Welcome to Ringside News’ coverage of WWE NXT. Please keep refreshing throughout the show for constant updates once it kicks off at 8:00 PM EST.
For tonight’s episode of NXT, three big segments are set for this go-home edition right before NXT TakeOver: 31.
First up, NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai will team up with NXT North American Champion Damian Priest to take on their TakeOver challengers, Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae. Both of these champions will defend their titles at TakeOver, but who will gain the momentum going into their matches, the challengers or the champions? Find out tonight.
Also, Dakota Kai and Shotzi Blackheart look to settle their differences in the ring tonight. Shotzi and Kai and been at odds since their dust-up during last week’s battle royal, and they look to go head-to-head tonight.
Finally, NXT Champion Finn Balor will come face-to-face with his TakeOver challenger Kyle O’Reilly. WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels will host this face-to-face meeting between The Prince and O’Reilly just 5 nights before they face off for the black and gold brand’s top title.
How will NXT build to their next big show? We will begin coverage when NXT goes live at 8:00 PM, EST!
We get a recap of the Gauntlet Eliminator Match including how Velveteen Dream cost Kushida to be the first elimination and O’Reilly ran the gauntlet. Then, we see a recap of Candice LeRae winning the women’s battle royal and Johnny Gargano attacking Damian Priest.
Shotzi Blackheart vs. Dakota Kai (w/Raquel Gonzalez)
Kai starts the match by taunting Shotzi, but Shotzi won’t stand for it. She takes the attack to Kai and runs at her, eventually getting in a waist lock. Kai drops Shotzi and goes for a PK, Shotzi catches her and rolls her up for two.
Shotzi hits an inverted atomic drop, then hits a leg drop on Kai. Shotzi hits Kai with some arm drags, then hits an armbreaker into a rollup pin for two. Shotzi takes Kai down by picking the leg, locking in a submission on Kai. Kai is able to reverse into an attempted armbar. Shotzi creates separation with an armdrag.
Kai and Shotzi trade blows, and Kai pins Shotzi in the corner with a boot to the neck. Shotzi fights out of the corner, but Kai pins her back into the corner with a boot. Kai hits a suplex and pins for two. Kai hits Shotzi with a forearm to the face, then chokes Shotzi agains the ropes.
Kai backs up and runs at Shotzi, but Shotzi trips her into the middle rope. Shotzi runs at Kai, but Gonzalez helps Kai avoid Shotzi’s attack. Kai gets behind Shotzi and hits a backbreaker, then pins her for two, and we go to commercial.
Back from commercial and Shotzi hits Kai with a dropkick into the corner. Shotzi hits a reverse slingblade out of the corner, then stalks Kai. Shotzi hits Kai with a knee to the head, then a forearm smash and an enziguri. Kai lands on the middle rope and Shotzi hits a senton onto Kai.
Shotzi hits a chicken wing suplex on Kai and covers her for two. Kai crawls to her feet in the corner and Shotzi runs at her, but Kai takes her down with double knees to the face. Kai covers Shotzi for two. Kai picks up Shotzi for a Go to Kick, but Shotzi escapes.
Shotzi dumps Kai to the apron, but Kai kicks Shotzi in the face, sending her to the apron. They trade strikes and kicks on the apron. Kai hits a Scorpion Kick on Shotzi and goes for a pump kick, but Shotzi blocks it and hits a Switchblade Kick, then hits Kai with a Sliced Bread #2 on the apron, but comes down hard on her neck and head on the apron.
Shotzi gets back in the ring and runs the ropes to hit a dive, but Gonzalez trips up Shotzi in the ring. Rhea Ripley comes out and attacks Gonzalez, preventing her from getting further invovled. Kai uses the distraction to try and hit a facewash kick on Shotzi, but Shotzi dodges and rolls up Kai, pinning her for three.
Winner: Shotzi Blackheart
We get an interview hosted by Tom Phillips with both Isaiah “Swerve” Scott and NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar. Scott says that he has never had a fair shot against Escobar for the title, and he is still the only person that has pinned Escobar.
Escobar says that Swerve is a parasite that he can’t get rid of. He says Scott is a loose end, and Escobar ties up loose ends. He says that he promises to have a fair match with Swerve at TakeOver.
