WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from August 5
NXT promised a packed show for August 5, as titles and future opportunities were on the line. Even former NFL Pro Bowler Pat McAfee was set to appear after his interaction with Adam Cole on his podcast.
Rhea Ripley challenged Dakota Kai to crown the new No. 1 contender to the NXT Women's Championship. While The Nightmare is dangerous and a former champion, The Captain of Team Kick was walking in with all the momentum.
Cameron Grimes demanded a chance to fight Keith Lee, but he might have bitten off more than he could chew. The Limitless One was angry, focused and willing to do anything to get to Karrion Kross.
After laying out Imperium the previous week, Undisputed Era challenged the NXT tag team champions. Would Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel continue the fall of UE, or could Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish rebound and regain the titles they feel belong to them?
In the latest Triple Threat to determine who would qualify for the NXT North American Championship ladder match at NXT TakeOver XXX, Ridge Holland stepped into the black-and-gold ring for the first time against two of the most dangerous men in the business: Damian Priest and Oney Lorcan.
Finally, Bronson Reed had something to prove in a match with Shane Thorne. Could the big man put his past losses behind him and focus on his upcoming ladder match?
This show had an absolutely stacked card, and the expectations were through the roof for the night.
No. 1 Contender for the NXT Women's Championship: Rhea Ripley vs. Dakota Kai
Rhea Ripley enjoyed throwing around Dakota Kai early, but The Captain of Team Kick was craftier than most of the wrestlers The Nightmare has faced. She escaped Ripley's best offense and found openings to wear down the larger Superstar.
After the Kaio Kick in the corner, Kai set up for her finish. The Nightmare fought out of the corner, but as the referee was distracted, Mercedes Martinez attacked Ripley. This set up The Captain of Team Kick to hit the GTK off the top rope for the win.
Afterward, Martinez laid out The Nightmare to make a more pronounced statement.
Kai def. Ripley by pinfall to become No. 1 contender to the NXT Women's Championship.
This was a fantastic opener that got its time. Ripley and Kai have chemistry together and have already figured out the best story they can tell together.
The Captain of Team Kick focused on wearing down the larger woman with kicks and technical holds, allowing her to look dangerous next to one of the best in NXT. Both are fantastic, and the right woman won.
Kai vs. Io Shirai will be a great match, while Ripley vs. Martinez is a feud that can define NXT for many coming months. The two will destroy everything in their path to get to each other.
Bronson Reed vs. Shane Thorne
Shane Thorne looked good in his return to NXT. He wore down Bronson Reed using both his strikes and speed. However, he was not ready for The Thicc Boi's comeback.
The big man ran over Thorne and hit a Death Valley Driver into the Tsunami to take the win.
Reed def. Thorne by pinfall.
It was nice to see Thorne working at full capacity again, even in a squash. This was a fun sprint that highlighted why the heel should be used more. It also continued to build Reed's momentum.
The Thicc Boi is a potential major talent. He just needs to show he can perform on the biggest stage. He is certainly making the most of each moment. He was not the focus of this contest, but he did what was necessary to continue to look dominant.
It is hard to say if he is the favorite at TakeOver until the lineup is set, but the black-and-gold brand is highlighting him in a big way.
NXT NA Championship Qualifier: Damian Priest vs. Oney Lorcan vs. Ridge Holland
Ridge Holland looked fantastic early. His strength allowed him to throw around Damian Priest with ease, setting up a power struggle between the two men. Oney Lorcan is never one to back down from a fight and came out chopping chests even as the bigger men tried to ignore him.
Despite Holland making an impression in his debut, The Archer of Infamy refused to be upset. He took the NXT UK star out of the equation and then connected with the Reckoning on Lorcan for the win.
Later in the night, it was announced that Dexter Lumis was injured in his Triple Threat and could not compete in the ladder match. Thus, there would be one more Triple Threat followed by a pair of singles matches between the men not pinned in the Triple Threat matches to determine the final two men.
On the way to his car, Priest told an interviewer that the whole tournament was made for him. Reed confronted him, and the two set a match for next week.
Priest def. Lorcan and Holland by pinfall.
While a fun Triple Threat, this was not quite up to the bar set by the first clash. The story was hard to follow as each man just struck out repeatedly. Holland could have been the focus with his impressive debut, but he was cast aside for a returning contender in Priest.
The Archer of Infamy does not fit the typical mold of those in the ladder match. He had multiple chances at the title when Keith Lee was champion. However, putting a favorite in the contest may be intentional.
