WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from June 13
The war between The Undisputed Era, United Kingdom champion Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch was front-and-center as NXT presented the final episode of its weekly television show ahead of Saturday's TakeOver: Chicago II live special.
Wednesday night, Dunne defended his title against NXT tag team champion Kyle O'Reilly in a hard-hitting battle for dominance.
That match may have headlined the show, but Lars Sullivan's monstrous display of strength and fury not only left NXT champion Aleister Black lying but also set up the behemoth as the favorite to leave Chicago with his first world title.
Throw in a bout pitting Kassius Ohno against EC3 and the return to in-ring action of the confident Bianca Belair, and the developmental brand of WWE delivered a quality program so close to another opportunity to steal the spotlight from its main roster counterpart.
The War Raiders in Action
Hanson and Rowe, The War Raiders, kicked off the show with a tag team bout against Ricky Martinez and Justin Storm.
It was short, one-sided domination of the unknowns.
A poor attempt by Storm to be brave and take the fight to his opponents earned him a one-way trip to agony.
The guillotine leg drop from Hanson picked up the win.
After the match, The War Raiders called out The Mighty (formerly known as TM61), hinting at their first real rivalry.
The War Raiders defeated Martinez and Storm
Watching Hanson and Rowe demolish the opposition is always fun, but the tease at the end of the match of a rivalry between The War Raiders and The Mighty earned the grade here.
Two big, nasty guys paying back the hubris of a heel team is an easy story to tell and should be a fun one to follow.
Kassius Ohno vs. EC3
This was the product of a backstage vignette a week ago in which EC3 interrupted a Kassius Ohno photoshoot and insulted the veteran competitor.
EC3 seized control Wednesday night by countering a senton attempt with his knees. He built momentum until Ohno fought his way back into the match, scoring that patented running senton on the arena floor.
An alert and determined EC3, though, delivered the One Percent for the win.
EC3 defeated Ohno
This was a hard-fought match in which the outcome was never really in doubt.
EC3 was clearly winning this one, but that does not mean there isn't a reason to be somewhat disappointed in the former TNA heavyweight champion.
One of the hottest free agents signed by the brand in recent months is not featured at all on the TakeOver card. Instead, he was relegated to a throwaway match midway through this week's show. That is a massive disappointment for someone most expect to be NXT champion sooner rather than later.
Here is hoping EC3 finds his story after Saturday's show in Chicago.
Aliyah vs. Bianca Belair
Toronto-born Aliyah was overmatched from the onset, as the more powerful and athletic Bianca Belair wasted little time improving her win-loss record.
The self-proclaimed EST overpowered her opponent, hoisting her overhead in a gorilla press slam that popped the crowd.
A torture-rack facebuster earned Belair a convincing win.
Belair defeated Aliyah
Bianca Belair will be the biggest star in the women's division not named Ronda Rousey or Charlotte Flair within five years.
You heard it here first.
Someone whose charisma is reminiscent of Sasha Banks' and whose athleticism is unmatched by any female performer on the roster, she has the potential to be the biggest female star in NXT and a transcendent Superstar as long as she continues to grow and evolve between the ropes.
Performances such as this one are steps in the right direction.
United Kingdom Championship Match: Pete Dunne vs. Kyle O'Reilly
Two of the most sophisticated mat technicians squared off for the WWE United Kingdom Championship, as The Undisputed Era's Kyle O'Reilly challenged "The Bruiserweight" Pete Dunne.
Both champion and challenger worked the joints and limbs of their opponent before O'Reilly teed off on the injured left leg of Dunne, who crumbled to the mat when attempting to scale the ropes.
Despite the injury, Dunne evaded O'Reilly's attack, even reversing a German suplex attempt by landing on his feet and delivering a kick.
Counters and reversals reigned supreme as two of the most talented and convincing in-ring performers took the NXT faithful on a ride.
O'Reilly trapped Dunne in an ankle lock, but Dunne countered out with a headbutt.
A flurry of rights ensued, and both men were left pron in the middle of the ring moments later.
Dunne survived punishing right hands to deliver the Bitter End and score the successful title defense.
After the match, The Undisputed Era hit the ring and attacked Dunne before Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch made the save and cleared the heels out of the way.
Dunne defeated O'Reilly
What an extraordinary display of professional wrestling from two of the very best in the world.
Dunne is a tour de force of awesome in-ring content at this point, delivering every single time he sets foot inside the squared circle. O'Reilly has been a tag team performer for so long thus far in his NXT run that it is easy to forget there is a reason he was the Ring of Honor world champion.
A stellar match that segued into the final build for Saturday's tag team title match.
Lars Sullivan Obliterates Aleister Black
NXT champion Aleister Black addressed Lars Sullivan to wrap up this week's show.
He admitted Sullivan's power rattled him last week but said Saturday the challenger will fade to black.
Sullivan interrupted the proceedings and made his way to the ring. He delivered three straight Freak Accidents to the NXT champion, leaving him a motionless heap.
Sullivan dragged the unconscious body of his TakeOver opponent out of the ring and up the ramp, depositing it on the announce table. He stood tall to close out the show.
This did a ton to put Sullivan over as a legitimate threat to Black's NXT title.
Does that mean anyone should really believe he will beat the enigmatic champion and take the gold? Of course not. What it does mean, though, is that management sees Sullivan in that role and is perfectly fine booking him to lay out the man it has worked tirelessly to promote to the forefront of the brand.
Black put Sullivan over strong, and it worked.