Call it a surprise, call it an upset, call it whatever you'd like, but The Undisputed ERA will not be taking home the Dusty Cup this year after being knocked off by The Grizzled Young Veterans thanks to some help from Imperium.
The UE landed the first blow ahead of Saturday’s Worlds Collide showdown with NXT UK's most dominant faction, but Imperium returned fire with a vengeance. Suddenly appearing at Full Sail, NXT UK Champion WALTER and his allies captured the attention of Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly long enough for Zack Gibson & James Drake to seize their moment with the Ticket to Mayhem, advancing to the finals of The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Meanwhile, the NXT Tag Team Champions' defeat only added fuel to their already flammable issue with Imperium.
Last week's Battle Royal figured to provide some clarity in the black-and-gold brand's Women's Division, but chaos continues to rule the day.
Days before her chance to knock off NXT Champion Rhea Ripley, Toni Storm looked to add another feather to her cap with a victory against Io Shirai. Storm claimed the win, but not in the manner she wanted, as it came through a disqualification after Bianca Belair attacked her. The actions of Belair — who won last week's Battle Royal to become next in line for a championship opportunity — didn't sit well with The Evil Genius of the Sky, who made that clear by retaliating.
Not one to be left out, Ripley soon joined the fray. When the dust settled, however, Storm was standing tall with Ripley's title in hand — perhaps a preview of Saturday at WWE Worlds Collide.
Ilja Dragunov and Johnny Gargano: You've been put on notice.
Finn Bálor indeed delivered a statement to his two rivals with a dominant win over Joaquin Wilde complete with his hubris on full display. Taking the time to berate the promising Wilde while pummeling him, NXT's Prince issued an audible warning to Dragunov and Gargano — his opponents for WWE Worlds Collide and NXT TakeOver: Portland, respectively — before planting him with the victory-clinching 1916 DDT.
The message was simple but stern: You come at Finn, you better not miss.
Shayna Baszler was incensed after being dumped from last week's Battle Royal by the up-and-coming Shotzi Blackheart, but she didn't wait long to get retribution.
The Queen of Spades taught Blackheart a lesson in the squared circle with a methodical attack en route to a tap-out victory via the Kirifuda Clutch after dodging a top-rope senton. Before the match, Baszler emphatically declared that Shotzi was only the first in a long line of victims on her march toward a third NXT Championship reign.
Despite being the field's least experienced team, Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne are one win away from taking home the Dusty Cup.
The BroserWeights had another impressive outing, this time picking up a win over the Imperium tandem of Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner. That means they'll square off in next week's final with The Grizzled Young Veterans, who were quick to take the stage to interrupt Riddle & Dunne's latest triumph with some trash talk and a promise of victory.
Riddle & Dunne were more than ready to engage the NXT UK duo in the war of words, responding in kind with verbal barbs of their own, though they seemed more interested in settling things in the squared circle next week.
The NXT Universe is basking in the glory of a new North American Champion.
Keith Lee maximized his opportunity, taking the title off Roderick Strong for his first taste of gold in WWE after a thrilling battle.
It was far from an easy hill to climb for The Limitless Superstar, whose ankle was smashed between the steel steps and ring apron in the early going, seemingly debilitating the challenger. Lee overcame not only that, but a continued onslaught that also included a top-rope Olympic Slam from The Messiah of the Backbreaker and attempted interference from The Undisputed ERA.
From there, the night only got worse for Strong and the rest of The UE, who had little time to gather themselves after the title fight. Almost immediately, NXT Champion Adam Cole and company were the target of an ambush attack by Imperium, who were set on returning the favor after being beaten down at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II. The situation quickly devolved into an all-out brawl, and even a slew of officials and security personnel were unable to separate the rival factions.
The mayhem at Full Sail begged a simple question: What's in store when these two teams finally settle the score this Saturday at WWE Worlds Collide?
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson) defeated The Undisputed ERA (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly) in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament Semi Final Match
- Toni Storm defeated Io Shirai by DQ
- Finn Bálor defeated Joaquin Wilde
- Shayna Baszler defeated Shotzi Blackheart
- Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne defeated Imperium (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel) (w/ WALTER & Alexander Wolfe) in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament Semi Final Match
- Keith Lee defeated Roderick Strong (c) (w/ Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish) to win the NXT North American Championship
Other on-screen talent