Three title matches are set for tonight's "Championship Tuesday" edition of NXT.
New NXT Tag Team Champions will be crowned in a five-team gauntlet match tonight. Grayson Waller & Sanga, Legado del Fantasma's Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde, The Creed Brothers, Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen, and Pretty Deadly will be the gauntlet match participants.
The NXT Tag Team titles were declared vacant following Nash Carter's release from WWE last week. MSK had just won the titles by defeating Imperium and The Creed Brothers in a triple threat match at NXT Stand & Deliver.
Former NXT UK Tag Team Champions Pretty Deadly made their NXT 2.0 debut last week and were revealed as The Creed Brothers' mystery attackers.
The NXT Women's Championship and NXT North American Championship will also be on the line tonight. Mandy Rose defends her title against Dakota Kai, while Solo Sikoa challenges Cameron Grimes for the North American Championship.
Plus, we'll see the fallout from last week's show-closing angle where it was revealed that Joe Gacy and Harland had kidnapped Rick Steiner.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
A show billed as "Championship Tuesday" is kicking off with a title match. No entrances for this one. Just right into the ring introductions, with both the champion and the challenger facing off in the squared circle.
NXT North American Champion Cameron Grimes defeats Solo Sikoa to retain his title
Grimes pins Sikoa after outside interference. Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes get involved during the finish, and they jump Grimes after the match.
They were going along just fine when Grimes out of nowhere stopped to talk trash. Grimes tells Sikoa he respects him. Sikoa's "bloodline can kiss my grits," Grimes says as he points to his rear end.
In a stereotypical spot, Grimes twice tries to ram Sikoa's head into a turnbuckle. Sikoa no sells it, and he in turns rams Grimes' head into the buckles.
Sikoa is soon cut off when the fight spills outside. That leads into Grimes doing a somersault senton off the apron. The show then transitions into a split screen commercial break.
After the show returns from the break, the champ is in control. He signals for his finisher, but Sikoa counters Grimes. Sikoa then hulks up. Umaga splash by Sikoa into a corner nets Sikoa a near fall.
Grimes misses on an attempted missile dropkick, but he lands on his feet. Grimes then executes a running Spanish Fly for a two count. The trading of near falls continues as Sikoa explodes with a Samoan Drop.
Trick Williams runs down to ringside and interferes. He trips up Sikoa, but Sikoa boots Williams. Sikoa follows up with a Superfly splash off the apron on Williams.
The interference distracts Sikoa. Grimes is able to capitalize on the distraction, and he hits Sikoa with a Cave In. Grimes then covers Sikoa for a three count.
Carmelo Hayes runs in after the match to ambush Grimes. Sikoa makes a save, but Williams takes out Sikoa with a chop block. The two heels jump Grimes, and they beat him down. Williams hold Grimes so Hayes can execute a springboard crossbody. Hayes grabs the title belt, and he poses with it while standing over a prone Grimes.
The focus of the show shifts immediately to the tag team title picture. Commentators Vic Jospeh and Wade Barrett begin to break down the gauntlet match taking place to determine the new tag champs.
The NXT Tag Team Championship was recently vacated after the firing of Nash Carter. That was never explained on this show, nor was MSK ever mentioned in any way. The announcers begin to explain the gauntlet tag match that takes place later tonight.
Grayson Waller interrupts the announcers from backstage. Waller is flanked by Sanga. Waller claims the titles should have been handed to them. Waller says Sanga is angry, and he will easily win the titles. Waller still has his arm in sling for what that is worth.
Malcolm Bivens and The Creed Brothers cut a promo on Pretty Deadly and the rest of the tag team field. The Creeds are also shown drawing a number out of a tumbler for the order in the gauntlet, very similarly to skits WWE used in the early '90s for the Royal Rumble. Turns out they drew number one.
Joe Gacy plays with fire
NXT Champion Bron Breakker marches to the ring for a monologue. Joe Gacy wanted his attention. Well, Breakker says he sure has it now. Breakker says his father, Rick Steiner, is back at home safe and sound.
We are apparently just moving on from the kidnapping last week with little explanation, but Breakker does say Gacy has "some nerve pulling that crap last week." Breakker cautions that no one messes with his family. Breakker then calls out Gacy, daring him to come get in the ring.