Scott says that any time they have a match, there’s always some sort of trick. Escobar says that those are all just excuses because Swerve can’t deliver when it matters. Scott says that he will overcome whatever Escobar will throw at him this weekend and show everyone that Escobar is a fraud.
Escobar comes back by saying that the difference between them is that Scott makes everything about himself while Escobar tried to bring the luchador style back to the cruiserweight division, and he will bury Scott. Scott says, “I’d like to see you try,” and that’s it.
Up next, we will have a Prime Target segment on the journey of Kyle O’Reilly, right after this commercial break.
We get another vignette for the return of an NXT superstar at NXT TakeOver: 31. This week’s vignette further confirms that this person is a former NXT Superstar, but there are no more clues than that.
In Prime Target, we get a look at Kyle O’Reilly that paints him as a very sympathetic underdog. After Prime Target, we get a reminder of the Face-to-Face meeting between Finn Balor and Kyle O’Reilly later tonight, then we go to commercial.
Back from commercial and we are told that Tegan Nox suffered a torn ACL after the attack from Candice LeRae last week. Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae are interviewed backstage and Gargano says that its karma for breaking his TV.
They are asked about their upcoming match against Damian Priest and Io Shirai. Gargano says that it is their destiny to be NXT North American and NXT Women’s Champion, and that destiny starts tonight in the main event.
Cmaeron Grimes comes out and says that he is creating a match called the Cameron Grimes Invitational Stepping Stones to the Moon Match.
Grimes introduces a man that he calls Johnny Pistachio, then hits a Cave In on him immeidately and pins him for three.
Grimes calls for a man named Joey Strong, and Joey Strong comes tumbling out of the back. Ridge Holland appears and beats Joey Strong. Ridge Holland gets in the ring and hits Grimes with a headbutt, then the match starts.
Cameron Grimes vs. Ridge Holland
Holland hits a suplex on Grimes, then lays into him with punches and kicks. He kicks at Grimes until Grimes isn’t moving and he continues to kick at Grimes until the referee calls off the match.
Winner: Cameron Grimes
Grimes wins by DQ, but Holland stands tall over a demolished Grimes before walking to the back.
Austin Theory is interviewed backstage about his match against Priest. He says that he shouldn’t have been in a match against Damian Priest, but he should have been in the Gauntlet Eliminator. He calls out O’Reilly for taking so long to get an NXT title match and how O’Reilly needs to catch up to Theory.
We get a video package from Kushida talking about how he is going to beat Velveteen Dream at NXT TakeOver, and “the new Kushdia is vicious.” Kushida is in action after this commercial break.
Back from commercial and we head right into the next match.
Kushida vs. Tony Nese
Nese taunts Kushida but Kushida hits Nese with an enziguri, then boots Nese in the face and kicks him in the midsection. Nese gets the upperhand by hitting Kushida in the throat then hits a diving slingshot on Kushida over the top rope.
Nese tries to toss Kushida into the ringpost, but Kushida reverses and tosses Nese into the post. Back in the corner, Kushida hits two armbreakers on Nese then kicks away at him until he stops moving. Kushida locks in the Hoverboard Lock and Nese immediately taps out.
As Kushida celebrates in the ring, the lights turn purple and Velveteen Dream appears on the tron and talks about how he will beat Kushida at TakeOver no matter which version of Kushida shows up.
Cameron Grimes is backstage and asked about Ridge Holland. He says that he doesn’t care about Ridge Holland and tries to walk away, but he walks right into Dexter Lumis, who has seemingly returned. Grimes calls Lumis a freak and walks away as we go to commercial.
Back from commercial and Adam Cole is in the ring with a mic. Cole says that for the last three years, Undisputed Era have dominated NXT and they have been able to do whatever they wanted. He says that things have changed and people now think they can say whatever they want about Undisputed Era and won’t face any consequences.
Cole says that they are still the same Undisputed Era. Cole calls out Austin Theory for what he said about Kyle O’Reilly. Cole asks Theory to come out and try to say the same things that he said before to Cole’s face.
Theory comes out but won’t come down the ramp. Cole says that Theory can either come down and face Cole now or Undisputed Era will come out and attack Theory.
Theory decides to get in the ring and the bell rings.
