This week’s WWE NXT featured a 20-woman battle royal to earn a title shot and the NXT UK Tag Team Titles were on the line as well.
As usual, I will go summary style for the matches instead of a play-by-play review. I’ll do play-by-play for the main event.
The opening video package showed highlights from last week’s show when Cora Jade turned on best friend and fellow Women’s Tag Team Champion Roxanne Perez during Roxanne’s match against Mandy Rose for the NXT Women’s Title. Good job of editing the botched broken skateboard attack.
The commentary team was Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett as usual.
Cameron Grimes vs. JD McDonagh
This is JD’s first match since coming to NXT. He used to wrestle as Jordan Devlin in NXT UK. They exchanged kicks with JD kicking the leg while Grimes got a couple of kicks to the chest. Grimes hit a back body drop along with a high kick knocking JD off the apron to the floor. JD did a unique leg trip leading to a twisting splash. JD wrenched on the left leg a lot while applying an Ankle Lock. Grimes fought back with a cross body block off the top rope while Joe Gacy was looking on from the platform in the building.
Grimes got some offense going with a knee to the ribs and a running kick. JD took control again by ramming Cameron’s left knee against the ring post. JD worked over the leg for a bit, but Grimes came back with a spinning side slam. Grimes really got some offense going with a superkick as the fans came alive. JD managed with a headbutt, but Grimes hit a knee to the face and both guys were down as the fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. JD with a forearm leading to Grimes getting his left knee trapped against the ropes. JD kicked at the leg repeatedly. JD with a high angle belly to back suplex for the pinfall win. They got about 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: JD McDonagh
Analysis: ***1/2 I thought it was a great match. It was smart to have JD get the win since he is just starting out in NXT while he already attacked Bron Breakker a few weeks ago, so you might as well put him over in a match like this. Grimes was terrific as the babyface that kept fighting back while dealing with the injured knee and the fans loved him. The finish could have been different with JD winning by submission by working on the knee instead of slamming on the back. I just think if you work on the knee for most of the match then it should be part of the finish.
There was a promo from Nikkita Lyons talking about how she was going to win the battle royal main event.
Cora Jade was shown walking backstage for a promo after the break.
Tiffany Stratton did a promo about the battle royal later. Tiffany did her annoying voice routine saying she was going to be the next NXT Women’s Champion.
Let’s Hear from Cora Jade
Cora Jade made her entrance with the NXT Women’s Tag Team Title on her right shoulder. The fans booed her. Cora told the fans to “shut the hell up” since she’s a heel now. Cora said she should have stabbed her best friend in the back sooner. Cora claimed she was the face of the NXT Women’s Division for the last year while talking about all the praise people gave her. Cora said after she got Roxanne in the door, your attention went from Cora to Roxanne. Cora said at Great American Bash, she finally became a champion with her best friend. Cora complained about how 30 minutes later, Roxanne decides to cash in her contract and try to beat Mandy for the NXT Women’s Championship. Cora told the fans to go to hell for chanting “Roxy two belts” last week. Cora claimed that Roxanne used her to get into NXT and called Roxanne a “selfish bitch.” Cora admitted that she was the one that attacked Roxanne in the parking lot. The plan was in place for Cora to get the title shot, but then Roxanne came back to ruin the moment. Cora said it felt so good to hit her in the back with the title.
Cora said that Roxanne isn’t there tonight due to a broken heart. Cora said there wasn’t a woman in the battle royal that could beat her. Cora said that this title represents a lie. Cora talked about how the title marks the end of naïve Cora Jade and the beginning of the new Generation of Jade because she’s wired a bit differently these days. Cora dropped the title into a trash can. Ouch. Barrett called it the most disrespectful thing he has seen in the past 25 years and a slap in the face to anybody that has won a championship in this industry. Jade left to boos.
Analysis: I thought it was an effective heel promo explaining why she did what she did, her history with Roxanne and why she no longer cares about the Women’s Tag Team Title she won with Roxanne. It got her a lot of heat just like it was supposed to. They will obviously have a big grudge match with Roxanne and Cora at the next major NXT show. Barrett’s line about the most disrespectful thing with a title is a reference to Madusa tossing the WWF/E Women’s Title into a trash can on WCW Nitro.
