WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from August 10
Much has happened on the outside looking in at WWE NXT, and the August 10 edition of the black-and-gold brand needed to answer.
One of NXT's biggest feuds is reaching its physical conclusion. General manager William Regal was set to facilitate a face-to-face encounter between Kyle O'Reilly and Adam Cole. NXT also promised a special look at the feud between Karrion Kross and Samoa Joe.
The NXT Breakout Tournament continued to roll forward with a can't-miss clash between Odyssey Jones and Trey Baxter. With his massive size advantage, Jones was walking in with an advantage, but Baxter had already managed to topple one larger man with his incredible innovative offense.
Sarray has demanded the absolute best, and this week, she would get the No. 1 contender to the NXT Women's Champion Dakota Kai. Raquel Gonzalez had promised to break her silence on the attack of Kai and was certain to be watching closely.
In anticipation of his first NXT TakeOver match, Ilja Dragunov was set to appear on NXT for the first time. No one knew what the unorthodox performer would do.
This week's NXT was building toward a massive NXT TakeOver as well as reeling from a variety of major releases. No one truly knew what to expect.
Sarray vs. Dakota Kai
Ember Moon was not medically cleared to compete, so Dakota Kai was set as the replacement. The Captain of Team Kick answered The Warrior of the Sun's aggressive offense with underhanded tactics, including pulling her opponent's hair.
Sarray fired up with kicks and hip strikes, while Kai often managed to grind her opponent back into the mat. It was a physical back-and-forth contest that pushed The Captain of Team Kick to dig deeper into her repertoire to stay in the fight.
Kai hit a scorpion kick, but Sarray rebounded into a dropkick. The Warrior of the Sun hit a low dropkick in the ropes, but she decided to go for a second one and missed. In a sudden finish, Kai caught her opponent with a Kaio Kick for the victory.
Raquel Gonzalez arrived to save Sarray from the continued attack of Kai, running her off. The NXT women's champion grabbed a mic and promised to tear her former friend apart at NXT TakeOver.
Kai def. Sarray by pinfall.
This was easily the best match of Sarray's NXT career to date. She and Kai have chemistry that has yet to reach its full potential. This is a matchup that should be explored later. Sarray has lost a match in NXT for the first time, but she looked like a top player against the possible women's champion in two weeks.
Gonzalez cut a simple but emphatic promo. While it would have been cool for Gonzalez to cut a long promo on her history with Kai, this was the right way to have her respond initially. Hopefully, next week ahead of the TakeOver clash, Gonzalez will get a chance to speak more.
Pete Dunne Demands Respect from Ilja Dragunov
Dexter Lumis came to pick up Indi Hartwell for a date, while Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae worried about the young woman. The Poison Pixie followed the couple to the restaurant but was caught before appetizers arrived. Gargano posed as a waiter and hit Lumis in the face with a cake.
Hit Row burned a mask in disrespect to Legado del Fantasma as a response to the disrespectful actions of Santos Escobar last week.
Ilja Dragunov promised to let his actions speak for him come TakeOver. Pete Dunne interrupted. He called Dragunov disrespectful for not giving him credit for making NXT UK. Dragunov wanted to wrestle, challenging The Bruiserweight for a match later in the night.
This was an overlong showcase of Dragunov not being a comfortable English promo. He made clear that he is not a man of words but violence, and that was all that needed to be done.
What mattered more was to set up Dragunov vs. Dunne. This is an interesting match between two of the best stars to come from NXT UK. It had the potential to truly sell new fans on the No. 1 contender to the NXT UK Championship.
LA Knight vs. Andre Chase
LA Knight promised to show Cameron Grimes how to win before they headed to the ring. The WWE Million Dollar champion made quick work of Andre Chase, finishing him off with the Blunt Force Trauma.
Ted DiBiase arrived to demand Grimes fight for what he deserves. The Million Dollar Man set the stage for a match where Knight would put his Million Dollar Championship on the line. If Grimes lost again, DiBiase would become Knight's new butler.
Knight def. Chase by pinfall.
So much for Chase becoming one of NXT's breakout stars. Even most NXT squashes last longer than this. Knight picked up a victory that hardly mattered.
DiBiase's arrival also felt rushed. This all came off as NXT needing to get Knight vs. Grimes on the card as quickly as possible. The segment was under-scripted, leading to some odd moments that did not naturally set up the TakeOver contest.
It makes no sense that DiBiase would put his title on the line again without more incentive than adding a second butler to his crew.
Gigi Dolin vs. Amari Miller
Before this match, Gigi Dolin made clear that she was fighting for more than her competitors, cutting the heads off roses that symbolized them.
Accompanied by Jacy Jayne, Dolin dominated her opponent Amari Miller. Before Miller could even attempt a comeback, Dolin planted her with an abdominal stretch buster for the win.
