Karrion Kross vs. Finn Balor II headlines tonight's episode of NXT.
The NXT Championship will be on the line as Kross and Balor face off in a rematch from TakeOver: Stand & Deliver. This will be Kross' first title defense since defeating Balor to win the championship.
Tonight's show will also feature the "world premiere" of Franky Monet as the former Taya Valkyrie makes her NXT in-ring debut. Monet first appeared on NXT five weeks ago. Her opponent for tonight hasn't been announced.
With both teams wanting a shot at Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell's NXT Women's Tag Team titles, Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon will take on Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai tonight. Bobby Fish will also return to in-ring action for the first time since December as he looks to get revenge on Pete Dunne. Fish had to undergo triceps surgery after December's NXT TakeOver: WarGames.
The feud between Cameron Grimes and Ted DiBiase will continue as they meet for the "Million Dollar Face-Off."
Plus, we'll hear from new NXT North American Champion Bronson Reed. Reed defeated Johnny Gargano in a steel cage match last week to win the North American title.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
The show opened with a canned intro hyping the main event championship match. The former champion meets the current champ in a return bout that headlines the show.
The announce team of Vic Joseph, Beth Phoenix and Wade Barrett welcome viewers to the show, and they offer a rundown of tonight's card. They throw to the opening match, which is a women's tag team bout.
Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart defeated NXT Women's Champion Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai
Moon pinned Kai to win the match. Gonzalez defending against Moon looks like potential direction. Good opener for this show as well.
Gonzalez began the match with power moves on Moon, but Moon fought back to frustate the champ with counters and two counts. Cat-and-mouse until Kai tagged in, and the heels began to work over Moon. Blackheart tagged in, and she ran wild on Kai. The babyfaces were soon in control. Blackheart applied a Texas cloverleaf, and Gonzalez saved her partner.
The match went through some commercials, and Moon was cleaning house when the show returned from break. Kai caused a distraction that allowed Gonzalez to boot Moon in the face. The heels went back to working over Moon. Blackeart jumped in to make a save at one point, and then Moon made a hot tag.
Blackheart with a go to sleep facebuster for a near fall on Kai. Gonzalez saved Kai from a Doomsday Device, and Gonzalez jumped in again to save Kai by freeing her from a leglock/crossface combo applied by Moon. Gonzalez went for her signature chokeslam, but Moon countered into a stunner.
Moon & Blackheart then executed a double team combo where Moon suplexed Kai into a Dominator while Blackheart swooped in to deliver a cutter. Moon went on to cover Kai for a pinfall.
Gonzalez attacked Blackheart & Moon after the match, and she laid them both out. Upon ordering Kai to make Moon watch the attack, Gonzalez powerbombed Blackheart into the barricade and the ring post. Gonzalez then dropped Blackheart throat first on the barricade. Looks like Moon is a potential challenger for Gonzalez, and now there is an added layer of a grudge match.
Pete Dunne (with Oney Lorcan) defeated Bobby Fish
Dunne pinned Fish after delivering The Bitter End. Great match. Lorcan attacked Fish afterwards for a post-match beat down.
Fish showed a lot of fire at the start, yet Dunne baited him into taking a cheap shot. They grappled on the mat, and Dunne stomped Fish in the face. Dunne then began to target an arm. Fish reverses to work Dunne's arm. Fish booted Dunne out of the ring just before the show cut to a commercial break.
Dunne was again targeting Fish's arm when the show returned from the break. Fish fired up, and he caugth Dunne in a sleeper. Dunne with joint manipulation to break the sleeper. Dropping a knee on Fish's previously injured arm, Dunne looked vicious. Dunne followed Fish when Fish rolled outside. At ringside, Fish smashed Dunne into the barricade.
Fish got back into the ring, only for him to walk into an enzuigiri. Fish answered back with an exploder into the ropes, which led to a near fall on Dunne. They traded knee strikes, and Dunne buckled over in a corner. Taking a page out of Bret Hart's playbook, Dunne was playing possum. Dunne exploded into a flurry of offense, but Fish cut him off to get another two count.
Dunne snapped Fish's fingers while attempting to apply an arm bar. Fish still managed to roll through apply his own joint lock. Dunne countered for The Bitter End, and Dunne covered Fish for a three count.
Lorcan jumped a prone Fish after the match. Lorcan beat him down, and then he tried to re-injury Fish's weakened arm. Officials poured out to break up the beatdown. Lorcan got more for cheap shot in by kicking Fish, but Fish got back to his feet to glare at Lorcan as he and Dunne backed away.
Mercedes Martinez was cutting a promo about working her way back up the ladder, as she wants another title shot. Boa was spying on her like a creep, so maybe Martinez meets Xia Lee in a match soon.
Hit Row in a pre-tape vignette cut promos in a really cool segment. This could easily become a hot new act in WWE.
Mercedes Martinez defeated Zayda Ramier
Martinez pinned Ramier in an enhancement match. Afterwards came an angle setting up Xia Lee against Martinez.
Ramier got some offense, but not for long. Martinez pressed slammed Ramier off the top rope, hit her with a knee strike, and Martinez then dropped her with an Air Raid Crash. 1...2...3.
The arena lights turned red, and the ring filled with smoke. The lights then turned blue, and Martinez had a mark written on her hand. Spooky stuff similar to what Scooby Doo and the gang might investigate. Quick, to the Mystery Machine! Might even flash the Bat signal too. Couldn't hurt.
