Tyler Breeze vs Jaxson Ryker
Tyler Breeze goes one on one with The Forgotten Son’s Jaxson Ryker to open NXT this week. The match is the continuation of a feud started 2 weeks ago when the Forgotten Son’s interrupted “Prince Pretty”’s photoshoot to remind him that this isn’t his NXT any longer.
The match starts slowly as Breeze and Ryker stare each other down before engaging in a momentary collar and elbow tie up. The hold is broken as Breeze retreats but Ryker stalks him across the ring and whips him into the opposite corner.
Breeze maintained his distance before using a waist lock that is quickly abandoned for a side headlock. Ryker lifts Breeze off his feet before kicking him in the stomach doubling Breeze over. Ryker lifts Breeze back to a vertical base by his hair to taunt him, before Breeze delivers a series of punishing strikes backing Ryker into the far corner.
Ryker then catches Breeze as he goes for a clothesline in the corner holding him aloft with one arm before slamming him into the canvas with ease. Jaxson then delivered a series of forearms to the prone man not allowing him to get back up. Jaxson then begins to ragdoll Tyler depositing him into the corner and driving his knee into Tyler’s face several times before giving a brutal pendulum backbreaker in the center of the ring for a near fall.
Jaxson is quick to his feet after the near fall repositioning himself for what looks to be a cross face chokehold of sorts wrenching on the lower back of the affected man. Tyler’s face is etched with pain as he struggles for breath and purchase on the mat, desperately attempting to break the hold.
The hold is broken after several long moments when Breeze regains a vertical base and drives his elbow repeatedly into Jaxson’s stomach. Jaxson however, seems unfazed by this apparent second wind as he delivers a kidney shot once again causing the smaller man to fall. Breeze is again brought to his feet and another pendulum backbreaker is administered.
Tyler begins to fight back after Jaxson’s taunts by delivering a leaping knee to the face and following that up with a series of dropkicks. His momentum is stalled however by the always present sons when Steve Cutler finds his way to the apron to momentarily distract Tyler.
This allows Jaxson precious seconds to recover as he brings him up into what would be a devastating chokeslam. The hold is reversed by Breeze though who rolls through Jaxson’s legs bringing the larger man to the mat and pinning him for the win.
After the match, the Forgotten Sons begin to beat the victorious Breeze before Fandango makes his WWE return and NXT (in its current format. Fandango appeared on 3 seasons of NXT when it was a reality game show) debut to save his friend. The pair string together some impressive offensive strikes while clearing the ring of Forgotten Sons before sharing a hug in the center of the ring.
A great opening match that further established Tyler Breeze as a legitimate singles star and the debut of one of the most popular lower mid-card wrestlers on the main roster in a very long time.
After the match, we were given a recap package of Io Shirai and Kasey Catanzaro match that was broken up by Candace LeRay when she attacked Shirai from behind with a steel chair. We then got a “live” look at Candace in the parking lot in her ring gear pacing back and forth with no indication on if or when we would see them face off in a ring again. I would hazard a guess that they’ll be booked for the first-ever women’s Extreme Rules match in NXT history at TakeOver Toronto.
Bronson Reed vs. Cameron Grimes
The second match of the night was the second and final semi-final match in the NXT BreakOut Tournament which saw Bronson Reed take on Cameron Grimes. Grimes was most recently seen outside of a WWE ring as the 3 time X Division champion and one-time tag team champion Trevor Lee in Impact Wrestling.
The match started quickly as Reed chased down the quicker Grimes forcing him into a collar and elbow tie up and backing him into the corner pressing himself against the much smaller man before being forced to break by the official. Following the break, Grimes came firing out of the corner to be wrapped up in a waist lock and flung across the ring by Reed who dared him to get up and try him.
Grimes was quick to his feet slipping behind the larger man to hit him in the kidneys and momentarily lock him in with a side headlock before whipping himself off the ropes only to be taken down by a shoulder tackle from Reed. Reed then goes for the quick cover which is broken at one.
Bronson moves into a chokehold wrenching Grimes bodyweight around driving his windpipe into his forearm. Cameron is able to return to a vertical base before stomping on the toes of Bronson causing him to break the hold before delivering a series of clubbing blows to the Bronsons neck and shoulders temporarily stunning him Then bringing into a side headlock maintaining control of the larger man.
Bronson lifts Cameron off his feet angling for a side suplex before he is able to roll back over his shoulders and strike again between the shoulder blades. After a few more blows Cameron begins to whip himself off of the ropes again before he is met with a standing crossbody from Reed.
Reed is the first to his feet as he backs Grimes into the corner to deliver a series of chops. The paler man’s skin turning bright red in the process. He then drives his shoulder into Grimes’ stomach before drilling the man across the face and neck with his fists before being forced to break by the official. Grimes then exits the ring and begins to run away from Reed who chases him around before rolling back into the ring and catching a basement dropkick to the face from Grimes.
Grimes then delivers a series of big kicks to Reed’s face while reed regains his feet. Grimes attempts to whip Reed into the ropes but he is not budged before Grimes whips himself of the ropes and delivers a massive lariat finally causing the man to fall. Grimes then covers for a near fall broken up at 2.
Cameron and Bronson are back to their feet again before Cameron catches him with a dropkick and transitions into a seated armbar and chin lock combo. He continues to wretch the larger man’s neck with a fishhook grip before Bronson is able to break free. Bronson scoops Cameron who is able to wriggle free and again goes to work on his back and shoulders.
Hammering them with huge forearm strikes. Grimes then goes to run the ropes presumably for another lariat attempt before being caught in a powerslam. Bronson then begins to strike him with his forearms and a 12 to 6 elbow across the crown of his skull. Bronson then delivers a Samoan drop and Senton splash before moving into a pinning predicament which is broken at 2 by Grimes placing his foot on the rope.