Adam Cole vs. Austin Theory
Cole is unleashed and kicks away at Theory in the corner. Cole hits Theory with a pump kick then a neckbreaker. Theory tries to create sepearation, but Cole won’t let up. Theory rolls out of teh ring and tries to walk away, but Cole catches him with a pump kick outside of the ring.
Cole tosses Theory face first into the apron, then breaks the count. Cole tosses Theory into the steel steps, then back into the ring. Theory tries to grab Cole’s hair, but Cole hits him with an enziguri from the outside.
Cole gets back in the ring and kicks Theory, then hits him with a suplex. Theory tries to fight back, but Cole ties up Theory in the corner and hits him with a dropkick. Cole locks in a headlock on Theory.
Theory escapes and runs the ropes, but Cole hits him with an elbow to the face, sending him down to the mat. Cole tosses Theory into the corner. Cole dumps Theory to the apron, but Theory hits a rolling thunder dropkick from the outside onto Cole, and we go to commercial.
Back from commercial and Theory hits a leaping stomp on Cole. Theory locks in a headlock on Cole, but Cole fights back to his feet. Theory hits a backbreaker on Cole, then a standing moonsault, covering Cole for two.
Cole gets to his feet and takes Theory down with back elbows and a pump kick. Cole hits Theory with an enziguri and a backstabber, then pins Theory for two. Cole picks up Theory, then tosses him ito the ropes, connects wth a pump kick, then an ushigoroshi and Cole pins Theory again for two.
Cole goes to the corner and goes for Panama Sunrise, but Theory blocks it and hits a kick to the back of Cole’s head. Theory hits Cole with a blue thunder bomb and pins him, but Cole kicks out at two.
Theory taunts Cole, but Cole comes back with strikes to the face. They trade blows, but Cole eventually takes Theory down with a superkick. Theory rolls to the apron and goes for another rolling thunder move, but Cole catches him with a pump kick and an ushigoroshi again, then hits Theory with a Last Shot and pins Theory for the win.
Winner: Adam Cole
Cole cuts a promo directly into the camera and says that O’Reilly was born ready and there is no one who wants a title match more. Cole says that this weekend, O’Reilly will shock the world. Cole taunts at the top of the entrance ramp and we go to commercial.
Back from commercial and Damian Priest and Io Shirai are interviewed about their upcoming main event tag team match. Priest says that tonight is a preview of TakeOver and they are going to take care of business tonight. Shirai cuts a promo in Japanese and then they both compliment each other in English as they go their separate ways.
Kayden Carter (w/Kacy Catanzaro) vs. Xia Li
Carter and Li lock up, trading pinfall attempts and leverage, but eventually end up back on even fotting. Carter is able to get in a waistlock and rolls it into a pinfall attempt. Carter hits a dropkick on Li when Li kicks out, the pins Li again, but Li rolls to the outside.
Li pulls Carter’s legs out from under her then punches Carter in the face. Li drags Carter to the outside and tosses her to the ground outside. Carter rolls back into the ring and Li stomps away at Carter, then pins her for two.
Li backs up and hits Carter with leaping knee strikes, taking Carter to the mat. Li repeatedly tries to cover Carter, but Carter continues to kick out. Li goes for a third pin on Carter, but Carter kicks out again and Li is clearly frustrated.
Li picks up Carter and Carter unleashes strikes and hits Li with a huge kick to the head. Carter goes for the sunset flip, but Li rolls through and tris to pin Carter. Carter kicks out and rolls up Li into her own pinfall attempt and catches Li for the pinfall victory.
Winner: Kayden Carter
Carter offers a handshake to Li after the match but Li ignores it. Carter picks up Li to her feet and again goes for a handshake, but Li shoves Carter to the mat. Li tries to leave the ring, but Catanzaro stops her, grabbing her by the hand. but Li shakes off Catanzaro’s hold and we go to commercial as Li walks to the back.
Back from commercial and Shanw Michaels is sitting at a table with the NXT Championship on the table. He introduces Finn and O’Reilly and they shake hands, then sit across the table.
Finn says that he has a huge amount of respect for O’Reilly and he is looking forward to their match. O’Reilly says the feeling is mutual.
