The next challengers for the NXT Championship and NXT Women's Championship will be determined on tonight's "Takeoff to Takeover" episode of NXT.
A gauntlet eliminator match on tonight's show will determine the challenger for Finn Balor's NXT Championship at NXT's October 4 TakeOver special. Kushida, Cameron Grimes, Kyle O'Reilly, Timothy Thatcher, and Bronson Reed are the participants for the gauntlet eliminator.
The gauntlet eliminator will start with two wrestlers in the ring, then another wrestler will enter every four minutes. The only way to be eliminated is via pinfall or submission.
NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai's TakeOver challenger will be decided by a number one contender's battle royal tonight. Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox, Dakota Kai, Raquel Gonzalez, Shotzi Blackheart, Aliyah, Kayden Carter, Indi Hartwell, Xia Li, and Kacy Catanzaro have been announced as entrants for the battle royal.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Jake Atlas is also set for tonight. After he was destroyed by Ciampa last month, Atlas confronted Ciampa on last week's show. Ciampa later ambushed Atlas in the parking lot until being stopped by officials and O'Reilly.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
In an angle from "moments ago", Candice LeRae attacked Tegan Nox with a lead pipe. Nox injured her knee, as LeRae continued to attack her. This presumably takes Nox out of the battle royal that opens the show.
Candice LeRae won a battle royal to become number one contender
LeRae won the battle royal last elminating Shotzi Blackheart. LeRae goes on to TakeOver to challenge Io Shirai for the NXT Women's Championship
A subplot of the battle royal was a contest between Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez to see who could eliminate the most wrestlers. In another subplot, Kacy Catanzaro used her Ninja Warrior skills to do the Kofi Kingston gimmick of not letting her feet touch the floor. Her tag team partner, Kayden Carter, helped her get back into the ring.
Ripley and Gonzalez eventually squared off. Gonzalez got Ripley in an electric chair, and both tumbled over the ropes to eliminate each other. The announcers noted Dakota Kai was left without her insurance policy. Kai was among the final five along with Candice LeRae, Shotzi Blackheart, Indi Hartwell,and Catanzaro.
Catanzaro elimated Hartwell, leaving only four. An alliance between Kai and LeRae eliminated Catanzaro. Blackheart soon thereafter threw Kai over the top rope to eliminate her. The final two were LeRae and Blackheart.
Blackheart climbed to the top rope, and LeRae cut her off trying to throw her out. They fought on the apron in a corner, where LeRae fell on to the ring steps. Her feet had yet to touch the floor, but Blackheart kicked and stomped on her. LeRae took a bump on the steps. She monkey flipped Blackheart off the steps to the floor, eliminating her and winning the match.
LeRae's husband, Johnny Gargano, celebrated in the ring with LeRae after the match.
With Gargano in the ring, cut to backstage for an interview with NXT North American Champion Damian Priest. He faces Gargano in a title match at TakeOver. He addressed that an his match later on against Austin Theory. Priest said Theory's record does not reflect how good he really is, but Priest added that it sucks to be him because his slide continues tonight. Priest then concluded the interview by hitting on Sarah Schreiber.
In a wacky skit, William Regal was trying to figure out the next tag team challengers. Fandango was dressed as Sherlock Holmes. Why? He was a detective, not a matchmaker.
Tommaso Ciampa defeated Jake Atlas
Ciampa pinned Atlas, and Ciampa looked like a killer in doing so in this good match.
Atlas got to shine early on until Ciampa cut him off. Atlas made a comeback, and the fighting spilled outside. Atlas with an Asai moonsault to the floor, and then a blockbuster in the ring netted him a two count. Ciampa blocked the cartwheel DDT finisher, and then draped Atlas in the ropes.
Ciampa spiked Atlas with Widow's Bell. Instead of covering Atlas, Ciampa broke the count and began slapping Atlas. Ciampa berated Atlas, and he executed a Fairy Tale Ending before scoring the pinfall.
A great vignette profiled Ridge Holland.
Hyping the gauntlet eliminator and its competitors was the focus of a music video from recording artist Corey Taylor's solo project.
Roderick Strong & Danny Burch defeated Fabian Aichner & Raul Mendoza
Burch pinned Mendoza to win this wild card tag match.
This was supposed to be the brainchild of Fandango. Again, why? The announcers tried, but even they could not explain the convoluted logic.They laughed about it. The gimmick seems to be if a wild card team wins, in the actual teams those two represent will then square off in another tag match to determine the number one contenders.
Strong was knocked off the apron at one point, so Burch was unable to tag out. Strong made a blind tag, and he cleaned house. He gave Aichner an Olympic Slam, but Mendoza broke up the pinning attempt.
Burch with a draping cutter on Mendoza to score the pinfall. So, Burch & his normal tag partner, Oney Lorcan, move on to face Strong & Bobby Fish to determine number one contenders.
Theory was being interviewed backstage when Gargano approached him. Gargano encouraged Theory to soften up Priest ahead of his title defense while also talking down to him.
NXT North American Champion Damian Priest defeated Austin Theory in a non-title match
Priest pinned Theory in a good match.
Priest walked the top rope before springboarding into a flying crossbody. Moments later Priest hit a ripcord knee strike, and followed with a leaping flatliner. Priest was knocked off the apron before a commercial break.
