Li VS Aliyah!
TakeOver may not be happening, but the Ladder Match to name a #1 contender is still happening! Who joins Chelsea Green, Mia Yim and Tegan Nox as only the fourth entrant?
But let’s not forget this is a rematch from roughly four MONTHS ago! The Spicy Xia busted up Aliyah’s face with a powerful kick, and it’s taken Aliyah this long to recover both physically and emotionally. Will Aliyah’s revenge be sweetest when she denies Xia a chance at the championship?
But wait, where is Xia? Aliyah waits as the music starts again, but cameras find Xia down and out backstage! Aliyah doesn’t shed a tear for what happened to her, but it’s hard tot ell if she’s innocent in all this. The announcement is made that Xia cannot compete now. However, there is a replacement. Aliyah’s new opponent is… IO SHIRAI!! Is the Evil Genius of the Sky’s return about to ruin Aliyah’s?
NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Qualifier: Io Shirai VS Aliyah!
The bell rings and Aliyah freaks out. Shirai dropkicks her right away then throws big hands in the corner. Shirai sweeps the legs and grinds her boots into Aliyah. The ref counts and Shirai stops to swing and METEORA! Shirai stalks Aliyah and brings her up, underhooks but Aliyah fights out. Aliyah pulls Shirai’s hair and throws her down. Now Aliyah has confidence as she stomps Shirai in the corner. The ref counts and Aliyah lets off to bring Shirai out. Aliyah whips but Shirai handsprings through the hip toss to SHOTEI! Shirai drags Aliyah up to underhook again, for a butterfly BACK BREAKER! Aliyah goes to a drop zone but Shirai is up top for the ASAI MOONSAULT! Cover, Shirai wins!
Winner: Io Shirai, by pinfall (advances to the Contender’s Ladder Match)
Shirai is back and she is in a match that surely favors her style! But with two spots left, who joins the Evil Genius, the Head Baddie in Charge, the Hot Commodity and the Girl with the Shiniest Wizard?
Dexter Lumis is on his way back.
The most enigmatic Breakout Tournament entrant hasn’t been seen since, but surely he will show us what he is truly capable of. When will the dark and mysterious Dexter make his in-ring return?
Keith Lee is here!
There may not be fans to #BaskInHisGlory, but the Limitless One is still here to grace us with his presence. Jon Quaso interviews Lee in the ring and speaks to his title defense against Cameron Grimes, and the subsequent attack from Damien Priest. Dominik Dijakovic came to Lee’s rescue, only to get a Spirit Bomb for it. Can Lee speak as to what happened that night? Lee says it is rather self-explanatory. That match with Grimes was very tough, but Lee won. Lee raised both hand and title in victory, only to be attacked from behind. He did not know at the time that it was Priest, so when he saw Dijakovic, he just made an assumption. So that said, Lee admits he owes Dijakovic an apology. And right away, Dijakovic appears!
The Croatian Colossus heads right to the ring and tells Lee that he doesn’t “give a damn about your apology.” What matters is the title. Dijakovic says Lee knows he’s not Priest, because Dijakovic respects Lee too much for a sneak attack. But the reality is now, Lee beating Dijakovic took “food off my family’s plate.” Lee wants to respond, but Priest appears to interrupt! “Thankfully, neither one of you is Damien Priest.” Priest asks Dijakovic about his knee. And Priest says even for a back as big as Lee’s, that night stick must’ve still hurt. But Priest tells us how this is going to go: Priest’s eyes are on the prize. “Not because it’s going to get me satisfaction for all the years of hard work.” But because it gives Priest what he wants: money, women, fame, and legacy. Because everyone knows Priest’s name will #LiveForever.
But in order to do that, Priest must take the title. Lee says the reality for Priest is that while he wants to live forever, attacking Lee means he won’t. At the end of the day, Priest and Dijakovic talking, scraping, and quarreling over Lee’s title, but the champ is standing right here. Priest takes out his night stick, and figures Lee shouldn’t be standing anymore. Priest rushes the ring but Dijakovic pushes Lee out of the way so he can go after Priest himself! Dijakovic stomps Priest but Lee pushes Dijakovic aside so he can DECK Priest! Priest staggers away but Lee pursues to ROCK him! Priest hits back with fists, but Lee clubs him. Dijakovic FLIES in and takes them both out! Dijakovic seethes as he stands tall over two other towering superstars. Who gets that title shot with no TakeOver happening?
Adam Cole has a video message.
