Following Sunday’s NXT TakeOver: In Your House event, the excitement surrounding the black-and-gold brand wasn’t a product of NXT Champion Karrion Kross’ dominating performance or LA Knight’s crowning as Million Dollar Champion. While those moments were deserving of a shout, the night’s biggest headline came from General Manager William Regal’s ominous, closing message. After losing control of his roster, would he be stepping down as GM?
That question was answered rather quickly as a tearful Regal opened tonight’s show, gratefully reminiscing about his years with NXT. But before any decisions were made, a suited Kross and Scarlett interrupted to “see it and feel it” for themselves. The champion degraded Regal and demanded that he accept defeat before the familiar music hit, and the crowd popped.
Samoa Joe made his highly anticipated return, although he denied Regal’s request to become NXT’s new general manager. Instead, another offer was proposed: Joe can assist and enforce Regal’s authority but cannot get physical… unless provoked. And so, NXT’s enforcer pressured Kross and Scarlett away from the ring, officially beginning Joe’s new role in WWE.
Imperium vs Breezango
Commentary is still shaken up by preceding events as the competitors jockey for position, so to speak. Imperium attempts to gain control with a witty distraction, but Fandango fights back before picture-in-picture. During break though, Imperium works down Fandango and keeps him cornered, and eventually, Tyler Breeze receives the hot tag. After Fabian Aichner intercepts the comeback with a closeline, Breeze pulls a sneaky roll-up to gain the pinfall win, but Imperium attacks post-victory. They deliver their finishing maneuver and cover Breeze with an Imperium flag, but to reiterate, they still lost.
Match Rating: 3/5
Security and WIlliam Regal are struggling and failing to separate Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly until the enforcer, Samoa Joe, steps in. Cole makes the mistake of pushing Joe away, and in response, he’s sent to sleep with a Coquina Clutch. This’ll be very, very fun.
Santos Escobar is upset with Bronson Reed for pouncing him through a barricade — rightfully so — and vows to become North American Champion in one-on-one action.
Trey Baxter vs Kushida (c) – NXT Cruiserweight Championship
“All Heart” Trey Baxter, the former Blake Christian, answers Kushida’s open challenge, and a debut vignette plays beforehand. The champion is a perfect gatekeeper of sorts, extracting the best from his opponents; Baxter is no different, although it’s an excess of high-flying moves. He connects with a nice outside dive before Kyle O’Reilly appears to scout, and after commercial, Baxter levels the playing field with a twisting kick. He hits the Spanish Fly and 450 Splash for two, but the champion recuperates by applying the Hoverboard Lock to gain the submission victory. O’Reilly isn’t here for Baxter though; he’s conversely here to issue a challenge to Kushida for next week. History proves that they’ll have an awesome showing.
Match Rating: 3/5
Franky Monet has “a huge announcement to make,” which is her encore performance next week. Her motives turn to Aliyah and Jessi Kamea of the Robert Stone Brand, and apparently, she’s attempting to throw a wrench between them and Stone.
After break, Mercedes Martinez declares that she’s “the wrong person to mess with,” and she isn’t finished with Boa, Xia Li, and Mei Ying of Tian Sha.
Ted DiBiase returns once more for LA Knight’s coronation as Million Dollar Champion. Amusingly, as Knight delivers a heartfelt message to DiBiase, the audience boos and chants for Cameron Grimes instead. Nevertheless, DiBiase himself places the belt onto Knight, and the twist arrives as the champion proclaims, “Now that I have everything that I want, it’s time to drop what I don’t need.” He punches DiBiase to the canvas and continues to attack him before Grimes makes the triumphant save. And without exaggeration, the reaction for Grimes is the biggest NXT has had in some time. The man is over “to the moon!”
NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai have “unfinished business,” and their intentions are set on tag-team gold.
Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez vs Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter
The former team trash-talks Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart backstage while Samoa Joe nonchalantly tries subduing the heat. They must’ve been affected by his presence or something, because the much, much smaller Catanzaro (in particular) and Carter completely dominate the opening goings. The tables are turned after break, but Carter quickly makes the comeback resulting in a two-count on Kai. The competitors trade double-team maneuvers, and Gonzalez is taken out ringside. Finally though, Kai delivers the GTK on Catanzaro for three. Closing thoughts: it’s almost ridiculous the amount of offense the 6’0” champion takes week after week, especially considering the weaker opposition.
Winners: Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez
Match Rating: 3/5
The extremely Canadian Ever-Rise are rebuilding their miniature house after Hit-Row destroyed it on Sunday. Good for Ever-Rise; they’ve been fighting for screen time.
Io Shirai makes an entrance and addresses the NXT audience, but interrupting her is Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell, who attack her from behind. The Way attempts to send Shirai through the announce desk, but making the save is Zoey Stark. To repurpose an infamous quote from SummerSlam ‘05, “Where the —- was Samoa Joe?”
Don’t forget about Diamond Mine, because it’s “opening next week” — whatever Diamond Mine may be.
McKenzie Mitchell tries getting a word with William Regal and Samoa Joe, but Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory interrupt with “Joe” chants. It takes one “get out” from Joe to send The Way the other way. However, Pete Dunne appears and stares down the enforcer to no end.
Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher vs Grizzled Young Veterans – Tornado Tag Team Match
Zack Gibson attempts his signature pre-match promo, but at last, the opposing duo decides to interfere and shut his trap. As expected, it’s pandemonium from the get-go, and GYV appears to gain early control. Notably, the madlad Ciampa never loses his stamina, meaning GYV gets a pair of closeline chains before picture-in-picture. Commentary claims the competitors are all bloodied up, but literally the only sight of red is on Gibson and James Drake’s red-colored trunks. Nevertheless, Ciampa recuperates with some ruthless strikes and delivers an Avalanche Air Raid Crash for two, but he’s then taken out by GYV’s assisted dive to the outside. After Ciampa heroically saves the pin, he reverses Gibson’s offense and Air Raid Crashes him atop the announce desk, leaving Drake to himself. The Widow’s Bell from Ciampa and simultaneous submissions give “Old Man Ciampa” and “Toothless Timmy” the tap-out victory.
Winners: Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher
Match Rating: 4/5
In the storied NXT parking lot, William Regal tells McKenzie Mitchell that “things are going to be a little different around here.” Samoa Joe adds, “night one of many.” What a duo!
Capitol Wrestling Center
For starters, it’s great to see Samoa Joe back on television again, no less in a prominent position in NXT. With his presence, it obviously adds some spice to the brand’s generally bland weekly programming, and I’m excited to see the numerous interactions and scenarios he’ll have. The roster continues to do things, and notably, The Great American Bash weekly specials will be coming up soon. Good post-TakeOver show.