WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 13
On the back of the Great American Bash, the July 13 edition of WWE NXT was just as big a show and included a major main event showdown.
After weeks of taunting, Johnny Gargano got his shot at the NXT Championship. However, he may have bitten off more than he can chew with the dangerous Karrion Kross, even if special guest referee Samoa Joe tried to protect him from the NXT champion.
The NXT Breakout Tournament was one of the biggest success stories for the black-and-gold brand last year, and it began again this week. The first-round match to start the tournament was 205 Live's Ikemen Jiro against the cocky Duke Hudson.
More big matches set for the night included Dexter Lumis vs. Santos Escobar, Sarray vs. Gigi Dolin and Dakota Kai vs. Ember Moon.
The night was set to be packed with top stars competing at the highest level. Only the best would emerge victorious, including the man holding the NXT Championship.
Dakota Kai (w/ Raquel Gonzalez) vs. Ember Moon
Ember Moon walked out alone following the departure of Shotzi Blackheart to SmackDown, while Raquel Gonzalez backed up Dakota Kai.
The Captain of Team Kick weathered the early storm from The War Goddess and finally took over by smacking Moon hard against the steel post.
Kai hit the Kaoi Kick followed by a spin-out DDT but could only get two on the pinfall. Moon answered back with a Frankensteiner, but her rival recovered enough to plant Moon with the GTK for the win.
Afterward, Xia Li stomped to the ring and demanded a title shot. Gonzalez accepted the challenge.
Kai def. Moon by pinfall.
This was a good opening match but lacked a certain energy to make it great. Moon and Kai have had better matches in the past. The absence of Blackheart was certainly felt and it seemed like the whole feud had been cut short abruptly.
Kai has been allowed to look dangerous but has rarely pulled off dominant victories like this. She overwhelmed The War Goddess and secured a clean win without the need for the NXT women's champion to interfere.
Gonzalez vs. Li seems premature, but NXT is clearly scrambling to reshuffle the card following the departure of three major female stars to SmackDown. It should be a solid match at the least.
Bobby Fish vs. Tyler Rust (w/ Diamond Mine)
LA Knight gave Cameron Grimes a makeover for his role as butler, and The Technical Savage enjoyed his change in spite of Knight.
Knight forced Grimes to mow his lawn manually, which did not worry the new butler, who ended up delegating the work to kids and then "accidentally" knocked Knight into his pool.
Bobby Fish stepped up to Diamond Mine backstage, setting up a match with Tyler Rust. While Fish had Rust reeling early on, Roderick Strong distracted Fish, allowing Rust to connect on a chop block and buzzsaw kick for the win.
Afterward, Kushida ran down to make the save before Diamond Mine could do more damage to Fish.
Rust def. Fish by pinfall.
While the result was appropriate, the presentation was lacking throughout. This had a chance to be a really good sprint between two singles stars looking to prove themselves, but it lasted barely three minutes and a simple distraction ended the match.
The crowd chanted "That was garbage," which is a rare negative call from the NXT fans but did feel appropriate here.
This whole segment was a misfire that did not feel worthy of Kushida getting involved.
Sarray vs. Gigi Dolin
Gigi Dolin worked hard to prove herself against Sarray, especially after the surprise arrival of Mandy Rose. However, all she could find to beat The Warrior of the Sun was roll-up attempts.
Sarray answered back with a low dropkick and Saito suplex for the win.
Sarray def. Dolin by pinfall.
This wasn't a good showing for these two women. Dolin especially had to be looking to make an impression, but she seemed wholly uncertain in the ring. The only engaging parts of this match came when Sarray was fully in control.
The appearance of Rose was a surprise, though. She is a solid performer in need of refining, and she may benefit from some time in NXT. But WWE is going back on tour this week, and The Golden Goddess is in a story right now with Dana Brooke against Natalya and Tamina.
Dexter Lumis vs. Santos Escobar
Santos Escobar mocked Dexter Lumis as a loser while promising to take out Isaiah "Swerve" Scott, who holds his NXT North American Championship.
The Tortured Artist scared the former NXT cruiserweight champion, who gladly accepted repeated help from Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza to save him. It was only thanks to repeated interference, including Mendoza pulling him out of the Silence, that Escobar was allowed to win with the Phantom Driver.
Hit Row met Legado del Fantasma at the ramp, making clear Swerve was not afraid of Escobar. Beth Phoenix told Indi Hartwell to take her shot, and she found Lumis post-match and tried to carry him. Candice LeRae broke them up.
Escobar def. Lumis by pinfall.
While the frequent interference kept the two men from truly finding their groove, Escobar and Lumis showed their chemistry in spurts. They can tell a fantastic story with the right build, and that should be revisited when the time is right.
