WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from August 12
The August 12 edition of WWE NXT continued to point forward toward NXT TakeOver XXX. With the card starting to shape up, title contenders worked to build momentum.
Kushida and Cameron Grimes were set to battle in a Triple Threat match against a mysterious third opponent. Who would challenge these NXT veterans? Could anyone step up in a big enough way to become the new favorite in the ladder match at TakeOver?
Two potential favorites at TakeOver fought as Bronson Reed wanted to prove he was no fluke against Damian Priest. The Aus-zilla has a chip on his shoulder that is only growing, but could he possibly topple The Archer of Infamy?
Karrion Kross wanted his own title shot against Keith Lee, and he was ready to take out anyone in his way. This week, he was willing to dominate Danny Burch. Would a victory over Burch solidify Kross' status as No. 1 contender, or could the British brawler pull off an unlikely upset?
Finally, Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae had to make sure their names remained in the spotlight, so they gave the NXT Universe an invitation to their home. No one knew what The Power Couple wanted to say after their latest devastating defeats.
It was a big night for the black-and-gold brand as always where the action would determine just how much stood out in the minds of fans worldwide.
Karrion Kross vs. Danny Burch
Danny Burch ran at Karrion Kross, forcing the referee to ring the bell quickly. The hard fight turned rough for the British brawler as Kross slammed Burch onto the mat repeatedly. Finally, The Herald of Doomsday choked out Burch with the Kross Jacket, forcing a submission.
Keith Lee stomped to the ring with a contract in hand. He demanded Kross agree to their match at TakeOver. Scarlett handed the contract to The Herald of Doomsday, who quickly signed. The Limitless One opened the contract only to get suddenly blinded by a fireball.
The NXT champion was helped to an ambulance for his injuries.
Kross def. Burch by submission.
This was a fine but unspectacular opener. Kross is good at destroying everyone in his path. However, even hyped matches against experienced opponents feel like squashes. He needs to get to his contest with Lee to truly show what he can do.
The fireball spot was awkward and silly. Despite NXT lingering on how The Limitless One had been blinded, it just didn't feel as frightening as the black-and-gold brand sold it to be. At least the contract is finally signed for the obvious TakeOver main event.
Killian Dain vs. Drake Maverick; Adam Cole Makes a Statement to Pat McAfee
Drake Maverick fought hard against Killian Dain. Despite his size, he got the upper hand and connected on a diving elbow drop. However, before he could take the pinfall, Undisputed Era stormed the ring and attacked both men.
After Adam Cole connected with the Last Shot on The Beast of Belfast, the former NXT champion grabbed a mic. He called out Pat McAfee. He told the former Pro Bowler that he could not last in Cole's world.
Kushida told Cameron Grimes and whatever mystery opponent he would face in the Triple Threat match that he was not afraid of anyone. He had only one goal: the NXT North American Championship.
Dain vs. Maverick goes to a no-contest.
This was poorly delivered on all fronts. Maverick and Dain fought mostly in split screen with either Keith Lee's injury or commercials being a larger focus. When the show got back to the action, Undisputed Era quickly ended any hope of a true complete match between these two.
While it makes sense for Cole to be angry, having him interrupt a match and beat down stars with no connection to him was sloppy storytelling. It would have been better for everyone involved if UE simply ignored the match or waited until right afterward to storm the ring.
Santos Escobar vs. Tyler Breeze
Santos Escobar told Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza to stay in the back. A serious Tyler Breeze wanted to make the NXT cruiserweight champion pay, but Escobar has his own goal to make a lasting statement.
The champion took over and taunted Prince Pretty. Breeze barely escaped the first attempt at the Phantom Driver. After a snap knee and Supermodel Kick, Breeze went for the cover before the remaining members of Legado del Fantasma ran to the ring.
The distraction allowed Escobar to hit the Phantom Driver for the win. Afterward, the trio beat down Prince Pretty until Fandango with one arm in a sling tried to make the save.
Fandango could not do much, but he did just enough to set up Isaiah "Swerve" Scott to run down and stop Legado del Fantasma.
Escobar def. Breeze by pinfall.
Escobar and Breeze brought more wrestling to the night, but a lack of time and focus let them down. The majority of this match was worked during the commercial break. Prince Pretty barely got to do anything, as he was beatdown and then suddenly hit the Supermodel Kick to force Wilde and Mendoza to run down.
Swerve vs. Escobar should be better. Hopefully, this one gets a TakeOver spotlight, though that has not typically been NXT's practice. For whatever reason, the cruiserweight division usually is kept to only the USA Network or 205 Live.
Mia Yim vs. Indi Hartwell
Dakota Kai explained in a pretaped interview that she knew exactly what she needed to do to defeat Io Shirai at TakeOver XXX.
