After an explosive Night One and Night Two at last week’s NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, there was a lot to look forward to tonight. The new NXT Champion Karrion Kross had some words for the NXT roster, and Raquel Gonzalez gave a victory speech whilst being interrupted by a new face. MSK and Santos Escobar defended their new gold tonight, and The Way faced off against Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumis, and the Women’s NXT Tag Team Champions, Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart. First off, Karrion Kross headed to the ring with Scarlett to welcome in the new era of NXT.

The New Guard

The new NXT Champion Karrion Kross made his way to the ring with Scarlett and said time always comes full circle. He said it was only a matter of time before he stood in the ring with the NXT title. Kross said he was in command of NXT until he says so. Nobody is going to out-wrestle him, and even though the NXT roster is filled with hungry Superstars, he is starving. He said he would fold everyone until there is no-one left. Everybody pays the toll. What a fierce promo by the new NXT Champion. He’s right. It’s going to take a lot to dethrone Karrion Kross.

NXT Tag Team Championship Match: MSK (C) (Wes Lee & Nash Carter) vs Drake Maverick & Killian Dain

Carter and Dain started things off. Dain hit a suplex and tagged in Maverick to build some momentum. Lee came in and took a couple of dropkicks and a corkscrew flip off the turnbuckle. It didn’t take long for MSK to turn the tide as Carter came in and hit the bronco buster. Lee went for a tope con hilo on Dain, but he pushed Lee into the ring apron. After the break, Carter took out Maverick with a running knee and a boot across his chest. He hit a German suplex followed by the flip/push drop.

MSK chopped down Dain with some well-placed kicks and hit a double kick as Dain rested on the second rope. Lee hit a corkscrew splash off the top turnbuckle. Dain almost got a pin after throwing Lee into Carter, but Lee broke up the pin. After some great momentum from Maverick and Dain, Carter hit a cutter on Dain. MSK were then able to hit a double team move on Maverick for the victory. After the match, Imperium minus WALTER ran in and beat down Killian Dain.

Winners: MSK (Still NXT Tag Team Champions) Rating: 7/10

Jessi Kamea W/ Aliyah & Robert Stone vs Mercedes Martinez

Kamea attacked Martinez before the bell rang, then continued to beat her down. She threw her across the ring and hit a big strike in the corner. Kamea jumped off the ropes and hit an elbow drop. Martinez gained composure to hit a flying knee and an air raid crash for the victory. What was the point in this match? Nobody cares about this storyline. Martinez said she was coming for Raquel Gonzalez.

Winner: Mercedes Martinez Rating: 4/10

NXT Cruiserweight Championship Match: Santos Escobar (C) W/ Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde vs Kushida

Legado Del Fantasma headed to the ring. Santos Escobar said a year ago the Cruiserweight title was the championship of a forgotten division, but he’d made it relevant again. He said his family were warriors and offered an open challenge for the belt. Kushida answered the call. Kushida tried to lock in the Hoverboard Lock early on, but couldn’t quite manage it. After the break, Escobar was back in control. He whipped Kushida into the steel steps then locked in the Walls of Jericho on top of them.

He booted Kushida in the face back in the ring and locked in an arm submission whilst beating his chest. Escobar hit a running knee into the corner followed by a hurricanrana off the turnbuckle. Kushida tried to fight back, but ate a boot to the face. The Timesplitter snapped and got in some good momentum. He hit a palm strike followed by a suplex off the top rope. He hit another, but Escobar was able to get a foot on the rope. He tried to lock in the Hoverboard again. Escobar hit an enziguiri and Kushida replied with a Pele kick.

They traded kicks in the ring until Escobar hit a backstabber out of nowhere. They reversed pin attempts until Kushida got the victory and became the new Cruiserweight Champion. I’m not entirely sure how to feel at this point. I’m happy for Kushida, but the victory dampened Escobar’s victory at TakeOver.

Winner: Kushida (New NXT Cruiserweight Champion) Rating: 7.5/10

The Best Women’s Division In The World

Dakota Kai welcomed the new NXT Women’s Champion to the ring, Raquel Gonzalez. The new champion talked about training hard to get where she is. She said she was grateful for Dakota Kai for recognising her talents. Kai said for 14 months they have dominated the women’s division. Gonzalez then said she respected Io Shirai, but the Raquel Gonzalez era had officially begun. Suddenly, Franky Monet’s music hit and out she came. She congratulated the champ and said the best women’s division on the planet is about to get a whole lot better. She then said Gonzalez would be seeing a whole lot more of her.

Gonzalez said if she interrupted her again, she’d shove her dog up her culo (spanish for ass). Monet walked off and said Gonzalez would see her every single Tuesday. Suddenly, Rhea Ripley’s music hit. Ripley walked out with the RAW Women’s Championship. She raised her belt and celebrated with Gonzalez. Bianca Belair then came down and all three champions celebrated together. What a beautiful moment. Three phenomenal champions, born in NXT now standing tall together. Goosebumps.

Leon Ruff vs Isaiah “Swerve” Scott

Ruff went in hard on Swerve. He drove Swerve’s elbow into the mat outside the ring, but as they both got back in the ring, Swerve took control. He slammed Ruff into the mat and followed up with an uppercut into the back of the head from the top turnbuckle. Ruff hit a couple of clotheslines then did his Spider-Man moves until Swerve hit a Russian leg sweep off the turnbuckle. After the break, Swerve hit some chops to Ruff’s chest.

