What is the future of the top titles in NXT?
On the same night that Io Shirai defends her NXT Women’s Championship against Rhea Ripley, Finn Balor finally returns to speak on his status!
- NXT North American Championship: Leon Ruff VS Johnny Gargano; Ruff wins by disqualification and retains the title.
- Blindfold Match: Cameron Grimes VS Dexter Lumis; No Contest.
- Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter; LeRae & Hartwell win.
- Arturo Ruas VS KUSHIDA; Kushida wins.
- Toni Storm & Ember Moon VS Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez; Storm & Moon win.
- Timothy Thatcher VS August Grey; Thatcher wins.
- Damian Priest VS ???; No Contest.
- NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai VS Rhea Ripley; Shirai wins and retains the title.
PLAY BY PLAY
NXT North American Championship: Leon Ruff VS Johnny Gargano!
It’s been a long road for the biggest underdog in a long time, but he cashed in on the “Gargano Curse” to become a champion! But will he be able to stay a champion when a now extremely furious Johnny Wrestling gets his rematch?
Speaking of, Gargano gets pissed just watching the recap package showing how the world loved Ruff living the dream. “Everybody knows last week was a fluke!” Ruff is just a pawn in Damian Priest’s game to make Gargano look like a fool. Fans chant “Johnny Sucks!” but Johnny says he’s the best. Just look at Ruff! Fans troll “Johnny Failure” but Gargano says Ruff isn’t a real champion. He’s a joke! Tonight, the joke’s over, and the title comes home to Gargano. Gargano then SUCKER PUNCHES Ruff! The ref backs Gargano off and asks Ruff if he still wants this. Ruff does, and the bell rings! Gargano tackles Ruff to the corner, rams his shoulder in over and over, but lets off as the ref counts to then DECK Ruff with a forearm!
Gargano says Ruff is a joke, then whips him corner to corner hard! Fans boo as Gargano pushes Ruff around. Gargano looms over Ruff in the corner, brings him up to throw a JAB and a CHOP and then repeat! Gargano smirks as Ruff grits his teeth. Gargano CHOPS Ruff again and shakes out his own hand. Ruff CHOPS and CHOPS and CHOPS in return! Ruff throws haymakers, body shots but Gargano kicks low. Gargano puts Ruff in a corner but Ruff BOOTS back! Ruff goes to the apron, forearms, hops up and around and then under, but Gargano knows that trick from last time! Gargano back suplexes but Ruff lands on his feet!
Ruff gets around Gargano, rolls, kip up and KICK! Ruff fires up, knuckle locks and CHOPS, then goes up, up, around and huricanranas Gargano again! And then dropkicks him down! Fans fire up with Ruff as Gargano bails out! Ruff builds speed, goes up, and LEAPS! Ruff takes Gargano down and lands on his feet! Ruff puts Gargano in, Gargano flounders around but Ruff says Gargano’s gonna be the joke! Ruff hops on, but Gargano blocks the crucifix to swing Ruff into a LARIAT! Gargano grimaces and he drags Ruff back up. Gargano scoops, aims and LAWN DARTS Ruff into buckles! Gargano smirks as he drags Ruff back up to scoop him again. Gargano then LAWN DARTS Ruff to the other corner!
Gargano asks if Ruff wants to quit, and so does the ref, but Ruff refuses. So Gargano drags Ruff to the center of the ring and dares him to get up. Ruff rises, fans rally but Gargano is about to call upon DIY powers, until he spots Damian Priest on the stage! Priest says not to worry about him, and Ruff rolls Gargano up, TWO!! Gargano whips Ruff, Ruff rebounds and LARIATS! Priest and the fans rally for Ruff as he goes up top, to SWANTON! But Gargano moves and Ruff lands hard! SUPERKICK! Gargano drags Ruff back up, powerbombs him at the ropes, and then sits him up. Gargano goes to the apron, slingshots in for ONE FINAL BEAT! Cover, but Priest drags Ruff out! Priest says, “Sorry kid.” And then he DECKS him!! Ruff wins because of a disqualification!!
Winner: Leon Ruff, by disqualification (still NXT North American Champion)
Priest saved Ruff by punching his lights out! Gargano is furious that Priest used Champion’s Advantage to Ruff’s advantage! Will things continue to be this rough for #TheJohnnyGarganoWay?
Cameron Grimes speaks.
“Last week, I showed that Cameron Grimes isn’t afraid of Dexter Lumis. I mean, after I covered up his eyes, I showed that he’s just a regular man, and Cameron Grimes? He’s afraid of no man!” Grimes is a rocket ship, and after he wins the Blindfold Match, he’s going toooo theeee moooon~! But will Grimes be seeing stars after giving Lumis a fair rematch?
Blindfold Match: Cameron Grimes VS Dexter Lumis!
The Carolina Caveman said his piece, which is enough for both men since the Tortured Artist doesn’t talk much at all. But will Grimes be speechless after he and Lumis battle in this first for NXT?
