This week’s NXT saw 2 Championships on the line as Kushida issued an open challenge for the Cruiserweight title, and MSK defended their belts against Legado Del Fantasma. LA Knight went one-on-one with Jake Atlas, Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell fought Zayda Ramier and Zoey Stark, and Adam Cole returned in a huge way. First off, the Triple Threat match between Pete Dunne, Johnny Gargano, and Kyle O’Reilly took place to decide who would be next to face NXT Champion Karrion Kross.

NXT Championship #1 Contender Triple Threat Match: Pete Dunne vs Johnny Gargano vs Kyle O’Reilly

All three went in hard as soon as the bell rang. Gargano was thrown outside by Dunne, which allowed Dunne to try and take advantage of O’Reilly. Dunne manipulated O’Reilly’s fingers, but he reversed into an armbar. Gargano ran in and all three were wrapped up in a three-way submission attempt. Dunne was booted out of the ring and O’Reilly worked on Garganos’ left arm. Dunne re-entered the ring and manipulated the fingers of O’Reilly and Gargano at the same time, then stomped on both of their hands. Dunne got attacked in the corner by both opponents, then O’Reilly hit a dragon screw on Gargano and Dunne.

Gargano went for One Final Beat, but Dunne intervened. He hit a spinning DDT on O’Reilly and booted Dunne off the apron at the same time. After the break, O’Reilly chopped down Dunne and Gargano with knee strikes. He hit two double under hook suplexes on Dunne then slammed Gargano on top of the Bruiserweight. Outside the ring, O’Reilly hit a running knee off the apron, but Gargano took both of them out. Back in the ring, Gargano connected with a slingshot spear but only picked up a two-count. Gargano and O’Reilly both went for backslides, but Dunne chopped at their legs, then unleashed a barrage of kicks on both of them. He hit a sit-down powerbomb on O’Reilly, but Gargano broke up the pin, only to give O’Reilly a near pinfall. Dunne hit an X-plex on Gargano, but he kicked out.

Dunne locked in a standing Kimura clutch, but Gargano broke it up. Dunne was knocked outside, allowing O’Reilly to lock in a heel hook on Gargano. Dunne went for the Bitter End, but Gargano reversed into a DDT, then threw Dunne into the corner, knocking O’Reilly off the apron in the process. Dunne and Gargano traded blows whilst on their knees. O’Reilly booted both of them. Gargano got his hands stomped on by Dunne as all three threw strikes until O’Reilly hit a double clothesline, leaving all three on the mat. Dunne locked in a sleeper on O’Reilly, but Gargano managed to lock in the Gargano escape on Dunne.

Dunne snapped Gargano’s fingers, then hit the Bitter End. He went for the pin, but O’Reilly flew off the top turnbuckle and delivered a knee to the back of Dunne’s head. Dunne and O’Reilly double clotheslined each other outside the ring. Adam Cole ran down to the ring and attacked all 3 with a chair. He went crazy, beating all three participants in and around the ring. William Regal brought some officials to the ring to try and get rid of him. Cole delivered one final superkick to O’Reilly before being escorted outside the arena.

Winner: No Contest Rating: 8.5/10

LA Knight vs Jake Atlas

LA Knight cut a promo before walking to the ring. He was able to get in some strong offence before Atlas calmed the pace with an arm lock. Knight went for a pin, but Atlas reversed into a pin of his own. Knight dropped Atlas onto the ropes then hit a neckbreaker before Ted DiBiase walked out. Atlas went for a pin, but Knight got out and delivered a huge power slam. Knight stomped into Atlas’ sternum then choked him against the ropes before kneeing him in the side of the head. He flew through the air with a shoulder tackle and took Atlas down. After the break, Atlas went for a suplex, but Knight reversed into a neckbreaker.

