Good evening ladies and gentlemen! No, you're not going crazy, DNezz has found a new place to hang his hat and a new show to bring to all of the IWC! It's Wednesday night and that means it is time to get ready for tonight's episode of NXT!
Johnny Gargano v. Leon Ruff: North American Championship
Talk about stacking the card tonight! Not only do we get a Takeover-worthy Women's Title match tonight but now we are kicking the show off with a North American Title rematch! Johnny Gargano, clearly upset over losing his title to the newcomer, opens the match hoping for some retribution (No, not them), but the unorthodox style of Ruff continues to throw a monkey wrench in the gameplan of Gargano.
Gargano would finally find an opening as he would toss Ruff into the turnbuckle, like a lawn dart. Ruff would slow a bit and Gargano would capitalize as he continues to batter the champion. Gargano's hopes would ebb, slightly, as Damien Priest would grace the WWE Universe with his presence. The mind games would begin as Gargano was clearly troubled over Preist's sudden interest in the bout. Gargano would hit one more big shot on Ruff as he goes for the cover, but Priest pulls ruff from the ring at the count of two! The referee looks on as Gargano questions Priest as The Archer stabilizes Ruff on his own two feet. Gargano would watch helplessly though, as Preist would apologize before blasting Ruff with a vicious punch; causing both the disqualification victory for Ruff and Gargano to lose his mind.
Cameron Grimes v. Dexter Lumis: Blindfold Match
Well, this one would be over quickly as Grimes squares off with the eerie Lumis in a rare and usually entertaining Blindfold Match. Grimes would carry all of the energy as he carefully stalked the ring, searching for his opponent; all the while, Lumis would stand in place, awaiting his prey. Grimes would eventually make the first error as he would mistake the referee for Lumis and proceed in beating the tar out of the poor official.
As Grimes realized his error and removed his hood, he elected to quietly attempt a sneak attack on Lumis who was ready and waiting. Lumis would doge Grimes' attempt before lashing out and decimating Grimes from pillar to post, and fence to fence on the outside area. We've clearly not seen the last of these two oddballs, specifically this guy.
Candice Larae & Indi Hartwell v. Lacey Lane & Kacy Catanzaro
In what has been a rather odd mentor program between the two women, LaRae & Hartwell would make fast work of their opponents tonight as LaRae put on a clinic and picked up an easy victory.
Arturo Rouas v. Kushida
One of my favorites from Raw Underground is set to go against Kushida who has been on an undeniable roll as of late. Both men, grappling specialists as they catch and counter each other's grappling attempts and submission setup's.
Rouas appears to have an aggressive side to him but it would not be unleashed tonight as Kushida was able to weasel in a Kimura attempt that he turned into a rather odd pinning combination. Rouas was caught off guard and Kushida will continue his recent run but I think think this will be far from the last time we see Rouas in an NXT ring.
Toni Storm & Ember Moon v. Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez
Another of my favorites as Ember Moon and Toni Storm square off against Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez. Storm and Moon open the match on high octane as they quickly impose their will on a shell shocked Kai & Gonzalez.
The pace would change though as Gonzalez would impose her will and bring the momentum of Storm & Moon to a screeching halt. The match would soon fall apart as all four women would look for the upper hand and to keep their partner from taking the three count. As the action spilled to the outside, Moon would ironically be the participant who would fall for the classic Star Wars Meme... Yes, it was indeed a trap.
But the trap would be no match for the team of Moon & Storm as they would rise above and pick up the pinfall!
Before being blitzed and battered by the team of LaRae and Hartwell! It appears that an olive branch has been extended to Kai and Gonzalez. Perhaps we have our first team for War Games.
Apparently, I'm not the only one who is interested in what Finn Balor has to say...
Timothy Thatcher v. August Grey
Another quick match on the card as Thatcher would make quick work of Grey, utilizing his smash-mouth style to punish Grey. The real story here, however, would be who came shortly after when it appeared that Grey might have some backup
And after discovering that Ciampa had no interest in August Grey, but merely wanting to challenge Thatcher, we find ourselves back at the beginning as Damien Priest attempts to enter the ring for his match but is interrupted by Gargano. Still livid from Priest's earlier actions, Gargano was looking for an outlet for his frustrations. Despite Priest's willingness, both men would discover that a third party would be the one to get the last laugh as North American Champion, Leon Ruff, would ground both competitors and stand tall.
Rhea Ripley v. Io Shirai: NXT Women's Championship Match
A Takeover worthy main event set for tonight's card as the bell sounds and both women lock horns. Shirai would open up the offense as she looked to use her speed and agility to wear down and ground her larger opponent. A rare error in the corner would be Shirai's undoing though as Ripley would scoop the champion and send her crashing to the canvas. The women would continue their battle and Ripley would land a reverse Electric Chair Drop, sending the face and head of Shirai crashing down onto the apron. Shirai seemed unable to continue and the referee was forced to interject and allow medical to check out the champion.
We may never know if her injury was legit or not but Shirai would find her opportunity and surprise Ripley with an attack as the match would continue! Ripley would look to capitalize at every turn but the Women's Champion would find a way to counter everything Ripley would attempt; including an impressive german toss from the turnbuckle.
Shirai would finally reveal a gameplan as she would target the arm and shoulder of Ripley, eliminating Ripley's ability to use power moves or tosses.
Shirai's attack would spill over to the outside ring area briefly before Shirai would return to the ring with her opponent grounded and hurting. Shirai would look to take to the skies but Ripley would interrupt flight and position Shirai on the top rope as she would deliver an enormous superplex onto the champion.
The slam would only generate a two count and Ripley would begin to question what must be done to beat the champion. Ripley would continue to batter and beat the champion before setting up a modified Texas Cloverleaf. Shirai would stretch, reach, and finally find salvation as she grabs the bottom rope. Ripley would attempt her finishing maneuver but Shirai would counter into an armbar attempt. Ripley would roll through and look to slam the champion but Shiai would roll through and stretch the arm of Ripley. Ripley would find the rope for the break but Shirai looked to be cooking with fire as she climbed to the top and hit some high flying offense but only to the tune of a two count. Shirai would ascend one last time for her Moonsault but Ripley would roll away. Both women would once again find themselves on the outside but Ripley would also find herself the victim of a mammoth powerbomb through the announce table! Ripley would barely make the referee's 10-count but Shirai would be waiting as she would drop down on Ripley with the Moonsault and pick up the hard-earned three count and her NXT Women's Championship!