Io Shirai's first title defense as Women's Champion will headline tonight's episode of NXT.
Shirai vs. Tegan Nox for the NXT Women's Championship is set for tonight's show. Nox became the number one contender to Shirai's title by defeating Dakota Kai, Mia Yim, and Candice LeRae in a fatal four-way elimination match at Great American Bash night one two weeks ago.
Shirai won the NXT Women's Championship by defeating Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley in a triple threat match at TakeOver: In Your House last month. She defeated Sasha Banks in a non-title match at Great American Bash night one.
Great American Bash night two saw Keith Lee become a double champion, defeating Adam Cole to win the NXT Championship and retain the NXT North American Championship. As he was celebrating after the match, it was shown that Karrion Kross and Scarlett were watching on. Lee will make an appearance tonight and address his title win.
Damian Priest vs. Cameron Grimes is also set for tonight. Last month, Grimes defeated Priest after attacking him in the parking lot before the show.
Our coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Keith Lee opened the show as the new double champion having won the title-for-title match over former NXT Champion Adam Cole. Lee now holds both the NXT Championship and the NXT North American title. He cut a great promo.
Lee loved the sound of his name being announced as a double champion so much that he had the ring announcer say it a second time. Lee then started talking about his journey to NXT, and he says there is something very special about what happens in the NXT ring. He feels it standing there holding the championship belts. He laid the belts on the mat. He is not is disbelief, and he was not fooled himself. He celebrated but it's back to reality.
Lee went on to say he knows there is a locker room full of people that want the same opportunity. He understands the opportunity he was presented, and Lee acknowledged he did not do it alone. He mentioned "Killer" Tim Brooks, and called him more than a trainer. He was a father figure that believed in Lee when no one else did.
Lee looked into the camera to address the viewers as he acknowledged their role in helping him. They welcomed him with open arms. He talked about fans singing for him with all their love and passion, and they would tell the entire world to "bask in his glory."
Lee is celebrating for Tim Brooks and the for the "WWE Universe". Lee proceeded to call out Dominik Dijakovic, and he came to the ring. He was wearing a t-shirt in memory of Shad Gaspard.
Dijak was proud of him, and said this was Lee's moment. Lee disagreed and said it was about them both and their feud. Dijakovic tested him limits like no one else. Lee wanted Dijakovic to be his first challenger, and he wanted the match tonight. Dijakovic was kind of balking, and Lee told him to "just say yes." So Dijakovic said yes.
The title match is on for later tonight. Lee was tremendous in the this segment.
Damian Priest defeated Cameron Grimes
Priest pinned Grimes clean in this grudge match, and it was a pretty great.
Grimes tried jumping Priest at the bell, but Priest booted him in the face. Priest rocked Grimes with a flurry of strikes. Grimes ate some back elbows and a spinning back kick. The fight spilled to the floor, and Grimes caught him coming back into the ring. Grimes went to work on Priest as he gained an advantage.
The show abruptly cut to a picture-in-picture commercial, which was awkward. Priest made a comeback after the break as he fired up on Grimes. Priest mowed him down, until Grimes clotheslined Priest over the ropes. They fought on the floor, and Priest executed a Razor's Edge that sent Grimes into the corner of the apron. Nevertheless, Grimes came right back with an O'Connor Roll for a two count. Priest answered in return with a flatliner for a near fall.
Grimes with more near falls like when he caught Priest in a small package for two. Grimes with a modified one-man Spanish Fly into a body press for another two count. Grimes got cocky, and that was his downfall. Priest hulked up and hit a cyclone kick followed by a draping version of The Reckoning. Priest then covered Grimes for the deciding pinfall.
Timothy Thatcher is back for another fun seminar. Today's lesson is something he taught Oney Lorcan at The Great American Bash. That is that for very submission there is something to be learned. Thatcher then proceeded to torture a student with a Fujiwara armbar.
Indi Hartwell defeated Shotzi Blackheart
Hartwell pinned Blackheart in an upset after interference by Aliyah & Robert Stone. Blackheart was in control until Hartwell cut her off. Hartwell briefly got heat on her that netted her several two counts. Blackheart fired up into a comeback.
As she was running wild, Robert Stone limped out to ringside with a walking cast. Blackheart planted Hartwell with a DDT as Stone got on the apron to distract referee Aja Smith. When Blackheart climbed on the turnbuckles, Aliyah ran in to trip her up. Hartwell with a big boot, and then she covered Blackheart for the pinfall.
Tegan Nox in a backstage interview cut a heckuva babyface promo vowing to win the title later tonight when she challenges Io Shirai. Nox was a star here.
A vignette with El Legado Del Fantasma had them setting around a fancy table plotting to build their empire. They too looked like stars.
A hype video putting over Keith Lee was the new double champion preceded his first title match that was next. Much like the first hour of the show, the second hour also opens with a segment featuring the new top star of NXT. Lee on the top of the hour looking like a true superstar.
NXT Champion and North Amercian Champion Keith Lee defeated Dominik Dijakovic in a winner-take-all match to retain his titles
Lee pinned Dijakovic clean in the middle after another good match in their series. This was much different than their previous bouts. They wowed with psychology more so than with their high spots that have wowed in the past. Solid match that further made Lee look like a star, and making him the undisputed top star on NXT was a theme of the show.
They were all smiles at first doing a babyface match as they worked a deliberate pace. Gorilla Monsoon might have called it the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object.
