With the recent episodes of NXT bringing in new talent, there were a wealth of promising future Superstars announced earlier in the day as the latest Performance Center class, from Taya Valkyrie to Parker Bordreaux. In regards to this week’s show, there were three non-title matches tonight, as Zoey Stark, Dexter Lumis, and Karrion Kross all fought for pride rather than gold. Adam Cole was set to let the NXT Universe know why he did what he did to Kyle O’Reilly last week, Cameron Grimes was flashing the money, Xia Li was ready to purge her former friend, and Swerve and Leon Rush’s feud continued to get more personal. First up was Dexter Lumis vs Johnny Gargano.

Non-Title Match: Dexter Lumis vs Johnny Gargano (C) W/ Austin Theory, Candice LeRae, & Indi Hartwell

Lumis freaked out Gargano by sliding in his direction. As Gargano escaped the ring, he attacked Lumis and went for the slingshot spear, but got caught with a big uppercut. Lumis disappeared, then reappeared behind Gargano in the ring and let loose with a succession of uppercuts. He lifted the North American champion above his head in a hanging suplex position,  finally dropping him onto the mat. Gargano attacked Lumis out of the ring. He went for a running kick on Lumis but he moved, which allowed Lumis to launch him into the apron.

LeRae went for a hurricanrana on Lumis, but he stopped her dead in her tracks and threw her so she landed on the apron. Gargano took the opportunity to slide through his wife’s legs and kick Lumis with both feet. As Lumis tried to catch his breath, Gargano connected with a tope con hilo as the show went into commercial. After the break, Gargano had Lumis in a camel clutch, but he got to his feet and ended up dropping the champ with a backbreaker. He unloaded with some big forearms, a bulldog, a slingshot suplex, and a belly-to-back suplex. He connected with a leg drop, but only managed a two-count. Gargano went for the Gargano Escape, but Lumis reversed into Silence. Johnny Wrestling was able to reverse it into a crucifix pin to no avail, which led to Lumis connecting with a spinebuster.

He tried to pin the champ, but couldn’t get the win. Lumis hit a pop-up uppercut and Gargano hit a superkick. LeRae distracted the referee as Theory grabbed a chair, but Lumis stomped on it. Gargano connected with a step-up enzuigiri and made out he’d hurt his knee afterwards. With the ref distracted once again, Theory grabbed the chair and was about to hit Lumis, but couldn’t do it. Gargano ran at Lumis but he moved out the way, leaving Theory to take the brunt of the charge and get knocked off the apron. Gargano got caught with a sidewalk slam, then Lumis locked in the Silence as he slipped out of consciousness. Lumis picked up the victory in a great match. It was weird seeing Gargano so vulnerable as Lumis stroked his head as he quite often does.

Winner: Dexter Lumis Rating: 7.5/10

Non-Title Match: Zoey Stark vs Io Shirai (C)

Both women reversed moves and struggled to get any momentum. Shirai hit a basement dropkick, then dropped a double knee into Stark’s chest as she rested in the corner. Stark caught Shirai on the apron, then went to charge at her but was stopped in her tracks. Stark knocked Shirai off the top turnbuckle as the show went into commercial. After the break, Stark booted Shirai into the ground, and after a failed crossface attempt by the champion, Stark continued to beat her down. Stark went for a 450 but missed, which led to both women going for crossbodies.

Stark hit a half-and-half suplex, but Shirai kicked out. Stark tried to choke out Shirai, but the champ got to her feet and got a flurry of offence in on the newcomer. She hit a 619 and a missile dropkick off the top turnbuckle, but couldn’t get the pin. Stark climbed the turnbuckle, which Shirai countered and connected with a hurricanrana and a double underhook backbreaker, again failing to pin her. Stark hit a German suplex. Shirai landed a double knee and a moonsault, then finally pinned Stark. Stark showed a lot of promise, and after the match, the two women embraced.

Toni Storm then walked out and cut a promo about how she kicked Shirai’s head off last week. Storm said Shirai can’t beat her. Shirai then said she’d fight Storm any time, anywhere. Storm responded by saying the champion was scared, and if she was telling the truth, she should find Regal and make the match. Storm’s appeal is starting to wear off for me. If she does have a match with Io Shirai, I highly doubt she’ll be the one to take her crown. She’s not that enjoyable on the mic, and there are so many other women I’d rather see Shirai go up against.

