WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Reaction from April 24
The ongoing rivalry between Johnny Gargano and The Undisputed Era added new layers Wednesday night on WWE Network as the NXT champion battled Roderick Strong in the night's main event.
That high-profile main event was supported by the return of The War Raiders (or Viking Experience...or Viking Raiders) to the brand, a tag team challenge laid down by Vanessa Borne and Aliyah to Candice LeRae, and 205 Live's Humberto Carrillo vs. Jaxson Ryker of The Forgotten Sons.
What went down in those bouts, and how will the outcomes affect the show going forward?
Find out with this recap of Wednesday's broadcast.
Humberto Carrillo vs. Jaxson Ryker
The Forgotten Sons' Jaxson Ryker, accompanied by Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake, battled popular 205 Live star Humberto Carrillo in the night's opening contest.
Ryker was aggressive from the get-go, clubbing away at his smaller opponent. Carrillo survived the onslaught and rolled to the floor. The fight continued out there, with Ryker pummeling the opposition. He sent him into the barricade, then over it.
Eventually, the referee called for the bell and deemed it a double count-out.
The beatdown continued until Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan made the save. A six-man staredown ensued.
Ryker and Carrillo fought to a double contest
The Forgotten Sons and Lorcan and Burch have history, but the inclusion of Carrillo is interesting, if only because he has a rising star on 205 Live and has no reason to be involved in the program.
This sets up a Six-Man Tag Team match at some point in the near future, but with Lorcan and Carrillo excelling elsewhere, it would appear as though the victor of said bout would be obvious.
Especially considering The Forgotten Sons figure to be a major part of NXT's future.
Candice LeRae and Kacey Catanzaro vs. Vanessa Borne and Aliyah
The newly minted "Borne and Bouji," Vanessa Borne and Aliyah, challenged Candice LeRae to find a tag team partner and battle them Wednesday night. She did, seeking out former American Ninja Warrior alum Kacey Catanzaro.
Catanzaro overwhelmed Aliyah early, but the veteran of NXT grounded her and quickly tagged in Borne. The heels isolated the smaller of their opponents, working her over before a double neckbreaker to the heels allowed Catanzaro to make the hot tag.
LeRae exploded into the match, unloading on Aliyah and Borne.
A step-up senton and second-rope moonsault moments later earned the babyfaces the victory.
LeRae and Catanzaro defeated Borne and Bouji
There may not have been much to the match, but this did what it set out to: It wrapped up LeRae's rivalry with Borne and Aliyah with a victory. It also spotlighted Catanzaro, a performer with enormous upside who has repeatedly impressed with her raw athleticism when given the opportunity.
Borne and Aliyah feel like a team capable of making greater contributions to the brand, but it has been apparent for quite some time that the only heels NXT is interested in building up in its women's division are Shayna Baszler and cohorts Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir.
War Raiders vs. Street Profits
The War Raiders' Hanson and Rowe, NXT tag team champions, battled The Street Profits' Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford Wednesday night in a non-title match between two babyface tandems.
Ford, wasting little time, soared through the air and wiped both champions out before the bell. The Street Profits capitalized on the momentum, controlled early but were unable to put away the titleholders.
A big lariat by Hanson to Ford halted the underdogs' momentum, though, and allowed the champions to seize control.
The Profits mounted a comeback that saw Ford, revitalized off a hot tag from Dawkins, unload on both Hanson and Rowe. Unfortunately, despite tremendous athleticism and agility, Ford succumbed to a popup powerslam that allowed the War Raiders to escape with the victory.
The War Raiders defeated The Street Profits
This was a hell of a lot of fun.
Both teams impressed, primarily the Street Profits, who were taken seriously and allowed to look like a threat to Hanson and Rowe. In fact, recent matches with The Forgotten Sons and the departed TM-61 have proved Ford and Dawkins have the in-ring ability to be a top team for NXT.
All they need is an opportunity.
This was a step in the right direction, as they were booked strongly. The right team went over, but when all is said and done, this could prove to be a stepping stone for an incredibly charismatic tag team desperately seeking a chance to excel at the next level.
Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong
A week after Roderick Strong perpetrated an attack that ended with The Undisputed Era standing tall over NXT champion Johnny Gargano, the Messiah of the Backbreaker battled Johnny Wrestling in Wednesday's non-title main event.
The match started competitively, each exhibiting strong chain wrestling. Gargano fired off the first flurry of offense but a half nelson suplex from Strong on the apron turned the tide in the heel's favor.
Strong maintained control until the action spilled to the floor. At one point, the NXT champion countered a wheelbarrow suplex attempt with an armdrag that sent Strong into the steel steps. He would later follow up with a slingshot spear but could not keep the former tag team champion down for three.
Gargano unloaded on Strong, appearing on his way to a victory, when he got greedy and the heel countered another slingshot spear with a butterfly suplex backbreaker.
As Gargano tried for the Garga-No Escape, Adam Cole appeared for a distraction. Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly joined in but Matt Riddle made the save. With the official distracted, Cole accidentally blasted Strong with a superkick and Gargano scored the victory.
Gargano defeated Strong
Gargano and Strong could wrestle every week for the next year, and it would be great.
With that said, the storyline developments packed into this single match were great. Riddle joining Gargano in his war with Undisputed Era elevates The Original Bro. Strong and Cole not being on the same page hints at a potential schism between Undisputed Era and sets up their eventual breakup.
Now, there are several intertwined stories for NXT to build on, which should help the show establish an identity now that the Gargano-Ciampa saga is in the rearview mirror.