WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Analysis from June 19
Wednesday was the dawn of a new era of NXT...and Undisputed Era, as Adam Cole celebrated his NXT Championship victory over Johnny Gargano surrounded by his best friends Kyle O'Reilly, Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong.
The new titleholder's night did not go off without a hitch, though, as several of the top individual stars in NXT stepped up to the plate, expressing their desire to dethrone the champion and end Undisputed Era's reign of dominance.
Who was it and were they successful in ending Cole's celebratory night on a sour note?
Find out now with this recap of the June 19 episode of NXT on WWE Network.
An Undisputed Celebration
The Undisputed Era kicked off this week's broadcast, complete with new NXT champion Adam Cole basking in the glory of his title win at TakeOver: XXV.
Cole was braggadocios while Kyle O'Reilly debuted a new, Undisputed Era-only intro package for the show. After vowing the group will hold all the gold, Cole threatened not even WWE chief operating officer Triple H or NXT general manager William Regal will be able to stop them.
Velveteen Dream interrupted.
The North American champion said Cole's title would look even better beside his own gold. Roderick Strong spoke out, taking exception and claiming Dream did not deserve the one title he already has.
Matt Riddle was out next, but before he could say much of note, Cole interrupted and told him to go back to taking shots at Goldberg online.
Tyler Breeze joined the party, expressing his disgust over Undisputed Era trying to take credit for a brand wrestlers like him built from the ground up.
The aforementioned Regal made his presence felt and announced a six-man tag team match for the night's main event.
Long promos that set up the night's main event are the worst Attitude Era trope still hanging around wrestling.
The second? Partners who cannot get along but are forced into action against a common enemy.
The saving grace here was a group of likable guys sharing the stage and the promise of a quality main event later in the evening. Cole was great and is the right guy to build NXT's future around. Equally as good? Breeze, who has maximized his minutes and made the most of this opportunity.
Damian Priest vs. Raul Mendoza
After weeks of vignettes hyping his arrival, the former Punishment Martinez made his NXT debut under his new moniker, Damian Priest. First up on his path to greatness with the brand? Raul Mendoza.
Priest took the fight to Mendoza, punishing him with an unforgiving onslaught. Mendoza tried to fight back, even landing a springboard dropkick and enzuigiri. An ill-fated dive to the floor, though, saw Mendoza land in the grasp of his opponent.
Priest dropped him with a chokeslam on the apron and finished him with a cutter for the win.
Priest defeated Mendoza
Mendoza got a lot of offense in on a guy who had been prepped for his debut through a series of video vignettes. In some ways, he was the more impressive performer here, frustrating Priest before that one misstep that cost him the match.
Why it was decided that he should take as much of the match as he did is a question only management can answer.
Priest has the ability and look to be a huge star for NXT as part of its next crop of wrestlers. He needs to build credibility with the NXT fanbase as a whole. Matches where he struggles against guys like Mendoza are not going to help with that.
Xia Li vs. Taynara Conti
Two of the underutilized women on the NXT roster squared off next, as Xia Li battled Taynara Conti.
Conti controlled the match, blocking and countering Li's early assault. Her inability to put away her opponent, though, led to frustration that ultimately cost her the match.
A blind charge into the corner resulted in her eating the turnbuckle and Li firing off some leg sweeps that spurred her comeback. Conti thought she escaped unscathed at one point, ducking a roundhouse kick but catching the second with her face.
Li scored the win three seconds later.
Li defeated Conti
There was nothing much to the match, nor does it feel like either of the women involved are in line for a push of any kind.
Both Li and Conti are better than they were at this time last year, and that is a testament to their growth between the ropes. With that said, there is such a logjam of Superstars in the women's division that it is almost impossible to figure where they land in the hierarchy.
Unfortunately, this felt more like a reminder that they are on the roster than the start of something special for either of them.
Matt Riddle, Velveteen Dream and Tyler Breeze vs. Undisputed Era
The babyfaces controlled the opening moments of the night's main event as Velveteen Dream and Tyler Breeze kept Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish and Adam Cole reeling. Matt Riddle looked to continue the pattern until a melee between the ropes allowed Fish to drop him behind the official's back and The Undisputed Era to seize control.
The heels isolated and worked over Riddle for the heart of the match before a hot tag to Breeze set in motion the bout's closing moments.
Strong saved Fish from what appeared to be a certain pinfall at the hands of Breeze. From there, an overzealous Dream tagged himself in. The action broke down. Cole dropped Riddle with a superkick, and Strong kneed Breeze right into the North American champion.
From there, Strong finished Dream with End of Heartache to secure the win for Undisputed Era.
Undisputed Era defeated Breeze, Dream and Riddle
If you absolutely have to book a "wacky mismatched partners who hate each other" match, this is how you do it.
Undisputed Era is a well-oiled machine that took advantage of the issues between its opponents, exploited them and picked up a hard-fought win. It was masterful storytelling that allows things to propel forward rather than stay stagnant.
That is perfect booking that keeps the babyfaces at odds with their rivals but also allows them to remain rivals of each other for future storytelling potential.
Furthermore, it allows Undisputed Era to further establish dominance, something it can use if it is to be the centerpiece of the brand.