WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from June 15
WWE NXT is in chaos. William Regal, who has been with NXT since the beginning, admitted that he had lost control of the brand. At the close of NXT TakeOver: In Your House 2021, he proclaimed that he would need to make a change.
The June 15 edition of NXT was the beginning of that change. Regal was set to open the show with a massive announcement that would change the black-and-gold brand. Speculation abound was unclear on what would come next.
The show also promised multiple big matches and moments. In particular, Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher would battle in a tornado tag team match against Zack Gibson and James Drake.
Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai would return to tag team action after the NXT women's champion's successful title defense at TakeOver, facing the underdogs Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter.
Imperium looked to right a wrong by defeating Breezango, the team that took the NXT Tag Team Championships from them. Kushida awaited a new challenger in an NXT Cruiserweight Title Open Challenge.
LA Knight would be officially crowned as only the fifth man ever to hold the Million Dollar Championship. Io Shirai also had promised to speak to the NXT Universe about her future following her return the previous week.
NXT stacked the card for this big night, following up on another successful TakeOver event.
Samoa Joe Accepts New Role as William Regal's Enforcer
William Regal walked out somberly to the ring. He talked about his history in NXT, tearing up along the way. With the chaos in NXT, he decided he was no longer capable of working as the general manager of the black-and-gold brand.
Karrion Kross interrupted. He demanded that The British Brawler step down and give him power over NXT. Regal was not sure how to respond when Samoa Joe walked out. Regal told Joe that he needed him to be the new NXT general manager.
The Samoan Submission Specialist refused to be the new GM. Instead, he wanted to help make sure that Regal received his necessary respect from everyone.
The offer was changed by Regal to allow Joe to be his new enforcer under two conditions. He was not allowed to compete, and he was not allowed to put his hands on talent unless provoked. Joe told Kross to leave the ring, and the NXT champion did just that.
This was perfect. While Joe's NXT return was expected, his role on the brand was less than clear. Regal is vital to NXT. He has solidified himself over the years as one of the greatest general managers in WWE history, and he is far from done.
Joe is suited well for this enforcer role, where he can use his stature and promo skills to make a lasting impact on anyone. He can truly stop anyone from Johnny Gargano to Kross in their tracks.
It is a shame that he will not be allowed to wrestle for a while, but he may still not be cleared to compete. This is a way to use him and build him to a major return to the ring for a final run.
Breezango vs. Imperium
Breezango ran right into Imperium to open the match, but Marcel Bartel threw Tyler Breeze in Fandango's way to distract him from the attack of Fabian Aichner. Fandango found himself isolated by the heels for a while.
Prince Pretty got the hot tag that was stopped by a vicious clothesline from Aichner. However, as Aichner leaned down to inflict more punishment, he got caught with a school boy for three.
Imperium did not appreciate the cheap loss, attacking Breezango after the bell. They took out both men and draped an Imperium flag over Breeze.
Breezango def. Imperium by pinfall.
This match had so much story behind it, but it was not the spotlight the contest deserved. So much of the contest was wrestled in picture-in-picture. Bartel and Aichner have been great at selling sprints, but the split presentation took away from any chance they had to put on their best effort.
The overall presentation did work, though. Breeze stole the win. Imperium could not stand the loss and took out their frustration on Breezango. The next match should be much better.
NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Kushida (c) vs. Trey Baxter
Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly battled backstage until officials broke it up. William Regal announced the two would fight again at Great American Bash in three weeks while participating in a Pick Your Poison match next week. The brawling continued until Samoa Joe choked out Cole with a Coquina Clutch.
Before his debut in Kushida's open challenge, NXT showed a vignette on Trey Baxter. The speed and high-flying of Baxter allowed him to send the Japanese Superstar out of the ring repeatedly. O'Reilly appeared to scout Kushida, who slowly made his comeback.
The Japanese Superstar landed a dropkick and enzuigiri to daze Baxter, but the challenger responded with a springboard handspring side kick. A Spanish Fly from Baxter set up the challenger for a springboard 450 splash, but it only got a near-fall.
The NXT cruiserweight champion answered with a top rope armbreaker, rolling quickly into the Hoverboard Lock for the victory. O'Reilly requested a one-on-one match with Kushida, and the champion succeeded.
Kushida def. Baxter by pinfall to retain the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.
This was a really good debut for Baxter. He looked like a true challenger to Kushida in one of the champion's best defenses to date. The newcomer to NXT is a fiery high-flyer who can do so much in the ring. He just needs a Ricochet-like NXT push once he's up to speed (without the move to Raw).
This set up a potentially even better match next week. Kushida is one of the best in the business right now, and O'Reilly is not far behind him in NXT. The two can do something special together, though it is hard to see either losing.
Having a main event star request a match with the NXT cruiserweight champion shows how well respected the Japanese Superstar is.
LA Knight Turns on Ted DiBiase After Taking the Million Dollar Championship
Franky Monet announced an encore to her world premiere next week. She also tried to convince Aliyah and Jessi Kamea to ditch Robert Stone.
