Hey gang! So NXT has promised a huge show tonight with some history-making announcements and some pay-per-view-worthy title matches. Did they deliver? Well, I know the answer, and I guess you don't yet, so read on, and I shall tell you a tale!
This particular evening of wrestling starts with NXT Commissioner William Regal already in the ring (still no sign of Eugene, but I imagine Regal has found some nice desk job for him at NXT). He reminds us that he promised a couple of game-changing announcements this week, and he's not wasting any time getting right into it. He first announces that this year, NXT's Wrestlemania weekend Takeover event will, for the first time, be held over two nights. NXT Stand and Deliver will be held on April 7&8 and will be the biggest event in NXT history!
Next, he reminds us of the screw job Adam Pearce laid on them last week and promised that won't happen again. And how, you might ask? He tells us by unveiling NXT's brand new Women's Tag-Team Titles! We see the entire NXT Women's roster on the stage, and Regal asks Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez to come to the ring. He tells them that as a result of what happened during their WWE Women's Tag-Team Title match last week and for their winning the Dusty Rhodes Classic (and I assume for making it through a match with Nia Jax without losing any limbs or memory), he is awarding them the new titles.
The team wastes no time in turning heel and being arrogant as hell, rubbing it into the rest of the roster. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart interrupt and demand a title match, which they are given tonight.
Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm (NXT Women's Championship)
The two traded blows, each coming at the other with their own patented brand of offense. Toni leans more into her brawling style, while Shirai is able to use her quickness and martial arts abilities to frequently dodge the attacks. Shirai locks Storm in an abdominal stretch, which takes a bit out of Storm, and Shirai looks definitely in control. They work to the outside, where Storm throws the champ into the steel steps, allowing her to take advantage. She works the champ around the ringside area a bit before tossing her back into the ring and working her over with some offense, including stomps in the corner. She locks Shirai in some neck-cranking holds, but the champ rallies and gets some offense in on Storm. She heads to the top rope, but Storm meets her there and hits her with a top rope superplex. Storm hits a really nice German Suplex with a very nice bridge to get a near pin, but Shirai kicks out. Storm continues the attacks on the champ, getting her to the ring apron, but Shirai hits her with a backdrop before going to the top rope and hitting Storm with a moonsault to the outside. They get back in the ring, and Shirai attempts another top rope move, but Storm catches her and hits her with a sit-down powerbomb for another near-fall. She attempts to clothesline the champ, but Shirai counters for a crossface, which is broken by a rope break. Storm then avoids a second moonsault before hitting Shirai with the Storm Zero, but Shirai kicks out at two. She then tries a diving headbutt from the top rope, but Shirai reverses it for a crossface, which gets a tap out from Storm.
Winner and still Women's Champion: Io Shirai
Very good, fast-paced, and hard-hitting match to start the night.
Backstage, Finn Balor cuts a promo calling out Adam Cole, saying he's all alone now and he has no one to back him up or cheat for him (doesn't he know that hurts Cole's feelings? Does he even care?). Balor promises he will beat him tonight.
LA Knight is interviewed backstage, where he announces that next week will be his first match in NXT before being grabbed and choked by Bronson Reed as revenge for last week. I assume these two will be facing each other next week, if not in a match on NXT, then in a pancake-eating contest at a nearby Waffle House.
Jake Atlas vs. Pete Dunne
Atlas tries a bunch of holds on Dunne, but the Bruiserweight ain't having it. He immediately reverses anything Atlas gives him and begins working on Atlas' joints. Atlas gets a bit of offense in with some head-scissors and arm drags, but Dunne gives him a hard kick to the ribs and then starts torquing his arm and twisting his wrists. He's seemingly trying to break his arm. He then moves on to a more kind attack of just punching and kicking. Atlas responds with some kicks and hits a German suplex and a standing moonsault for a pin attempt, but Dunne kicks out. He goes to the top rope, but Dunne knocks his off and again works the arm. He locks him in an armbar and gets the submission.
Winner: Pete Dunne
Post-match, Dunne grabs the mic and tells the crowd that he's the best technical wrestler in the world, and he dares someone to try and prove him wrong. No takers at the moment.
Backstage, Imperium cuts a promo calling out Timothy Thatcher, where they want him to join them. They even say he can bring Tomasso Ciampa if he wants.
