This week’s NXT saw the return of Velveteen Dream in tonight’s main event, as he tried to defeat Kushida and Cameron Grimes to earn his place in the ladder match for the NXT North American Championship at NXT TakeOver: XXX. The Robert Stone Brand were looking to continue their successful run, Bronson Reed and Damian Priest threw it down, Tyler Breeze was looking for retribution against Santos Escobar, and Mia Yim faced NXT rising star, Indi Hartwell. Kicking things off was Karrion Kross against Danny Burch, and the events that unfolded following the match were explosive, literally.

Karrion Kross W/ Scarlett vs Danny Burch

Danny Burch didn’t wait for the bell to begin before attacking Karrion Kross, but his assault lasted momentarily. Kross was clotheslined over the rope, but as he stood outside, he picked Burch up and threw him to the ground. Burch’s fighting spirit allowed him to recover after a suplex and land a few shots on Kross, followed by a German suplex and a lariat. He locked in a crossface, but Kross reversed it into a Doomsday Saito. He hit another one, then locked in the Kross Jacket for the victory. What a terrifying human being.

After the match, Keith Lee came out with a contract in his hand. Kross and Scarlett left the ring. Lee called Kross a little bitch, then said he pleaded with Regal to get a contract signed whereby both men would face each other at NXT TakeOver: XXX. Kross signed, then Scarlett slid it back into the ring. Lee picked it up and opened the clipboard. It shot fire out of it as Scarlett laughed outside. Lee was escorted out by NXT officials, clearly hurt. As the next match started, Keith Lee was shown still very much in pain, being looked at by the medical staff backstage. I have no words. What a great way to keep Kross in control without him even laying a finger on Lee.

Winner: Karrion Kross Rating: 5/10

Drake Maverick vs Killian Dain

With the Cruiserweight tournament all but a memory, it was refreshing to see Maverick in a match up with someone outside of his weight class. It was just a shame we didn’t get to see much of it. Maverick flipped off the turnbuckle to land on Dain who was stood outside. As Dain rolled back in the ring, Maverick landed a flying elbow, but Undisputed Era ran in the ring and took out both Dain and Maverick. Dain ate the Last Shot from Cole. The former NXT Champion picked up a microphone and told Pat McAfee he was not special for hitting him with his hands behind his back. He challenged him to come to NXT next week and stand in the ring face to face with him. Cole said McAfee was in way over his head, and he would destroy him at NXT TakeOver: XXX.

Winner: No contest Rating: N/A

Tyler Breeze vs Santos Escobar W/ Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde

After last week’s brutal attack by Legado Del Fantasma, Tyler Breeze was after some revenge for what they did to his friend and tag team partner Fandango. Escobar took control with a dropkick early on and landed some big kicks to Breeze as he struggled to get to his feet. Breeze hit Escobar outside but was knocked to the ground, then dropped him on the apron with a military press. After the break, Breeze used his fast feet to kick Escobar, but Wilde and Mendoza stood on the ring apron and distracted Breeze, allowing Escobar to hit the Phantom Driver on Breeze for the win. After the match, Fandango hobbled to the ring but got taken out once again. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott then ran out to even the odds who cleared the ring. Are we getting a three-on-three match soon? Yes, we are, as it was made for next week.

Winner: Santos Escobar Rating: 4.5/10

Indi Hartwell vs Mia Yim

Indi Hartwell has been quite impressive over the last few months, but she needs some support to build her character. Yim did well in the opening minutes, but Hartwell unloaded some big kicks in the corner. After eating some chops, Hartwell hit a sidewalk slam, then used a headlock to try and wear down Yim. Yim fought back, but Hartwell locked in a headlock once again. Although Yim broke out of the submission, Hartwell locked it in once again. Yim exploded with some kicks, then hit a neckbreaker before dropping Hartwell with a suplex. Although Yim had her partner on her mind, she locked in an arm submission to make Hartwell tap out.

Winner: Mia Yim Rating: 5.5/10

Damian Priest vs Bronson Reed

Priest and Reed were evenly matched throughout. Both guys gave as good as they got, trading blows and kicks from the start. Priest went for a suplex, but Reed turned it into a DDT. Priest whipped Reed into the steel steps and tried to wear him down in the ring. Reed ate a roundhouse kick, but fought back and almost pinned Priest after a standing senton. Priest hit a leaping flatliner, then a succession of chops, followed by a springboard somersault senton.

Priest managed to deliver the Broken Arrow, but Reed kicked out. The Thicc Boi got to his feet and landed a suplex. Priest was caught after attempting a springboard again. Reed went up top to land the splash but Priest moved out of the way. Priest went for The Reckoning, but Reed countered with a pin to pick up the victory. This was an important win for Reed and a great all-round match.