Despite the finish, this was truly impressive work from the NXT UK star. Holland's fast and athletic. He has the strength and size to match up with anyone. He comes off as the ideal star for Monday Night Raw or Friday Night SmackDown over NXT's varied roster.
Keith Lee vs. Cameron Grimes
Cameron Grimes seemed confident when he stepped into the ring, but his smile faltered quickly. Keith Lee threw him around with irritation until The Technical Savage began running for his life.
Noticing Lee starting to slow, Grimes took advantage. He looked for gaps in the NXT champion's armor. Finally devolving into a chop war, Lee won out and planted The Technical Savage with the Spirit Bomb for the win.
Afterward, the lights went out, and Karrion Kross appeared on the TitanTron. He told Lee he would do what needed to be done to get his title shot.
Lee def. Grimes by pinfall.
This match went far too long. While Grimes has been treated as a title contender in the past, he was also set up as an afterthought in this story between the champion and Kross. The Limitless One should have run over The Technical Savage easily to showcase his dominance.
It would have made more sense for an angry Lee to work on a higher level than Grimes, defeating him within a couple of minutes. This went 10 minutes too long. The dramatic aftermath of the contest left a far better impression than the contest itself, even if the match was well wrestled.
Legado del Fantasma Makes an Example Out of Breezango
Legado del Fantasma ambushed Breezango on their way to the arena and threw them into their van.
Later in the night, the group dragged Fandango out from the back. Santos Escobar taunted everyone as Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde laid out Fandango in the ring. Tyler Breeze failed to make the save and was quickly laid out next to his friend.
Escobar warned Isaiah "Swerve" Scott that he would be next if he kept talking about the NXT cruiserweight champion.
Again, Legado del Fantasma make an impact. Escobar has been a consistent highlight in NXT. Whoever is writing his stories should be used regularly in NXT because his segments often shine brighter than those of other major stars.
Breezango have remained a thorn in his side, so he took them out. This segment also shifted the focus to Swerve, a worthy contender to the cruiserweight title. He won't beat Escobar, but it feels unlikely anyone will until Jordan Devlin is back.
Tegan Nox vs. Indi Hartwell
Pat McAfee joined commentary ahead of the next match. He told Tom Phillips that he had put his feud with Adam Cole behind him.
Tegan Nox dominated this short match against Indi Hartwell. Just as Hartwell seemed to be building steam, The Girl with the Shiniest Wizard connected on her signature finishing move for three.
Nox def. Hartwell by pinfall.
While this squash match was completely unnecessary, it is good to see NXT keeping the focus on Nox. She is young and talented, but many have faltered the moment WWE loses interest. Rather than being pushing onto Raw or SmackDown after losing to Io Shirai, she is rebuilding her image.
Hartwell has to be glad for these opportunities as short as they are. She is getting necessary in-ring experience against top talent. If she proves herself, she might eventually start picking up more than fluke victories.
It would have been helpful, though, for both women if McAfee was not the star of the segment. Commentary barely focused on the match at all.
NXT Tag Team Champions Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner vs. Undisputed Era
Pat McAfee remained on commentary for the main event. Adam Cole constantly gave him side looks, clearly still annoyed with the former NFL Pro Bowler. Roderick Strong had to tell Cole to focus on the match repeatedly.
Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish showed off their tag team chemistry by isolating Fabian Aichner early. Once Marcel Barthel got the hot tag, the action sped up to a sprint. Imperium and Undisputed Era went back and forth with no breaks.
Cole lost his cool on McAfee and threw water from a water bottle at him. O'Reilly was distracted by the action, allowing Imperium to hit him with a powerbomb/spinning uppercut combination for the win.
Afterward, the former NFL Pro Bowler knocked out the former NXT champion with a punt kick.
Imperium def. Undisputed by pinfall to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.
This was a solid tag team match that many barely got a chance to watch clearly. Two of the best tag teams in the world right now went to war, and the focus was on an NFL punter kicking Cole in the face.
This story between Cole and McAfee is ridiculous and feels wrong for NXT. The black-and-gold brand is mostly no-nonsense. While the NFL punter is athletic, he is not a wrestler and worked better as a part-time commentator rather than a potential competitor.
The ending was more ridiculous than anything, selling McAfee's punt kick as so lethal that it could knock the former NXT champion out cold. This is the same wrestler who kicked out of multiple finishers a match as champion.