Poppy started the night off with a pretty banging cover of “Stand and Deliver,” and things miraculously didn’t go downhill afterwords. Night 1 was a pretty entertaining show, and NXT managed to keep that going with a second successful night of false finishes, surprise victors, and the death of Adam Cole (again).
NXT Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders: Killian Dane and Drake Maverick def. Breezango (Kickoff)
Extra tag team action started us off here for night two. Breezango were pirates for this one, which was actually an extremely good look for them, but then again, what isn’t. Dane and Breeze started us off, where the Beast of Belfast wasn’t very impressed with Tyler’s leather getup. Both teams made the tag and Maverick tried to show off his dance skills, which only angered Fandango. Maverick popped the hat on an unimpressed Dane, who was frozen from embarrassment until he tossed Maverick right into Dango. A couple near falls from Breezango, but Maverick continued to kick out. Breeze grounded Maverick while Fandango grinded on the apron; the tag team synchronicity is out of this world. Maverick made the comeback with some right hands and knocked Dango off the apron before making the tag to his partner. Dane cleaned house, delivering a slam to both men, but Breeze broke the pinning attempt. A huricanrana off the top rope wiped out Fandango, and Dane came in to power bomb Maverick into the cover to score the win. The Dane and Maverick formula only has so many variations, but this was a solid match.
NXT Unified Cruiserweight Championship: Santos Escobar def. Jordan Devlin (Ladder Match)
Santos Escobar came out looking like a million bucks. Jordan Devlin looked like your kid brother who just won a game of Mario Kart for the first time. They started out brawling right away, trading punches until Devlin dropped Escobar with a clothesline. They fought to the outside and Devlin landed a moonsault that looked like it hurt him way more than Escobar as he tumbled back into the table. Devlin pulled out a table and used it to knock the champ down, then tried to remember how to climb. Escobar pulled him down and ran him right into the ladder. An Irish whip sent Devlin into the steel once more, bouncing him to the outside. Santos rammed the ladder into Devlin in the corner, then again took at least a full minute to set up a basic household tool. He propped another ladder on the turnbuckle, but Devlin reversed and sent him face first into it. Escobar then landed a dive directly into a ladder, crushing both men.
Devlin barely made it back into the ring and powerbombed Santos into a ladder, and we again got both guys exchanging strikes in the center. Escobar got a knee, but Devlin landed a Spanish Fly and set up a ladder in the corner; wrestlers are notoriously bad at spatial awareness. He knocked Escobar off the rungs and hit another moonsault. The Irish Ace tried to climb as slowly as he could manage until Legado del Fantasma ran in to save the day. They beat down Devlin at ringside and allowed Escobar to make his own torturous climb—but Devlin threw a ladder right into the champ! They battled it out atop the ladders, until Devlin landed a Spanish Fly from the top. Devlin got a hand on the belt, but Escobar remembered how his legs worked and ascended the ladder. A headbutt threw Devlin from the top, and Escobar seized both belts. A surprising, but thoroughly welcome, result.
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon (c) def. The Way
Shotzi went after Candice to start, firing away in the corner until she was blocked off by Indi. Hartwell got a one count on a back breaker; Candice tagged in to get the same result. The Way continued to isolate Blackheart until Shotzi got an enziguri on Candice for some separation. Ember tagged in and dropped both the heels, hitting a “suck it” before nailing LeRae with a right hand. Moon wanted The Eclipse but Indi ran interference and tagged in. She superplexed all 3 women off the top and earned a 2 count on Moon. A crossbody from Blackheart took down LeRae and Hartwell, and she followed up with a suplex to dump Candice. Moon tagged in to hold the ropes for her friend to make a dive, which felt a little unnecessary, but sure. A double team from the faces took down Candice, but the Disney VIP Club legend just barely kicked out. Some tandem offense from The Way crushed Shotzi with a face buster, only for Ember to break things up. Quick tags from Moon and Blackheart lead to The Eclipse and a Senton onto Indi to win. Another great match from these teams, although I think their Dusty match flowed a little better. That might have just been a timing issue. Indi and Candice continue to work well together, and Ember and Shotzi are solid picks to carry on these new tag titles.
