This week’s NXT featured plenty of matches featuring staples of the brand, along with some new blood. The Robert Stone Brand looked to beat the returning Io Shirai and Zoey Stark, The Way faced off against Pete Dunne and Oney Lorcan, and Franky Monet had her ‘encore’ match with Elektra Lopez. Chaos continued to erupt, but could Samoa Joe do the job he was brought in to do? The main event saw Kushida face Kyle O’Reilly, Hit Row were in action, and there was a big surprise as the show went off-air. First off, Adam Cole took on Carmelo Hayes.
Adam Cole vs Carmelo Hayes
Before the match, Cole grabbed the mic and talked about facing O’Reilly at The Great American Bash and being choked out by Samoa Joe. He said there wasn’t any way in hell he would pick his opponent tonight. He told Joe that since he’s been gone, there’s a new king on this brand and you’re looking at him. Cole refused to fight and was about to walk off when Carmelo Hayes walked out. Hayes said Cole might not know who he is, but he knows who Cole is. He said if anyone is going to change his mind, it would be him. Cole asked how he planned on doing this. Hayes said there’s a famous phrase that goes something like this…”ruthless aggression.” Hayes knocked Cole down then flew over the ropes to take him out at ringside. As he tried to get back in the ring, Cole booted him in the face. Cole stomped Hayes down in the corner then hit a suplex. He continued to wear down Hayes with a neckbreaker, but Hayes hit a facebuster and took control.
Cole knocked Hayes off the turnbuckle and to the outside, then began throwing him into the barricades as the show went to commercial. After the break, Cole had Hayes in a headlock. He launched Hayes into the turnbuckle after knocking him off his feet. Cole slapped Hayes in the face and started to trash-talk, but Hayes found momentum and pump kicked him in the face. Cole got planted in the mat after Hayes countered an attempted suplex. Hayes hit an enzuigiri and a codebreaker, but Cole kicked out of a pin attempt. Cole nailed a backstabber but got caught with a superkick as he jumped off the turnbuckle. Hayes jumped off the ropes, but Cole hit a superkick of his own. He finished off Hayes with Panama Sunrise for the victory. Credit to Hayes who sold that finisher superbly.
Winner: Adam Cole Rating: 7.5/10
The Way Welcome The New Management
Gargano said it was exciting times in NXT, thanks to the new management in town. He said we don’t need the leather jacket-wearing doomsday guy, but the headband-wearing family man. He said for the 57 days he was NXT Champion, it was paradise, “chef’s kiss.” Gargano claimed he outclassed Kross in their match, and he could outwrestle him any day. Pete Dunne walked out with Oney Lorcan. Dunne said to Lorcan that “this geezer is stupid.” He said Gargano must be mad. Gargano said Dunne was trying to provoke chaos, and they don’t partake in shenanigans anymore. “There are rules for a reason, Peter.” He put the microphone down and walked off. Theory stood on the apron and said to Dunne that he was watching him. Dunne grabbed his fingers and snapped them.
Jessi Kamea & Aliyah W/ Robert Stone vs Zoey Stark & Io Shirai
Shirai started off against Aliyah. Shirai got in some chops, then landed a nice basement dropkick. She delivered a double knee into Aliyah’s chest in the turnbuckle, then tagged in Stark. Kamea tagged in and hit a rolling floor kick. Stark stomped on Kamea’s back but ended up getting caught with an elbow drop off the ropes. Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell walked out from the back. Aliyah hit a dropkick on Stark and went for a pin, but she kicked out. After the break, Kamea threw Aliyah onto Stark. Aliyah wrapped her legs around Stark’s body to try and get her to submit, transitioning into a front face lock. Shirai and Kamea tagged in. Shirai planted her face into the mat, then hit a 619. She hit a missile dropkick, but Kamea kicked out at two.
Kamea kicked Shirai into the chest and tagged in Aliyah who almost got the win after a bridge northern lights suplex. Stark tagged in and hit a double dropkick on Kamea and Aliyah. Shirai tagged in and hit the moonsault on Kamea to pick up the win. After the match, Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai walked out. Kai said those tag tiles are theirs. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart also came out and said they were number one contenders. All three teams ran to the ring and fought each other as LeRae and Hartwell watched. Samoa Joe walked down the ramp and ordered security to break it up.
