The fallout from TakeOver: Vengeance Day takes place on tonight's episode of NXT.
NXT Champion Finn Balor retained his title against Pete Dunne in the main event of Sunday's TakeOver show. But the show-closing angle saw Adam Cole lay out Balor with a superkick and then lay out his Undisputed Era stablemate Kyle O'Reilly when O'Reilly was furious about what Cole did to Balor.
Undisputed Era had made the save for Balor as he was being beaten down by Oney Lorcan, Danny Burch, and Dunne following the main event. After Cole superkicked O'Reilly, Undisputed Era's Roderick Strong looked conflicted about what had happened.
An appearance by O'Reilly will kick off tonight's show.
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez and MSK were crowned as Dusty Classic winners at TakeOver, defeating Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon and The Grizzled Young Veterans in their respective tournament finals. Kai & Gonzalez will be getting a shot at Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler's WWE Women's Tag Team titles and MSK will be getting a shot at Lorcan & Burch's NXT Tag Team titles, but WWE hasn't announced when those matches will be taking place.
Blackheart & Moon will be in action against Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell tonight.
We'll see what's next for NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai and NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano after they retained their titles at TakeOver. We also may see LA Knight (the former Eli Drake) appear tonight after he made his debut on the TakeOver pre-show.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
The show opened with Kyle O’Reilly. He swiftly grabbed a microphone and got straight to the point, saying he still can’t make sense of Adam Cole’s attack at NXT Takeover: Vengeance Day. O’Reilly practically begged Cole to explain himself, but Roderick Strong came out instead.
Strong defended Cole’s actions, saying his attack on O’Reilly was justified purely off emotions. O’Reilly was having none of it and told Strong to keep his nose out of his business.
NXT Champion Finn Balor interrupted both men and told O’Reilly to get in line behind him for an explanation. Pete Dunne and the NXT Tag Team Champions Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch interrupted and jumped all three men. Dunne and company stood tall to end the segment.
NXT GM William Regal made the announcement that Santos Escobar vs Karrion Kross would not take place tonight. Escobar had a short phone promo just saying he was going home. Regal rescheduled the match for next week and said if Escobar doesn’t show up, he’ll be stripped of the NXT Cruiserweight Championship and suspended.
Regal made Dunne, Lorcan and Burch vs Balor, Strong and O’Reilly the new main event of the program.
Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart defeated Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell (w/ Johnny Gargano)
Moon and LeRae started off. They exchanged a few basic holds before both women tagged out. LeRae came back in pretty quickly and the heels began to dominate, working over the ankle of Blackheart.
Blackheart got momentum back after trapping both of her opponents in the ropes and booting both of them in their heads. Moon tagged and LaRae cut the ring in half almost instantly. A white van appeared driving up to the venue on screen, distracting LaRae for a moment.
LaRae continued to wear down Moon, not letting Blackheart tag in. Hartwell came in a few times but her offense looked pretty bad. The van appeared on screen again and Gargano took off towards the back.
Blackheart finally got the babyface hot tag and had a few near falls on Hartwell. Cameras cut back again to the white van and showed Gargano banging on the doors and windows but to no avail.
Moon and Blackheart hit a nice double team backbreaker on LaRae. Gargano appeared on the stage to show that he recovered Theory which distracted Hartwell and Moon took advantage and rolled her up for the win.
Pat McAfee (the best promo in Wrestling) appeared from his private jet. He gloated about being right about Adam Cole being a “scumbag”. McAfee said he’d see NXT soon and called the Internet Wrestling Community a bunch of stooges.
Kushida appeared in the trainer's room and was being interviewed, but Bronson Reed interrupted him. Reed said he’s still waiting for his shot at Gargano too and told Kushida to rest up. Malcom Bivens appeared from behind and called Kushida’s Takeover performance great and encouraged him to have a match tonight to prove himself even more.
Leon Ruff defeated Isaiah "Swerve" Scott
Scott got control early and practically dominated for the first half of the match. Scott taunted and laughed at Ruff until he came back with some fiery offense and a flying cutter. Some heel tendencies being shown from Scott.
Scott was being egotistical and cocky and in the moment of hesitation, Ruff trapped Scott in a crucifix pin and got the three count. After the bell Scott began to destroy Ruff.
Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter defeated Aliyah and Jessi Kamea (w/ Robert Stone)
Carter and Catanzaro exchanged a few tag in and outs and double team maneuvers until Boa appeared on stage which seemed to distract Carter. Catanzaro came in and made light work of Aliyah, pinning her quickly.
Xia Li and Boa approached Catanzaro and Carter after their match. Li marked Catanzaro with some type of marker and seemingly challenged her to a match next week.
This is only the second time tonight that a women’s tag team match ended with some spooky distraction finish. Delightful stuff (sarcasm). Except this match went about 1/10th the length of what the other match did.
Dusty Classic Tag Team Winners Circle
Beth Phoenix is out to present the trophy to the winning teams.
MSK are out first. They admire the trophy and hug Phoenix. Carter announces they're challenging Burch and Lorcan for the NXT tag titles on the March 3rd edition of NXT.
Gonzalez and Kai are out next. Kai said they were by far the best tag team in the tournament. Shayna Baszler’s music hits and the Women’s Tag Team Champions hit the ring. Baszler taunted Kai about breaking her arm a few years back.
Jax said she was just here to honor the late Dusty Rhodes. Baszler laid down the challenge for the March 3rd episode of NXT.
“Billionaire” Cameron Grimes had a video package. He wrecked his Lamborghini and laughed it off and said he’d just buy another one. This is a really brilliant way to use Grimes, although it might have a short shelf life.
Kushida defeated Tyler Rust (w/ Malcolm Bivens)
Rust seemed to counter the majority of Kushida’s offense early. Kushida turned up the heat pretty fast though and capped off a series of great offense with a flipping powerbomb. Kushida tried to capitalize by going to the top rope but Rust yanked him off and he smacked head first into the mat. Rust worked on the arm into the commercial break.
Back from the break and Kushida got hot again. Kushida tried a Hoverboard lock but instead just threw Rust into the mat. Rust recovered quickly and clocked Kushida in the head with a kick. Kushida practically no sold it and locked in the Hoverboard lock for the win.
A recap aired of LA Knight’s (f.k.a Eli Drake) promo on the Takeover pre show. Knight had another promo from his home where he claimed he’s the hottest free agent no more and that he’s ready to kick some heads off.
Zoey Stark defeated Valentina Feroz
Stark and Feroz traded stiff knee strikes and punches in the beginning of the match. Stark put any competitiveness to the imagination quickly though, launching Feroz over her head with half and half suplex.
Stark hit a few running knees then hit a modified GTS for the win.
Karrion Kross gave Santos Escobar an ultimatum in a promo. He told Escobar he had two choices: To get his skull caved in on live television or to run away scared.
Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch defeated Finn Balor, Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong.
O’Reilly and Lorcan started off the match. O’Reilly had a lot of pent up aggression and he didn’t show any remorse on Lorcan. Balor and O’Reilly tagged in and out and hit multiple double team maneuvers. Strong eventually tagged in along with Dunne tagging in as well.
Dunne and Strong were in the ring together for a good while before O’Reilly got a phenomenal hot tag and almost took out all of his opponents until he ran into a forearm from Dunne. Dunne worked on the neck of O’Reilly throughout a picture-in-picture break.
Burch and Dunne tagged in and out taking turns working on O’Reilly. Balor finally got the hot tag and cleared a path. Dunne almost rolled Balor up but he escaped. Balor went to kick Dunne in the corner but the referee got caught in the middle of it.
Balor still went to the top but Adam Cole appeared and shoved Balor off the top rope. Cole followed it up by clocking O’Reilly with a kick and a suplex. Roderick Strong came in the ring and tried to get Balor’s attention, but Balor accidentally kicked him in the face. Dunne used the distraction and hit the bitter end which allowed him to pin the NXT Champion for the win.
Cole came back after the match and attacked Balor again. Cole stood tall with the NXT Title to end the broadcast.
Final Thoughts: Nothing too special happened for this week’s episode, but that’s expected given it’s the show after the PPV. I was surprised to see so many people that wrestled at Takeover wrestling on this show tonight, very unusual for NXT. Main event was a great match and Dunne pinning Balor was great and was unexpected. Both women’s tag matches ending in distraction was a eh for me, especially when you have a women’s tag team championship match you’re promoting for the March 3rd show.
In regards to the Theory/Gargano stuff: Why wasn’t his disappearance explained? He just randomly appeared back on stage. I’m sure they’ll explain it eventually but it just came off weird. All in all, it was an above average episode of NXT.