MSK once again treated the NXT Universe to smorgasbord of jaw-dropping maneuvers, but they ran into an equally explosive team for the first time in their scintillating tournament run. Wes Lee followed Nash Carter's moonsault off the apron with a flying tope to the outside, and Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde later answered with a springboard missile dropkick followed by a huge poison rana. However, MSK's double-team blockbuster proved to be the difference, pushing Carter & Lee one victory away from an NXT Tag Team Title opportunity.
An outside distraction initially proved to be perhaps the only thing capable of slowing down the new Xia Li, and even then, it was only a temporary speed bump. Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter were at ringside, expressing worry for Li and insisting that this new persona was not consistent with who she truly is. Cora Jade took advantage, but it wasn't long before she felt Li's wrath, getting annihilated by a spinning heel quick for another quick Xia win.
Catanzaro & Carter continued to try to reason with Li afterward, and Carter even tried to get Mei Ying to no avail. Instead, Li viciously launched Carter off the ramp, then devastated Catanzaro with a brutal kick. Tian Sha's grip over Li and Boa may be even more powerful than we previously knew.
The opportunity to make history proved to be a potent motivator, as all four Superstars waged war at a break-neck pace. Candice LeRae wowed by walking the ropes to hit a hurricanrana to Ember Moon that launched her into Shotzi Blackheart, then later hit a springboard moonsault to Moon and a tope suicida to Blackheart on the outside.
The Way nearly tasted victory with LeRae hitting the Wicked Stepsister on Blackheart, setting her up for a big elbow drop by Indi Hartwell, but Moon broke up the pin. Moon neutralized LeRae with a spectacular Eclipse, allowing Blackheart to go up top for her patented senton drop. While Hartwell protected her mentor by shielding LeRae, she instead felt Blackheart's senton, launching Blackheart & Moon to the finals.
Johnny Gargano began the night seeking a suspension for Kushida, and NXT General Manager William Regal wasn't having it. With the North American Champion insisting that Kushida injured his left arm in their altercation last week, Regal gave Gargano the option for Austin Theory to instead defend the title in his place or to forfeit the title altogether. But the legitimacy of Gargano's "injury" was quickly exposed when Kushida emerged to pull the title away, only for Gargano to ardently tug his gold back from NXT's resident Time Splitter.
Later on, Gargano fired back by blasting Kushida with a superkick during his match against Theory, forcing the referee to call for a disqualification. Theory was suddenly pulled underneath the ring, and when Gargano seemed to rescue him, none other than Dexter Lumis emerged. With Kushida applying the Hoverboard Lock to Gargano and Lumis locking Theory in Silence, The Way appeared to be in dire straits going into NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day.
For the first time in nearly two months, The Technical Savage returned to NXT, and he was nearly unrecognizable. Cameron Grimes revealed he came into money thanks to his investment in GameStop. If the NXT Universe found the loud-mouth Grimes to be obnoxious before, well, they haven't seen anything yet.
Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher clearly had no time to listen to Zack Gibson run his mouth before their bout, attacking both Gibson and James Drake without hesitation before the bell even sounded. The Grizzled Young Veterans got back in the game by taking out Ciampa with a brutal double powerbomb on the apron, leaving Thatcher alone for them to wear down.
But The Blackheart eventually found his second wind, getting the tag and taking both opponents down with a double clothesline and a pair of German suplexes. Chaos between the four Superstars soon ensued with Gibson tossing Thatcher to the outside, and Drake following with a tope suicida on "The Professor of Pain." Ciampa tried to set Drake up for Willow's Bell on his way back into the ring, but Gibson expertly held his teammate's feet down on the apron, blocking the attack.
Gibson & Drake then spiked Ciampa with the Ticket to Mayhem for the pin, sending GYV to the Dusty Classic Finals for a second straight year.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- MSK (Nash Carter & Wes Lee) defeated Legado Del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza) in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament Semi Final Match Match (9:34)
- Xia Li (w/ Boa) defeated Cora Jade (0:45)
- Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart defeated The Way (Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell) in a Dusty Rhodes Women's Tag Team Classic Tournament Semi Final Match (14:19)
- Kushida defeated Austin Theory (w/ Johnny Gargano) by DQ (8:39)
- Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson) defeated Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament Semi Final Match (11:37)
Other on-screen talent