After NXT TakeOver: XXX, there were some interesting developments following Keith Lee’s departure to RAW and Karrion Kross separating his shoulder. We got a lot of action including two Championship matches, an announcement regarding the future of the NXT Championship, and lots more. First up, Karrion Kross came out to let everyone know what was going on with his injury.
Doomsday Is Still Coming
After an impressive win at NXT TakeOver: XXX, it was bittersweet listening to Karrion Kross relinquish the NXT Championship. Kross said he told us he would become champion, and that he kept good on his word by ripping it from Keith Lee’s carcass. Kross said although he loved the pain felt in his separated shoulder, there was no way he would be allowed to defend his belt. “For me, the obstacles are the path,” said Kross, as he laid the NXT Championship in the ring. “Let this be a warning. This changes absolutely nothing. Doomsday is still coming.” Scarlett left the hourglass in the ring, and they both walked away. This whole situation is upsetting. With Keith Lee now on RAW, and Kross no longer champion, the whole landscape on NXT is set to change forever.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Breezango vs Imperium (C)
Breezango didn’t waste any time by attacking Imperium before the bell. Imperium tried to take control of Fandango, but he broke their stride with a dropkick to Marcel Barthel. Fabian AIchner tagged in and continued to beat down Fandango, but he got the tag, with Tyler Breeze coming in and superkicking Aichner outside. Breeze dropped a big knee on Barthel, followed by a spinning kick after Barthel jumped off the top turnbuckle. Barthel got the tag, but Breeze hit a big kick on Aichner which allowed them to hit a great double team move. Fandango then dived over the top rope on Aichner, but Barthel elbowed him, followed by a German suplex by Aichner.
After the break, Aichner almost pinned Fandango, but Breeze broke it up. Imperium beat the hell out of Fandango, but they couldn’t get the pin. Imperium went for a dropkick on Fandango who was stuck in the turnbuckle and missed. Breeze hit a superkick on both members of Imperium, then Fandango hit a double leg drop on both Aichner and Barthel. He pinned Aichner to make Breezango the new tag team champions. What a victory for Breezango. They celebrated on the announce table in style.
Winners: Breezango (New NXT Tag Team Champions Rating: 7.5/10
Jake Atlas vs Tommaso Ciampa
Tommaso Ciampa returned, wearing an awesome new mask. The bell rang, and Ciampa destroyed Jake Atlas with brutal kicks and the Willow’s Bell. The match was over as quick as it started. After the match, Ciampa continued to destroy Atlas by throwing him into the steel steps. He beat the hell out of him until multiple referees ran down to try and stop him. Ciampa catapulted Atlas’ head from under the ring into its frame, then sat and watched as Atlas was carried away on a stretcher. When Atlas was loaded on the stretcher, Ciampa hit another Willow’s Bell off of it, smiled, then walked off. This was insane. Ciampa is back, and he was back to his old ways. Poor Jake Atlas.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa Rating: 5/10
Mia Yim vs Shotzi Blackheart
Before the match, Robert Stone came out and said did Yim really think she would be getting a match with Mercedes Martinez? Blackheart came down in her mini-tank and drove over Stone. She then ran to the ring and the two got the match underway. Shotzi and Yim traded moves straight away. Yim chopped at Blackheart’s throat, then hit a dragon screw off the turnbuckle. Yim locked in the bow and arrow, but Blackheart got out. Shotzi hit a bulldog, then a big knee and some nice kicks. Yim hit a snap dragon suplex, but Blackheart caught Yim with a standing senton, followed by a senton off the top rope. What a victory for Shotzi Blackheart. Yim is one of the best in NXT, and she was beaten cleanly by the rising star.
Winner: Shotzi Blackheart Rating: 6/10
The Future of The NXT Championship
William Regal stood in the ring and talked about the main event at NXT TakeOver: XXX between Karrion Kross and Keith Lee. He said it was a great match, and Kross handled the situation of relinquishing his belt fantastically, and that he wishes him well on the road to recovery. Regal then announced that next week on the special Tuesday edition of NXT, four former champions would compete to be the new NXT Champion. Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Finn Balor, and Adam Cole would face each other to decide the new champion in a Four-Way 60-minute Iron Man match. Oh my God. What an amazing announcement, and I can’t wait to watch it happen on “Super Tuesday.”
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs Santos Escobar (C)
Swerve hit an impressive arm drag off the top rope which sent Escobar out the ring. After the break, Escobar had Swerve in a headlock, but Swerve got out and tried to lock in a couple of submissions. Escobar went outside, and as Swerve went after him, he was thrown right into the plexiglass and the steel steps. In the ring, Escobar delivered a running double knee, then continued to control him in the corner. Swerve went for a hurricanrana off the top rope, but Escobar countered and hit an impressive powerbomb.
Escobar hit an atomic drop and a knee to Swerve’s face. He spat in Swerve’s face, but this just angered him. Swerve hit some big punches and a spinning elbow off the top rope. He backflipped over the rope and hit Escobar outside, then delivered a flatliner in the ring, almost getting the win. Wilde and Mendoza ran to the ring to distract Swerve. Escobar hit a jumping kick, but couldn’t get the pin. Breezango ran out and attacked Escobar’s cronies. In the ring, Swerve hit a German suplex and House Call, but Escobar kicked out. It was almost over when Swerve hit a Sitout buster, but Escobar got his arm on the rope. He slid outside, put a yellow Luchador mask on and headbutted Swerve. After sliding in, he pinned Swerve to pick up the win.
