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WWE NXT live results: Balor vs. Thatcher vs. Lumis

The next participant for the North American Championship ladder match at TakeOver XXX will be determined on tonight's episode of NXT.

Finn Balor, Timothy Thatcher, and Dexter Lumis are facing off in a triple threat qualifying match on tonight's show. The winner will join Bronson Reed as the first two wrestlers to qualify for the TakeOver ladder match. It will determine a new North American Champion after Keith Lee vacated the title last week.

Reed defeated Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong in last week's qualifying match. Tonight, Gargano and Strong will face off in singles action.

Lee will make an appearance tonight and address Karrion Kross. NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai will team with Tegan Nox against Dakota Kai & Candice LeRae in the opening match, new Robert Stone Brand member Mercedes Martinez will face Shotzi Blackheart, Isaiah "Swerve" Scott will take on Jake Atlas, and NXT Tag Team Champions Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) will be in non-title action.

Our coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

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A music video telling the Rocky IV story told last week with Keith Lee as Rocky, Dominik Dijakovic as Apollo, and Karrion Kross as Drago.

From the arena at Full Sail, the show opened with a women's tag team match. 

NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai & Tegan Nox defeated Dakota Kai & Candice LeRae

Shirai pinned LeRae after a moonsault press.

Kai blindsided Shirai with a sneak attack during her entrance. A melee started as the other two women joined the brawl. They fought to the ring and the match was on. 

Hot take alert: Io Shirai is tremendous, and she only gets better. The match went into another gear when Shirai tagged in. Kai cut her off, and the heels began to briefly work over Shirai. LeRae and Kai made some quick tags, and they were keeping Shirai on their side of the ring. But that was all for naught as Shirai soon regained the advantage. Did I mention she was great?

LeRae tripped up Shirai, and Kai hit Nox with a big boot. LeRae sent Nox into the ring steps before the show cut to picture-in-picture commercials. Heels got heat on Nox during the break, and some dashed some hope spots. After the commercial break, LeRae bonked heads with Nox. They both fell to the mat, but it created separation. Shirai after a hot tag ran wild on Kai. She did a series of backflips into a dropkick.

Shirai knocked LeRae off the apron with a palm strike. Shirai then springboarded into a missile dropkick, but Kai kicked out on a pinning attempt. Shirai set up for her moonsault press, but Kai tripped her on the turnbuckles. They fought perched on the ropes, and Shirai leapt off into a double stomp. Kai made a blind tag to an unwitting LeRae. Shirai delivered a Tiger Feint Kick, and followed with a missile dropkick off the top. 

Shirai struck LeRae with double kness in a corner. Shirai shifted focus to leap out of the ring for a tope on Kai. Nox rushed into the ring to deliver a the Shiniest Wizard on LeRae. Shirai off the top with a moonsault to score the pinfall.

Clips aired from Pat McAfee's podcast showing the angle with Adam Cole. Another clip showed Triple H on the show saying it was all a misunderstanding. They are going to sort it out later in the show.

Screenshots showed how the next match was set up on social media. The show is at least beginning far stronger than it did last week. Good tag match to start the shpw, and now a match that surely will be really good.

Johnny Gargano defeated Roderick Strong

Gargano pinned Strong clean in a really good match. It ended just as it was getting really good. 

The match began with them grappling on the mat as they kept countering and reversing each other. Mauro Ranallo was putting the match over as an instant classic as the opening minutes unfolded. The fight spilled outside, and Strong took a bump on the floor before the show cut to commercial. Gargano was in control when the show returned from the commercial break. Strong fired up into a backbreaker, and he began to pummel Gargano. 

Lots of great stuff in this match. Gargano went for his slingshot DDT, but Strong instead caught him for another backbreaker. Gargano was reeling when Strong placed him on the turnbuckles. Gargano jumped off the middle rope into the arms of Strong, and Strong delivered a Black Hole Slam. More great counters, and Gargano applied his submission finisher. Strong escaped by countering into a cradle. 