Winner: Bronson Reed Rating: 7/10

Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro vs Aliyah & Mercedes Martinez W/ Robert Stone

Robert Stone cut a promo about how The Robert Stone Brand was “el Fuego.” He told Cantanzaro she needed to lose the loser and join him. Kacy kicked him and the match got underway. The Robert Stone Brand nearly got a victory early on after some nice teamwork by Aliyah and Martinez. Carter took a beating from Martinez, who worked well with Aliyah after various tags. Carter managed to make a tag, which led to Catanzaro exploding on Martinez, but it didn’t take long before she landed the Air Raid Crash to pick up the victory. Following the match, Rhea Ripley came out and attacked Martinez. Aliyah attacked Ripley from behind and both women beat her down. Shotzi Blackheart came out to even the score and cleared the ring.

Winners: Aliyah & Mercedes Martinez Rating: 5/10

Kushida vs Cameron Grimes vs Velveteen Dream

After a week’s worth of speculation, Velveteen Dream was revealed as the mystery opponent in tonight’s main event. Grimes landed awkwardly on his head, and Dream dived outside after botching the landing. Kushida took out Dream as he stood on the apron, then hit him with a tornado DDT. Back inside the ring, Kushida took out both men until Grimes kicked him in the head, but Dream superkicked Grimes, then clotheslined him outside. Dream then flew outside and landed on Grimes.

Dream hit a Dream Valley Driver on Kushida, which led to Grimes and Dream fighting outside. Kushida flew through the air and flipped off the turnbuckle onto Dream. Kushida flew off the top rope with Grimes and locked in the Juji-Gatame. Dream broke it up but got caught up in the Hoverboard Lock. From out of nowhere, Grimes hit the Cave-In on Kushida and picked up the win. I fully expected Dream to win this, but I’m happy he didn’t. Grimes has been a workhorse in NXT as of late, and he deserved the win.

As Grimes left the ring, Dream went nuts and attacked Kushida. Ladies and gentleman, we witnessed a heel turn. Balor came out and pointed at Dream, meaning the two would be meeting next week to see who would be heading to NXT TakeOver: XXX. This was a great end to the show. Dream would be much better as a heel because his run in NXT has become a bit stale.

Winner: Cameron Grimes Rating: 7/10

What Else Went Down?

– A video aired of Dakota Kai talking about how she knows how to beat Io Shirai, saying she’s inside her head. Kai said she’s done everything on her own to get to where she is, and that at NXT TakeOver: XXX, she will become the new NXT Women’s Champion. I’m guessing Raquel Gonzalez is no longer a part of Kai’s plans. We haven’t seen her in a few weeks, so I wonder what the plans are for her.

– Ridge Holland addressed his match with Johnny Gargano in a video package, who said that pain was coming.

– Mia Yim was interviewed before her match with Indi Hartwell about the state of Keith Lee. She said as far as she knows he’s going to be OK, but she needs to focus on her match.

– Finn Balor featured in a video package, saying no matter who you are, everyone watches The Prince. He said that whoever won in the triple threat tonight, whatever was left would be easy pickings.

– Io Shirai featured in video package where she talked about how nobody knew who Kai was before she attacked Tegan Nox. All she sees is the woman who was terrified of Shayna Baszler, and that Kai wasn’t in her head, she just pissed her off.

– Candice LeRae and Johnny Gargano were at home. LeRae was reading a fairy tale to her dog, which turned into a weirdly distorted promo aimed at Tegan Nox. Gargano said how guys like Priest and that “Thicc Boi guy” were talented, but he would destroy Ridge Holland next week. I can’t take it seriously after Keith Lee and Mia Yim spoofed the segment a few months ago.

– Thatcher’s training camp was back, and he was showing off his unique style of leg lock. Yawn.

After The Bell

Tonight’s show didn’t have any amazing matches, but the main event was still an enjoyable watch. Velveteen Dream losing made sense, but there’s still an opportunity for him to advance to the ladder match at NXT TakeOver: XXX. I just hope Finn Balor manages to stop him first. Bronson Reed and Damian Priest had a decent match, though, and Bronson Reed is getting a much-needed push at the moment.

Karrion Kross and Keith Lee’s rivalry continued to grow. The contract blowing up was a nice touch that I didn’t see coming at all. This match is going to be incredible, but I hope Keith Lee manages to retain the NXT Championship. There was plenty of story building this week. Legado del Fantasma, Breezango, and Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Adam Cole and Pat McAfee, and Rhea Ripley and Mercedes Martinez all had their feuds grow this week, and each one was given the right amount of time to build before the inevitable matches at NXT TakeOver: XXX.

Star of the Show: Cameron Grimes Rating: 7/10

All images and videos courtesy of WWE

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