This week’s show featured some big matches, including a non-title match between Roderick Strong and Finn Balor. “The Colossal” Bronson Reed squared off against Cameron Grimes, and the Women’s Tag Team Championships were on the line as Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax faced the challengers of Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai. Austin Theory was in therapy, El Legado Del Fantasma were on the warpath, and LA Knight headed to the NXT ring for the first time. First off, though, there was a brutal showdown as Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher took on Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan.
Non-Title Match: Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan vs Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher
Thatcher’s mat wrestling was on full show early on as he tried to control Burch. Both bruisers brawled for momentum, but their partners tagged in and continued the trend of locking up. Lorcan and Ciampa traded chops until Ciampa hit a running knee on him off the apron. Thatcher punched Burch outside the ring as Lorcan tried to pin Ciampa inside. Ciampa got out and hit a lariat that sent Lorcan spinning, then Thatcher entered the ring as they hit a pop-up uppercut. Thatcher took a clothesline from Burch and rolled out the ring as the show went into commercial.
After the break, a struggling Thatcher tagged in Ciampa who took out the tag team champs with a series of clotheslines. The steam train kept rolling as Thatcher and Ciampa worked on Burch in the corner. Thatcher hit a suplex on Burch followed by a sleeper. They both beat the hell out of Lorcan and Burch, but the action exploded as all four men went at it in the centre of the ring. Imperium walked out and stood on the ramp. As Thatcher and Ciampa were distracted, Lorcan and Burch took advantage to hit their finisher on Thatcher to pick up the win.
Winners: Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan Rating: 6.5/10
Aliyah W/ Jessi Kamea & Robert Stone vs Ember Moon W/ Shotzi Blackheart
Moon hit a couple of arm drags on Aliyah. They both reversed a couple of headlocks until Aliyah stunned Moon with an uppercut. Moon took Aliyah to the ground, and as they went outside, Stone tried to hand Moon a business card. Blackheart charged over to him as Moon landed a big kick to Aliyah’s jaw. Back in the ring, Aliyah tried to control Moon with a headlock but ate a couple of clotheslines and a basement dropkick. Moon hit a spinebuster and went for the pin, but only got the two. The Robert Stone Brand interfered, but Blackheart hit a double clothesline on them off the steel steps. Moon hit the Eclipse on Aliyah to pick up the win.
Winner: Ember Moon Rating: 6/10
Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai vs Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (C)
Jax began by throwing Kai around the ring and landing a big splash in the corner. Baszler tagged in and mocked Kai. She bent Kai’s arm and tried to stomp on it, but Kai moved out the way. Kai hit an arm drag but was stopped in her tracks. After the break, Gonzalez whipped Baszler into the turnbuckle and tagged in Kai, but she was snapped onto the apron and pulled outside. Baszler stomped on Kai’s left leg, then Jax tagged in headbutted Kai. She locked in a stretch muffler and whipped Kai into the turnbuckle.
Kai was gorilla pressed by Jax, allowing Baszler to boot her in the jaw. Kai finally got in some offence but was clearly struggling with her injured left leg. Gonzalez tagged in and decimated Baszler with a couple of fallaway slams. She hit a spinning slam but Baszler kicked out of the pin. Jax tagged in and landed a headbutt. Baszler tagged in and tried to wear Gonzalez down with a sleeper. Gonzalez tagged in Kai and they hit a nice double team manoeuvre. Jax clotheslined Gonzalez over the ropes as Kai and Baszler went at it in the ring. Baszler locked in the Kirifuda Clutch, but Kai refused to quit. Gonzalez tagged in and landed a big boot on Jax, but took out the referee as well.
Gonzalez charged at Jax into the announcer table. Baszler locked in the Kirifuda Clutch as Kai passed out. A referee ran out and declared the victory for the champions, but Kai wasn’t the legal woman. If Gonzalez and Kai don’t get a rematch, I riot. Kai may have struggled throughout the match, but Gonzalez was a beast. They have earned an honest title shot, and that call at the end was a bad one. I hope Regal tries to sort a rematch.
Winners: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax Rating: 7/10
Bronson Reed vs Cameron Grimes
Grimes headed to the ring with his new music which is the same track that has been playing in his recent vignettes, and it is awesome. He offered Reed some money but got punched in the face. Reed sat down on the chest of Grimes, but only got the two-count. After the break, Grimes tried to wear down Reed on the mat. He kicked Reed in the chest and face, but Reed got back to his feet and levelled Grimes with some strikes, following it up with a standing splash. He crushed Grimes in the corner, then hit a huge lariat that sent Grimes spinning.
Grimes walked outside and picked up his hat to walk to the back, but Reed hit a tope con hilo. LA Knight walked out and threw Grimes’ hat in the ring. As the ref grabbed it to put it outside, Knight knocked Reed off the turnbuckle which allowed Grimes to hit the Cave In and pick up the victory. A nice interruption at the end from Knight, and I’m all in to see these two go at it.
Winner: Cameron Grimes Rating: 6.5/10
Non-Title Match: Finn Balor (C) vs Roderick Strong
Oh no, Roderick Strong came out to new music. It really is the end of Undisputed Era. Strong and Balor reversed each other’s moves on the mat in a show of great technical wrestling. Balor went for the crucifix pin, but only got a one-count. Strong managed to land his signature backbreaker as the show went into commercial. After the break, Strong slammed Balor’s face into the turnbuckle and landed some strikes. Balor booted Strong in the face then went after his left arm once again. Balor was doing some serious damage to Strong, but out of nowhere, he hit a powerslam on The Prince.
