WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 11
WWE NXT set a massive card for May 11, with almost every champion competing against top rivals who could put an end to their title run.
Mercedes Martinez has been waiting for an opportunity for months, and she was granted that chance when she fought Raquel Gonzalez for the NXT Women's Championship.
Karrion Kross was not putting his title on the line, but after feeling disrespected by The Way, the NXT champion promised to hurt Austin Theory while Johnny Gargano watched from the sidelines.
Kushida ended one of the most dominant runs by an NXT cruiserweight champion when he beat Santos Escobar last month. The two finally fought again Tuesday, with the likelihood of both Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde staying close to the former titleholder.
MSK are happy to take on any challengers to their title, and former champions Breezango stepped up this week.
After Pete Dunne got in his way last week, Kyle O'Reilly demanded a match against his rival's friend, Oney Lorcan.
This show was jam-packed to the point of rivaling a TakeOver card, and the clearest promise was two hours of great wrestling.
Karrion Kross (w/ Scarlett) vs. Austin Theory (w/ Johnny Gargano)
Austin Theory lost his confidence the moment Karrion Kross made his entrance. All that The Way member could do was duck and weave against the NXT champion.
A pair of Saito suplexes put an end to any resistance Theory could muster. Kross followed up with the Kross Jacket for the victory.
Afterward, Finn Balor appeared next to the NXT champion and told him he did not want to wait in line, and the two agreed they would fight soon.
It was announced that Gargano would defend the North American Championship against Bronson Reed next week. Johnny Wrestling charged into William Regal's office and demanded respect.
Gargano attacked Reed backstage. In response, The Colossal was granted a steel cage match with the NXT North American champion next week.
Kross def. Theory by referee stoppage.
This was exactly what it needed to be. Theory is a valuable asset to NXT, but he's nowhere near the level of Kross. He got squashed in a match that was effective but not pretty. The champion was made to look truly unstoppable.
Balor wants his rematch, and the must-see contest is set to to take place in two weeks' time.
MSK vs. Breezango
Tyler Breeze and Wes Lee went back and forth to open this encounter, and even the referee had to use a leapfrog to stay out of their way.
Fandango attempted to slow the action, but Nash Carter would not let his teammate stay on the mat long.
Prince Pretty leveled MSK with a pair of superkicks. Carter responded with a moonsault outside to Breezango. That dive was enough to leave Breeze alone with MSK, who hit End Transmission to pick up another big win.
Afterward, the two teams shook hands. MSK then made clear they wanted to face Legado del Fantasma.
MSK def. Breezango by pinfall.
MSK and Breezango had a fairly predictable fight in which the veterans got to pull out some fun spots despite never having any real chance of victory. The contest never hit top gear since its story never moved beyond the showing-off stage.
What mattered in the end was that MSK remain fighting champions and have plenty of fresh rivals for the future. Legado del Fantasma will be next, but it's likely Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher will get a shot soon as well.
Pete Dunne (w/ Oney Lorcan) vs. Leon Ruff
Leon Ruff wanted a match on this show, but general manager William Regal refused to let him compete one week after his brutal fight against Isaiah "Swerve" Scott.
Pete Dunne called Karrion Kross a coward for choosing the easy route against Finn Balor and set an open challenge to anyone who dared to fight him. Ruff attacked The Bruiserweight from behind, starting the match before Regal could stop it.
Ruff came out firing, but he was too hurt against a man who takes advantage of every weakness. He brutalized the young performer and locked him in a triangle choke, forcing the referee to call the match.
Dunne broke the fingers of Ruff afterward to further emphasize how dangerous he is.
Dunne def. Ruff by referee stoppage.
Dunne took full advantage of Ruff's injury here. It is clear that Ruff is losing control of himself, and he's going to get himself seriously hurt against top competitors.
Meanwhile, Dunne remains truly dominant. He has beaten everyone except Balor in recent months. He may just be able to defeat The Prince in a rematch between the two men, but the plan has to be Kross vs. Dunne for the future.
NXT Women's Championship: Raquel Gonzalez (c) vs. Mercedes Martinez
Prior to this contest, it was announced that Franky Monet would make her "world premiere" in two weeks.
