WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from June 22
WWE NXT changed last week with the arrival of Samoa Joe as William Regal's enforcer. The Samoan Submission Specialist demanded respect from the roster and brought some order to the chaos.
The first order of business was to deal with the animosity between Kyle O'Reilly and Adam Cole. The two will fight at NXT Great American Bash, but first they would battle opponents of their choice.
KOR wanted the best, so he stepped up to the NXT cruiserweight champion Kushida. In a non-title match, O'Reilly had a chance to prove himself at the highest level. Cole's opponent was unclear, but this would be his first match on NXT TV in months.
Io Shirai and Zoey Stark joined forces to combat The Way, but first the team needed to build some credibility before challenging the NXT women's tag team champion. This week, they would fight the team of Aliyah and Jessi Kamea.
Franky Monet promised a massive second act with her World Premiere Encore. The mysterious Diamond Mine would finally open its doors. Ever-Rise looked for some measure of revenge after recent attacks and insults from Hit Row.
While much was promised, few moments on the night were fully clear. This card had a chance to shock many if NXT continued to evolve with the arrival of Joe.
Adam Cole vs. Carmelo Hayes
Adam Cole refused to choose his own opponent. He did not want to play by Samoa Joe's rules. Carmelo Hayes walked out to convince the former NXT champion to fight him. He slapped Cole in the face in a deliberate callback to John Cena's debut, starting this match off hot.
While Hayes started hot, the veteran wore down the rookie with impact offense and focused technical holds. Cole took too long to taunt Hayes, encouraging the rookie to build momentum and hit an impressive spinning cutter.
Hayes and Cole both nearly took the win, but neither could take the three. The rookie blocked the first Panama Sunrise attempt with a superkick, but the second hit clean to give Cole the victory.
Backstage, William Regal told Cole to not provoke Joe any further, and the former NXT champion responded by walking out.
Cole def. Hayes by pinfall.
Hayes is a serious talent to watch. His charisma is striking, even in short promos, and he truly has impressed in the ring with his ability to keep up with top talent. He has built some serious recognition early in NXT, which is rare for someone with so little spotlight before arriving in NXT.
A few rough spots aside, this was a good story to tell in the ring with Hayes. He fought hard and got extra motivated when Cole discounted him. However, much like Kushida, he bit off more than he could chew with Cole.
While the Cena callback was a bit corny, the point was clear. Hayes wants to be the future of the business, and he's one of the rare stars who has that edge that might allow him to do just that.
Zoey Stark and Io Shirai vs. Aliyah and Jessi Kamea (w/ Robert Stone)
Zoey Stark explained in an interview that she respected Io Shirai and wanted to help her. The Genius of the Sky responded by stating she respected Stark as well, but she did not like her. Franky Monet gave Aliyah and Jessi Kamea some food for thought before their match, encouraging them.
Shirai made Aliyah look out of her depth early, but The Robert Stone Brand responded by finding an opening to isolate Stark. Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell arrived to watch this match closely. Shirai put this match away with a moonsault.
Afterward, Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez told Stark and Shirai they would not pass them up for a title shot. This brought out Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart, who attack Gonzalez and Kai until Samoa Joe had to send out officials to break up the action.
It was announced later that Stark and Shirai vs. Gonzalez and Kai vs. Moon and Blackheart would be a No. 1 contender match next week to face The Way at Great American Bash.
Stark and Shirai def. Aliyah and Kamea by pinfall.
This match barely happened on live TV. Most of it was during the commercial break. The real focus here was to put over Stark and Shirai as an effective team.
It was important in setting up a triple threat No. 1 contender match for Great American Bash. All six women in that match are among the absolute best in NXT, and any team that wins will have a great tag title match to come.
The Way vs. Pete Dunne and Oney Lorcan
Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory told the fans that NXT needed a new NXT champion with new management backstage. He called out Karrion Kross, but Pete Dunne arrived instead with Oney Lorcan.
The Bruiserweight took offense to Johnny Wrestling considering himself the No. 1 contender. Gargano walked out, refusing to fight. Theory taunted The Bruiserweight on his way out and got a broken finger for his trouble.
