NXT's Great American Bash kicks off tonight with a big first-time-ever singles match.
Tonight's show will feature NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai facing Sasha Banks in a non-title match. After attacking Banks and SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley following their Women's Tag Team title defense on NXT two weeks ago, Shirai declared that this is her NXT.
Bayley will also be in Banks' corner tonight.
A number one contender for Shirai's title will be decided by a fatal four-way elimination match between Mia Yim, Tegan Nox, Candice LeRae, and Dakota Kai on tonight's show. WWE hasn't announced when the winner will be getting their title shot.
Dexter Lumis vs. Roderick Strong in a strap match, Rhea Ripley vs. Aliyah & Robert Stone in a handicap match, and Timothy Thatcher vs. Oney Lorcan are also set for tonight. Ripley will have to join the Robert Stone Brand if she loses.
Night two of the Great American Bash will take place next Wednesday and will feature NXT Champion Adam Cole vs. NXT North American Champion Keith Lee in a winner-take-all title vs. title match. WWE will finish building to that tonight.
Our coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
The GAB set features two sports cars parked by the entrance ramp. One is a modern sports car, and the other is a classic. The red, white, and blue ropes are back for one night as part of them keeping with the patriotic theme.
Mountain Dew sponsored the show, and the soft drink brand was plugged throughout the show. Please drink responsibly, kids. That is a lot of sugar.
The show opened with the elimination match.
Tegan Nox won a fatal four way elimination match over Dakota Kai, Mia Yim and Candice LeRae to become number one contender
Nox won the match to become the number one contender for the NXT Women's Championship. The order of elimination was LeRae (pinned by Yim), Yim (pinned by Kai), and Kai (pinned by Nox to win the match).
LeRae looked strong from start. She was on fire, and she did a springboard plancha to the floor at one point among other things. There was one scary spot early on with Kai taking a bump on the apron with LeRae. LeRae got in a lot of offense before Yim and Nox briefly teamed up. Yim with a codebreaker, and then she covered to eliminate LeRae via pinfall.
Mia Yim was next to run wild. She fired up into doing two tope spots after sending the other two outside with hurricanranas. Nox tried to catch Yim with a crucifix, but Yim kicked out to escape. Yim delivered Sole Food to Nox, but Nox fell out of the ring before Yim could pin her. Kai snuck in and caught Yim with an O'Connor roll, and Kai bridged into a cover to eliminate Yim via pinfall.
Kai worked over Nox for heat. The were exchanging strikes as the planted crowd did a half-hearted "yay/boo". Better than no crowd noise I guess. The crowd chanted "NXT" much louder a few moments later. They also beat on the plexiglass like fans would do with the tin banners at ROH shows. That was a nice touch. Almost music to my ears.
Nox fired up on Kai and showed a lot of determination. Lots of fire too. They traded some near falls. Kai showed her mean streak, and Nox never backed down. Nox went for a Shining Wizard, but Kai avoided it to catch Nox in a crucifix. Nox kicked out, but Kai transitioned into her submission finisher. Nox was able to escape, and she executed the Molly Go Round with a 360 off the top rope into press. Nox then hit the Shiniest Wizard, and she covered Kai for the deciding pinfall.
Many of the commercial breaks are picture-in-picture, but not all.
Damian Priest cut a promo on Cameron Grimes, and he challenged him for a rematch.
Sasha Banks vs. Io Shirai later on tonight will be seen commercial free.
Timothy Thatcher defeated Oney Lorcan
Thatcher submitted Lorcan after they put on a clinic.
They grappled early on and they grappled often, and it was great. There were takedowns, leg locks, arm locks, counters, reversals, two counts, and chain wrestling. Lorcan was the first to use strikes as he hit Thatcher with chops. They went into an Irish whip spot, and Lorcan was knocked over the ropes before a commercial break.
Thatcher set up this belly-to-belly spot that was a thing of beauty for its authenticity. There was a fighting spirit exchange. Lorcan caught Thatcher in a half crab. That was notable because Thatcher talked about how painful that hold was in a skit last week.