Michaels asks Finn how he plans to prepare for O’Reilly. Balor talks about how good Kyle O’Reilly is and says the O’Reilly has proven himself all over the world as a singles competitor. O’Reilly talks about how Finn is good at stroking his own ego and how he thinks that Finn is certain to lose at NXT.
Finn asks O’Reilly if O’Reilly will show up “with Undisputed Era” or by himself “like a man.” He says that this Sunday isn’t about Undisputed Era, it’s about O’Reilly. Michaels brings up how O’Reilly winning the NXT Championship could cause conflict between O’Reilly and Cole.
O’Reilly says that he is very different from Adam Cole, but before O’Reilly can finish his thought, Finn says that he is going to slap O’Reilly around. O’Reilly confidently says that he will beat Finn.
Finn talks about how he has been wrestling for 20 years, and O’Reilly says that he has been wrestling for 15 years and 5 years doesn’t make a big difference. O’Reilly says that he shouldn’t be considered the underdog, because Finn has never stepped into the ring with someone like Kyle.
O’Reilly says that he will change Finn’s mind. Michaels gives Finn the final word. Finn says that O’Reilly has everything it takes to be NXT Champion, and O’Reilly would be champion if he was challenging anyone else but Finn Balor.
We are told that the mixed tag team match in the main event will be up next, right after this commercial break.
Back from commercial and we head into the main event.
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae vs. NXT North American Champion Damian Priest and NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai
Priest and Shirai drop their coats and belts at the top of the ramp and they run to the ring, going right after Johnny and Candice. Johnny and Candice escape the ring and attempt to regroup as the referee treis to start the match.
Gargano and Priest start the match with teh bell ringing. Gargano ducks kicsk from Priest, but Priest uses his reach to toss Gargano into the corner. Garganod dodges kicks and punches and runs the ropes, but Gargano runs into a big boot.
Priest tosses Gargano across the ring then hits a sidewalk slam on Gargano. Gargano rolls into his corner and tags in Candice, so LeRae and Io become the legal competitors. Candice and Io trade blows. Io goes for a suplex, but Candice rolls her up for a pin for two.
Candice runs the ropes, but Io hits her with a flapjack. Io runs at Candice, but Gargano blocks her. Priest attacks Gargano and Gargano rolls to the outside. Io hits a meteora on Candice in the corner and Candice rolls to the outside. Priest puts Io on his shoulders and walks her to the edge of the ring, and she dives to the outside onto Gargano and Candice as we go to commercial.
Back from commercial and Candice is in control of Io in the ring. We see how Candice was able to get the advantage from a distracted Io after Io hit Gargano with a Tiger Faint Kick. Io hits a shote palm strike on Candice, then a German suplex.
Io tags in and Gargano and Priest tag in. Priest hits a leaping back elbow on Gargano, then hits a Broken Arrow for two. Priest picks up Gargano and goes for a Razor’s Edge, but Gargano escapes and takes Priest down face first.
Priest ducks a kick, then lands an enziguri on Gargano and Io tags in. Io hits a springboard dropkick on Gargano. Candice coems in the ring and locks in a crossface on Candice. Gargano breaks up the crossface by pulling on her leg.
Priest tries to hit Gargano with a chokeslam on the apron, but Gargano reverses and hits a PK on Preist. Io takes Gargano down. Candice tries to take advantage of the distraction, and treis to hit a moonsault, but Io dodges.
Io rolls Candice to the corner to hit a moonsault, but Gargano runs in again and rolls Candice out of the ring. Priest runs in and hits Gargano with a bell clap. Io hits Gargano with a moonsault from the top and tags in Priest.
Priest comes in and goes for The Reckoning. While the referee is distracted trying to get Io out of the ring, Candice runs in and hits Preist with a lowblow. Gargano takes advantage of the low blow and hits One Final Beat on Priest and pins him for the victory.
Winners: Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae
Io runs in the ring and tries to confront Gargano about him taking advantage of the low blow, but Candice comes up behind Io and hits her with a backstabber. Gargano goes to the outside and grabs the NXT North American Championship and the NXT Women’s Championship.
Gargano gets back in the ring and gives Candice the NXT Women’s Championship and the Garganos stand tall in the ring holding the titles above their TakeOver opponents as NXT goes off the air.