Johnny Wrestling demanded consequences from William Regal in his office, and the NXT general manager announced Dunne and Lorcan vs. The Way.
The Way quickly changed into gear for the match, but Theory was an easy target for the physical tacticians. Theory struggled to come back because of his injured finger. Gargano got involved, fighting like the old Johnny Wrestling to stay in this fight.
Gargano finally got the tag, and he and Dunne went to war. Johnny Wrestling pushed himself before hitting One Final Beat on Lorcan to take the victory. Afterward, Kross laid out Gargano with a running elbow.
Samoa Joe allowed Kross to walk out after an intense glare from Scarlett. The Bruiserweight again caught the eye of The Samoan Submission Specialist.
Gargano and Theory def. Dunne and Lorcan by pinfall.
This was an interesting encounter for NXT. Gargano vs. Dunne is a smart match for the black-and-gold brand. The two are veterans that have defined NXT in their own way. Both could be good matches for Kross down the line.
Johnny Wrestling played the face in this match, and it was fun to see Gargano working at that level again. He was on fire. He and Dunne showed plenty of chemistry that should be explored further. For the moment, it looks like Johnny Wrestling will get a shot at Kross.
If we see Johnny Wrestling truly return for this match, it will easily steal the show. Gargano has been great as a heel, but he will work much better as the face working off the dominant NXT champion.
Franky Monet vs. Elektra Lopez
Franky Monet barely treated Elektra Lopez as a threat until she took an elbow and boot to the face. The physical offense motivated La Wera Loca further, who attacked her young opponent. She hit a Glam Slam to take the victory.
Monet def. Lopez by pinfall.
Much like Monet's first match, this was simply a squash match to give La Wera Loca momentum. She is a good wrestler who can do far more than this. Hopefully, she will get that chance soon.
Lopez was clearly out of her depth in this match. She let Monet completely carry the action. She may one day get a chance to seriously shine, but she was not brought into this match with any expectation she would get to show what she can do.
Hit Row vs. Ever-Rise
Ever-Rise tried to spray paint Hit Row's van, but Top Dolla caught them. Hit Row interrupted Bronson Reed's interview to clearly establish that Isaiah "Swerve" Scott has his eyes on the NXT North American Championship.
Hit Row made an impact right off the bat on Ever-Rise, and Matt Martel and Chase Parker could not respond. Top Dolla set up Martel in powerbomb position for a neckbreaker from Ashante Thee Adonis to take the win.
Hit Row def. Ever-Rise by pinfall.
This did its job, but it could have been better. Ever-Rise has built a unique niche in NXT. Martel and Parker could have been allowed to hit more offense in this contest. Instead, it was more one-sided than Franky Monet's encore.
Hit Row looks unstoppable. It is important that continues beyond squash matches. Isaiah "Swerve" Scott will need to win big when the time comes to fully establish this stable.
Kushida vs. Kyle O'Reilly
Kushida and Kyle O'Reilly declared their respect for one another in video packages ahead of this match. Both promised to bring everything to this battle.
This was a back-and-forth clash where each man countered the best shot of the other. KOR got trapped in the Hoverboard Lock, barely managing to escape and transition into a school boy with a leg trap to steal the win. The two shook hands afterward.
Following the match, O'Reilly and Adam Cole began brawling. This left Kushida alone to take a brutal attack from Roderick Strong joined by Tyler Rust, Hideki Suzuki and Malcolm Bivens. Bivens announced that Diamond Mine had arrived.
KOR def. Kushida by pinfall.
After all the hype, this match felt like it got short-changed on time. Kushida and KOR gave us a rare technically focused match where both looked to get a big submission to seal it. While O'Reilly won, it was clear that the NXT cruiserweight champion had him on the ropes.
This was the right way to book the match, even if it deserved plenty more time. The champion looked dangerous while O'Reilly got a win ahead of his heavily hyped match with Cole.
Diamond Mine was promised for a while. Many expected a variety of different options with this team, and the end result might have disappointed some. It will allow Strong and Rust to thrive with more hype. It is likely this group will thrive quickly.