Big title matches and major announcements are the theme of tonight's episode of NXT.
NXT's top two championships will both be on the line tonight. Finn Balor defends his NXT Championship against Adam Cole, while Io Shirai puts her NXT Women's Championship on the line against Toni Storm.
Two "game-changing announcements" will be made by NXT general manager William Regal tonight. One of those announcements figures to be related to the situation with the Women's Tag Team titles. Last week, Regal and WWE authority figure Adam Pearce were shown arguing after Pearce got involved and helped WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler retain their titles against NXT's Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez. Regal promised that he would make an announcement that would change the landscape of NXT tonight.
After a ref bump in last week's Women's Tag Team title match, Pearce brought a Raw referee out to the ring. And despite Kai not being the legal person, the Raw referee called for the bell when she passed out in Baszler's Kirifuda Clutch.
Xia Li vs. Kayden Carter is also set for tonight's show. Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
The show opened with footage of the champions and challengers arriving to the building ahead of the two titles matches later on.
William Regal is in the ring for special announcements.
A video package announced TakeOver: Stand and Deliver is a two-night event during WrestleMania weekend. TakeOver takes place on April 7th and April 8th. Night one airs on USA Network in the current NXT timeslot on Wednesday night. Night two the next night will air exclusively on Peacock at 8pm ET. The logo for TakeOver matches the pirate theme of WrestleMania.
The NXT women's roster gathered on the top of the stage for the next announcement. A table in the ring with a cloth covering it clearly held what loooked to be title belts. Regal called for Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai to join him in the ring. They won the Dusty Classic, but Regal said they suffered an injustice last week. NXT powers that be made a decision. Kai and Gonzalez are now the first ever NXT Women's Tag Team Champions, and they were awarded a brand new pair of title belts.
Kai & Gonzalez cut a heel promo bragging on themeselves. Gonzalez vowed they would carry the titles for a long time. Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon interrupted them. They wanted to challenge the new champions. So, Regal booked the match for later tonight. That makes three title matches on tonight's card, and the first one is up next.
NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai defeated Toni Storm to retain her title
Shirai submitted Storm in a good match. Storm kept tripping up Shirai thrughout the match until Storm herself tripped up by missing a diving headbutt. Shirai then trapped her in a crossface.
Shirai gained an early advantage, and she rocked Storm with strikes. Shirai applied a cobra twist. Moments later, Storm tripped up Shirai on the apron. Storm then sent Shirai crashing into the ring steps. Shirai was down selling as the show cut to a picture-in-picture commercial break.
Storm worked over Shirai during the break, but Shirai fired up when the show came back from commercial. Shirai was tripped up again, this time on the top turnbuckle. Storm with a superplex on Shirai.
Shirai came back after backdropping Storm on the apron, and Shirai followed with a moonsault off the top turnbuckle to the floor. Storm was still able to trip up Shiari just a moment later. Storm with a Liger bomb for a two count. Shirai responded with a Liger spot of her own as she hit Storm with a shotei palm strike. Shirai transitioned into applying a crossface, but Storm was able to get a rope break.
Running knee strikes in a corner by Shirai, but she missed on a moonsault press. Toni struck with a Storm Zero for a close near fall, and Shirai kicked out. Storm climbed the turnbuckles for a Harley Race diving headbutt. Shirai rolled out of the way, leaving Storm to crash and burn. Shirai then caught her in a crossface, and Storm tapped out.
NXT Champion Finn Balor was backstage in his dressing room. He cut a promo on Adam Cole. He concluded by saying he defeated Cole to win the title, and he will defeat Cole tionight.
Pete Dunne defeated Jake Atlas
Dunne submitted Atlas in an action-packed match. NXT Tag Team Champions Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan were in Dunne's corner during the match.
Dunne grounded Atlas early on in the match, but Atlas springboarded into a flurry. Dunne stopped him in his tracks with a kick. Dunne punished Atlas with joint locks. Atlas soon fired up into a comeback.
Atlas peppered Dunne with a series of strikes that led to a standing moonsault. Atlas went of his cartwheel DDT, but Dunne targeted an arm. Atlas crashed into the ring, and the "Bruiserweight" went to work on the arm. Finger break spot and an armbar, and Atlas with his arms trapped behind him had to verbally submit.
Dunne in a post-match promo said he the best techincal wrestler, and he made an open challenege to prove him wrong.
Imperium in a pre-tape promo had a message trying to recruit Timothy Thacther into their stable.
Leon Ruff in a backstage promo cut a promo on Isaiah "Swerve" Scott. Ruff vs. Scott takes place next week.
Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart defeated NXT Women's Tag Team Champions Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez to win the titles
Blackheart pinned Kai to win the titles. The championship changes hands during its first defense. Kai & Gonzalez were champions for maybe an hour.
Blackheart locked Kai in a Texas cloverleaf very early in the match. Kai escaped with a rope break. Both went for a high kick, leading to a double down before the show cut to commercial. The heel champs worked over Blackheart during the break.
A hot tag after the break led to Moon coming into the match like a house of fire. Moon cleaned house. Blackheart flew through the ropes with a tope suicida. Kai countered Moon moments later, and Gonzalez tagged back into the match.
Double team Go To Kick got the heels a near fall. Gonzalez with a Gory Special on Moon, and then she flipped Moon over into a sit-out powerbomb. That was a cool spot.