Knight went for the Million Dollar Dream, but Atlas got out and hit a crossbody. Knight threw Atlas over the top rope as Knight waited for him to get back in the ring. Knight unleashed punches to Atlas’ head and went for an axe handle off the second turnbuckle, but Atlas struck him in the stomach. Atlas hit a brainbuster as Cameron Grimes walked out. Atlas got in some solid offence as Grimes tried to talk DiBiase around. Knight got knocked off the turnbuckle as he landed on the top rope. Atlas hit the cartwheel DDT and picked up the win. After the match, DiBiase walked off, shaking his head at Knight. DiBiase was interviewed by McKenzie Mitchell backstage and said Knight dropped the ball as Adam Cole walked past.

Winner: Jake Atlas Rating: 7.5/10

Cole And Kross Come Face To Face

Cole grabbed a mic and said it was two years to the day he became NXT Champion. He said he was the real number one contender, and since he’d been gone, everyone had failed. Cole said he took out three contenders and wanted the championship back. He turned his attention to Karrion Kross and called him an overrated muscle head. He continued to belittle him until Kross and Scarlett walked out. Kross called Cole a little man. He said when he signed for NXT, Cole was no longer special.

Cole interrupted Kross and called him overrated. He said NXT had gone to great lengths to make Kross feel special, but all NXT needed to do to make him special was ring the freaking bell. Regal walked out and said he knew what Cole was doing by weaselling his way into a match. Kross told Regal to shut up and give him Gargano, O’Reilly, Dunne, and the “gas station weasel” Cole at NXT TakeOver: In Your House. Cole stood on the announce table and said he runs this show. Always has, always will, then threw a drink in Kross’ face. Later on, the match was made official for NXT TakeOver: In Your House.

NXT Cruiserweight Championship Match: Kushida (C) vs Carmelo Hayes

Kushida and Hayes battled in a test of strength, with Hayes getting the upper hand. He kicked Kushida in the stomach and unleashed a barrage of attacks. Kushida controlled Hayes with a headlock then hit a springboard elbow. Hayes booted the back of Kushida’s head as he sat on the second rope, then a leg drop. After the break, Hayes delivered some knees to Kushida’s ribs. Kushida knocked Hayes off the apron and into the barricades, then a knee drop off the apron.

Hayes hit Kushida with a superkick, then a springboard side slam. Kushida hit a succession of strikes but Hayes hit a spinning face plant and got a two-count. Kushida hit a cartwheel dropkick, a big right hand, and a punch as Hayes flew through the air. Kushida locked in the Hoverboard Lock and Hayes tapped out. After the match, they shook hands, then Kushida walked off.

Winner: Kushida (Still NXT Cruiserweight Champion) Rating: 7/10

Zayda Ramier & Zoey Stark vs Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell

Hartwell and LeRae took control early by wearing down Ramier. Ramier reversed LeRae’s sleeper into a pin, but they continued to dominate. LeRae knocked Stark off the apron as Ramier got the tag. Stark hit clotheslines on LeRae and Hartwell, then two spinning heel kicks. Ramier tagged back in and almost got the pinfall, but Hartwell broke it up. LeRae hit the Wicked Stepsister as Hartwell hit Pretty Savage to pick up the win.

Winners: Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell Rating: 6/10

NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Legado Del Fantasma (Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde W/ Santos Escobar) vs MSK (C) (Wes Lee & Nash Carter)

Lee and Wilde started things off. Lee had Wilde in a headlock which he struggled to get out of. Nash tagged in and went for the bronco buster, but Wilde dodged out the way and tagged in Mendoza. Mendoza hit a knife edge chop and a boot, then hit the double team suplex move with Wilde. Wilde hit a basement crossbody and picked up a two-count. Carter got the tag, allowing MSK to double team Wilde. All four men went at it and ended up on the mat. Grizzled Young Veterans walked out, but Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher shortly followed as all four of them fought into the back.

Carter wiped out Mendoza over the top rope as Lee did the same to Wilde. After the break, Mendoza was in control, hitting a big kick on Lee who was on the top turnbuckle. Wilde tagged in as they got in some double team moves. Wilde pounded Lee in the face the drove his knee into his back. Lee tried to find some momentum, but Wilde struck him down. Wilde hit a moonsault off the second rope but only got a two-count. Mendoza tagged in and continued the assault until Lee hit a DDT to floor both men.

