WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 13
NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver redefined the landscape of WWE NXT. The April 13 edition of the black-and-gold brand was the aftermath of that show as well as the debut of NXT on Tuesday nights.
New champions Karrion Kross and Raquel Gonzalez were set to address their title victories while reestablishing the hierarchy in their divisions. Finn Balor and Io Shirai were sure to be watching closely.
MSK also won gold at TakeOver but did not choose to wait, putting the NXT Tag Team Championships on the line against Killian Dain and Drake Maverick. Now officially the undisputed NXT cruiserweight champion, Santos Escobar issued an open challenge to the division.
The Way have got in the way of many top stars, so it was only a matter of time before they banded together. Johnny Gargano, Candice LeRae, Indi Hartwell and Austin Theory would battle the team of Bronson Reed, Ember Moon, Shotzi Blackheart and Dexter Lumis.
Nothing has kept Leon Ruff and Isaiah "Swerve" Scott apart, so NXT general manager William Regal wanted them to settle their differences. These heated rivals would do battle.
After several weeks of build, Tuesday night also promised the arrival of Franky Monet.
This was a chance for the black-and-gold brand to begin a new era. Anything could happen with so many new champions and fresh challenges in every division.
Karrion Kross Promises Lengthy Reign at the Top
Karrion Kross and Scarlett arrived to complete their proclamation: The time had arrived, and The Herald of Doomsday had his title back.
The new NXT champion made an emphatic statement on the future of the brand and demanded competition that could feed his hunger.
This promo showed one of NXT's biggest problems. Kross has been built as a monster who lets his actions and Scarlett speak for him. When he has spoken in the past, his words dripped with malice. He only said what he needed to say. He has talent on the mic but not with this much standard WWE scripting.
His first words since becoming the top guy in NXT made him sound like just another Superstar. He threw out a few signature catchphrases and put himself over as the hungriest man in the hungriest locker room. He especially seemed uncertain how to deal with a few loud fans.
NXT is built so much on the performances over the characters. Kross has been established more as a Raw or SmackDown figure than one made for the black-and-gold brand. If NXT continues to script him like this, the company will lose the spark that makes The Herald of Doomsday unique.
NXT Tag Team Championships: MSK (c) vs. Killian Dain and Drake Maverick
As always, Drake Maverick found himself the weak link early in this matchup and was isolated by MSK.
However, Killian Dain got back into the action with some urgency, knowing what was on the line. The Beast of Belfast saved his partner from a pinfall and carried him to the corner.
Wes Lee and Nash Carter used a series of impressive maneuvers to nearly take the win. Dain and Maverick fired back with their own tag team synergy, but it backfired as they miscommunicated late. MSK took out Dain and then hit End Transmission on Maverick to win.
Alexander Wolfe walked out to distract The Beast of Belfast, and Imperium made a statement by taking out Dain with malice.
MSK def. Dain and Maverick by pinfall to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.
Despite the potential of this matchup, it was no better than their first match together. Lee and Carter continue to pull impressive high-flying offense in every match, but it doesn't land as well without a capable heel team to work off them.
Still, for a random NXT title defense, this was more than good enough. It was fun action between capable teams, with MSK building more momentum without taking away from the potential threat of Dain and Maverick as an odd pairing that work well together.
Dain and Maverick vs. Imperium could be interesting. Fabian Aichner and Marcel Bartel deserve more opportunities than they have been given lately beyond backing up WALTER.
Mercedes Martinez vs. Jessi Kamea
NXT showed exclusive footage of both Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly following their NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver match. Afterward, they had to stretchered to a nearby medical facility where Cole still cursed out his former ally.
Mercedes Martinez wanted her money back from Robert Stone, but Jessi Kamea got in her way. The two met in the ring where Kamea took over the action early. Martinez turned it around with an emphatic over-the-shoulder back-to-belly piledriver for the win.
After her victory, she choked out Stone until he gave her the money. She then told commentary to give Raquel Gonzalez a message that she was after the NXT Women's Championship.
Later in the night, Martinez got in Zoey Stark's face for assuming she had a shot at the champion over the veteran.
Martinez def. Kamea by pinfall.
This angle didn't mean much in the long run, but at least it got Martinez back on television. She has moved past The Robert Stone Brand and called her shot on the NXT women's champion. That could be the perfect first rivalry for Gonzalez.
The champion needs a veteran challenger, and few in NXT are better than Martinez. Once she has completed her business with Io Shirai, Gonzalez will need someone like the hard-hitting technical fighter.
Kamea got squashed here, but she is starting to find her footing in an NXT ring. She could be a future star, though that may only come once she has moved beyond Stone.
NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Santos Escobar (c) vs. Kushida
Santos Escobar explained that his legacy is as a champion, and he would defeat anyone who stepped up to him in an open challenge title match. Kushida answered the call, sending the NXT cruiserweight champion out of the ring with a dropkick.
