Preview by Joseph Currier
The fallout from Finn Balor's heel turn will take place on tonight's episode of NXT.
One week ago, NXT ended with Balor turning heel and attacking Johnny Gargano. It appeared that he was going to help Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa in a brawl with Undisputed Era, but Balor instead hit a Pele kick on Gargano, dropkicked him against the barricade, and gave Gargano the 1916 DDT on the ramp.
The angle continued after last week's NXT went off the air, with Gargano getting stretchered out and taken to an ambulance.
The Women's Tag Team titles will be defended in NXT for the first time tonight. Dakota Kai & Tegan Nox will challenge for Asuka & Kairi Sane's titles.
Roderick Strong retained his North American Championship against Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic in last week's main event. Lee & Matt Riddle will face NXT Tag Team Champions Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish in a non-title match tonight. Plus, Candice LeRae vs. Io Shirai and Tyler Bate vs. Cameron Grimes are set.
The lead-in to the show this week was a replay of the previous episode. In prior weeks, the lead-in had been reruns of Law & Order: SVU.
This episode is opening with musical performance by recording artist Poppy. Highlights of NXT action were mixed with live conert footage from Full Sail. Io Shirai then made her entrance and Poppy accompanied her to the ring.
Io Shirai defeated Candice LeRae
Shirai pinned LeRae after LeRae crashed into a chair on an attempted quebrada. This was great, but maybe not a great as their TakeOver match. They still had a helluva match, regardless. This was possibly more physical. LeRae got a bloody nose during the match.
They started with a shoving match, and Shirai powdered. LeRae gave chase. They each did a tope suicidia. LeRae was getting to shine when Shirai cut her off with a lungblower off the middle rope.
Shirai got heat on LeRae as she worked her over. The crowd started a dueling chant. LeRae was bleeding from her nose.
LeRae started a comeback with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors takeover. Shirai landed on her feet, but soon ate an enzuigiri. They teased doing a spot on the apron, and LeRae a momemt later shoved Shirai off the ropes. Shirai gave her a receipt and LeRae snapped herself on the ropes and fell to the floor. That led into a commercial break with a split screen.
Shirai got more heat on LeRae during the break, although LeRae got a hope spot with a rollup. Shirai got a near fall with an Air Raid Crash, and she dashed a hope spot moments later. Shirai then applied a crossface. LeRae escaped to make a comeback and apply an octopus.
The show returned from commercial with a double down. LeRae fired up into a tornado DDT for two and a half. Shirai went for a moonsault, but LeRae got her knees up.
They traded strikes until Shirai trapped LeRae in a headscissors submission. LeRae got a rope break, and Shirai then went to get a chair from under the ring. Referee Jessika Carr took the chair from Shirai before she could hit LeRae with it, but the chair stayed in the ring for the finish.
LeRae with a modified chicken wing bomb on Shirai led into a superkick. LeRae went for a lionsault -- only for Shirai to move out of the way. LeRae instead landed on the chair, and Shirai covered her for the pinfall.
Shirai attacked LeRae again after the match. Rhea Ripley ran down to make the save as she took the chair from Shirai. Ripley was swinging for the fences, and Shirai fled the scene.
Finn Balor came to the ring for a live promo. He said it was funny how things work out. Two months ago Balor said he was "laying down" for the new hot act just because that guy put on a mask (likely referring to The Fiend). Balor said he took his mask off and now he's the hottest thing. He says everyone was opinons -- including the office, the locker room, and trolls on the internet.
Finn went on to address Johnny Gargano. Balor heard he was out of the hospital, and Balor warned him that he would send Gargano back to the hospital if he stepped to him. Balor said he would then no longer be Johnny Wrestling, he would be "Johnny Watches Wrestling". Great heel promo by Balor.
Bronson Reed defeated Shane Thorne
Reed pinned Thorne after a splash off the top rope. The match was comeptitive, but it was seemingly put together to get Reed over.
Thorne shined at the start as he exploded at the bell with a running dropkick. Reed soon cut him off with a lariat. They traded chops, and Reed also hulked up on Thorne after taking some kicks. He launched Thorne on a release German suplex.
Reed got a near fall with a stuffed piledriver. Thorne went for a Frankensteiner off the top, but Reed blocked it. Reed with a Superfly splash, and then he covered Thorne for the pinfall.
Cathy Kelley interviewed Tegan Nox & Dakota Kai. They were admittedly nervous about their title match, but Nox said there would be nothing better than winning the titles with her best friend. My Spidey senses detect a possible heel turn down the line. Just a thought.
A vignette hyped Mia Yim.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Kabuki Warriors (Kairi Sane & Asuka) defeated Tegan Nox & Dakota Kai to retain their titles
Sane pinned Kai after green mist and an Insane Elbow. A vocal majority in the crowd cheered the Kabuki Warriors despite them working as heels. The crowd loved their heel antics, and they chanted their names throughout the match. The titles never looked in jeopardy. The finish was still great even if the match may have went a little too long.
Warriors were dominating and showboating when Nox fired up on them. Kai jumped in to help her partner. The fight spilled outside before a commercial break. No split screen this time.
They returned from break with a hot tag. Kai ran wild on Asuka after Kai & Nox ran through some tandem moves. Asuka cut off Kai with a dragon screw in the ropes, and then a hip attack by Asuka sent her flying off the apron.
Asuka & Sane worked over Kai as the match built towards another hot tag -- but not before Asuka & Sane tortured Kai. That seemingly continued through a commercial break. No split screen again.
