WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 25
The coronavirus pandemic has thrown NXT for a loop, including the cancellation of NXT TakeOver: Tampa Bay. Triple H promised to appear and address everything, especially the feud of Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano after their latest Performance Center brawl.
A few big matches were set up for this show. Candice LeRae battled Kayden Carter, while Xia Li went to war with Aliyah for a spot in the No. 1 Contender's ladder match.
Matt Riddle continued his feud with Undisputed Era in a match against Roderick Strong. Tyler Breeze also challenged Austin Theory, trying to knock the cocky rookie down a peg.
After weeks with very little wrestling, this was a nice change of pace, a chance to get back to watching competitors compete.
Austin Theory vs. Tyler Breeze
Tyler Breeze taunted Austin Theory early, but the power of Theory shifted the battle back in his favor. He threw Prince Pretty through a barricade and repeatedly sent Breeze outside the ring.
The rookie set up his finisher while recording himself on Prince Pretty's phone. The overconfidence was his undoing, as Breeze squirmed out and hit the Beauty Shot for the win.
Breeze def. Theory by pinfall.
The lack of a crowd hurt this match, as the energy of the contest remained neutral throughout. While both men are talented, they did not click, especially since their taunting lacked the crowd reaction to feel right.
It was nice to see Prince Pretty getting a win. He has been stuck in his own rut lately with Fandango injured. Defeating Theory shows that Breeze is not just waiting for his tag team partner. He is a threat to anyone on the black-and-gold brand.
Killian Dain vs. Tehuti Miles
Tehuti Miles tried to use his speed against Killian Dain, but an upset was not coming. The Beast of Belfast caught him, punished him and won with a Vader Bomb.
Dain def. Miles by pinfall.
This was a typical squash match for Dain. Tahuti is a charismatic wrestler with potential, but he is not an active competitor yet. He was a little sloppy and certainly not meant to give The Beast of Belfast a real challenge.
Dain again needs direction. He loses all focus in NXT far too quickly. He does not stand out at all unless he has a worthy competitor to fight.
Cameron Grimes vs. Tony Nese
Cameron Grimes came out confident and backed up that confidence against Tony Nese. While The Premier Athlete pushed him, a sudden Cave-In sealed the victory.
Grimes def. Nese by pinfall.
The Technical Savage continues to put on decent NXT matches, but he is not hitting that next level. This may work to keep him where he is in NXT. However, he needs to hit a higher gear if he wants to advance on any WWE brand.
This was an odd pairing that was necessitated by a smaller roster. It is unlikely WWE will ever return to this match, as the two can both do much better with others.
Ladder Match Qualifier: Io Shirai vs. Aliyah
Aliyah injured Xia Li backstage. It was announced that Io Shirai was cleared to compete and would take her place. The Genius of the Sky made quick work of Aliyah and won with a moonsault.
Shirai def. Aliyah by pinfall to qualify for the No. 1 Contender's ladder match.
While a third squash match in a row felt poorly timed, this segment was the best of the night up to this point. Aliyah got some revenge after returning from injury, while Shirai was quickly re-established after her own return from injury.
With The Genius of the Sky back in action, she now has to be seen as the favorite in the ladder match. She and Rhea Ripley have some great stories to tell together.
Dominik Dijakovic and Damian Priest Challenge Keith Lee
Keith Lee wanted to apologize for attacking Dominik Dijakovic two weeks ago, but his longtime rival was not interested in apologies. He wanted the NXT North American Championship.
Damian Priest arrived to claim the title as his for the taking, and a brawl ensued. Dijakovic dived onto Lee and Priest to stand tall.
This was a solid segment, as it always is with these three men, but nothing really happened here. A short brawl does less for these men than having them talk more.
Lee and Dijakovic have obvious chemistry. The Archer of Infamy is talented and unique with the build to work well with these fast heavyweights. The Triple Threat in two weeks will be great.
Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan vs. Shane Thorne and Brendan Vink
In their second attempt to find chemistry as a tag team, Shane Thorne and Brendan Vink challenged an established tag team. While Thorne showed his power, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch dominated and made the heels tap out at the same time.
Burch and Lorcan def. Thorne and Vink by submission.
Lorcan and Burch have the ability to make any match fun, even another squash. However, Thorne and Vink needed to make more of themselves here if NXT ever wants to use them.
It is a shame that Thorne, who came into NXT as a tag team specialist before his teammate was released, is back to working in the division. Vink does not stand out. It would be better if Thorne was working with Nick Miller.
Ladder Match Qualifier: Candice LeRae vs. Kayden Carter
A show of sportsmanship turned into a fast-paced battle for a massive opportunity. Candice LeRae was the better woman, catching Kayden Carter in the Gargano Escape for the tapout.
LeRae def. Carter by submission to qualify for the No. 1 Contender's ladder match.
This was not much more than a squash match, but at least the short contest felt solidly competitive. LeRae needed to win, but it would have been nice for Carter to get more time to show her talent.
There are few women more deserving of a major opportunity right now than LeRae. She has been stuck in terrible stories yet stolen the show every chance she gets. It would be interesting to see what she and Rhea Ripley could do together.
Matt Riddle vs. Roderick Strong
Roderick Strong aggressively went after Matt Riddle from the start of the match, but he could not put The Original Bro away. Riddle caught him with the BroDerek for the win.
Afterward, a pair of Samoan heavyweights stormed the ring and laid out Riddle. Malcolm Bivens walked out and introduced the NXT tag team champion to the future of the tag team division.
Riddle def. Strong by pinfall.
Riddle and Strong were the first wrestlers of the night to have a complete match that the absence of the crowd didn't affect. However, it did feel like it ended abruptly.
The arrival of Bivens and his tag team was a good moment. It will be interesting to see how they fare. Bivens is a great manager. He can make anyone feel like a big deal.
Triple H Demands Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano End This
Triple H called out both Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. He told them there would be no physicality this night. He announced that this would finally end after this last fight.
After Johnny Wrestling refused to let this match happen at WrestleMania, Triple H decided in two weeks they would fight in an empty arena, and only one man would leave.
The show ended with another cryptic video package, showing the clock striking midnight on the arrival of a new star.
This feud has defined NXT for too long. It is time to end it. That said, this was an incredible promo segment that benefited from the quiet arena. Gargano and Ciampa sold the emotion of the moment with Triple H.
The one oddity was the delivery of where the men would fight. Why did they need to fight in an empty arena where no one else could know the location? It came off as a little too silly for the serious moment.