WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 29
After Keith Lee relinquished the NXT North American Championship last week, general manager William Regal announced a ladder match at TakeOver 30 to determine the new champion.
Bronson Reed has already earned a spot in the bout, and a Triple Threat match between Finn Balor, Timothy Thatcher and Dexter Lumis determined who would join him.
Karrion Kross has set his sights on Lee and the NXT Championship. Dominik Dijakovic became an unfortunate victim of their feud last week when Kross took him out with a vicious attack.
After joining The Robert Stone Brand, Mercedes Martinez took aim at the woman who ran over Stone's leg in her tank, Shotzi Blackheart.
Let's take a look at what went down on this week's episode of NXT.
Here are the segments WWE advertised ahead of Wednesday's show:
- Lee responds to Kross.
- Balor vs. Thatcher vs. Lumis
- Martinez vs. Blackheart
- Io Shirai and Tegan Nox vs. Dakota Kai and Candice LeRae
- Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong
- Imperium returns to action.
- Isaiah "Swerve" Scott vs. Jake Atlas
Tegan Nox and Io Shirai vs. Dakota Kai and Candice LeRae
The first match of the night didn't even get through the first entrance before everything broke down into mayhem. As Shirai made her way out, Kai attacked her from behind. This brought out Nox and LeRae to join in on the fight.
The referee quickly called for the bell, and the match got underway. Nox and LeRae had the first exchange. The Poison Pixie was more aggressive than usual as she beat down her opponent.
They tagged their partners at the same time. The Captain of Team Kick went right after the NXT women's champion. She and LeRae kept her cornered with quick tags and double-team moves.
We returned from a break to see the babyfaces finally starting to build some momentum. The champ hit Kai with several precise kicks before dropping her on her head with a German suplex.
Nox was able to hit the Shiniest Wizard on LeRae before Shirai finished her off with a beautiful moonsault for the win.
Starting a show with physicality with always be welcome. Having Kai attack Shirai during her entrance set the tone for the rest of this match.
The wrestlers in the crowd were louder than usual as they cheered for the action in the ring. It was reminiscent of the kind of noise usually reserved for hockey because of the plexiglass barriers.
All four Superstars looked great in this match. They were energetic and on point with every move they hit. This bout would have been right at home at a TakeOver event.
Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong
Gargano and Strong, who are both heels, began this match with a surprisingly clean exchange of holds, counters and takedowns.
The Master of the Backbreaker got the upper hand and kept Johnny Wrestling grounded for a little while before they started trading near-falls. They came to a stalemate and shoved each other a few times before they went back to countering each other on the mat.
We returned right as Strong hit a backbreaker to escape an abdominal stretch. This led to the first strikes of the match as he chopped Gargano several times.
After suffering several backbreakers, Gargano was able to pick up the win with the One Final Beat DDT.
The first half of this match was a technical clinic. Both men are great on the mat, and this bout gave them a chance to show off their grappling skills.
Once things got more physical after the commercial break, they slowly built up the pace to ramp up the excitement at a reasonable rate.
It seemed unlikely that WWE could follow up the tag team match that opened the show with something just as good, but this performance was right there with it.
For two guys who are registered villains, this match had almost no cheating from either competitor, which worked in its favor in the end.
Shotzi Blackheart vs. Mercedes Martinez
Blackheart took it to Martinez right away with several rights to the head, but she was quickly knocked out of the ring. Stone provided a distraction so his newest client could take over.
The green-haired grappler hit a nice dropkick followed by a sunset bomb for a close two-count. A few more kicks gave Blackheart a clear advantage, but Martinez refused to be pinned.
One release German suplex from the top turnbuckle was all it took for the newcomer to turn the tables. She immediately hit her finisher for the win over Blackheart.
This was a solid outing for both women, but it suffered from being a little too short. Martinez only had a few moments of offense while Blackheart controlled most of the action.
It would have been better to establish Martinez as more dangerous by giving her a more dominant victory, but management probably didn't want Blackheart to look weak, so it's a tough call.
Stone and Aliyah make a good combo, but Martinez doesn't fit with their gimmicks yet. It will be interesting to see how their stable develops in the coming weeks. Adding one or two more people might not be a bad idea.