As Lumis makes his entrance, Grimes makes sure not to look him in those soul piercing eyes. The ref gives each man their blindfold and Grimes wants the ref to put Lumis’ one fast. Grimes pretends to put his on, and then grins as he steps to Lumis. The ref stops him, they both need to be wearing blindfolds for this to be fair! But then how is Grimes supposed to see? That’s the point, Grimes! Fine, fine. Grimes puts his on, the bell rings, and Grimes crossbodies! Only to flop at Lumis’ feet. Grimes has no idea where Lumis is and that alone seems to spook him. Grimes points and threatens Lumis that he’s in the ring with Cameron Grimes! But Lumis is completely in the other direction…
Grimes bumps into ropes blindly and flops backwards. Grimes calls out to Lumis like it’s Marco Polo, but then he runs blindly into buckles! Lumis hasn’t even moved from where he’s standing! Grimes feels around the ropes, the ref moves past him and Grimes takes a swing! Grimes can’t tell it’s the ref and not Lumis! The ref calls out that it’s him so Grimes goes back to searching. Fans cheer as Grimes gets warmer, and warmer, but they mostly troll him into cornering the ref. Grimes gets spooked and DECKS the ref!! And now Grimes is stomping away on him! And kicking him! The ref is out cold and Grimes takes off his blindfold to see what he’s done! Grimes decides to stay very quiet, so that he can sneak away. But then he rushes Lumis!
Lumis avoids the Cave-In, and ROCKS Grimes with a haymaker! Grimes kicks low, grabs Lumis by the blindfold, but then Lumis uppercuts him! The blindfold comes off and those scary eyes stare at Grimes again! Lumis rallies with big haymakers, Grimes flounders about and Lumis DECKS him again! Lumis runs in to clothesline and BULLDOG! Lumis watches Grimes flounder back up, and gets him in the Silence! Grimes elbows free and flounders away but Lumis pursues! Lumis keeps Grimes from running away over the barriers, and whips him into the timekeeper’s area! Grimes flounders around, Lumis follows him past commentary and whips him into more boards!
Lumis continues to stalk Grimes as Grimes crawls around the way. Lumis brings rimes up to whip into even more boards! Grimes makes it to the ramp but Lumis brings him back to ringside, to whip- Grimes goes up and over the cage and boards! Grimes runs away but Lumis’ eyes still stare into the dark. Will Lumis get his hands on Grimes again soon enough?
William Regal talks with Priest backstage.
Regal can’t have Priest getting involved in matches. You can’t just punch someone in the mouth. But Priest knows Regal has to be just as sick watching Gargano have his way all the time. If anything, that was more like a joke. But c’mon, it’s Johnny! Ruff comes by and is hurt to hear Priest say “joke,” just like Johnny was saying. Ruff is the champion. If he can’t retain, then he shouldn’t be champion. Priest says he didn’t mean it like that. Ruff says Priest should just have the belt and Regal can rip up the contract. Regal and Priest say that’s not happening. Priest just thought Ruff needed help because Gargano shouldn’t have the title. Ruff SLAPS Priest! He’s no one’s joke. Regal says that serves Priest right. Priest himself admits he deserved that one. Will Ruff find a way to get people to take him seriously?
Shotzi Blackheart’s in the garage.
She’s collected the pieces. She’s putting in the work. “People like to tear you down. They want to destroy everything. But in life, you rebuild. You rebuild and you rise up.” Candice better get herself an army, because Shotzi knows something she doesn’t. “December 6th, we are going to war!” Shotzi uses fire and steel to build… WARGAMES?! The next TakeOver is the heavy metal tradition come back to life! Will the wild child make this a December to remember?
Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter!
The Poison Pixie’s little helper, Ghost Face, has been the Impressive Indi all along! And now with Shotzi declaring war, it seems Indi is a shoe-in as Candice’s second. Will they prove they are a powerful team against KC Squared?
The teams sort out and Kayden starts with Indi. They tie up, Kayden goes for a leg but Indi pushes her off. “You’re not Impressive!” Kayden and Indi tie up again, Kayden goes after the leg but Indi tries to pick her up. Kayden trips Indi instead, rolls her over and ties up the legs to then sit on her. Kayden shifts to a facelock, drags her over and tags in Kacy. Kacy rolls Indi up, cover, ONE! Kacy keeps on Indi but Indi knees low and whips Kacy to ropes. Kacy boots Indi back, Kayden tags in then heel kicks Indi back! Tag back to Kacy and KC Squared coordinate to trip, dropkick and slingshot senton! Cover, ONE! Candice is relieved but Kacy keeps on Indi.
Kacy has the waistlock, Indi reaches down for a leg but Kacy leap frogs over to then handspring headscissor Indi away! Candice tags in but Kacy drop toeholds and dropkicks her down! Kacy handsprings again but Candice turns that into a GUT BUSTER! Cover, ONE! Candice keeps on Kacy with an armlock. Fans rally up, Kacy fights up and reaches but Candice keeps her from Kayden. Candice whips Kacy hard to the corner then taunts Kayden, then she tags in Indi. Indi and Candice stomp a mudhole into Kacy, then Indi brings Kacy up to whip out and into the corner! Indi drags Kacy back up, Kacy throws body shots but Indi knees low. Indi whips and scoops Kacy for a sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO!
Indi keeps on Kacy by pulling her hair. Tag to Candice, they mug Kacy and Candice brings Kacy up to scoop and slam! Candice grins but fans rally for Kacy. Candice steps up but Kacy moves to avoid the senton! Kacy hurries over, hot tag to Kayden! Kayden rallies on Candice with clotheslines and she BOOTS Indi down! Kayden gets Candice in a hammerlock and CLUBS away on Candice’s chest! Then she COMPLETE SHOTS Candice down! Indi runs in but Kayden dodges to dropkick her down! The ref reprimands Indi, Indi bails out and Kacy LEAPS to wipe her out! Kayden SUPERKICKS Candice and covers, TWO!
