WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from September 8
The first edition of WWE NXT on Tuesday night had many fans talking from the beginning, but it left more questions than answers. NXT Super Tuesday II promised finality for a few key rivalries on September 8.
After ending the first Super Tuesday tied at two falls apiece, Adam Cole and Finn Balor would look to finish their run with a victory, regaining the NXT Championship. In this battle of the two longest-reigning NXT champions in history, only one man could stand tallest.
Rhea Ripley finally got her chance to fight Mercedes Martinez, challenging her to a steel cage match. The cage would lock these two dominant wrestlers in the ring together while keeping out distractions such as Robert Stone and Aliyah.
Bronson Reed fell short against Timothy Thatcher to become the likeliest man to challenge NXT North American champion Damian Priest next. That was thanks to Austin Theory. This week, The Colossal would get his revenge in a fight with his young rival.
Killian Dain has run into repeated issues with Undisputed Era. In order to get his revenge, The Beast of Belfast wanted to compete against Roderick Strong this week.
This edition of WWE NXT had the potential to be unforgettable. With a massive NXT Championship match and a potential show-stealer in a steel cage, Super Tuesday II just needed to be a night for the wrestlers.
NXT Championship: Adam Cole vs. Finn Balor
Finn Balor and Adam Cole started slow, feeling each other out with basic wrestling offense. The action ramped up as they felt more comfortable. The Prince trapped the leader of The Undisputed Era against the barricade and kicked him into it repeatedly.
Cole fought out of the situation and trapped Balor in a figure-four leglock, but even with multiple lacerations on his body, The Prince refused to give up. Balor connected on a Slingblade, corner dropkick and Coup de Grace, only for a near-fall.
The Undisputed Era leader fought back with a superkick into the Last Shot for a near-fall. Both men were running on fumes when The Prince pulled out a top-rope 1916 to win.
Backstage, Balor told the world he came back to NXT for this moment. Cole gave the new champion respect as the better man on the night.
Balor def. Cole by pinfall to become the new NXT champion.
While they took a while to get going, Balor and Cole brought their all to this contest. It was a good back-and-forth title clash that made more sense as an opener than the main event. The two were able to ramp up the night leading to an especially exciting home stretch.
The Prince may not reign for long, but he was the right choice to carry the title. After an up-and-down return to NXT, Balor was in need of a big win. This solidifies his return to the black-and-gold brand. He can now prove his worth against the up-and-coming stars in NXT.
Shotzi Blackheart and Io Shirai Meet; Tegan Nox Has Dinner with the Garganos
Shotzi Blackheart found Robert Stone snooping around her tank. Aliyah made the save by attacking Blackheart, accidentally ruining Io Shirai's photo shoot. Blackheart and Shirai attacked Aliyah and Stone in the ring. The tank rider then teased taking the NXT women's champion's title.
Tegan Nox arrived at the Gargano household hoping to rekindle her friendship with Candice LeRae. Johnny Gargano brought her to the dinner table.
LeRae asked Nox to consider taking the Gargano approach, forgetting about the fans. After talking about who would be the next NXT women's champion, a fight broke out. Nox dumped the pasta on Gargano's head, and then LeRae accidentally smashed the family TV as her former friend left.
Timothy Thatcher ran his latest "Thatch-as-Thatch-can" class, showing off a personal video study of Damian Priest. He called out the laziness of the NXT North American champion.
While Blackheart's rivalry has run too long with Robert Stone, this was a good way to finally begin a transition. Blackheart has the potential to be The Genius of the Sky's next challenger. She has been built for the moment and could learn so much from Shirai.
It was an interesting idea to have LeRae force Nox to question her own morality. This feud has gained new depth each week by avoiding conventional storytelling.
Thatcher vs. Priest is an odd pairing as someone will need to turn. However, Thatcher is one of the best stars to help transition a heel to a face role. He has a great smug smile.