Grimes and Reed then trade strikes in the center of the ring before Reed delivers a seemingly knockout punch to Grimes bringing the arms of his singlet down to his waist. The true sign that a singlet wrestler is done playing around. Reed runs the ropes before Grimes comes off his position to deliver a leaping double stomp for the pin.
Cameron Grimes advances to the finals of the NXT BreakOut Tournament against Jordan Myles. The winner earns the chance to challenge for the NXT title of their choosing a huge opportunity to be placed amongst the top men NXT has to offer.
This was a really great match that built both men as powerhouse talents while establishing that Cameron’s gas tank was just a little bit bigger. I cannot wait to see what this pair gets up to in the future.
Following the match, we were shown a series of promo packages the first from Matt Riddle who challenged Killian Dane to face him head on instead of attacking him from behind. The match was announced for next week’s program.
Next, we were given an in-ring promo from NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler who took the opportunity to call out Mia Yim saying.
“You attacked Marina and Jessamyn from behind. We are professional fighters. And that’s exactly why you haven’t even boarded the plane to Toronto yet and you’ve already lost. This is not the street, this is not a back alley. This is the biggest stage of your professional career and under those lights, in front of tens of thousands of fans in attendance, I’m going to put you to sleep. Because street rats don’t survive very long in my world.”
Baszler was prevented from saying anything more as she was interrupted by Mia Yim. Yim came to the ring with a smile on her face asking Shayna, “What happened to your friends Jessamyn and Marina? I didn’t see nothin’.” She then got into the ring with Baszler cutting a promo against her stating, “This street rat is going to bring you something you can’t train for.”
The pair traded jabs back and forth for a moment before Baszler’s music mercifully played allowing us to move along. While neither is particularly skilled on the mic at this time I do think that Shayna got the better of the confrontation establishing herself as better qualified and better prepared to hold the NXT Women’s title.
Following that, we went back outside to Candace LeRay now joined by NXT General Manager William Regal. Regal told LeRay that she would not find what she wants there that night as Shirai is not here. LeRay then asked for a match at TakeOver that was then granted by Regal.
Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong
The main event of the night saw two-thirds of the TakeOver Toronto North American Title triple threat match face-off as Roderick Strong met Pete Dunne in one on one competition for the first time since their instant classic at NXT TakeOver WarGames match last year.
The two men locked up in a collar and elbow tie up before moving quickly into a more mat based match. Roderick then used a chop block to move into a pinning predicament which was quickly broken up before Pete moved to try for an ankle lock of his own. Both men got back to their feet quickly staring each other down before Roderick used a headlock to maintain control and manipulate Pete before the hold was broken.
After breaking the hold Dunne moved into an octopus hold stretching Strong’s midsection before he was able to force a rope break. Following the rope break, Strong began battering Dunne across the ribs backing him into the corner of the ring. Then he began to stomp him in the corner before being forced to break.
Strong continued his domination over Dunne striking viciously before Dunne was able to create some separation and run the ropes delivering a massive lariat to turn the momentum. Dunne then utilized his chicken wing stomp onto the already damaged digits of Strong in the center of the ring.
Following the stomp, Pete began to manipulate and hyperextend the joints in Roderick’s hand before administering a penalty kick to his elbow. Pete was then Irish whipped by strong into the far corner before being hauled up onto his shoulders in a torture rack position and being brought down hard to the mat onto his back.
Roderick then began stomping on Pete’s face before administering a pendulum backbreaker. Roderick then trapped Pete under the rope pulling his neck up against it by his hair. Roderick utilized almost the full 5 count before breaking the hold. Roderick then proceeded to stomp and taunt Dunne while the crowd attempted to encourage him.
Dunne was able to find his feet again administering a series of outside leg kicks before being felled by a dropkick. After trading strikes for a few moments Strong lifted Dunne to the top turnbuckle to attempt a superplex before being sent hard into the canvas by Dunne who then administered a missile dropkick to the prone man. Strong then whipped Dunne into the ropes and he ran up them doing a backflip over Strong’s head to land behind him and deliver a step up enziguri followed by a release suplex and a penalty kick for a two count.
Following the near fall, Roderick had Pete in a waist lock and threw him back over his shoulders. However, Pete landed on his feet and took this opportunity to deliver another PK to the man causing him to collapse to the mat. Pete then hauled Roderick up for a powerbomb and a near fall.
Dunne then climbed to the top turnbuckle to dive to the outside after Strong rolled out of the ring only to be stopped when Strong brought him down hard onto his lower back on the apron. Strong rolled Dunne back into the ring for a near fall. Strong then began to administer a series of huge strikes and backbreakers for another near fall at 2.
Dunne and Strong make their way shakily to their feet following the fall before trading strikes. Strong lifts Dunne into an Olympic slam then lifts him for another before Dunne reverses it into a DDT. Dunne and Strong both make it to their feet beating the TKO count at 3 and trade strikes across the ring. Dunne again goes to the corner turnbuckle before Dunne fights him off momentarily before Strong again gains the upper hand moving them into a botched sunset flip powerbomb.
Following a reversed Bitter End Strong completes a Tiger Driver for a near fall then moving into the Stronghold. Dunne is able to break the hold locking Strong into a triangle hold snapping his fingers and forcing the submission for the win. Following the match, Velveteen Dream attempted to sneak up on the victorious Dunne for a cheap shot but is caught and has his fingers snapped as well.
Show Grade: B- A fun episode that re-debuted a few fan favorites and moved most storylines along effectively.