There were three title matches tonight, and two big announcements from William Regal that promised to change the landscape of NXT. We also got to see Pete Dunne, Grizzled Young Veterans, and Xia Li in action, as well as some big matches made for next week. It was all-go in the NXT ring, but first off, Regal stood in front of the world to reveal two huge details about the immediate future of the black and gold brand.
The Landscape Is Changing
William Regal was stood in the ring, ready to reveal his two “landscape changing” announcements. A video package aired that announced a two-night NXT TakeOver called Stand & Deliver, taking place on April 7 and April 8. The second big announcement was accompanied by the entire women’s locker room stood on the ramp. Regal talked about how the women proved their worth week in, week out. He asked Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez to join him in the ring.
Regal said he was sick and tired of other people making decisions for him, and tonight unveiled Kai and Gonzalez the proud holders of brand new NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship belts. Kai said they dominated the entire locker room. Gonzalez said they would carry the belts for a very long time. Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon approached the ring. Moon said if there were to be champions, there would need to be challengers. She asked Kai and Gonzalez to defend the belts tonight. Regal then made the match official. There were now three championship matches set for the show.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Io Shirai (C) vs Toni Storm
Shirai and Storm locked horns, but Storm was able to play dirty to knock Shirai outside. Shirai recovered, then used her knees to drill them into Storm’s chest in the corner. Shirai hit a basement dropkick and locked Storm up in a submission. Outside the ring, Storm pulled her off the apron and slammed her into the steel steps as the show went into commercial. After the break, Shirai hit the 619 and dropkick off the top rope, but could only get a two-count. Shirai hit a double stomp, then climbed the turnbuckle until Storm met her there and landed a superplex.
Storm delivered a beautiful bridge German suplex for a two-count. After a baseball slide clothesline, Storm went for a powerbomb on the apron, but Shirai hit a backdrop, then climbed the turnbuckle to deliver a moonsault to Storm who stood outside the ring. Back inside, Storm hit a sit down powerbomb for a two-count. Shirai went for a crossface, but Storm managed to get to the bottom rope. Shirai went for her moonsault and missed. Storm hit the Storm Zero and only got the two. Storm climbed the top rope and missed with a diving headbutt, leading to a crossface from Shirai. Storm tapped out and Shirai retained the gold.
Winner: Io Shirai (Still NXT Women’s Champion) Rating: 7.5/10
Jake Atlas vs Pete Dunne W/ Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan
It was good to see Jake Altas on NXT as it’s been a while, but as Dunne’s music hit, it was clear who was winning this one. Dunne controlled Atlas on the mat after some nice athletic reversals by both men. Atlas was able to get to his feet, but Dunne took him back to the mat. Atlas landed a whip dragon screw, and as he held Dunne in-between his legs, he got punted in the chest. Dunne manipulated Atlas’ fingers, then stomped on his contorted arm.
Atlas was able to get some great momentum in, ending it with a standing moonsault and clothesline. He went for the cartwheel DDT, but Dunne stopped him in his tracks. The Bruiserweight locked in a submission which forced Atlas to tap. A savage display from Pete Dunne. I really don’t want Atlas to become some enhancement talent, but it seems to be going this way. After the match, Dunne said he made a name for himself in the UK, and he was the best technical wrestler in the world. He dared anyone to prove him wrong.
Winner: Pete Dunne Rating: 7/10
NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez (C) vs Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon
Blackheart locked in a cloverleaf, keeping Kai away from the ropes. She managed to grab the bottom rope and both women landed a kick which sent them to the mat as the show went into commercial. After the break, Gonzalez had Blackheart in a bear hug. Kai tagged in and wrapped her legs around Shotzi’s sternum. Shotzi hit a step-up enzuigiri and tagged in Moon who went off. She hit a standing senton on Kai then a turnaround codebreaker. Shotzi dived through Moon’s leg to hit a tope con hilo on Gonzalez.
Back in the ring, Moon rolled up Kai for a two-count. Kai booted Moon in the face and tagged in Gonzalez to deliver their signature double team move for a two-count. Shotzi hit a double crossbody off the turnbuckle and continued to punish Kai. Moon hit a splash off the apron and into the ring on Kai, but couldn’t pick up the pinfall. Moon went for the Eclipse on Gonzalez but was caught. Shotzi pushed Kai onto Gonzalez who went flying over the ropes with Moon. She then rolled up Kai to pick up the win. We have new women’s champions already. I’m really happy for Shotzi Blackheart after that. She finally has some gold around her waist, and she deserves it.
Winners: Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon (New NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions) Rating: 8/10
Kayden Carter vs Xia Li W/ Boa & Mei Ling
Carter went straight after Li, hitting a succession of clotheslines and a short scissor kick. Li worked on Carter’s right leg as Kacy Catanzaro hobbled out on crutches. As Li stomped on Carter’s legs, Catanzaro attacked her with her crutch. Boa got involved and took the crutch away. Carter attacked him from behind with the other crutch and they left the ring.
Winner: Xia Li (via DQ) Rating: 4/10
El Legado Del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza) vs Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake)
Mendoza and Wilde started off strong against GYV, almost getting the win early on. MSK came out in spacesuits which distracted James Drake, allowing Legado Del Fantasma to pick up the win. MSK then attacked GYV with the helmets. Breezango then came out and beat down Wilde and Mendoza. MSK and Breezango got in the ring and had a little dance.