For the moment, it is Hit Row vs. Legado del Fantasma. NXT has rarely had two stables this dangerous and ready to feud. Swerve can benefit from working with Escobar in a new dynamic, given their proven chemistry.
NXT Breakout Tournament: Ikemen Jiro vs. Duke Hudson
Ikemen Jiro and Duke Hudson both made clear how much it meant to them to win the NXT Breakout Tournament.
Hudson was overconfident early and Jiro took advantage. He sent Hudson reeling out of the ring following a headscissors counter to a Razor's Edge. However, Hudson's power was too much for his rival, who fell to a spinning side slam.
Then, Pete Dunne promised to take out whoever won between Karrion Kross and Johnny Gargano. However, Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa attacked him and Oney Lorcan to make their own statement.
Hudson def. Jiro by pinfall to advance to the semifinals of the NXT Breakout Tournament.
This was a solid debut under the name of Hudson for the wrestler previously known as Brendan Vink. He showed some personality and pulled out some impressive power moves against his smaller and faster opponent.
The problem was that Jiro made more of an impact in a short match. He is a colorful performer who is hard to forget. He may never be more than a comedy star, but he may soon be the better prospect.
Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro vs. The Robert Stone Brand
Jessi Kamea showed off her size and power early, but Aliyah could not keep that momentum going. Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro took over the action and hit their signature tag team finisher for the win.
Afterward, Aliyah beat down Robert Stone for never helping her. Franky Monet arrived and convinced Kamea to walk out on Stone.
Backstage, Stone caught up with the group as Monet advised that the Brand was under new management without Aliyah.
Carter and Catanzaro def. Aliyah and Kamea by pinfall.
This was not much of a match due to a lack of time, but it did change the dynamic of the women's division in an important way. Monet found her support to help her rise up the ranks, while Aliyah may get a chance to see if she can fend for herself.
Carter and Catanzaro have put it all together finally, and it feels like the right time for them to take the next step. They are the most well-established tag team in NXT. The tag team titles should be in their immediate future.
Bronson Reed Picks a Fight with Adam Cole
Kyle O'Reilly promised he was not done with Adam Cole but he needed to find his killer instinct first.
Cole headed to the ring where he said he was done with O'Reilly. He taunted Samoa Joe by saying no one, including The Samoan Submission Specialist, was man enough to face him. Bronson Reed arrived and body-checked Cole out of the ring.
Joe glared down Cole on his way to the ring to prepare for the main event.
The result of this segment is more important than the segment itself. It looks like The Colossal One is not quite done with NXT yet. He could get a huge boost from a match with Cole, or this could be Reed's final loss before he heads to the main roster.
Either way, Cole continues to build a variety of feuds to stay relevant. He is one of NXT's bedrock talent. He can help build stars or help himself build back to the main event scene. It's unclear where he is going at the moment.
NXT Championship: Karrion Kross (c) vs. Johnny Gargano (Guest Ref: Samoa Joe)
Samoa Joe warned Karrion Kross to follow his rule of law, but the NXT champion responded by making clear he would hurt the veteran if he screwed him. Gargano promised Joe he would always follow the rules.
Johnny Wrestling attacked the NXT champion before the bell, and The Samoan Submission Specialist rang it as the two would not stop. They battled to the outside where Kross slammed Gargano hard against the announce table.
The crowd was behind Johnny Wrestling as he attempted to rally, but Scarlett seemed to give the champion more resilience. Gargano sent Kross hard into the barricade to set up One Final Beat, but the titleholder planted him with a series of suplexes.
Rolling through the pain, Gargano locked in the Gargano Escape, but Kross powered him up into a Kross Jacket. The challenger barely made the ropes, and Joe had to pull Kross away. The champion attempted to smash Gargano with the steel steps, and Joe again got in the way.
As Kross and Joe argued, Gargano hit a suicide dive into a DDT followed by the One Final Beat for a near-fall. Kross answered back with a rolling elbow to the back of the head, a trio of powerbombs, then the Doomsday Saito. A second rolling elbow ended it.
As Joe was leaving the ring, Kross locked him in the Kross Jacket, making the NXT enforcer pass out.
Kross def. Gargano by pinfall to retain the NXT Championship.
This started hot as expected, and it only got better. Gargano is an absolute pro who has proved he can have a great match with anyone. What he managed here was to give Kross the best match of his NXT run to date.
No one has ever looked this smooth working off the champion, and it did not take anything from the steady physicality and storytelling. Johnny Wrestling never truly had a chance, but he made the fans believe it all the same when he landed the One Final Beat.
Kross looked dominant without it being a squash. NXT also set the stage for his next challenger: Kross vs. Joe seems inevitable at this point. It should be special.