In the locker room, we see Leon Ruff cutting a promo on Swerve. He calls him out for a match next week.
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs. Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart (NXT Women's Tag-Team Championship)
History is made as the first-ever NXT Women's Tag-Team Title match gets underway! Moon immediately plants Gonzalez with a dropkick, and she tags out. Moon follows suit and tags in Shotzi, who locks Kai in a cloverleaf submission for a very long time. Eventually, Kai reaches the rope to break the hold. She gets some offense in on Shotzi now before tagging out. Gonzalez immediately uses her strength advantage and beats Shotzi hard in the corner. She again tags out, and Kai tries something in the corner, but Shotzi reverses with a sunset flip and gets a two-count. Kai then gets her in a rear chin lock before slamming her head into the mat and getting a two-count. She works her back into their corner and tags Gonzalez in. Gonzalez keeps it going on Shotzi, locking her in a bearhug, which she breaks out of, but is then clotheslined. Kai tags in and gets her in a leg lock. Shotzi leans back and gets a pin attempt in. Kai tries a slam, but Shotzi slithers out and gets her with an enziguri before tagging Moon. Moon comes in on fire and beats down Kai.
Gonzalez tries to interfere, but Moon hits her with a top rope knee. Shotzi then does a suicide dive to Gonzalez on the outside. Moon continues working on Kai in the ring before Kai slams her face into the turnbuckle and tags in Gonzalez. They hit a double team GTS but only get a near-fall. Gonzalez hits a powerbomb on Moon and goes for another pin, but Shotzi breaks it up. They try the double team again, but Moon escapes and tags out. Shotzi takes out both opponents with strikes. She hits Kai with a backdrop but only gets a two-count. She then tags out, and they hit some double team attacks before Moon hits a springboard for a two count. They hit another double slam before Kai tags out. Ember tries the Eclipse, but Gonzalez catches her. Both tag out, and Shotzi hits Kai into Gonzalez and Moon, knocking both out of the ring. Shotzi then rolls up Kai with a bridge for the pinfall.
Winners and new champs: Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart
Backstage, Adam Cole cuts a promo bragging about dumping the dead weight of the Undisputed Era. He then turns his attention to Balor and the title match. He says Balor was regarded as the greatest NXT champ… until he showed up. He promises he'll win tonight and that his second title reign will be even better than his first.
At gorilla, Shotzi and Ember are met by pretty much all of NXT's women cheering for them. The camera pans over to Candice LaRae and Indi Hartwell are scoffing before they turn to meet Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory. Theory wants to know why Gargano paid the psychiatrist last week, but Gargano turns it around on him, telling him that Dexter Lumis insulted his physique! Particularly his abs! Theory Hulks out and rips his shirt off before screaming, "enough is enough!" and storming off.
Kayden Carter vs Xia Li
Carter attacks Li immediately with a kick to the head. She follows up with a bunch of strikes. Every time Li tries to get back in, Carter keeps the attacks up. The ref intervenes, and Li takes advantage. Kacy Cantanzaro makes her way to ringside (I'm sure this will end well). As Li gets Carter into the corner, Kacy attacks her with her crutch, and the ref calls for the bell. She enters the ring and beats down Li with the crutch before Boa gets involved. He takes her crutch and tosses it before Carter hits him with the other crutch, and the two can escape.
Winner by DQ: Xia Li
Jordan Devlin Facetimes a promo from some Irish airport where he says it would be a shame to miss Takeover and announces his travel ban has been lifted and that he's on his way back to face Santos Escobar.
Backstage we see Escobar yelling at Regal and demanding to know who Devlin thinks he is? He says he's the true Cruiserweight Champion.
Legado del Fantasma vs. Grizzled Young Veterans
Lots of striking and tags to start here as we see the Lucha style take on the brawling style. This is interrupted by Breezango, except when they take their helmets off, it's MSK! This distracts Drake, who's rolled up and pinned.
Winners: Legado del Fantasma
Outside the ring post-match, the GYV go after MSK but are beaten down. Gibson's hand is smashed into the steel steps with the helmet as revenge. In the ring, Fantasma is jumped by the real Breezango. Just killing some time before the main event, I guess.