Winners: Zoey Stark & Io Shirai Rating: 7/10
The Way (Johnny Gargano & Austin Theory) vs Pete Dunne & Oney Lorcan
Gargano got in some great offence against Lorcan. Dunne tagged in and Johnny Wrestling did the same. He tagged in Theory but hurt his injured hand which allowed Dunne to turn the tide. He stepped on his injured hand then stomped on his head. Dunne chopped across Theory’s chest, then tagged in Lorcan. Theory flew over the ropes from the apron and stomped on Lorcan’s chest, then hit a suplex. Gargano tagged in and they hit a double elbow. Gargano landed an inverted atomic drop, then held Dunne up so Theory could hit a dropkick. Dunne drove his fist into Theory’s ribs as he held him on the mat. Dunne continued to manipulate Theory’s digits, but he got up and hit a picture-perfect dropkick. He went to land on Lorcan at ringside but missed. Dunne then knocked him off his feet, picked him up, and they delivered a double powerslam onto the apron.
Gargano finally tagged in and took out both Dunne and Lorcan. He hit a slingshot spear on Lorcan, then a tope con hilo on Dunne. Theory hit a seated springboard Spanish Fly. Gargano countered the Bitter End and hit a clothesline. Lorcan hit a blockbuster on Theory and tagged in Dunne who continued to manipulate Theory’s joints. Gargano knocked Lorcan onto Dunne to break it up. Gargano got caught with a snap German suplex. He went for a slingshot spear on Dunne, but Dunne punched him. Lorcan nearly got the pin following a unique double team move, but Theory broke it up. Theory went for a powerbomb but Dunne nailed an enzuigiri. Gargano hit a superkick on Lorcan then flew through the ropes to hit a DDT on Dunne. He headed back to the ring and hit One Final Beat on Lorcan for the victory. After the match, Karrion Kross attacked Gargano from behind with his knockout punch, then walked away.
Winners: The Way Rating: 8.5/10
Elektra Lopez vs Franky Monet
Monet controlled early on, but Lopez hit a powerslam and a couple of elbows. Monet hit a knee strike and then followed it up with some grounded haymakers. Lopez hit a back elbow, but Monet hit the Road to Valhalla for the victory.
Winner: Franky Monet Rating: 4/10
Ever-Rise (Matt Martel & Chase Parker) vs Hit Row (Top Dolla & Ashante “Thee” Adonis W/ B-Fab & Isaiah “Swerve” Scott)
Top Dolla knocked down Martel and knocked Parker off the apron. Adonis tagged in and hit a dropkick on Parker. Dolla tagged in and almost slammed Parker but he got out. He went to clothesline Ever-Rise, but they lowered the rope and he fell out of the ring. Dolla threw Parker into the barricade, then squashed Martel in the corner. Adonis hit a superkick on Martel. Hit Row hit a powerbomb cutter finisher for the win. Scott hit Parker with a House Call after the match.
Winners: Hit Row Rating: 5/10
Kushida vs Kyle O’Reilly
Both guys tried to get an advantage early on by reversing various mat submissions. O’Reilly hit a boot, and as Kushida hit a handstand elbow drop, O’Reilly countered with an armbar. Kushida twisted O’Reilly’s arm in between his ankles. Kushida hit some body-shots, then they continued to reverse takedowns until they headbutted each other. After the break, O’Reilly had Kushida in a headlock. He hit a jumping knee into Kushida’s stomach, then went for a body scissors headlock. O’Reilly got caught with a clothesline and an atomic drop. Kushida went for a Hoverboard Lock, but O’Reilly broke free. Both guys continued to counter each other’s moves until Kushida hit various body kicks. Kushida hit a bridge suplex, but O’Reilly got a foot on the ropes.
O’Reilly locked in a heel hook, but Kushida went for a bridge to get the pin. O’Reilly hit a brainbuster, but Kushida kicked out of the pin. O’Reilly climbed the turnbuckle, but Kushida knocked him off. He drove O’Reilly’s left arm into the turnbuckle from the apron. Kushida hit a suplex on the apron. O’Reilly and Kushida traded blows as both men collapsed to the mat. Kushida got the Hoverboard Lock in the centre of the ring, but O’Reilly rolled him up for a surprise victory. After the match, they embraced in the centre of the ring. Cole ran out and attacked O’Reilly. They brawled near the announce table as security broke them up. In the ring, Kushida was being attacked by Roderick Strong. As the show went off the air, Strong, Malcolm Bivens, Tyler Rust, and Hideki Suzuki stood over Kushida, with Bivens announcing that they were Diamond Mine.
Winner: Kyle O’Reilly Rating: 8/10
What Else Went Down
– Franky Monet was backstage with Aliyah and Jessi Kamea. Robert Stone walked in and Monet said she was just saying tonight would be a great night for the Robert Stone Brand. As Stone went to high five her, Monet’s dog Presley snapped at him.