Winners: Legado Del Fantasma Rating: 2/10
NXT Championship Match: Adam Cole vs Finn Balor (C)
The two went in hard, but Balor was able to slow the pace with a headlock. Cole reversed, taking Balor to the mat. After the break, Cole stomped down Balor in the corner, and after a failed roll-up attempt, Balor hit a basement dropkick to lock in a sleeper. Cole pump kicked Balor off the apron, then whipped him into the barricades outside. Back in the ring, he whipped Balor into the turnbuckle a couple of times. Balor dropkicked Cole in his knee, then hit a double stomp on his chest.
Cole connected with an enzuigiri, but Balor got back into it with some stomps onto Cole’s chest. Cole hit a pump kick into Balor from the outside. Cole took the steel steps apart. Balor held Cole in the air, then delivered a suplex on the ramp. After the break, the two men traded blows in the centre of the ring. Balor hit a Pele kick, then Cole countered 1916 to land a brainbuster to the knee, only to get a two-count. Balor hit a sling blade, then the missile dropkick. He missed the Coup de Grâce which allowed Cole to hit a superkick, but again, he only got a two-count.
Cole locked in a crossface and kept Balor in the centre of the ring. Balor finally grabbed the bottom rope after almost blacking out. Cole stomped him down, but Balor fought back with a huge clothesline. Cole hit the Last Shot, but Balor kicked out. Cole connected with Panama Sunrise and Balor kicked out again. Cole went for another Last Shot, but Balor threw him outside the ring. As Cole tried to get up, Kyle O’Reilly appeared. Balor flipped over the top rope and followed it up with 1916. He hit the Coup de Grace and pinned Adam Cole to retain. What a fantastic match.
After the match, Kyle O’Reilly stepped into the ring. Cole pleaded for O’Reilly not to hit him. He went for the low blow, but O’Reilly grabbed him. He beat the hell out of Cole in the ring, then continued to do so on the ramp, throwing him into the barricades. As O’Reilly was about to suplex him onto the steel steps, the referees stopped him. O’Reilly went after Cole again, heading into the back as Balor watched on from in the ring. The show went off-air as Karrion Kross stood behind Balor in the ring. “I wondered when you’d show up,” said Balor, as Kross stared him down. Oh boy, goosebumps.
Winner: Finn Balor (Still NXT Champion) Rating: 8.5/10
What Else Went Down
-Finn Balor was backstage where he said there was nobody left to back Cole up anymore. He said he beat him to win the NXT Championship and he would beat him to keep it.
-LA Knight was being interviewed backstage by McKenzie Mitchell where he was attacked by Bronson Reed.
-Imperium cut a promo backstage. Barthel offered Thatcher a place in Imperium. Aichner said they were taking over, no matter what.
-Leon Ruff talked about how he was sick of everyone saying he fell into his opportunities. He said that next week he would defeat Swerve.
-Cole was talking backstage. He said he put Kyle O’Reilly in his place and beat Roderick Strong where he stood. He said Undisputed Era is dead. He ended his promo by saying he played Balor like a fiddle, and he was the greatest NXT Champion of all time.
-After their match, Blackheart and Moon were greeted by the women’s locker room. Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell watched on in disgust. They walked up to Gargano who was looking for Theory. Theory walked up and was annoyed Gargano had paid the therapist last week. Gargano riled Theory up and said Lumis didn’t like Theory’s abdominal region. Theory ripped off his shirt and went looking for Lumis. Once again, pure comedy gold.
– Jordan Devlin cut a promo where he said he was coming back to NXT to take on Santos Escobar. Next week, Devlin was returning.
– A video package featuring Zoe Stark aired. She talked about growing up on the wrong side of the tracks and how she began her training. She talked about belonging in NXT and how she was putting everyone on notice.
– Santos Escobar was complaining to William Regal as Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde headed to the ring.
– McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Gonzalez and Kai backstage. Shirai appeared and said she wanted Gonzalez next.
– Timothy Thatcher was backstage with McKenzie Mitchell. Ciampa interrupted and said he was interested in WALTER. He then said they are fighting Imperium next week.
– Dexter Lumis vs Austin Theory and Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs Leon Ruff were made official for next week. Also, LA Knight would be making his in-ring debut next week.
After The Bell
The main event from tonight was excellent. Finn Balor has been a phenomenal champion this time around, but now the stage is finally set for a showdown with Karrion Kross, and I’m not sure he can hold on. Besides, I’d love Kross to be the champion again as he never technically lost it. The announcement of the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships was expected, but it was still awesome. As much as I love Kai and Gonzalez, I’m really happy for Shotzi and Moon.
I’m excited to see what’s next for Pete Dunne after his challenge, and the business between Imperium and Timothy Thatcher is exciting. If Thatcher joined Imperium, that would be awesome. Io Shirai and Toni Storm had an OK match, but Storm was never going to win. With Shirai challenging Gonzalez, I’m keen to see how that one pans out.
The MSK bit was cool, and I hope they get their shots soon. I’m also looking forward to seeing LA Knight debut in the ring next week, even though it still doesn’t sound right calling him that (and the wonderful Steph of SC fame will agree). The NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver announcement is more than welcomed. There is so much going on in terms of storylines at the moment that two nights is more than enough to see them all come to a head.
Star of the Show: Finn Balor Overall Rating: 7.5/10
All images and videos courtesy of WWE