Keith Lee Responds to Karrion Kross
Lee came to the ring and looked a lot more serious than usual. He said Dijakovic is a grown man who will be fine, but he still can't get past what Kross did last week.
He said Kross had his attention now, but for some reason, Cameron Grimes came out and started talking trash. He claimed he would take the NXT title before Lee dragged him into the ring by his neck with one hand.
Before the beating could continue, the lights dropped and Scarlett appeared on the stage surrounded by smoke. She stared at Lee as Grimes tried to attack the champ one more time. Lee powerbombed him before Kross appeared on the big screen and taunted him for watching his friend suffer last week.
He gave The Limitless One an ultimatum. He demanded a shot at the title, or Lee would find out what "the hard way" is. He promised all of the champion's friends would suffer. Lee immediately accepted the challenge.
Grimes was an unnecessary addition to this segment and even took away from it a little bit, but everything else was solid.
Having Scarlett appear without speaking while Kross spoke from the screen was an interesting choice. It was nice to see Kross get a little more time to talk since he hasn't done much of that in NXT yet.
Lee sold the serious attitude perfectly and gave a great promo before he was interrupted. When he and Kross finally meet in the ring, it will be an epic fight.
Imperium vs. Ever-Rise
Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel returned to NXT this week to battle Chase Parker and Matt Martel, known collectively as Ever-Rise.
Barthel and Martel started for their teams, and the announcers had some fun with their rhyming names as they had a brief technical exchange.
The tag team champions maintained the upper hand for almost the entire match. Parker and Martel were little more than jobbers here. Imperium got the victory with the European Bomb finisher.
As they celebrated, The Undisputed Era showed up and attacked them. The team that used to hold all of the gold in NXT is looking to establish its dominance again, and it looks like Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly have their sights set on the titles.
This was a short squash match designed solely for the purpose of making the tag team champions look good, and in that respect, it worked well.
Barthel and Aichner are great hands in the ring, so they made everything they did look good. The attack from The UE helped initiate a new feud, but it also kind of defeated the purpose of giving Imperium an easy win. It's 50-50 booking in one segment.
Isaiah Scott vs. Jake Atlas
Atlas and Scott were both looking to get ahead in the cruiserweight division, and despite being friendly with each other, both men looked more than willing to do what it took to win the match.
They started with some quick counters that saw Atlas get in some good offense. Swerve kept up with him and scored the first two-count of the match.
We returned from a break to see Atlas hit a perfect springboard blockbuster for a near-fall. He came close to winning again with the same headlock DDT Jon Moxley first used as Dean Ambrose.
Scott brought him down with a series of moves to reverse the momentum of the match. Atlas took control right back with a modified Olympic slam from the top rope. Swerve got the win with his patented JML Driver.
The cruiserweight division never disappoints. Atlas and Scott produced a fun matchup that saw both men hit several impressive maneuvers.
This was harder to predict than the average bout, and that helped make it more fun as they ramped up the intensity toward the end.
Swerve has been putting on awesome performances for months, and it looks like he will soon find himself in the hunt for Santos Escobar's Cruiserweight Championship. Atlas will get there soon if he keeps giving us these kinds of matches.
Finn Balor vs. Dexter Lumis vs. Timothy Thatcher
The main event of the night promised to be interesting as Balor, Lumis and Thatcher competed for a spot in the North American title match at TakeOver 30.
Lumis stood completely still in his corner after the bell while Balor and Thatcher locked up. The Artist threw both of them out of the ring and flipped over the top rope to land on his feet.
He had the power advantage in this contest, and he used it to keep The Prince and Thatcher at bay. The submission specialist used his superior ring IQ to punish his opponents with various holds throughout the match.
Most of Balor's offense consisted of his usual array of kicks and chops. All three men came close to winning before Lumis choked out Thatcher to secure his spot at TakeOver.
These are three completely different Superstars with their own unique styles, so whenever someone different took over, the pace changed.
Three-man matches are usually exciting, but they can also be tricky, especially if you have three guys who haven't spent much time in the ring together.
This was good, but it never got to the level we know these Superstars are capable of reaching. It's hard to pinpoint what it was that held them back. Nothing about it was bad. It just fell a little short of what it could have been. At least the finish was unique.