NXT has been on quite the roll in building to their first-ever two-night TakeOver event. Plenty to look forward to with this week’s episode as the big thing to look forward to is Regal’s solution to the Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly feud that hit its boiling point last week. Let us see what the black and gold brand had for us this week.
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs Zoey Stark & Io Shirai
This was quite the fun tag match and Zoey continues to show she can hang with the top women in the division in the ring. We all know how great Io and Dakota are and how Raquel has been properly built as a dominant force but Zoey does not look out of place here. Sure, she needs to work more on defining her character but she is totally there with her ring work. Really good back and forth in this match and both teams looked really good here to start NXT this week. Raquel and Dakota would win when Raquel would hit Zoey with her finisher and I liked the added caveat of Raquel hitting Io with a big boot right before while she held Zoey. Io and Raquel would fight after but Raquel would come out on top of that when she hit her finisher on Io onto the announce table. Really good stuff to start NXT and really furthers that Raquel may be the biggest test to date for Io.
Kyle O’Reilly Backstage
Kyle was shown arriving and would be interviewed about what Regal’s announcement could possibly be. Roderick Strong would end up showing up and would tell Kyle to end Cole for everybody that was in the Undisputed Era. Kyle would end up telling him that he isn’t doing it for them, he is doing it for himself. Strong didn’t take too kindly to that and would tell Kyle exactly where he could go. I am wondering if we will end up seeing Strong take on Kyle at some point because it seems like all of the former Undisputed Era members, minus Fish, hate each other now.
LA Knight Promo
It seems like these styles of promos from Knight are going to be his thing and I like it. Rather than the usual walk to the ring from backstage, Knight is talking to the camera about what he plans to do. I like it because it is unique to him and this was solid. He said what he plans to do to Bronson Reed in the ring and continued his walk towards it.
Jordan Devlin Promo
Solid promo by Devlin here as he talked himself up while also acknowledging that KUSHIDA is a tough challenger. He respects him but will show him why he is the better wrestler in NXT.
LA Knight vs Bronson Reed
I didn’t really know what to expect from this match because Knight is the new thing in NXT and Bronson has been pretty much establishing the midcard as a tough test at this point in his run in NXT. This actually was a really solid match that had plenty of back and forth in it. I will admit that I totally expected Knight to win since he is new to the NXT scene and was surprised that Bronson would end up winning. Queen said in the DD that she wasn’t but I was because I don’t think they are necessarily building Bronson back up yet at the moment. I guess Bronson beating Knight is a possible way to elongate the feud a bit but Knight pulling out a sneaky win could have done the same. Good work in the ring by both men though and I will always be impressed by Bronson’s Tsunami splash from the top rope.
Nice vignette for WALTER as this was a good highlight for what he has done so far. WALTER is my pick for best in the world right now and I know it is not a popular pick but I really do believe it.
Karrion Kross vs Oney Lorcan
The thing I like the most about the booking of Kross of late is that he isn’t in many squash matches anymore. Squash matches do serve a purpose but they also can stay around to too long and I like that Kross is in competitive matches now. Oney wanted some revenge for his injured tag partner and that injury resulted in him losing the tag titles. Like any Oney match, this was hard-hitting and the Oney really laid into the chops on Kross. Kross’ chest had the battle scars of the chops after the match and he actually did a good job in selling the damage to his arm by Oney. I think Kross has shown that he is much better than what the IWC thinks of him but we all know how the IWC doesn’t like to admit when they have judged a talent unfairly.
Kross would win and then would get on the mic to talk about Finn Balor. Balor would end up coming out and I liked the back and forth both men had here. It felt like Balor may have been teasing a possible return of the demon due to the language he used in his promo. Maybe Kross beats him at TakeOver and they have a rematch where Balor says he needs to release his emotions aka release the demon. Good stuff and this really does make me hyped for their upcoming match.
William Regal Announcement
I am digging this announcement even though it was a bit hard to follow at first because of all the details that were being thrown out there. There will be a battle royal and the top six from that will face off in a gauntlet match on night one of TakeOver and the winner gets Johhny Gargano on night two of TakeOver for the NXT North American Championship. I think it would be cool if Pete Dunne won that but it is clear that Dexter Lumis will totally win that. In fact, I would bet that the final two in the gauntlet will be Lumis and Theory to further the story between Lumis and Theory after their match last week.
Solid promo from KUSHIDA here as he spoke about what he plans to do to Devlin in their match tonight. KUSHIDA said he is the best technical wrestler in the world and that makes me believe he will end up being on a collision course with Pete Dunne since he used the same verbage.
Drake Maverick vs WALTER
This was the shortest match of the night so you may be wondering why the grade is so high. It really is because of what happened after the match but I’ll talk about what happened during the match even if it was short. Drake wanted this match because he feels that Imperium is responsible for Killian Dain’s disappearance but he would bite off more than he can chew. WALTER made quick work of him and I am surprised we didn’t see him deliver one of his signature chops.
This is when things would get interesting as Tommaso Ciampa would come out to confront WALTER. Ciampa would tell him that the man does not intrigue him but the NXT UK Championship does. WALTER laughed at the idea of Ciampa facing him so Ciampa would do what he does and would attack him. The numbers were too much though as Barthel and Aichner would take control and allow WALTER to hit his signature chop. That thing is both painful and a thing a beauty by how consistent he is with it. WALTER would tell Ciampa that he will see him at TakeOver and the match is on. That match has all the makings of being a match of the year contender and I cannot wait for it.
