This week’s NXT was all about William Regal. After his ambiguous sign off at NXT TakeOver: In Your House, it was unclear where his path in NXT was heading. The main event had plenty of potentials, as Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher faced Grizzled Young Veterans in a Tornado Tag Match, Imperium and Breezango settled their differences, and Kushida offered an open challenge. Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez took on Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter, LA Knight was officially coronated, and Io Shirai returned to the black and gold brand. First off, it was time to hear what William Regal had to say.
Regal Makes An Announcement
William Regal walked to the ring with no music, looking pretty subdued. He said he’d been with NXT since Day One in one way or another. He was trying to fight back tears, talking about how he has watched the company become the brand it is today. Regal brushed on the fact NXT headed to his hometown of Blackpool, and how much it meant to him. He was grateful to all the Superstars and announcers, but most of all the fans who had watched NXT everywhere.
He said he had given the fans everything he could, but he didn’t think he was capable of giving the fans what they deserve anymore. As he tried to continue, Karrion Kross walked to the ring with a smile on his face. Kross said he and Scarlett knew this day was coming at some point. He said he wanted to see it and feel it for himself, then asked Regal if he was crying. He called Regal pathetic and said he was right when he told Regal last week he’d lost control.
Kross said Regal knew he could control this place with chaos and violence. He said he wanted to hear Regal say he was leaving, then walk up the aisle and never come back. Kross shouted at Regal to say it. Suddenly, Samoa Joe’s music hit and out he walked. Joe said to Regal he believed he wanted to speak with him. Regal said everyone deserved a new GM and asked Joe to be the new one. Samoa Joe said absolutely not. He said he knew Regal was weary, but in seven years, Regal had brought the best talent to the company and he had transformed NXT into an international phenomenon.
He continued by saying Regal had some big shoes to fill, and couldn’t accept. Joe made a counter-offer and said he would rather make sure Regal receives the respect he deserves from everybody, whilst looking at Kross. Regal said there would be some conditions. He couldn’t wrestle and couldn’t lay a hand on anyone unless provoked. Joe excepted his offer, then asked Kross why he was still in the ring. “Tick tock, young champion,” said Joe.
Kross and Scarlett walked off as the fans chanted, “Joe is going to kill you.” The fans continued by chanting, “goodbye.” What an intro to NXT. I’ve spent the last 48 hours on edge, hoping Regal wasn’t leaving. After those tears, I thought that was it but thank the wrestling gods for Samoa Joe. That’s the first time I’ve seen Karrion Kross back down from anybody. I think this is going to be the start of a very exciting partnership at the helm of NXT.
Imperium (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel) vs Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango)
Barthel controlled the pace of the match against Breeze in the early moments. Fandango tagged in and got worked on by Aichner as he managed to tag the back of Barthel. Fandango chopped at Aichner, then hit a leg drop and launched him outside. As Breeze missed a flip to the outside, Fandango connected. Fandango climbed the turnbuckle, but Barthel distracted him which allowed Aichner to knock him off.
Breeze hit a dropkick off the apron on Barthel as Fandango hit a knee into Aichner’s stomach. After the break, Aichner was beating down Fandango. He hit a few blows to the back then slammed him into the mat. Barthel tagged in and booted Fandango in the stomach. Fandango made a roll-up attempt and got a two-count, but still couldn’t make the tag. He knocked out Imperium to the outside. After a back body drop, Fandango finally tagged in Breeze. Breeze got an inside cradle on Aichner and picked up the win.
After the match, Imperium beat up Breezango. They hit their powerbomb/uppercut finisher on Breeze, then draped an Imperium flag on his body as they stood in the centre of the ring.
Winners: Imperium Rating: 6.5/10
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Kushida (C) vs Trey Baxter
Kushida started off by working Baxter on the mat. Baxter went for a pin, but Kushida kicked out. Baxter kicked Kushida from the apron, then hit a flying elbow. Kushida dragged Baxter to the apron, but hurt his leg, allowing Baxter to flip over the ropes and connect. Kyle O’Reilly walked out as the show went into commercial. After the break, Baxter hit a spinning heel kick. Kushida hit an atomic drop and a cartwheel dropkick.