Strong then went after Balor, unloading punishment on the champion. He hit his third backbreaker of the match and went for a running knee, but Balor moved out the way. He locked in a submission, but Strong got his foot on the rope. Balor hit a series of chops into Strong’s chest, but Strong broke up the momentum with a clothesline, then dropped the champion on his face. Strong hit a series of running strikes followed by an Olympic Slam and a double underhook suplex.
He went for a pin, but could only get the two-count. Out of nowhere, Balor hit a sling blade. He went for a running dropkick, but Strong caught him and put him in a lion tamer. Strong tried to drop Balor off his shoulders, but Balor hit a double foot stomp. Balor hit a Pele kick on Strong, then a missile dropkick, and finished with Coup de Grace. He ended the match with 1916 to pick up the victory. Easily the best match of the night. A great performance by Strong, but an even better one by Balor. The show ended as Adam Cole walked onto the ramp and Balor pointed at him.
Winner: Finn Balor Rating: 8/10
What Else Went Down
– Roderick Strong was in the ring where he called out Adam Cole straight away. Strong said if any members of UE meant a thing to him, he would come out. Balor walked out instead asked Strong when he was going to learn. Cole wasn’t going to come out here for him. Strong then blamed Balor for the break up of UE, saying everything was fine before he showed up. The Prince said it was because of the title, and announced that next week he would face Adam Cole for the NXT Championship. He then turned to Strong and said he’d never become anything more than a follower. Strong attacked him and the two brawled in the ring before NXT officials tried to break it up.
– A video aired from inside a psychiatric facility where The Way were trying to help Austin Theory. Gargano became frustrated with Theory and Indi Hartwell who was drawing doodles of Lumis. He then got aggressive with the therapist, but she snapped at him as the segment ended for now.
– Cameron Grimes talked about changing the name of the arena until William Regal put his hand on Grimes’ shoulder, telling him about a potential lawsuit he caused him. Regal then announced a match between Grimes and Bronson Reed for later in the show.
– McKenzie Mitchell tried to interview Thatcher about Imperium and his history with them, but Ciampa interjected and told Mitchell that Thatcher’s past with Imperium was just that, the past.
– A video package aired of what has happened between Toni Storm and Io Shirai from the past month, with both women sharing their feelings on the other.
– The second segment aired featuring The Way. LeRae was getting phone messages. The therapist asked if Gargano was texting her from outside. She opened the door and sent him away, then sat down with Theory and asked him to tell her exactly what happened.
– A video aired of Isaiah “Swerve” Scott in his recording studio. He talked about how Leon Ruff got so many opportunities for no reason. Swerve said it was his house, and he was a dangerous savage. He said he doesn’t care anymore as the promo ended.
– LA Knight appeared in the NXT ring for the first time. He called for his music to be cut and said he had waited too long to step into the ring. He said he was here for business and nothing else. He invited the locker room to his “front door” and said he’d beat them all. He said he was the last of a dying breed, and it was his game. He ended the promo by saying it was just a fact of life. A great first promo on NXT for LA Knight.
– William Regal was seen talking to Adam Pearce backstage, presumably about the mix up at the end of the Women’s Tag Team Championship match. Later on, Regal told McKenzie Mitchell he was making an announcement next week that would change the landscape of NXT. My guess is there will be NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships announced, and they will be given to Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez.
– Kayden Carter was being interviewed about her injured friend, Kacy Catanzaro. She said she was going to face Xia Li next week.
– A video aired from last week featuring the destruction between Karrion Kross and Legado Del Fantasma.
– The final video aired from the therapist’s office. Theory said he watched cartoons and ate cereal whilst being kidnapped by Lumis. The therapist said she talked to Lumis before their session, and he’d said he couldn’t wait to get rid of Theory. Theory started to cry, then he ran off in tears. Gargano walked in and paid the therapist off.
– Ever-Rise were set to have a match with Breezango, but Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde ran out and attacked Fandango and Breeze on the ramp. They continued their punishment, then went after Ever-Rise. As Ever-Rise walked off, Santos Escobar ran out and attacked them on his own. He entered the ring and grabbed a microphone. He said don’t see last week as a sign of weakness or else “this” is what awaits you.
– A video package aired hyping the recently announced NXT Championship match next week between Finn Balor and Adam Cole.
After The Bell
Whilst many of the matches were weaker than in recent weeks, the main event stood out as being TakeOver quality. Strong came out to new music and it hit me that Undisputed were really over. The match for the Women’s Tag Team Championship ended in an annoying fashion. Kai and Gonzalez better be rewarded for the ridiculous ending, and I hope Regal plans on doing it next week.
The Therapy stuff with The Way was wonderful. I could watch two hours of these guys. Johnny Gargano is fantastic, and Theory has found a perfect place in WWE with his dumb schtick. LA Knight’s arrival was a joy to see. If his first feud is with Bronson Reed, I’m excited to see it unfold. Legado Del Fantasma appearing towards the end of the show was perfect. Escobar is main-event quality, and I kind of hope he ends up in more matches like the one with Karrion Kross from last week.
Next week’s NXT is looking solid. Io Shirai and Finn Balor are defending their titles, and Regal is making a huge announcement in light of the mistakes from tonight’s tag match featuring Baszler, Jax, Gonzalez, and Kai. I can’t see Balor losing to Cole, but I can see Karrion Kross intervening, leading to a potential match with Balor. Whatever happens, Cole and Balor are going to put on a fantastic match, and I can’t wait to see what happens.
Star of the Show: Finn Balor Overall Rating: 7/10
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