Candice flounders, Kayden runs but misses the boot wash! Candice throws Kayden down by her hair, then hits a BRAIN BUSTER! Candice drags Kayden up by her hair, Indi keeps Kacy away, and Indi BOOTS Kacy down! WICKED STEP SISTER!! Cover, Candice and Indi win!
Winners: Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell, by pinfall
The Johnny Gargano Way at least gets something tonight! Will Candice and Indi recruit two more to their cause in order to fight off Shotzi at WarGames?
NXT hears from Arturo Ruas.
“Fear made me understand how to survive.” Ruas is Destrucao Total, Total Destruction! And he’s back in NXT, next!
Arturo Ruas VS KUSHIDA!
Talk about interesting timing, as Ruas returns to NXT and faces a man also very skilled, and these days, very aggressive. Will the Time Splitter look to send Ruas Back to the Future?
The bell rings and the two feel out the grapple very fast. Ruas gets a leg, then a waistlock, Kushida pries at the hold but Ruas quickly shifts to go after the arm. Kushida gets through the leg block and to his feet but Ruas reels Kushida in by a leg. Kushida kicks Ruas away then gets up to knuckle lock with Ruas. Ruas gets a leg again, then drags Kushida down to go after an arm. Kushida fights up as Ruas tries to use the Kimura! Kushida throws body shots, powers the grip off but Ruas knees low and hard! Kushida KICKS and KICKS back, and has Ruas in a corner! Ruas puts Kushida on the apron but Kushida forearms back! Ruas KNEES Kushida then drags him back in.
Kushida throws big forearms but Ruas body shots and wrings the arm out! Ruas roars, grabs the arm and throws elbows into the elbow! Ruas wrenches, Kushida resists but Ruas wrangles him down. We cut to McKenzie backstage as she says NXT Champion, Finn Balor, has yet to arrive. Regal’s thoughts on Balor’s plans were rather vague, and would only say that “once Finn gets here, he’ll have all the time he needs to address the NXT Universe tonight.” Will Balor need only a few moments or a long stretch of time to tell us everything we need to know?
In the match, Kushida fights up, throws body shots but Ruas wrangles him down again with a chinbar! Cover, ONE! Ruas paces, looms over Kushida and gets the arm to twist the wrist and pull fingers! Ruas SLAMS the arm into the mat, but Kushida gets up to CHOP! And CHOP! And CHOP! Ruas KICKS a leg, gets the arm and uses the wristlock for a takedown! Kushida resists the Kimura attempt, spins around and fans rally as he fights to his feet. Kushida throws body shots, haymakers, but Ruas KNEES hard again! Ruas whips Kushida corner to corner, Kushida comes back to dropkick the legs out! And PENALTY KICK the arm! ENZIGURI! Kushida whips Ruas to hip toss, cartwheel and basement dropkick! Cover, TWO!
Kushida keeps close and grabs the arm to wrench and stand on, to then STOMP! Ruas blocks the Buzzsaw then Eddy Gordo Kicks! Ruas waistlocks, Kushida resists and switches but Ruas elbows out hard! Kushida grabs Ruas in body scissors and wants his own Kimura! Ruas resists but Kushida keeps putting on pressure! Ruas powers Kushida up and over, Kushida waistlocks but Ruas goes to drop toehold. Kushida blocks to make it a figure four cradle! Kushida wins!!
Winner: Kushida, by pinfall
Ruas did not pull off Destrucao Total, and Kushida snatches quite the victory! Will Ruas want a rematch once he’s cooled off? Will Kushida be heading for a title instead?
Backstage interview with Ember Moon & Toni Storm.
They’re teaming up for the first time ever, but clearly the tag match is about the issues Ember’s had with Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez. That’s an understatement. Dakota is perhaps one of the best women in NXT, but for some reason she uses the cop-out that is Raquel, and we’re sick of it. “It’s time Captain Kick and Big Tex get theirs.” And no better way to do it than with Ember’s girl, Toni Storm! Toni is glad to be teaming with Ember tonight, as they’ve both fallen victim to the numbers game. And it stops tonight! But remember: when it comes to the NXT Women’s Championship, there can only be one. Oh you. Let’s just focus on tonight, and then worry about the title later. Deal? Deal. Will the Moon and Storm combine to completely eclipse #CapKota and #BigMamiCool?
NXT superstars weigh in on Shirai VS Ripley.
Ember says it could go either way, but she’ll go with Shirai. Grimes is also on Team Io, but the Road Dogg is Team Rhea, “because this is her brutality~!” HBK is also Team Rhea, but Ciampa is Shirai. Priest says his “little homie” Io takes this. “She’s found a new gear that honestly, I don’t think will ever be stopped.” Kushida also says Shirai, for she is the best, and this is her time! Timothy Thatcher says Shirai. HHH says this could go “down to the wire,” but in the end, it’ll be Rhea. Will we hear “and NEW” or “and STILL” later tonight?
Toni Storm & Ember Moon VS Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez!
NXT returns as Dakota and Raquel are already in the ring. They’ve been able to take advantage of numbers and the element of surprise, but will that all be thrown out the window now that they’re against the evolved Ember and new Toni Storm?
