WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 4
WWE has always held the simple promise that a great rivalry will eventually grow brutal, and the May 4 edition of NXT promised the intense end of two important feuds.
Candice LeRae has long sought her first opportunity to hold gold. The NXT Women's Tag Team Championships have eluded her, but she was given one more chance alongside Indi Hartwell to topple Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon in a Street Fight.
Leon Ruff made his mark last year with a shocking upset win over Johnny Gargano. That single victory has haunted him since, leading to a rivalry with Isaiah "Swerve" Scott, who has felt entitled to the opportunity Ruff was given. They looked to prove their worth in a Falls Count Anywhere match.
Finn Balor has been missing for weeks. The former NXT champion was brutalized by Karrion Kross, losing his gold in a dominant main event performance. The Prince has recovered and had a chance to address his loss.
After both teams stacked their claim to the No. 1 contendership, Grizzled Young Veterans challenged Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher. In a rematch from the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, this was sure to be a special and physical matchup.
NXT has always been built on the promise of fresh talent stepping up to the plate, and this show had it all. Highlighted by multiple young stars, this was a packed card with tons of potential.
Falls Count Anywhere: Leon Ruff vs. Isaiah 'Swerve' Scott
Isaiah "Swerve" Scott taunted an angry Leon Ruff up to the bell. Ruff lost his cool, allowing Swerve to take over early. Scott went for the first pinfall of the match off a confident superplex for a two-count.
Ruff tried to answer but quickly discovered how far Swerve would go to hurt him when he threw a full toolbox at his head. The two battled to the locker room where Swerve ran down Ruff with a crate. Fighting back to the stage, the underdog knocked Swerve off the stage followed by a running somersault senton.
The two battled back to the ring where Ruff hit a crucifix bomb off the top rope to nearly win followed by a poisonrana off the apron. Scott escaped a pin and goaded Ruff into the Confidence Boost for a near-fall.
The underdog grabbed the toolbox and smacked the leg of Swerve to set up a frog splash for a near-fall of his own. A series of springboard cutters nearly got the win for Ruff, but he wanted the exclamation mark, climbing to the top of a nearby stage.
AJ Francis appeared to catch the underdog, setting up Swerve to plant Ruff with a JML for the win. Other members of Swerve's club celebrated with him up the ramp.
Swerve def. Ruff by pinfall.
This match had it all. Swerve and Ruff have always delivered, and this was their strongest match together. With plenty of time and tons of storytelling behind the action, Ruff fought from underneath to nearly take the victory.
Either man could have won, but their egos got in the way. What decided the result was Swerve's support. After a couple months of teasing, it looks like his club vignettes have helped him to form a new stable to protect him.
While Scott has the personality of a main event act, his size could hold him back as a villain in NXT. This stable should be the difference to finally get him to gold.
Cameron Grimes vs. Asher Hale
Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro tried to refocus on the NXT Women's Tag Team Championships, but Franky Monet got in their faces to mock them.
Cameron Grimes then found himself challenged by Asher Hale. The NXT newcomer countered many of Grimes' signature moves but had no answer once The Technical Savage took over. He hit the Cave-In to win.
Ever-Rise tried to convince Grimes to join forces with them, but he just wanted to focus on himself. He headed to a local VIP lounge where Ted DiBiase had already bought out the entire club for the night.
Grimes def. Hale by pinfall.
This was a solid squash match, even if Grimes did not need such a contest at this point in his career. Hale got in some solid offense that made him look like a potential future talent. Grimes got the victory only after showing he was uncertain against this unknown threat.
Grimes has focused mostly on DiBiase, but that is not an angle that can go anywhere. Hopefully, there is some angle planned for The Technical Savage soon. Perhaps Ever-Rise could get the rub.
Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher vs. Grizzled Young Veterans
Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher quickly showed what they had learned from fighting The Grizzled Young Veterans previously. They kept the action moving and did not let Zack Gibson and James Drake isolate one man too long.
Even when GYV took over the action, Ciampa forced his way into the match with an emphatic hot tag. This allowed The Blackheart and Thatcher to isolate Drake. Gibson got a hot tag of his own before Drake sent Ciampa over the announce table with a suicide dive.
The Blackheart took advantage of the position and stole Wade Barrett's shoe. Ciampa distracted the referee, and Thatcher blasted Gibson with the footwear. He locked in a Fujiwara armbar and forced the submission.
Ciampa and Thatcher def. Grizzled Young Veterans by submission.
While this match lacked some drama, it made up for that with pure physical fun. The two teams wailed on each other, shifting the power struggle again and again. What ultimately made the difference, surprisingly, was that Ciampa and Thatcher were willing to cheat sooner than GYV.
This match should be revisited again with larger stakes. The finish made sense for the opening act of the rivalry. Let these teams build more story before one team goes after the NXT Tag Team Championships.
Karrion Kross Meets His Future Challengers
Johnny Gargano interrupted William Regal's meeting with Scarlett to complain about Bronson Reed. This set up Karrion Kross vs. Austin Theory next week.
Kross and Scarlett took the ring, and the champion made clear he would face any challenger. Kyle O'Reilly and Pete Dunne made their case. Finn Balor returned to say he should be next and hit the NXT champion.
