Preview by Joseph Currier
Two titles will be on the line on tonight's loaded up episode of NXT.
In a match that was originally being built to for TakeOver: Tampa, Adam Cole will defend his NXT Championship against Velveteen Dream. The NXT Women's Championship will also be up for grabs as Charlotte Flair defends against Io Shirai.
Charlotte became the NXT Women's Champion by defeating Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania 36. Shirai was confirmed as her first challenger by winning a six-woman number one contender's ladder match on NXT last month.
Karrion Kross and Scarlett are set to officially arrive on NXT tonight. WWE has confirmed that Kross will be making his NXT in-ring debut on the show, but his opponent has yet to be revealed.
After a challenge that was issued by Dominik Dijakovic last week, Johnny Gargano and Dijakovic will face off on tonight's show. Plus, Finn Balor will make an appearance and call out the person who attacked him in the locker room two weeks ago.
Our coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Tom Phillips opened the show welcoming viewers to the show. He was in the arena while Mauro Ranallo and Beth Phoenix were doing commentary remotely for the second week in a row. All three announcers were calling the show.
Johnny Gargano defeated Dominik Dijakovic
Gargano pinned Dijakovic with the help of an exposed turnbuckle. He played smarmy heel, and his wife came to ringside during the match to help cause a distraction.
Dijakovic overpowered Dijakovic at the outset. He was ragdolled Gargano throughout the match. Gargano at one point playe possum when he began selling his knee. It was a red herring as he then targeted the knee of Dijakovic.
Gargano's wife -- Candice LeRae -- came to ringside. Her presence distracted Dijakobvic, allowing Gargano to shove him over the ropes to the floor. Gargano followed with a tope suicida before the first commercial break on the show.
Gargano was applying a sleeper when the show returned from the break. Dijakovic soon escaped to make a comeback. He mowed down Gargano with a cyclone kick for a two count.
LeRae interefed at one point, and her husband countered a slam into a schooboy. Gargano held the trunks, but Dijakovic still kicked out.
LeRae distracted the referee so Gargano could attempt to take a pad off of a turnbuckle. Gargano walked into a guzzle, and Dijakovic with a sit-out chokeslam for a near fall.
After a slight botch into a back flip, Dijakovic leveled Garganow with a superkick.
Gargano escaped Feast Your Eyes, and he used a hurricanrana to send Dijakvoic into the exposed turnbuckle. Gargano then executed his slingshot DDT -- now called "One Final Beat" -- and he covered Dijakovic for a three count.
Imperium stablemates Fabian Aichner & Marthel Barthel cut a promo explaining why last week they attacked Matt Riddle & Timothy Thatcher. Imperium then formally challenged the NXT Tag Team Champions to a title match.
Akira Tozawa defeated Jack Gallagher in an Interim Cruiserweight Championship Tournament match
Tozawa pinned Gallagher in a rather short match compared to other matches in the tournament so far. Tozawa improves to a 2-0 record in the tourney, and Gallagher drops to 0-2 in Group B.
The fight spilled outside the ring where Tozawa countered Gallagher to give him a DDT on the apron. Tozawa captialized with a senton bomb off the top to score the pinfall.
Tozawa in a post-match interview talked about El Hijo del Fantasma next in the tourney. He said he has never faced Fantasma in a match before, but Tozawa vowed to defeat him.
Chelsea Green (with Robert Stoane) defeated Xia Li
Green pinned Li in a short match after interference from Aliyah
Li was a house of fire at the start. Aliyah came to down to ringside and interfered by causing a distraction. Aliyah has history with Li stemming from an angle where Li in storyline broke Aliyah's nose.
Li kicked Aliyah off the apron, but she fell victim to the I'm Prettier finisher. Green then covered her for the pinfall.
Veleveteen Dream cut a promo on Adam Cole ahead of their title match later in the show.
Karrion Kross (with Scarlett) defeated Leon Ruff
Kross won in a complete squash. He gave Ruff a couple Saito suplexes before locking in his submission -- the Kross Jacket -- and Ruff quickly tapped out.
Kross had a wickedly cool entrance that was in black-and-white before the picture turned to color. He and Scarlett look to be getting a monster push.
A video package hyped Io Shirai vs. Charlotte Flair in a title macth happening later in the show.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Matt Riddle & Timothy Thatcher. She asked them about Imperium wanting a title match. Riddle said it wasn't up to him, it was up to Thatcher.
"I think you knock them out, I'll tap them out," Thatcher said to Riddle.
Io Shirai defeated NXT Women's Champion Charlotte Flair via disqualifaction
Flair hit Shirai with a kendo stick for the DQ. Considering the two involved, this was a disappointment -- especially with the cheap DQ finish.
Although Shirai won, Flair retained her title on a technicality since the title cannot change hand via DQ. Rhea Ripley returned after the finish to make a save, but Shirai did not seem pleased by that action.
Shirai used her speed and agility to outwit Flair at the outset. Flair soon trapped Shirai in a headscissors to ground her. Flair then began to work over Shirai.
Shirai fought back, but Flair cut her off before a commercial break. Shirai with a missile dropkick as the show returned from commercial.