Dakota and Raquel keep rushing the ropes to keep Ember and Toni out, but the ref has them stay back. Toni and Ember get in, teams sort out, and Toni starts with Raquel. They tie up, Raquel throws Toni down and says she’s not ready. Toni runs in but gets run over! Raquel drags Toni up, tags Dakota in and then Raquel whips Toni into the corner for Dakota’s BOOT WASH! Cover, ONE! Dakota clubs Toni but fans rally for Toni. Dakota runs Toni to a corner for a buckle bump, then she digs her boot in! The ref counts, Dakota stops at 3, and then she pie faces and scuffs Toni. Dakota drags Toni to a cover, ONE!
Dakota keeps on Toni but Toni atomic drops back! And CHOPS! Toni whips, Dakota reverses but Toni redirects to basement dropkick! Toni drags Dakota up and snap suplexes her down! Cover, TWO! Toni drags Dakota back up, Dakota throws body shots, then CLUBS Toni on the back. Dakota snapmares Toni, runs and kicks, but Toni blocks to trip Dakota! Toni brings Dakota up, tags Ember, and then whips Dakota into Ember’s clothesline! Raquel runs in but Ember dropkicks her down! Ember and Toni work together, and they double clothesline Raquel out! Ember and Toni are rocking as NXT goes picture in picture!
Ember spots Dakota on the outside and fetches her into the ring. Ember stalks Dakota, brings her up by her hair, but Dakota jawbreakers back! Toni tags in, drags Dakota up and throws European Uppercuts! Dakota flounders, Toni brings her back around for another EuroUpper! Cover, TOW! Raquel creeps over but the ref has her go back. Toni drags Dakota around, brings her up, but Dakota fights. Toni still half hatches Dakota down! Cover, TWO! Toni keeps close to Dakota, brings her around but Dakota shoves her away to SCORPION KICK her down! Cover, TWO! Dakota keeps her focus as she drags Toni up and over to the corner. Tag to Raquel and Raquel stomps a mudhole in!
Raquel drags Toni back up, scoops and swings Toni for a SLAM! Cover, TWO! Raquel drags Toni into a thrashing chinlock! Toni endures, Raquel squeezes tight, traps an arm and shifts to a chinbar. Raquel grinds a forearm in Toni’s face but lets off as the ref reprimands. Toni fights up but Raquel throws her down by her hair! Raquel drags Toni back up, bumps her off buckles, and tags in Dakota. Dakota stomps a mudhole in, then tags Raquel. Raquel stomps, then drags Toni up to scoop. Toni slips out but Raquel CLOBBERS her down! Cover, TWO! Raquel keeps Toni down with a keylock, but Toni fights up as fans rally. Raquel wrangles Toni back down, but Toni fights up again.
NXT returns to single picture as Raquel whips Toni to ropes and CLUBS her on the back! Ember coaches Toni but Raquel whips and CLUBS Toni again! Raquel goes for a third but Toni holds ropes to elbow back! Toni runs to tilt-o-whirl and headscissor Raquel away! Hot tag to Ember! Ember rallies on Raquel with sobat, kick and forearm! Ember DECKS Dakota, too! Ember runs and STOMPS Raquel down then drops a senton! Fans fire up as Ember SUPERKICKS Raquel to a corner! Ember brings Raquel up but Raquel blocks the whip to whip Ember to a corner. Ember goes right up and hits a FLYING CODE BREAKER! Cover, Dakota breaks it!
Dakota gets away but Ember glares at her. Ember gives chase but Raquel BOOTS Ember down! The ref reprimands Dakota and Raquel but Raquel drags Ember up. Raquel scoops Ember up to drop on the apron! Raquel puts Ember in, covers, TWO! Raquel seethes but fans rally up. Raquel gut wrenches Ember to the Canadian rack, and to the Gory Especial stretch! Ember endures being bent back, powers up but Raquel has the chinlock. Ember flips out of the hold, sends Raquel tumbling out, and then heads for her corner! But Raquel gets in to POUNCE Ember away! Cover, TWO!! Ember survives and Raquel is furious!
Raquel whips Ember to the corner, tags in Dakota, and Dakota snapmares to cover. ONE, but Dakota laughs then swings on Toni! Ember reaches up to headscissor Dakota away! Hot tag to Toni! Toni rallies on Dakota, whips but Dakota reverses. Toni slips around to GERMAN SUPLEX! Fans fire up as Toni drags Dakota up for another GERMAN! Toni isn’t done, she drags Dakota back up. Dakota elbows Toni but can’t get free, Toni hits the THIRD GERMAN! Fans fire up, Toni HIP ATTACKS Dakota in the corner! Then fisherman for the PERFECT PLEX! Cover, but Raquel breaks it! Toni HEADBUTTS Raquel, Ember runs in to tilt-o-whirl DDT! Dakota SUPERKICKS Ember then aims for Toni.
Toni and Dakota both throw forearms at the same time! Neither falls so they throw forearms again! And then double clotheslines take them both down! Everyone is down, but inside and outside the ring! Fans fire up as Dakota and Toni get up again. Dakota throws a forearm, Toni returns it, and repeat! Toni fires off forearms and an uppercut! Toni runs, Dakota goes Around the World and BOOTS Toni first! Dakota keeps moving, but Toni BOOTS back! Dakota flounders to ropes, Toni runs in but is put on the apron! Toni shoulders back, knees, but Ember spots Raquel sneaking up on Toni! The ref keeps Ember away, so he totally misses Raquel POSTING Toni! Ember still DIVES and sends Raquel into the desk!