Ted DiBiase set the stage for LA Knight's entrance, who put over how good it felt for him to meet his hero. The Million Dollar Man put the title on his shoulder. Suddenly, Knight dropped DiBiase with a right hand, telling him that he had all he needed.
He stomped on The Million Dollar Man repeatedly until Cameron Grimes arrived to clothesline Knight out of the ring and check on the Hall of Famer.
Unexpectedly, this segment saw Knight lost for words in moments. He struggled in moments, but it worked for the most part. He was trying to sell his appreciation of DiBiase before turning against him.
The point of this segment was crystal clear. Knight's involvement has always been to help turn Grimes face. He was fully the crowd favorite in this segment, and he will have The Million Dollar Man embrace him before this is over.
Knight meanwhile gets to run with the title for a while and gloat. It is a great way to solidify him as a serious competitor for NXT and likely Raw or SmackDown by next year.
Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter vs. Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai
Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart tried to get their hands on Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez, but William Regal and Samoa Joe stopped them.
Kayden Carter found herself at a disadvantage early against the NXT women's champion but managed to lock in an octopus and work with Catanzaro to truly daze Gonzalez. The speedy underdogs had Kai reeling immediately after she tagged in.
Finally, the heels answered and worked together to isolate and stomp down on Catanzaro. Off the hot tag, Carter was a ball of fire, dominating Gonzalez and Kai on her own. The champion recovered and hit a sidewalk slam for a near-fall.
Gonzalez and Kai hit an elevated lungblower on Carter where Catanzaro had to break up the pin. This was the right moment to allow the faces to take back control.
They took out Gonzalez outside then hit a neckbreaker/450 splash combination. The champion barely got involved in time, but she destroyed both women on the outside. Kai hit the GTK for the victory.
Gonzalez and Kai def. Catanzaro and Carter by pinfall.
This was the absolute best that Catanzaro and Carter have ever looked in the ring. They seem to have truly found their next gear as a team, working smoother and more exciting than ever before. Time off has clearly worked wonders for them.
It was honestly a surprise that the faces lost by the end. Even though Gonzalez is the NXT women's champion, she and Kai have not been invincible together. They made the underdogs look like they could genuinely pull out the major upset.
Gonzalez and Kai could very well win the NXT Women's Tag Team Championships after this victory. The champion would be truly solidified as the first women to hold both NXT women's titles at the same time, and she has earned it with her noticeable and steady improvement in the ring.
Zoey Stark Ruins The Way's Attempt to Take Out Io Shirai
Io Shirai walked out with the confidence to announce who she wanted next. Candice LeRae interrupted her before she could say anything. The Poison Pixie made clear that The Genius of the Sky needed to go to the back of the line.
Indi Hartwell attacked Shirai from behind, and The Way set up Shirai on the table for an elbow drop. Zoey Stark evened up the odds and allowed The Genius of the Sky to hit a double dropkick on The Way to send them running.
Shirai clearly has The Way in her sights, but she needed a tag team partner established. There were a few possibilities. NXT went with the most obvious answer. Stark has flirted with a few teams, but she and Shirai are the most natural fit.
NXT has done a great job keeping both the singles and tag team divisions hot for the women. There are so many contenders to The Way, and Shirai and Stark are unlikely to be the ones to dethrone LeRae and Hartwell. The match should still be great.
Tornado Tag: Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher vs. Grizzled Young Veterans
Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory interrupted William Regal and Samoa Joe's interview before The Samoan Submission Specialist sent them running. Pete Dunne stared down Joe. The Grizzled Young Veterans promised to end this rivalry in a pre-match promo.
Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher attacked Zack Gibson and James Drake as they made their entrance, and the brawl began. GYV used their classic team tactics to divide and conquer as they battled back, forcing Thatcher into the ring alone with the heels.
Ciampa and Thatcher took back the action outside the ring, throwing Gibson and Drake hard into the barricade before battering the heels with side-by-side uppercuts/clotheslines.
The Blackheart accidentally caught Toothless Timmy with a big boot, but the faces recovered in time for Ciampa to hit a second rope Air Raid Crash for a near-fall. Drake and Ciampa exchange body chops before Gibson got involved to set up an elevated suicide dive to take out The Blackheart.
Liverpool's Finest found himself at a disadvantage alone against Thatcher, but Drake got involved to set up an elevated backstabber. Ciampa stirred just enough to break up the pinfall. GYV tried to send Ciampa through the announce table. Instead, Gibson took an over-the-shoulder piledriver on it.
This left Drake alone to take the Fairy Tale Ending then tap out to an armbar/ankle lock submission.
Ciampa and Thatcher def. Grizzled Young Veterans by submission.
Grizzled Young Veterans knew fully how to use the tornado tag rules to showcase their chemistry. The series of tag team maneuvers sold this as a completely unique match for NXT, which has rarely used this stipulation.
This match was all around fantastic and felt like a TakeOver match. It was non-stop action from the opening bell. Both teams got close to winning, but it was always going to be Ciampa and Thatcher's time to shine.
MSK vs. Ciampa/Thatcher will be something to behold, even if it may struggle to outshine this fantastic clash.