Cameron Grimes and Ted DiBiase in a "Million Dollar Face-Off"
Grimes asked DiBiase "why?" Why has DiBiase been embarrassing him? Grimes told DiBiase he looked up to him, and Grimes learned people would like him if he had money. Grimes sadly said to never meet your idols.
DiBiase responded by saying he really like Grimes. They have a lot more in common than they might think, according to DiBiase. He put Grimes through hell because he saw a little bit of himself in Grimes. DiBiase said he was here because he was looking for that one individual to basically embodies The Million Dollar Man.
DiBiase went on to say Grimes has lost his focus since becoming rich. LA Knight interrupted them for one of those LA Knight promos, if you like that sort of thing. Knight wanted to DiBiase to pick him as a protege.
Grimes finally had enough of Knight. Grimes ordered Knight out of the ring, or Grimes threatened to kick his ass to ... the ... moon. Knight responded by laying out Grimes, and he left the ring.
Dibiase stood over a fallen Grimes and said, "Kid, you're just never going to get it." DiBiase cackled with his signature over-the-top laugh.
Indi Hartwell was backstage looking for Dexster Lumis. She interrupted Ever-Rise, and one of them wanted to fight her. This was supposed to be comedy I think. Drake Maverick told Hartwell he saw Lumis last in a room, and Maverick pointed to the room. Hartwell went into the room, and there were a bunch of drawings supposedly drawn by Lumis. He was heartbroken apparently. Hartwell was in turn upset. This courtship was cut at first, but it has become kind of weird. Regardless, to each their own.
Franky Monet defeated Cora Jade
Monet (formerly Taya Valkyrie) in her WWE in-ring debut pinned Jade in an enhancement match. Monet was able to get in her "Wera Loca" catchphrase during the match. She ran through most of her signature moves, and Monet looked dominate.
Jade got some offense, but Monet soon cut her off. Monet won with a version of the Glam Slam, which is basically a chicken wing into a sit-out facebuster.
Grizzled Young Veterans cut a promo on Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa, after Ciampa & Thatcher cut a promo on them earlier in the show. Ciampa & Thatcher cut the better promo on this night. The two teams meet soon in a rubber match.
NXT UK Champion WALTER addressed the remaining members of Imperium as if WALTER was the evil Emperor from Star Wars. WALTER looked more sinister than the Emperor as he dressed down Imperium.
Legado del Fantasma confronts NXT North American Champion Bronson Reed
Bronson Reed is the new North American champ, and he came down to the ring for his first promo as the new title holder.
Reed began by saying it took him 14 years to get to this moment. Not just a climb up the mountain, but falling down just to get back up. Falling yet again, but keep getting up. It was not an easy road to the North American title. Now that he has the title, good luck to anyone trying to take it. Reed had a mountain, but he says his challengers have a "colossal mountain to climb."
Out comes Santos Escobar and Legado del Fantasma to interrupt Reed. Escobar said he cannot relate to Reed because Escobar himself was born a champion. Escobar went on to say the North American title caught his eye.
Escobar wants a title match against Reed. There was a joke about Canada, which seemed rather missplaced in an otherwise serious segment. Escobar got on the ring apron to further berate Reed. Legado del Fantasma was seemingly about to jump Reed when NXT Tag Team Champions MSK ran down to even the odds. Escobar and his charges fled. This segment needed Teddy Long to make it a tag team match. Luckily we still have William Regal.
NXT GM William Regal announced a thriple threat number one contender's match for next Tueday on NXT. Kyle O'Reilly vs. Pete Dunne vs. Johnny Gargano is set for next week. The winner faces the NXT Champion.
Also announced for next week is a tag team title bout with MSK defending against Ledado del Fantasma.
NXT Champion Karrion Kross (with Scarlett) defeated Finn Balor to reatin his title
Kross put Balor to sleep to end a pretty great match.
Balor started strong, and Kross powdered just before the show cut to a picture-in-picture commercial break. Kross gained control after the break. Balor countered Kross, and Balor targeted Kross' back. Kross fought back and turned the tables.
Kross bieled Balor across the ring, and then Kross began to suplex him. Balor countered a second suplex to apply a crossface. Balor exploded into a double stomp, yet Kross struck back with a cheap shot.
Balor trapped Kross in the ring skirt, and then Balor landed a PK before the show cut to another picture-in-picture commercial break. Kross was mounting a comeback after the show came back from the break. They traded strikes. Balor with a sling blade, but Kross kicked out at one. Kross then hopped to his feet like a man possessed by something or other.
Balor leapt into a double stomp, but Kross was able to counter Balor. Fighting the Kross Jacket, Balor found himself trapped in Kross's sleeper hold. Balor was able to escape, and he rolled outside. Kross sent Balor crashing into the barricade, and Kross gave Balor a Razor's Edge into the barricade.
Upon a sudden burst of fire, Balor made a comeback. Balor flew over the ropes with a tope con giro. Kross no sold the dive, and he powerbombed Balor onto the announce desk. That further damaged the back Kross targeted earlier on in the match. Balor would not go down without a fight. He fought back to deliver another double stomp. Balor then went for the Coup de Grace, but Kross rolled out of the way.
Kross with a German suplex followed by a Saito suplex. Kross signaled for his finisher, but Balor countered for a two count. Balor applied a cobra twist, but Kross freed himself. Balor in turn countered Kross. Balor applied a sleeper. Kross tried to escape, yet Balor transitioned to catch Kross in a triangle. Kross with a deadlift powerbombed Balor.
Balor displayed fighting spirit as Kross struck with his signature forearm smash. Kross then stomped on Balor, and Kross locked in the sleeper. The referee checked Balor before stopped the match, and the champion retains his title.