Who qualifies for the NXT North American Championship Ladder match?
Tonight, another Triple Threat will be held to add to TakeOver: XXX’s Ladder Match to crown a NEW NXT North American Champion! Will it be Thatcher, Lumis or Balor joining Bronson Reed in that Furious 5 Way?
- Io Shirai & Tegan Nox VS Dakota Kai & Candice LeRae; Shirai & Nox win.
- Roderick Strong VS Johnny Gargano; Gargano wins.
- Shotzi Blackheart VS Mercedes Martinez w/ The Robert Stone Brand; Martinez wins.
- Imperium VS Ever-Rise; Imperium wins.
- Isaiah “Swerve” Scott VS Jake Atlas; Swerve wins.
- NXT North American Championship Ladder Match Qualifier Triple Threat: Timothy Thatcher VS Dexter Lumis VS Finn Balor; Lumis wins and advances to NXT TakeOver: 30.
PLAY BY PLAY
Keith Lee is seething.
The NXT Double Champion’s shining moment was made even brighter thanks to his “Number one frenemy,” Domink Dijakovic. Keith thanked his rival with the first shot at a double title match. But then Karrion Kross crushed the Croatian Colossus for a simple comment on how he measured up. Dijakovic refused to let Keith quit for him, and now, as the song says, “The end is here.” Will Keith avenge Dijakovic and cancel Kross’ apocalypse?
Io Shirai & Tegan Nox VS Dakota Kai & Candice LeRae!
The Evil Genius of the Sky wasn’t allowed to celebrate her victory of the girl with the Shiniest Wizard because #CobraKai chose to strike. And now she doesn’t even get her entrance because of another ambush! Dakota and Shirai brawl on the ramp, Tegan attacks Dakota and the Pint-Sized Pixie rushes out to join the fray! NXT is off to a furious start, but how will this match end?
Tegan gets in the ring and Shirai throws Candice in. Shirai follows, Candice goes after her but Tegan pushes Candice down. Dakota swipes at Shirai but the ref gets the teams to separate and sort out. The bell rings, and Candice starts with Tegan. They tie up, go around, and Candice puts Tegan on the ropes. Candice lets up with some attitude but she and Tegan circle again. They tie up, the crowd rallies, Candice wrenches to a wristlock. Tegan spins through, bridges back, but Candice trips her to a cover. ONE as Tegan gets a shoulder up. Candice pushes that down for the cover, ONE as Tegan puts the other shoulder up. Candice hops on for a full body cover, TWO! Candice fires off furious fists and covers again, TWO!
Candice clubs Tegan down and bumps her off buckles. Tegan hits back but Candice runs in to elbow her. Candice snapmares and drops a fist to the cover. TWO, but Candice keeps on Tegan with grinding forearms! The crowd rallies as Candice drags Tegan up. Tegan throws hands and rocks Candice! Dakota tags in but Shirai does, too! Dakota sweeps the legs to kick Shirai in the face! “FIGHT ME!” Shirai obliges with haymakers and knees! Shirai snapmares Dakota and BOOTS her back! Dakota grits her teeth as Shirai gives back the trash talk. Things speed up, Shirai redirects and dodges to then tiger feint and arm-drag Dakota down! Shirai basement dropkicks Dakota down then kips up! The crowd is thunderous as Shirai drags Dakota around.
Dakota kicks and flips Shirai away! Shirai swipes but Dakota avoids the sweep to BOOT Shirai down! Cover, TWO! Dakota drags Shirai up and bumps her off buckles. She keeps Shirai stuck while Candice tags in. Candice snapmares and KICKS Shirai in the back then covers, ONE! Candice facelocks Shirai, Dakota tags in and they mug Shirai in the corner. Dakota snapmares Shirai, covers, TWO! The crowd rallies as Dakota brings Shirai back up. Dakota clubs Shirai to the ropes then chokes her! The ref counts, Dakota lets up and brings Shirai around for a snap suplex! Cover, TWO! Dakota grows frustrated with Shirai but she has an evil smirk as she looms over her. Dakota whips but Shirai reverses to then FLAPJACK!
Shirai stands on Dakota’s chest and pulls her hair before pulling her into a motorcycle stretch, then Lotus Lock! Candice runs in to stomp the leg based full nelson apart! Tegan throws Candice out in return! Shirai gets to her feet and tags Tegan in, and the two bring Dakota up for a double suplex. Dakota slips out, shoves Tegan at Shirai, and then Candice drags Shirai out to throw into barriers! Dakota BOOTS Tegan down! Candice tags in to fetch Tegan and throw her into steel steps! Candice claims she “missed” putting Tegan in the ring, and NXT goes picture in picture.
