Questions and answers trailed NXT Tag Team Champions The Viking Raiders as they entered Full Sail Live. With Erik & Ivar raiding Monday nights on Raw following last month’s Superstar Shake-up, questions have been raised about the future of the NXT Tag Team Championship.
Addressing the elephant in the room, the Raiders announced their intention to relinquish the NXT Tag Team Titles. Before they could leave the titles in the hands of NXT General Manager William Regal, however, The Street Profits stepped out with a challenge. According to Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins, they left fear in the hearts of Erik & Ivar after their high-octane championship battle last month. Though the pair happened to be on the losing end of the match, Ford & Dawkins suggested that Erik & Ivar were aware the Profits have their number. As the NXT Universe erupted with chants of “Ring the bell,” the modern-day Vikings advised Regal to make a championship match between the two teams official, which he gladly acquiesced and declared as the night’s main event.
A fumble, meltdown and, now, a missing flip-flop. Last week saw tension reach a new boiling point among the Undisputed ERA – specifically between Adam Cole and Roderick Strong. After Cole’s fiery outburst against Strong furthered the rumors of dissension among the crew, things took a surprising turn when Strong came face-to-face with Cole, Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish during an interview with Cathy Kelley.
While Cole, standing alongside O’Reilly & Fish, discussed the fallout from last week’s much talked about meltdown, Strong shocked the team with a peace offering. After acknowledging that the group is much “stronger” together than apart, Strong offered Cole what appeared to be a blood-stained flip-flop belonging to Matt Riddle, along with the eerie words: “That Matt Riddle problem you have? It’s taken care of.” Overjoyed by Strong’s initiative, Cole gladly gifted his pal the Undisputed ERA armband off his own arm, thus putting an end to the speculation and proving their bond is now tighter than ever.
A little time away from the ring couldn’t stop Keith Lee’s glory. The “Limitless” powerhouse showed no signs of ring rust against Cezar Bononi, absorbing all the Brazilian Superstar had to offer before letting go like a super-sized cannon. Yet, Bononi brought the fight to his opponent, leveling him with a volley of knee strikes to slow down Lee’s momentum. Once he found his opening, however, Lee quickly turned the tide by peppering his opponent with a few heavy-handed strikes before scaling him down with a Spirit Bomb for the pin.
With a win over Kassius Ohno under his belt, Kushida went searching for another victory – this time against Kona Reeves in a ground-and-pound matchup that welcomed an appearance by 205 Live’s Drew Gulak, who stood by watching the action. For all the buzz surrounding the newest addition to the black-and-gold brand, Reeves immediately took his opponent to task, putting unparalleled intensity on full display. After sustaining an armbar and hurricanrana from Kushida, Reeves fired back with a scoop slam straight into the middle turnbuckle, which was followed by a series of moves that pumped the brakes of the decorated MMA fighter-turned-Superstar.
However, Reeves’ valiant effort wasn’t enough to put out Kushida. With Gulak watching intently, the former Japanese champion gave the 205 Live mainstay something to behold, striking down on Reeves with seamless offense. After Reeves countered a Hoverboard Lock attempt, Kushida fired back with a handspring attack that sent The Finest bouncing to the outside. Kushida then crashed into him with a diving somersault and rolled Reeves back inside, where he applied the Hoverboard Lock to secure his second consecutive victory. At the stage, Gulak was visibly unimpressed, walking off after the match while seemingly reiterating the message he tweeted after Kushida’s debut weeks ago.
NXT Champion Johnny Gargano stood by Matt Riddle as he was tended to for wounds suffered at the hands of Roderick Strong. As reporters asked the champion about the Undisputed ERA’s target on his back, Gargano revealed that he spoke to NXT General Manager William Regal and confirmed an NXT Title Match against Adam Cole for TakeOver: XXV on Saturday, June 1.
With Aliyah by her side, Vanessa Borne made quite the impression against former Mae Young Classic competitor Jessie. The Vision activated her aggressive side, dominating her opponent with force, while mockingly asking, “How’s that feel?” Although Jessie managed to land a few attacks of her own, Borne shut her out with a vicious corkscrew neckbreaker to snare the three count.
When The Street Profits last faced the NXT Tag Team Champions The Viking Raiders, the scrappy and rugged tandem torpedoed the bearded berserkers with an all-out attack that nearly put a dent in the champions’ armor. Looking to avoid an upset, the sequel featured the Raiders forcing their opponents into defense from the opening bell. For starters, Erik dashed into Angelo Dawkins with a dropkick, before sidelining Montez Ford with a vicious right knee strike. The Raiders didn’t let up, unloading on the Profits with their devastating double-team offense.
A spear from Dawkins, however, sent Erik out of the ring and put the Profits back in “full attack mode.” After dueling cartwheels with Ivar, the ever-athletic Dawkins scooped him up with a hard-hitting spinebuster that was combined with a breathtaking frog splash from Ford. As the Raiders fought back, a melee erupted when the Forgotten Sons attacked both Ivar & Erik at ringside, prompting a no-contest. Things quickly descended into bedlam when Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch also joined the fray, sparking an all-out brawl.
Though there was no clear winner in their championship clash, the Profits turned the turmoil into a bit of comeuppance when they attacked Erik and logged an unofficial three-count to snatch their own moral victory before scurrying. In response, the Raiders annihilated the remaining tag teams in proximity, cutting down the likes of Lorcan, Burch and Wesley Blake with their explosive tandem attacks. Amid all the chaos, the status of the NXT Tag Team Titles was thrown into further uncertainty, drawing more questions than answers.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Keith Lee defeated Cezar Bononi (2:27)
- Kushida defeated Kona Reeves (5:04)
- Vanessa Borne (w/ Aliyah) defeated Jessie (2:49)
- Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) (c) vs. Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) ended in a No Contest in a NXT Tag Team Championship Match (2:14)
Other on-screen talent