Flair took a Super Frankensteiner as Shirai got a near fall. Flair again cut off Shirai, and Flair then went for a moonsault press. Shirai moved as Flair crashed and burned.
Shirai with a Tiger Feint Kick, and she followed with a double knee strike in a corner. Flair kicked out at two. Shirai went for a moonsault press, but Flair got her knees up. Flair hit her with a big boot, but Shirai kicked out on a subsequent pinning attempt.
Shirai with a flying headscissors sent Flair crashing into a turnbuckle. Flair rolled outside, and Shirai went to the top rope. Shirai missed a moonsault off the top rope to the floor.
At ringside Flair retrieved a kendo stick and nailed Shirai with it. The referee called for the DQ, but Flair continued her attack.
Flair targeted a leg and posted Shirai. Suddenly Rhea Ripley rushed out to make a save.
Ripley attacked Flair, and Flair fled the scene.
Shirai screamed at Ripley, and Ripley told her to shut up. Shirai followed Ripley up the ramp as Ripley was leaving.
Ripley was being interviewed backstage when Shirai confronted her. They had a shoving match and a pull-apart. This will probably set up a match between the two.
Kushida defeated Jake Atlas in an Interim Cruiserweight Championship Tournament match
Kushida submitted Atlas with an armbar in a fast-paced -- albeit rather short -- match. Kusida improves to 2-0 in the tornmment, and Atlas is now even at 1-1 in Group A.
The action started quickly. Kushida began working an arm. He leapt off the top with a somersaullt senton to the floor.
Kushida with a palm strike that allowed the announcers to mention Jushin Liger.
Atlas created separation and then hit a shining wizard for a near fall. Atlas a moment later flew through the ropes with a tope.
Atlas went for a springboard off the top rope, but Kushida caught him in an armbar upon impact. Atlas tapped out.
Kushida in a post-match interview vowed to be the next champion. He pointed to the watch drawn on his wrist tape, and said "time will tell".
Finn Balor is next with a promo segemt. Balor said he once thought the biggest snakes in this place were in the office, but now he is not sure. He alluded to a theory that you attack "the guy" and you get the push.
Balor went on to say after the smoke and lasers, you have to get in the ring with "The Prince" where there is nowhere to hide. Balor said he was patience man, but warned whoever attacked him. Instead of a push "it will be squash."
Cameron Grimes defeated Denzel Dejournette
Grimes pinned Dejournette in a very short match.
Grimes went for double stomp at the start, but Dejournette sidestepped him. Dejournette -- who wore a singlet and has an amateur wrestling background -- threw around Grimes with overhead suplexes. Grimes cut him off with the Cave In double stomp, and he covered Dejournette for the pinfall.
Grimes cut a promo after the match where he brought up Finn Balor. He was cutting a promo on him when Balor came out to confront him.
Grimes was saying he would slap Balor, but he was unaware Balor was walking up behind him. Balor stared a hole through him, and dared Grimes to slap him in the face. Grimes was backpedaling at first before he tried to cheapshot Balor.
Balor ducked a punch and hit Grimes with a double stomp. Balor then gave him a slingblade, and Grimes fled.
Balor looked into the camera and said there is a "snake hiding in the long grass" in the locker room, but he vowed to find him and chop off his head.
A video package hyped the NXT Championship match that was next.
NXT Champion Adam Cole defeated Velveteen Dream to retain his title
Cole pinned Dream to win the match. Undisputed Era tried to interfere, but Dexter Lumis made a save.
Dream was in control early on, but fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book as Cole caught him trying to come back into the ring. Cole pulled down a kneepad and went for the Last Shot, but Dream countered with an Arn Anderson spinebuster.
Dream was back in control when Cole attempted a Panama Sunrise. Dream with a counter and a DDT for a near fall before the show went to its final commercial break.
Cole cut off Dream momentarily, but Dream fought back as Cole bumped and fed. Dream springboarded into an ax handle for a two count.
Dream with a superkick for another near fall. Dream went to the top rope and rolled through on a dive when Cole moved out of the way.
Cole turned the tide using a backstabber, but Dream kicked out at two. Cole with an enzuigiri and a ushigoroshi for another near fall.
They traded strikes until Cole sent Dream outside the ring. Dream went for a flying ax handle, but Cole countered with a superkick. Cole was down selling and Dream fell on him for a pinning attempt, but Cole kicked out.
Undisputed Era stablemates Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish came to ringside looking to interfere. Dexter Lumis crawled out from underneath the ring to block their path. He must have been hanging out with Hornswoggle I guess. Lumis was fighting out Fish and Strong when he sent Strong flying into the referee.
After the ref bump, Dream jumped off the top with flying elbow drop. However, there was no ref to count the fall. Dream counted to three, and then looked around as he hollered for the ref. That was dumb because the ref was down selling right there in front him.
Fish and Strong were double-teaming Lumis outside the ring as Dream tried to revive the ref. Dream then wiped out Strong and Fish with a double flying ax handle off the top rope to the floor.
Dream got back into the ring where he walked into a superkick. Cole then delivered The Last Shot, and he covered Dream for the pinfall to retain his title.
In my opinion this was this show was completely skippable aside from maybe the debut of Karrion Kross. Even that match was short as was most of the other matches. This was very lackluster episode.