Tegan writhes on the floor while Candice looms over her. Candice puts Tegan in this time and covers, TWO! Candice drags Tegan back up to put into the corner hard. Tag to Dakota and Dakota stomps a mudhole into Tegan! Dakota digs her heel in but stops at the ref’s count. Dakota keeps Tegan from crawling away and clubs her down. Cover, TWO! Dakota still smirks as she drags Tegan away with a facelock. But Tegan spins and rolls Dakota up, TWO!! Dakota LARIATS Tegan down! Cover, TWO! Dakota mocks Shirai by holding Tegan’s hand out for a tag, only to trap it and put Tegan into a grounded cobra twist! Tegan endures, kicks and flails, but she fights free to throw body shots. Tegan rolls Dakota again, TWO!
Dakota BOOTS Tegan down! Cover, TWO! Tegan sputters while she gets a foot on the ropes, but Dakota brings her up and away to the corner. Dakota tags Candice and Candice toys with Tegan. Candice stands on Tegan’s head, lets up at the ref’s count, but Dakota CHOKES Tegan! Shirai protests, the ref keeps her back, and Candice covers Tegan. TWO, but Candice keeps on Tegan with a chinlock. Tegan endures, pries at the hold, but Candice throws her down! Cover, TWO! Candice whips Tegan into the corner, tags in Dakota, and Dakota throws body shots. Dakota taunts Shirai while she swaggers about, but she runs into Tegan’s elbow! Tegan hits Candice, scoops Dakota, and hits a FALL AWAY SLAM!
NXT returns to single picture as Candice tags in. Shirai avoids Candice’s cheap shot and Tegan HEADBUTTS Candice down! But both Tegan and Candice fall over and the fans rally up again. Tegan and Candice crawl, hot tags to Dakota and Shirai! Shirai rallies on Dakota with big shoulder tackles! Shirai whips, Dakota reverses but Shirai ducks and handsprings! Dakota gets clear but the dropkick hits! Shirai fires up and the crowd does, too. Shirai runs, Dakota dodges but Shirai slips out to swing kick back! Shirai kicks and SHOTEIS Candice away! Shirai springboards to missile dropkick Dakota down! Cover, TWO!!
Shirai keeps her cool, drags Dakota back up, and underhooks for the lift. Dakota fights out, but swings into a GERMAN SUPLEX! Shirai has Dakota in the drop zone and climbs up top. But Dakota clubs Shirai down first! Dakota climbs up and clubs Shirai on the back. Shirai resists the superplex but Dakota clubs away more. Dakota brings Shirai up again, but Shirai trips Dakota up! Shirai CHOPS Dakota into a Tree of Woe! WOE STOMPS!! Cover, TWO!! Dakota survives and Shirai grows frustrated. Shirai drags Dakota back up, scoops but Dakota slips out. Dakota tags out to Candice, much to Candice’s surprise. Shirai doesn’t hesitate and she tiger feint kicks Candice in the corner!
Candice flounders and Shirai climbs up. Missile dropkick! Candice flounders all the way to the other corner, for Shirai to hit the SHINKANSEN! Shirai keeps moving to DIVE out onto Dakota! SHINIEST WIZARD behind the ref’s back! Shirai climbs up again, DESCENT INTO DARKNESS! Cover, Shirai and Tegan win!
Winners: Io Shirai & Tegan Nox, by pinfall
Darkness and light combined to defeat the poison and the snake! Will Shirai do the same when it’s 1v1 with Dakota?
NXT shares footage from the Pat McAfee Show incident.
It was last Thursday that the longest reigning NXT Champion of all time, Adam Cole BAYBAY, went on the former NFL kicker’s podcast radio show. McAfee and Cole have always been at odds with each other, so when Adam Cole called himself the King of NXT, McAfee couldn’t help but laugh. McAfee pointed out that The Undisputed Era was a major part of Cole’s many reigns. But that’s smart, since Cole is “kinda small.” Cole blew up over that and cursed McAfee out and his “stupid (bleeping) show.” Cole stormed off, but that was not the end of this.
On Monday, McAfee had Triple H on to explain it was a “misunderstanding.” Cole himself issued a lengthy apology on Twitter for being unprofessional. McAfee is open to meeting with Cole again to talk this out and get to the bottom of things. When and where will Cole and McAfee sit down and discuss the apparent “miscommunication?”
Roderick Strong VS Johnny Gargano!
After they both lost to #ThiccBoi Bronson Reed, the Savior of the Backbreaker and #AllHeartNoSoul Gargano talked a lot of smack while playing the blame game on social media. William Regal made their spat into a 1v1 match, and now we’ll see who can back up their words!
The bell rings and the two approach fast. They feel out the grapple, tie up, go around, and Strong gets Gargano down but Gargano spins out of a cover. Strong keeps on Gargano, facelocks, but Gargano spins out to reverse it. Gargano holds on as Strong rolls, the crowd rallies up, and Strong gets a leg. Strong tries the cover, ONE, but Strong won’t let Gargano go. Gargano gets an arm and pulls but Strong makes it a cover, TWO! Strong and Gargano still fight for control, Gargano manages a headlock but Strong pops out to get the legs! Gargano powers out of the Strong Hold, ducks the boot and rolls Strong to a cover, ONE! Gargano wants the GargaNO Escape but Strong powers out to get the legs! Gargano rolls to throw Strong to a cover, TWO! Strong and Gargano struggle but separate, and the crowds cheer that exchange.