Backstage, Mia Yim explained that she needed to focus on her scheduled match rather than Keith Lee.
Indi Hartwell took advantage of The Head Baddie in Charge's emotional confusion early. Hartwell attempted to trap Yim in a sleeper hold but got thrown off repeatedly.
Hartwell made a mistake by taunting Yim, which set off the HBIC. She twisted Hartwell into a headscissors arm wrench for the tapout.
Yim def. Hartwell by submission.
While the setup was awkward as Yim left with Lee but came back for an expected squash, this was the best wrestling of the night so far. Hartwell is showing promise with every opportunity, and the HBIC gave her time to shine while telling a story in the ring.
It might have made more sense for Yim to lose here if there is any plan for Hartwell to go anywhere soon. The HBIC was distracted with no clear direction at the moment. It would have been a better story if Hartwell bragged about beating her for a few weeks.
Damian Priest vs. Bronson Reed
Damian Priest walked into this match overconfident, but he quickly got schooled. Bronson Reed showed why he is far more than just a man with one big win. He overpowered The Archer of Infamy early on, sending him to the floor to regroup.
Finding his opportunity by throwing The Aus-zilla into the steel steps, Priest took over, even hitting a thunderous Falcon Arrow for a near-fall. The resilient challenger fought through the pain. Reed missed the Tsunami but managed to catch Priest with a jackknife pin for three.
Reed def. Priest by pinfall.
This was a fun big-man battle. The back-and-forth action focused on the power of Reed versus the impressive kicks of Priest. Both fought hard and kept the action moving. It was a great showcase and solid preview for what they can bring in the ladder match.
Finally, The Aus-zilla is building momentum. He has a ton of talent and brings a unique presence to NXT. If his momentum continues all the way to TakeOver, he will be the best option to win the NXT North American Championship.
Mercedes Martinez and Aliyah vs. Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter
Io Shirai told Dakota Kai that she would soon fear her like she once had Shayna Baszler. Cameron Grimes promised to take the NXT North American Championship straight to the moon.
Robert Stone offered Kacy Catanzaro a chance to join The Robert Stone Brand if she dropped Kayden Carter. Instead, Stone got slapped and tripped for his effort. The babyface tag team moved fast early, isolating Aliyah, but Mercedes Martinez was not going to let her team lose.
Martinez turned the action around, making sure that Carter was isolated throughout the second half of the contest. Catanzaro got the hot tag to fight Martinez, but she ran into an unstoppable force, taking the Air Raid Crash and the loss.
Afterward, Rhea Ripley stormed the ring despite the two-on-one odds. Shotzi Blackheart helped take out Aliyah, which allowed The Nightmare to gain some revenge on her attacker from last week.
Aliyah and Martinez def. Catanzaro and Carter by pinfall.
Aliyah slowed the action in this contest too much, but Martinez worked well with both high-flyers. She could have great matches with Catanzaro and Carter with time and no breaks for Aliyah.
What matters most is the future for the latest member of The Robert Stone Brand. Martinez vs. Ripley is a TakeOver clash waiting to happen, and it should happen at TakeOver XXX. If it does not, it should not be wasted on a random episode of NXT but saved for the next big show.
NXT NA Championship Qualifier: Kushida vs. Cameron Grimes vs. Velveteen Dream
Candice LeRae told Tegan Nox that she would pay for sticking her nose where it didn't belong. Johnny Gargano promised he would earn his spot next week against Ridge Holland and win back the NXT North American Championship.
Timothy Thatcher taught his students about adapting following his frustrating loss in the North American Championship qualifier.
Velveteen Dream was revealed as the mystery third man in the Triple Threat match. He started out punching everyone in his way. The former NXT North American champion was not going to let the title escape him again.
However, Dream ran into an opportunistic Cameron Grimes. The Technical Savage caught Kushida and Dream with the Cave-In and then pinned the Japanese Superstar for the win.
Dream lost his mind and attacked Kushida. Finn Balor arrived to stare down his opponent next week, knowing only one of them could get to TakeOver.
Grimes def. Kushida and Dream by pinfall to earn a spot in the TakeOver XXX ladder match.
After some speculation that Dream was gone for good after multiple allegations of inappropriate conduct with minors, it looks like he is back and in the spotlight again. Hopefully, this comes after a thorough investigation by WWE, but there has yet to be any official word.
The Triple Threat felt rushed, but the talent involved did what they could in the main event. Kushida especially maximized his minutes. However, this was not his night.
It is surprising that of all three men, Grimes won. He has gotten multiple title opportunities and failed. Kushida was better-suited for the ladder match, as was Kushida. However, this might be the chance for The Technical Savage to prove his talent fully.