“Hello, boys and girls.” Obviously Cole is “on vacation” poolside, but has been doing some thinking. Cole was reflecting on his confrontation with The Velveteen Dream. Cole admits that Dream had Cole flustered. But why? “Why would Adam Cole ever be flustered?” History shows that “Adam Cole” and “first-ever” go hand in hand. First-ever winner of WarGames in NXT. First-ever NXT North American Champion. And now, the longest-reigning NXT Champion of all time. Dream has done NOTHING to earn a shot at Cole and this title. But the Undisputed Era would love to end the Experience. Bobby Fish wants some, so does Dream accept the challenge? Because when Dream loses, it’ll prove Cole right that Dream is a loser. #DreamOver, and that is Undisputed.
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch VS Shane Thorne & Brendan Vink!
The One Two is back on NXT after their five-man team won the Cruiserweight Civil War on 205 Live. Though, they were two of the members eliminated in that match, so they’re looking to rebound. Can they do that as The Worst and the Smug make their NXT in-ring debut?
The teams sort out and Burch starts against Vink. The two circle and tie up, and Vink shoves Burch down hard! Burch sits up as Vink talks some trash on his bald head. Burch and Vink tie up and Vink shoves Burch again! Vink dares the Govenah to show him what he’s got. Burch baits Vink into the corner and then headlocks. Vink powers up and powers out to run Burch over with a shoulder! Vink still talks smack as he drags Burch up. Tag to Thorne and the Aussies mug Burch. Thorne clubs and wrenches Burch to a wristlock, then wrenches again. Burch powers up and wrenches back to a wristlock of his own. Burch then spins and trips Thorne to stomp the hands!
Tag to Oney and the One Two double wrench and CHOP! Oney drags Thorne up for European Uppercuts and another CHOP! Thorne sucker punches Burch and boots Oney, then dodges to tag in Vink! Oney comes in hot but Vink catches him for a HUGE Urenage! Cover, TWO! Vink keeps on Oney with a chinlock and grinds Oney down. Oney endures as Vink cranks back. Oney gets up but Thorne tags in. The Aussies mug Oney now and Thorne throws EuroUppers of his own. Thorne uppercuts Oney in a corner then runs corner to corner, but Oney follows for a back elbow! Oney runs but into a EuroUpper! Thorne runs the ropes, but gets another back elbow! ONey runs again, to LARIAT Thorne inside-out! Hot tags to Burch and Vink!
Burch throws big haymakers on big Vink! And EuroUppers! Burch clotheslines then whips Vink for a CUTTER! Vink staggers about, Burch hits a corner clothesline and enziguri! Burch hops up top and leaps to missile dropkick Vink down! Vink staggers into Burch’s headlock and takedown, for a CROSSFACE! Oney intercepts Thorne for a BOSTON CRAB! The Aussies BOTH tap, the One Two wins!
Winners: Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan, by submission
The BritAm Brawlers show that they’re just as good at grappling with this victory! Will Oney and Burch punch their tickets to the NXT Tag Team Championships even in these uncertain times?
NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Qualifier: Candice LeRae VS Kayden Carter!
The fifth spot is up for grabs as the #PintSizedPixie takes on the Filipina super ninja! Who ascends towards an incredible opportunity in this rearranged TakeOver?
The bell rings and KC circles with Candice. Candice headlocks and hits a takeover, but Carter powers her way up to her feet. Carter pops out to a waistlock and throws Candice down. Candice powers up to snapmare free, and then she runs KC over. Cover, ONE, and things speed up. Candice hops over Carter and stops to bypass Carter. Candice arm-drags Carter down to an armlock, but Carter gets up fast. Carter arm-drags Candice off her, then counters an arm-drag to another arm-drag. Carter sweeps the legs and covers, ONE! Candice sweeps the legs and cover, ONE as Carter goes Matrix. But Candice rolls her up, TWO! Carter and Candice dropkick but those cancle out. The two back off and reset.
The bell rings and KC circles with Candice. Candice headlocks and hits a takeover, but Carter powers her way up to her feet. Carter pops out to a waistlock and throws Candice down. Candice powers up to snapmare free, and then she runs KC over. Cover, ONE, and things speed up. Candice hops over Carter and stops to bypass Carter. Candice arm-drags Carter down to an armlock, but Carter gets up fast. Carter arm-drags Candice off her, then counters an arm-drag to another arm-drag. Carter sweeps the legs and covers, ONE! Candice sweeps the legs and cover, ONE as Carter goes Matrix. But Candice rolls her up, TWO! Carter and Candice dropkick but those cancel out. The two back off and reset.
