NXT Tag Team Champions Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) def. Breezango
While I didn't think the titles were ever in jeopardy of changing hands here, this was still a very enjoyable opener with great work from both teams. Breezango are funny when they want to be (I got a kick out of them parodying Imperium's entrance), but they can also hold their own in the ring and hang with the best of them. They looked credible in defeat and the chaos transpiring at ringside with Indus Sher and Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch served as a distraction so they didn't have to lose clean.
Damian Priest def. Killian Dain
It's been months since we last saw Dain on NXT TV, so I'm glad he's back, even though it was in a losing effort. Between Priest facing Dain here and later getting his tires slashed by Cameron Grimes (who he'll face next week), it looks like Priest may officially be a babyface. With Matt Riddle and reportedly Dominik Dijakovic moving on to the main roster, I can't say I'm surprised. We'll see how he fares in the role, but so far so good. This was a fun hoss fest with Dain scoring plenty of offense before eating defeat.
Aliyah def. Xia Li
Aliyah vs. Li wins the award for longest-reigning rivalry that I couldn't care less about. Li has potential, but Aliyah is a lost cause at this point in my opinion. Even though she won here, I don't see her fortunes changing alongside Robert Stone. This was a completely forgettable bout that didn't leave me looking forward to seeing what's next for Aliyah. Plus, the puking? This was trash.
NXT North American Champion Keith Lee, Johnny Gargano and Finn Balor Interrupted NXT Champion Adam Cole
The NXT Championship picture was already interesting after Karrion Kross officially set his sights on the title last week (through Scarlett, that is), but it's even more stacked now that Lee, Gargano and Balor have thrown their names into the hat. Segments like this one are usually pretty paint-by-numbers, but this played out nicely because how everyone does have a legitimate claim to be competing for the championship. William Regal announced that Lee, Gargano and Balor will meet in a Triple Threat next week with the winner challenging Cole to a Winner Takes All match on July 8th (which will go head-to-head with Night 2 of AEW's Fyter Fest).
Dakota Kai def. Kayden Carter
Kai beat Kacy Catanzaro in a short and sweet squash match last week, so it was only logical that she beat Catanzaro's friend Carter here. It wasn't as entertaining because Carter isn't as polished as Catanzaro it seems, but it still served its purpose in giving Kai another victory. It will be interesting to see if Kai and Raquel Gonzalez vie for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship at some point.
Bronson Reed def. Leon Ruff
For a guy Reed's size, I'm stunned he seems to have lost a majority of his matches in NXT over the last year. He's super talented to boot, so he really should be focused on more. This quick and decisive squash gave me hope, but then it became clear afterward when he called out Kross that he was simply thrown a bone here so he can lose to Kross next week. Oh well, at least it should be a hell of a match, assuming it's competitive.
NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar, Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde Attacked Drake Maverick
As I said last week, Escobar is the complete package and I absolutely love this new mafia-esque gimmick of his, though I've heard that he's actually been doing it since his days in Mexico. Having Mendoza and Wilde by his side is smart and I appreciated how he explained his actions here. Maverick is the perfect foil for Escobar and his lackeys and I'm excited for their eventual rematch for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks and SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley def. Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan nox
The WWE Women's Tag Team Championship has been defended in NXT only once before (back in October to be exact), so this was a special treat, especially because Bayley and Banks were involved and they haven't wrestled on the brand in years. Nox and Blackheart haven't teamed a ton, but they had strong chemistry as partners and came close to clinching the tag titles on a few occasions. Although they fell short, I'm not too disappointed with the outcome just because Bayley and Banks should probably be champs for a little longer. I'm curious if Io Shirai will face Bayley or Banks on an upcoming episode of NXT (as a way to boost the ratings) or if this was the extent of her interacting with them.
I liked how the tag title matches opened and closed the show, as both bouts delivered regardless of how predictable the outcomes were. The stuff in the middle was effective as well in furthering feuds and setting the stage for next week's episode. I'm digging Santos' new stable, Priest and Grimes have a decent thing going, the NXT Championship scene is loaded at the moment, and there are stories with the women outside of the NXT Women's Championship hunt. Not everything is lighting the world on fire (Aliyah's newfound push comes to mind), but the shows hold my interest and leave me satisfied at the moment.
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