This week's NXT kicked off with General Manager William Regal delivering an announcement regarding the future of the NXT Tag Team Titles. Citing the chaotic ending of last week's match between The Viking Raiders and The Street Profits, Regal reaffirmed that the black-and-gold brand's tandem titles have been vacated before unveiling his plan to crown new champions.
Per Regal, at TakeOver: XXV on June 1, the NXT Tag Team Titles will hang high over the ring as The Street Profits, The Forgotten Sons, Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan and Undisputed ERA's Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly collide in a four-team Ladder Match for the vacant championship!
Now that The Undisputed ERA are not only back on the same page but also destined for two title matches at TakeOver: XXV, the faction was all smiles. Adam Cole declared them “stronger than ever” and once again promised that Undisputed ERA will be “draped in championship gold” very soon.
One person who disagreed with that assessment was Cole's TakeOver opponent, NXT Champion Johnny Gargano. Johnny TakeOver interrupted The Panama City Playboy to remind him of the scoreboard from TakeOver: New York, when Gargano defeated Cole two falls to one.
Despite Gargano's point, Cole & Co. were prepared to continue their celebration until Matt Riddle jumped the barricade and made a beeline for Roderick Strong in retaliation for Strong's sneak-attack on The Original Bro last week. Gargano joined Riddle in the ring, sparking a huge pull-apart brawl that prompted William Regal to later announce a tag team main event, pitting Gargano & Riddle against Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly.
Mansoor has shown well during all his appearances on NXT and NXT UK, giving established Superstars like Dominik Dijakovic and Travis Banks a run for their money. Tonight, however, Mansoor not only turned in another head-turning performance, but he also scored his first victory on NXT TV, defeating Sean Maluta.
The “Samoan Dragon” gave Mansoor plenty of trouble, at one point catching him with a leaping Codebreaker off the middle turnbuckle, but Mansoor courageously fought back. He snapped off a low-angle German suplex before hitting Maluta with a slingshot neckbreaker and an innovative twisting inverted suplex to score the three-count.
With all eyes on his NXT North American Title, Velveteen Dream returned to Full Sail Live with a piece of advice for any would-be challengers: If you dare utter The Dream's name, “say it correctly or don’t say it at all.”
Tyler Breeze didn't get the memo.
Making his unannounced return to NXT, Breeze cat-walked up to Dream and knocked the NXT North American Champion for being little more than a “wannabe impersonator” of Prince Pretty. The Dream countered by saying Breeze couldn't cut it on Raw and SmackDown LIVE, but The Gorgeous One quickly set the record straight, making it known that Dream and his North American Title inspired his return to the black-and-gold brand.
Although Dream told Breeze to get to the back of the line of challengers, he also wanted to leave Breeze with a keepsake and offered to snap a photo with The Sultan of Selfies. Breeze accepted, but as Dream readied for the pic, “The Fashion” leveled him with a hard right hand.
Velveteen Dream was stunned, but the surprises didn't end there, as a TakeOver: XXV title match with Breeze was made official before the end of the night.
Candice LeRae overcame a significant size and strength disadvantage to take down hard-hitting Texan Reina González and continue her ascent in the NXT Women's division. After enduring González's bruising offense, LeRae mounted a high-flying comeback, launching a hurricanrana and a missile dropkick before sticking the Quebrada for the win.
“Tenacious C” didn't have much time to celebrate her feat, however, as NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir stormed the ring and attacked her in an apparent receipt for LeRae's involvement in their pull-apart brawl with Io Shirai two weeks ago.
Fortunately for LeRae, she has friends in high places. The Genius of the Sky, who's set to challenge Baszler at TakeOver: XXV, charged the ring with a kendo stick in hand and went to town on her nemeses, turning the stick into splinters as she repelled the Horsewomen from the squared circle.
One week after reuniting, Undisputed ERA proved that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts, and that could prove ominous for their opponents at TakeOver: XXV, as it did tonight.
NXT Champion Johnny Gargano & Matt Riddle gelled well in their high-octane match against Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly and had enough firepower to keep the Undisputed ERA tandem on their heels, but they also had two factors working against them. First, Riddle was still visibly suffering the effects of Roderick Strong's beatdown last week. His heavily taped ribs belied his fighting spirit and gave Fish & O’Reilly a giant bull's-eye to target.
While Riddle fought through those headwinds, the second factor that spelled trouble for his and Gargano's dream team — the vigilance of the other Undisputed ERA members not in the match — wasn't as easy to overcome.
At the height of battle, Riddle nailed Fish with the Final Flash knee strike, but O’Reilly pulled his partner to safety outside the ring. As Riddle gave chase, Adam Cole strode to ringside, only to be taken out by a suicide dive by Gargano. With the referee focused on Gargano and Cole, Riddle was left wide open for another blitz by Strong. The Messiah of the Backbreaker — who, it was confirmed earlier in the night, will face Riddle at TakeOver: XXV — slammed The Original Bro onto the hard ring apron and rolled him into the ring, where Fish & O’Reilly finished the job, thrashing Riddle with a high/low combination for the win.
All four Undisputed ERA members put the boots to Riddle and Gargano after the bell, and Cole clobbered Johnny Champion with the Last Shot. Was tonight's dominant display by the championship-obsessed ERA a sign of things to come at TakeOver: XXV?
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Mansoor defeated Sean Maluta (2:50)
- Candice LeRae defeated Reina Gonzalez (3:14)
- The Undisputed ERA (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly) defeated Johnny Gargano & Matt Riddle (13:26)
Other on-screen talent