Candice and Carter tie up and Carter trips to cover. ONE, and things speed up again. Candice follows Carter, Carter slams on the brakes, but Candice sunset flips up and over. Carter stays up to roll and bring Candice up and over to a cover, ONE! Carter hooks on for a rolling cradle, TWO! She waistlocks to O’Conner roll, TWO! Carter springboards to dropkick Candice down! Cover, TWO! Carter keeps on Candice with a wrench and whip. Candice dodges in the corner to send Carter into buckles. Candice runs in for a back elbow then a snapmare, and neck snap! She drags Carter to a jackknife, TWO! Candice keeps her cool as she facelocks Carter. Carter fights her way up but Candice clubs her down. Candice uses Carter as a step stool, but the back senton FLOPS as Carter moves!
Candice and Carter rise, and Carter rallies with clotheslines. Carter kicks a leg out then SUPERKICKS Candice down! Carter powers up as Candice rises again, and Carter runs to BOOT Candice into ropes! Cover, TWO!! Candice lives but Carter keeps close. Carter brings Candice up but Candice SLAPS and CHOPS and throws big forearms! Candice throws chop and forearm over and over, then drags Carter down. She wants the GargaNo Escape like husband Johnny, but Carter rolls her up! TWO, and Candice drop toeholds Carter! Step stool senton hits! Candice catches her breath and LIONSAULTS but flops! Carter swings a kick, Candice ducks it to roll her up, TWO! GargaNO ESCAPE! Carter taps, Candice wins!
Winner: Candice LeRae, by submission (advances to the Contender’s Ladder Match)
And Candice Wrestling qualifies! Is this finally her time to shine in the title scene?
Matt Riddle VS Roderick Strong!
Bro… The NXT Tag Team Champions are perhaps SOON to be challenged by the Grizzled Young Veterans, but only time will tell. For now, can Riddle keep Strong from putting the “bro” in “broken back”?
The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up and Strong gets a leg. Riddle blocks with a facelock but Strong shifts to get his own. Riddle slips out, goes for the arm, but Strong slips out. The two fight for control and Riddle rolls Strong over, but Strong gets away. The two stand off and Riddle applauds their technical exchange. Riddle and Strong tie up again, and Riddle goes for the leg. He gets Strong down to a cover, TWO! Strong and Riddle go again, feeling the grapple out. They clinch and go around, and Riddle throws Strong to a cover. Strong gets out before a count, but Riddle throws a slapping body shot as they scrum on the mat. They both roll and end up on the ropes, and the ref calls for the break. Strong pushes Riddle away and mocks the “Bro Special.”
Riddle and Strong tie up again, and Strong goes for the leg. Riddle blocks but Strong avoids a triangle. Strong has the facelock but Riddle moves around. Strong holds on, but Riddle works on the hold. Riddle pops out but Strong smothers him fast to get the facelock back. They end up on ropes again, and the ref calls for the break again. Riddle backs off cleanly, and the two reset again. Riddle gets a leg and then a gut wrench suplex! Strong backs off to a corner but Riddle doesn’t give him much time to rest. Strong uses the ropes to shield himself and the ref has Riddle stay back. Riddle keeps his patience, and the two tie up with knuckle locks. They go shoulder to shoulder and Strong gets around. Riddle resists the lift and throws in body shots!
Riddle goes for the wrist but Strong pulls hair! The ref reprimands but Strong knees low and CLUBS Riddle down. Strong puts Riddle in the corner for a CHOP but Riddle CHOPS back. Strong CHOPS again then throws big forearms. Riddle returns the forearms and now they brawl. Riddle gets the edge but Strong knees low. Strong brings Riddle up but Riddle slips out of the Olympic Slam. Riddle fireman’s carries but Strong grabs ropes. Strong elbows away and then BOOTS, enziguris and hangs Riddle out to dry! Riddle is sputtering as NXT goes to break.