Xyon Quinn was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Quinn said good for Cora since she didn’t need Perez. Quinn said next week he finally gets what he wants – a match against Apollo Crews. Quinn said Crews couldn’t cut it in the big leagues, but that’s okay because not everybody has the X-Factor like he does and Quinn said it will be on full display next week.
Roderick Strong entered for singles action.
There was a promo from Indi Hartwell talking about how she’s going to win the battle royal.
Roderick Strong vs. Damon Kemp
Strong is the mentor to Kemp in the Diamond Mine group. Kemp showed off his power with a spinning slam and elbow drop for two. Strong lifted up Kemp with a gutbuster slam onto the knee. Strong was in control for a few minutes. Kemp got a knee up to block a Strong attack and hit a clothesline along with a suplex across the ring. They did a double clothesline spot to knock both guys down. Tony D’Angelo appeared on the screen where it was shown that Tony and his crew were beating up The Creed Brothers, so it was 4 on 2. Kemp wanted to go help his guys, but Strong hit a jumping knee to the face for the pinfall win. It went about six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Roderick Strong
Analysis: **1/2 A solid match here with Kemp using his power moves throughout the match, but the crafty veteran Strong got the win. It was also a cheap win since Strong took advantage of Kemp looking at the video screen and that allowed Strong to hit the jumping knee.
They showed the Pretty Deadly duo talking about how great they looked. They said it was time to “Cowboy Up” to get back the NXT UK Tag Team Titles.
Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen were shown talking with Fallon Henley. They were excited about their first NXT UK Tag Team Title defense. Jensen said they’ll give them a “country ass whooping.”
The Creed Brothers were shown backstage with Julius helping up Brutus. Roderick Strong showed up, The Creed Brothers said that they got jumped and Strong said that they should have beat them up. Damon Kemp showed up, so Strong yelled at him for not getting there sooner. Strong said that Tony D started this, but they’re going to finish it.
Analysis: It’s going to set up an eight-man tag team match between the two teams.
Pretty Deadly had on some cowboy-style outfits to mock the country-loving champions Briggs & Jensen. The fans were solidly behind Briggs & Jensen during their entrance.
NXT UK Tag Team Championships: Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen (w/Fallon Henley) vs. Pretty Deadly (Kit Wilson & Elton Prince)
Jensen was aggressive against Prince (blonde hair) to start the match, but Prince tagged in with a forearm to the back. Briggs got the tag leading to a double team shoulder tackle by the champions along with double punches to the face. They did a spot where Jensen sent Prince out of the ring and Prince bumped into Henley, who bumped to the floor, so Briggs and Jensen didn’t like that.
The match returned with the challengers taking over as they worked over Jensen in the heel corner. Pretty Deadly did a double suplex so that Jensen’s ribs went across the top rope. Prince kept Jensen isolated with a front headlock and then he let go leading to a running forearm. Jensen avoided a corner attack, so that led to Briggs making the hot tag. Briggs was on fire with a boot to the face, sidewalk slam and a splash. Prince and Briggs did a double cross body block spot. When they got up, they did a double clothesline spot. Prince gave Wilson one of the Tag Team Titles, then he threw the other title into Briggs and Jensen kicked Wilson while on the floor. Henley managed to get the title from Wilson, the referee was looking at that and Jensen/Briggs did a high low clothesline/chop block double team move for the pinfall win. Jensen was illegally in the ring, but the referee never saw it. This went about 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen
Analysis: *** I thought it was a pretty good tag team match. The heels isolated one of the faces for most of it, then there was the big comeback and some nearfalls after that. The faces managed to avoid the cheating by the heels and Briggs-Jensen hit the big double team move for the win. That was a good example of how you use a referee distraction to do a double team move to win a match. Yes, it was a babyface team doing it, but it was also because they were trying to stop the heels from cheating. When I watch AEW shows, they never try to do moves behind the referee and instead they just do it right in front of the referee. That’s a frustrating thing when I watch AEW. I don’t mean to trash AEW here, but I had to point it out using this example.
Joe Gacy talked to his two Dyad members about how they have followed his guidance over the last ten weeks. Gacy said it’s time for them to emerge and told them there is no going back. Gacy revealed it was the former Grizzled Young Veterans with new names – Jagger Reid and Rip Fowler. They talked about finding joy in truly being recognized. Gacy welcomed them home.
Analysis: I figured it would be the GYV guys with new names. It’s no more James Drake and Zack Gibson. They are talented in-ring performers, so hopefully these new names work out for them.
