This week’s NXT was all about the huge rematch for the NXT Championship as Finn Balor looked to reclaim the gold from Karrion Kross. Franky Monet made her debut against newcomer Cora Jade, Bobby Fish was looking for revenge against Pete Dunne, and Mercedes Martinez took on Zayda Ramier. There was also the Million Dollar Face-Off between “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and Cameron Grimes, strong messages from Imperium and Hit Row, and plenty more. First off though, Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart battled the NXT Women’s Champion and Dakota Kai.

Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart vs Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai

Moon and Blackheart found it difficult to get the better of Gonzalez as she was displaying her strength from the beginning of the match. Kai tagged in and Blackheart hit a bulldog and cannonball on the ropes. They were able to get some teamwork in on Kai and keep her isolated, followed by a Texas Cloverleaf from Shotzi. Gonzalez tagged in and continued her dominance. After the break, Moon chopped down Gonzalez with some dropkicks and forearms.

After a distraction from Kai, Gonzalez booted Moon in the face. Gonzalez dropped Moon with a gorilla press as Kai booted her as she fell to the ground. Blackheart almost got the victory after a facebuster, but Kai kicked out. Kai hit a scorpion kick on Shotzi but got locked in a submission from Moon. Gonzalez broke it up and went for her finisher on Moon, however, Moon reversed it into an Eclipse. Moon and Blackheart hit their finisher and pinned Kai to pick up the victory. After the match, Gonzalez attacked them. She powerbombed Blackheart into the barricades and the ring post, followed by a press onto the barrier, all while Kai made Moon watch.

Winners: Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart Rating: 7/10

Pete Dunne W/ Oney Lorcan vs Bobby Fish

Fish exploded as soon as the bell rang, but Dunne gained control after a strong forearm. He wrenched at Fish’s left ankle, then stomped on his forehead. Dunne cranked on Fish’s neck, but he was able to transition into a Fujiwara armbar. Fish gained momentum, booting Dunne outside the ring. After the break, Dunne slapped at Fish’s head. He started booted him in the face, but Fish fought back and hit a dragon screw. Fish connected with a spinebuster and locked in a sleeper. Dunne broke the hold by snapping fish’s fingers, then drove both knees into his arm.

Outside the ring, Fish flipped Dunne over his shoulders, then ran at him into the barricades. Back in the ring, Fish suplexed Dunne into the ropes and went for a pin, but he kicked out. Fish delivered a succession of knees into Dunne’s stomach. Dunne snapped Fish’s fingers as he locked in an armbar but Fish reversed. Dunne turned it into the Bitter End to pick up the win. After the match, Oney Lorcan attacked Fish. He stood on Fish’s throat whilst stomping on his arm. Multiple officials had to intervene to stop Lorcan from attacking him. Really hoped Roderick Strong was going to come out, but it wasn’t to be.

Winner: Pete Dunne Rating: 7/10

Mercedes Martinez vs Zayda Ramier

Ramier got in some early offence until Martinez caught her with a big forearm. She hit three double under hook suplexes in a row, then locked in a Dragon sleeper. Ramier got dropped with a spinebuster but kicked out of the pin. Martinez slammed Ramier from the turnbuckle, hit a big boot, then finished her off with an Air Raid Crash. After the match, the lights went out. They came back on red as smoke filled the ring. They went back off and Martinez’s music came back on, but there was a black cross on her hand. Cue a feud with Xia Li.

Winner: Mercedes Martinez Rating: 6/10

The Million Dollar Face-Off

Grimes started talking, but Ted DiBiase’s music interrupted him and out he walked. Grimes asked why DiBiase kept hassling him. He said he hadn’t always had a lot of money, but ever since he has, DiBiase tried to embarrass him. Grimes talked about doing whatever he wanted to people and they would still like him because he had a lot of money. He then said maybe it’s true, you should never meet your idols. DiBiase responded by saying he really liked Grimes and they had a lot more in common than Grimes might think. DiBiase said he was looking for that one individual who embodies everything he’s about. He said it isn’t about the money, but it is about how they perform in the ring. DiBiase said since Grimes had all that money he’s lost his focus.

LA Knight came out and said he was a man who gets the job done, and how he was a “perpetual motion machine of badassery.” Grimes said this was a conversation between millionaires. LA Knight said with DiBiase by his side, they could reach that million-dollar legacy. DiBiase said LA Knight had the potential to be great. Grimes got annoyed and told LA Knight to get out of the ring or he would kick his ass “to the moon.” LA knight attacked Grimes and walked off. DiBiase stood over him and said, “kid, you’re just never going to get it, are you?” He laughed then walked off. Finally, a rivalry Grimes can get his teeth into. This was much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. LA Knight and Cameron Grimes are two exceptional Superstars, and a match between them has plenty of promise.

Franky Monet vs Cora Jade

Monet toyed with Jade from the start, beating her down in the corner. She connected with a double knee into Jade’s back in the corner, hit her with a hip charge, then another huge Meteora into her chest. She got hit with a Russian leg sweep, but Monet answered back with a sit down powerbomb and finished her off with the Road to Valhalla for the win. Monet was awesome in her debut, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for her.

