Karrion Kross Vacated the NXT Championship
Triple H confirmed in a conference call immediately after TakeOver XXX on Saturday night that Kross was injured in the main event against Keith Lee, and unfortunately, it looks like the injury will keep him out for the foreseeable future. That's a serious bummer. Hopefully he heals up quickly and is back on the sooner side. I think this was the most we've ever heard from him in NXT and he came across well. Fingers crossed he gets a chance to reclaim the NXT Championship and isn't rushed to the main roster.
Breezango def. Imperium (Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel) to Win the NXT Tag Team Championship
The NXT tag team division has been on ice for the better part of the year and it's a shame Imperium's reign suffered as a result of that. They've had a few successful title defenses, but they've largely been an afterthought to the point that they were left off the last two TakeOver specials and both nights of The Great American Bash. Breezango becoming champions doesn't do a lot for me because of how they've been positioned as a comedy act in NXT, but this was an entertaining affair and the title change was a feel-good moment seeing as how neither guy has ever won gold in NXT or WWE.
Tommaso Ciampa def. Jake Atlas
I still have no idea why Ciampa was left off NXT TV for two and a half months (aside from how they may not have had anything for him creatively), but I'm glad he's back now and in heel mode at that. Ciampa worked well as the rebellious babyface, but he's always been in his element as a heel. It might make sense if the idea is that he feels like he was sidelined for no good reason. This was exactly what it needed to be with Ciampa completely dominating Atlas and re-establishing himself as a heel with the brutal post-match attack.
Shotzi Blackheart def. Mia Yim
It's clear NXT sees big things in Blackheart and rightfully so. She's super talented and a really likable babyface, so I'm happy to see the brand investing so much in her. She's been a side character of sorts in recent months, but this win was a significant step forward in cementing her as a true player in NXT's women's division. She and Yim had a fun face vs. face matchup for the time they were allotted. Yim's loss makes me wonder if a main roster call-up for her is imminent.
NXT General Manager William Regal Announced a 60-Minute Iron Man Fatal 4-Way Match for the NXT Championship Next Week
Regal could have simply shown up in the ring and walked away and the segment would have automatically gotten a thumbs-up from me. He's been away for months due to the travel ban and thus it was awesome to have him back here. The timing couldn't have been better as the status of the now-vacant NXT Championship had to be addressed. Ultimately, he settled on booking a 60-minute Iron Man Fatal 4-Way match for next week featuring four former NXT Champions: Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Finn Balor and Adam Cole. That has Match of the Year candidate written all over it. What a hell of a hook for next week's special Tuesday edition of NXT.
NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar def. Isiah "Swerve" Scott
I've been looking forward to these two clashing for a while now following their original encounter in the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament and it was as enjoyable as I hoped it would be. There was room there for it to be a bit more exciting, but I'm hoping they were holding back in case they clash again in the future. I wish Scott had been built up as a bigger threat to the title coming into this contest so the outcome was more in doubt. That said, Escobar loading up the mask and headbutting Scott while wearing it was a clever finish.
Kyle O'Reilly def. Drake Maverick
It feels like Undisputed Era has officially hit a wall in NXT having done all there is to do, but I'll never complain about getting O'Reilly in singles action as the guy is great. This stemmed from Undisputed Era crashing Maverick's match with Killian Dain a few weeks ago. That was why Dain came out afterward and sent Undisputed Era packing. The match itself was fine but too brief to be anything special.
Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez def. NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley
Kai and Shirai killed it at TakeOver and Ripley has unfinished business with both Kai and Gonzalez, so this match managed to accomplish a few different things. It was well wrestled as expected with everyone playing their roles well. Mercedes Martinez interfering was predictable after what Ripley did to her last week and was a logical way of protecting the babyfaces in defeat. I'm guessing this is leading to Ripley vs. Martinez vs. Gonzalez with the winner earning a future shot at the NXT Women's Championship.
Unlike last week, NXT did a terrific job of capitalizing on the fact they went unopposed with AEW Dynamite airing on Thursday night instead of their usual Wednesday slot. Plenty of stuff was advertised in advance, two titles were defended (with one of them changing hands), Ciampa returned, and we got a huge match set up for next week's Tuesday episode. The whole two hours were wonderful to watch and the storyline development in several areas was especially excellent. That's impressive when you consider that their creative plans were probably thrown into disarray when Kross got hurt. On a side note, it was a treat to have Wade Barrett on commentary (which he's been for the NWA since late last year) and I'm looking forward him to being back behind the booth next week.