NXT returns and Strong gets Riddle in a Camel Clutch. Riddle endures as Strong traps the arms and cranks back on his neck. “Give up, bro!” Riddle BITES Strong’s hand! Strong drags Riddle up but Riddle throws body shots. Riddle tries to fireman’s carry but Strong elbows him down. Riddle ROUNDHOUSES Strong down, and again! Strong blocks a kick to throw elbows from all sides! But then he swings into the PELE! Strong flounders to a corner and Riddle runs in for a big forearm smash! Riddle goes side to side, BIG FOREARM! And BROSPLODER! But Strong blocks the Penalty Kick to the STRONG HOLD! Riddle endures the modified Boston Crab as Strong sits deep! Riddle powers up, kicks free, and Strong staggers away. Strong runs into BRO TO SLEEP, and a GERMAN! Bridging cover, TWO!
Riddle and Strong are both down and exhausted. But Riddle wills himself to stand and drag Strong back up. Riddle gut wrenches but Strong slips out and boots Riddle away. Strong runs in to SHINING WIZARD! And OLYMPIC SLAM! Cover, TWO!! Riddle survives and frustrates Strong. Strong waits for Riddle to rise, and runs in, but the knee misses! Riddle rolls Strong to then powerbomb lift, but Strong slips out! STRONG KNEE! Riddle staggers to ropes, and Strong starts up the elbow train! But Riddle ducks and tilt-o-whirls Strong into the Gotch hold, for BRO DEREK! Cover, Riddle wins!!
Winner: Matt Riddle, by pinfall
The Bro is victorious, but who is this coming out of nowhere?! It’s the duo of Rinku Singh and Saurav Gurjar! We haven’t seen them since last May as part of Worlds Collide! They drag Riddle up but Riddle fights them off with kicks! But Gurjar blocks a kick and Rinku ROCKS Riddle with a right! Rinku then kicks Riddle low, and whips him to a corner. Rinku runs in for a big corner clothesline, and feeds him to Gurjar’s BOOT! Gurjar scoops Riddle for a backbreaker while Riddle hops up top. Rinku LEAPS, GUILLOTINE LEG DROP!!
“Hi, I’m Malcolm Blivens.” The apparent manager of Rinku and Gurjar walks out to tell Riddle what we all already know: Pete Dunne is stuck halfway across the world. So Blivens figured that now was the perfect time to introduce us to “the future of the NXT Tag Team Division.” Will Blivens and his brutal behemoths take over in the absence of a TakeOver?
NXT has huge announcements for next week!
This is no April Fool’s joke! Xia Li, Deonna Purrazzo, Dakota Kai, Aliyah, Kayden Carter and Shotzi Blackheart will compete in a Second Chance Gauntlet Match! Who survives to fill the sixth and final spot in the #1 Contender’s Ladder Match?
Plus, after the altercation between them, Keith Lee, Dijakovic and Damien Priest will compete in a TRIPLE THREAT for the North American Championship! This is what TakeOver reimagined looks like, but who will be standing tallest of all among these titans?
HHH is already in the ring!
“In the history of NXT, there has been no greater rivalry, no personal issue more intense, than what we have witnessed over the last few years between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa.” The rivalry has sparked- Wait! Ciampa is here! Ciampa goes to the ring and HHH hands him a mic. In the five years that have passed, everything that has to be said has been said. The only thing left is for Ciampa and Gargano to settle this. To finish this. HHH says that before Gargano walks out, there is to be no physicality tonight. But to Ciampa’s point, since Gargano is here, HHH has Gargano make his entrance.
“Have you lost your mind?” Gargano’s not getting in the ring with Ciampa. Ciampa tried to kill Gargano last time! And why is Gargano being fined for wrecking the Performance Center when it’s Ciampa’s fault? Ciampa attacked Gargano. Ciampa threw weights at Gargano’s head. And “this coward” tried to DIVE through a medical room window! If HHH thinks Gargano’s getting in there with Ciampa, then he’s crazy. Gargano’s too smart for that. So then giving a referee that superkick wasn’t Gargano’s fault? HHH says the only reason the two of them are still here is because of him. If William Regal had final say, they’d both be fired. But again, there is going to be no physicality. HHH isn’t asking Gargano to get int he ring, he’s telling him to.
Gargano reluctantly joins HHH and Ciampa in the ring and HHH says that this has gone on long enough. HHH understands both of their positions, because he and Shawn Michaels went through the same thing. HHH gets it from a professional and personal standpoint, but he also knows that there will come a point when both men realize, with everything that’s going on, this can be put aside and there was more in life than the ring. This has to end. HHH can’t have them tearing up buildings and endangering others around them. But they’re right. This should end on the biggest stage possible, in front of the whole world.