Blackheart ran wild on Kai, leading to a close two count. More near falls for the challengers, but Kai kept kicking out. Gonzalez broke up one pinning attempt, and Blackheart used a stunner to create some space. Moon leapt off the top gong for The Eclipse.
Gonzalez blocked Moon's finisher, and she countered a hurricanrana. Gonzalez was fighting for a powerbomb when Kai collided into them. Gonzalez and Moon went tumbling over the ropes. Blackheart with an O'Connor roll into a bridging pinfall, and the titles change hands.
Adam Cole cut a great promo on Balor ahead of their title match later on.
Xia Li defeated Kayden Carter via disqualification
Kacy Catanzaro interfered to cause the DQ.
Carter got more offense on Carter than anyone else since Li's character was repackaged. Li soon cut off Carter. Kacy Catanzaro came down ringside walking with on crutches.
An enraged Catanzaro hit Li with the crutch, causing the DQ. Catanzaro kept hitting Li with the crutch. Boa got into the ring, and Catanzaro tried to hit him with the crutch. He took the crutch from her, but Carter nailed him with the other crutch. The supposed babyfaces fled the scene after the attack.
Jordan Devlin was at the airport cutting a promo. He is headed to the United States, and said we will find out once and for all who is the real NXT Cruiserweight Champion. Devlin was champion before Santos Escobar became an interim champ. Looks like a title match is coming soon.
A video package highlighted Zoey Stark and her journey to NXT.
Santos Escobar was upset backstage, and he was complaining to Regal about Devlin.
Legado del Fantasma (Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde) defeated Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson)
This was more of an angle than a match. MSK caused a distraction that cost Grizzled Young Veterans the bout. MSK came out dressed astronauts, which was teasing they were Breezango. Legado del Fantasma had attacked Breezango last week.
MSK took off their helmets to reveal it was them. That distracted Drake, and Wilder rolled him up for a pinfall. Breezango hit the ring after the match to attack Legado del Fantasma. Breezango danced with MSK after all the heels fled.
Gonzalez & Kai were backstage being interviewed about their loss. Shirai interrupted to challenge Gonzalez for a title match. Shirai challenges a lot of people, which is odd for a champion. Usually they accept challenges instead of issuing challenges, but this does make Shirai look like a fighting champion.
Announced for next week on NXT:
- Dexter Lumis vs. Austin Theory
- Isaiah "Swerve" Scott vs. Leon Ruff
- In-ring debut of LA Knight
Also teased for next week is Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa vs. Imperium in a tag match, but that is yet to be made official. Ciampa did mention it on a backstage interview alongside Thatcher.
NXT Champion Finn Balor defeated Adam Cole
Balor pinned Cole after Kyle O'Reilly returned to NXT. O'Reilly attacked Cole after the macth.
Cole was supposedly wearing the same gear he wore when he won his first NXT title.
The match started off hot. Lots of crowd noise pumped in to give it a big fight feel. Counters and reversals led into a standoff. That gave way to a picture-in-picture commercial break. Chain wrestling during the break. Back-and-forth continued after the break.
Eventually, Cole went to work on Balor. Cole targeted Balor's back. Balor answered back by targeting a leg. Neither held an advantage for long as the fight spilled outside. Balor reversed an attempted suplex to give Cole a suplex on the floor. Both were down selling as the show cut to a picture-in-picture commercial break.
Balor targeted Cole's back during the break, and Balor applied a sharpshooter. They were trading strikes when the show returned from the break. Cole struck with an ushigoroshi brainbuster. Close nearfall.
Cole went for his Panama Sunrise, but Balors counters to deliver a sling blade. Shotgun dropkick by Balor, and he goes for the Coup de Grace. Cole moved out of the way, and then he hit Balor with a superkick. Balor sold his surgically repaired jaw. Cole went for a crossface, and Balor struggled to break free. Cole kept countering Balor to reapply the hold. Eventually, Balor was able to get a rope break.
Cole countered an attempted 1916, and he superkicked Balor in the knee. Pulling down his kneepad, Cole signaled for his Last Shot finisher. He connected with a Last Shot, but Balor kicked out at two-and-a-half. Piped in "this is awesome chants" kind of hurt the moment in my opinion, especially when none of the fans there live in person were chanting or clapping along with the chant.
Cole executed a Panama Sunrise, but Balor kicked out again for another near fall. Cole sold the kickout with a look of disbelief on his face. Balor sent Cole out of the ring, and Cole took a bump on the floor. Cole was trying to get to his feet when Kyle O'Reilly emerged from the shadows. O'Reilly looked haggard, but he glared a hole through Cole.
Balor gave Cole a 1916 on the floor, and he rolled Cole back into the ring. O'Reilly with a stone face stare looked on. Balor delivered a Coup de Grace, and then he covered Cole for a pinfall.
O'Reilly after the macth got into the ring to confront Cole. When begging off didn't work, Cole went for a low blow. O'Reilly blocked it, and Cole looked scared. O'Reilly attacked Cole, and Cole tried to flee. O'Reilly twice shoved down a referee. The atttack on Cole continued until referees poured out to rinside. They pulled them apart, but O'Reilly was like Stone Cold attacking on Bret Hart on Raw in '97. He could not be stopped.
Balor was in the ring looking on when he turned around to see Karrion Kross standing in the ring. Kross and Balor had a staredown as the show went off the air.