Thatcher eventually worked his way into applying a Fujiwara armbar in the middle of the ring. Lorcan was forced to tap out, but Thatcher would not break the submission. He finally did break the hold just as his face broke out in a sadistic smile.
Rhea Ripley defeated Aliyah & Robert Stone
Ripley submitted them both and was put over very strong.
Robert Stone had a ring jacket and gear like he was cosplaying as boxer Marc Mero from the Attitude Era. He also had athletic goggles like he was Horace Grant back in the day. He did an Ali shuffle, and Ripley then proceeded to beat up him.
Aliyah with a title-a-whirl headscissors helped turn the tide for a moment, but Ripley powered out on a second attempt a few moments later. Stone jumped into the ring to break up a pinning attempt, only to beg off and flee. There was a cat-and-mouse spot before Stone crashed and burned on a plancha. Ripley was distracted with Stone, allowing Aliyah to fly in and wipe out Ripley with a dive before the show cut a commercial break.
After the break both Stone & Aliyah were getting heat on Ripley. Stone was applying a Boston crab as Aliyah applied a crossface. There was more man-on-woman violence that WWE usually allows, but it was all tandem offense with Aliyah and Stone both. They gave Ripley a double suplex. That led to a spot a few seconds later where Ripley reversed a second attempted suplex. Ripley then began her comeback.
Ripley cleaned house, and she manhandled Stone. Ripley applied her standing leglock finisher on both Stone & Aliyah simultaneously for a stereo Prism Trap. The heels tapped out, and Ripley stood tall looking like a badass.
Dexter Lumis defeated Roderick Strong in a strap match
Lumis submitted Strong to win the match. The rules were pin and submission inside the ring, instead of the touching all four corners nonsense. The pin and submission rules made for a better match.
Strong was apprehensive, and fought not to get hooked to the strap. Lumis strapped them together and Strong begged off, but there was nowhere to run. Strong bumped around and made Lumis look like a killer.
Strong was eventually able to cut off Lumis -- but not for long as Strong took a big bump off the middle rope. They fight spilled outside the ring, and they fought up the ramp to the stage. Lumis opened the trunk on a car parked as part of the set. Strong started to freak out at the sight of the opened trunk, and he peppered Lumis with knees and kicks. Strong gave Lumis an Olympic slam on the floor. From there Strong took over on offense.
Strong grounded Lumis, and he dashed a hope spot. Strong taunted Lumis as he whipped him with the strap. Lumis threw a Western Lariat as he began a comeback. A running bulldog netted him a two count, and then Lumis executed a slingshot suplex. Lumis whipped Strong with the strap. Lumis went for his submission finisher, but Strong escaped to set up him giving Lumis a superplex for a near fall.
Strong hogtied Lumis with the strap, and then he applied the Stronghold. Lumis not only esacped, but was taking over on offense when Bobby Fish ran in to attack Lumis. Fish sewpt the leg of Lumis, and Strong followed with a running high kick. Lumis kicked out, and he hulked up. Fish was suplexed and knocked around by Lumis. Strong was sent colliding into Fish.
For the finish, Lumis wrapped up Strong in the strap and then spun him around with a Rainmaker/uranage combo. Lumis then applied his submission finisher The Silencer, and Strong tapped out for a mostly clean finish -- although Lumis did have the strap wrapped around Strong's throat in the process.
A "Prime Target" featurette hyped the champion vs. champion winner take all main event next week with North American Champion Keith Lee against NXT Champion Adam Cole.
Candice LeRae & Johnny Gargano were being interviewed backstage when LeRae suddenly stormed away to start a brawl with Mia Yim. Isaiah "Swerve" Scott tried to break up the fight, and Gargano got in his face. They had a shoving match, which likely sets up a match soon.
NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar was flanked by Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde -- or El Legado del Fantasma as their new stable is called -- for a promo in the ring. Escobar bemoaned the state of lucha libre. It is now a sideshow act he says. El Legado del Fantasma is going to rediscover the true roots of lucha libre in their image. They are going to restore its honor, and they will leave a legacy. They are going to build a empire.
