WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 8
The April 8 edition of WWE NXT was in some ways a replacement for NXT TakeOver: Tampa Bay. It was a big show with two huge matches scheduled for the night.
After years of friendship and hatred, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa promised to finally put an end to their rivalry. Blackheart vs. Rebel Heart: One Final Beat was to be the brutal finish to NXT's longest-running story.
Six women earned a chance to become the No. 1 contender to the NXT Women's Championship. Io Shirai, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox, Dakota Kai, Mia Yim and Chelsea Green needed to climb a ladder to be the next to challenge new champion Charlotte Flair.
The show also had the potential to establish the future of the black-and-gold brand. Even in an empty arena, this event was the one that could get everyone talking.
No. 1 Contender's Ladder Match for the NXT Women's Championship
Raquel Gonzalez kept Dakota Kai in this match even as Tegan Nox went after her constantly until The Welsh Superstar sent Kai through a table. Chelsea Green injured her ankle, and Robert Stone had to help her up the ladder only for both to get dumped off it.
Io Shirai and Candice LeRae fought atop the ladder alone at the end of the match. The Joshi Judas raked the eyes of her longtime rival and knocked her onto a ladder before pulling down the briefcase.
Shirai def. LeRae, Nox, Yim, Kai and Green to become the new No. 1 contender to the NXT Women's Championship
This was a fantastic opener. It felt like Money in the Bank came early, and everyone was happy to be a part of this story. Kai and Nox eliminated each other from the action. Green needed Stone to push her forward. Shirai and LeRae continued their brutal rivalry.
Only Yim felt left out, but she still had a good showing. It was a fun match with the right result. Charlotte vs. Shirai is the right match to start off The Queen's title reign. That will be an unforgettable clash.
Finn Balor Sends a Message to WALTER
In a partial replay from Finn Balor's fight with Alexander Wolfe in NXT UK, The Prince showed why he is a threat to WALTER. The referee sent Imperium to the back before Balor hit the Coup De Grace and 1916 to win.
Afterward, The Prince cut a pre-taped promo on Imperium and the NXT UK champion WALTER, promising to take what was his.
Recent events have slowed the rivalry of Balor and WALTER down, but it is time to move that story forward again. Partially replaying a fine match alongside a solid promo doesn't do anything for either side.
Whenever The Prince fights the NXT UK champion, it will almost certainly steal the show. This is the match that Balor has been waiting for. Hopefully, a real story begins to form first.
Indus Sher vs. Ever-Rise
Malcolm Bivens introduced his new tag team in their debut. Rinku and Saurav manhandled Scott Parker and Shane Matthews before hitting an elevated diving elbow drop for the win.
Indus Sher def. Ever-Rise by pinfall.
This was a slow and lethargic squash match. Indus Sher should have won in a minute. Instead, the lifeless beatdown took a few minutes before mercifully ending.
Ever-Rise has not been able to do much so far as a tag team, mostly serving as enhancement talent. If they are not going to be established yet, there is no point letting them even stick around in the debut of Indus Sher.
Blackheart vs. Rebel Heart: One Final Beat
Triple H reminded Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa that this was the end before leaving. The two went after each other immediately with weapons. The two fought onto the production truck outside where Drake Younger had to talk them down.
The Blackheart tore apart the ring before the two fought back inside. Younger went down hard after a knee from Ciampa, leaving the two without any supervision. Candice LeRae interfered and kicked Gargano between the legs.
LeRae then hit a low blow on Ciampa before it was revealed that her husband was wearing a cup. Johnny Wrestling laid out his former friend with a Pedigree and pinned him for three.
Gargano def. Ciampa by pinfall.
In the same week that the Boneyard and Firefly Fun House matches showed WWE could do something truly unique with cinematic matches, this contest was aired on television. In a smoky, poorly lit room, Ciampa and Gargano hit each other for an hour.
The ridiculous number of camera cuts made this nearly incomprehensible. The match was not just a step down from their other clashes. It was the worst match of either of their careers. LeRae's interference made so little sense that it was honestly baffling.
Somehow, this went nearly an hour, and it did not have enough content throughout its run time to deserve 10 minutes.