We have arrived at the go-home episode of NXT for TakeOver XXX and there is plenty left to settle before the event on Saturday. Two spots are still left to be filled for the ladder match and we will see which two men fill the vacancies. Adam Cole is set to have a face to face with Pat McAfee that is sure to be special because both men are fully invested in this. A few other matches are set to take place as well for the go-home episode. Let us jump right in and see how NXT went home for TakeOver XXX.
Johnny Gargano vs Ridge Holland
The word was that Gargano landed on his head during this match and was attended to by Triple H and HBK. They planned to edit it and I wondered if we would see the edit. Ridge impressed me the last time we saw him, and he looked good in here against one of the best in the business in Johnny Gargano. The match was solid and then we saw the spot in which Gargano landed on his head. I was shocked to see it and amazed that Gargano was able to finish. The reports came out that he finished but I am still amazed he was able to. They clearly edited out when he was checked on by medical, Triple H and HBK and only showed the referee check on him. Gargano looked dazed but he was still able to finish the match. Candice LeRae helped him a bit and Johnny would earn one of the final two spots in the ladder match. I hope he is able to clear all the tests and is able to compete in the match because he can bring plenty to it.
Dakota Kai vs Jessi Kamaea
This was a pretty short match and one that was easy to see who would win. Kamaea did look good but this was all about Dakota Kai. Kai would stop every chance of offense Jessi would amount and pick up the win. Dakota would cut a promo on Io Shirai after the match about how she isn’t afraid of her despite what Io said last week. She talked about how she is in Io’s head and how she is ready to take the title from her. This would bring out Io and the two would have a bit of a scuffle. This is when Raquel Gonzalez would make her return and provide help for Dakota. Io and Dakota would get back into the ring and Io looked to be in charge, but Raquel would come in to lay out Io with her one-armed powerbomb. Dakota and Raquel would stand tall and Dakota has the momentum heading into TakeOver XXX.
Tegan Nox Interview
Short interview here by Tegan as she spoke about Candice LeRae and the comments she made last week. Tegan said she was taken aback by the comments but that she was ready to talk it out with Candice over some wine like they have in the past. Feels like we are heading to a match between the two and that should be a good one when it happens.
Finn Balor Promo
Nice promo by Finn here as he spoke about his upcoming match with Velveteen Dream. Finn spoke about how Dream comes up short when it matters the most and that he will make sure it happens again tonight. Finn did give him props in his talent but that he will not beat him tonight and that he will be the one to become the new NXT North American Champion on Saturday.
Legado del Fantasma vs Breezango & Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
Legado del Fantasma has been built so well in NXT and I have loved every minute of it. Swerve has been making his case to be the next challenger for Santos Escobar and he was hoping to further that tonight. This was a fun match and Breezango didn’t even have a custom entrance for this match, so you know they were taking this seriously. This was a fun back and forth match and I really have enjoyed how Legado has made a more serious threat of both Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde. Fandango ate most of the punishment in the match and that was nice to see. Legado focused on his injured arm and would take out Breeze and Swerve so they couldn’t make the tag. Swerve would eventually come in and be a house of fire in the ring. Things would get wonky at the end though as Swerve was sent into Breeze and that caused a tag. Swerve thought he had the match won but was informed he was not the legal man. Santos would eventually hit Breeze with his finisher for the win. Seems like Swerve has a case for an eventual title match, and I cannot wait until it happens.
Adam Cole & Pat McAfee Face To Face
Simply put, this was an amazing segment. Cole was the first one out and he came with the rest of the Undisputed Era for this face to face with Pat McAfee. Pat would then come out through the crowd and I loved that he had no music. That really sells that he is the outsider and of course he would not have entrance music. Pat had some veteran NFL players as his back up and that would set the stage. Pat would get Cole to dismiss the Undisputed Era from the ring so they could have the face to face by themselves. Pat would continue on the mic and he totally killed it. Every word he said came off well and he owned the moment from the get-go. This was quite honestly the best part of NXT this week because of how much McAfee and Cole killed during it. Cole just stood calmly in the corner as Pat went off on him. Pat would finish and Cole would start walking towards McAfee when security would get in between them. Cole would take care of them and then get right in Pat’s face to tell him that he will beat him down at TakeOver. This was a fantastic segment from start to finish and makes me excited for their match on Saturday.
Shotzi Blackheart & Rhea Ripley vs Aliyah & Mercedes Martinez
How nice of NXT to give us a women’s tag match that was highly competitive and had a story behind why it was happening. Is that a shot at AEW? Yes, yes, it is, and I have no qualms about putting that there. I have enjoyed seeing Aliyah team with Mercedes because they are two very different characters. Shotzi and Rhea on the other hand are kind of similar and I liked seeing them as a team. Shotzi has charisma for days and she meshes quite with Rhea and I liked that Rhea rocked a bit of green in her gear to match Shotzi. This was a fun back and forth tag match and all four ladies looked good in there. The main story was about how Rhea wanted her hands on Mercedes for costing her a title match at TakeOver but there was also the story of Shotzi continuing her feud with the Robert Stone Brand. Really good stuff and Rhea would take Mercedes out of the equation when she powerbombed her over the railing to the floor. I loved Stone’s reaction to this moment because he could not believe his eyes at what he just saw. Shotzi would end up picking up the win for her team with her diving senton from the top rope. Rhea seems to be on a collision course with Mercedes and I am here for that.
Keith Lee vs Karrion Kross Preview
This was a very well-done video package about the Lee/Kross program to date. They highlighted what both men have done in recent months and what has led up to this moment. WWE always nails it in this department, and this was another one that was expertly done.
Finn Balor vs Velveteen Dream
Like I said last week, I am not going to talk about the accusations made against Dream because this is not the time or place for it. Taking all that out of the equation, this was a pretty fun match. Dream came out playing the heel, so that made Balor play a bit more of the face. Finn still tried to play more of the tweener, but he was the clear face here. Plenty of back and forth in this match and the two have some good chemistry in the ring. Cameron Grimes would come out during the match and would be perched atop of one of the ladders with the NXT North American Championship for most of the rest of the match. Grimes would eventually get knocked off the ladder and into the referee causing him to go down. The other competitors in the ladder match would come out and cause a bit of a skirmish amongst everybody. Timothy Thatcher would eventually come out and attack Balor on the outside and that would allow Dream to get the win and earn the final spot in the ladder match. A brawl would happen after the match and Bronson Reed would be the one standing tall with the title as NXT came to a close.
Overall, very solid episode of NXT and a good go-home one to boot. Both qualifying matches were solid, and I still cannot believe that Gargano was able to finish the match after landing right on his head. Dakota’s match was short but the stuff after did a good job to build her match against Io Shirai for the title. I enjoyed that six-man match as well and also the women’s tag match. The main event was solid as well and so was the video package for Lee/Kross. The best part of the night though was the face to face between McAfee and Cole because is was just so dang good. All in all, very solid go-home for NXT. We will be having a Dignified Discussion for TakeOver XXX so make sure you join us for that and Summerslam the next day. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you all around the WRC.