WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from August 21
The intense rivalry between Matt Riddle and Killian Dain culminated Wednesday night on WWE Network with a singles bout pitting The Original Bro against the enigmatic big man formerly of Sanity.
Who emerged from the colossal showdown with his arm raised in victory?
That answer, as well as the next challenger to Adam Cole's NXT Championship and the latest in the women's title hunt, would be revealed on this week's broadcast.
Undisputed Era Addressed the NXT Universe
On the heels of a successful championship defense against Johnny Gargano at TakeOver: Toronto, NXT champion Adam Cole led Undisputed Era's Kyle O'Reilly, Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong to the squared circle to kick off the evening's broadcast.
Strong announced his intentions to challenge Velveteen Dream for the North American championship, Fish and O'Reilly argued that The Street Profits retained their titles at TakeOver by pinning the illegal competitor and Cole was braggadocios in his recap of his successful title defense.
"You know what's right for NXT? The Undisputed Era draped in gold!" Cole exclaimed.
The faction stood triumphantly and made its way up the ramp, but Jordan Myles stopped the group its tracks. He had his guaranteed contract from winning the Breakout Tournament in his hands.
A defensive Cole promised to break Myles if he stupidly challenged him.
Cole implored Myles not to make a mistake by taking him on and then vowed to make Myles' career an undisputed failure.
Myles extended his contract to Cole and then dropped it as the champion reached out to receive it, a sign of disrespect that left the titleholder speechless.
Things this opening promo accomplished: Strong implies feud with Dream is not over, tag title rematch is potentially set up, Cole builds heat as insufferable champion and Myles cashes in title opportunity.
Any segment that can achieve that in the span of 10 minutes without overstaying its welcome or wasting minutes is a successful one.
NXT achieves that much more consistently than the main roster, where much time is wasted without really accomplishing anything of note.
Kudos to the writers behind this one. The creative team set up weeks' worth of television in one seemingly innocent interview segment.
Mansoor vs. Damian Priest
Super ShowDown Battle Royal winner Mansoor faced the seemingly unconquerable Damian Priest in the night's first match.
Priest dominated the action early, but Mansoor stunned him with a small-package roll-up that nearly earned him the upset victory. He escaped a chokeslam attempt and wiped out Priest at ringside with a tope con hilo.
A neckbreaker back inside further stunned the big man, but a nasty clothesline turned Mansoor inside out and led to Priest's eventual pinfall victory.
Priest defeated Mansoor
On the surface, this was another squash-match victory for Priest, but beyond that, it was a nice showcase for Mansoor, who has not really had the opportunity to shine since winning the Battle Royal in Saudi Arabia.
He was athletic, fast and elusive. Better yet, he made Priest work for the win, something not many have done this side of Keith Lee.
Anytime the Superstars involved can put a new twist on the enhancement match, it is a success.
Mia Yim vs. Vanessa Borne
Mia Yim sought to rebound from her disappointing defeat at the hands of Shayna Baszler at TakeOver as she battled Vanessa Borne in singles competition. Of course, the presence of Aliyah made it a glorified two-on-one encounter, and her interference turned the tide in the heel's favor early.
Borne slapped Yim at one point, igniting a fire in Yim that saw her deliver a double-leg takedown and fire off on the former Arizona Cardinals cheerleader.
The modified Eat Defeat earned Yim the pinfall victory.
Yim's post-match celebration was cut short, though, as Baszler made her presence felt.
The Queen of Spades claimed Yim had to go to dark depths to find herself in their match and then extended an offer to Yim to join her group with Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke, both of whom hopped on the ring apron.
Yim attacked Shafir, but Baszler jumped her. The heels beat down Yim, leaving her lying as referees hit the ring to pull them off.
Yim defeated Borne
The match itself was nothing special, though the team of Borne and Aliyah still feels like an underutilized act in the women's division.
This segment was more about the continuation of the rivalry between Yim and Baszler, as well as the injection of Shafir and Duke to the proceedings, than anything else. The question is whether there is enough meat on the proverbial bone for fans to invest themselves in this story.
Yim has already lost to Baszler clean in the center of the ring, in what would be a definitive conclusion to any other program. The creative team will have to work overtime to make it interesting, or else the feud will limp to a conclusion.
Bronson Reed vs. Shane Thorne
Bronson Reed, who impressed in the semifinals of the Breakout Tournament, battled Shane Thorne in the night's next contest. Thorne had taken exception in recent weeks to the exposure the new faces of NXT have received at his expense.
Reed showed great explosion and power as he took the fight to the much smaller Thorne, delivering a beautiful sit-out spinebuster. Thorne answered by evading a gorilla press slam and delivering a chop block to the knee of his opponent.
Reed fought back and bowled over Thorne, delivering a series of big corner splashes. Unfortunately, he scaled the ropes, allowing Thorne to recover and send him to the mat. A running knee earned the Aussie the victory.
Thorne defeated Reed
Thorne has been outstanding as the bitter veteran not willing to sit back and watch as fresh new faces pass him by.
He demonstrated some solid chemistry with Reed. Their styles meshed, and their athleticism enhanced the match. The finish was also executed in a way that suggests Thorne won definitively while raising questions about Reed's ability to pick up the win had Thorne not taken out his leg earlier.
This was a strong match despite its shortish nature.
Matt Riddle vs. Killian Dain
Matt Riddle attacked an unsuspecting Killian Dain from behind to start this week's main event, a nod to the manner in which the rivalry started over a month ago.
The Original Bro's momentum was shortlived, though, as Dain overwhelmed him with his size and strength advantage.
Riddle answered the onslaught with an overhead suplex and then fired off a series of hard rights and lefts to the midsection. He delivered a running forearm in the corner and a running senton for two.
A deadlift German suplex to Dain stunned the crowd and left an already-battered Riddle clutching his ribs. As Riddle fired up, Dain exploded from out of nowhere with a shotgun dropkick into the corner.
Riddle recovered and delivered a huge powerbomb and then a nasty knee to the face for another close two-count.
Riddle headed up top and tried for a twisting moonsault, but Dain got the knees up. The Northern Irishman sent Riddle to the floor and charged at him but missed and collided knees-first with the steel ring steps. Chants of "Bro!" filled the NXT Arena as Riddle fired up once again, but the momentary distraction of the audience's adulation allowed Dain to drop him face-first on the ring steps.
Back inside, Dain delivered three straight Vader Bombs to the injured ribs of his opponent and scored the impressive pinfall victory.
Dain defeated Riddle
A badass big man who can fire off punishing offense, absorb his opponent's signature stuff and still pick up the win will never not be awesome. Dain channeled his inner Vader here and worked a match with Riddle that was very reminiscent of the classics the California native had with Sting in 1990s WCW.
The former Sanity star was a revelation of sorts after nearly a year of inactivity and irrelevance on the main roster. He looked like a star in the making and a major player in NXT's long-term future.
Riddle, conversely, looked like an unstoppable force of nature whose body gave out on him long before his will. He was a beast, hoisting Dain up and tossing him around the ring. The fans responded accordingly, suggesting any questions about Riddle's ability to be the lead babyface for the brand are unfounded.
This was a great way to close out this broadcast and probably should have been included on the TakeOver card itself.