Dijakovic almost caught Lee with his finisher, but Lee escaped for a stalemate that led into a commercial break. Dijakovic was working over Lee when the show returned from the commercial break. Lee soon powered out only for Dijakovic to club him some more. Lee blocked a suplex, and started he started to pepper Dijakovic with punches. Lee hit him with a Monty Brown pounce.
Dijakovic cut Lee off with a side slam for two. Dijakovic measured Lee for a roaring elbow, but Lee countered with a swinging flatliner (similar to the move Damian Priest did earlier) with Dijakovic draped on the middle rope. Dijakovic still managed to get his shoulder up to break the count.
Dijakovic with headbutts knocked Lee off the turnbuckles, and Dijakovic followed with a blockbuster for a near fall. A cyclone boot netted Dijakovic another two count. Dijakovic went for an attempted a flying ax handle, but Lee struck him down with double chops. Lee raised Dijakovic to the heavens with a chokelsam before slamming him down the mat. Lee then delivered the Big Bang Catastrophe to score the pinfall and retain his titles.
Lee and Dijakovic embraced after the match when the lights dimmed. Scarlett walked through a cloud of fog with a satchel. She dumped out the broken pieces of the hour glass that Lee crushed a few weeks ago. Of course this was a message from Karrion Kross, who looks to be a challenger for Lee.
Dijakovic after a commercial break was doing a post-match interview when Kross confronted him. They got face-to-face, and a brawl erupted between the two. Kross laid out Dijakovic.
Timothy Thatcher defeated Denzel Dejournette
Thatcher submitted Dejournette in a grappling clinic.
Dejournette has an extensive amateur wrestling background so he matched well with Thatcher's style. It made for the most realistic match on the show. Lots of chain wrestling until Thatcher locked in a half crab, and Dejournette tapped out for the submission.
Not done yet, Thatcher attacked Dejournette after the bell. Oney Lorcan ran in to make a save. Thatcher bailed out of the ring and had a staredown with Lorcan. Looks like they are set for a return match.
Robert Stone was pleading his case to Killian Dain about their coffee incident on the previous episode. Stone put all the heat on Shotzi Blackheart. Aliyah ran up to Stone to show him a picture drawn by Dexter Lumis. It depicted scenes from last week at The Bash, and one scene was Stone getting his leg run over by Blackheart's mini-tank. Dain snatched the picture away, and looked at it. Dain grapped Stone by the lapels. and he sternly told Stone to get him a match with Lumis next week. Not sure what one had to do with the other, but it at least leads to a match.
Lumis vs. Kain was made official for next week, and also officially announced for next week is Kross vs. Dijakovic.
And now for the main event [he says in a Howard Finkel voice]...
NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai defeated Tegan Nox to retain her title
Shirai pinned Nox to retain the title. Nox fought valiantly, but she ultimately fell to the champion. Nox still looked strong despite losing the match, and they both worked really hard to put on a good match. Dakota Kai attacked Shirai after the match so she looks to be the next challenger.
Nox was ready to fight, and she wanted to skip the pre-match introductions. So they did just that as Nox wore a look of determination on her face. There was some chain wrestling at the outset, and they exchanged counters and reversals. That gave way to strikes as the action intensified, and they built to a highspot that saw Nox faceplant on the apron before a commercial break.
Shirai was in control when the show returned from the break. Nox soon fought back. Shirai went for a flying crossbody, but Nox caught her to counter with a fallaway slam. Nox then bridged into a cover, and Shriai kicked out.
They would trade more near falls. Shirai with a double knee strike, and it was Nox's turn to kick out. Nox answered back with a roll-up on Shirai. An Oklahoma roll moments later by Nox for another two count.
Shirai got heat on Nox as Nox played babyface-in-peril. She fought from underneath as Shirai worked her over. They match went through another commercial break. Meanwhile, Shirai worked the leg. Shirai also applied a crossface that Nox escaped as the show was returning from the commercial break.
When the fight spilled outside the ring, Shirai sent Nox crashing into the ring steps. Shirai went to follow up with a double knee strike, but she took too much time to gloat. Nox moved, and Shirai hit the steps knees first.
Back in the ring, Shirai picked up Nox with a double underhook. Shirai turned it into a backbreaker across her knee, and Shirai went down too selling her knees from the earlier spot. That led to a double down.
They went back to trading near falls. Nox with a small package, and Shirai with a German suplex. Shirai springboarded to the top rope, but she was tripped up and tied in the tree-of-woe. Nox with a cannonball into the corner.
Nox with a series of clotheslines, followed by another cannonball. Nox flew off the top with a diving crossbody for a two count. Nox with the Lady Kane chokeslam, and Shirai again kicked out. Shirai cut her off with a German suplex.
Shirai with her finishing sequence as she delivered doubles knees in a corner, and then the Tiger Feint Kick. Shirai launched herself into the stratosphere to deliver a missile dropkick for a close near fall.
Nox targeted one of Shirai's injured knees in a callback to earlier. Nox planted Shirai with a sit-out gourdbuster, and Nox climbed the turnbuckles. Nox off the top with the Molly Go Round for yet another near fall. That would her last chance in the match after Nox walked into a Shotei palm strike. Shirai with moonsault off the top to score the pinfall.
Dakota Kai in sneak attack jumped Shirai after the match. Kai was stood tall over Shirai as the show faded to black.
This was a strong show with a lot of great wrestling. The booking looked to establish new stars, and Keith Lee is looking like a true superstar. He is indeed limitless.