More shots have been fired in the ongoing war between The Undisputed ERA and SAnitY. And the most recent crossfire resulted in collateral damage and an unexpected beneficiary, as Nikki Cross, Liv Morgan and Peyton Royce all found out during their action-packed NXT Women's Title Qualifying Match.
Their three-way battle, contested under no-disqualification rules, reached a fever pitch after Cross powerbombed Royce just as Royce superplexed Morgan, resulting in a massive pileup inside the ring.
Just then, The Undisputed ERA appeared at the top of the entrance ramp alongside former Mae Young Classic competitor Taynara Conti. At the encouragement of Adam Cole, Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly, the black-belt judoka distracted Cross and prevented her from scoring a pin, ensuring the unhinged SAnitY member wouldn't advance to the NXT Women's Title Fatal 4-Way Match at TakeOver: WarGames.
Cross gave chase after Conti, but as they raced through the ring, Royce wiped out Cross with a spin kick before snaring her in a fisherman suplex to win the match and move one step closer to the vacant NXT Women's Title.
Though Conti helped The Undisputed ERA execute their plan to perfection, her complicity might have been ill-advised. As WWE.com cameras later revealed, The Undisputed ERA played dumb when Conti asked them to make good on their end of the deal, suggesting that she had been nothing more than a pawn in their game all along.
After having his debut spoiled last week by The Velveteen Dream, NXT newcomer Lio Rush had a rare second chance to make a first impression, and “The Man of the Hour” did not disappoint. The Velveteen Dream made his own impression, meanwhile, using the match as another opportunity to try to get Aleister Black's attention.
Rush slapped the taste out of the Dream's mouth at the start of the bout, then used mind-blowing speed and agility to dodge the flamboyant Superstar's attack and rock him with kicks. The lightning-fast exchange thrilled the NXT Universe, which burst into chants of “Lio.”
The Velveteen Dream, however, was not about to let the NXT rookie — a former tag team partner of his on the independent circuit, no less — make a name at his expense. He pounded Rush with a short-arm lariat and a Death Valley bomb before descending from the sky with the Purple Rainmaker elbow drop to claim victory. Afterward, the Dream mocked Black by sitting cross-legged in the center of the ring, the latest attempt by the Dream to incite the Dutch destroyer.
With Oney Lorcan still sidelined following his match against Lars Sullivan two weeks ago, Danny Burch pledged to bring the fight to the 300-pound behemoth on Lorcan's behalf.
Burch didn't waste any time either, stunning Sullivan with brutal strikes until the monstrous Superstar ran over Burch with a shoulder tackle. Sullivan then bludgeoned the Englishman with crossfaces, an avalanche in the corner and a big clothesline before finishing him off in decisive fashion with an organ-quaking side spinebuster.
The Street Profits extended their undefeated streak yet again, making short work of Damien Smith & Markos Espada. True to form, Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford had fun doing so, too. At one point, Dawkins clobbered Espada with a punch, causing Espada to crumble to the mat and Ford to run around ringside in delight. Dawkins & Ford finally put their foes out of their misery after a combination spinebuster/frog splash.
Following their win, The Street Profits partied in the stands with the NXT Universe and declared that they're “coming for that gold,” indicating that they have the NXT Tag Team Titles in their sights.
This hotly anticipated rematch from TakeOver: Brooklyn III lived up to its mighty expectations, though the result may have also confirmed Johnny Gargano's worst fears.
Aiming to even the score after Andrade “Cien” Almas pinned him in Brooklyn, Johnny Wrestling showed no trepidation as he blitzed the Mexican Superstar with a furious attack, prompting Almas to retreat until his taskmaster, Zelina Vega, instructed Almas to re-enter the ring.
The match then evolved into a scintillating back-and-forth duel, and it soon became clear how well each Superstar had scouted the other. When Almas attempted the hammerlock DDT, Gargano escaped, and when Gargano tried for his slingshot spear, Almas countered.
After a series of jaw-dropping hits, Johnny Wrestling captured Almas in the Gargano Escape, only for Vega to unzip her jacket to reveal a #DIY shirt underneath, harkening back to the distraction that caused Gargano's downfall at TakeOver. Gargano nonetheless maintained the hold, but Almas still managed to reach the ropes.
Vega then climbed onto the apron and as Gargano told her that #DIY means nothing to him anymore, Almas saw the opening to try for a rollup. That set off another series of reversals that ended with Almas dropping Gargano’ face-first onto the bottom turnbuckle. “Cien” then smashed Gargano with consecutive running knees in the corner before picking up Johnny Wrestling's lifeless body and drilling him with the hammerlock DDT for the statement-making victory.
How will Gargano cope with this bitter defeat, and what's next for Almas now that he has once again vanquished the beloved Johnny Wrestling?
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Peyton Royce (w/ Billie Kay) defeated Liv Morgan and Nikki Cross in a Qualifying Triple Threat Match for the NXT Women's Championship (6:44)
- The Velveteen Dream defeated Lio Rush (2:43)
- Lars Sullivan defeated Danny Burch (2:55)
- Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) defeated Damien Smith & Markos Espada (1:48)
- Andrade Almas (w/ Zelina Vega) defeated Johnny Gargano (14:17)
Other on-screen talent