Gacy appears on the Titantron. He is outdoors near a fire. Gacy says he set Rick Steiner free, but Rick left behind his WWE Hall of Fame ring. Gacy then tosses the ring into the fire. That is dumb. No way that fire is hot enough to melt a ring. It itself is not flammable. Why would you do that?
McKenzie Mitchell is backstage interviewing the trio known as Toxic Attraction. NXT Women's Champion Mandy Rose and the NXT Tag Team Champions, Gigi Diolan & Jacy Jayne, cut promos. Rose vows to retain tonight.
Jaket Time is backstage getting ready for a match. Kushida is set to face Von Wagner, who attacks Kushida as he is warming up. Wagner pummels Kushida and Ikemen Jiro. Wagner then powerbombs Kushida out of sight. Robert Stone walks up, and he remarks there will be no match tonight.
After a commercial break, Stone and Wagner are in the ring. Stone has a mic, and he is cutting a promo. Jiro stumbles out, selling his ribs from the earlier attack. Jiro is still ready to fight.
Jiro is taking Kushida's place in the match. He grabs the mic and publicly threatens Wagner. I don't like Jiro's chances.
Von Wagner (with Robert Stone) defeats Ikemen Jiro
Jiro shows a ton a fire, Wagner quickly cuts him off. David against Goliath, and David (or Jiro in this case) makes a valiant comeback. Jiro with superkicks knocks Wagner off his feet. However, David does not win this time. Goliath soon rises.
Jiro is still on a roll, and he nails a Swanton bomb for a near fall. Wagner cuts him off again, booting him in the face. Wagner then uses his DVD finisher, and Wagner covers Jiro for a three count.
Stone after the match is trying to order Wagner around. Wagner instead takes cues from a women in the crowd. She orders him to further punish Jiro. Looks like Wagner is getting a new manager. Move over Robert Stone.
Wagner presses Jiro his head. Like the spots with Bam Bam Bigelow and Spike Dudley in ECW from the late '90s, Wagner tosses Jiro into the crowd. Unlike in ECW, the crowd that caught Jiro were plants. Presumably they were trainees.
Lash Legend attacks Nikkita Lyons in a backstage skit. Lyons was doing a sit-down interview when Legend rushes onto the set, and Legend ambushes Lyons. Legends gets her heat back after losing to Lyons in a match last week. Looks like they might run it back. Big pop from me for a Norman Smiley cameo during this skit.
NXT Women's Champion Mandy Rose (with Toxic Attraction) defeats Dakota Kai to retain her title
Rose pins Kai after a distraction by Jacy Jayne & Gigi Dolan. Wendy Choo in an angle after the match sprays Toxic Attraction with water guns.
Opening a bout with an extended collar and elbow spot has definitely made a comeback in wrestling matches, as they also did it here at the start.
Kai does a dive off the top on Jayne & Dolan at ringside. The show then cuts to a commercial break with the challenger in control.
Kai was on a roll as the show returns from the break, but Kai is soon cut off.
The pace snarls, and the match begins to drag with Rose working over Kai.
Comeback by Kai. Awkward leg sweep spot, and Kai gets a two count. They go on to trade more near falls. Another awkward spot with one of Kai's signature moves, where she does a modified Code Red.
The tag champs at ringside cause a distraction. Dolan distracts the referee, and Jayne jumps on the apron. Kai boots Jayne off the apron, but Kai loses her focus. Rose rushes in to hit Kai with a running knee. Rose then covers Kai for a pinfall.
Wendy Choo appears after the match. She is armed with two Super Soaker water guns. She sprays water on Toxic Attraction, and they sell it big like they were being hosed down by water cannons. They flop around like fish. Silly fun.
Joe Gacy is in another vignette, and his focus is on becoming the NXT Champion. Please no. Heaven help us. Gacy goes on to babble for a bit, until he uses tongs to pull the HOF ring out of the fire. He then puts the hot ring on his finger, burning himself in the process. That was even more dumb than putting the ring in a fire.
Tony D'Angelo meets with Santos Escobar and Legado del Fantasma. D'Angelo is trying to smooth things other between them. D'Angelo gives Escobar an overstuffed envelope, presumably containing a load of cash. Escobar gives back the envelope, telling D'Angelo that respect for the family means more. Escobar leaves while shaking his head.
