Looks like we’re in for another action-packed episode of NXT tonight. NXT tag team champions, Undisputed ERA, face War Raiders. Street Profits take on The Mighty, again. Matt Riddle makes his NXT tv debut. Nikki Cross has a match against an unnamed opponent. And, surely, we’ll find out more about the Johnny Gargano and Aleister Black situation.
Nikki Cross def. Mercedes Martinez
Street Profits def. The Mighty
Matt Riddle def. Luke Menzies
Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan def. Raul Mendoza and Humberto Carrillo
The show opened with a recap of the run-up to Aleister Black’s attacker being revealed as Johnny Gargano, heavily filtered through Nikki Cross’ involvement in the saga.
Nikki Cross vs Mercedes Martinez
I’m so pleased to see Mercedes Martinez as Cross’ opponent. I thought it might have been a squash, this was so much better. Martinez is a fearsome competitor with a ton of experience, and the perfect person to give Cross to show what she’s got.
Nikki Cross was bleeding from the nose by about halfway through the match. I’m not sure what caught her, but something did. She took a lot of punishment in the match as Martinez’ experience and aggression kept her on top for most of it.
Cross doesn’t react the same way as everyone else to being beaten down though. She slaps herself in the face and fires back with a smile, or a grimace. She managed to counter the fisherman buster after she’d taken two backdrop-drivers and a suplex.
After a brief fight back, a few more face slaps, and a DDT, Nikki Cross hit The Purge and got the three count.
After the match, they came face to face, both on all fours. Nikki Cross scowled at Martinez and it looked like things might get physical, then Cross smiled and repeated that was fun, over and over. Martinez agreed and left.
Once Martinez had gone, Candice LeRae stormed down to the ring and asked Cross why she told Aleister Black about her husband. Cross laughed and started to leave but she was headed off on the stage by Aleister Black. She backed away off the other side of the stage as he advanced, and he entered the ring with LeRae. She got nose to nose with him. To be honest, they needed to mic them up, but commentary said Black asked where Gargano was, LeRae said he wasn’t there, and Black told her his future at NXT was gone. Candice LeRae was damp-eyed when Black left the ring.
Street Profits vs The Mighty
Every time The Mighty and Street Profits have met so far, it’s ended with Shane Thorne and Nick Miller cheating, or stealing, to get the better of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins. Street Profits have had enough.
Angelo Dawkins started things off and made it clear he was there to settle the score, but Shane Thorne sent him face first into the corner and he found himself briefly isolated. He was out quickly, and Montez Ford tagged in.
An attempted double team by The Mighty, ended with them both on the outside and Ford taking them out with an elegant dive over the top rope. Back in the ring, Nick Miller caught Ford with a spine-buster and The Mighty took control of the match. Miller tried to pin Ford the same way he did last time, when Ford’s knee was damaged, but he kicked out and managed to get to Angelo Dawkins.
Pins attempts were broken by both teams and Montez Ford took a double team superplex/powerbomb kind of deal that I’m slightly surprised anyone got up from.
Montez Ford kicked Shane Thorne in the head while Thorne was trying to do something in the ropes, then ascended to the top turnbuckle for a huge frogsplash and the win.
As part of the celebrations, Dawkins took back the cup and chains The Mighty stole.
William Regal was interviewed outside his office by Cathy Kelley. She asked him if he had any updates for TakeOver WarGames. He said he did, Tommaso Ciampa’s opponent will be Velveteen Dream. He didn’t get to say any more because Aleister Black stormed up demanding to know where Johnny Gargano was.
Regal said, ‘like Candice told you before, I told Johnny to stay at home today, but you will get your pound of flesh. Because at TakeOver WarGames it will be you, one on one, against Johnny Gargano’. Black replied, ‘I will tell you what I told Candice. That guy’s future in this company will fade to black.’
While commentary were reminding us of the two TakeOver WarGames matches that were set less than three minutes earlier, they were informed of a commotion backstage and the cameras cut to an angry Lars Sullivan trashing the backstage area. He was asked what was wrong and he said that NXT Championship match at TakeOver was his, but if Velveteen Dream wanted to get in his way then he’d just rip him in half before and take his spot.
Matt Riddle vs Luke Menzies
Menzies has been on before. He’s an ex-rugby player. ‘King of Bros’ Matt Riddle arrived to, ‘Bro’, chants. The first thing he did when in the ring was kick off his shoes. For anyone unfamiliar (seriously, how?) Riddle fights barefoot.
Obviously, this wasn’t going to be much more than a display match and there was only ever one outcome possible. Menzies got just enough offence to show how tough Riddle is. The result might not have been in question, but it was an entertaining match and a good introduction for anyone who doesn’t know Riddle’s work. The crowd certainly like him already, there were ‘Bro’ chants aplenty.
Riddle won with a Bro-mission.
A recap of Shayna Baszler regaining the NXT Women’s Championship from Kairi Sane, with a little help from her friends, led into Baszler’s post-match interview. She was joined by Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, although they didn’t say anything.
Baszler was asked if this was redemption for Sane beating her in Brooklyn. Baszler said this proved she was right. Sane never beat her, she lost the match for herself, just because people can’t tell the difference…
Kairi Sane came down the corridor screaming for Baszler with someone trying to stop her and make her see a medic
Baszler held the belt up and said, ‘you’re not champion anymore, Kairi’, and Sane sank to her knees distraught.
Lacey Evans will be on next week’s show. Lars Sullivan versus Velveteen Dream is happening next week as well.
Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan vs Raul Mendoza and Humberto Carrillo
What a fun match this turned out to be. Two teams with completely different styles, but it worked. It should have been much longer.
Fast paced because of Carrillo and Mendoza, hard-hitting because of Lorcan and Burch, and way too much packed into a sub-four-minute match to pick highlights. There were bodies flying around and getting kicked out of the air all over the place.
It might be time to give Carrillo and Mendoza some more airtime and a team personality to build on, but this was not their night. The double team DDT on Mendoza gave Lorcan and Burch the win.
War Raiders attacked Undisputed ERA in the middle of their backstage promo. Their timing was great, Adam Cole had just started talking.
The brawled their way through the backstage area and outside, with War Raiders firmly in control.
Adam Cole took a huge looking impact into the side of a truck courtesy of both Rowe and Hanson lawn-darting him into it.
The numbers game soon got the better of War Raiders, until Ricochet appeared to save the day and took everyone up by launching himself onto them. Then he made a beeline for Adam Cole. They fought, and Cole threw Ricochet into a barricade and we cut back to everyone else.
Gradually, War Raiders punched kicked and threw Strong, O’Reilly, and Fish to the ring. Ricochet followed with Cole moments later.
Once in the ring, Undisputed ERA started to get the better of Rowe, Hanson, and Ricochet. Pete Dunne turned up with a chair to make it four on four. He hit Cole on the hand with it, threw it at Kyle O’Reilly, then picked it up again and hit him with it.
William Regal came out and said that’s not how this fight is going to happen. We now have out WarGames match set for TakeOver – War Raiders, Ricochet, and Pete Dunne versus Undisputed ERA.
It’s great that Matt Riddle is finally an NXT superstar, but the ‘bro’ stuff is going to get old really quickly.
I quite enjoyed the alternate ending instead of the advertised match. WarGames is shaping up to be another excellent TakeOver. With three matches already announced, and Kairi Sane likely to get her rematch against Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship, there’s likely to be just one match left to announce (there’s always the chance they could change the format, five matches is getting restrictive). I’d really like to see Nikki Cross and Bianca Belair get to finish their match on the biggest of NXT stages. They both deserve it and it’s about time a TakeOver had two women’s division matches again.