With WrestleMania weekend and the Superstar Shake-Up now firmly in the past, NXT can finally settle into its new groove. Things have changed around Full Sail. New champions, new talent, and a few stalwarts moving to the main roster. That means it’s time for opportunities. Opportunities to make a statement, build momentum, or snag championships. This week’s episode is filled with opportunities of all kinds, so let’s get to it.
Jaxson Ryker is a big fan of making statements lately, running over a ton of talent in the last few weeks. This week, he’s in the ring against the athletic high-flyer and 205 Live resident Humberto Carrillo. Ryker is all power from the get-go, moving his opponent into the corner and hitting him with forearms. If Carrillo wants a victory, he has to keep the pace up, so he dodges an attack and immediately puts his foot on the gas pedal. He hits Ryker with a flying springboard kick and running headscissors, moving quickly around the ring so that Ryker can’t get his hands on him.
The inevitable can only be delayed for so long though. A little taunt from Carrillo angers Ryker, and that spells bad news for the cruiserweight. Ryker hits him with The Widowmaker and then takes him to the outside and lays an absolutely devastating beating on him, forcing the ref to ring the bell. Ryker slams Carrillo into everything he can find, until Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch—who have more than their fair share of issues with the Forgotten Sons—come out to the ring and fight off the sons with steel chairs, setting the stage for a brutal match sometime in the future.
After a fantastic backstage segment where Adam Cole is clearly mad that Roderick Strong is facing off against Johnny Gargano in the main event, and a perfectly chill Matt Riddle laughs about “all the drama,” we’re on to women’s tag team action, with Vanessa Borne and Aliyah hoping to make Candice LeRae pay for her dismissive words from a few weeks ago. LeRae doesn’t have a natural tag team partner, but she comes with a stellar teammate this time around: Kacy Catanzaro, who really impressed in this year’s Women’s Royal Rumble.
Catanzaro starts the match against Aliyah, who has the size advantage but can’t overcome Catanzaro’s impressive, dynamic offense early on. So, Borne and Aliyah double team the former American Ninja Warrior, and Borne takes control of the match with a number of power moves, including some nasty stomps in the corner. It’s a case of Borne and Aliyah having worked together many times before. They clearly have chemistry, and that allows them to work over Catanzaro for a large chunk of the match.
Eventually though, Catanzaro makes the tag, and LeRae goes to work. It’s a baseball slide dropkick to Aliyah, followed by kicks and a step-up senton on Borne. She follows that up with a springboard moonsault that gets all sort of height, and gives her and Catanzaro the win.
More backstage action sees Kassius Ohno ask William Regal to face off against Kushida in his debut match in NXT, and then it’s on to the night’s title match, as the Street Profits try to take NXT gold from the War Raiders (aka “The Viking Raiders”). The Raiders aren’t even fully down the ramp when Montez Ford comes flying over the top rope, laying out the tag team champions. It’s a frantic start, and Ford immediately gets a near fall off a frog splash when back in the ring. It’s an incredibly close call to start the match and immediately sets the tone.
It’s all out chaos from then on, with guys tagging in and out frantically, the offense hardly ever letting up. The first portion of the match sees both teams trading blows, until the Raiders take some control and slow things down, keeping Angelo Dawkins grounded and isolated in their corner. Dawkins fights back and drops Rowe (aka “Erik”) with a right hand, and makes the tag to Ford to take on Hanson (aka “Ivar”).
Ford throws everything at him, but can’t get the big man off his feet, until he lifts the man up, holds him in a suplex, and then slams him to the mat. The War Raiders are on the defensive after that, with Ford and Dawkins coming close to a win again off a double team move. A handspring double elbow, coupled with some tandem offense, gets the Raiders back in control, and they earn the victory, and retain their championships, at the expense of the Street Profits.
Then, it’s our main event, as Johnny Gargano looks to start picking apart Undisputed Era by beating Roderick Strong. Both men are technicians, which means there’s a ton of back-and-forth chain wrestling to start the match, until Strong makes his way to the outside and lays out Gargano with a half nelson suplex on the apron. With the match in his control, Strong does what he does best, hitting the champion with backbreakers and keeping him on the mat with submissions.
Strong is all over the NXT Champion, but Gargano refusing to stay down causes him frustration. He’s angry after a few pin attempts don’t get the job done, and Gargano starts to ask Strong for more. Still, Strong stays on top of him, until Gargano gets in his own offense on the outside, whipping Strong into the steel steps and then getting a near fall in the ring off a slingshot spear.
They fight to the outside again, and Gargano connects with a flip off the apron. He can’t connect with his slingshot DDT, but he does reverse a hurricanrana into a superkick and comes damn close to getting the win. Then, he simply punishes Strong, hitting him with brutal chops in the corner. The two men trade counters from there; they’ve either scouted every move, or their ring IQ is just off the charts. The action goes back and forth, Strong definitely holding his own against the NXT Champion and coming close to getting the victory a handful of times.
The Gargano Lock on Strong brings out Adam Cole and the rest of Undisputed Era, and things go off the rails. Cole tries to distract Gargano, but Matt Riddle comes out and lays out O’Reilly and Fish, throwing off Cole, who then accidentally kicks Strong in the face. That gives Gargano the space to hit his slingshot DDT and win the match. After the match, Strong is livid, walking out on his Undisputed buddies. It’s the first crack we’ve seen in the group and could spell bad news for Undisputed Era’s hopes of getting back in the championship scene.
You can watch this week’s NXT on the WWE Network.