Finn Bálor put Johnny Gargano out of action for nearly two months, but Gargano may have found the only higher retributory price for Bálor to pay — a squandered chance to reclaim the NXT Championship.
Adam Cole pinned Bálor — with plenty of thanks due to Gargano — to retain the NXT Title.
Controlling the early goings at a methodical pace, Bálor grounded Cole with several holds until his opponent caught him with a superkick to the left knee. The Panama City Playboy continued to target that same knee throughout the bout, undercutting Bálor's signature ability to inflict damage through the air.
NXT's Prince felt the pain of that maneuver when his knee buckled on a missed Coup de Grace attempt. Cole's ensuing Last Shot wasn't enough to keep Bálor down for a three-count, however.
Bálor fought back to connect cleanly on another Coup de Grace, then locked Cole in position for the 1916 DDT to try to put him away.
That's when Gargano strode onto the stage, causing Bálor to freeze in the ring like he had seen a ghost. It allowed Cole to wriggle free and blast him with a second Last Shot, which this time proved decisive.
Gargano — who had competed at nine consecutive TakeOvers before Bálor's shocking, savage attack in October prevented him from participating at WarGames last month — wasn't satisfied with merely costing NXT’s Prince the match. Finding a steel chair at ringside, Gargano blasted Bálor repeatedly until he managed to retreat backstage.
Thanks to Johnny Wrestling, Cole's NXT Championship reign remains undisputed, while the issue between Bálor and Gargano is anything but.
Damian Priest's latest bout proved to be a serious gut check, and he passed in impressive fashion.
Two weeks after a rib injury prevented The Archer of Infamy from locking horns with Killian Dain, he returned to the ring to topple The Beast of Belfast in one-on-one competition.
Things didn't appear as promising for Priest for much of the bout. In fact, his decision to return at all seemed possibly ill-advised with Dain focusing his barbaric aggression on Priest's taped ribs.
The Archer of Infamy dug deep to find the fortitude at less than 100 percent to still execute eye-grabbing maneuvers, such as his patented springboard tope con giro and South of Heaven.
Priest ultimately had the wherewithal to counter Dain's Vader Bomb with double knees to the back, softening him up for The Reckoning and pinfall.
Cameron Grimes is once again with his most prized possession after picking up his biggest victory yet, though it certainly didn't come easy.
The Technical Savage came out on top against Kushida, defeating his newfound rival after hitting the Cave-In in a battle between two candidates for the Future Star of NXT award.
NXT's "timesplitter" got the better of Grimes in their previous encounter earlier this month thanks to a lightning-quick pinfall. Their issue escalated last week when Kushida's distraction cost Grimes a loss against Raul Mendoza, punctuated by Kushida nabbing the Technical Savage's trademark hat afterward.
Kushida had Grimes' Cave-In well-scouted, expertly evading his foe's first two attempts. The third proved successful though, vaulting the Technical Savage back into the win column — and back, once again, with his hat.
Io Shirai just keeps moonsaulting her way through the NXT Women's division, this time picking up a victory over Santana Garrett.
A promising talent in her own right, Garrett showed off impressive athleticism and knowledge of the squared circle, but it wasn't enough to overcome the evil Genius of the Sky.
The "Joshi Judas" connected on double knees in the corner to set up her patented high-impact moonsault for the win.
If this week's bout between Pete Dunne and Travis Banks served as a preview for WWE Worlds Collide, it promises to be a hard-hitting affair.
Both competitors battered each other thoroughly, but The BruiserWeight came out on top against his NXT UK adversary.
Dunne lit up Banks early with blistering strikes to the chest that were so intense he had to be restrained by the official. The Kiwi Buzzsaw — fresh off a victory against Jaxson Ryker — didn't back down, though, responding with a cavalcade of electric kicks and strikes.
The BruiserWeight took the action to another level, laying Banks out with a top-rope X-Plex before landing The Bitter End.
Move over, Shayna Baszler — there's a new queen atop the NXT Women's division.
Rhea Ripley showed championship mettle, overcoming severe damage to her arm, outside interference from Baszler's fellow MMA Four Horsewomen and the throes of the Kirifuda Clutch to defeat Baszler to win the NXT Women's Title.
An early mistake seemed like it would prove insurmountable for The Nightmare when Baszler viciously stomped Ripley's left arm on the steel steps, appearing to hyperextend it. From there, The Submission Magician demonstrated the familiar, surgical joint manipulation that has fueled her dominance of the NXT Women's division for the better part of two years.
Ripley favored the arm more and more as the match progressed, at one point even fighting off a doctor who arrived at ringside to try to administer medical attention.
Then she had to contend with Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke briefly attacking on the outside while the official was occupied with Baszler in the ring. Baszler's henchwomen were ejected but had already inflicted significant damage.
The Nightmare rallied with a dropkick that sent Baszler crashing into the referee — and left him unable to count the champion's shoulders down after she was dropped with the Riptide. Using the lawless opportunity to introduce a steel chair into the equation, Baszler spiked her opponent into it with a devastating DDT — but Ripley got her shoulder up before the count of three.
That seemingly only delayed the inevitable, though, as Baszler next locked Ripley into the feared Kirifuda Clutch for what seemed like an eternity. Ripley appeared to lose consciousness, prompting the referee to raise her arm — only for The Nightmare to defiantly grab the official's collar, refusing to fold.
Miraculously rolling backward out of Baszler's clutches, Ripley found her feet and unleashed a barrage of stomps on Baszler's face. Even then, The Queen of Spades answered with a step-up knee strike to Ripley in the corner.
But it was Baszler's hubris — not a physical mistake — that spelled her demise. With Baszler taking far too long to talk trash in Ripley's face, the challenger struck her with a headbutt and followed with a gargantuan Riptide from the second rope to secure the victory and the NXT Women's Title
Members of the NXT locker room and the Full Sail audience filled the ring to lift Ripley atop their shoulders, celebrating their new champion.
Having written off her defeat to Ripley at TakeOver: WarGames last month as a fluke, Baszler's nightmare became a reality — and her 416-day reign was over.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Candice LaRae defeated Taynara
- Dark Match: Bianca Belair defeated Shotzi Blackheart
- Adam Cole (c) defeated Finn Bálor to retain the NXT Championship (15:40)
- Damian Priest defeated Killian Dain (14:16)
- Cameron Grimes defeated Kushida (13:58)
- Io Shirai defeated Santana Garrett (4:02)
- Pete Dunne defeated Travis Banks (10:53)
- Rhea Ripley defeated Shayna Baszler (c) to win the NXT Women's Championship (17:47)
Other on-screen talent
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