Kushida connected with an enzuigiri, then Baxter hit an impressive spinning kick after bouncing off the ropes. They traded blows, and as Kushida ran off the ropes, Baxter hit a Spanish Fly. He almost got the pin after flying from the top rope and connecting with a 450. Kushida locked in the Hoverboard for the victory. After the match, O’Reilly entered the ring and challenged Kushida to a match next week, which he accepted.
Winner: Kushida (Still Cruiserweight Champion) Rating: 7/10
The Million Dollar Coronation
Ted DiBiase was in the ring and said on Sunday he finally found someone who would take on the million-dollar legacy. After a video package, LA Knight appeared in the parking lot with a cigar in his mouth. He headed to the ring and said that we don’t always get to meet our heroes. He seemed genuinely in awe of carrying on DiBiase’s legacy. Knight said to stand in the ring with him right now, made all the pain worth it. He used to watch wrestling with his father as a kid, and he loved watching DiBiase. Knight said he used to wrestle kids in his neighbourhood, and someone was always DiBiase. He said he needed him here tonight so he could say thank you to him. Knight then said it was the greatest moment in his wrestling career, and it was his honour to be named the Million Dollar Champion.
Knight was handed the belt, and both Knight and DiBiase did the famous laugh. The fans chanted for Cameron Grimes. Knight said he had learned so much from DiBiase and that he now had everything he ever wanted. He said it was time to drop everything that he didn’t need and punched DiBiase in the face. He took off his jacket and continued to stomp down Ted DiBiase in the middle of the ring. Cameron Grimes ran down and attacked LA Knight, then checked on Ted DiBiase to see if he was OK. As Knight walked off, Grimes stared him down. People, this was the night where Grimes officially became a face. He told Knight he was going to pay.
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter
Kai got caught with a double kick between the ropes by Carter and Catanzaro. They got in some impressive double teamwork until Gonzalez tagged in. Gonzalez got caught in an octopus submission by Carter, then got splashed in the corner. Catanzaro and Carter continued to work really well together. Catanzaro flew over the ropes onto Kai outside the ring. Carter jumped to the outside and landed on Gonzalez and Kai.
After the break, Gonzalez bent Catanzaro over her knee. Kai hit a kick into Catanzaro’s jaw as Gonzalez charged at her in the corner and hit a sidewalk slam. Kai booted Catanzaro in the jaw once again. Carter tagged in and took out Kai and Gonzalez. She hit a dropkick on Gonzalez and landed on Kai in the same breath. She kicked Kai in the jaw who was resting on the bottom rope. Kai hit a scorpion kick. Gonzalez hit another sidewalk slam on Carter and held her in place as Kai hit a codebreaker.
Catanzaro hit an assisted splash on Kai. Catanzaro and Carter hit their finisher on Kai, but Gonzalez broke it up. Kai hit GTK on Catanzaro and picked up the win.
Winners: Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez Rating: 7.5/10
Tornado Tag Match: Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher vs Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake)
Before the bell rang, all four men went at it. Ciampa and Thatcher threw GYV into each other, then simultaneously beat them down in the centre of the ring. They then locked in submissions, but GYV exited the ring. GYV managed to throw Thatcher outside. They tried to beat down Ciampa, but he hit a double clothesline on them, followed by clotheslines in the corner. Drake jumped off Ciampa’s back to kick Thatcher off the apron. Gibson launched Thatcher into the barricades as Drake continued to beat him down. Gibson threw Ciampa into the fencing on the other side of the ring.
In the ring, Gibson booted Thatcher in the jaw. Off-camera, Ciampa was thrown into the barricade by Drake. Back in the ring, GYV worked on Thatcher. Ciampa ripped Drake off the apron, then clotheslined Gibson over the ropes. Ciampa launched Drake into a steel chair, then did the same to Gibson. He charged into GYV, then threw them both back in the ring.
Ciampa and Thatcher hit a succession of clotheslines into GYV in the corner. After the break, Thatcher hit an uppercut on Drake, but Gibson hit a dropkick on him as Drake held in a submission. Ciampa attacked Gibson from behind then stomped on Drake until he broke the hold. Thatcher hit a catch and release on Gibson, followed by a dropkick on Drake. Ciampa accidentally hit Thatcher. GYV went for a Doomsday Device, but Ciampa stopped it. He hit an Air Raid Crash on Drake off the turnbuckle, then a running knee into Gibson.