Gargano and Strong talk trash and start shoving! Strong trips Gargano, goes for a cover but Gargano turns. Strong gets the “dork” in a clinch, slaps his head and floats around. Cover, TWO as Gargano manages to bridge. Gargano and Strong rolls, Strong has the cover again, ONE! Gargano slips out and around to get the arm, but Strong resists the crossface so Gargano brings the other arm around! It’s a modified butterfly stretch or even Rings of Saturn, but Strong endures. Strong crawls, rolls, but Gargano turns Strong into a recliner cover. TWO, Gargano headlock takeovers and grinds Strong down. Strong works against the hold, avoids the cover, and gets up. Strong throws body shots, whips Gargano, but Gargano goes up and over. Things speed up, Gargano huricanranas Strong to a corner!
Gargano runs in, Strong puts him on the apron, and then Strong catches the slingshot spear! Gargano won’t let Strong copy the draping DDT and he dumps Strong to the apron. Strong drags Gargano out to a half nelson wheelbarrow, but Gargano slips out to wring the arm out! Gargano grins as NXT goes to break.
NXT returns and Gargano works to get Strong into a modified standing cobra twist. Strong powers against it to scoop and BACKBREAKER! Gargano stands up for Strong to CHOP! Strong bumps and CHOPS Gargano in the corner, follows him across the way to throw forearms and a CHOP! Strong keeps on Gargano but Gargano dodges to wrench. Strong throws body shots and clubbing forearms, then he reels Gargano in for a suplex and gourd buster! Gargano flounders, but he goes up and over in the corner. Strong blocks the crucifix takedown to pop Gargano into a fireman’s carry. Gargano slips off and onto the apron to enziguri Strong away! Gargano slingshots, but the One Final Beat is blocked to a BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO!
Gargano crawls away to a corner but Strong is on him. Strong CHOPS again, and the crowd felt that one. Strong hoists Gargano up top, but Gargano fights him as Strong climbs. They brawl, Gargano clubs Strong away and adjusts, but Strong grabs a foot. Gargano kicks Strong away and leaps for a tornado Complete Shot! Cover, TWO! The crowd is thunderous as Gargano gets up and hobbles over. Gargano slams Strong’s bad arm on the mat, then KICKS it! Strong elbows with the good arm, then boot, but the enziguri misses! Gargano rolls, Strong dodges the school boy kick, to OLYMPIC- NO! Arm-drag into a roll and GargaNO Escape! Strong endures, rolls to a cover, TWO!!
Strong has the legs, Gargano fights him but Strong kicks away on the back. Gargano kicks back with his heel then kangaroo boots Strong down. Strong gives them back! Both men are down but the crowd fires up. Gargano stands, wrenches an arm but Strong CHOPS back. Gargano forearms, Strong CHOPS, Gargano enziguris! Strong boots, enziguris and catches the superkick into a scoop! Gargano knees free first, but Strong back elbows. Gargano spins but the discus ends up in the fireman’s carry, for a pop-up, to a RANA! Gargano throws Strong and SUPERKICKS him down! Strong flops out of the ring, Gargano slides but misses. Gargano tilt-o-whirl headscissors Strong into barriers! Then POSTS him!
Gargano rams Strong into Plexiglas! And more Plexiglas! Strong ends up in the ring, Gargano takes aim. Slingshot, ONE FINAL BEAT!! Gargano still has to crawl to a cover, Gargano still wins!
Winner: Johnny Gargano, by pinfall
#TheJohnnyGarganoWay shows Strong where he still stands in the power rankings! Gargano may not have a shot at gold for TakeOver: XXX, but will he get his way on the other side of it?
Backstage interview with Dakota Kai.
Dakota walked out on Candice at the end of their tag match, but Dakota says she doesn’t care. Dakota is not a team player anymore. She is done jumping through hoops, having to do Triple Threats, tag teams and battle royals just to be a contender. She IS the #1 contender. She wants Io Shirai and the NXT Women’s Championship!
As Dakota goes to leave, a new platinum blonde heavy metal Rhea Ripley walks in to asks if she heard that right. Dakota is after Io Shirai? “Mate, I don’t care if you’re not a team player anymore.” In fact, good for Dakota. But Rhea’s problem is Dakota thinks she’s next. “Io is mine, and I don’t mind going through anyone who thinks otherwise.” Well, Dakota is going to see what William Regal has to say about that. Rhea is fine by that. Just what will GM Regal’s decision be about the NXT Women’s Championship scene?
Backstage interview with Timothy Thatcher.