Kai and Gonzalez are being interviewed about their loss earlier but are interrupted by Io Shirai, who tells Gonzalez she wants her next.
Backstage, Thatcher is interviewed about what Imperium said, but Ciampa interrupts and tries to persuade him to turn them down.
Dexter Lumis vs. Austin Theory is announced for next week, along with Leon Ruff vs. Swerve. They also announce LA Knight's first NXT match but don't say who he'll be facing. I guess he won't be watching any game-tape to prepare.
Adam Cole vs. Finn Balor (NXT Championship)
It's fast and furious off the bell as both are trading running hits and reversals. This makes its way to the mat, and again they're trading headlocks. Balor gains the leverage and sinks his side headlock in on Cole. Cole then reverses for his own side headlock and drags Balor back down to the mat. Balor counters with a leg lock and then a hip toss before Cole tries to superkick, but Balor spots it, and Cole pulls back. A good ol' staredown now as the two get their breath back. They lock up again, and Balor gets Cole in a wrist lock and brings him down to the mat. They get to their feet, and Cole is able to spin out and clock Balor with a forearm. They lock again, with Cole getting the advantage. Balor tries flipping out, but Cole locks in and overpowers him. He then gets the champ into the corner before the ref separates them. He tosses Balor into the opposite corner and begins working him over with punches and kicks. He keeps planting forearms into the face of the champion before getting him back into the corner for some stomps. He Irish whips Balor, who counters with a rolling kick to Cole's face. Balor locks Cole in an arm lock before the two trade some shots. Balor gets thrown to the apron before Cole boots him in the face. Cole throws him into the crowd barrier at ringside and gets him back in the ring. He Irish whips him hard into the turnbuckle and then the other one, but Balor responds with a dropkick followed by some chops. He then hits Cole with a shin breaker before the jumping stomp to the chest. Cole returns with an enziguri, but Balor responds with a drop for a two count. He then stomps all over the challenger, but Cole rolls out of the ring.
Cole then kicks Balor in the face from the outside before dragging the champ outside to try and slam him onto the steel steps. Balor reverses with a suplex onto the ramp. They get back in the ring, and Balor hits a backdrop for a two count. He then starts kneeing Cole in the back before the ref gets involved. Balor then locks Cole in the Sharpshooter before Cole gets a rope break. On their feet, Balor continues working his back before Cole responds with forearms of his own. They trade standing punches in the middle of the ring, both getting woozy before Balor tries a suplex, but Cole reverses for a brainbuster to his knee. He tries the Panama Sunrise from the ropes, but Balor hits the Slingblade. He goes for the Coup de Grace, but Cole hits a superkick for a two-count. Cole then locks in a crossface, and Balor almost gets a rope break, but Cole rolls them back to the center. Balor escapes and tries his own submission, but Cole again locks in a cross-face. Balor reaches and gets a rope break. Cole stomps on the winded champ before Balor explodes and pummels Cole to the mat. Balor tries a suplex, but Cole counters with a running knee to the jaw for another two-count. Cole gets to the top rope and connects with the Panama Sunrise, but again Balor kicks out at 2 & 3/4. Cole tries a running move, but Balor tosses him over the top rope. At the crowd barrier, Cole sees Kyle O'Reilly and turns around to an over-the-toprope flip from Balor, who then hits the 1916 on the outside. He throws Cole back into the ring and hits the Coup de Grace for the three count and the win!
Winner and still NXT Champion: Finn Balor
Kyle approaches the ring, and Balor signals to Cole as if to say, "he's all yours!" Cole tries low-blowing Kyle, but he catches Cole before pummeling the hell out of him. The ref tries to intervene, but it doesn't work.
Kyle beats Cole up the ramp and throws him into the crowd barrier over and over. Some colorful language is used as the audio cuts out. Kyle tries suplexing Cole onto the steel steps before a bunch of refs stops him, allowing Cole to run away. Back in the ring, Balor is met by Karrion Kross. Balor asks him, "what took you so long?" and the two have a staredown as NXT goes off the air.
A pretty fast-paced and fun episode of NXT this week. The title matches were all very solid, and the announcements didn't disappoint. And best of all, this didn't happen!
I'll see you all next week. Same NXT time. Same NXT channel.