Kyle O'Reilly returns to the ring as the Undisputed Era challenge Imperium for the NXT Tag Team titles tonight.
Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner are defending their titles against O'Reilly & Bobby Fish on tonight's show. The match was announced last week after all four members of Undisputed Era attacked Barthel & Aichner following their non-title win against Ever-Rise.
After an angle on his radio show last month, Pat McAfee will appear tonight and address his confrontation with Undisputed Era's Adam Cole.
A couple of matches with TakeOver XXX implications are also set for tonight. Dakota Kai and Rhea Ripley are facing off in a number one contender's match. The winner will challenge Io Shirai for the NXT Women's Championship at TakeOver on Saturday, August 22. Plus, Damian Priest, Ridge Holland, and Oney Lorcan will meet in a triple threat qualifying match tonight to determine who will advance to the ladder match for the vacant North American Championship at TakeOver.
Bronson Reed and Dexter Lumis have already qualified for the ladder match. It will feature five wrestlers in total.
NXT Champion Keith Lee vs. Cameron Grimes in a non-title match and Reed vs. Shane Thorne are also set for tonight. Our coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Opening the show is a number one contender's match to decide the next challenger for the NXT Women's Championship.
Dakota Kai defeated Rhea Ripley to become number one contender
Kai pinned Ripley after interference by Mercedes Martinez. Kai now goes on to challenge NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai in a title match at TakeOver. Martinez again attacked Ripley after the match.
Ripley was dominate at the outset. She took her time, but was still super aggressive. Kai was reeling and scrambling when Ripley grounded her on the mat with a body scissors. Kai with some counters got a two count, but she would pay for it taking a lariat.
Ripley executed a delayed vertical suplex earlier in the match. When she went for a second attempt, Kai countered and tried to trip Ripley to no avail. Kai ended up in an electric chair, and Ripley dropped her face first on the apron. Somehow Kai kicked out, and the show cut to picture-in-picture commercials.
Kai during the commercial break used a drop toehold to sent Ripley into a turnbuckle. From there Kai went to work on Ripley. Kai hit some of running kicks, but Ripley kicked out on a cover. Ripley went on to make a comeback after the break.
Ripley fired up. She planted Kai with a facebuster for a two count. Kai would fight back as they traded strikes and kicks. Ripley with a flapjack for another two count. Ripley with a pump handle went for the Ripe Tide, and Kai countered to spike her with a DDT. Ripley still managed to kick out.
Ripley went for her Prism Trap submission hold, but Kai was able to escape. Ripley blocked an attempted superplex, and she knocked Kai off the aprons. Kai fell back into the ring when suddenly Mercedes Martinez runs into boot Ripley in the face. Kai capitalized to deliver the Go 2 Kick, and Kai covered Ripley for the pinfall.
Martinez attacked Ripley again after the bell, and Martinez executed an Air Raid Crash after the match. Ripley's nose was bloodied in the melee.
Pat McAfee talked to Shawn Michaels earlier in the day. That is all we know. Subject matter was unclear, but maybe it was about Adam Cole.
Bronson Reed defeated Shane Thorne
Reed pinned Thorne in a battle between Aussies. This match was set with Thorne talking trash on social media.
The traded strikes at the start, and Thorne was able to gain an early advantage. He clotheslined Reed over the ropes, and Thorne followed with a dive through the ropes. The briefly fought on the floor where Reed gave Thorne a full nelson slam on the apron. Thorne was back up a moment later to cut off Reed as he climbed the turnbuckles.
Thorne with a shining wizard got a near fall, and Reed would soon make a comeback. Reed with a military press and senton netted him a two count. They clubbed each other trading strikes until Reed turned Thorne inside out with a lariat.
Reed with a Death Valley Driver set up the flying body press off the top rope. Reed then covered Thorne for the pinfall.
Breezango arrived to the arena earlier in the day when they were assaulted in broad daylight by El Legado del Fantasma. Santos Escobar and his henchmen kidnapped Fandango, and they fled the scene in a SUV.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed The Robert Stone Brand about Martinez interfering the match earlier in the show. Robert Stone said Ripley may be done with them, but they are not done with her.
Damian Priest defeated Oney Lorcan and Ridge Holland in a triple threat qualifying match
Priest pinned Lorcan to win the match. Priest in winning qualified for the third spot in the ladder match at Takeover for the vacant NXT North American Championship. This was a good match, and they protected Holland as he still looked strong despite not winning the match. Lorcan instead took the fall.
Priest got to shine early on as he got the best of both Lorcan and Holland. Priest with a flatliner on Holland had him down selling, and Priest then squared off with Lorcan. They fought for a few moments until Holland charged back into the ring. He sent Priest outside, but Lorcan also knocked Holland out of the ring. Lorcan then leapt over the ropes into a flip dive.
Holland got to display his strength as he tossed Loracn overhead with a suplex. Holland then suplexed Priest and stood tall before the show cut to a commercial break. When the show returned from the break a slugfest had developed between Priest and Holland. Loran flew into both with senton, and Lorcan followed that with a double blockbuster.
Lorcan hooked Priest in a half crab. Priest kicked free, but he ate an uppercut for a two count. Holland cut off Lorcan with a Monty Brown pounce. Holland with a gutwrench powerbomb on Priest for two.
A triple down led into the closing minutes. Holland and Lorcan in a fighting spriit exchange. Lorcan went on to counter Priest, but that left him wide open for Holland to wipe him out. Priest then wiped out Holland with a chokeslam. Priest then executed The Reckoning on Lorcan, and he covered him for the pinfall.