Theory was firing up as the show returned from the break. Thoery grounded Priest, but only momentarily. Priest hulked up and mowed down Theory. Priest with a Falcon Arrow for a two count.
Theory cut off Priest, and he used a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall. The fight spilled outside where Priest gave Theory a Razor's Edge on the ring apron. Back in the ring, Priest delivered The Reckoning to score the pinfall.
Gargano ran in after the match to lay out Priest with a superkick.
A cryptic vignette that looked too much like Retribution hyped something for "10.4.20", which is the date of the next TakeOver.
Another vignette featured Isaiah "Swerve" Scott. He wants a rematch with Santos Escobar for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.
Ridge Holland defeated Antonio De Luca
Holland pinned De Luca in a squash match. Holland looked like a monster.
De Luca was running the ropes when Holland sent him flying with a Monty Brown pounce...period. Holland followed with a few suplexes, and De Luca fought back. That only served to anger Holland, and he clobbered De Luca with headbutts. Holland then executed the Northern Grit befoer covering De Luca for the pinfall.
NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai was being interviewed backstage when LeRae and Gargano confronted her. Gargano got in her face and berated her. Damian Priest stepped in to lay out Gargano with a punch. Referees poured in to break up the ruckus.
Announced for next week on NXT is Shotzi Blackheart vs. Dakota Kai.
And now it's time for the main event of the evening...
Kyle O'Reilly won the Gauntlet Eliminator to become number one contender
O'Reilly and Kushida started the gauntlet with a grappling clinic. Their battle was intensifying when time expired and Bronson Reed joined the match as the third entrant.
Reed ragdolled and splashed both O'Reilly and Kushida. He lifted both on his shoulders going for a double fireman's carry. Kushida escaped to break it up.
O'Reilly went to apply an armbar on Kushida, and Reed went to break that up. When he did, O'Reilly grapevined Reed's leg to catch him in a submission hold. Kushida with a standing moonsalt to break the hold, and Kushida went for the Hoverboard Lock. Reed put a stop to that before splashing O'Reilly with a senton.
O'Reilly and Reed were fighting on a turnbuckle when Kushida hit them both with a handspring. O'Reilly took a bump off the apron, and the referee was asking if he could continue. Behind the ref's back, Velveteen Dream ran in to give Kushida a DVD. Reed came off the top rope with a splash to pin Kushida.
Bronson Reed eliminated Kushida via pinfall
Timothy Thatcher was the next entrant, but he was knocked off the apron before the show cut to commercial. When the show returned from the break, the clock ticked under five seconds as the last entrant joined the match.
A fresh Cameron Grimes came into the match with a flying crossbody on Reed. Grimes ran wild until Thatcher cut him off. Everybody in for a parade of high spots. All four men ended up down on the mat.
Reed with a slingshot sent Grimes over the ropes into a dive on Thatcher and O'Reilly. Reed with a DVD on Thatcher for a near fall. Reed with a powerbomb for a two count on O'Reilly.
Just before a commercial break, Reed leapt through the ropes for a tope suicida on to a pile of bodies. When Reed later did a powerslam, the announcers said it was a tribute to Road Warrior Animal. Reed also did some cool combos.
Reed missed a flying splash when Thatcher rolled out of the way. In the meantime, O'Reilly jumped off the top rope with a Bobby Eaton flying kneedrop on Reed. O'Reilly then covered Reed for a pinfall.
Kyle O'Reilly eliminated Bronson Reed via pinfall
O'Reilly had no time to celebrate the elimination as Thatcher grapped his leg to apply an ankle lock. O'Reilly countered to apply his own ankle lock on Thatcher, who also countered looking to apply an armbar.
O'Reilly wereThatcher exchanging strikes when Grimes sneaked in to give O'Reilly a German suplex. Grimes was given a belly-to-belly suplex from Thatcher.
Thatcher was applying a sleeper hold on O'Reilly when Grimes tried to run in with a kick. O'Reilly trapped his leg and applied an ankle lock, so Thatcher had O'Reilly while O'Reilly had Grimes. This is a variation on a three-way spot popularized by Sabu, Terry Funk and Shane Douglas at ECW's The Night the Line Was Crossed in 1994.
O'Reilly squared off with Thatcher as they traded strikes. This was great stuff. Thatcher kicked out of a backslide, but a second later he was rolled up with a schoolboy by O'Reilly for a three count.
Kyle O'Reilly eliminated Timothy Thatcher via pinfall
Grimes rushed in to hit O'Reilly with the Cave In. O'Reilly got his foot on the rope to break the count, but Grimes started celebrating like he won. The ref broke the bad news to him.
Grimes started talking trash about Adam Cole, and O'Reilly fired up on him. As they ran the ropes, Grimes with a one-man running Spanish Fly for a great near fall. There was an Ax & Smash spot but this time not among teammates. O'Reilly with the Ax, and Grimes answered back with Smash.
O'Reilly softened up Grimes's knee with a dragon screw. Moments later when Grimes went for the Cave In, O'Reilly dodged. Grimes' knee buckled, and O'Reilly barred the leg to submitt Grimes.
Kyle O'Reilly eliminated Cameron Grimes via submission to win the match
O'Reilly now goes on to TakeOver to challenge Finn Balor for the NXT Championship. Unidsputed Era memebrs Cole, Fish and Strong joined O'Reilly in the ring to celebrate.