Tonight, he goes against Dexter Lumis and Finn Balor in the second North American Championship qualifier Triple Threat. “Indeed. Two men that are gonna get schooled in Thatch As Thatch Can. One, Mr. Balor. Last week, he spoke of some sort of push. The only push that I know is when I push my shoulder into his kneecap as I dislocate his leg.” And then we have Lumis, “the man with a thousand mile stare.” Look into Thatcher’s eyes. Lumis thinks he’s a tortured artist, but he knows nothing of the subject, until he steps in the ring with Thatcher. Um, Lumis is lurking in the shadows… Will it be the Professor of Pain that learns something tonight?
The Undisputed Era talks backstage.
Strong and Bobby Fish are also upset with McAfee, and they’re all upset with Gargano, but Kyle O’Reilly arrives to ask what’s going on. That depends, what’s going on with him? Kyle is sick and tired of “the Hollywood BS,” the excuses and setbacks. Do they remember who they are? The Undisputed Era! Freakin’ Roddy Strong! The Infamous Bobby Fish, Kyle’s tag team partner! And Adam Freakin’ Cole! They ran this place since the second they got here! The Undisputed Era is back in business, which means back to changing the business! Kyle has fired up his friends, but will they be able to rebuild at this point?
Shotzi Blackheart VS Mercedes Martinez w/ The Robert Stone Brand!
“Welcome to the ball pit!” The wild child is ready to #TCB, and she “triple dog dared” mean Mercedes to give her a destructive dream match! But can Shotzi take care of business now that Mercedes is doing business with Robert Stone?
The bell rings and Shotzi goes right at Mercedes with forearms! Mercedes shoves her away but Shotzi comes back with more! Shotzi kicks low then runs, but Mercedes uses that momentum to toss Shotzi out! Stone and Aliyah talk trash to distract Shotzi and Mercedes CLOBBERS Shotzi down! The crowd boos but Mercedes keeps on Shotzi with a wheelbarrow SLAM to the apron! Mercedes pushes Shotzi in, stalks her to the center and rains down right forearms! Shotzi takes the hammering fists but Mercedes lets up to bring her around, fisherman, but cradle counter! ONE, Shotzi dodges the boot to enziguris back!
Shotzi runs to shotgun dropkick Mercedes into the corner! Shotzi runs corner to corner, Mercedes puts her up top but Shotzi boots back. SUNSET BOMB! Cover, TWO! Mercedes survives and Shotzi grows frustrated. Shotzi drags Mercedes up, whips but Mercedes reveres. Shotzi ducks, comes back, SLING DOG! Mercedes gets up, Shotzi KNEES her back, then rolling elbows! QUESTION MARK KICK! Mercedes flounders, Shotzi howls, BALL PIT CANNONBALL! Direct hit on the ropes and Shotzi covers, TWO! Shotzi keeps her focus and brings Mercedes up to run. Mercedes hits a SPINE BUSTER! High stack, TWO!
Mercedes keeps on Shotzi with more ground ‘n’ pound, then she scrapes her sole on Shotzi’s face! Mercedes drags Shotzi up, clubs away, then suplexes, only for Shotzi to slip out. Shotzi cravats, goes up but gets put on the top rope. Mercedes CLUBS Shotzi, climbs up to club her more, then clubs her in the chest over and over! Shotzi is a ragdoll as Mercedes brings her up for a SPIDER SUPER GERMAN! Mercedes sits up, hops down and drags Shotzi into the fireman’s carry. Mercedes tucks, AIR RAID CRASH! Cover, Mercedes wins!
Winner: Mercedes Martinez, by pinfall
Stone’s newest signee is already paying off! Mercedes tanks NXT’s tank girl, will she do the same to the rest of the roster?
NXT, prepare for Ridge Holland’s arrival.
“Growing up in Yorkshire, England, you either go to jail, of you find a way out.” His way out was built on malice, forged on the rugby field. He was too violent. Just ask anyone he has been on the field with, or in the ring with. “They don’t leave the same. NXT, this is your warning. Ridge Holland is coming for the North American Championship.” The Northern Grit comes to the States! Will anyone stand a chance with him in the running?
Keith Lee is here!
The Limitless NXT Champion is not in a good mood as he goes to the ring. Keith grabs a mic to speak. “Let’s get something straight. We can talk all day about Dijak telling me no. That he wanted it. But the reality is, Dijak is a grown man, and he is going to be just fine. On the other hand, this man that seems to think the sound of sand is the sound of a clock…” Keith wants Kross to listen. “You have clearly made it a point that you want my attention, that you want this championship, and you’ve done so much extra BULLSH*T!” The crowd likes this angry Keith as he tells Kross, “All of your extra BULLSH*T means nothing when you can’t come to me face to face!” Keith is here, doing something Kross does not have the BALLS to do, and that is to talk face to face, man to man. “Kross, I’m calling you out.”
But instead of Mr. Doomsday, Keith gets the Carolina Caveman, Cameron Grimes! “Dijakovic? Kross?” Keith should be talking about Cameron Grimes! If anyone should be upset, it’s Grimes! Because Keith gave away the North American Championship before Grimes could take both titles. But that’s okay, because Grimes is here to say that he is taking that NXT Championship, “and going straight to the moon~!” Keith, can you hear him? Look at him, Keith. Can you hear? Keith can hear, and he can feel Grimes’ head in his hands as he grabs Grimes from the apron!! Grimes panics but Keith tosses him in with one hand! And then he corner splashes Grimes down! The crowd is rowdy as Grimes flounders to his feet, but then the spotlights shine on Keith, and Scarlett Bordeaux.
