A challenge was made, and a statement got laid inside the squared circle. After taking a potshot at Buddy Murphy for suffering the “biggest L of WrestleMania Weekend,” Velveteen Dream was given a run for his money in an all-out rip-roaring showdown against the new SmackDown LIVE Superstar.
Taking umbrage to the taunts, Murphy mixed his appetite for championship gold with redemption, sapping Dream’s power early in their North American Title clash. But Dream lived out the age-old mantra “anything you can do, I can do better,” keeping up with Murphy in this battle of one-upmanship.
Fending off Dream’s effective advances, Murphy connected with a hurricanrana that sent the champion scrambling to the outside before getting clobbered with a thundering knee upon his return inside the ring. Unable to keep this opponent down for a pinfall, Murphy dropped Dream outside for a second time, struck him with an incredible senton dive and then tossed him back inside where he followed up with a Diving Double Knee Attack. Again, a three-count eluded the former Cruiserweight Champion.
With his frustration teeming, Murphy pressed on the gas and drained Dream, once again, with a devastating sleeper hold. Thinking quickly, Dream drove Murphy into the turnbuckle to break out of the submission and then dropped The Unstoppable with a flying double axe handle to the floor.
Exhausted, both Superstars battled back inside the ring – after barely escaping a Double Count-out – to continue their grueling stalemate. After a superplex facebuster by Murphy failed to slow down Dream, who responded with a Dream Valley Driver after his opponent’s attempted diving roll-up pin, the Australian Superstar dropped him with a vicious powerbomb. When that didn’t reach a pinfall, Murphy grew frustrated and Dream took advantage, flattening his challenger with a leg drop between the gold ropes and mustering the energy to spike him with another Dream Valley Driver.
Finding strength from the “Vel-ve-teen” chants inside Full Sail Live, he landed the Purple Rainmaker to retain the title.
Returning home with the top prize, Johnny Gargano received a roaring hero’s welcome when he stepped foot inside Full Sail Live. As deafening “Johnny Champion!” and “You deserve it” chants showered around him like confetti, the newly crowned NXT Champion recounted his journey to his prize-winning finish line. “This is what happens when you refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer,” he declared. However, Adam Cole begged to differ.
After failing to defeat Gargano in their highly-competitive 2-out-of-3 Falls Match at NXT TakeOver: New York, a disgruntled Cole popped up with plenty to say. According to the Undisputed ERA captain, his claim to the NXT Championship was proven on the first pinfall during that championship bout. “If it was any other match, I’d be champion,” The Panama City Playboy asserted. In response, Mr. Johnny Champion said it simply: Put up or shut up.
As Cole approached the ring, with Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish in tow, Gargano was struck with a sneak attack by the stealthy Roderick Strong, prompting a four-on-one beatdown. Later in the night, NXT General Manager William Regal revealed to the foursome that Gargano demanded a match against Undisputed ERA. Though Cole assumed that he would face Johnny Wrestling, Regal shocked his system when he revealed that Gargano requested to face Strong in a match that will take place next Wednesday on WWE Network.
As is typically the case once the bell rings, Dominik Dijakovic gave the NXT Universe a sight to behold this week. Like a Category 5 storm, the destructive force came crashing down on Aaron Frye, with Dijakovic unleashing a discus big boot to snare the three-count.
The flash win was a warning for Dijakovic’s next target: NXT North American Champion Velveteen Dream. After his match, the towering Superstar called out the reigning champion by name and asserted that his eyes are fixated on Dream’s coveted championship.
Give Shayna Baszler credit, she really is The Queen of Spades. Like a card shark, The NXT Women’s Champion has proven herself to be a master strategist in recent championship bouts by entrapping her opponents with cerebral mind games that force her rivals to play into her hand. That much was proven in bouts against Bianca Belair at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix and her recent Fatal 4-Way battle against Belair, Io Shirai and Kairi Sane at TakeOver: New York.
After poking fun at Sane last summer for not having “killer instinct,” Baszler continued her play this week in a controversial fashion against The Pirate Princess. With the crucial caveat being that Sane will be barred from challenging for the NXT Women’s Title if she loses, the reigning champion once again exposed her opponent’s hand.
Fiery as ever, Sane dumped on Baszler from the opening bell, unloading a fury of strikes before taking flight with a diving cross body from the ring apron. As the NXT Universe’s chants became the wind in her sails, The Pirate Princess made her longtime nemesis pay for all the insults thrown her way on the road to TakeOver: New York. She drove The Submission Magician to claw toward the ropes after locking in her signature cross-legged Boston Crab that she calls The Anchor, and even dropped an Insane Elbow as Baszler lay face-down on the canvas.
However, that “killer instinct” would end up as Sane’s Achilles’ heel after a second Insane Elbow attempt went off course as a result of Baszler knocking her down with a stunning enzuigiri. Baszler then avoided a flying kabuki elbow, causing Sane to crash into the barricade. From there, The Submission Magician preyed on the challenger’s right elbow, twisting it like a monkey wrench. After she continued to tenderize Sane’s limb, Io Shirai rushed in to stop the punishment inflicted on her best friend, which prompted the referee to call for the Disqualification. The onslaught continued as Baszler’s comrades Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir held Shirai down and forced her to watch as The Queen of Spades viciously stomped on her Sane’s wounded arm. In the game of strategy, the NXT Women’s Champion has once again outplayed her opponent, solidifying what looks to be her most dominant reign yet.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Velveteen Dream defeated Buddy Murphy to retain the NXT North American Championship (14:56)
- Dominik Dijakovic defeated Aaron Frye (0:12)
- Shayna Baszler (w/ Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir) (c) defeated Kairi Sane by DQ to retain the NXT Women's Championship (8:21)
Other on-screen talent