WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Reaction from June 26
History was made Wednesday night on WWE Network, as two women squared off inside a steel cage for the first time in NXT.
Women's champion Shayna Baszler defended her title against Io Shirai in the show's marquee bout, the culmination of a rivalry months in the making. Would The Queen of Spades be able to escape with her title reign intact, or would The Genius of the Sky do what none of her contemporaries could: wrest the title away from the baddest woman in NXT?
The NXT Breakout Tournament kicked off, Keith Lee saw in-ring competition and NXT tag team champions The Street Profits battled The Forgotten Sons in tag team action to round out the broadcast.
Find out who emerged victoriously and what it means for the Superstars involved with this recap of the June 26 broadcast.
NXT Breakout Tournament: Joaquin Wilde vs. Angel Garza
The Breakout Tournament for a shot at any NXT title of the winner's choosing began this week as Joaquin Wilde squared off with Angel Garza. Personality profiles introduced the competitors to the audience. Their in-ring work did the rest of the talking for them.
Early standoffs were met with applause, as was Garza's trademark spot in which he ripped his pants off and tossed them at his opponent.
From there, the action picked up.
Wilde downed Garza at ringside with a big dive. Garza recovered and answered with an impressive Spanish Fly from the top rope that only scored a two-count. Wilde tried a last-gasp roll-up but ate a big kick to the face. Garza finished him with an underhook jawbreaker for the win.
Garza defeated Wilde
Garza and Wilde impressed in their first opportunity to make an impression on the NXT audience.
The athleticism, frenetic pace and action packed into the few minutes they had to tell their story and showcase their skills was more than impressive.
Wilde felt like the sure thing to win, but Garza picking up the victory can hardly be categorized an upset given his international recognition.
While the top of the NXT roster may seem jam-packed now, there will be a time when call-ups open up spots, and both of these competitors will be there to fill them.
The Street Profits vs. The Forgotten Sons
NXT tag team champions The Street Profits arrived to a thunderous ovation. They cut a promo on The Forgotten Sons, who hit the ring and said they could beat Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford if the titles were on the line, something to which the new champions agreed.
Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake controlled the match early, working over Ford until a hot tag sparked the babyface comeback.
Jaxson Ryker interfered late, pulled Ford to the floor and caused a disqualification.
After the match, The Forgotten Sons triple-teamed Dawkins until Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch made the save. With the heels cleared out of the squared circle, Lorcan and Burch held the titles in their grasps and stared down Ford and Dawkins.
They handed the titles over to the champions before reminding them they owe the hard-hitting tandem one.
The Street Profits defeated The Forgotten Sons
The tag team rivalry between the champions and The Forgotten Sons received an interesting wrinkle with the addition of Burch and Lorcan to the mix, setting up a three-way feud over the gold.
Sensible storytelling that propels stories forward and creates intrigue without forcing them is exactly what sets NXT apart from the main roster. This followed suit and has now set up, at the very least, a three-team hunt for tag team supremacy.
Simple and effective.
Keith Lee vs. Nykos Rios
Poor Nykos Rios.
He gets his first opportunity to perform on television, and it comes against...Keith Lee.
Rios found out the hard way what it means to bask in Lee's greatness when he found himself on the receiving end of a nasty pounce. From there, Lee finished him with the Limit Breaker in short order.
Lee defeated Rios
Just in case you didn't know: Lee is really big, really strong and really good.
Now, can we please get him an actual feud?
The squash matches are and have been redundant.
Steel Cage Match for the NXT Women's Championship: Io Shirai vs. Shayna Baszler
The first women's steel cage match in NXT history served as the perfect conclusion to the rivalry between Shayna Baszler and Io Shirai.
Shirai found herself on the receiving end of the champion's relentless assault early. Baszler sent her into the cage both face- and back-first as she tried to overwhelm her with her power advantage. Shirai mustered a weak comeback, but The Queen of Spades brought her back down.
Two straight dropkicks by Shirai sent Baszler into the cage and sparked a more sustained comeback. She delivered double knees to her opponent's back and then a German suplex, but she could only net a two-count.
As the fight continued, Shirai stunned Baszler with a wicked German from the top rope. She tried to escape the cage, but Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke appeared and used the official as a blockade against the door.
Shirai scaled the cage, but Shafir met her up top. Candice LeRae made the save, wiped out Duke and kicked Shafir off the cage. Shirai delivered a breathtaking moonsault from the top of the cage and wiped out Baszler.
Just as she inched closer and closer to the door, Baszler grabbed her foot. She twice applied the choke out, but Shirai answered by slamming her aggressor's head into the door. Unfortunately for the challenger, the champion fell out the door and to the floor, retaining the title.
After the match, a frustrated Shirai attacked LeRae, beating her with a steel chair and flattening her with a suplex. She ended the show by walking out to a chorus of boos.
Baszler defeated Shirai
This match had hard-hitting offense, pitch-perfect storytelling, a red-hot crowd and a shocking post-match shift in character for one of the competitors, making it a smorgasbord of fun for the fans.
Baszler continued her historic second run with the title, but this was more about Shirai, who let the frustration of another failed title opportunity overcome her, costing her her temper and friendship as she brutally assaulted LeRae.
It was a turn you could see coming following her actions at TakeOver: XXV and one that absolutely made sense within the context of the story that had been set forth prior to Wednesday's show.
It will be interesting to see how the creative team follows up with Shirai. Will she become a quiet loner, a more vocal villain or a misunderstood antihero? The options are limitless, as is the greatness a series between her and LeRae can achieve.