Scarlett is dressed in scarlet as she stands on stage. And then Grimes runs at Keith! But then “OH SH-,” the Cave-In is turned into a SPIRIT BOMB! Grimes twitches but Scarlett doesn’t move. She waves a hand, and Kross talks to “Mr. Lee” via the titantron. “What kind of a man makes the choice to stand by and do absolutely nothing while his friend suffers?” Keith did that. And Keith has to live with that. But for now, Kross will provide Keith with two choices. The easy way: Keith gives Kross his shot at the title. The hard way, and Kross says Keith doesn’t even want to know what that is. “Because everyone will suffer! Ticktock.” Keith picks up a mic to say, “Choices. You wan’t to talk about choices? Kross, pick the time and place, and I will whoop that ass.” Scarlett leaves to take that message back to her man. Kross calls it the easy way, but will he learn how hard it is to stop the Limitless One?
Imperium VS Ever-Rise!
The NXT Tag Team Champions, Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel, return! Their part in Imperium’s takeover of both branches resumes, but will the Canadian best friends for life, Chase Parker and Matt Martel, be able to throw a wrench into those plans?
The teams sort out, Barthel starts with Martel and the two circle. Barthel slaps Martel around a bit as they end up in the corner. The ref calls for a break, Barthel lets off but gets in another slap! Martel runs at Barthel but into the arm-drag, and Barthel turns it into a keylock. Martel endures, gets up, pushes Barthel back but Aichner tags in. Barthel whips and Aichner arm-drags Martel for an armlock of his own. Aichner shifts around and wrenches to get another high keylock. Martel spins through and whips but Aichner reverses, but Martel holds ropes and boots back. Parker tags in, Martel trips Aichner up and Parker slingshots for the elbow drop! Barthel runs in but Parker dodges to CHOP!
Parker throws hands on Barthel, whips Martel so Martel can whip him, and then rocks Barthel with a forearm smash! Parker feeds Barthel to the drop toehold, but Aichner intercepts Parker to SPINE BUSTER him onto Martel! Aichner drags Parker up to throw him to the corner, then he tags in Barthel. Imperium puts Parker in the ropes to meet at the corner with double dropkicks! Parker crawls away but Barthel drags him up. Barthel ROCKS Parker with the uppercut then tags Aichner. Imperium whips Parker for Aichner’s SPINE BUSTER! Barthel adds the PENALTY KICK! Then they coordinate to give Parker the EURO BOMB!! Cover, Imperium wins!
Winner: Imperium, by pinfall
The Pride of Italy and the Impeccable German defeat the longest bonded team, and now take up the mic to speak. “The standard bearers of the NXT Tag Team Division have returned!” But then the Undisputed Era interrupts! Cole, Strong, Fish and O’Reilly rush the ring and attack Imperium! This is Worlds Collide reignited! Their 4v2 advantage beats Imperium down and the crowd is thunderous! SUPERKICK for Barthel! TOTAL ANNIHILATION for Aichner! “We are the Undisputed Era! We’re the ones who run NXT, not anybody else!” Is this the spark that lights a new flame to #ShockTheSystem?
NXT takes a closer look at Bronson Reed.
“This place, with all the street art and graffiti, reminds me of my home, Adelaide, South Australia.” Auszilla would watch his friends and family do street art with passion and love. His passion was pro-wrestling. His earliest memories in life are of him watching pro-wrestling with his uncle. It was a dream to get to the WWE, but he didn’t think it was possible. His journey to NXT revolves around his wife. To start wrestling, he had to go to a wrestling camp, which of course cost money. She was the one who gave him the money to do it, and has since then been the one motivating him forward. Reed has gone all around the world, 13 different countries, to land here in NXT. He was in the Breakout Tournament, faced Dexter Lumis to start it off, and won big.
“Michael Jordan said that some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, and only some people make it happen.” Reed feels he is that third group. He made it happen against two incredibly talented superstars, and proved himself and the world that he is a prime time player. Nothing will stop him in the ladder match, because no one has 320 pounds of fury like him. His body is built for destruction. No one has his fighting spirit. Shawn Michaels had his boyhood dream come true, but TakeOver 30 will see the THICC BOI DREAM come true!
William Regal addresses the situation between Keith Lee and Karrion Kross.
“Good evening, everyone.” In light of what we saw between Keith and Kross, Regal wants to remind them both that he will not be bullied into making championship matches. Those opportunities are still and will always be earned in NXT. Then just how far will Kross go to earn his shot at the Limitless One?
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott VS Jake Atlas!
