Now that NXT Champion Karrion Kross’ Monday Night RAW debacle has simmered down, the black-and-gold brand has adopted another notorious headline. It isn’t Adam Cole’s fumbled contractual status, it’s tonight’s Love Her or Lose Her match. Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis battle over Indi Hartwell in NXT’s latest pre-taped episode on Syfy!
Hit Row vs Legado del Fantasma
Ashonte “Thee” Adonis and Top Dolla of Hit Row versus Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza of LDF is tonight’s opening matchup. Hit Row takes opening control until Santos Escobar makes a ringside distraction before commercial, and Wilde retains the momentum afterwards. LDF is very overlooked, but for now, they’re fitting ragdolls for the massive Top Dolla. He initiates the comeback before Escobar blatantly attacks with a steel chair, which results in a disqualification finish. Escobar and LDF continue the attack on Isaiah “Swerve” Scott until B-Fab, Adonis, and Top Dolla make the save. The preceding bout was decent, but the aftermath was much more exciting.
Winners: Hit Row
Match Rating: 2.5/5
General Manager William Regal brings — count ‘em — five security guards to “stay” with Samoa Joe backstage in case Karrion Kross gets touchy tonight.
Ridge Holland vs Ikemen Jiro
Brickhouse Holland makes his in-ring return tonight against Jiro, coming back from a gruesome leg injury. Holland has clearly recovered, looking mighty swole, while pouncing the opposition around the ring. He somehow gets an abnormally loud heel reaction by stripping Jiro from his blazer and quickly slams him for three. Afterwards, Holland’s cornermen Oney Lorcan and Pete Dunne enter the ring; Dunne sends a message to Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher as the brickhouse stands tall.
Winner: Ridge Holland
Match Rating: –
Franky Monet is interviewed backstage about Robert Stone’s interference last week. Monet demands a “rebuild” to the Monet-Kamea tandem, and Stone reluctantly tags along.
Bobby Fish vs Roderick Strong w/ Diamond Mine
Former Undisputed ERA brethren squaring off should be more important. Fish and Strong, under their signature armbands, ran the brand. Tonight though, they’re simply on third. Nevertheless, main event or midcard, they’re top-tier grapplers and prove it before picture-in-picture hits. The bout is mainly characterized by Fish’s striking game, which earns him majority control, but Strong counters with his all-rounder style. Strong capitalizes on a momentary hesitation with his finishing End of Heartache for three.
Winner: Roderick Strong
Match Rating: 3.5/5
LA Knight and his butler Cameron Grimes prepare backstage, and the teammates have a conversation about having each other’s backs. That is, before Grimes is forced to shine Knight’s boots.
LA Knight and Cameron Grimes vs Grizzled Young Veterans
If Ikemen Jiro wrestling in a blazer was something, Grimes tonight is wrestling in a full tuxedo. Before the match, GYV talks some smack, and it’s like listening to nails on a chalkboard. The experienced duo takes advantage of Grimes, but the fan favorite makes the desperation crawl; however, Knight refuses the tag. Grimes makes a triumphant two-on-one comeback, but Ticket to Mayhem from GYV earns James Drake and Zack Gibson the victory. The winners’ over-the-top victory screech might’ve made this bout worth it.
Winners: Grizzled Young Veterans
Match Rating: 2/5
“The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase makes his way ringside, giving Grimes some words of encouragement. DiBiase’s involvement with young Grimes has been an interesting ride.
A super nostalgic video package recaps Samoa Joe’s game-changing first stint with NXT. 2015-2017 were better times for NXT, weren’t they?
Another package plays, this time covering Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai’s relationship. They’ll compete for the NXT Women’s Championship at NXT TakeOver: 36, and Kai pulls a Dolph Ziggler saying, “It should’ve been me!” Although she was, Kai is “nobody’s sidekick”.
Backstage, Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae react to the Love Her or Lose Her match. Tonight, Gargano will “end InDex”.
Adam Cole is “not medically cleared,” says commentator Vic Joseph. Footage replays Kyle O’Reilly’s brainbuster atop the steel steps, and Joseph announces a face-to-face encounter next week.
Trey Baxter vs Joe Gacy – NXT Breakout Tournament First Round Match
The competitors carry opposite styles, but both Baxter and Gacy are incredibly crisp from the get-go. The brawler Gacy throws stiff blows, but Baxter recuperates with three consecutive dives. Gacy comes back with a cannonball and positions Baxter up top. However, the latter reverses and delivers a crazy 450 stomp to win. Although only Baxter advances forward, both wrestlers had very impressive showings.
Winner: Trey Baxter
Match Rating: 2.5/5
The NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions are eating out at a Japanese restaurant. Io Shirai orders the meal, but Zoey Stark doesn’t appreciate the wasabi — although she takes the bill. And for some extra comedy, the waitress explains that she isn’t from Japan, but instead from Kansas. What in the Monday Night Raw?..
Indi Hartwell is torn between family and “true love”. Johnny Gargano battles Dexter Lumis in a Love Her or Lose Her match next.
The NXT Champion Karrion Kross storms the announce desk and provokes Samoa Joe to appear. Samoa Joe fights through all five aforementioned security guards as the Capitol Wrestling Center erupts. Kross, however, runs back to Mondays.
A special Prime Target recaps WALTER versus Ilja Dragunov. It was arguably 2020’s match of the year, and at NXT TakeOver: 36, the rematch goes down. Regarding the video package itself — what a beautiful piece of work!
The NXT Cruiserweight Champion Kushida says “you got it” in response to Roderick Strong’s title hunt. It’ll be good!
Johnny Gargano vs Dexter Lumis
That’s right, it’s a Love Her or Lose Her match between Gargano and Lumis with Indi Hartwell’s free will in contention. Strict daddy Gargano suplexes Lumis before Hartwell appears ringside, and a side conversation allows a momentum change. Lumis slithers under this ring and Hartwell follows, but Gargano and Candice LeRae pull them out preceding picture-in-picture. The intensity picks up with Lumis’ leg drop and Gargano’s outside dive before punches are exchanged. Gargano avoids a springboard elbow and cinches the Gargano Escape, but Lumis inadvertently knocks down Hartwell. This allows Gargano to capitalize with an outside DDT and One Final Beat for three. InDex is over! Well, actually, Hartwell runs towards Lumis, and InDex makes out before show’s end.
Winner: Johnny Gargano
Match Rating: 3.5/5
Capitol Wrestling Center
Quite honestly, the Prime Target video package of WALTER and Ilja Dragunov stole the show. It was grand, moving, and incredibly well done. Credit where credit is due though, Gargano and Lumis exceeded expectations. But between InDex, Japanese dinners, Robert Stone, and butler shenanigans, the episode was overrun with “graphic stupidity”, making NXT tonight’s biggest Lose Her.