Velveteen Dream vs. Ashante Adonis
Velveteen Dream took his opponent lightly early, and it almost cost him. Ashante Adonis nearly rolled him up for a three-count. The former NXT North American champion recovered and hit a Dream Valley Driver for the win.
Afterward, Kushida returned with anger. He showed a new aggressive edge against the man who attacked him after both had lost out on a title opportunity. He trapped Dream in the ropes, locking in a cross armbreaker until officials broke it up.
Breezango and Imperium talked about the upcoming title rematches between teams. Neither team liked the other, as they did not share a common aesthetic.
Dream def. Adonis by pinfall.
It is hard to say what the point was for the squash match, but the aftermath was fantastic. Kushida finally got some payback, and it looks like he will show a new attitude going forward. Perhaps his technical style will shine through finally.
This rivalry will help both men going forward. Kushida needs a top competitor to raise his own status. Dream needs to work off someone fresh.
Bronson Reed vs. Austin Theory
Austin Theory managed to trip up and wear down Bronson Reed early. The Colossal only needed one opening to get going, hitting a series of strikes and splashes. Theory clearly bit off more than he could chew, falling to the Avalanche.
Reed def. Theory by pinfall.
Despite the time they had, this was a forgettable clash of talented stars. Theory and Reed are not well-suited to work together. Their chemistry was off throughout the contest. Both men did what they could with the spotlight.
Matches like this are important for Reed. He can build himself up in competitive clashes that have meaning. Theory certainly was not ready to defeat The Colossal, and he still has work to do to rebuild himself in NXT.
Roderick Strong (w/ Bobby Fish) vs. Killian Dain
Killian Dain came out swinging against Roderick Strong, battering him with a fast, powerful offense. The technical offense of The Messiah of the Backbreaker was not suited to combat The Beast of Belfast's impressive size.
Bobby Fish pulled Strong to safety after a running splash. This set off Dain, who went after Fish. The distraction allowed The Messiah of the Backbreaker to win with a jumping high knee.
Both members of Undisputed Era stomped on The Beast of Belfast after the match. Drake Maverick tried to save Dain but got beat down for his effort. Dain grabbed a steel pipe and sent Strong and Fish running. Dain laid out Maverick afterward.
Strong def. Dain by pinfall.
This was a surprisingly fun clash. Dain has struggled to deliver on the NXT level. His lack of chemistry with top stars has held him back. This was different. He and Strong looked good together. The Messiah of the Backbreaker put The Beast of Belfast over in a big way.
Maverick and Dain's continued slow build as a team has worked well. Eventually, the cruiserweight will get through to The Beast of Belfast. It just matters if anyone will care when they do find common ground.
Steel Cage: Rhea Ripley vs. Mercedes Martinez (w/ Robert Stone)
Rhea Ripley came out swinging early. In this physical encounter, The Nightmare was malicious in her early destruction of Mercedes Martinez. Martinez fought back with a fisherman suplex while Robert Stone coached from the outside.
The Robert Stone Brand member fought back, using a steel chair to brutalize Ripley. Finally, The Nightmare pulled out the Prism Trap, almost getting a tapout. Stone distracted Ripley to set up Martinez to connect on a devastating kendo-stick shot.
Martinez caught The Nightmare with a top-rope neckbreaker. Ripley refused to be stopped, planting her opponent with the Riptide through a table off the second rope. This gave Ripley a win over the final threat in the Robert Stone Brand, putting the group behind her.
Ripley def. Martinez by pinfall.
This contest was everything it promised to be. The bell rang, and the physicality was off the charts. The two were ready to destroy each other at every turn. Neither woman wanted to leave the cage, just hurt the other.
The work of both women solidified why they are so important to NXT. They bring a unique style that works in the main event at a level no one else could. Even though this was their first fight, it felt like the culmination of many legendary battles.
Typical WWE booking would have indicated this was Martinez's match to win, but Ripley is still the priority in NXT. She will not lose often, even against rising top talent. Martinez can recover from the loss thanks to a top-notch main event spotlight.