Swerve oozes confidence, and is so confident that his one win over Santos Escobar is enough, that he has been calling out the NXT Cruiserweight Champion between NXT and 205 Live. But Atlas was also fairly impressive in that Cruiserweight Championship round robin. Will Atlas leave Swerve on the outside looking in at the title scene?
The bell rings and Atlas circles with Swerve. They tie up, Atlas snapmares but Swerve avoids a cover and headscissors Atlas back. Swerve kips up while Atlas scrambles to a corner, and Swerve grins as fans cheer. Atlas and Swerve go again, Atlas goes for a leg but Swerve grabs the arm. Atlas finishes the takeover and speeds things up, Swerve stays low but Atlas leaps over to use that gymnastics background to handstand walk and handspring back! Swerve gets clear, goes Eddy Gordo but Atlas throws him down. Atlas slides to kick but Swerve avoids that, and avoids the standing moonsault. Atlas lands on his feet, cartwheels away from the boot, and then dropkicks Swerve down! The crowd is fired up as Swerve sits up and checks his chin. Atlas bows but Swerve smirks.
Swerve shoves Atlas to a corner, Atlas boots but Swerve deflects. Atlas rebounds, arm-drags and then runs to dropkick again! Swerve deflects that, too, Oklahoma Rolls Atlas into a ghost pin, TWO! Atlas kicks low then CHOPS Swerve to a corner. Atlas CHOPS again, and again! Swerve is reeling but Atlas clubs and kicks him! Atlas kicks again but Swerve catches it and puts him in a corner to CALF KICK him down! Swerve takes a moment to check his chin while NXT goes to break.
NXT returns and Atlas resists the dead lift. Atlas shoves Swerve to a corner, runs in and rams his shoulder in. Atlas is on the apron, he springboards for the BLOCKBUSTER! Cover, TWO! Atlas keeps his cool as Swerve survives. Atlas drags Swerve up, Swerve chinbars and powers out to elbow him back! Swerve brings Atlas up, back suplex but Atlas lands on his feet. Atlas ROCKS Swerve with that uppercut! Swerve ends up in a corner, Atlas runs in but Swerve goes up and over and rolls Atlas, but Atlas BOOTS the Complete Shot away! Atlas headlocks for the CLIMAX! Cover, TWO!! Swerve survives the headlock driver and Atlas can’t believe it!
Atlas drags Swerve up, CHOPS him, clubs him and throws forearms. Swerve gets around, rolls Atlas but then rolls him again to dead lift GERMAN! Atlas gets up, Swerve somersaults for the COMPLETE SHOT! Cover, TWO!! Atlas lives and Swerve grows frustrated. Swerve stalks Atlas, kicks him to a corner and brings him up by the legs. Atlas kicks Swerve away then walks into a wristlock and flip! Atlas rolls back but Swerve uses that to pop up! Atlas follows, ROCKS Swerve with a right, Swerve rocks him back! But Atlas blocks, half nelsons and lifts, SUPER SPINNING TORTURE RACK BOMB!! Atlas crawls to the cover, TWO!?! Swerve survives and the crowd is thunderous!
Atlas hurries to the corner and climbs back up. “This is Awesome!” has he cartwheels, but no Rainbow DDT just yet as Swerve pushes Atlas off course! Swerve sweeps the legs to SUPERKICK! Atlas is stuck in a Tree of Woe, Swerve hits the HOUSE CALL on the outside! Swerve puts Atlas back in, hoists him up, JML DRIVER! Cover, Swerve wins!
Winner: Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, by pinfall
Atlas gave Swerve quite the fight, but in the end, Swerve leaves Atlas down and out! Will he be able to dethrone Escobar and bring the Cruiserweight gold to Swerve’s House?
Backstage interview with Damian Priest.
The Archer of Infamy has a Triple Threat North American Championship qualifier next week against Oney Lorcan and the debuting Ridge Holland. His thoughts? He finds it very interesting. He knew he was in one of these Triple Threats, but nothing has changed now that he knows his opponents. This opportunity is his to take, and there is no scenario in his mind where he doesn’t walk out of TakeOver: XXX as the new North American Champion. He isn’t looking past his opponents, though. He knows how tough Oney is, and though he doesn’t know much about Holland, it’s obvious “that dude’s legit.” Come next week, we will not see an upset like with Bronson Reed. The favorite will win, and then the Reign of Infamy begins. But speaking of, tonight’s Triple Threat is up next! Who will Priest look to join after tonight?
NXT makes it official!
To determine who faces Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver: XXX, it will be a #1 Contender’s Match between Dakota Kai and Rhea Ripley! Will #CobraKai get to sink her teeth into the Aussie Nightmare before trying on the Evil Genius? Or will Rhea being her road to redemption at Dakota’s expense?
And after the huge attack the Undisputed Era hit Imperium with, the NXT Tag Team Championships are on the line! Aichner and Barthel take on reDRagon, O’Reilly & Fish as part of next week’s episode!
NXT North American Championship Ladder Match Qualifier Triple Threat: Timothy Thatcher VS Dexter Lumis VS Finn Balor!