Bron Breakker was shown with the NXT Title in the parking lot. Bron was looking for JD McDonagh and was pointed to go into the building.
Wes Lee was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Lee talked about Grayson Waller complaining about him and he’s heard worse from people that he actually respects. Lee said that next week, Waller can blame himself for his loss next week and then he’s going to beat Trick Williams after that.
Let’s Hear from Bron Breakker
The NXT Champion Bron Breakker made his entrance with some Kinesio tape on his right shoulder. Bron was wearing a tank top and jeans. Bron said at Great American Bash, he went toe to toe with Cameron Grimes and he respected Bron for standing up to him. Bron brought up JD McDonagh doing a cheap attack and putting Bron through a table. Bron told JD that he’s got Bron’s attention and he’ll pay for what he did to Bron.
JD did a promo on the video screen. JD said that he was studying Bron and he faced loads of great competitors. JD said that they were competing against Bron, but he’s going to dissect him. JD mentioned the human shoulder has eight major muscles while talking in front of a dummy. JD said that he knows exactly how to tear tendon from the bone. JD said that there’s only so much trauma before the human brain shuts off. JD wondered if Bron wants to risk his health for that title. Bron told JD to fight him and if he can’t fight his balls, he should take some from the mannequin. JD said that a necessary evil has arrived in NXT. JD said until the next time they see eachother, Bron should take care of that shoulder. Bron said that you can take his shoulder and Bron will beat his ass over the head with it. Bron left.
Analysis: It sure seems like they are building up this as the next NXT Title feud. JD should have to win a match to get a title shot. It’s a bit of a different angle with JD talking about taking out body parts like the shoulder, but it also puts him over as a more cerebral wrestler that is going to try to pick apart his bigger opponent. I thought Bron did a nice job of showing intensity here.
They showed Solo Sikoa at Smackdown in Orlando last Friday. Von Wagner attacked Solo from behind and they got into a brawl. Wagner threw Solo into a steel door repeatedly. Wagner said that he just put the street champion on his ass.
Axiom’s debut is next.
The Diamond Mine group were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. The Creed Brothers were screaming about what happened. Roderick Strong ripped on Tony D’s stupid hat and he said that this is the strongest family in NXT. Julius Creed told Tony to accept the offer and they beat their ass or they reject the offer, but Diamon Mine will still beat their ass.
Analysis: Good intensity by Julius Creed there.
Axiom vs. Dante Chen
They had some slow-motion style clips while Axiom made his entrance. Axiom is the former A-Kid with a mask. Chen got some early offense including a backbreaker along with forearms to the back. Axiom hit an impressive spinning DDT and a Pele Kick. Axiom hit a perfect looking cross body block followed by a jumping superkick for the pinfall win after about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Axiom
Analysis: *1/2 An impressive debut by Axiom in terms of hitting some athletic moves. The finisher looked good, but it’s not like it was a unique move.
There was a promo from Lash Legend talking about the 20-woman battle royal and talked trash about Alba Fyre as well.
Giovanni Vinci was shown outside earlier today. A woman asked him for a picture, so Vinci took a picture of himself. Vinci denied her a photo with him. Chase U parked their bus in front of Vinci’s career, so then the Chase U students chanted “CHASE U” repeatedly and Vinci was frustrated by it.
They showed NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams at the barber shop talking to some of their friends. They talked trash about some of the wrestlers. Hayes got a text telling Williams that Wes Lee was talking trash about Trick. Williams laughed about it. It ended with Melo telling the barber to take care of Trick’s hair.
Next week on NXT:
* Grayson Waller vs. Wes Lee
* Apollo Crews vs. Xyon Quinn
* 8-Man Tag Team Match: Diamond Mine vs. The D’Angelo Family
The Toxic Attraction trio of Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne were interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell. Rose said that Tatum Paxley was going to win, Mitchell asked why her and Rose said whoever wins will be one and done. The promo was interrupted by Ivy Nile, Kiana James and Alba Fyre all talking about how they were going to win.
It was time for the 20-woman battle royal with Alba Fyre making her entrance first with Wade saying she is his pick.
Cameron Grimes was asked about his tough match earlier in the show. Grimes yelled about his recent losses while saying he said “not now” in the past and he said it again. Grimes yelled about how he wanted to go home. Joe Gacy walked up to Grimes saying he knows what he is going through, Grimes said “not now” again and he left the building.