A brawl started at the bell in which Mercedes Martinez pushed Raquel Gonzalez outside and slammed her into the barricade. The two women traded blows as the challenger continued to take over the action. The champion had to fight from underneath until she landed a stiff rebound clothesline.
Gonzalez badly hurt Martinez with a powerbomb that sent her to the floor, and the titleholder slammed her into the barricade and steel post to nearly take the win. However, Martinez held firm, reversing the single-arm powerbomb and hitting the fisherman buster for a near-fall.
Martinez hit a low knee, but when she went for the running finish, she was met by a big boot and the single-arm powerbomb for the victory.
Gonzalez def. Martinez by pinfall to retain the NXT Women's Championship.
Once more, Gonzalez showed how good she is while also proving she's got work to do to get to the highest level. She brought everything to this performance, though she overpushed a few spots that Martinez could not quite save.
Still, the women had a good title clash that made the most of the TV spotlight, but they are unlikely to be built for a long-term feud. The talent was enough to sell a decent match, but they don't have great chemistry.
Hit Row Gives an Emphatic Warning to NXT
Isaiah "Swerve" Scott introduced his new stable, Hit Row, and promised that NXT was not ready for this group.
Top Dolla, Ashante Thee Adonis and B-Fab stood firm alongside Swerve in the ring, ready to take over everything they can in NXT.
Meanwhile, Cameron Grimes tried to bet on a mansion but was outbid again by Ted DiBiase, who laughed in his face. And Zoey Stark promised to make sure her next win over Toni Storm was not seen as an upset.
Hit Row made an impressive statement. Each member of the stable was clearly established in this promo: Swerve is the leader, B-Fab is the mastermind, Top Dolla is the muscle, and Adonis is the loudmouth enforcer.
This group has a real chance to succeed in a post-Undisputed Era NXT. The Way is the only stable that can match up here, and it is possible the new faction will take out Gargano and Co. on the road to the top. Swerve could become world champion with this group.
Kyle O'Reilly vs. Oney Lorcan (w/ Pete Dunne)
Kyle O'Reilly matched the physicality of Oney Lorcan early, but Pete Dunne distracted him long enough for his ally to take advantage and wear down the former Undisputed Era man with loud chops.
O'Reilly answered back with a series of kicks and chops of his own. He tried to roll into a heel hook, but Lorcan kept the momentum all the way to the ropes.
The ex-UE member put the match away after a brainbuster and diving knee drop. Afterward, Dunne and Lorcan attacked O'Reilly until Bobby Fish made a surprise return to save his friend.
O'Reilly def. Lorcan by pinfall.
These two have much better in them. This was a decent physical match, but it could have been more with greater stakes and drama. Instead, this was just about giving O'Reilly another win.
The arrival of Fish was a much bigger talking point. He is just as talented as any other member of Undisputed Era, but he has not truly ventured out on his own yet. He's a fresh act, though, and could easily go his own way beyond occasionally helping his friend.
2-Out-Of-3 Falls NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Kushida (c) vs. Santos Escobar
It did not take long for Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde to try to interfere here, but MSK made the save before all four men were thrown out.
This left the two combatants alone to fight one-on-one. While the NXT cruiserweight champion brought the fight to the challenger, Escobar wore him out with physical strikes.
Then, the challenger planted Kushida with the Phantom Driver to take the first fall. A cocky Escobar ran into the Hoverboard Lock and tapped out quickly, knowing he could afford giving up the fall.
The action only intensified from there. Escobar caught Kushida with a suicide dive into the ramp while protecting his injured arm. The champion answered back by nearly stealing the final fall with a pair of inside cradles.
The two traded jack-knife pins to nearly take the win before colliding in the center of the ring with clotheslines. Kushida took Escobar off the top rope with the Hoverboard Lock and kept a firm grip on Escobar until he landed a bridging suplex for three.
Kushida def. Escobar 2-1 to retain the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.
Unsurprisingly, Kushida and Escobar brought it all to this contest. Only the stipulation held this back as the two did not need three falls to go 20 minutes.
The final fall was the result of incredible work from both men who were at top gear throughout. It was an intense contest and one of the best matches we have seen for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.
Kushida has proved he is one of the best, and he and Escobar can help redefine the division for months to come. The Japanese Superstar can also elevate many more.