Winner: Io Shirai Rating: 7/10

Kacy Catanzaro W/ Kayden Carter vs Xia Li W/Boa and Mei Ling

Catanzaro tried in the early stages, but Xia Li beat her down with some stomps in the corner and a snap suplex. Li tried to choke her out. After fialing to pin Li after a reversal, Li kicked Catanzaro in the stomach. Catanzaro kicked Li in the corner, hit a dropkick and a flip kick to her back, but couldn’t pin her. Outside the ring, Li whipped Catanzaro into the barrier. As Kacy had her leg rested on the steel steps, Li stomped on it, causing her to scream out in pain. Li dragged her into the ring by her hair.

The referee called for the bell, as a few more officials ran to the ring. Carter ran in to check on her friend. She then walked up to Mei Ling but was stopped by Boa. In the ring, Xia Li booted Catanzaro in the face. She walked off and shouted to Carter that she was next. Li stood with Mei Ling and Boa as Carter stood over her fallen friend.

Winner: Xia Li Rating: 5/10

Drake Maverick & Killian Dain vs Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake)

As Gibson walked out, he said Wes Lee had broken his hand. Drake added they’d been fined as a result. Are you kidding me? MSK aren’t going to be able to compete? Not cool, GYV. Not cool. As the match started, Maverick and Dain got in some unique teamwork to take out Drake. After being antagonised, Dain chokeslammed GYV out of the ring, then threw Maverick on top of them. After the break, Gibson whipped Maverick into the corner. He got away from GYV and tagged in Dain who exploded with a belly-to- belly suplex on Drake and a few clotheslines. Dain picked up both members of GYV and hit a dual fallaway slam.

Maverick hit a crossbody off the top turnbuckle on Drake, followed by a dropkick. GYV hit a double team move on Maverick, but Dain attacked them both. Drake hit a tope con hilo as Gibson was about to be attacked by the Beast of Belfast. In the ring, Gibson threw Maverick off the top turnbuckle. GYV connected with Ticket to Mayhem and managed to pick up the victory.

Winners: Grizzled Young Veterans Rating: 7/10

Non-Title Match: Karrion Kross vs Santos Escobar (C)

Kross attacked Escobar in the parking lot. He threw Escobar into a lorry, but the shutter was slammed onto his shoulders. Escobar locked himself into the driver’s side of the lorry. Kross ripped the wing mirror off and was then attacked by Mendoza and Wilde. He was able to fight them off until Escobar attacked him with a trash can. Legado Del Fantasma then assaulted Kross. They slammed Kross into the side of the lorry a few times, as Mendoza and Wilde dragged him to the arena.

They continued to beat him up on some metal steps. As Escobar walked off assuming Kross was still being attacked. Escobar turned round to see Mendoza and Wilde get thrown through the barriers. Kross entered the ring and went after Escobar. Mendoza attacked Kross but was thrown into the barriers. Escobar hit Kross with a steel chair, then smashed Kross’ injured left arm into the turnbuckle and the steel steps. After the break, Escobar was dominating Kross inside the ring.

Scarlett was watching on from ringside as Escobar tried to tie up Kross with a steel chair. He whipped Kross into the turnbuckle again, then connected with a DDT into a steel chair. Escobar rolled Kross into the ring and tried to pin him, but managed to kick out. Mendoza and Wilde went after Kross, but he fought them off. Whilst distracted, Escobar hit a tope con hilo and knocked Kross into the barriers. Escobar continued to hurt Kross’ arm. He hit a suplex on Kross and went for another one, but Kross hit a suplex of his own.

Kross pulled Escobar into the turnbuckle post. Mendoza attacked Kross with a steel chair, but Kross stopped him. Kross then demolished Mendoza and Wilde at ringside. He put Escobar through the announcer table with a Doomsday Saito. He hit another in the ring, then punched him in the back of the head to pick up the victory. This was a mugging, and if it was anyone else they’d probably not survive. Kross was a beast, and this was a fantastic match. Legado Del Fantasma are superb heels, but Kross deserved this win.

Winner: Karrion Kross Rating: 8/10

Looking For Answers

Adam Cole walked to the ring and was booed by everyone. We saw what happened last week, then Cole said he had every intention of explaining why he did what he did, but after watching the footage he felt sick to his stomach. He said the NXT Championship meant a lot to him, but he didn’t like who he had become. He was pissed off that O’Reilly was getting opportunities and he wasn’t. Cole wished he was having this conversation man to man, but they can’t. They can’t because of him. He said he was wrong to do what he did and that he hates himself for the mistake he made.

Cole said he was so sorry, and he would do anything in his power to fix this. If he couldn’t, he would do everything in his power to try. Roderick Strong walked out and said, “wow, now you feel bad?” Strong said how did you only just start to feel bad now? Strong was furious. He said Undisputed Era was built on trust, love, and brotherhood. They would do everything to have each other’s backs, but Cole shattered that trust. He told Cole to look at him. O’Reilly was going to heal, and he didn’t know if he could save Cole from what he would do when he came back.