NXT North American Champion Keith Lee defeated Cameron Grimes in a non-title match
Lee looked very string and stoic in this where he pinned Grimes.
Grimes stalled and played cat-and-mouse with Lee. Grimes kept getting mowed down and manhandled by Lee. Grimes took a Harley Race bump in a corner, and he flipped out of the ring to the floor. Grimes set a trap for Lee, and he rammed him into the ring steps. Grimes then springboarded into an Asai moonsault to the floor. The show cut to commercial with Lee down selling.
Lee was firing up in a comeback as the show returned from the commercial break. Lee mauled Grimes, but Grimes was able to avoid a Spirit Bomb. That just delayed the inevitable as Lee picked up Grimes in a fireman's carry. He was seemingly going for a jackhammer when Grimes countered into a small package. Grimes a moment later with schoolboy tried to cover Lee with a foot on the ropes for leverage. Lee still kicked out.
Lee caught Grimes on a flying crossbody, but Grimes would catch Lee with a one-man Spanish Fly. Grimes went for the Cave In, but Lee blocked it. Lee chopped down Grimes, and nailed him with a some short arm clotheslines. Lee with a Spirit Bomb scored the decisive pinfall.
The arena lights went out and Scarlett's voiced boomed over the loud speaker. Karrion Kross then appeared on a video screen with a message for Lee. Kross had attacked and laid out several wrestlers. He message was he wants a title match.
William Regal announced that Dexter Lumis suffered on ankle injury, and Lumis is out of the ladder match at TakeOver. Since neither Johnny Gargano nor Finn Balor dropped the fall in their qualifying match, they both want consideration. There is also Ridge Holland on tonight's show having lost without losing a fall. Therefore, in two weeks time the three wrestlers just named and a fourth from the other upcoming qualfying match will face off in two different singles matches. The two winners advance to the ladder match.
El Legado del Fantasma dragged a helpless Fandango into the arena. NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar said every week they explain why lucha libre culture is important, and why it is art. It is not a gimmick to be exploited for merch money, but people like Fandango exist. Breezango on a previous episode had spoofed luhca libre in on of their entrances. Escobar was angry about Fandango & Tyler Breeze mocking his culture. He compared it to them spitting in his face.
Escobar said the disrespect stops right now. Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde went to pummel Fandango when Breeze ran in. He was also attacked and beat down. Escobar also issued a warning to Isaiah "Swerve" Scott.
A vignette highlighted Undisputed Era and their reigns as tag team champions.
Damian Priest and Bronson Reed had words outside the building, which sets up a singles match between them.
Pat McAfee joined the broadcast booth for guest commentary.
Tegan Nox defeated Indi Hartwell
Nox pinned Hartwell in a match that was more about McAfee on commentary than what was happening in the ring.
Nox got to shine early on until Hartwell cut her off. Nartwell got a near fall after a big boot. The announcers were more focused on talking to McAfee. Nox made a comeback and delivered the Shiniest Wizard to score the pinfall.
Announced for next week is another triple threat qualifying match. Kushida returns to face Cameron Grimes and a mystery opponent to decide another particpant in the ladder match at TakeOver. Priest against Reed in a singles match was also made official. Danny Burch also faces Karrion Kross in a singles match next week on NXT.
Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) defeated Undisputed Era (Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish with Adam Cole & Roderick Strong) for the NXT Tag Team Championship
Aichner pinned Fish after Undisputed Era were distracted by a Cole and McAfee at ringside.
This seemed like a tag team match Bill Watts would have booked in WCW during 1992 like with the Steiners against Doc & Gordy. No heel/babyface dynamic, just two teams "hooking it up" in a competitive matchup. McAfee on commentary was again more of the focus of this than the match itself. This tag match still got plenty of time as the subplot played out.
This was O'Reilly's first match back in several months. He squared off with Aichner to start the match. Of course much of the focus was on McAfee and Cole being near each other.
O'Reilly & Fish were working over Barthel when Aichner tagged in to nail Fish with a spinebuster before the show cut to commercial. Fish was trying to rally as the show returned from break. Meanwhile, Cole glared at McAfee.
O'Reilly cleaned house after a hot tag. O'Reilly with a Bobby Eaton flying knee drop off the top rope targeted Aichner's leg. O'Reilly then barred the knee, and Aichner struggled for the ropes. As Aichner reached the ropes, Fish flew in with a Harley Race diving headbutt off the top. O'Reilly kept applying the submission hold as Aichner screamed in agony. Barthel made the save with a double sprinboard into a moonsault on O'Reilly.
Cole went over to confront McAfee at the broadcast booth. Cole cut a promo on McAfee telling him to knock it off with the jokes. McAfee begged off, and Cole turned to walk away. McAfee remarked that Cole was an "angry elf", which Cole overheard. Cole walked back to the booth, and he threw water in McAfee's face. Cole screamed at McAfee. Roderick Strong came over to hold back Cole. Referees and officials -- including Shawn Michaels and Triple H -- poured out from the back to separate Cole and McAfee.
O'Reilly & Fish were distracted by the commotion, and that allowed Aichner & Barthel to strike. Fish took the European Bomb (Doosmday uppercut), and Aichner covered Fish for the pinfall.
McAfee was leaving, but he turned back around to confront Cole. McAfee told Cole that for the rest of his life Cole will be a "tiny, itty bitty, short, little bitch." Officals held Cole back as he lunged for McAfee. Cole had crawled on top of the broadcast booth when McAfee punted him with a kick. Cole took a face-first bump landing on the floor in a heap. Triple H jumped into the melee and twice shoved McAfee.
McAfee left the scene clearly playing heel.