– Zoey Stark was being interviewed and said she was paying back Io Shirai for helping her kickstart her NXT career. Shirai walked in and said she respected Stark but didn’t like her.
– LA Knight was by his pool and talked about his actions from last week. He said he didn’t need an old man like DiBiase riding his coattails. He said it turns out Grimes actually cared about the old man and not the Million Dollar Championship. He said he would drop Grimes on his head. A little bit later, Cameron Grimes arrived in the parking lot where some NXT recruits welcomed him. One of them said he heard Grimes was in the care home checking on DiBiase. Grimes punched him to the ground and walked off.
– McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Adam Cole about his match with Kyle O’Reilly. He said he would do to O’Reilly what he did to Hayes tonight. Regal walked in and told Cole not to provoke Samoa Joe. Cole got angry and said he would do everyone a favour and get out of his hair.
– An image appeared on screen featuring a battery charge gauge. It was sat at 31%. It appeared later at 40%. Before the main event, it showed at 50%.
– Gargano and Theory were backstage where they spoke to Regal. Gargano talked about being model citizens and presented the GM with a new pencil. Gargano asked if Joe was going to choke Dunne out, but Regal said they were going to have a tag match with them instead.
– It was announced that MSK would defend their gold against Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher at The Great American Bash. Later on, it was announced they would meet face-to-face next week.
– Karrion Kross bumped into Samoa Joe backstage. Kross mentioned the rules about being provoked, to which Samoa said, “but of course, champ.” Dunne then walked up to Joe and they stared each other down.
– It was announced there would be a triple threat number one contender match for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships next week between Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez, Io Shirai & Zoey Stark, and Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart.
– Reed was being interviewed and said he didn’t understand Santos Escobar. Hit Row interrupted him. Top Dolla said Reed wasn’t even from North America, as B-Fab and Adonis talked trash about Ever-Rise. Ever-Rise were then shown hiding behind a tree and bush in balaclavas from earlier in the day. They were about to spray paint Top Dolla’s car, but he wound the window down and they ran off.
– Mercedes Martinez was told about a mixed tag match next week she would be in against Xia Li and Boa. Xia Li attacked her from behind. Jake Atlas broke it up, then told Martinez he’d team up with her.
– During the main event, it was announced that Cameron Grimes was going to be in action next week.
After The Bell
After a lacklustre week last Tuesday, this week’s NXT was much better. The big surprise of Diamond Mine being revealed as Roderick Strong, Tyler Rust, Hideki Suzuki, and Malcolm Bivens was intriguing. It’s quite the mish-mash of talent, but Bivens is a great talker. It’s going to be interesting to see how Strong plays a role within the faction, especially as he was always second fiddle to Adam Cole in Undisputed Era. On the surface it feels like a bunch of talent has been thrown together, but I’ll certainly wait to see how it plays out over the coming weeks.
Kyle O’Reilly and Kushida had a great match. Much like Drew Gulak and Daniel Bryan’s match from SmackDown last year, these two put on an absolute clinic. Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory also had a brilliant showdown in the ring. Gargano is magnificent on the mic, but he’s even better in the ring. It looks as though he may be getting a title opportunity with Karrion Kross, but with Dunne sniffing around, nothing is clear at the moment. With only two weeks until The Great American Bash, only two matches are official.
Franky Monet had a disappointing match tonight. She didn’t gel well at all with Elektra Lopez, but it was more to do with Lopez having a bit of ring rust. She had competed in a WWE ring before, tagging with Kris Statlander of AEW as The Brooklyn Belles back in 2019, facing The Iiconics for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships. She also faced Lacey Evans in NXT back in 2018 as her real name Karissa Rivera. Whilst she signed to NXT at the same time as Franky Monet, this is her first time on TV, so I’ll cut her a little slack. Monet is a superb wrestler, so let’s call it a one-off for now.
Finally, some predictions for the other three matches at The Great American Bash. It looks as though LA Knight vs Cameron Grimes is going to happen. They had a fantastic match at NXT TakeOver: In Your House, and I’d happily see it again. Karrion Kross is either going to face Johnny Gargano or Pete Dunne, or potentially both. Raquel Gonzalez is invested in the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship picture, so we may see her at the Bash in some capacity. That is if she and Dakota Kai can win next week’s triple threat match.
Star of the Show: Johnny Gargano Overall Rating: 7.5/10
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