Ruff snapped and hit a few of his own, then a couple of clotheslines. Swerve countered Ruff, but Ruff was able to hit a cutter. He then hit a flip off the top turnbuckle to Swerve outside. In the ring, Ruff landed a missile dropkick, but only got a two-count. Ruff hit a huge hurricanrana off the top turnbuckle and went for the pin, but Swerve kicked out. They traded blows, and it looked as though Ruff countered a powerbomb to a pin for the victory, but Swerve kicked out. Swerve dropped Ruff’s face into the top turnbuckle, then he delivered his finisher for the win.

Winner: Isaiah “Swerve” Scott Rating: 7.5/10

Dexter Lumis, Bronson Reed, Shotzi Blackheart, & Ember Moon vs The Way (Johnny Gargano, Austin Theory, Candice LeRae, & Indi Hartwell)

Theory started things off with Lumis. Lumis landed a Lou Thesz, then Theory tagged in LeRae. Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon worked together and beat down Gargano who interfered. Lumis then came in and beat up Gargano, hitting a pop-up uppercut. Lumis walked up to Hartwell as LeRae pulled her off the apron, allowing Gargano to attack him from behind. After the break, Lumis dropped Theory and tagged in Bronson Reed. He hit two standing splashed on Gargano and Theory, then squashed them together in the corner. Reed then hit a double Samoan drop, but LeRae broke up the pin.  Hartwell took out Moon, but Shotzi hit a DDT on her. LeRae climbed the turnbuckle as Reed stood in front of her.

She attacked Reed with a flying punch but he felt nothing. Theory attacked Reed. LeRae hit a DDT on Lumis. It was chaos. Reed gorilla pressed Shotzi into The Way at ringside. Gargano superkicked Reed, then locked in Silence. Hartwell was about to kick Lumis, but fell to the ground. Lumis held her as Theory booted him. Hartwell then pushed Theory out the ring. Hartwell positioned herself on the apron which allowed Lumis to carry her away. As Lumis walked off, Hartwell looked at the camera and gave a thumbs up. Haha, brilliant.

Back in the ring, Reed took out Theory. He held Moon on his shoulders as she jumped off and hit an Eclipse onto Theory. Reed dropped Gargano onto Theory. LeRae tried to superplex Reed off the turnbuckle , but Blackheart grabbed her and threw her on Theory. The match ended as Reed hit a Tsunami on Theory for the win. What a fun match.

Winners: Dexter Lumis, Bronson Reed, Shotzi Blackheart, & Ember Moon Rating: 8/10

What Else Went Down

– A recap of NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver aired after Kross’ promo.

– Robert Stone was heading to Regal’s office when Mercedes Martinez hassled him for her money. She choked Aliyah when Jessi Kamea interrupted and challenged her to a match.

– Roderick Strong was seen arriving in the CWC with his wife Marina Shafir.

– A recap aired from Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole’s match at NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver. Following the match, Cole and O’Reilly were taken to the emergency room at the local hospital. Cole said O’Reilly was dead. It sounded like Cole wasn’t finished with O’Reilly.

– McKenzie Mitchell was interviewing The Way. They talked about getting revenge, until Indi Hartwell said she hoped she could get in the ring with Dexter Lumis.

– Isaiah “Swerve” Scott was in his studio. He cut a promo where he talked about being a star. He said he can’t move on until he’s dealt with Leon Ruff tonight.

– Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher cut a promo about facing a new landscape in NXT. Thatcher said he wasn’t sure what path to chose, until Ciampa told MSK they were coming.

– Kushida was being congratulated by Regal backstage when Jordan Devlin interrupted. He said he was going away for a while, but he’d be back.

– Pete Dunne cut a promo and said he was the best in NXT, then said he was focused on gold and becoming a champion.

– A video package aired about Regal signing Sarray, who would be debuting next week. After the promo, Regal was shown backstage where Roderick Strong handed Regal an envelope. It looks as though he’s leaving. Regal said Strong was welcome back in NXT whenever he wanted. No, Roddy. Don’t leave.

– Zoey Stark was being interviewed backstage. She said she felt fantastic and she was now focused on the NXT Women’s Championship. Martinez interrupted her and they stared each other down.

– WALTER cut a promo about beating Tommaso Ciampa and how Imperium’s reign had just begun. Soon, the NXT roster would understand why they say the mat is sacred.

– Swerve was being interviewed backstage after his match when Ruff attacked him. Ruff said it wasn’t over until he said so.

– Kyle O’Reilly was announced to be live on NXT next week.

After The Bell

Tonight’s show was filled with fallout from NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver. Karrion Kross cut an amazing promo, and it’ll be interesting to see who steps up next. My guess is Pete Dunne, but other than him there aren’t many other Superstars likely to dethrone the new king. Raquel Gonzalez’s segment was perfection. Not only did it introduce “La Wera Loca” Franky Monet but it also offered a beautiful meeting of the minds for the current women’s champions across WWE.

The main event was a lot of fun, especially Indi Hartwell’s scene-stealing moment when she left with Dexter Lumis. Everything The Way touch turns to gold and the whole match was filled with some brilliant spots. Kushida winning the Cruiserweight Championship made no sense, at least this soon after Escobar won. At least a bit of build up for a showdown at a later date would have been better. It watered down Escobar’s victory at TakeOver, and as happy as I am for Kushida, it was still a weird decision.

I’m excited to see what happens with Imperium over the coming weeks. I’d presume they’re going to bolster their ranks with Killian Dain, but I also expect Timothy Thatcher to join them at some point. This would lead to an interesting dynamic in NXT, especially having such a huge faction on the black and gold brand. Finally, I just want to say that I’m gutted if this is the last time we see Roderick Strong. It’s seems unlikely, but you never know with NXT. Fingers crossed he returns soon.

Star of the Show: Indi Hartwell Overall Rating: 8/10

All images and videos courtesy of WWE