Two title matches will take place on tonight's episode of NXT.
The North American Championship will be on the line as Damian Priest defends against Timothy Thatcher. After winning the title in a five-way ladder match at TakeOver XXX last month, this will be Priest's first defense of the championship.
Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) will get their rematch for the NXT Tag Team titles against Breezango. Tyler Breeze & Fandango became the NXT Tag Team Champions by defeating Imperium three weeks ago.
NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai will be in non-title action against Shotzi Blackheart. Shirai and Blackheart worked together to lay out Robert Stone and Aliyah last week, but Blackheart then set her sights on Shirai's title.
With WWE confirming that NXT's next TakeOver special will be held on Sunday, October 4, the build to the event will kick off tonight. That may include finding out who will be the first challenger for Finn Balor's NXT Championship. Balor won the title by defeating Adam Cole last week. Cole showed Balor respect and said the better man won, but Cole said the outcome will be a lot different if he gets another shot at the title.
Plus, NXT general manager William Regal will make two "major announcements" and Drake Maverick & Killian Dain will team against Undisputed Era's Roderick Strong & Bobby Fish.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
The show opens with a women's match set up last week.
NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai defeated Shotzi Blackheart in a non-title match
Shirai pinned Blackheart after a moonsault press in a good match.
Blackheart offered to shake hands before the match, but Shirai slapped her hand away. Blackheart shined early on as she grounded Shirai on the mat. Shirai got a rope break, and she sidestepped when Blackheart went for a wrecking ball dropkick. Shirai then did an Asai moonsault to the floor before a picture-in-picture commercial break.
Heat on Blackheart during the commercials, but she began a comeback when the show returned from the break. Shirai cut her off and applied a crossface. Blackheart escaped, and then she dodged an attempted Tiger Feint Kick. Blackheart with a senton, followed by a Tiger Suplex. Blackheart then transitioned into a Cattle Mutilation. Shirai was able to escape.
Shirai delivered the Tiger Feint Kick and a missile dropkick for a near fall. Blackheart fought back to give Shirai a Super Frankensteiner off the ropes for a near fall. Blackheart went on to counter a superplex, but Shirai also countered to give Blackheart a scary back suplex on the apron. Blackheart still managed to kick out at two.
Shirai with running knee strikes, and she followed with a moonsault press to score the pinfall. They shook hands and embraced after the match.
Announced for next week on NXT is a women's battle royal to determine a number one contender.
Tommaso Ciampa defeated Desmond Troy
Ciampa pinned Troy after a draping DDT in a squash.
Ciampa during his entrance wore a mask similar to something members of Los Ingobernables de Japon would wear to the ring.
Cimapa rocked Troy at the outset. He catapulted him throat first into the bottom rope, and then Ciampa executed the Widow's Bell before scoring the pinfall.
Jake Atlas entered stage left after the match, and he cut a promo challenging Ciampa to a match next week. Ciampa sat in a folding chair in the middle of the ring to listen, and he smirked at the challenge.
Drake Maverick was interviewing while arriving to the building. Maverick says "everything is going to be fine" even though his tag partner for tonight seemingly wants nothing to do with him.
A great vignette had new NXT Champion Finn Balor cutting a promo talking up himself, and also putting over the title. He talked his previous reign as champion when he helping to build the brand. The future is a lot different he said. He doesn't need the brand, he made the brand. Now the brand need him. Balor said him being champion makes the title the most imporant in the game. He fought for 20 years to be champion, and now people have to fight. He said for challengers to line up, but they "bettter look both ways before crossing 'The Prince'".
Kushida defeated Austin Theory
Kushida submitted Theory with the Hoverboard Lock. Once again Kushida was super aggressive, showing a mean streak.
Theory cut a promo before the match saying he is a future first ballot Hall of Famer. He made a open challenge. Enter Kushida to take him up on the offer.
Kushida struck as soon as he got in the ring, sending Theory scrambling outside. Kushida grounded Thoery when he got back in the ring. Thoery was soon able to cut him off.
Theory missed a standing moonsault, and Kushida fought back to make a comeback. Kushida did his signature cartwheel dropkick, and also a handspring kick. The fight spilled outside.
Theory posted himself, and Kushida targeted the arm with a shoulder breaker on the floor. Back in the ring, Kushida stomped on Theory. Kushida then applied the Hoverboard Lock, and Theory tapped out. Kushida acting slighty heelish did not break the hold immediately. The referee had to pry him off Theory.
At home with Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae where LeRae cut a promo on Tegan Nox. Gargano was mad they were having to spent their fourth wedding anniversary watching television in the guest room, all because Nox broke their TV in the living room. LeRae brought up the battle royal, but Gargano interrupted her because he found a new TV online. When they both win titles and have a new TV, the good times will start.
NXT Tag Team Champions Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) defeated Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) to retain their titles
Breeze pinned Aichner to win the match. This was pretty good.
Imperium rushed the ring to attack Breezango before the bell. Early on Imperium worked over Fandango. Barthel & Aichner proverbially cut the ring in half. The heat continiued through a commercial break.