Natalya returns to NXT and attacks Cora Jade
Cora Jade in an in-ring promo talks about WrestleMania weekend being the most important week of her life. Jade says her parents watched her match from ringside. Jade admits she came up short in the match. Memories and such were still made.
Jade thought she wanted to become champion, but now she knows she needs to win the championship. Jade says this is not just another promo. She means what she says.
Jade keeps talking about her desire to hold the title when Natalya's theme song suddenly blares over the speakers. Natalya interrupts the monologue, and Natalya gets into the ring with Jade.
Usually an interruption during a promo means beef, but this was apparently somehow different. Jade was happy for the interruption. Nattie is one of her heroes and idols in WWE.
The live audience pops huge for Nattie. They chant "holy shit" for the moment, and they chant Nattie's name. Nattie fights back tears.
Love fest at first. Jade acts like a fangirl. She marks out for Nattie. Jade begins to tell Nattie about a message sent years ago. Nattie says she finally saw the message, and Nattie puts her over.
Nattie begins to cry when telling Jade she is the future of the women's division. Nattie's face turns, as she snarls at Jade.
"But the future is bleak," Natalya says, before slapping Jade hard in the face. Jade is dumbstruck at the betrayal. Nattie is not done yet.
Nattie puts Jade in a sharpshooter. Jade frantically slaps the mat in pain as Nattie cinches down on the hold.
A vignette hypes the arrival to NXT 2.0 of Nathan Frazer from NXT UK.
Xyon Quinn defeats Draco Anthony
Quin pins Anthony to handily win this grudge match. Anthony mocks Quinn during the match, and Quinn hulks up in anger. That leads right into the finish, where Quinn clobbers Anthony with a Tito Santana flying forearm.
Backstage, Tatum Paxley challenges Natalya to a match. Natalya addresses the NXT women's roster with many of them gathered around her. Nattie puts them all "on notice" that she is now in NXT. Paxley against Natalya was later made official for next week.
Also announced for next week is Sarray vs. Tiffany Stratton.
Pretty Deadly (Elton Prince & Kit Wilson) win the NXT Tag Team Championship in a gauntlet match
Pretty Deadly in their in-ring debut on NXT 2.0 win the vacate tag titles.
Four separate bouts within this gauntlet. The Creeds almost run the gauntlet, wrestling in all four stages. Yet they run out of gas, and Pretty Deadly capture the tag titles.
The Creed Brothers (Julius & Brutus Creed with Malcolm Bivens) eliminate Legado del Fantasma (Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde with Elektra Lopez)
Great stuff in this first match-up of the gauntlet. They kept a relative quick pace. Brutus pins Wilde for the elimination, ending what was arguably the best bout within the gauntlet.
Fallon Henley gets into a skirmish with Elektra Lopez, as Henley seconds the next team in the gauntlet.
The Creed Brothers eliminate Brooks Jensen & Josh Briggs (with Fallon Henley)
This second bout within the gauntlet begins with a wild brawl. The show cuts to commercial during the bedlam. The match is joined in progress when the show returns from commercial.
Briggs & Jensen with a double team powerbomb put Brutus Creed through the announce desk. Briggs & Jensen then gang up on Julius Creed.
They work over Julius, yet Brutus is able to make a save when breaking up a pinning attempt.
Briggs & Jensen worked well together doing tandem moves, but that also cost them in the end. Julius trips them up, allowing Brutus to counter a lariat with a clothesline of his own. Brutus then scores the pinfall for an elimination.
The Creed Brothers eliminate Grayson Waller & Sanga
Waller still has his arm in a sling, but it is a ruse like Cowboy Bob Orton. Waller ditches the sling whenever Sanga is clearly dominating the Creeds. Sanga took the fall in the match, despite being portrayed as a monster.
When the Creeds finally took Sanga off his feet, it at least is a tipping point in the match. Julius with a sliding lariat on Sanga, just before pinning Sanga for the elimination.
Pretty Deadly (Elton Prince & Kit Wilson) run in to jump the Creeds right after the bell rings.
Pretty Deadly eliminate The Creed Brothers to win the championship gauntlet match
The exhausted Creeds fight valiantly, but they are out of gas. Double team by Pretty Deadly as they execute their Spilt Milk finisher. Prince then covers Brutus, and Pretty Deadly win the titles.
The look on Malcolm Bivens face says it all. Utter disbelief. Did that just happen? You have got to be kidding me.