Dakota flounders over, drags Toni around but Toni cradles! Toni and Ember win!!
Winners: Toni Storm & Ember Moon, by pinfall
Numbers and tricks didn’t work this time! Toni and Ember get the better of #CobraKai, but then Candice and Indi attack!? Indi sends Ember into steel steps while Candice puts Toni in the ring for Dakota! Dakota BOOTS Toni down! Raquel gets Ember for the BIG MAMI SLAM! Then they set Toni up for a BIG MAMI SLAM herself! Has Candice found the other two for her WarGames team? Will Toni and Ember sign up for Team Shotzi because of this?
The Kings of NXT arrive!
Pat McAfee says “The show has arrived. We heard that the champ is addressing the crowd. Here’s four guys that are interested in what he has to say.” McAfee leads Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch in, will the kings get in the Prince’s way later tonight?
Timothy Thatcher VS August Grey!
Before his run-in with Dexter Lumis, the Professor of Pain was going after #RetroAG to see if he was really a “tough guy.” Will Thatch As Thatch Can teach Grey another painful lesson?
The bell rings and Grey rushes Thatcher, only to be slowed down by Thatcher throwing his jacket at him! Thatcher and Grey go back to brawling, and Grey gest the edge! Grey throws body shots then ROCKS Thatcher with a left! Grey dares Thatcher to get up, Thatcher snarls, but he runs into chicken wings! They fight for backslide control and Grey gets Thatcher down, TWO! Thatcher clinches and BELLY2BELLY SUPLEXES Grey hard! Thatcher kicks Grey just as hard in the back, then snarls as he looms over the “tough guy.” Thatcher smothers Grey with a crossface style chinlock. Grey fights up but Thatcher DECKS him with the EuroUpper! Cover, ONE!
Grey gets to a corner, Thatcher stomps away but lets off at the ref’s count. Thatcher drags Grey up, hammerlocks him against ropes, and CLUBS him in the gut! Thatcher brings Grey up for a hard half hatch! Cover, TWO! But Thatcher has a half nelson to keep Grey down, then he smothers him with his other hand! The ref counts, Thatcher lets off the choke, and covers, ONE! Thatcher clubs Grey, throws EuroUppers, and then more! Grey throws haymakers and CHOPS back! Thatcher EuroUppers, Grey wobbles and falls back! Thatcher RAMS his knee into Grey’s back then goes after the arm! Grey holds off the wristlock but Thatcher grins as he throws a body shot hard into the side!
Thatcher drags Grey up to rock him with another EuroUpper! Grey elbows back, boots but Thatcher catches to knee the thigh! Thatcher clamps on with a heel hook but Grey kicks and kicks and kicks until he’s free! Thatcher snarls but walks into a HARD right hand! Grey keeps firing off fists but Thatcher grabs ears! Thatcher throws Grey to the apron, Grey lands safe to SUPERKICK back! Grey goes up top, tight ropes and springboards, into a EuroUpper! Thatcher drags Grey back up, butterfly suplex! Thatcher drags Grey up by his beard, and tells the “tough guy” it’s done! GROVIT GUILLOTINE! Grey taps, Thatcher wins!
Winner: Timothy Thatcher, by submission
Thatcher surprisingly lets go fast, because the lesson was learned. Thatcher kneels by Grey to says that was another lesson in Thatch As Thatch Can: Don’t pick a fight with someone you can’t beat. But Thatcher doesn’t think Grey’s learned, so he puts on another Grovit! But here comes Tommaso Ciampa?! Ciampa stares Thatcher down, and it seems Ciampa’s mission to sift out the truly tough versus the loudmouths has turned to Thatcher. The two stare down, fans chant, “Daddy’s Home!” Thatcher says he has no problem with Ciampa. Thatcher slowly exits the ring, but will he have to put up or shut up with the Psycho Killer?
Backstage interview with Ciampa.
McKenzie asks what his confrontation with Thatcher was about. “What do you think? I tried to make it obvious. I want to fight Thatcher.” Simple as that! Will Ciampa get that fight?
Damian Priest VS ???
The Archer of Infamy got involved with the North American Championship match for reasons mostly his own, but will he earn his own way back to the title tonight?
Wait, Gargano comes outta nowhere to shove Priest into boards! And then throw haymakers! Gargano is getting his revenge on Priest as they fight into the ring! Priest knees back, but Gargano kicks low. Gargano fires off more haymakers but Priest tosses Gargano to a corner! Priest fires off body shots and ROCKS Gargano with a right! Gargano staggers around, but enziguris back! Gargano walks into a kick, kick and ROLLING ELBOW! Gargano flounders out but Priest pursues! Priest bumps Gargano off the desk, then clears the desk off! Priest drags Gargano up and slams him onto the desk, to then rain down furious forearms! Gargano kicks Priest away, gets up and FLYING FOREARMS back!
Gargano hurries to finish clearing the desk but Priest BOOTS him back! Priest drags Gargano up to put in the ring, then he grabs a chair! Priest goes to the ring, Ruff runs in but Gargano dodges, and the dropkick hits Priest! Ruff dodges Gargano, to tilt-o-whirl Gargano into Priest! Ruff SUPERKICKS Gargano down! Priest gets in, Ruff realizes what he did, and he starts backing up. Priest kicks but Ruff moves, and Priest gets stuck on the top rope! Ruff dodges Gargano, Priest grabs Gargano in a choke grip, but Ruff dropkicks Gargano into Priest! Priest tumbles down and Ruff dumps Gargano out onto him!
