WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from June 17
The June 17 edition of WWE NXT promised a big night for tag team wrestling as two titles were on the line in huge matches.
Bayley and Sasha Banks put their recently won WWE Women's Tag Team Championships on the line against good friends Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart. Questions continue to spread on whether The Role Model and The Legit Boss can truly stay friends if they lose their tag titles.
Imperium put the NXT Tag Team Championships on the line against Breezango. Fandango and Tyler Breeze wanted to restart their careers, but they had to go through the dangerous and motivated duo on Marcel Bartel and Fabian Aichner.
Adam Cole also had a new challenger to consider as Scarlett left a foreboding warning for the NXT champion on behalf of Karrion Kross.
With continued challenges to Keith Lee from Johnny Gargano and Finn Balor, The Limitless One had to be ready for some of the most dangerous men in NXT.
This show promised huge moments for every champion in NXT, but only time would tell who would stand tall and who would lose gold.
NXT Tag Team Champions Imperium vs. Breezango
Breezango came out as Marsupial and Fabio of Emporium as a jab at Marcel Bartel and Fabian Aichner. Imperium took offense, beating down Fandango and Tyler Breeze at the bell. Prince Pretty was isolated in the heel corner.
After a hot tag to Fandango, Aichner hit a huge brainbuster as Breeze barely saved the pinfall. Aichner saved Bartel from a big loss after the Faux Pas from Breezango then Bartel saved his partner after the Last Dance from Fandango.
A brawl broke out at ringside between Indus Sher and the team of Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. In the chaos, Fandango rolled up the non-legal man, only to take a DDT from Aichner to steal the win.
Tom Phillips interviewed The Velveteen Dream from his backstage couch. As Dream was talking, Dexter Lumis left a nice illustration of himself and Dream as tag team champions. The former No. 1 contender to the NXT Championship was not interested in teaming with anyone.
Imperium def. Breezango by pinfall to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.
After a fun entrance, this whole match was a blast. Breezango fought hard and kept up the pace with a tag team known for always working a sprint. It was a clash of styles that went a while and still felt like it barely got started.
The ending shows that the tag team division is truly only beginning to find its footing again. Fresh teams are stepping up. It will be interesting to watch who truly shines in this fresh perspective for NXT. The black-and-gold brand has always been the closest to a tag team paradise in WWE.
Add in Dream and Lumis, and the division has such a variety of fascinating personalities to explore.
Damian Priest vs. Killian Dain
Damian Priest's injured back from NXT TakeOver: In Your House was the immediate focus of Killian Dain. The Beast of Belfast dominated and smashed The Archer of Infamy, who looked as out of his depth as he ever has in an NXT ring.
However, Priest found a second wind off of a surprise crossbody. He used a series of strikes and a big lariat to get back into the action. After a back-and-forth home stretch, Priest hit the Reckoning for three.
As Dain headed to the back, he punched Robert Stone through the protective screen.
Priest def. Dain by pinfall.
While this was better than previous Priest vs. Dain matches, the two have very little chemistry. This was not the right match-up to help either man. The Archer of Infamy played the babyface in this contest, but he may not be right for that role.
Hopefully, something is in store for Priest. He is so talented and a unique brand of size and athleticism. No one can quite compare to The Archer of Infamy even on Monday Night Raw or Friday Night SmackDown.
Aliyah vs. Xia Li
Aliyah helped a clearly drunk Robert Stone to ringside for her match. While Aliyah was still no match in a fair fight with Xia Li, Stone blew chunks in the ring, distracting Li long enough for a surprise roll up.
In a pre-taped segment, Timothy Thatcher tortured new wrestlers, teaching them through pain how far you can go with technical submissions. He had his trainees tapping out before lining up for round two.
Aliyah def. Li by pinfall.
This was a terrible segment even if Stone and Aliyah can ultimately help each other. The manager looks like a joke, which is fine, but he needs to be portrayed with some amount of dignity this early in his run.
Stone throwing up in the middle of a match is not remotely funny. It did not fully distract from how bad this match was. Li and Aliyah are both too green to work together, yet their feud rages on through 2020.
Adam Cole and Keith Lee Set Sights on Winner Take All Title Match
Earlier in the day, Undisputed Era attempted to help Roderick Strong deal with his recent trauma. Kyle O'Reilly pretended to be a therapist before Adam Cole and Bobby Fish tried to help him into a car trunk. The Messiah of the Backbreaker ran off rather than get inside again.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed the NXT champion backstage about Karrion Kross and Scarlett's warning. Cole was unafraid, but Keith Lee smashed the Scarlett hourglass and told the NXT champion that The Limitless One would truly be the man to dethrone Cole.