More really great counters. Gargano on the outside with a tilt-a-whirl sent Strong crashing into the guardrail. Gargano then posted him, and he bashed Strong into the plexiglass. Gargano then jumped back into the ring with his slingshot DDT, and he covered Strong for the pinfall clean as a sheet.

Dakota Kai in a backstage interview said she was done being a team player. She was done with Candice LeRae. Does this mean she is done with Raquel Gonzalez as well? Anyway, Kai wanted to be number one contender. Rhea Ripley confronted her to make a challenge. Ripley wants the next title shot, and Kai said she was going to talk to Mr. Regal about it. Ripley with a smirk said go talk to him. 

Timothy Thatcher in a backstage interview addressed his triple threat match later on. His opponents will be schooled in Thatch-as-Thatch-can wrestling. Finn Balor wants a push. Thatcher said the only "push" he knows is when he pushes his shoulder into Balor's kneecap as he dislocates Balor's leg. Thatcher then spoke about Dexter Lumis and his thousand mile stare. Lumis in the background appeared out of nowhere stalking Thatcher, who was unaware.

All four members of Undisputed Era were backstage. Kyle O'Reilly was trying to hype them up. "Undisputed Era is back in business, so back to changing the business," O'Reilly said.  

Mercedes Martinez (with Robert Stone & Aliyah) defeated Shotzi Blackheart

Martinez looked strong pinning Blackheart in this short match. Blackheart also got to shine at times.

Martinez was dominate from the start until Blackheart with counter used an inside cradle for a two count. Blackheart fired up, and she got another two count with a Code Red. Blackheart was cleaning house when Martinez cut her off with a spinebuster. 

Martinez a super back suplex off the turnbuckles. Martinez then executed an Air Raid Crash to score the pinfall.

A vignette hyped the arrival of Ridge Holland. He debuts next week.

NXT Champion Keith Lee came to the ring for a promo. He was serious in saying he wanted to get something straight. He talked about Dijakovic, saying he was going to be fine. Lee then spoke to Karrion Kross. Lee was cutting a promo on Kross when he cursed by calling out Kross' "bull****". Lee said that meant nothing if Kross would not confront him face-to-face. Lee called out Kross. Instead, Cameron Grimes interrupted Lee.

Grimes strolled on stage and needled Lee with a promo on him. Grimes proclaimed he was taking the NXT Championship and "going straight to the moon!" Grimes was telling Lee to look him in the eye when Lee turned around to grab Grimes by the throat. He bieled Grimes into the ring with a chokeslam. Lee sandwiched Grimes with a Stinger splash. 

The ligths dimmed and a spotlight lit up Scarlett in a red evening gown. She wore black gloves with claws on them like she was Catwoman in Batman Returns. She has a sinister look.

Meanwhile, Grimes tried a sneak attack. Lee was having none of that, and he deposited Grimes with a Spirit Bomb. A promo from Kross played on the video screen. Kross presented Lee with two choices. One was the easy way where Lee gives Kross a title shot. The other option was the hard way, and Kross cautioned Lee he did not want to see that. "Everyone will suffer," Kross warned. Lee told Kross to pick the time and place, and Lee will "whoop that ass".

NXT Tag Team Champions Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) defeated Ever-Rise (Chase Parker & Matt Martel) in a non-title match

Ever-Rise got to shine for a moment before getting shut down. Imperium with some tandem offense to finish the job. Parker took the European Bomb (Doomsday Uppercut), and Aichner pinned him. 

Imperium were about to cut a promo when Undisputed Era ran down to attack Imperium. The four members of Undisputed Era ganged up on Imperium to lay them out. 

A personality profile featured the backstory of Bronson Reed and his journey to NXT. This really babyfaced him. He proved his worth by winning the triple threat match last week, and he qualified for the ladder match. For Shawn Michaels the "boyhood dream" came true. Bronson said the "Thicc Boi dream" will come true at TakeOver.

William Regal addressed the angle from earlier in the show with Lee and Kross. Regal said he would not be bullied into making a match.