Fans fire up as Ruff has proven he can hold his own against two top contenders! But then Ruff sees that they’re both glaring at him. Ruff bails out and runs away! The title is still Ruff’s, and Priest shoves Gargano out of the ring! Will this be settled between all three men soon enough?
Mr. Regal visits Boa.
Regal is concerned because Boa hasn’t reported in at all since last week! What’s he been doing? Boa says he can’t do training at the PC. Why not? He has to come to the Performance Center some time. Boa says “she” is coming, but Regal asks who he means. Does he mean Xia Li? Where has she been, by the way? She hasn’t been seen for two weeks! Boa says Xia is hiding from “her.” What is going on here? Does this have to do with the man known simply as “Shifu” that we saw last week?
NXT Media catches up with Leon Ruff.
But Regal gets in his way first. Does Ruff have any idea what he’s doing? He does! Everyone in NXT thinks he’s a joke, a punchline. But Ruff will face BOTH Gargano and Priest if he has to! The biggest underdog in NXT is aiming high, but will he come crashing down in a match like that?
NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai VS Rhea Ripley!
The Evil Genius took the title at TakeOver: In Your House, but that was against both the Aussie Nightmare and the Queen of WWE, Charlotte Flair, in a Triple Threat. Will Shirai be able to retain when it’s 1v1? Or will Rhea join the rarified air that is the two-time champions club?
The introductions are made, tensions grow while the belt is raised, and this main event worthy of its own TakeOver begins!
Rhea and Shirai circle as fans fire up already. They tie up, Rhea throws Shira down then slaps her around. Rhea says Shirai’s the one who called her out, “You think you can stand in the ring with me?” They circle and tie up, Shirai gets around to kick Rhea’s leg out, then she returns that head slap. Rhea gets up and ties up with Shirai. Rhea powers Shirai to a corner, but Shirai goes up and around to arm-drag Rhea way! Shirai runs, dodges and handsprings! Rhea gets clear but Shirai dropkicks her down! Shirai throws forearms and CHOPS, then whips her corner to corner. Rhea reverses, Shirai goes up but slips a little. Rhea scoops Shirai but Shirai sunset flips. Rhea drags Shirai back up and whips her, then follows to run her over!
Rhea dusts herself off, letting the “dust” fall on Shirai. Rhea runs, Shirai stays low and hurdles! Rhea comes back, Shirai kicks but Rhea blocks. Rhea flips Shirai, Shirai lands on her feet, and throws a forearm back! McKenzie pops in again to let us know Finn is moments away and will speak as soon as this title match is over. Shirai dropkicks Rhea out of the ring and then fires up as she builds speed. Rhea ROCKS Shirai first, then drags Shirai out to an Electric Chair lift! Rhea SLAMS Shirai on the apron! The champ is down while NXT goes picture in picture.
Rhea drags Shirai back up, puts her in the ring, then takes her time soaking up the cheers and jeers. The ref checks on Shirai, that apron slam might’ve really rocked her. Rhea shrugs and says something about this is why she should be champ again. Shirai gets to a corner, she says she’s okay to continue, so Rhea drags her up to throw body shots! The ref still wants Rhea to stay back, because he needs to know if Shirai is okay. Shirai insists she is, but her leaning on the ropes might say otherwise. Rhea paces, grows impatient, but the ref tells her she needs to stay back. Rhea goes to the corner to soak up more cheers and jeers, but now medics are checking on Shirai. What happens if a concussion ends this match?
Rhea paces, looks to the crowd, who are rallying up either way. Rhea wants this to hurry up either way, but concussion protocol is serious business. Rhea sits on the top rope while she waits, talks some trash at the same time, and Shirai seems to clear the check. The ref still wants Rhea to wait a minute so Shirai can steady herself. Shirai gest up to throw forearms on Rhea! Rhea throws body shots back, then brings Shirai up to CLUB her down! Rhea looms over Shirai, drags her up by her gear, then straddle attacks her back down. Rhea wraps Shirai up in body scissors to squeeze!
NXT returns to single picture as fans rally. Shirai fights with elbows, turns around and throws more forearms! Shirai fires off on Rhea with fury! Shirai gets free and goes to a corner. Rhea ends up in the other corner, Shirai runs in, but Rhea moves! The Shinkansen hits buckles, and then Rhea back suplexes to SLAM Shirai face first! Rhea stomps Shirai down, dares her to get up, and fans rally up. Rhea brings Shirai up, suplexes and hots her, but Shirai cradle counters! Rhea rocks it back and dead lift suplexes to SLAM Shirai down! Cover, TWO!! Shirai survives but barely! Rhea keeps her focus and she drags Shirai up.
Finn Balor is spotted in the parking lot while Rhea puts Shirai in a seated cobra twist! Shirai endures as Rhea clamps on with a hand to the ribs! Fans rally, Shirai fights up and out, then throws body shots. Shirai powers Rhea to a corner, Rhea CLUBS Shirai back! Rhea hoists Shirai to the top rope and ROCKS her with a haymaker! Rhea climbs up to join Shirai, brings her up to the very top, but Shirai fights out and slips under! Shirai dodges the punch, bumps Rhea off buckles, then hops up to SUPER GERMAN SUPLEX! Fans are thunderous as both women are down! Shirai and Rhea stir, again go to opposite corners, and Shirai runs in to hit a back elbow!
