An all-important announcement was promised, and a seismic shift of an announcement was delivered. WWE COO Triple H arrived to Full Sail Live with major news, revealing that due to a neck injury that required surgery, NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa would have to relinquish his title.
According to The Game, Ciampa was originally set to defend his NXT Championship against Johnny Gargano at TakeOver: New York, following the melee that unfolded at the conclusion of their Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinals Match. With The Blackheart now out of action, however, Triple H announced that Gargano's opponent at TakeOver: New York would be determined later in the night in a Fatal 5-Way Match featuring Ricochet, Adam Cole, Aleister Black, NXT North American Champion Velveteen Dream and Matt Riddle.
The winner of the match would go on to face Gargano for the NXT Title in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match at TakeOver: New York.
WWE Network cameras followed along as Tommaso Ciampa went under the knife to repair his injured neck earlier this month. The Blackheart underwent anterior cervical fusion surgery, which consisted of taking “the pressure off the spinal cord,” Dr. Andrew Michael Cordover, an orthopedic surgeon at Andrews Sports Medicine, explained in a video detailing the procedure. “Then we replace that ruptured disc with a donor bone and also some bone from his hip.”
Though the unfortunate injury cost Ciampa the NXT Championship, or “Goldy” as he has proudly nicknamed the prized title, as well as a bout at TakeOver: New York, the self-professed “Greatest Sports-Entertainer of All Time” is now on the road to recovery. Once he is cleared for action, expect The Blackheart to hit the ground running.
With the NXT Title vacated for the first time in NXT history, the grueling Fatal 5-Way Match to determine Johnny Gargano's opponent at TakeOver: New York certainly lived up to its high-stakes billing. As for the Superstar who stood tall among the black-and-gold brand's finest to earn the NXT Championship Match in the Big Apple, it was none other than Adam Cole ... “Bay Bay!”
With his gold-laden plans for Undisputed ERA initially off on the wrong foot earlier in the year, The Panama City Playboy managed to pull things together with a big victory and swap that minor setback for a major comeback. However, Cole's path to securing a championship ticket to TakeOver was far from undisputed.
With the first pinfall or submission determining who gets an opportunity at the vacant NXT Title, it didn't take long for things to go from zero to 100 on the action odometer. As classic rivalries became renewed, such as TakeOver: Brooklyn IV opponents Ricochet and Cole coming to blows in a matter of minutes, new intense chapters seemingly took shape, as displayed between Velveteen Dream and Matt Riddle. The Original Bro wasted no time latching onto his opponents with the Bromission hold – finding prey in Aleister Black and Cole – but not far behind was the ever-opportunistic Dream, who short-circuited every submission attempt. Riddle also found himself going strike-for-strike against the rip-roaring offense of The Dutch Destroyer, who served him a hard dose of the Black Mass.
Amid the mayhem, the gravity-defying Ricochet attempted to take flight from the top rope, only for all the remaining Superstars to lock onto him and each other like K’NEX pieces and crash into the mat with a unified superplex. Despite the air traffic during his previous attempt, The One and Only found more fuel in his gas tank for a cartwheel-leading moonsault from the ring to the outside on Cole, and later flung Dream out of the ring with a hurricanrana from the top rope, before going airborne once more with a Shooting Star Press on Riddle in the middle of the ring. However, before Ricochet could capture the three-count, Cole clocked him with the Last Shot and pinned him, sending a shock to the system.
As The Undisputed ERA head honcho walked away with a sweet victory, the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finalists Black & Ricochet were struck down with a harsh reality check at the hands of The Forgotten Sons. After NXT went off the air on WWE Network, Steve Cutler, Wesley Blake & Jaxson Ryker waylaid the tandem with a vicious assault ahead of next week's Dusty Classic Finals clash. Will the devastating attack leave Black & Ricochet at a disadvantage?
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Adam Cole defeated Ricochet, The Velveteen Dream, Aleister Black and Matt Riddle in a Fatal Five-Way #1 Contendership match for the NXT Championship (14:44)
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