Dolin def. Miller by pinfall.
This was a perfectly fine way to reintroduce Dolin. In common NXT style, Dolin had to earn her spot before she had one. She now has a chance to prove herself in a stacked NXT women's division that is certain to continue to evolve.
It was teased last week that Mandy Rose was working with Dolin and Jayne. While she was not on the show tonight, it would certainly be a big deal for God's Greatest Creation to build these two unproven stars up over the next few months.
An Undisputed Finale Is Set for Adam Cole vs. Kyle O'Reilly III
Alongside Tommaso Ciampa, Timothy Thatcher set a challenge for a match against Ridge Holland. MSK called out Imperium in a video interrupting Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner's message to the tag team division.
William Regal made two big announcements for next week's NXT: Kushida vs. Roderick Strong, and MSK vs. Imperium.
Regal made clear that Adam Cole vs. Kyle O'Reilly would end with "An Undisputed Finale." It would be a 2-out-of-3 Falls match where each man could choose a stipulation. KOR wanted a straight-up wrestling match. Cole wanted a street fight. Regal then stated the third fall would be in a steel cage.
The two could barely be kept apart by security after tearing into each other verbally.
The first match between Cole and KOR felt special. Their first major promo together was some of the best work of both their careers. This was a sad imitation of that original hype.
This feels like the true final hurrah of NXT with a self-indulgent stipulation name. In many ways, it is reminiscent of the take-it-or-leave-it feud between Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. The final match should be good, but this did not work.
NXT Breakout Tournament: Odyssey Jones vs. Trey Baxter
Trey Baxter caught Odyssey Jones with a series of forearms, but the big man threw him across the ring with ease. Baxter landed a snap kick to the face of Jones that made Jones groggy, but the big man recovered. He hit an avalanche into a spin-out side slam for the win.
Jones was interviewed afterward, brimming with pride at the idea that he could be NXT's next breakout star.
Jones def. Baxter by pinfall.
This was disappointing because it continued NXT's trend of barely letting these tournament matches go anywhere. Jones and Baxter could have been a very solid match of contrasting styles. Instead, it was a squash of a talented cruiserweight.
What should have mattered most was to showcase what Jones can do. This showed almost nothing. He is an impressive figure with massive charisma, but he has not actually been challenged to compete yet. That hopefully will come in the main event.
Boa (w/ Mei Ying) vs. Drake Maverick
With Xia Li out of action following her devastating loss, Boa made clear he was ready to prove himself for Tian Sha. Mei Ying stood up from her throne for this match to watch closely.
Drake Maverick pushed Boa more than expected, forcing Ying to get involved. She sprayed mist in Maverick's eyes. With the distraction, Boa connected on a roundhouse kick for the win.
Boa def. Maverick by pinfall.
This was an awkward short match. It was not a straight-up squash. In fact, Maverick looked better than Boa throughout. However, this was all supposed to be about the member of Tian Sha.
Boa needs to look more dominant to be truly dangerous. Especially after Li's loss, the only one that truly seems dangerous is Ying. She should be the most deadly member of the group but not the only one that looks big enough to win major matches.
Pete Dunne vs. Ilja Dragunov
NXT showed a dramatic vignette on Karrion Kross vs. Samoa Joe where the NXT champion reminded everyone that Joe is a monster similar to him.
Ilja Dragunov came out firing against Pete Dunne, planting him with a dropkick and diving knee drop. However, The Bruiserweight stopped the offensive wave with a stiff forearm to the face. The two traded strikes in the ring where each move only seemed to motivate Dragunov.
The No. 1 contender to the NXT UK Championship planted Dunne with a chop and standing senton. The Bruiserweight caught him in an armbar and then transitioned into a triangle that Dragunoc answered with a powerbomb.
The damage Dunne did to the left hand of Dragunov took away much of the No. 1 contender's offense, but he kept pushing through, all the same, refusing to quit. After hitting a diving senton, Dragunov looked up to see WALTER. Dunne used the distraction to end this with the Bitter End.
The NXT UK champion tried to attack the No. 1 contender afterward, but Dragunov fought him off and stood tall with the championship.
Dunne def. Dragunov by pinfall.
This was a very good ending to a weak episode of NXT. Dragunov and Dunne brought it even with very little story. The crowd got behind the No. 1 contender far more for his fast-paced offense than any words he said earlier in the night.
The back-and-forth down the stretch in this contest was TakeOver-quality. It was clear how much Dunne had been looking forward to this opportunity. The action was nonstop yet also driven by the story of Dragunov's unstoppable will to win.
It was a shame to see Dragunov lose in his NXT debut, but it was far from clean against one of NXT's best. This could even set up a rematch down the line, especially if Dragunov does upset WALTER.