Balor ran out and attacked Cole. Strong pulled off Balor, which allowed Cole to hit a superkick on Balor. Cole entered the ring to try and talk to Strong, but Strong hit him. Cole apologised to Strong and said it was all his fault. Cole started to cry. Strong crouched down and held him, saying he was his brother. They hugged each other and Strong got to his feet. Strong went to shake Cole’s hand and pick him up but hit a low blow on his friend. Cole called him stupid, then superkicked him. Cole stood over Strong’s body as the show went off-air.

What Else Went Down

– William Regal was looking for Santos Escobar in the parking lot.

– A video package aired featuring MSK. They were talking about how they got together, and how all roads led them to NXT. Carter talked about the death of his father and how he was so inspirational to his career. It was an honest and beautiful video that was stripped back to reveal two hungry warriors who were determined to get to the higher echelons of professional wrestling. They were then interviewed by McKenzie Mitchell, but before they said a word, Grizzled Young Veterans attacked them.

– NXT profiled Shotzi Blackheart via video package.

– Before Tyler Rust’s match, Malcolm Bivens appeared after Ruff’s physical and offered him a match with Rust. Ruff gladly accepted. In the ring, Bivens cut a promo on Ruff. As Ruff came to the ring, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott brutally attacked him. As he held him on the announcer table, he said he would start to get some opportunities. Swerve walked off and Bivens claimed the victory.

– A video aired from yesterday where Regal offered Zoey Stark a match with Io Shirai in a non-title match, to which she gladly accepted. She was then shown being interviewed, but there appeared to be some technical difficulties. I’m assuming they were genuine, and it wasn’t Retribution.

– Cameron Grimes was shown watching an old video featuring “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and Virgil, where DiBiase was getting a kid to dribble a basketball. Grimes then found a random guy backstage and offered him money to dribble a basketball ten times. The guy did it and took the money. Later on, he found some more Performance Centre recruits and offered one of them the same opportunity to bounce a basketball ten times for some money. The woman did it with ease, costing Grimes another thousand dollars. He found another guy, and after offering him the same challenge, but punched him to the ground and walked off throwing his money into the air.

– Vic Joseph and Beth Phoenix were talking about Adam Cole’s attack from last week and said Kyle O’Reilly was likely to be out for 4 to 6 weeks.

– The Way were approached backstage by Mitchell and were asked about their feelings from earlier in the evening. Gargano was angry at Theory for not hitting Lumis. Theory said Lumis was just misunderstood. Gargano said he wasn’t misunderstood, he was a psychopath. Hartwell was asked about Lumis, and she said she thought he was quite hot. Gargano and LeRae were fuming. The North American champion said Theory was going to go to therapy.

– A video package aired hyping the women’s Tag Team Championship match for next week.

– Santos Escobar finally arrived at the arena, with Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde escorting the Cruiserweight Champion.

– Dain was shown carrying Maverick backstage. Alexander Wolfe walked up and said to Dain, “you used to be a monster.” He shook his head at Dain and walked off.

– LA Knight was sat in his car from earlier in the day and said he was debuting on his time. He said every NXT Superstar holds a golden ticket to get stomped out, and “that wasn’t an insult, it was a fact of life.”

It was announced that Io Shirai would defend her Women’s Championship against Toni Storm in two weeks.

After The Bell

Of all the matches tonight, the show’s opener and closer were by far the best. Gargano and Lumis had a solid match that saw Lumis come out on top, and Karrion Kross and Santos Escobar had a brutal and bloody affair. In the final moments of the show, Strong was duped by Cole in a way we all kind of expected but hoped wouldn’t happen.

Elsewhere, the matches were pretty average. Zoey Stark and Io Shirai had a decent match, but Storm coming out was boring. I’d prefer Xia Li getting a shot because her feud with Catanzaro and Carter is another stale storyline that doesn’t really work with their average work on the mic. The Way were awesome as always, and Cameron Grimes provided some much-needed humour in the parking lot.

It was cool to see Alexander Wolfe approach Killian Dain. If this storyline develops, I’d love to see a match between them, leading to a potential spot opening up in Imperium for him. Finally, if MSK are out of action for a while, I riot. I hope the broken hand storyline doesn’t keep them from wrestling for weeks. Lee and Carter worked damn hard to get to where they are, and they need this match before GYV. They damn well earned it.

Star of the Show: Karrion Kross Overall Rating: 7/10

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