It’s another packed episode of NXT tonight, with two title matches on the agenda. Aleister Black and Johnny Gargano meet in Black’s first NXT Championship defence. Adam Cole defends his brand new North American Championship against Oney Lorcan. Cole will be joined by the rest of Undisputed ERA for an appearance. And, after their last match was interrupted by the arrival of War Raiders, Heavy Machinery take on Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli.
Adam Cole def Oney Lorcan – NXT North American Championship match
Heavy Machinery def Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli
Aleister Black def Eric Young
Undisputed ERA opened the show. Adam Cole talked about NXT’s powers that be doing everything to prevent them winning titles but there they are with the tag titles and the North American Championship. Bobby Fish took over and said it’s no secret they were thrown to the wolves at WarGames and in New Orleans, but they’re always one step ahead and the gold is proof.
Roderick Strong took the mic and said everyone wants to know why he joined them. For once, he did something for himself, and at TakeOver he made the best decision of his career. He could have won the tag titles with Pete Dunne, but how long before Dunne turned on him. The only thing Dunne cares about is the UK Championship but he’s seen Undisputed ERA take a bullet for each other time after time. He had an epiphany during the TakeOver match, it’s always been Roddy against the world but why fight alone and fall short when they can fight together and take over NXT.
Kyle O’Reilly finished up by saying they are done being backed into a corner. It doesn’t matter what the powers that be do, they can’t be stopped. This is the era of the Undisputed. Times are changing and they’re leaving everyone else in the dust.
Adam Cole took the mic back and said he was going to prove that by defending his North American Championship right now, on his own because he doesn’t need any help to beat Oney Lorcan. The others left, and Lorcan came out.
Adam Cole (C) vs Oney Lorcan – North American Championship match
There was a lot of speculation on commentary about whether Adam Cole is at one hundred percent considering what he went through at TakeOver. His ribs were heavily bandaged and he sold them being damaged throughout the match.
Lorcan probably isn’t the guy you want to see across the ring if you’re already hurting. He’s not a fan of the fancy stuff, he’s more of a punch you in the face type – that is in no way a criticism.
Unsurprisingly, Lorcan worked on Cole’s ribs at every opportunity. Cole didn’t make it easy for him and kept coming back, but he was compromised in what he could do, and a quick shot to the ribs stopped him in his tracks just about every time.
Of course, Cole was never going to do this on his own. Oney Lorcan dropped him on the top rope and he fell to the outside. Kyle O’Reilly ran down with a medic and tried to get the match stopped. While the ref was distracted by that, Roderick Strong was attacking Oney Lorcan. He dropped him on his back on the apron then rolled him back into the ring. Strong and O’Reilly rolled Adam Cole back in as well. Cole kneed Lorcan in the head and pinned him.
Danny Burch came out to help his partner. He was doing ok until a superkick from Cole, then Undisputed ERA laid him out too.
Shayna Baszler video promo next. Her message is very much that it’s her first, and everyone else can fight it out for second place. She clearly doesn’t think anyone can take the title from her.
A recap of Candice LeRae’s match against Zelina Vega led into the announcement of Candice LeRae versus Bianca Belair for next week. They followed that with a hype package for Belair. That match should be great.
Heavy Machinery vs Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss
Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss are big lads, Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight are bigger lads. It was a good, if short, big lads match.
Fairly early on, Sabbatelli tried to save Moss from the Compactor, but Dozovic caught him. Heavy Machinery slammed them together then dropped them and stood on them.
Knight and Dozovic didn’t have it all their own way, Moss and Sabbatelli kept making comebacks, but Heavy Machinery kept stopping them in their tracks.
Dozovic sent Moss flying into Sabbatelli, which sent Sabbatelli into the barricade. When Moss needed to tag out, Tino Sabbatelli jumped off the apron and walked out. – If their tag team is over, who gets the car? – Anyway, once Moss was on his own, it was all over. One Compactor later, Heavy Machinery were victorious.
After the match, Heavy Machinery called out War Raiders.
Hype package for the women’s division – part 1. Featured were Nikki Cross, Aliyah, and Kairi Sane. Immediately afterwards, Dakota Kai was interviewed. She looked scared as she was asked about the incident when she walked away from Baszler last week and kept insisting she didn’t want to talk about it. When Baszler interrupted she looked terrified. Baszler made Kai look at her, then asked her how it feels to have left her home to pursue her dreams and find herself in her worst nightmare, a women’s division run by Shayna Baszler.
Kona Reeves’ relaunch is next week. He’s NXT’s finest now, apparently. He’s been a background character
Hype package for the women’s division – part 2. Featured were Lacey Evans, Vanessa Borne, and Candice LeRae. That makes nine women (including Shayna Baszler) who are likely to feature heavily in rebuilding the division. Hopefully, Nixon Newell will be added to that list very soon as well.
TM61 versus Street Profits and Pete Dunne versus Roderick Strong set for next week. Hopefully, Dunne will bring some friends.
Aleister Black (C) vs Johnny Gargano – NXT Championship match
Should have known better than to expect something so exciting to occur unspoiled. Johnny Gargano didn’t even make it down the ramp before Tommaso Ciampa attacked him. They brawled on the announce desk and across the ramp and stage. I’m not sure the crowd chanting ‘you tapped out’ at Ciampa did Gargano any favours, especially as Ciampa ran him into one of the backboards then put him through a table immediately afterwards.
Ciampa stood on the stage and watched while Candice LeRae knelt by her husband as medics put him on a backboard and loaded him onto a stretcher. The cameras followed them backstage and out of the building. Aleister Black was shown walking past as Gargano was loaded into an ambulance and driven off. As the ambulance left, the camera panned up to Tommaso Ciampa standing on top of a truck, waving.
Aleister Black strode to the ring and started to address Ciampa, but was interrupted by SAnitY. Eric Young said Johnny Gargano provided hope, chaos took away that hope. But out of the chaos, we will find greatness and SAnitY.
Black had clearly had enough. Be butted in to ask Eric Young if the NXT Championship belt was what he was looking for. When Young nodded his head, Black said ‘let’s do this’.
Aleister Black vs Eric Young
No-one seemed clear about whether this was a championship match or not. Surely, by their own rules, William Regal would have to authorise it. Of course, the other twist in this tale is that SAnitY are technically members of the SmackDown Live roster now, although they haven’t debuted.
It wasn’t the match we were hoping for, but it was good nonetheless. Eric Young had the best of it for portions of the match, but Aleister Black is so fast he only needs a split second to turn things in his favour.
Honestly, there could have been a good program of matches between these two it was that much fun to watch. But it was not to be.
Eric Young got his best chances after Alexander Wolfe caused a distraction by getting in the ring. He got a couple of solid two-counts after that but they soon went back to trading shots and chances, wearing each other down.
Aleister Black hit the Black Mass for the win after Eric Young slipped through his legs to set up for something. Then, just for good measure, he took out Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain when they tried for the post-match beatdown.
Ok, so there was no women’s division action again this week. That definitely happens too often. However, there was plenty of build for the direction of the women’s division going forward. The dynamic between Belair and LeRae next week will be fascinating, both of them should have huge futures on NXT and Belair has looked like she was being hyped for big things. It’s not just about who picks up the win, more about the power dynamic within the match.
I have to admit it was a stroke of genius to have Tommaso Ciampa stop the title match from happening tonight. Nothing guaranteed to make everyone hate him more than taking away what was going to be an awesome match. And it gave SAnitY the opportunity for a send-off to SmackDown Live at the same time. Nicely done all round really.