Winner: Franky Monet Rating: 6.5/10

NXT Championship Match: Finn Balor vs Karrion Kross (C) W/ Scarlett

Kross and Balor were evenly matched in the beginning, but Kross was getting frustrated with the Prince’s fighting spirit. Balor went for Kross’ knee, but Kross countered it into an armbar. Balor managed to reverse into a leg lock, then transitioned into an arm lock. Kross got out and slammed Balor into the mat. He took control and delivered some lariats into Balor who rested in the corner. Kross hit a suplex, then stomped on him, following it up with a modified sleeper.

Kross got caught by surprise with an abdominal stretch. Balor got booted in the spine, followed by a release German suplex. Balor caught Kross off-guard with a crossface, then hit a double stomp to his chest. Kross threw Balor outside the ring. As he went after him, Balor caught the champion between the apron and its masking and landed a running boot to Kross’ face. Balor charged at Kross into the barricade and climbed back into the ring.

He headed back outside and stomped down Kross. He threw Balor back inside but got caught with a big boot. Kross hit a northern lights suplex. He delivered another, followed by a lariat. Balor hit a basement dropkick after Kross failed to hit a powerbomb. They traded blows until Kross hit a running powerslam, but couldn’t get the victory. Balor connected with a double stomp, but Kross locked in a Kross Jacket. Balor somehow found the bottom rope, but he was worn out. Kross smashed Balor into the barricades multiple times, then hit a Razor’s Edge into them.

Back in the ring, Kross went for a powerbomb, but Balor reversed into a DDT. He hit a sling blade, then clotheslined Kross to the outside and followed up with a tope con hilo. Kross got straight back up and slammed Balor into the announce table. Back in the ring, Balor hit another double stomp and a running missile dropkick. He climbed the turnbuckle but missed the Coup de Grace. Kross hit a German suplex and a Doomsday Saito. Kross went to smash the back of Balor’s head, but he rolled him up for a two-count.

Kross drove strikes into the back of his head, but the Prince reversed and did the same. Balor locked in a Kross Jacket of his own. Kross tried to break out, but Balor transitioned into a triangle hold. Kross picked him up and hit a powerbomb. Kross hit a clothesline, then hit the back of his head. He unloaded strikes into Balor then put him to sleep with a modified Kross Jacket to pick up the win.

Winner: Karrion Kross (Still NXT Champion) Rating: 9/10

What Else Went Down

– Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher were in their usual spot backstage. They talked about Grizzled Young Veterans getting in their way to the Tag Team Championships. Ciampa said there would be a round three, as Thatcher said he would enjoy breaking their limbs. Later on, GYV responded. Drake said they didn’t travel across the world to fight some chair-throwing hooligans. Gibson said they would watch MSK’s match closely next week.

– Mercedes Martinez said backstage she learned from her loss, and tonight was night one on the road to another match for the title. As she walked off, Boa appeared.

– Hit Row were talking about how NXT was the land of opportunity. Swerve talked about facing either Kross or Balor. Francis rapped about facing Legado Del Fantasma and MSK. Adonis rapped about Kushida, then Swerve went in on Bronson Reed. They ended it with their “if you didn’t know, now you know” line.

– Ted DiBiase was backstage chatting to Toni Storm. Robert Stone walked up with Aliyah and Jessi Kamea who tried to talk to him, but the Million Dollar Man threw a head of cash at him and walked off.

– Backstage, Indi Hartwell was looking for Dexter Lumis. She interrupted Ever-Rise’s show and Matt Martel stood up and threatened her. Drake Maverick walked out and told Hartwell he’s seen her in “that room over there,” pointing to a nearby door. She walked in where there were various pictures on the wall of black and red hearts, cartoons of Lumis and Hartwell together where he had a knife in his chest, and a man dumping a heart in a bin.

– Imperium appeared in a video package where WALTER said Alexander Wolfe was a weakness. He said the next step was for Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner to win the Tag Team Championships.

– Bronson Reed walked to the ring with his North American Championship. He talked about how it wasn’t an easy road to get to NXT and become the champion, and how he had a lot of doubters along the way. This belt was proof that hard work pays off. Reed said if anyone in the locker room wants to face him, they had a colossal mountain to climb. Legado Del Fantasma walked out. Escobar mocked Reed and said he couldn’t relate to Reed, and how the business belonged to him. He said the North American title belonged to him as well. MSK ran out and stood with Reed. MSK hit Wilde with a superkick, and Reed charged down Escobar.

– William Regal appeared from his office. He said that next week there would be a triple threat match between Kyle O’Reilly, Pete Dunne, and Johnny Gargano to decide the number one contender to the NXT Championship, with the winner facing either Kross or Balor at NXT TakeOver: In Your House.

After The Bell

Unfortunately, it was another week that didn’t quite hit the same heights that it has done this year. The main event was excellent, and it was great to see Franky Monet in action. The seeds for a feud between Cameron Grimes and LA Knight have been firmly planted, and a match between the two will be great. Outside of that, there was very little else that had me excited. NXT TakeOver: In Your House isn’t that long away, and it feels like the matches are being rushed as opposed to building feuds over a month or two.

Despite my feelings on tonight, there’s plenty of potential over the coming weeks. Santos Escobar and Bronson Reed could be a great matchup, and we are getting to see MSK face Legado Del Fantasma next week for the tag team championship. My main concern is I’m not that interested in seeing Ciampa and Thatcher and GYV challenging for them again. Some fresh blood in the men’s tag team division is needed at this point. Since MSK came to NXT, it’s been the same four teams. Imperium look set to go after the gold, but it feels like the division is feeling stale at the moment.

Star of the Show: Karrion Kross Overall Rating: 6.5/10

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