WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 3
The March 3 edition of WWE NXT was a night of tag team excellence as the WWE women's tag team champions made a special appearance on the black-and-gold brand.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler have been dominant titleholders, but Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai ran through the women's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic to earn this shot. Everything was on the line as the NXT pairing may not get another chance at the gold.
After The Grizzled Young Veterans attacked men's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic winners MSK, it left NXT tag team champions Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan without an opponent for this week. But Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher stepped up for a non-title clash.
These two big matches were sure to define the night, but there was more promised in the form of wild entertainment.
Johnny Gargano lost last week to Dexter Lumis after Austin Theory hesitated to help him. The Rebel Heart decided it was time for The Way to take the recently abducted star to therapy.
After weeks of taunting the NXT Universe, LA Knight was finally ready to make his presence felt on the black-and-gold brand. And the charismatic star had plenty to say about his future.
This week's NXT was a mix of major matches and ridiculous entertainment, but it was as always a matter of how WWE balanced this chaotic blend of talent.
Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan vs. Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher
Timothy Thatcher went after Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan early, attacking with ferocity until the numbers proved too much for him.
Tommaso Ciampa helped him, but he did not let his partner recover before tagging him back in, and he landed poorly on his leg off a suplex.
Gaining a second wind forged from pure adrenaline, Thatcher and Ciampa fought together, but Imperium appeared on the stage and distracted The Blackheart from getting the tag. The champions hit an elevated DDT on the vulnerable Thatcher to win.
Backstage later in the night, Thatcher said his history with Imperium is in the past.
Burch and Lorcan def. Ciampa and Thatcher by pinfall.
This was a physical and intense technical showdown, but it was a little too focused on Thatcher to reach its peak. Ciampa barely got involved for much of the match. This is a pairing that needs to happen down the line, though.
Imperium's arrival was intriguing. WALTER has yet to arrive in NXT again, but the teases continue. Especially if MSK win the NXT Tag Team Championships, Imperium could have a fantastic feud against the tag team champions while WALTER begins to dominate the black-and-gold brand.
Finn Balor Offers Adam Cole an NXT Championship Match; The Way in Therapy
Roderick Strong called out Adam Cole, asking if he had ever been a friend to Undisputed Era. Finn Balor answered Strong's call-out instead.
The Prince told Strong to get greedy if he wanted to thrive and offered Cole an NXT Championship match next week if he showed up.
The Way wanted to talk to Linda Nicoli, M.D. Austin Theory said he was on vacation with Dexter Lumis while Indi Hartwell doodled about herself and The Tortured Artist. The psychologist called out Johnny Gargano, who lost his temper until the doctor ordered him to leave the room.
Candice LeRae and Hartwell kept talking over Theory until they were thrown out of the room as well. This left Dr. Nicoli to ask Theory about what really happened to him with Lumis. He explained that he got a chance to watch cartoons and eat cereal.
The psychologist told Theory that she had spoken with Lumis, and he had told her that The Tortured Artist hated Theory. After Theory cried his way out of the ring, Gargano revealed he had staged the whole thing without letting him know.
This was a solid follow-up to last week. Strong was motivated and sold the idea that he wanted to hurt Cole for betraying them.
Balor's arrival threw a wrench in the story in a great way. The Prince vs. Cole has been done, but it works as a way to build next week's show.
The Irishman has no qualms about fighting anyone. It makes him a more dangerous champion. He has been sold as one of the best champions in WWE. His performances have backed it up in the best run of his career.
The therapy segments were fun, just as most of the recent segments with The Way have been. Theory has found his voice with Gargano, and it's good to see him thriving after his overhyped surprise run on Raw.
Ember Moon (w/ Shotzi Blackheart) vs. Aliyah (w/ Jessi Kamea and Robert Stone)
Aliyah was far too cocky against Ember Moon, and it backfired as The War Goddess got rolling.
Robert Stone and Jessi Kamea tried to distract Moon, but Shotzi Blackheart took them out before The War Goddess won with The Eclipse.
NXT showed a vignette to hype the history of Io Shirai and Toni Storm. The Genius of the Sky saw The Lightning Down Under as the final obstacle while Storm shined with pure confidence for the match next week.
Moon def. Aliyah by pinfall.
Aliyah remains the most well-known enhancement talent on the roster. She doesn't elevate the talent of her opponents, but she can put them over in semi-competitive matches. This match was just about keeping The War Goddess on the show.
Blackheart and Moon have now been fully established as a tag team. It seems NXT accepts that the brand needs a full tag team division. It is the best way to keep everyone relevant in a packed division.
WWE Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax and Baszler (c) vs. Raquel Gonzalez and Kai
Dakota Kai came into this contest confident, but she found herself outmatched by the capable and technical style of Shayna Baszler. Nia Jax helped beat down The Captain of Team Kick, trying to keep her away from Raquel Gonzalez.