A brawl ensued, and Kross took out all three men and a security guard who got in his way. Gargano and Theory attacked the champion and laid him out with a series of superkicks. They then ran out of the arena before the main event.
This was a messy segment that accomplished little for anyone involved. Balor made his return but looked out of his depth against Kross. The champion then laid out O'Reilly and Dunne as well as a security guard. This could have put over the champion.
Instead, Gargano arrived to take that spotlight. He is the NXT North American champion and should be focusing on Reed. Instead, he has added another rivalry to his unfinished pile of feuds.
Sarray vs. Zayda Ramier
NXT showed another video package for Diamond Mine and compared the impressive debuts of Sarray and Zayda Ramier before their match together.
Clearly, Ramier's win gave her confidence as she blasted The Warrior of the Sun early. Her punches and kicks made some impact, but her rival was just too much. She planted Ramier with a release German suplex followed by a Saito suplex to take the win.
Toni Storm tried to break up a show of respect backstage between Sarray and Ramier, but Zoey Stark got in her way.
Sarray def. Ramier by pinfall.
WWE made a big deal out of Ramier's win against Storm, and she got more offense in this contest. However, the result was never in question. This was an extended squash in which The Warrior of the Sun made more impact with every move.
This worked because Sarray is still new and needs to build up victories. Ramier will continue to be the underdog, learning from her opponents. She and Sarray did not need much chemistry for this to do what it needed to do, although The Warrior of the Sun was impressive.
LA Knight vs. Jake Atlas
LA Knight mocked Jake Atlas on his way to the ring and paid for it. Atlas gave Knight a face full of boot to open the match. The loudmouth Superstar responded, hoping to quickly take over, but Atlas was far too motivated to stay down.
He hit a German suplex for a near-fall, but Knight escaped to the corner where he managed to send Atlas head-first into the turnbuckle. This turned the match around, allowing Knight to win with a cutter.
Knight def. Atlas by pinfall.
This was another competitive squash. Atlas got in his licks, but he never had any real chance of winning. It did not help that he did not get a real entrance. He has fallen hard from the initial hype behind his run and is barely used in NXT or 205 Live.
Knight is a clear priority for NXT, but his run has been reminiscent of EC3. He has hype and is winning matches, but his style does not mesh with the black-and-gold brand. If his voice is not taken away from him, though, he can make his mark on Raw or SmackDown.
Kushida vs. Santos Escobar and Raquel Gonzalez vs. Mercedes Martinez Next Week
Legado del Fantasma made clear challenges to the NXT cruiserweight titleholder and NXT tag team champions. Kushida interrupted to set a date for their title match next week in a 2-out-of-3 Falls match, which Santos Escobar accepted.
Beth Phoenix then interviewed Raquel Gonzalez and Mercedes Martinez.
Martinez called Gonzalez "cookie cutter," molded after the blueprint she created. Gonzalez called her challenger a failure who set the bar low. Martinez promised to end the champion's run next week.
This pair of rushed segments served their purpose. Legado del Fantasma earned their title matches to come with the win last week. Kushida showed why he can be a great champion by challenging Escobar with fire. That rematch can be special.
Gonzalez vs. Martinez has only begun to develop. Next week's match should not be their sole encounter, but it is surprising that it is happening so soon.
NXT brought up Martinez's history traveling the world. It would be nice for the black-and-gold brand to actually sit down with Martinez and establish that legacy for the fans.
NXT Women's Tag Street Fight: Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon (c) vs. The Way
Candice LeRae had to block Dexter Lumis from getting close to Indi Hartwell, wanting her to focus on the main event. Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon could not ride the tank out because Franky Monet's dog had left a messy surprise in it.
Before the introductions, The Poison Pixie attacked the NXT women's tag team champions to gain an early lead. Blackheart and Moon trapped Hartwell in a trash can and then smashed LeRae between two trash-can lids. Hartwell booted The War Goddess over the barricade and then set up a quartet of steel chairs.
Moon sent Hartwell face-first into the chairs and set her up for an elevated suicide dive by Blackheart. Luckily, LeRae interfered with a fire extinguisher.
Weapons filled the ring and the surrounding area. Blackheart hit the diving senton onto LeRae through a ladder. Moon ricocheted Hartwell off a corner table with an Alabama slam. Hartwell then set up Blackheart on a ladder and The Poison Pixie hit a springboard moonsault.
Knowing she needed to take out Hartwell, Blackheart hit a splash off the steel support beam through the announce table. Somehow, Hartwell recovered enough to hit a diving elbow to the outside through a table on Moon.
The Poison Pixie used William Regal's brass knuckles that Johnny Gargano likely stole from his office on Blackheart followed by hitting the Wicked Stepsister on a chair to win.
The Way def. Moon and Blackheart by pinfall to become the new NXT women's tag team champions.
This was a brutal contest. All four women just wanted to do something memorable, and they all did just that. With limited time, they were not going to waste much selling. It was spot after spot, progressively growing wilder along the way.
Blackheart especially went all out with a few terrifying spots that could have done badly. Luckily, she landed them clean and kept fighting. While all four women would be sore the next day, it didn't look like anyone got seriously injured.
LeRae has finally won an NXT championship, and it's about time. While she and Hartwell are still a developing tag team, this is a great moment for one of the premier veterans of NXT. She should at least get a few months with the gold unless she inherits the "Gargano curse" from her husband.