Fandango was finally able to make a hot tag, and Breeze ran wild. Aichner bumped and fed. Breeze applied a single leg, and Barthel tried to make a save to no avail. Aichner countered Breeze, but Aichner still ate a superkick for a near fall broken up by Barthel.
Aichner fougth back to execute a brainbuster. Fandango broke up a pinning attempt. They all began fighting on the floor. Aichner went for a second brainbuster, but Fandango made a save. Fandango then superkicked both Aichner & Barthel.
Fandango missed a Bobby Eaton flying legdrop, and Barthel hit him with a superkick. Aichner with a gutwrench German suplex for a two count.
Another hot tag led to Breeze again looking to run wild. He was cut off and suplexed. Breeze was then hit with a PK. Imperium went for the European Bomb, but it was broken up. Breeze with a hurricanrana on Aichner, and he hooked the legs to score the pinfall.
Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter defeated Xia Li & Jessi Kamea
Catanzaro pinned Li to win the match for her team.
Carter and Li started with the match with chain wrestling. Catanzaro & Carter with a sequence of double team moves and quick tags. Kamea cut off Catanzaro and briefly got a heat on her.
Carter came in off a hot tag, and she cleaned house. Catanzaro tagged back in for the finish. Catanzaro had a crucifix on Li, and Carter hit Li with a big boot. Catanzaro then flipped over into a cradle to score the pinfall. Great teamwork by Catanzaro & Carter.
Kamea shook hand with them after the match, but Li refused to do so. She stormed off instead.
Drake Maverick approached Killian Dain backstage before their match. Dain said they were not partner, and Maverick was on his own. Maverick said "see you out there."
Tegan Nox cut a promo on Candice LeRae.
Drake Maverick & Killian Dain defeated Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong & Bobby Fish) via disqualification
Fish used to chair to cause the DQ. The story here was focused on Dain & Maverick
Maverick started the match without Dain, who at first did not come out to team with Maverick.
Outnumbered, Maverick was pummeled from the start. Maverick fought back, only for Undisputed Era to pummel him some more. Dain was shown backstage watching the match on a monitor, and he was chuckling at Maverick's predicament.
The match went through a commercial break, and Maverick was still in peril. William Regal confronted Dain backstage, and Regal laid a guilt trip on Dain like Granny would on Bryan Alvarez. It worked as Dain came out to help Maverick.
Dain told Maverick to "take it like a man", Dain went to leave. Undisputed Era began talking trash, so Dain turned around to confront them. Dain began to wreck shop on Undisputed Era.
Fish hit Dain with a chair for the DQ. Maverick took the chair away from Fish, and Fish walked into a pump kick from Dain. Undisputed Era fled the scene.
Maverick shoved Dain and screamed at him they were a team. Dain knocked him out with a punch, and Dain left.
Jake Atlas was outside leaving the building when he was approached for an interview. He asked about challenging Ciampa, and it being a "bold move". Atlas began to explain why it was bold when, out of nowhere, he was attacked by Ciampa. Kyle O'Reilly ran in to confront Ciampa and break up the fight. Ciampa said he would see Atlas next week, and he also told O'Reilly he would see him soon too.
William Regal announced a new gimmick match called the "Gaunlet Eliminator Match", which will determine a new number one contender for the NXT Championship. Two wrestlers start in the ring. Every four minutes another wrestler enters the match. Eliminations are via pinfall or submission. The winner goes on to face Balor for the title at TakeOver in October. The gauntlet match takes place on the next episode of NXT.
Cimapa vs. Atlas was officailly announced for next week on NXT. A women's battle royal is also official for next Wednesday.
NXT North American Champion Damian Priest defeated Timothy Thatcher to reatin his title
Priest pinned Thatcher in a really good match. This was Priest's first defense of the North American Championship.
Plenty of grappling at the outset, and it was good stuff. They traded shoulder blocks and strikes. Priest went outside to regroup. They fought on the floor where Thatcher sent Priest into the steps. Thatcher then gave Priest a double underhook suplex on the floor before the show cut a picture-in-picture commercial break.
Thatcher during the break grounded Priest, and he began working an arm he had previously targeted earlier in the match. Priest has about to begin a comeback, but Thatcher cut him off. When the returned from break, Priest then fired up in a comeaback.
Priest with his flying back elbow, and a Falcon Arrow for a near fall. Thatcher went for an armbar, but he got kicked in the head instead. Priest missed a springboard senton. Thatcher caught Priest a Fujiwara armbar. Priest escaped, and he was able to escape an attempted half crab.
A moment later and Thatcher applied the half crab. Priest fought free, only to get caught in Fujiwara armbar. Priest got a rope break. Thatcher went for a double underhook, and Priest countered to goozle Thatcher. Priest was still selling his arm, though, and was unable to lift Thatcher.
Priest hoisted up Thatcher and dropped him into a uranage or something like that. The announcers called it a jumping flatliner. Priest used that move in the past, so maybe that is what they were going for here. Anyway, Priest followed with a South of Heaven chokeslam for a two count.
Thatcher again went for the armbar, and Priest countered into a spin kick. Priest leapt off the top rope with a spinning heel kick. Priest then executed The Reckoning, and he covered Thatcher for the pinfall to retain the title.