Kai was too motivated to stay down and fought her way to her tag team partner. Off the hot tag, Gonzalez dominated The Queen of Spades. This set up Jax and Gonzalez to face off in a battle of power that The Irresistible Force was not interested in continuing for too long.
The challengers hit an elevated snap kick on Baszler for a near-finish. The Queen of Spades nearly had the win with the Kirifuda Clutch, but Gonzalez broke it up and got the tag. The referee went down as the two heavyweights battled over the announce table.
Baszler caught Kai in the Kirifuda Clutch. Even though The Captain wasn't legal, Adam Pearce had an official run down and call the match for the champions.
Jax and Baszler def. Gonzalez and Kai by submission to retain the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships.
This was a fun encounter that built to a feverish conclusion. While these teams have better in them, it was the best match the WWE women's tag team champions have had since winning the gold. They brought it against a team that fits so well with their dynamic.
The finish set up plenty of intrigue. Kai and Gonzalez did not lose legitimately, thanks to Pearce. NXT tag teams have been kept away from the gold for so long, and it's time to let them fully integrate into the story.
It seems Kai and Gonzalez could be invading WWE Raw soon for a deserved rematch, which is a story that could extend to WrestleMania 37.
LA Knight Speaks; Bronson Reed vs. Cameron Grimes
Isaiah "Swerve" Scott talked from a studio where he wanted to make it clear that Leon Ruff did not deserve his opportunities. He promised to do anything that was needed to get those chances instead.
LA Knight stepped into an NXT ring for the first time and had quite a bit to say about his future. He talked down to the roster, promising he would put down anyone who stepped into his ring. Bronson Reed arrived for his match, and Knight kindly let The Colossal take the ring.
William Regal found Cameron Grimes backstage gambling. The NXT general manager told him he would face Reed later in the night after attacking a crew member last week. Grimes tried to buy his way out of the match, but Reed was not interested.
Knight returned to the ring as The Colossal prepared for the Avalanche. He helped The Technical Savage knock Reed off the top rope, setting up the Cave-In for the win.
Grimes def. Reed by pinfall.
Knight is finally starting to find his spot in NXT. His promos are a little too similar, but he should be able to find a better angle now that he has a rival. Knight vs. Reed is a solid first feud, although The Colossal could lose steam by the end of this.
After his evolution, Grimes may start to build more steam as a competitor. He is too ridiculous to take seriously, but he remains a unique presence in the company. It is important to make sure NXT feels as different as possible from wrestler to wrestler.
Breezango vs. Ever-Rise Never Starts Thanks to Legado Del Fantasma
Kayden Carter told Xia Li that she would make her pay next week for what happened to Kacy Catanzaro, and NXT then aired a vignette for Finn Balor vs. Adam Cole.
Ever-Rise were prepared to fight Breezango, but Legado del Fantasma struck. They laid out Breezango, and Santos Escobar then took out Ever-Rise.
The angry trio stood in the ring while Escobar declared the group was still as good as ever, even after losing to Karrion Kross last week.
Legado del Fantasma needed to build momentum after an embarrassing loss last week, when the trio could not defeat Kross. This was a fine way to make that clear as they took out four men. Tyler Breeze and Fandango could even be set up as the next challengers to the NXT cruiserweight champion.
Even though they did not get to compete, it is nice to see NXT continue to use Ever-Rise, who are regularly seen on 205 Live. It feels like Chase Parker and Matt Martel are being rewarded for their work.
Finn Balor vs. Roderick Strong
Finn Balor wore down Roderick Strong with a shoulder lock. While The Messiah of the Backbreaker escaped, the damage to his left shoulder was obvious, allowing The Prince to keep striking at the injured arm.
However, Strong fought back with backbreakers that left Balor moving slower.
The two wrestled again to the corner where The Prince could not stop himself from taunting his opponent. This set off his rival, who found an intense second wind.
Reversal after reversal between the two nearly ended it, but Strong could not put this away. Balor caught him with the Coup de Grace and 1916 for the victory.
Adam Cole stared down the NXT champion from the stage.
Balor def. Strong by pinfall.
This should not have been the main event, especially with the surprise finish that came out of the tag team title match. That said, Balor and Strong have solid chemistry in the ring, and it showed throughout.
The importance of this match was to sell Strong as more than a secondary member of Undisputed Era. He pushed the Irishman throughout, setting up a potential opportunity at the NXT title. It seems the future is Balor trying to survive three of the four former members of Undisputed Era.
Even with that goal, it was smart for Balor to continue winning. He has been sold as dominant, and a 50-50 booking cannot hurt that now.