North American Championship: Johnny Gargano (c) def. Bronson Reed
Big boy Bronson Reed knocked off five other dudes last night to become the guy who gets to watch Johnny Gargano unzip his Iron Man jacket. Lucky man. Gargano tried to speed things up early on, but Reed wasn’t fazed. A shoulder tackle dropped Johnny and the Aussie rocked him with a slam. Johnny fired off with shots, but was again taken down with a chop. He started to work Reed again but was caught in a crossbody attempt. Gargano threw the colossus into the announce table and managed to take over, climbing up the ropes to land a series of rights. Johnny targeted the midsection and got Reed down to the mat, kneeing him in the ribs. Bronson came back with another huge slam, but clutched at his middle and couldn’t capitalize. Johnny managed a backstabber for a near fall of his own, and still Reed wouldn’t go down.
The champ hit a Poisonrana in a tribute to his favorite wrestler, then locked in the Garga-No Escape. Reed powered through to grab the bottom rope, much to Johnny’s frustration. The Razor’s Edge sent Johnny flying, and Reed tried for the Tsunami, but the pool was empty. Reed hit a lariat and wanted the Tsunami again, but Theory jumped up for the distraction. The champ took advantage, nailed Reed in the face and attempted a huricanrana once more, but Reed blocked it. A slam from Reed should have ended things, but Theory propped his friend’s foot up on the rope. Johnny tried a dive to the outside, only to get caught by Reed, who threw him into his protégé. Reed ate two super kicks before firing back one of his own, but missed on the splash. Mr. TakeOver hit two One Final Beats to retain. This was fun stuff, although it did suffer from some miscoordinated spots—not sure the impetus behind having a guy like Bronson Reed work a Gargano style match. Still, when in his element, Reed should be a big star in the next year.
NXT Championship: Karrion Kross def. Finn Bálor (c)
I completely forgot this match was happening until they aired the promo vignette. Kross overpowered Bálor in a lock up, but the Prinxe didn’t back down. Karrion dropped the champ with a shoulder tackle, and the Irishman laughed it off. Bálor slapped the big man, who retaliated by driving him into the corner and railing into his abs. He tried for a third whip, but Bálor sidestepped and sent him into the post. Finn took control and targeted the arm by twisting Kross in a submission. The Doomsday man powered out to land a suplex, then hung Finn in the Tree of Woe. The champ seemed like he was fading, but suddenly trapped Kross in an arm bar. He went after the elbow again, grinding Kross down on the mat. Finn stomped on the challenger, forcing him into Scarlett’s loving arms. Bálor went for the midsection, but Kross caught him with a kick. Combination offense got him a 2 count on the champ; Finn refused to let tall, ripped guys have the last word here. Bálor countered the suplex into a double stomp and forced Kross into an abdominal stretch. Again, Kross powered out, only to be met with a sling blade. A drop kick laid out Kross and Finn went up top to nail the Coup de Grace- but Kross kicked out! He got Bálor in the Straightjacket submission and refused to let go. Bálor escaped to lock in a submission of his own; lots of screaming from both Kross and Scarlett here. Some might say too much. Kross countered with another Doomsday suplex and a blow to the back of the neck, and the three count keeps Orlando’s Party City in business for another few months.
I don’t have an opinion on this. Kross is… Whatever. He’s a man who wrestles. Excited to see which 60s horror film Scarlett bases her next entrance outfit on. That’ll be the real attraction for Kross’ reign, let’s be honest.
Kyle O’Reilly def. Adam Cole (Unsanctioned Match)
They charged right at each other immediately, Kyle getting the upper hand with some big kicks in the corner. Adam fired back with one of his own, but got hit with a crossbody and locked into an arm bar on the outside. O’Reilly brought out a chair and Cole gratefully took a seat while Kyle landed kicks to the chest. Back in the ring, Adam dumped Kyle off the top turnbuckle, sending him neckfirst into the apron. Cole grabbed a chair emblazoned with the UE logo and tattooed Kyle’s back before running him into the light post. He jammed the chair onto O’Reilly’s neck, then executed a neck breaker right onto the UE symbol. The physical and emotional pain.
