NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler’s ruthless approach to the ring clearly rubbed off on her Four Horsewomen allies Marina Shafir & Jessamyn Duke, as the debuting duo methodically tore into Dakota Kai after an illegal kick behind the referee’s back gave them the advantage. The gutsy Captain of Team Kick absorbed Shafir & Duke’s punishment for several minutes, but she still had the wherewithal to stun Duke with a heel kick and tag Io Shirai into action for the first time on NXT TV.
The fresh Genius of the Sky quickly lived up to her moniker, blasting Shafir with the tiger feint kick and a mesmerizing springboard dropkick. Duke briefly diverted Shirai’s attention as she set up for her signature top-rope moonsault, but a powerful boot by an intervening Kai sent Duke plummeting off the ring apron. With no more distractions to worry about, Shirai resumed her flight plan and crashed onto Shafir with a textbook moonsault to pick up the win.
Aaron Mackey’s night started going terribly wrong about three seconds into his match against new NXT Superstar Dominik Dijakovic. That’s when Dijakovic blocked Mackey’s opening salvo and took over.
The 6-foot-7, 270-pound Dijakovic showed what all the hype was about, ravaging Mackey with strikes, throwing him across the ring like Raggedy Andy and bludgeoning the areas where vital organs are kept. The frighteningly determined Dijakovic then gave Mackey and the NXT Universe something to feast their eyes on as he spun Mackey overhead and smashed his knee squarely into his opponent’s face. The ensuing three-count was not in question.
In what might be considered a warmup for their NXT Tag Team Title Match next week against champions Roderick Strong & Kyle O’Reilly, Heavy Machinery absolutely dominated the team of Blake Howell & Danny D’Accardo.
The Big Bulls of NXT were well on their way to victory when the entire Undisputed ERA came out to the stage to get a closer look at Otis Dozovic & Tucker Knight. Undisputed ERA’s scouting expedition, however, seemed to put even more pep in Heavy Machinery’s step. Dozovic & Knight combined to hit not one, but three Compactors on their opponents. The final blow was the most devastating of all, with Dozovic & Knight squashing both Howell & D’Accardo in a seismic two-for-one. Although they’ll never admit it, Heavy Machinery’s buffet of brutality may have sown doubt in the minds of Strong & O’Reilly ahead of next Wednesday’s big title match.
Locked inside a steel cage with an enraged rival who pledged to annihilate him, Johnny Gargano not only survived his barbaric fight with Aleister Black, but he emerged victorious, although he certainly didn’t do it by himself. Ironically, and shockingly, it was an assist from his former #DIY teammate and best friend, NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa, that set the table for Gargano’s monumental defeat of The Dutch Destroyer.
Before The Blackheart inserted himself into the match that was his brainchild, Black and Gargano battered each other relentlessly, taking full advantage of their surroundings. The deep-seated ill will between the two even caused both Superstars to occasionally lose sight of victory. After landing a series of powerful strikes, Black was on the verge of climbing out of the cage, but he instead returned to inflict more punishment on the man who ambushed him months ago. Similarly, Gargano had a clear path out the door later in the match, but rather than go for the W, he told Black that he’d “absolve” him of his “sins.” The move backfired, and Black floored Gargano with Black Mass.
Still, Gargano was the first to his feet. He began scaling the steel wall, but by the time he got over the top, Black was crawling toward the door. Black was almost out, too, until Ciampa, who is set to defend the title against the former champion at TakeOver: Phoenix, viciously slammed the door on Black’s skull. Gargano returned to the ring, and after a tense moment of the former best friends eying each other warily, Ciampa signaled for the double-team move that won #DIY so many matches, and Gargano reciprocated. Gargano and Ciampa then met in the middle — Gargano drilling Black with a superkick and Ciampa thrashing him with a leaping knee — giving Gargano all he needed to pin The Dutch Destroyer. As Ciampa exited, Gargano, seemingly in complete disbelief, sat cross-legged next to Black.
It was a surreal scene that begs more questions than it does provide answers. Are Gargano and Ciampa once again on the same page, or did Ciampa simply manipulate Gargano? Just as importantly, how will The Dutch Destroyer respond?
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
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