Winner: Santos Escobar Rating: 7/10
Kyle O’Reilly W/ Bobby Fish & Roderick Strong vs Drake Maverick
Maverick unleashed a flurry of strikes on O’Reilly, then flew off the turnbuckle onto Fish and Strong outside. Back in the ring, O’Reilly beat down Maverick, but Maverick jumped back up and continued to do some damage. O’Reilly and Maverick traded blows until O’Reilly made him tap out with an Achilles lock. Undisputed Era attacked Maverick after the bell, but Killian Dain ran out and helped to even the odds. Dain then clotheslined Maverick, taking no prisoners as he walked to the back.
Winner: Kyle O’Reilly Rating: 5/10
Io Shirai & Rhea Ripley vs Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez
Throughout the night, Kai, Gonzalez, and Ripley all had choice words for one another. Kai still believes she deserves another shot, whilst Ripley said she helped Shirai out at NXT TakeOver: XXX to send a message that she was next in line. Whatever happens, we were given a solid main event this week. Ripley and Kai started things off, but Kai tagged Gonzalez in quickly. Ripley headbutted her, then tagged in Shirai. Shirai landed a hurricanrana on Gonzalez, then kicked Kai off the apron into Gonzalez’s arms.
After the break, Shirai hit a double stomp on Kai and tagged in Ripley. Ripley was thrown over the top rope by Kai and Gonzalez. Ripley and Gonzalez were in the ring, where Gonzalez beat the hell out of her. Kai tagged in and continued the beating. Gonzalez then tagged in, but Ripley booted her in the face and tagged in Shirai. Shirai spun Kai’s leg round into Gonzalez’s face. She hit the 619 on Kai, then dropkicked her, only managing a two-count. Kai hit a scorpion kick, but Shirai landed a big knee in her face. Shirai almost got a pin after delivering a bridge German suplex, but Gonzalez broke it up.
Gonzalez slammed Shirai after Kai booted her, but got another two-count. From out of nowhere, Mercedes Martinez pulled Ripley off the apron and went face-first into the steps. Ripley got back into the match, but Gonzalez ended it after delivering her signature chokeslam powerbomb for the victory. It was a good match. Kai and Gonzalez got in some great teamwork, and Martinez’s interference certainly helped them get the win.
Winners: Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez Rating: 7/10
What Else Went Down?
– Damian Priest was backstage talking about how the celebration was still going on after he won the NXT North American Championship. Timothy Thatcher then interrupted and said he should be the first contender, and that Priest was unequipped to be champion. Priest was confident, saying he was well equipped to face him, slapping his belt as he walked away.
– We saw HHH, Shawn Michaels, Matt Bloom, and William Regal discussing what to do about the vacated NXT Championship.
– Candice LeRae featured in a video package talking about her friendship with Tegan Nox. LeRae said Nox didn’t get her anymore, but she had to open her mind to the Gargano way. “Sometimes you have to be selfish,” said LeRae, and if Nox didn’t get that, then “C’est la vie.”
– Bronson Reed was spoken to backstage where he said he beat Priest, so he should be number one contender. Austin Theory walked in and said he was there to give Reed some advice. He said maybe when Reed was 55, he would finally get a shot. Reed slapped him, and Theory smiled.
– Gargano cut a promo about being inches away from ending his career at NXT TakeOver: XXX. He said that brick by brick, he is changing NXT, and that next week it was time to remind everyone who he is. Next Tuesday, he would have the title to prove it.
– Finn Balor cut a promo, saying “whilst some fall and prey,” he rises to the occasion. He said he would be the NXT Champion, and everyone would get what they want.
– Adam Cole also cut a promo. He said the match next week was right up his alley, due him often being called the Iron Man of NXT during his 403-day reign as NXT Champion.
After The Bell
Tonight’s NXT wasn’t the best episode I’ve ever seen, but it was about setting up new feuds as well as recovering from the loss of Keith Lee to RAW and Karrion Kross’ injury. The Four-Way 60-Minute Iron Man match for next week is going to be amazing. I have no idea who’s going to win, but I’d be happy if Ciampa gets Goldie back. As for the matches tonight, they were all good, but none of them blew me away, apart from the tag team title match.
Austin Theory’s return was a surprise, but it feels as though nobody knows what to do with him. Damian Priest vs Timothy Thatcher should be great, and I’m assuming it will happen next week. Rhea Ripley being in the title picture is beginning to annoy me, mainly because there’re so many other women that deserve a shot at Io Shirai. Tommaso Ciampa returned in style, and his decimation of Jake Atlas showed exactly why he isn’t to be messed with.
I was happy to see Breezango become new NXT Tag Team Champions, and they did so in the best match of the night. They’re great in the ring and are always fun to watch. Santos Escobar was always going to win tonight, but I liked how he got the win, using a Luchador mask with something hidden inside it to do damage to Isaiah “Swerve” Scott. All in all, it was a transitional episode that was dealing with two major losses to the roster, and they did a pretty good job.
Stars of the Show: Breezango Overall Rating: 7/10
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