The Professor of Pain, the Tortured Artist, or The Prince. All three are hungry for gold, but only one can be part of the Furious 5 Way at TakeOver 30! Who joins Bronson Reed in the biggest golden opportunity in a long time?
The bell rings and Balor and Thatcher approach, but Lumis stays put. So Balor and Thatcher tie up, break, and Thatcher throws an uppercut. Balor boots back from the corner, slips out and drags Thatcher out. Thatcher rams Balor into the apron then throws him into the ring. Balor staggers up and Lumis finally does something as he uppercuts Balor away. Thatcher goes after Lumis but gets an uppercut, too! Lumis ROCKS Balor again, then throws Thatcher out to join him. The crowd fires up as Lumis builds speed to FLY! Balor and Thatcher get clear, but Lumis lands on his feet?! Since when could he do that?! Balor runs at Lumis but gets an uppercut, as does Thatcher! Lumis puts Thatcher in but Thatcher kicks Lumis back.
Thatcher throws uppercuts on Lumis as Balor returns. Thatcher goes after Balor’s leg, they hop around and Balor throws body shots. Lumis runs and clotheslines them both down! Lumis looms over Balor, brings him up, and throws another uppercut! Lumis back suplexes high and hard to drop Balor, then covers, TWO! Thatcher grabs Lumis and throws uppercuts. Lumis throws Thatcher out hard then goes back to Balor but Balor kicks low. Balor clubs and stomps Lumis down, stomps the knee and ankle, then CHOPS! Balor bumps Lumis off buckles, throws more body shots and then repeats the process.
Balor CHOPS Lumis, Thatcher blasts Balor with an uppercut! Thatcher is after Lumis with the EuroUppers, stalks Lumis on the ropes, and clinches for the Belly2Belly! Cover, TWO! Thatcher is after an arm for the double wristlock! Lumis endures, Balor gets in but Thatcher is after Balor’s leg! Balor resists, Lumis staggers over but Thatcher throws more EuroUppers on him. Thatcher slugs Lumis but Lumis flapjacks him onto ropes! Thatcher flounders out, Balor enziguris Lumis! Lumis is down, Balor goes up! But Thatcher pushes Balor off the top to stop the Coup de Grace! The crowd is fired up while NXT goes picture in picture.
Thatcher snarls as he scrapes Balor on the apron with his foot. Thatcher knees away on Lumis, drives in elbows, then goes after the leg Balor went after. Lumis resists but Thatcher has the heel hook to twist the ankle! Lumis endures, Balor returns and Thatcher intercepts again. Balor resists and Lumis rolls Thatcher up! TOW, Lumis turns around into Balor’s stiff forearm! Thatcher runs at Balor but Balor side steps the shoulder to kick away on Thatcher! Balor kicks and kicks and kicks, Thatcher flops down but Lumis CLOBBERS Balor! Balor crashes down on the apron and flops to the floor, but Lumis and Thatcher are also down.
Lumis crawls after Thatcher, rains down hammering rights, but lets up to drag Thatcher around. Thatcher throws hands and facelocks for a headlock suplex! Balor returns but Thatcher uppercuts him right down! Thatcher drags Finn around with a face hook, then takes the arm for a cobra clutch! Balor endures, fights his way up, but Thatcher wrangles him down! Thatcher locks the clutch in deeper but the crowd rallies up. Balor fights back up, NXT returns to single picture and Balor hits the jawbreaker! Thatcher avoids Lumis’ dropkick and Lumis rolls out of the ring. Thatcher ROCKS Balor with another EuroUpper, then drags him up. Balor cradle counters, TWO! Thatcher BLASTS Balor with the EuroUpper!
Balor staggers to ropes, Thatcher chokes him on the ropes! No disqualifications so Thatcher can hold it for as long as he wants, but he still lets up to bring Balor around. Thatcher throws another hard EuroUpper, then he knees Balor in the ribs. Lumis climbs up the apron but Thatcher clubs him down. Thatcher knees Balor while he’s down, then laces the legs and goes after the face. Balor grabs Thatcher’s fingers and bends them back! Thatcher knees Balor back and clubs him down. Thatcher drags Balor up, scoops and slams him down! Elbow drop! Cover, ONE! Thatcher sees Lumis and knees him off the apron. Balor throws forearms but Thatcher returns them. They brawl, Balor runs and forearms Thatcher down!
Balor drags Thatcher up but Thatcher rocks him with a forearm. Balor boots from the corner, runs and forearms Thatcher down again! Balor trips Thatcher but Thatcher boots him away. Lumis returns to DECK Thatcher with right hand after right hand! Corner clothesline and bulldog! Balor runs into an uppercut but he PELES back! All three men are down but the crowd fires up. Lumis and Thatcher are in opposite corners, Balor CHOPS Lumis. Balor runs at Thatcher but has to dodge Thatcher’s clothesline, to hit the elbow drop DDT! SLING BLADE for Lumis! Balor aims at Lumis but Thatcher slithers around to trip the Prince! And POST his crown jewels before throwing a leg into the steel! Balor crawls but refuses to be taken out of this. Thatcher grabs the leg for a heel hook!