Shirai underhooks but Rhea back drops , only for Shirai to land on her feet! SHOTEI! Wheelbarrow and victory roll to STOMPS! Shirai drags Rhea back up then runs, to basement dropkick! Cover, TWO!! Rhea’s ear is busted open from that shot! Shirai shows no mercy and goes after that side with a CROSSFACE! Rhea endures, moves as best as she can, rolls to a cover, TWO! Rhea BOOTS Shirai down! Rhea checks her lip but that’s not what’s bleeding. She checks her and finds plenty of blood, that she then turns into war paint on her cheek. Rhea drags Shirai up, but Shirai hits an ELBOW BREAKER! And another, and another, and another! Shirai hits an ARMBAR DDT!
Rhea crawls to ropes, shakes the bad arm, but Shirai runs to dropkick the arm! Rhea is clutching her elbow but she refuses to let this end here! Rhea scoops Shirai, but Shirai gets to the apron! Shirai ducks a punch to hotshot the arm! Rhea writhes but Shirai has the arm to slam it over and over on the apron! Rhea refuses to quit but she’s on the apron with Shirai. Rhea throws haymakers with the good arm but Shirai returns the favor. Shirai then has the bad, and there’s a moment of fear on Rhea’s face! Shirai wrings the arm into the apron! Rhea slumps down, shielding the bad arm, but Shirai is right after it again! Shirai throws Rhea into the steel steps, bad arm first! Rhea shouts in pain but NXT goes back to picture in picture!
Shirai catches her breath while Rhea writhes. Shirai CLUBS Rhea, goes after the bad arm again, and has a Disarm-Her! The ref counts, this won’t matter outside the ring anyway! Shirai lets Rhea go and now the ref checks Rhea. Rhea refuses to quit, and she manages to stand. Rhea gets in, Shirai is after the bad arm with a stomp! Shirai is after the arm and grinds it down with an armlock. Rhea endures, fights her way up, but Shirai BOOTS her down! Shirai covers, ONE, but she’s after the arm again! Rhea does her best to resist but Shirai stomps her! Shirai slams the arm down on the mat, then goes up top! Rhea trips Shirai up first! Rhea grits her teeth through the pain and she ROCKS Shirai with a right!
Rhea climbs up to join Shirai, works to get the bad arm moving, but she clubs away with the good arm! Shirai holds onto Rhea but Rhea brings Shirai up. Shirai fights the superplex off again but Rhea clubs away with the good arm! Rhea brings Shirai back up, and NXT returns to single picture as Rhea hits the SUPERPLEX! But she can’t make the cover right away! She has to crawl over, covers with one good arm, TWO!! Shirai survives and Rhea is beside herself! “This is Awesome!” but far from over! Rhea grits her teeth and she drags Shirai up. Shirai throws a haymaker, Rhea gives it back. They throw forearms as they stand, and fans fire up!
Shirai fires up to throw right hand after right hand, but Rhea spins her for a cravat and knee after knee after knee! Rhea snapmares and runs to basement dropkick Shirai down! Cover, TWO! Rhea scowls as she gets back up and looms over Shirai. Rhea gets the legs, ties them up, and with one good arm puts on the PRISM TRAP! Shirai endures, but Rhea SWINGS Shirai and SLAMS her down! Shirai endures as Rhea uses leverage to put on pressure! Shirai crawls, reaches, claws at the mat, and gets the ropebreak! Rhea lets go at 4, then gets up in frustration. Rhea drags Shirai up, pump handles, but Shirai slips around Riptide for an ARMBAR!!
Rhea clasps hands for dear life, but Shirai clubs the bad arm! Rhea moves around, makes it a cover, ONE as Rhea dead lifts, but it’s not enough! Shirai gets Rhea back down, but Rhea gets her legs on the rope! The ref counts, Shirai lets go at 3 and Rhea is free. Shirai runs in, but Rhea ducks the tiger feint! And even the basement feint! But Shirai fires off SHOTEI after SHOTEI after SHOTEI! Rhea flounders onto ropes, Shirai dials it up, TIGER FEINT! Shirai goes up top as Rhea flounders, and Shirai LEAPS, to missile dropkick! Cover, TWO!! Rhea survives and Shirai can’t believe it! But fans rally back up as Rhea goes to a corner. Shirai runs in, SHINKANSEN!
Rhea is in a drop zone, Shirai goes up top, OVER THE MOON- NO! Rhea moves and then LARIATS! Cover, TWO!! Shirai is still in this and Rhea is losing her cool! Rhea stomps Shirai, drags her back up and tries the pump handle again. Shirai turns it into a DDT! Both women are down again and fans are loving this! Rhea gets to the apron, Shirai sees her and runs over, to SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB Rhea through the announce desk!!! Fans lose their minds seeing that one! Shirai gets up and leaves Rhea behind in the wreckage. Rhea crawls as the ring count is past 5! It’s 8! Rhea is up at 9 and in at 9.9! But Shirai is OVER THE MOONSAULT! Cover, Shirai wins!!