Kyle managed a few knee strikes, but Adam hit another neck breaker for a near fall. A leaping drop kick off the apron knocked down Cole on the outside, and a shot through the steel chair got O’Reilly a 2-count. Adam tied a chain around the ropes and tried to wind the other end around Kyle’s head, to no success. Instead, O’Reilly wrapped the chain around his own foot and kicked Cole in the face. A shining wizard sent Kyle through several chairs, but still the Canadian sensation kicked out. Cole dragged O’Reilly around the outside and set up for a suplex into the steps, but Kyle countered into a Guillotine. O’Reilly thought about suplexing Cole into the steel, but couldn’t do it. They traded punches on the commentary table, with Kyle landing a suplex that looked to wipe them both out. Kyle staggered after his opponent but was met with a TV monitor to the face. Cole pulled out a tool box and immediately went for the pliers, but Kyle blocked the shot to the face. O’Reilly got the baybay in a triangle hold with the chain, but Cole used the tire iron to force him away.
Both guys crawled into the chairs and yelled at each other, which honestly would have been a great way to end this. They slugged it out some more until Adam hit a low blow. He propped Kyle’s head in a chair, but the ref tried to warn him off. Cole hit him because he doesn’t play by the rules, then landed Panama Sunrise, but there was no ref to count it. You know, because of his actions in the previous 30 seconds. The ref, who was completely passed out after one punch, just laid there as Adam assessed the situation. He decided on throwing a chair into Kyle’s head on the ramp. O’Reilly showed some signs of life by leaping on his opponent, but Adam dove through the stage to get him off. After being helpfully pulled from his hole in the stage, O’Reilly crawled through the ring and fell out the other side, conveniently located next to the steel stairs. Cole delivered a brain buster onto the metal, the recovered ref came to count, and still Kyle kicked out. Cole wanted the Last Shot, but Kyle ducked, countering into a submission. Cole grabbed the chain and landed a punch to free himself; he tried for another Panama Sunrise, but O’Reilly reversed into a neck breaker. He revealed his own pasty knee and landed the Last Shot, but Adam kicked out. Another chair shot and Cole set O’Reilly up on the turnbuckle. Some verbal insults and Kyle landed a low blow, then wrapped the chain over his leg and executed the diving knee to Adam’s neck through the chair to finally score the win.
I’m wiped, guys. This was like if a classic Cole main event had a baby with a Ciampa main event, and Johnny Gargano helped deliver it into this world. The wrestling was good, but there’s only so much I can take. Good for Kool Kyle, he deserves it.
I like Kyle O'Reilly winning a big one, that's a nice feeling. Karrion Kross is.... Not.
- I will accept this Santos Escobar win with my bare hands, truly.
- I still enjoy Johnny’s heel act- although Theory doesn’t seem to add much of anything to the partnership or The Way, especially when compared to Hartwell.
- I really dig all of Scarlett’s spooky outfits. I’d dig it more if they ever let her do anything outside of pull faces at the hard cam.
- Blackheart and Moon are a good team, but I'm continuously impressed how well LeRae and Hartwell work together. Tag titles should be on the horizon for The Way this summer.
- Drake Maverick is always a fun time, as is Breezango in costumes. They really pulled off the pirate look.
- Both O’Reilly and Cole’s new music sucks ass. If I wanted to hear four beats slapped together I'd listen to my 15 year old cousin's band.
- I get that “big muscle men” in wrestling aren’t my thing, but Kross just does absolutely nothing for me. He’s just a dude with tattoos. And where does Balor go from here? Back to Raw? Yikes.
- Candice has to win a title eventually, right? Just mathematically speaking?
- The main event was very good, and I really enjoy both these guys, but nothing about this show needed to go past 10:15. Tighten it up.