Lumis slides out and ROCKS Thatcher with an uppercut! Thatcher crawls away while Balor flops out. Lumis stalks Thatcher, brings him up and shoves him, to SPINE BUSTER! The crowd is thunderous again as Lumis watches Thatcher rise. Thatcher denies the urenage and then enziguris him down! Balor returns, Thatcher finally gives him the DRAGON SCREW! Thatcher grabs Lumis by the face and SLAPS him! Thatcher underhooks but Lumis resists, to hit the URENAGE! SILENCE ARM TRIANGLE!! Thatcher flails, endures, and Balor COUP DE GRACES outta nowhere!! Balor has to hobble to a cover, Thatcher drags him off! Balor kicks away on Thatcher but Thatcher has the leg for an ANKLE LOCK!
Thatcher keeps Balor from ropes with his modified grip and then GRAPEVINES! Balor endures, flails, Lumis slithers up and watches Thatcher! SILENCE!!! It’s a DUAL SUBMISSION!! Balor is free because Thatcher is OUT! LUMIS WINS!!
Winner: Dexter Lumis, by submission (advances to TakeOver: XXX)
The Professor of Pain just learned a valuable lesson about Triple Threats: always watch out for the third man. Lumis joins Bronson Reed in the ladder match, bringing them both back to the Breakout Tournament where it all began. Will things be very, very different for the Tortured Artist?
A great episode once again, with some very interesting developments. First off, it seems the “incident” with Adam Cole on the Pat McAfee Show is highly likely a work, though I can’t be sure to what end. I feel like we got a Face turn out of the entire Undisputed Era since they went after Imperium, who are firmly Heels. Strong VS Gargano was a great match, but Gargano wins so that his #TJGW story still makes sense. Imperium VS Ever-Rise was a good Face showing for Ever-Rise but also a really good return win for Imperium. Reigniting things with Imperium is great, because Worlds Collide’s 4v4 unfortunately had one fault in that Alexander Wolfe got legitimately injured and was out of the match. It is a bit optimistic, but perhaps a proper 4v4 can happen at whatever TakeOver is paired with Survivor Series or Royal Rumble as a full revisit. Then and only then should Undisputed Era move on to the “main roster,” preferably SmackDown.
The opening women’s tag match was really good, especially with Dakota jumping Shirai at the ramp. Dakota ups her Heel game by abandoning Candice, but that can always be circled back to with Candice and Dakota having beef down the line. Dakota VS Rhea to officially name a contender is going to be great next week, and while either choice is great, it has to be Dakota who wins because of how things have been going. Rhea has time to wait and see how things go, but Dakota’s been hovering around the title scene, she needs another go to make the WarGames Heel turn pay off. Meanwhile, Shotzi has a pretty good match with Mercedes, but of course Mercedes wins. Mercedes just got back, she’s with Robert Stone Brand, and this will drag the feud out for a bit while both women are outside the title scene.
Speaking of title scenes, Keith had a great promo, perhaps saying BS twice just to get the censors going, and Grimes had the perfectly punctual “bad timing” promo to get whooped. Regal says Kross can’t just bully his way to a title match but I have a feeling he’ll do just that in the coming weeks. Swerve VS Atlas was very good, but Swerve felt like the natural winner given all the spotlight he gets between NXT and 205 Live. I’m sure between the two shows, El Legado del Fantasma will respond to the would-be contender, and I feel like with that trio as a common enemy, Swerve, Atlas and perhaps a returning Kushida could face them in a Six Man before anything is decided.
The vignette for Bronson Reed was really good, and is a strong indicator he is a favorite in the Furious 5 Ladder Match. Honestly, it was between him and Finn as far as I was concerned, and now that Finn is out, I’m thinking Reed takes it all the way. Priest VS Oney VS Holland is next week, and that is great for all three men involved. Holland’s move from NXT UK to NXT USA is a good move for him. Holland came into NXT UK feeling like a midcard championship level star but there is no proper midcard title in NXT UK, so going for the North American title is smart. I feel like Holland will win to mostly be a shock factor, and add some serious strength to the ladder match.
Tonight’s Triple Threat was incredible and had another somewhat surprising finish. I would’ve thought Thatcher would catch Lumis or Balor into a surprise submission, but it’s great for Lumis to get this win in many ways. Most of all, I feel like this ladder match is making up for how things went in the wake of the Breakout Tournament. The controversy and anger that caused Jordan Myles to quit WWE/NXT (and from what I recall, wrestling altogether) marred a lot of what the Breakout Tournament was meant to do, and having Reed and Lumis, two tournament contestants that didn’t win but stuck around, could get things back on track for that wave of superstars. Reed, Lumis, I again predict Holland, that is already a strong field of young contenders, I can’t wait to see the last two Triple Threats.
My Score: 9.3/10