Winner: Io Shirai, by pinfall (still NXT Women’s Champion)
MAGNIFICENT! Shirai and Rhea put everything into this match, including some literal blood, sweat and tears! But in the end, the Evil Genius found a solution to keep the title. And they show each other respect with both handshake and hug! Will Shirai’s reign only grow more historic after this?
Finn Balor is here!
From Women’s Champion to the TOP Champion, “First thing’s first! Io Shirai, congratulations.” But time to get down to business. The last time we saw Finn, he defended his title with his jaw broken in two places. And here he stands before us, three plates in his jaw that say he is a bad son of a- But then McAfee has to go and interrupt! “Excuse me, Mr. Broken Jaw Man. Oh I’m sorry, the Prince.” Or maybe princess? But a lot has happened while Finn was sipping steak smoothies with his jaw wired shut the last six weeks. Finn is in their house now. And he doesn’t watch the industry, the industry watches him.
But while he was sitting at home, nursing that jaw with the wife, he had to have seen what was going on. Drake Maverick, “the tiny little good hair having, bad dancing son of a bit*h, and his Shrek looking friend, DEAD, because of us.” Dunne BOOM kicked the car door into the big hairy bastard’s head! Then Breezango, the NXT Tag Team Champions, dun dun, dun dun- Dunne stops McAfee from doing the Dango. Right, sorry. Breezango: DEAD! They’re the champs now! “Greatest tag team on the entire planet earth and the moon” are Oney and Danny! The Undisputed Era, the group that broke Finn’s jaw, Adam Cole BAYBAY: DEAD! Cauliflower O’Reilly: DEAD! Roddy Strong: DEAD! Stooge McGee Mustache Robert Fish: DEAD! All because of them.
Now Finn is back, his belt on his shoulder, with everyone talking about “What is Finn gonna say? What is Finn gonna do?” As McAfee goes on and on, Dunne has Oney and Danny flank the ring. McAfee tells Finn what he’s going to do. Finn has respect for the business, for NXT, and for Ireland. “You’re gonna hand that title over to the group of men that have been running the show from top to bottom for the last few weeks!” Or else, Finn ends up like the others: DEAD! Finn tells Pat that it’s easy for the mice to play when the cat’s away. But the cat is back. And look what he’s dragged in. “SHOCK! THE SYSTEM!” The Undisputed Era isn’t dead, they’re here! And they rush the ring! They brawl with the Kings!
Kyle has Dunne, Fish has Burch, Strong has Oney and Cole of course has McAfee!! The CWC is all fired up! Dunne whiffs on an enziguri on Kyle, Strong drags Oney out and Fish kicks Burch out! Cole pursues McAfee to BOOT him down!! Dunne clobbers Kyle with a forearm but Kyle comes back to kick and forearm! Cole BOOTS McAfee again! Oney throws Strong into boards, Dunne has Kyle in a wristlock, but Kyle throws body shots! Fish still has Burch in the ring and Cole throws McAfee into boards! The chaos continues but NXT has to go off the air!! Will this battle be put to bed by next week?
What an amazing episode! The story of Leon Ruff as NXT North American Champion is great stuff and it really only just started. It was incredibly clever for Priest to use Champion’s Advantage against Gargano, but it makes perfect sense that Ruff would take offense. Ruff has a point that if he can’t win it alone, he shouldn’t win it at all. A Triple Threat of Ruff, Gargano and Priest is going to be a lot of fun, especially since much of it will be Ruff just trying not to lose. Grimes VS Lumis in a blindfold match was pretty hilarious stuff, and clearly these two are not done. Perhaps they’ll bring a stipulation like a bull rope or strap match into this so that Grimes can’t run away and must “overcome” his fear somehow.
Ruas VS Kushida was a great match, even if there wasn’t anything to it other than Ruas’ return to NXT. Kushida gets a great win but Ruas doesn’t look half bad, and at the very least, the North American Championship has plenty more contenders now. August Grey looked great even in losing against Timothy Thatcher, and I suppose Ciampa’s promos could be seen as applying to Thatcher. Thatcher is tough, but he hasn’t been facing tough opponents since Matt Riddle or the NXT North American Championship series. Ciampa VS Thatcher is going to be incredible either way, and can be used to bide time while Finn’s health isn’t actually known in kayfabe.
Speaking of, Finn’s segment coming in right after the amazing women’s title match to set up Kings of NXT and Undisputed Era in that brawl was a clever way of smoothing over Finn’s announcement of his health. It’s pretty clear Finn is staying NXT Champion, he was talking about being a tough SOB and tough SOB’s don’t give up titles. McAfee had a really good promo, the brawl was amazing, and as announced on WWE’s Twitter, IT IS HAPPENING! Kings of NXT VS Undisputed Era, in a WARGAMES MATCH! Not quite the way I was hoping it’d be announced, but since it was obvious, it’s good to get it.
And speaking of, the women are getting their won, Team Shotzi VS Team Candice. Candice and Indi had a really good match with KC Squared, but their attack after Toni & Ember VS Dakota & Raquel makes it clear who is teaming with who now. Candice, Indi, Dakota & Raquel VS Shotzi, Ember, Toni, and I’m going with Rhea. Shirai VS Rhea was an amazing match, truly TakeOver worthy, and it makes a lot of sense that Shirai retains. And Rhea joining Shotzi makes sense given Rhea’s own history with Dakota, Raquel and even Candice. Rhea and Candice won a WarGames together, now they’ll face each other in one, that’s going to be a lot of fun.
My Score: 9.3/10