Tommaso Ciampa is back and appears as dangerous as ever, and that could mean bad news for NXT Champion Adam Cole.
The Blackheart went a long way Wednesday toward extinguishing any doubts about his recovery from injury. In his first action since February, Ciampa showed little ring rust during a defeat ofAngel Garza, securing the victory after an elevated hanging DDT dubbed Willow's Belle.
Cole, whose title The Sicilian Psychopath still covets after being forced to relinquish it, and the rest of The Undisputed ERA appeared afterward to seemingly exploit the situation and feast on a fatigued Ciampa, but they backed off when he found a chair and his patented crutch to defend himself.
Instead, The Undisputed ERA flexed their propensity for damage in another way — and with a different victim. Kyle O’Reilly handed a USB drive to play-by-play commentator Mauro Ranallo.
Moments later, the NXT Universe saw that the device contained footage of the aftermath of an apparent vicious backstage attack by Undisputed ERA on an unconscious Velveteen Dream, who was set to challenge Roderick Strong for the NXT North American Title next week.
Ciampa’s message for Cole and his allies has clearly been received loud and clear, but they’ve responded equally in kind by showing exactly how far they’re willing to go to remain NXT’s most dominant force.
One week after WALTER showcased his might in a win against Kushida, his Imperium counterparts also demonstrated what they’re capable of.
The duo of Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner — no strangers to Full Sail Live — impressed in a win against the veteran duo of Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch.
With Alexander Wolfe also in the mix and ready to wreak havoc at a moment’s notice, Imperium have already proven dominant during their short time in NXT.
Io Shirai wants another opportunity to challenge NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler, but Rhea Ripley isn’t here for anyone who wants to budge in line.
After picking up a win over Kayden Carter in a showcase of athleticism that was punctuated by a breathtaking moonsault, Shirai declared her superiority over Ripley and fellow challenger Bianca Belair in the pecking order for The Queen of Spades’ title.
That didn’t sit well with Ripley, who confronted Shirai and threatened trouble in a tense confrontation and another moment of further jockeying for position in the NXT Women’s division.
Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic already had plenty to fight for in what figured to be a decisive latest chapter in their tightly contested rivalry. Now they’ll again battle with even more on the line next week — with Roderick Strong thrown into the fray as well.
The stakes escalated when NXT General Manager William Regal announced that Velveteen Dream would be unable to compete next week for Strong’s North American Championship — instead declaring that the victor of the bout between Lee and Dijakovic would vie for the title.
The Messiah of the Backbreaker had other ideas, but they didn’t exactly play out as he hoped.
The Limitless Lee and The Rare Breed again dazzled Full Sail Live in their usual physics-confounding fashion, but Strong put a premature end to what was supposed to be a rubber match. Strong attacked both Lee and The Rare Breed, forcing a No Contest in an attempt to get out of his championship defense.
And just as abruptly as the matchup ended, Strong’s plan blew up in his face. Pivoting from his initial edict, Regal announced that Strong would instead defend his title against both competitors next week in a Triple Threat Match.
If Matt Riddle was deterred by narrowly coming up short in his challenge for Adam Cole’s NXT Title, he didn’t show it.
The Original Bro got right back on track in his first action since that spectacular encounter two weeks ago and was victorious, overcoming the best that the hulking Bronson Reed had to offer. Riddle especially wowed the NXT Universe with a series that included a Bro to Sleep and a powerbomb before later finishing Reed off with the Bro Derek to seal the win.
Having received all he could handle from Reed and then some, Riddle showed his hard-won respect for "The Aus-zilla" with a post-bout fist bump in a display of sportsmanship.
"Team Kick" is back in full force.
After Dakota Kai’s successful return to action, Tegan Nox returned in winning fashion as well, turning aside Taynara Conti after connecting with the Shiniest Wizard. Just as she did during her long road back from injury, Nox required a comeback effort in this contest, gaining the advantage with a powerful chokeslam and running corner senton.
Kai joined her friend to celebrate Nox’s first victory since a calamitous knee injury last year, but Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir didn’t hesitate to rain on their parade. The Submission Magician, who shares a tumultuous history with Kai, mocked the pair and issued a stern warning if they dared join the crowded list of those lining up to challenge the NXT Women's Champion.
At this rate, Killian Dain appears to be picking a new fight every week. Given The Beast of Belfast's destructive capabilities, it’s no wonder why he continues to throw his weight around.
Boa was courageous in his attempt at retribution after being victimized in Dain’s latest rampage last week but could not overcome the bruising Irishman, submitting to a ruthlessly applied half-nelson clutch after three Vader Bombs.
Dain found himself another adversary only moments later, crossing paths with Pete Dunne, who was entering Full Sail for his own scheduled bout with Damian Priest. Unpleasantries were exchanged before Dain's fingers were snapped in The BruiserWeight's signature fashion. Dunne continued his casual stroll to the ring, and an incensed Dain attempted to follow him after recovering, but he was held back by a bevy of officials.
Though Dunne got the better of Dain in this exchange, rest assured that he hasn’t heard the last from the incensed Northern Ireland Nightmare.
The Archer of Infamy took aim at one of the biggest names NXT has to offer — and hit his mark.
After Damian Priest attacked Pete Dunne earlier this month and asserted his desire for acclaim at The BruiserWeight’s expense, the issue came to a head with a spirited battle this week.
Priest’s bid for infamy was nearly thwarted, with Dunne wearing him out through his trademark joint manipulation. The education in British Strong Style continued largely uninterrupted until Priest defied gravity with a springboard somersault senton to the outside.
Priest continued to pour it on with a cyclone kick, Frankensteiner and "South of Heaven" chokeslam, but it wasn't enough to keep Dunne down.
The matchup seemed to push both beyond their limits, leading to an exchange of devastating strikes and counters of Priest's Reckoning and Dunne's Bitter End.
With both competitors on wobbly legs after an epic fight, Priest's underhanded tactics proved decisive. As Dunne prepared to snap his digits, Priest finessed the two into a tie-up with officialJessika Carr in the corner. That split-second opening was enough for Priest to deliver a savage kick below the belt, creating an opportunity for Priest to hit the Reckoning.
Controversial or not, Priest took another step toward making sure his name lives forever with a victory over Dunne in the record books.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Tommaso Ciampa defeated Angel Garza
- Imperium (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel) (w/ Alexander Wolfe) defeated Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan
- Io Shirai defeated Kayden Carter
- Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic ended in a No Contest in a NXT North American Championship #1 Contendership Match
- Matt Riddle defeated Bronson Reed
- Tegan Nox defeated Taynara Conti
- Killian Dain defeated Boa
- Damian Priest defeated Pete Dunne
Other on-screen talent