Women's Tag Team Champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler are headed to NXT for a title defense tonight.
The Women's Tag Team titles will be on the line as Jax & Baszler defend against Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez on tonight's show. Kai & Gonzalez got the title shot by winning the first-ever women's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
Kai & Gonzalez defeated Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon in the women's Dusty Classic finals at TakeOver: Vengeance Day last month.
Men's Dusty Classic winners MSK were supposed to challenge for Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch's NXT Tag Team titles tonight, but that match won't be taking place on the show due to MSK's Wes Lee suffering a broken hand. Instead, Lorcan & Burch will face Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher in non-title action.
Lee suffered the injury when MSK defeated The Grizzled Young Veterans in the men's Dusty Classic finals at TakeOver: Vengeance Day. In storyline, the injury was said to have happened when The Grizzled Young Veterans attacked MSK last week.
Dexter Lumis defeated NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano in a non-title match last week after Austin Theory refused to hit Lumis with a steel chair. Due to the Stockholm syndrome Theory has shown since returning from being abducted by Lumis, The Way will attend therapy tonight.
WWE will also follow up on last week's show-closing angle that saw Adam Cole turn against Roderick Strong, there will be a special look ahead to next week's Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm NXT Women's Championship match, and LA Knight will appear. Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
The show is opening with a tag team bout.
NXT Tag Team Champions Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch defeated Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher in a non-title match
Lorcan pinned Thatcher, and the champions won.
Burch and Thatcher started the match for their teams with some chain wrestling. Ciampa and Lorcan each tag in, and they square off. All heck breaks loose and the champions are reeling. Lots of uppercuts from both teams.
Lorcan is grounded by Thatcher, but he used a fish hook to escape Thatcher's grip. A chopblock targets Thatcher's knee. Thatcher answered back with a belly-to-belly suplex, but then came a spot teasing an injury. That spot led into a commercial break.
Thatcher took a clothesline, and he looked to have landed on his neck. He immediately rolled out of the ring while clutching his neck. He laid on the floor, and pointed to his neck. He was moving his left hand as if to check for feeling in that arm. The show then cut to commercial, but Thatcher was back in the match when the show returned from the break.
Ciampa in after a hot tag. He ran wild as he mowed down the heel champions with lariats. Ciampa was fired up! Thatcher tagged in to pummel the heels. The champions were taking a beating when they managed to turn the tide.
All four went down selling right before they went home. Imperium appeared on the top of the stage watching the match. The champs spiked Thatcher with an DDT, and Lorcan pinned him.
Finn Balor & Roderick Strong brawl
After a commercial break, Roderick Strong was in the ring. He was clearly pissed off. Strong demanded Adam Cole come to the ring. NXT Champion Finn Balor was out to confront Strong instead.
Strong was angry with Balor, and Strong blamed Balor for Undisputed Era breaking up. Strong said they were fine until Balor showed up in NXT. Balor scoffed. He said the group fell apart over the NXT Championship.
Balor said he had a way to get Cole to show his face. Balor challenged Cole to a championship match next week on NXT. Balor went on to tell Strong he would never be a leader, only a follower.
Strong needed to become selfish and greedy, accordinng to Balor. "Until you get a killer instinct like 'The Prince' you will never," Balor was saying when Strong decked him with a right hand. A brawl erupted, leading to them being pulled apart.
The Way goes to therapy
Up next was a skit with The Way going to therapy. They were all at the Central Florida Psychiatric Center. Austin Theory remarked, "This doesn't look like Chuck E. Cheese." Johnny Gargano reassured him. The group was meeting was a clinical psychiatrist named Dr. Linda Nicolu.
The doctor said she normally sees patients one-on-one. Gargano said it was okay because Theory needed his family there for support. The Dexter Lumis "problem" was hurting them all. Theory said there was no problem. Gargano said that is the problem. Theory was kidnapped by Lumis, but Theory claims he was on vacation.
Theory said was just two dudes hanging out. Indi Hartwell was doodling on a notebook "Mrs. Indi Wrestling Lumis," and Gargano freaked out. He yelled about giving her the "Wrestling" name. He torn up the notebook and said she ruined Christmas.
The doctor said it seemed Gargano's hostility towards Lumis is exposing deeply rooted isuues within Gargano. He scoffed at the notion. Gargano made a pee joke out of "thera-pee." He got out of his seat, and he contiued to scream at everyone.
Dr. Nicolu got up from her hair, and yelled at him to get out of her office. He screamed the office was his now because he is the North American Champion. She was having none of it, and she slammed the door in his face. To be continued later in the show.
Cameron Grimes tried to buy his way out of it, but William Regal booked him in a match against Bronson Reed. Also booked for later tonight is Finn Balor vs. Roderick Strong
Ember Moon (with Shotzi Blackheart) defeated Aliyah (with The Robert Stone Brand)
Moon pinned Aliyah in a short match. Moon looked strong, but this felt like filler to pass time.
Robert Stone apparently has PTSD related to Blackheart. Jessi Kamea tried to interfere, but Blackheart made a save with a dive on Kamea and Stone. Moon then delivered The Eclipse.
A great video package hyped the NXT Women's Championship bout for next week with Toni Storm challenging Io Shirai.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax defeated Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai to retain their titles
Baszler submitted Kai to win the match, but the challengers have an out. Kai was not the legal woman in the ring.