The NXT champion walked out to the ring alone to address his two massive challengers. He told Kross that he wasn't worthy of a title opportunity yet. Meanwhile, Cole wanted his own shot at the NXT North American Championship. Lee arrived to face down the NXT champ.
Johnny Gargano and Finn Balor headed out to challenge both men for their titles. William Regal announced that Lee would fight Balor and Gargano in a triple threat next week, and the winner would fight the NXT champion in a winner-take-all champion vs. champion match on July 8.
This was a rushed segment to set up so many big matches in a short time. Lee vs. Gargano vs. Balor makes sense right off the bat, but it could have used more build up. The story went right from The Prince challenging The Limitless One last week to getting this sudden triple threat.
Meanwhile, Lee vs. Cole is a story that could have been built over months to a major TakeOver. Instead, the two singles men's titles in NXT will be unified at least for a time within the next month. These matches should be great, but the build-up was unexciting.
Dakota Kai (w/ Raquel Gonzalez) vs. Kayden Carter (w/ Kacy Catanzaro)
Kayden Carter wanted revenge against Dakota Kai for last week, but she was no match for The Captain of Team Kick. Raquel Gonzalez distracted Carter after taking out Kacy Catanzao at ringside, allowing Kai to snap on a Koji Clutch for the submission.
Kai def. Carter by submission.
This was the natural next step after last week, but Kai won far too fast to make this a real rivalry. Kai has now defeated both women in lightly competitive squashes. What is the next step? The two faces are just going to lose the coming tag team match as well.
Right now is the right time to begin truly building Catanzaro and Carter as a tag team. They do not need to defeat Kai and Gonzalez, but they should look competitive at the least.
Bronson Reed vs. Leon Ruff
NXT showed a video package highlighting the return of Mercedes Martinez.
Bronson Reed made quick and dominant work of Leon Ruff. He hit a diving splash for the win. Afterward, Reed called out Karrion Kross for a match next week as a response to a brutal attack a few weeks back.
Reed def. Ruff by pinfall.
It is nice to finally see the big man getting victories. Reed has needed genuine victories along the way, but this squash did not do too much for him. It was an obvious result before the bell and ended even faster than expected.
The end result was positive. Reed did not shy away from Kross after getting laid out. He chose to face the demon. He did what no one else could, and he called out Doomsday.
Santos Escobar Makes a Statement at the Expense of Drake Maverick
Santos Escobar explained that his legacy had been defined too long under a mask. He was done hiding, and he was now unstoppable. He would form his own legacy in WWE starting with the NXT Cruiserweight Championship, flanked by Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde.
Drake Maverick came out to save the day, but he was completely outmatched. With the help of his two friends, Escobar hit Maverick with a Phantom Driver through a table onto concrete. The underdog had to be stretchered out of the building.
This was the most involved storytelling of the night. Maverick continues to deliver as the fiery babyface, and Escobar has been much better as the arrogant heel than the generic luchador. It is fascinating to watch him grow into a complete star with Wilde and Mendoza at his side.
It will be interesting to see what comes next for both. Santos is just getting started, and his in-ring performances could define his future. Meanwhile, Maverick has a chance to prove he is so much more than he was.
Women's Tag Champions Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart
Bayley and Sasha Banks walked into this match confident, but Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart were fired up for this opportunity. Nox chokeslammed The Legit Boss onto The Role Model outside followed by a crossbody by Blackheart onto both.
In a surprise reversal, Blackheart turned the Bank Statement into the Cattle Mutilation. The referee stopped Nox from using a steel chair that The Role Model introduced, and Bayley slipped in and helped Banks reverse back into the Bank Statement for a tap out.
Afterward, as Bayley and Banks celebrated, Io Shirai struck. She attacked both women and sent them running, showing everyone whose brand NXT was.
Banks and Bayley def. Nox and Blackheart by submission.
This was a fun main event where the WWE women's tag team champions once again delivered. Their title defenses have both been quality encounters, fueled by how generous they are to their opponents. Blackheart especially looked fantastic in this contest.
Shirai's post-match attack could lead to some great contests down the line. Shirai vs. Bayley or Banks could be a true show-stealer. She could also get a tag team partner to set up another great defense by the tag team champions.