Ciampa and Drake traded chops on the apron until Ciampa booted him. GYV hit a Doomsday Device outside the ring, with Drake jumping through the ropes to do so. Thatcher and Gibson traded uppercuts in the ring. They kept reversing submissions until Drake attacked Thatcher. GYV hit a backstabber, but Ciampa broke up the pin. GYV beat Ciampa up outside the ring, with Gibson slamming him into the NXT cover of the announce desk.
Ciampa hit an Air Raid Crash on Gibson on top of the announce desk. Thatcher and Ciampa finished off Drake with a Fairy Tale Ending and joint submission to pick up the win.
Winners: Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher Rating: 8.5/10
What Else Went Down
– Grizzled Young Veterans cut a promo backstage. Gibson talked about growing up in working-class areas of England, and they were ready for the tornado tag match.
– Backstage, Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole were being separated by officials. Regal said they would face each other at Great American Bash, and that next week they would face opponents of their choosing. They broke free of the officials and started to attack one another. Samoa Joe pushed O’Reilly, and Cole knocked Joe out the way to attack O’Reilly. Joe put Cole in the Coquina Clutch and made him pass out. Joe said to officials that once Cole had woken up, he expected him to give Regal their answer.
– Santos Escobar was alone backstage. He said how the North American Championship was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. He said he was coming for Bronson Reed, one on one. He ended by saying he would be the next champion.
– Franky Monet was backstage being interviewed. She announced she would have the encore of her debut performance next week. She then walked up to Jessi Kamea and Aliyah and said they would have won their match at their recent TakeOver appearance if it wasn’t for Robert Stone. Stone walked up as Monet smiled and walked away.
– Mercedes Martinez was backstage watching what happened to her at NXT TakeOver: In Your House. She told the whole of Tian Sha she was waiting for them, and she’d beat every one of them.
– Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai were being interviewed. Gonzalez said Hartwell and LeRae should hold onto their titles really tight because Kai wants gold, and for her, one title just isn’t enough. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart were being held back by officials as Kai and Gonzalez walked to the ring for their match.
– Ever-Rise were mocking Hit Row backstage.
– Io Shirai walked to the ring and said she was back. Shirai was then interrupted by Candice LeRae. LeRae said it was back to the bottom for Shirai. She said she still can’t stand Shirai, and she picked the wrong time to screw with her. Hartwell attacked Shirai from behind, but Shirai fought them off. She hit the 619 on Hartwell but was stopped by LeRae for attacking her again. LeRae told Hartwell to hit an elbow drop onto the announce table from the top turnbuckle, but Zoey Stark ran in and attacked her. Shirai dropkicked LeRae and Hartwell off the top rope as they walked off.
– McKenzie Mitchell asked Regal and Joe about how the order had been restored, but the segment cut to Ciampa and Thatcher bumping into MSK who wished them good luck in their match. They knocked the popcorn out of MSK’s hand and walked to the ring.
– McKenzie Mitchell finally grabbed Regal and Joe. Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory interrupted. Gargano said Joe was exactly what this place needed, and reminded Regal about how he snapped his pencil and Regal lost his mind. Joe told them to get out. Pete Dunne walked in and stared down Samoa Joe.
– Ever-Rise vs Hit Row was made official for next week.
– Regal and Joe finally got to talk and said this night would be the first of many good nights in NXT.
After The Bell
If it wasn’t for Samoa Joe and William Regal being amazing in the opening section, the Million Dollar Coronation, or the main event, this week’s NXT was pretty bad. Apart from Grizzled Young Veterans and Ciampa & Thatcher killing it at the end, every other match wasn’t particularly exciting. Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter looked impressive, but for me, it was a disappointing run of action. Samoa Joe coming back to NXT had been keeping social media abuzz over the last 48 hours. I’m so happy Regal isn’t going anywhere, but I honestly thought it was goodbye by the way he was acting at the start. A superb performance by one of the greatest Superstars to ever step foot in a ring.
There wasn’t much else that I enjoyed this week. I think that Robert Stone is awful, and getting Franky Monet involved in a storyline with him is a bad call. The Tian Sha and Mercedes Martinez angle is dull, and Ever-Rise need to get off my television screen. NXT is stumbling at the moment, and I’m worried about where it’s going. I miss the days when they only had a small roster, but they utilised everyone on it.
Star of the Show: Samoa Joe Overall Rating: 7/10
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