Baszler and Kai revisited their history with a call back spot. Kai had much more fight this time around. Both team squared up for a standoff that led into a commercial break. The challengers were in control when the show returned from the break.
Jax tagged in to ragdoll Kai. Jax applied a stretch muffler, and she bounced Kai's face off the middle turnbuckle. The champs with double team moves.
Gonzalez cleaned house after a hot tag. She was a house of fire, leading to a near fall on Baszler. The challlengers with a double team, and they got another near fall.
Kai went for her finisher, but the knee worked over earlier gave out on her. She buckled. Baszler countered to apply a Kirifuda Clutch. Kai was able to tag Gonzalez despite being trapped in the hold.
The ref got bumped, and he went down. Gonzalez and Jax brawled on the floor, and they crashed onto the announce desk. Baszler again applied her rear naked choke. Adam Pearce sent another ref to the ring. He checked Kai's arm, which was limp. The ref called for the bell, and the champs retained. However, Kai was not the legal woman in the match.
The Way goes to therapy (cotinued)
The therapy session continues as Theory, Hartwell and Candice LeRae are on the couch. Thoery insists Lumis not who they think he is, and Hartwell still has a huge crush on him. LeRae got caught reading text from Gargano. The doctor kicked everyone out expect Theory.
The doctor told Theory this was a safe space. She asked him what really happened with Lumis. To be continued...
Isaiah "Swerve" Scott was in a recording studio making music. He took a break to cut a promo on Leon Ruff. This was great. Best non-wrestling segment with Scott since he came to NXT.
LA Knight came to the ring for a promo. He was putting himself over when he mentioned TakeOver. Knight said he was better than Tom Brady. He was a trendsetter, and he didn't come here to do something fancy. He claimed to be the last of a dying breed. Don't call him the GOAT, just call him LA Knight.
Bronson Reed with his entrance interrupted Knight's segment. Knight did clear out of the ring, but not before glaring at Reed.
Cameron Grimes defeated Bronson Reed
Grimes pinned Reed after interference by LA Knight. Fun match while it lasted.
Grimes at the start tried to buy off Reed, but Reed punched him in the mouth instead. The handful of cash in Grimes went flying, and it rained down in the ring. Reed manhandled Grimes, and Reed squashed him like a bug after an attempted sunset flip. The show cut to a commercial break with Reed in complete control.
Grimes after the break fought back to execute a one-man running Spanish fly for a two count. Reed hulked up into a comeback. He mowed down Grimes.
Reed flew through the ropes to wipe out Grimes with a dive. Grimes had put on his top hat, and he was leaving when Reed dived onto him. LA Knight came to ringside. Grimes hat had fallen off. He slid it until the ring to distract the ref. Knigth then interfered by tripped up Reed.
Grimes followed with the Cave In for the 1-2-3.
William Regal and Adam Pearce were arguing backstage.
Kayden Carter challenged Xia Li to a match next week on NXT.
The Way goes to therapy (the conclusion)
Theory thought Lumis was a nice guy. The doctor told him that Lumis only brought Theory back because he was tired of him. She said the truth was Lumis couldn't wait to get used to him. Lumis basically buried Theory to the doctor. Theory broke down crying, and he ran out of the office into the waiting arms of Gargano.
The rest of The Way left the office with Theory. Gargano stayed behind to give the doctor a piece of his mind. Instead, he paid her off. Gargano said she earned every bit of that money, but he took back a $100 bill. Arcade money, he said. Gargano yelled to Theory they were headed to Chuck E. Cheese.
After everyone left her the office Dr. Nicolu concluded the segment with a remark: "What a bunch of idiots."
Legado del Fantasma attacks
Ever-Rise was in the ring for a match. The were supposed to face Breezango. El Legado del Fantasma attacked Breezango before the match could start. Breezango were spoofing astronauts during their entrance when they were attacked by Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde. Tyler Breeze was not wearing a helmet, but Fandango was wearing a motorcycle helmet. It never came off so that might not have really been Fandango.
Ever-Rise fled the ring when Wilde & Mendoza stormed into the ring. NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar came down to ringside, and he cleaned house on Ever-Rise. He laid them both out. This segment seemed to rehab Legado del Fantasma after the loss to Karrion Kross last week. Escobar in a promo even said to not mistake last week for weakness.
Announced for next Wednesday:
- Kayden Carer vs. Kayden Carter
- NXT Women's Championship: Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm
- NXT Championship: Finn Balor vs. Adam Cole
William Regal says has an announcement next week "that will change the landscape of NXT."
NXT Champion Finn Balor defeated Roderick Strong in a non-title match
Balor pinned Strong to win the match. This was a great match.
Great grappling at the start, and they fought through a commercial break. Balor targeted an arm. Strong came back to work Balor's back. Backbreaker for a two count, but Balor soon fought back with a series of Irish whips.
Strong answered back with a lariat. Strong rallied into some of his signature spots, and he got a near fall on Balor.
Balor hits Strong with a slingblade, but Strong still caght him in a Boston crab. Strong went for a his falling backbreaker, but Balor countered into a foot stomp. Balor soon struck with a shotgun dropkick, and he followed with a Coup de Grâce. Balor then delivered the 1916, and he covered Strong for a pinfall.
Adam Cole appeared on the stage after the match. He had a staredown with Balor as the show went off the air.