Isaiah "Swerve" Scott defeated Jake Atlas

Scott pinned Atlas clean in a good competitive match.

The story going into the match was Atlas has something to prove after coming back from an injury. Lots of acrobatics in this match. Looked like a dance until a taunt by Atlas turned up the intensity. The match went through a commercial break, and the pace quickened again when the show returned from the break.

Atlas with a blockbuster had Swerve on the defensive, and then Atlas spiked Swerve with a bulldog DDT for a near fall. Swerve fought back to roll through and catch Atlas with a flatliner for a two count. They set up an avalanche spot where Atlas came off the top with a corkscrew fireman's carry slam. That led to a near fall where Swerve kicked out. Atlas wenf for his cartwheel DDT, but Swerve blocked it. 

Swerce kicked Atlas out of the ring, and Atlas was left hanging upside down from the ropes. Swerve delivered a House Call on the floor. Swerve then executed the JML Driver to score the pinfall. 

Damian Priest reacted to the announcement of his triple threat qualifying match being against Oney Lorcan and the debuting Ridge Holland. Priest said there is no scenario where he does not walk out of TakeOver as the North American Champion. There was a jump cut here, but that may have just been a glitch on my television.

Besides the triple threat with Priest vs. Lorcan vs. Holland being announced for next week on NXT, a title match was also made official. Next week Imperium defend the NXT Tag Team Championship against Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish from Undisputed Era. reDRagon reunites! 

Dexter Lumis defeated Timothy Thatcher and Finn Balor in a triple threat match to qualify for the North American Championship ladder match

Lumis choked out Thatcher to win the match via referee stoppage. The Lumis push must continues for what it's worth. Lumis in winning becomes the next entrant in the ladder match at TakeOver for the vacant North American Championship.

Balor and Thatcher squared off with each other at the outset as Lumis stoically watched them. Lumis stood there like a statue as Thatcher and Balor were brawling at ringside. They got back into the ring, and they ran into some Undertaker chops from Lumis. He sent them outside, and Lumis went for a tope con giro. Balor and Thatcher moved, but Lumis impressively landed on his feet. 

The three-way fight continued in the ring where Lumis tossed them around. Balor cut off Lumis and targeted his leg. Thatcher jumped back into the match as he went to work on Lumis. This match was not playing to Thatcher's strenghs, but Thatcher still looked good. Not the usual Thatcher clinic, though.

Thatcher knocked Balor off the top rope before the show cut to picture-in-picture commercials. Balor got some revenge during the break, but Lumis knocked him off the apron with a lariat. When the show returned from the break, Balor and Thatcher were squaring off in the ring. Thatcher with a cradle for a two count. 

Thatcher was wearing down Balor when the realization really set in for me that this match would have been so much better as a singles match between them. Lumis eventually rejoined the match. He took out Thatcher with a bulldog, but Balor dropped him with a Pele kick. They rose to their feet after a triple down. Balor was dominating when Thatcher tripped him. Thatcher then crotched Balor on the ring post. 

Thatcher then posted Balor's leg, and he applied a leglock. Lumis broke it up, and he stalked Thatcher. Lumis delivered a spinebuster. Thatcher fought back with a kick. Thatcher turned his attention to Balor, and Thatcher torqued Balor's knee with a dragon screw in the ropes. I did not pop for it like when Tanahashi does it, but it took Balor of the match...or did it?

Lumis went for his submission finisher, and Thatcher struggled to escape. Balor flew in out of nowhere with a double stomp to break up the hold. Balor went to cover Lumis, but Thatcher pulled him off. They began to fight again.

Thatcher applied the ankle lock, and Balor looked to be in trouble. Lumis sneaked up behind Thatcher like a scene from a "B" horror movie. Thatcher still had ahold of Balor's leg as Lumis trapped Thatcher in his submission finisher. Thatcher passed out, and Lumis was declared the winner. Lumis basically choked out the submission master. That was a negative to me, but Lumis nevertheless qualifies for the North American Championship ladder match at TakeOver.