There were more entrances shown for the women’s battle royal.
Tony D’Angelo was interviewed by Mckenzie Mitchell with Tony saying that Diamond Mine is not the strongest unit in NXT. Tony said they accepted the offer, yell all you want and said that next week, Diamond Mine is finished.
They showed a few more entrances for the women’s battle royal including Cora Jade and Zoey Stark, who is back after missing about a year after a torn ACL knee injury. Good to see her back. Stark is a surprise entrant in the match.
It looks like everybody in the above graphic was in the match except for Sarray, so I guess Zoey Stark took her spot.
20-Woman Battle Royal
The winner of this match gets an NXT Women’s Title match against Mandy Rose.
Cora Jade tried to run away, so Ivy Nile chased her and Jade ran to the back. Nile was the first one to do an elimination with a jumping kick on Amari Miller to eliminate Miller. Arianna Grace was celebrating on the apron, so Indi Hartwell kicked her off the apron to the floor. Legend lifted up Fyre for a Powerbomb, but then Fyre did a headscissors sending Legend out of the ring and Fyre went over the top to the floor as well. Choo fell off the apron to the floor, but Wendy landed on a pillow on the floor and got back in. Stark countered a back body drop eliminating Leon, then Stark threw Feroz onto Leon and Stark kicked them down. Kiana James kicked Fallon Henley to eliminate her. Tiffany Stratton used the cup to knock Wendy Choo down to eliminate her.
They showed replays of a few eliminations during the break including Elektra Lopez. The team of Chance and Carter eliminated Ivy Nile, but then Nile pulled Chance down and Lyons knocked Carter off the apron to eliminate her. Tatum Paxley was dealing with Nikkita Lyons in the ring, then she saw Carter/Chance stomping on Nile, so Paxley jumped over the top with a slingshot cross body block to take out Carter/Chance on the floor. That meant that Paxley eliminated herself to prove her loyalty to Nile. There were five women left along with Cora Jade, who wasn’t in the ring. Hartwell went for a kick on Stratton, who moved and Hartwell bumped over the top to the floor.
The four women left were in the corners: Zoey Stark, Nikkita Lyons, Kiana James and Tiffany Stratton. There was also Cora Jade, who was not in the ring. Lyons tried to eliminate Stratton, but James got involved and Lyons splashed James. Lyons with a suplex on Stark across the ring and a spinning back kick. Lyons with a spin kick on James to eliminate James, but then Stratton dumped out Lyons! I think a lot of people picked Lyons to win (including me), so that drew a big pop. Stark sent Stratton over the top to the apron, Stratton got back in and Starks hit a clothesline over the top, but only one foot hit the floor. Stratton went for a handspring corner move, but Stark caught her and suplexed Stratton. Stark lifted Stratton over the top to the apron and Stark hit Stratton with a forearm to eliminate her. Cora Jade finally went back into the ring, she charged at Stark and Stark gave Jade a back body drop over the top to the floor, so Jade was eliminated. Zoey Stark wins after 13 minutes.
Winner: Zoey Stark
Analysis: *** That was a pretty good battle royal that was booked well. Stark did a great job as a babyface that was able to overcome everything and even got rid of a charging Jade. I thought Lyons was going to win, so when Stratton eliminated her it was a big surprise to me. The way they booked Jade was really cheap since she left at the start and came back at the end, which is a good strategy in theory, but it didn’t work.
Post match, Zoey Stark stared up at Mandy Rose of Toxic Attraction since that’s going to an upcoming NXT Women’s Title match. The show ended there.
Analysis: There is no date announced for the match, but there is a rumor that there will be an NXT Premium Live Event in late August, so that’s when they might do that match.
Three Stars of the Show
- Zoey Stark – Welcome back.
- JD McDonagh/Cameron Grimes
- Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen
This week: 7 out of 10
Last week: 5.75
I thought it was a good show this week with better matches than what we typically get during some NXT episodes.
The McDonagh/Grimes match to open the show was the best of the night while the women’s battle royal and NXT Tag Team Title match were both fun to watch. Better matches lead to a better show. Imagine that.
It was good to see Zoey Stark back after missing about nine months with a knee injury. They booked her really strong by winning the women’s battle royal main event. I thought it might be Nikkita Lyons to win, but it didn’t happen. I like Zoey too, so the choice is fine with me.
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