Drake Maverick wearing a neck brace suddenly interrupted the segment as he came to the ring. He rushed into the ring, and proceeded to get his butt kicked trying to get ahold of Escobar. The henchmen held Maverick so Escobar would have a free shot. Tyler Breeze & Fandango ran down for a save. Breezango cleared the ring of the henchmen, and Esobar powdered out. Fandango challenged El Legado del Fantasma to a match next week on night two of The Great American Bash. The match was made official after a commerical break.
Also announced for next week is Mia Yim vs. Canice LeRae in a street fight.
Cameron Grimes in a great promo blew off the challenge by Priest, and he instead called out either Lee or Cole -- whoever wins the double championship. Grimes is the top contender and wants a title match.
NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai defeated Sasha Banks (with Bayley) in a non-title match
Shirai pinned Banks in a long pay-per-view caliber match. They went all out --and there were a few mishaps -- but this was pretty darn great overall. The closing minutes were stellar. Bayley interfered, and Asuka made a surprise appearance to make a save as she interjected herself in the match. Asula also used green mist.
Banks arrived riding in a convertible alongside her tag team championship partner, Bayley. Also joining them on the ride was her pet corgi.
They started methodical and soon quickened the pace from there. Shirai with a missle dropkick sent Banks rolling outside, and then Shirai flew through the ropes with a high cross on the floor.
Shirai was looking for a superplex of some sort when Bayley distracted her by honking a car horn. Banks tripped up Shirai and covered her for a near fall. Banks went on to give Shirai a double knee drop for another near fall.
Banks continued to work over Shirai for awhile, until flying headscissors by Shirai caused some separation. Banks tried to cut her off, but Shirai was able to execute a Super Frankensteiner.
There was a double down, and then Shirai started to mow down Banks with tackles after they rose to their feet. Shirai with a flapjack that led into the Tiger Feint Kick. She followed with a springboard missile dropkick for a near fall.
Banks countered a double underhook, and she went to set up her submission finisher. Shirai avoided the hold, and they went into an awkward German suplex spot.
Shirai was caught in the Bank Statement, but Shirai was able to counter by cradling Banks. They traded cradles momentarily before Shirai hit Banks with a double stomp. Shirai went into her finishing sequence as she delivered double knees in a corner. Shirai climbed the ropes seemingly going for her moonsault press, but Banks tripped her up and tied her in the tree-of-woe.
Banks began to taunt Shirai with Shirai hanging helpless upside down in the corner, and Banks slapped her across the face. Banks measured her for a running knee strike -- only for Shirai to dodge the move and Banks went crashing into the corner.
Shirai went for a moonsault press, but Banks rolled out of the way. Shirai ran into a kick from Banks, and Banks flew off the ropes into a meteora. Shirai kicked out at two and a half.
Banks avoided a second attempt for a Tiger Feint Kick. They were trading strikes with Banks inside the ropes and Shirai on the apron. Shirai went for a springboard, but Sasha caught her with a kick instead. Banks followed with a sunset flip through the ropes into a powerbomb where she smashed Shirai into the plexiglass.
Banks gloated at ringside with Bayley before she climbed the turnbuckles. Banks went for a frog splash, and Shirai countered to catch her in a crossface. Banks was struggling to make the ropes when Bayley tossed one of the tag team championship betls into the ring. As the referee was removing it from the ring, Bayley with an illegal cheap shot struck Shirai. That broke the submission hold.
Bayley got in a tug-of-war with the referee over the title belt. Meanwhile, Banks went to retrieve the other tag strap. As Banks went to grab the belt, Asuka suddenly appeared to stop her from using the belt. Asuka spat green mist in Banks' face, and Shirai with a schoolgirl for a two count. Shirai dropped Banks with a palm strike, and then she wiped out Bayley with a wrecking ball dropkick. Shirai then moonsaulted back into the ring on Banks, and she covered Banks for the pinfall.