Tag team title match tonight, when SAnitY give Authors of Pain their rematch. The member of Sanity not competing, and every member of The Undisputed Era, are banned from ringside. We’ll see how that pans out. Also on the agenda for tonight, Johnny Gargano takes on Fabian Aichner, and Drew McIntyre and Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas have the contract signing for their title match at TakeOver.
Nikki Cross def Taynara Conti
Fabien Aichner def Johnny Gargano
SAnitY (C) vs Authors of Pain – No Contest due to interference
Taynara Conti vs Nikki Cross
Women’s division action started us off, after the obligatory opening housekeeping bits. This is already a grudge match. Conti cost Nikki Cross her first opportunity to qualify for the women’s championship match. Cross got another opportunity, and made it into the match, but the way she attacked Conti in the battle royal confirms that Nikki Cross isn’t one to forgive and forget.
Nikki Cross launched herself into the action, as you’d expect. She chased Conti around and trapped her in the ring apron for a bit while she beat on her. Taynara Conti did get quite a lot of offence in, trouble is it only seemed to give Cross more fire.
Cross hung Conti up in the ‘tree of woe’ and beat on her some more, before dragging her out of the corner and planting her. The fisherman’s swinging neck-breaker she followed up with finished the short match in Nikki Cross’ favour.
A Mercedes Martinez interview from after the battle royal last week after. She talked about her disappointment at not winning. When she was asked to predict who would win the four-way at TakeOver, she said she didn’t know, but it definitely wouldn’t be Ember Moon because she can’t win the big matches.
Fabian Aichner vs Johnny Gargano
It’s a little hard to buy into the crisis of confidence storyline with Gargano, because he’s just so good. He doesn’t wrestle like he lacks confidence, although there were times where he showed he was second guessing himself. Fabian Aichner is also really very good.
This was a really fun match. Gargano seemed a unable to learn from at least one of his mistakes though, because at least three times in the match he went for an aerial move, and Aichner caught him. There was a lot of good stuff going on though, including an absolutely beautiful slingshot DDT from Gargano, which sadly only got a two count. And a back-breaker from Aichner where he tossed Gargano around like a feather. Oh, and a powerbomb that almost put Gargano through the canvas.
The confidence crisis storyline for Johnny Gargano continues, as Aichner countered his attempt to lock in the Gargano escape, and tied him up to steal the win.
William Regal’s office next, where Drew McIntyre was signing the contract. Unusual set up for a contract signing…
Aleister Black vs Velveteen Dream was announced for TakeOver Houston, via a vignette from Black. That is going to be weird and, I suspect, rather wonderful
Street Profits were inspecting someone’s car and talking about it. It turned out to belong to Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss (who apparently own one car between them, a point that was very much being laboured). They trashed talked each other for a while, nothing of note was said.
Drew McIntyre came out to the stage with the contract, ready to bring it to the ring for Almas to sign. The stage was as far as he got. Almas jumped him from behind, and tackled him to the ground before kicking and punching him repeatedly. After he’d signed the contract he stuck it to McIntyre’s shirt, using Zelina Vega’s chewing gum. Interesting move by Almas, to make things quite that personal.
Peyton Royce was kicking off about Billie Kay not being in the title match. They were making snide remarks about Kairi Sane when she appeared. She showed Billie Kay her famous elbow, then jumped forward, causing Kay to cower back against Royce. Then she walked away. This, of course, led to the announcement of Kairi Sane vs Billie Kay for next week.
SAnitY (C) vs Authors of Pain – NXT Tag Team Championship match
This is going to get messy, there is no other possible outcome. When people are banned from ringside, it’s almost a certainty they’ll show up at some point.
Actually, it started fairly tame. Alexander Wolfe and Eric Young represented SAnitY. Killian Dain, and The Undisputed Era, were nowhere to be seen. Paul Ellering only accompanied his monsters as far as the stage. Very civilised. And they had a relatively sedate tag match.
After a good start from SAnitY, Authors of Pain kept Alexander Wolfe isolated in their corner for a long time, until he finally managed to tag in Eric Young. Young came in and turned it around, for a while at least. SAnitY even got a near fall in, before it all broke down and Authors of Pain took back control.
Authors of Pain hit the Super-Collider, then hit the Last Chapter on Eric Young. Before they could get the three-count, The Undisputed Era jumped into the ring and broke up the pin, causing the match to be thrown out. Killian Dain ran down to try to help his teammates, but even he was dispatched quickly by Cole, Fish and O’Reilly.
Just when the chaos seemed to be calming, Roderick Strong came down with the armband The Undisputed Era gave him last week. He put it on, much the delight of the trio, but instead of kicking Rezar, who was being held up for him, he went for Adam Cole. Chaos broke out from there, and Adam Cole showed hi true colours by getting as far away as possible, and waiting for his mates to catch up.
William Regal came out, very cross. He made a match for NXT TakeOver Houston. A very special match. Roderick Strong will be joining Authors of Pain to face The Undisputed Era, and SAnitY, in a WarGames Match. Two rings, inside a cage, total mayhem.
The WarGames match is, of course, the biggest news to come out of NXT for a while. It’s also the biggest argument against pre-taping, because everyone has known about it for weeks. That doesn’t make the match any less epic, but it’s a small point of annoyance nonetheless. The promos for the match have already started to fly Paul Ellering, SAnitY, and The Undisputed Era, have all released their reactions to the news.
With two weeks to go, the line-up for NXT TakeOver WarGames looks superb;
Aleister Black vs Velveteen Dream
Drew McIntyre (C) vs Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas – NXT Championship match
Kairi Sane vs Peyton Royce vs Ember Moon vs Nikki Cross – NXT Women’s Championship match
SAnitY vs The Undisputed Era vs Authors of Pain with Roderick Strong – WarGames match
Normally there are five matches on a TakeOver card, so it’s entirely plausible that at least one match will be added. However, it could be that the WarGames match is going to be such a spectacle, they will devote the extra time to that. Even if all we get for TakeOver is those four matches, it will still be a strong card.