Pete Dunne Promo
Solid promo by Dunne here as he is ready to win the battle royal and gauntlet match. He wants to continue to prove why he is the best and is ready to become champion in NXT. Good stuff and I would imagine he will have a run in with KUSHIDA during the battle royal.
Robert Stone, Aliyah & Mercedes Martinez Backstage
Oh, how I love Robert Stone and his goofiness. He was backstage with Aliyah and he was trying to talk Mercedes into replacing the injured Jessi Kamea for their tag title match. Mercedes would agree but only if she got paid and Stone would give her the envelope. I loved how Mercedes told him that she expects the rest after the match and how Stone would tell Aliyah that he has no more money. Maybe he can go with Cameron Grimes for a loan and that interaction would actually be gold if it happens one day.
Johnny Gargano & William Regal Backstage
I absolutely love Johnny as a heel and I loved how he was going to kick the door to Regal’s office but decided against it. Even he knows not to mess with the man with the power of the punch. Johnny would complain about Regal’s decision for his next challenger and Regal was not having any of Johnny’s excuses. These two have some really good chemistry and it is just a shame we will never see them explore it in the ring because I feel like these two would have been able to put on a banger of a match. Johnny would end up leaving and I loved how he would tell Regal that he would not close his door. This was hilarious and just awesome.
Mercedes Martinez & Aliyah vs Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart
Another fun women’s tag match tonight but I will say that it did stick out like a sore thumb how Aliyah is behind the pack when it comes to these four. Shotzi, Ember and Mercedes are clearly the more experienced and it really shined through here. Aliyah has improved but it is clear she has a way to go. Either way this was a fun tag match and Ember and Shotzi have really come together quite nicely as a team. Great back and forth and there really was no doubt who would win here. I did like that Stone got on the apron during the match to cause a distraction because he really puts his all into it. Ember and Shotzi would win when Ember hit the Eclipse on Aliyah but it was not the smoothest looking one she has done.
Roderick Strong & Cameron Grimes Backstage
This was plenty of fun as Strong was in his locker room when Cameron Grimes came in. He tried to buy the IP of the Undisputed Era because he wants to make money off of merchandising but Strong did not want to hear any of it. Grimes would continue his pitch and that would cause Strong to strike him. Strong would leave and Grimes would throw a tantrum on the ground. I love this version of Grimes and I really cannot wait until he gets into a proper feud with someone.
Ember & Shotzi Backstage
Ember and Shotzi were walking backstage when they bumped into Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell. Indi and Candice want a shot at the tag titles and I liked how Shotzi immediately bursts into laughter at the thought of it. Ember would take the reins and say that they have no problem taking on the Way and I loved how both teams would trade different versions in using “the Way” to talk about the possible match. I am all for these two teams facing off and it should be a good one. Also, being with Shotzi has really brought out the personality in Ember that I have not seen so far in her tenure with NXT. Shotzi has such a lively personality and it is easy to see how she would bring it out of someone.
Jordan Devlin vs KUSHIDA
This was another great match that took place this week and the real highlight of the match was when KUSHIDA slid under Devlin’s legs to the outside and Devlin would immediately hit him with a moonsault. The timing on that was perfect and was a thing of beauty. Really good back and forth in this match and these two have some good chemistry. Legado del Fantasma would end up coming out during the match and would cause distractions throughout the time they were out there. The distractions seemed to be to help KUSHIDA but they wouldn’t as Devlin would pick up the win.
Devlin vs KUSHIDA Post-Match Shenanigans
I had to break this off a from the match itself because I totally called for this months ago. KUSHIDA would end up attacking Wilde and Mendoza after the match and would make quick work of them. Santos would then enter the ring and would have a stare down with Devlin when some familiar music would fill the CWC. Shawn Michaels would make his way out and would not say a word but would make his message clear. He would grab a ladder from under the ring and would slide it in between both men. Shawn knows a thing or two about deciding who the real champion is and he knows it can only be settled one way and that is in a ladder match. I totally called for this back when the Cruiserweight Championship tournament happened and I am glad to see it will happen because both men can absolutely tear the house down in a ladder match. I will also say I loved how HBK shared a look with Adam Cole as he made his way to the back and you could see so much in it. HBK knows about betrayal and you cannot help but wonder what a match between the two would be like. I am sure if HBK had the 100% drive to do it, he would come out to have a proper “one more match” with someone the caliber of Adam Cole.
William Regal’s Decision
I have absolutely no words to describe this segment other than the segment of the year to date. Regal killed it, Cole killed it and Kyle absolutely killed it. Everybody was on point and Cole just unleashed a tremendous promo here. I thought it couldn’t get better but Kyle would get on the mic and deliver the best promo he has done in NXT. This was just truly amazing and is something that must be seen with your own eyes because words do not do it justice. Kyle and Adam would sign the contract for an unsanctioned match, I called that by the way, and would have to be held back by security as NXT went off the air. This segment will be hard to top because it is that dang good and both men delivered some of the best work they have ever done. In Kyle’s case I think this is the best mic work from him I have ever seen. He sold his soul to be in the Undisputed Era and now he wants it back. This match has match of the year written all over it and I am here for it.
Kiss My Grits!
Overall, this was a really good episode of NXT and they continue to do such a good job in building towards their first-ever two-night TakeOver. That matches were great and the stories that were told to build towards the matches taking place on each night of TakeOver was done very well to boot. The matches were great and so were the segments. The closing segment with Cole, O’Reilly and Regal was superb and is totally the segment of the year. Cole delivered one of his best promos to date and Kyle delivered the promo of his career. All in all, great stuff from NXT this week and I am hyped to see what happens next week.