Carter finally tagged in and went crazy, hitting an enzuigiri on Wilde and a superkick on Mendoza. MSK connected with the push/flip combo, but couldn’t get the pin. Lee kicked Wilde in the back of the head as Mendoza attacked Lee with a shotgun dropkick off the top turnbuckle. Wilde and Mendoza hit multiple clotheslines on Lee in the corner. Mendoza almost got the victory following a double team move. Lee got knocked out of the ring, and as the ref was distracted, Escobar threw him into the steel steps. Legado Del Fantasma hit their finisher as Carter broke up the pin. From out of nowhere, Bronson Reed ran out and splashed Escobar into the barricades. Back in the ring, MSK hit their finisher and picked up the win.

Winners: MSK (Still NXT Tag Team Champions) Rating: 8/10

What Else Went Down

– Ember Moon called out Raquel Gonzalez who came out. They brawled until security and Regal broke it up. Dakota Kai attacked Moon from behind as the officials were busy with Gonzalez. Poor William Regal. It looks like he has his hands full tonight. Towards the end of the show, Ember Moon was being interviewed by McKenzie Mitchell. Moon said she was going to get revenge on Dakota Kai, and at NXT TakeOver: In Your House, she would reclaim the NXT Women’s Championship from Raquel Gonzalez.

– Legado Del Fantasma were cutting a promo from earlier in the day. Escobar said he would be at ringside when they faced MSK. Mendoza and Wilde said they were going to become champions tonight.

– Drake Maverick was being interviewed in the parking lot when Ever-Rise interrupted. Hit Row pulled up and started mocking Maverick. Killian Dain walked in and squared up to Isaiah “Swerve” Scott.

– Backstage, Oney Lorcan kicked off at the camera crew. He said if it wasn’t for Adam Cole, Pete Dunne would have won. Austin Theory walked over and said Gargano would have won. Officials interfered before the two could go at it.

– Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell were being interviewed backstage. LeRae started complaining about Kross and Poppy coming to NXT next week. She realised Hartwell was listening to 80s power ballads and walked her off. Shortly after, Dexter Lumis picked up the headphones and put them on.

– Xia Li cut a promo about how Mercedes Martinez tried to bring shame to her name in the Mae Young Classic. She challenged her to a match at NXT TakeOver: In Your House. Martinez replied later on and said Li may be more badass, but so is she. She said Li was standing in the way of her reclaiming the NXT Women’s Championship.

– Cameron Grimes vs LA Knight was made official for NXT TakeOver: In Your House.

– MSK were backstage talking about beating Legado Del Fantasma in the main event.

– Franky Monet was sat backstage reading reviews about her debut last week. She turned to the camera and said she was just getting started.

After The Bell

This week’s NXT was chaotic. Right from the start, Regal had to deal with a lot of issues from all corners of the NXT roster. I loved Cole coming out and taking out Dunne, O’Reilly, and Gargano. Kross and Cole’s segment from later on was electric, and seeing all five men battling for the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver: In Your House is going to be insane.

I was thoroughly impressed with Carmelo Hayes’ NXT debut. It looks like he has quite a bright future on the black and gold brand. The main event wasn’t as good as I had hoped, but I think that is down to see these two teams go at it over the last few months. Cameron Grimes vs LA Knight at TakeOver should be a solid match. Having DiBiase involved is giving their feud some added momentum. I did have a feeling that DiBiase might actually choose Atlas over both of them.

Ember Moon facing Raquel Gonzalez could be a great match, but I’m not sure about Xia Li and Mercedes Martinez. It feels like NXT doesn’t quite know what to do with them. Overall, tonight was a much better show than in recent weeks, and the build-up to In Your House is well and truly underway.

Star of the Show: Adam Cole Overall Rating: 7.5/10

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