Asuka was still targeting a leg as the show returned from break. Asuka had been applying a leglock before the break. A double-team move by Sane & Asuka got them a near fall. Kai soon fired up. Sane tried to cut her off, which led to a double down. Kai finally crawled over for the hot tag.
Nox ran wild on the champions. She got a two count with a flying crossbody off the top. Nox went for the shining wizard, but Asuka caught her in a knee bar. Nox countered with a cross armbreaker. Sane jumped in to break up the hold. Kai made a save, and everybody went down selling.
Kai fired up on and hit her running kick in a corner. Kai had Asuka in a fireman's carry when Asuka escaped. She spit green mist in Kai's face. Asuka landed a roundhouse kick on a blinded Kai, and then Asuka dispatched Nox with a hip attack. Sane followed with a flying elbow drop off the top to score the pinfall.
The Horsewomen marched to the ring after the match. They attacked Kai & Nox for a beatdown. NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler teased stomping an arm when Rhea Ripley strolled out to confront Baszler. Before she could get to the ring, Shirai with a sneak attack started a brawl. Bianca Belair and Candice LeRae joined the brawl.
The smoke cleared for a moment as Ripley and Baszler squared off. They started to brawl, and everyone else also started brawling again. This led to a giant pull-apart as officials poured out to seperate them.
Authority figure William Regal said he had a solution to solve all this -- and that was War Games! After a commercial break, the announce team confirmed the first women's War Games match would take place at the next TakeOver.
Cameron Grimes defeated Tyler Bate
Grimes pinned Bate after a distraction by Killian Dain. This match was set up after an angle from last week involving Bate and Grimes. Dain's attack was because he wanted to send a message to Bate's tag team partner.
They began with some cool grappling spots as they each went in and out of reversals. The crowd was quiet at first, but they eventually got them into the match when they started trading high impact moves.
The match was much more heated after a commercial break as Grimes delivered a German suplex. Grimes with heat on Bate as they crowd started to rally behind Bate.
Bate made a comeback with a flying uppercut. He cleaned house on Grimes, which led to a standing shooting star press for a two count. From here they traded more near falls.
Bate countered an electric chair into a crazy hurricanrana spot that popped the crowd. Grimes got near fall with a wicked running powerslam. Bate got two after a rebound lariat.
They built towards a huge dive by Bate as he leapt over the ropes to the floor. Dain came to ringside, which distracted Bate long enough for Grimes to deliver his running double stomp. Grimes then covered Bate for the pinfall.
Dain attacked Bate after the match. He delivered a senton, and then a cannonball that sandwiched Bate into the ring steps. Dain yelled at a prone Bate to tell his friend Pete Dunne they have unfinished business.
A vignette profiled Angel Garza. He talked about his family, and he wanted to carry on the Garza family name in wrestling like his uncle -- Hector Garza. This was great profile piece. WWE television needs more of these for everyone.
"Breaking news" from CBS Sports announced Baszler and Ripley were each named captain of opposing teams in War Games.
Undisputed Era (Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish) defeated Keith Lee & Matt Riddle in a non-title match
Fish pinned Riddle in a really good match. An angle after the match looked to possibly build towards a men's War Games match.
Lee shined at the outset despite being outnumbered in two-on-one spots. He flattened O'Reilly & Fish with a double crossbody. The heels powdered out.
Riddle came in as he and Lee dominated before a commercial. Riddle got a two count on Fish after a jackhammer just before the show went to break. The split screen was back this time.
Riddle & Lee ran roughshod through the break. Riddle with gutwrench suplexes after the break, but Fish mowed him down for the heat spot.
Fish & O'Reilly worked over Riddle. Fish and Riddle traded sleepers.
O'Reilly & Fish went for a double-team move, but O'Reilly instead wiped out Fish with a running kick. O'Reilly still managed to apply a leglock on Riddle to block an attempted tag. Riddle was finally able to roll through to his corner, but Fish kicked Lee off the apron to block another attempt at tagging out.
Riddle fired up with kicks on both O'Reilly & Fish. He delivered a double knee strike, but Undisputed Era cut him off to execute their Ax & Smash combination.
Riddle eventually rolled through to make a hot tag. Lee cleaned house and ragdolled Undisputed Era. Lee was still outnumbered, and that would cost him. He still ,managed to deliiver a pop-up powerbomb on Fish.
Lee climbed the turnbuckes. O'Reilly tried to stop him to no avail. Lee missed a moonsault off the middle rope. That led to O'Reilly catching Lee in an armbar. Lee powered out with a deadlift powerbomb.
Lee tagged back to clean house with kicks and exploder suplexes. Riddle with a PK and a release German, and then Adam Cole and Roderick Strong come to ringside to cause a distraction.
Riddle did an Asai moonsault into a Floating Bro on the floor. Lee with a pounce took out both Cole and Strong. Back in the ring, Riddle went for a powerbomb. Fish landed on his feet, and then he and O'Reilly delivered Total Elimination. Fish covered Riddle for the pinfall.
Undisputed Era ganged up on Lee & Riddle after the match. Tommaso Ciampa ran down swinging a crutch to make the save. Him, Riddle and Lee cleared the ring. O'Reilly was press slammed out the ring on to his stablemates.
Ciampa found himself reunited with Goldie -- which is the NXT Championship belt. Ciampa told Goldie he would have to wait because first they are going to war!