Escobar sent Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde to the back, certain he could beat Kushida. He was quickly overwhelmed by the speed of the Japanese Superstar. The champion caught Kushida outside by slamming him into the steel steps. He followed up with a Boston crab on the steps into the post.
The cruiserweight champion continued to wear out his challenger. Kushida answered the Phantom Driver with an Atomic Drop and a series of strikes that set him up for a double underhook superplex. A second double underhook suplex nearly put the match away.
Both men were exhausted and missed their signature moves. Once again, Kushida reversed the Phantom Driver, starting a series of pinfall attempts that allowed Kushida to stack up Escobar and win.
Regal congratulated Kushida backstage, only for Jordan Devlin to interrupt. He made clear he would get his own shot at that gold soon. Tomasso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher warned MSK of their title aspirations.
Kushida def. Escobar by pinfall to become the new NXT cruiserweight champion.
This was a complete shock. After doing so much to establish Escobar as the one-and-only cruiserweight champion, Kushida arrives to knock him down a peg. Adding a true surprise to the night elevated the show as a whole.
While Escobar was a great champion, he was running low on challengers. The division just got the bold restart it needed. The former champion is on the hunt. Devlin has also staked his claim. There are many great matches now in store.
The match was good, though it felt like they did not quite hit their highest gear. These two have a great match in store down the line.
Franky Monet Interrupts Raquel Gonzalez's Championship Celebration
Dakota Kai introduced Raquel Gonzalez. The NXT women's champion explained that every day before this night had built her to this moment. She put The Captain of Team Kick over as instrumental to her rise, seeing her potential when no one else would.
The lights went out, and Franky Monet arrived. With her dog in hand, she claimed the NXT women's division was hers now. Gonzalez and Monet almost came to blows, but the newcomer stepped away for the moment.
Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair arrived to celebrate with the new NXT women's champion. The best friends hugged in the center of the ring, celebrating their rise to gold together.
Regal then put over another recent signing for the women's division. It was announced that Sarray would debut next week.
It was awesome to see Ripley and Belair together with Gonzalez, standing as champions. The three women got their start in the Mae Young Classic and have never looked back.
For the long-term story, Monet has arrived. She has been one of the best female wrestlers outside WWE for the past few years. Her arrival only solidifies how talented the NXT women's division is. While she and Gonzalez should not immediately clash, they can do something special when they do.
Leon Ruff vs. Isaiah 'Swerve' Scott
Isaiah "Swerve" Scott put himself over, ready to move past Leon Ruff after this match. Pete Dunne said he was after gold again and would not stop until he was champion. Roderick Strong and his wife, Marina Shafir, handed in his papers to Regal, stating that he was done.
Swerve and Ruff played nice until the bell rang, but their brawl from the past few weeks continued once the referee allowed. The underdog looked to have Scott's number, nearly winning off a springboard stunner as well as a Frankensteiner.
Ruff hit a rebound clothesline that was answered by a discus lariat from Swerve. Recovering quickly, Ruff nearly stole the win with a jacknife pin. However, Scott barely kicked out but then hit the JML Driver for the win.
Ruff attacked Scott backstage, making clear he was not done with Swerve despite losing clean.
Swerve def. Ruff by pinfall.
This was a great near-end to this rivalry. Both men fought hard, and the near-falls in this contest sold that either man could win. It was exciting and easily the strongest match on the show.
It took a while, but Swerve is finally building momentum as a heel. Hopefully, he gets even more once this rivalry is over. He and Ruff have looked great together and deserve an NXT main event for their final fight.
Either Swerve will finally put an end to this feud with Ruff, or the new attitude shown by the latter backstage could be a sign that these two could reconcile and become an exciting heel tag team together.
Dexter Lumis, Bronson Reed, Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart vs. The Way
The Way promised victory in their first eight-man tag team match together, but Indi Hartwell was a little too focused on getting in the same ring as Dexter Lumis.
Hartwell was kept out of the action whenever Lumis was nearby. The women could not directly fight the men in this match, but that did not stop them attacking everyone. Ember Moon caught Johnny Gargano with a suicide dive, and Candice LeRae DDTed Lumis outside.
After The Colossal threw Shotzi Blackheart onto the crowd outside, Lumis trapped Johnny Wrestling in the Silence. Hartwell got herself intentionally taken backstage by The Tortured Artist. Moon hit an Eclipse off Reed's shoulder, and no one could stop Reed from hitting the Tsunami on Austin Theory to win.
Reed, Lumis, Moon and Blackheart def. The Way by pinfall.
This was a ridiculous but fun main event for the night. Reed worked really well off of Moon and Blackheart, and Gargano and LeRae's equal inability to slow The Colossal put him over in a major way.
Hartwell got what she wanted, showing that The Way was too dysfunctional to actually pull out a victory. Reed got a big win over Gargano that should set him up for a rematch soon for the NXT North American Championship.
It will be interesting to see what becomes of The Way after a night that is certain to break the group's confidence.