Gargano interrupts and says there’s a big misconception. What people don’t get was that this was meant to end last year, but then Ciampa had to go and break his neck. Gargano’s biggest regret is that he wasn’t the one to break it. HHH keeps the peace but Ciampa speaks now. “Bigger things going on in the world? Bigger things have been going on in my world for the last year of my life.” Because yes, Ciampa DID break his neck! Ciampa gave away his life in the NXT Championship. But Ciampa tells everyone here, that this does need to end. So HHH says that with what DIY has been through, they deserve to do this on the biggest stage possible.
Gargano doesn’t care about a big stage! They just need a ring, a referee, and the cameras. Ciampa agrees, and says that HHH and HBK know better than anyone what it takes. “This is about one thing: Who’s the face of this company? Who’s the heart and soul of NXT?” Gargano says it’s him. And after it’s all said and done, Ciampa will realize who the monster really is. Well, if they don’t need a crowd or an arena, HHH says it will happen. But Gargano says it can’t be now. Ciampa put Gargano through a table, OFF THE PERCH! Then how long does Gargano need!? Gargano says two weeks. Then it’s finished, once and for all. Ciampa agrees to the terms.
HHH says he’ll find an empty building to put a ring and a referee in. And when it’s over, it is over! Two walk in, one walks out, and it’s done. Because if it continues even after that, then neither gets to stay. Neither will have to worry about being the heart of NXT, because NXT can carry on without them. In two weeks, HHH will give them the location. The two will arrive and have it out. Ciampa says NXT can carry on without Gargano. Gargano says that in two weeks, Ciampa will admit what he knows deep down in that black heart of his: Gargano is the better man, the better wrestler, and the better everything.
But wait, the titantron starts playing images. They’re like those cryptic message! Ruin, vultures, fire and death. Is that… Is that who we think it is?! “Tick Tock. The end is near.” Will one of NXT’s two hearts be replaced by something without a soul?!
A really good episode of NXT tonight. And as the murmurs had been saying, TakeOver may not be happening as one night, but the action is still happening on a week-to-week basis. I am so pumped to see Io Shirai return for the Ladder Match, that whole situation just begged to have her be part of it. Candice qualifying is also great, she needs to finally be seen as a contender. And I also sensed some kind of multi-person match would come about to fill that last spot. With the split being 3:2 in favor of Faces, you can expect a Heel to get in. It feels like Dakota is the favored one in that regard, as Aliyah just jobbed to Shirai and Deonna Purrazzo just doesn’t feel like she’s there yet.
Breeze VS Theory was good, and it makes sense for Breeze to win. Theory is good, but he can’t be getting pushed too hard just yet. If they have a rematch, I expect Theory to get the win, and thus bringing us to a tiebreaker. It’s good that Grimes rebounds off Nese, and that we’re finally getting Dexter Lumis back. Dain also wins to stay strong, those three can surely hop into the North American Championship scene after what will truly be a TakeOver worthy Triple Threat. Vink was even more impressive tonight than on Raw, and I think he and Thorne can make good progress in the tag division, even after losing in a double tapout to Oney & Burch.
I’m a little bummed Adam Cole’s celebration for his record-setting reign didn’t get to be bigger and wilder, but what can you do given the global circumstances? I assume Dream beats Fish next week to establish a title match for him and Cole, which could now easily happen separate of the spread-out TakeOver just on account of the circumstances. Then, if Cole retains, he can celebrate even bigger when the world can live again. Riddle VS Strong was an incredible match, and as Malcolm Blivens implies, the travel ban is a logical reason why Dunne couldn’t save Riddle from the attack. The ban also explains why Gurjar and Singh return to television: No Grizzled Young Veterans (and no Dunne) means the NXT Tag Team Championship plans have to change. Maybe Riddle can find someone to team with in what I would hope is a non-title payoff.
One bad thing about tonight was that the mic audio was awful. It really made it hard for Keith Lee’s part in the promo segment setting up his Triple Threat, and it also made HHH’s segment difficult. But HHH setting up an Empty Building/Arena match for Gargano and Ciampa works out. It isn’t an outright Loser Leaves NXT match, but HHH does put the ultimatum that it could turn into that if one side can’t let it go. Also, it was rather interesting timing for Killer Kross to have another creepy video, and certainly for it to show his face. This heavily implies he goes after the winner of Gargano VS Ciampa #OneLastTime, or maybe even goes after the loser as a little twist. That’s not a bad place to start, given the popularity of DIY both together and apart.
My Score: 8.8/10