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May 18, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
WWE NXT Preview Steel Cage Match

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Hello there, NXT fans! It’s Tuesday evening, which means we’re back for another episode of WWE’s mid-week brand. I’m Jeremy Thomas, as usual, and tonight we have Johnny Gargano defending the NXT North American Championship against Bronson Reed in a steel cage! Plus another appearance by Ted DiBiase, Zoey Stark vs. Toni Storm, and much more. Should be a fun episode, so without further ado, let’s get right into it.

As a reminder, the GoFundMe for Larry’s daughters is still active and if you can make a donation, that would be awesome. Thank you so much to everyone who’s done so thus far.

* We get a video package previewing tonight’s card, and Toni Storm vs. Zoey Stark is kicking us off.

Toni Storm vs. Zoey Stark

Bell rings and the two face off, with Stark talking trash. Storm walks up slowly and slaps Stark, resulting in Zoey going on the attack. She stomps Toni in the corner and gets shoved out, only to take Toni down with a dropkick. Storm out of the ring and Zoey dives over the ropes onto Storm! Storm rolled into the ring and Stark with a springboard missile dropkick sending Storm back outside. Stark tries for a kick on the apron but Toni grabs her and pulls her leg out from under her, then throws her into the ringsteps and charges in with a hard shot! Storm in and the ref starts the count, Zoey in at eight. Toni takes over and starts staggering Zoey with punches, then stomps her down in the corner. Storm picks Stark up, big suplex and a cover gets two. Storm starts wrenching on the neck, she sends Zoey off the ropes and a big boot gets a two-count. Stark fights back but eats a right hand, and Storm throws her across the ring. Side backbreaker into a back submission, Stark fights free, Storm covers for two again. They trade Euro uppercuts, Stark ducks one and gets a backslide for two! Stark now in control and she levels Toni with a roundhouse, and we’re in PIP break.

Both women slow to get up, but when they do Zoey hits a couple clotheslines and then a high knee in the corner for a pin attempt. Storm kicks out but quickly eats a kick, and Zoey with an open-hand chop in the corner. Storm fights back and takes over with Euro uppercuts, snapmare gets one. Stark fires back with a chop but gets thrown through the ropes to the outside. The count begins, Stark rolls in and manages to surprise Toni with a kneelift. Jackknife cover on Storm gets two but Storm right back in control with a chinlock to wear Zoey down. Stark gets to her feet but gets slammed down, Toni covers for two. Storm with a big shot but Stark fires back, then eats headbutts. But STark is battling back!

Back from PIP break, and Stark has taken over with hard shots. Storm charges at Stark in the corner but eats a superkick, diving clothesline and a diving kick to the head get two. Storm counters out of a suplex, goes for a driver but Stark with a roll into a cover and a half-and-half suplex for two! Stark with knees into Storm’s head, she goes for a flip but Storm counters and hits a German suplex, Storm Zero and STARK KICKS OUT! Toni’s in absolute shock. She grabs Zoey and goes for an innovative brain buster-type move, that gets three.

Winner: Toni Storm (11:22)
Rating: ***
Thoughts: Hot starter that saw both Stark and Storm look good, and gave Storm the win she needed to get some momentum back.

After the match, Franky Monet appears on the stafe! She’s making her in-ring debut next week.

* McKenzie is with Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza, who say not to worry about where Santos Escobar is. They want their matches with MSK, and Ciampa and Thatcher come up to say not to get ahead of themselves. MSK hasn’t beat them and Legado hasn’t beat them. They’re willing to change that tonight. Thatcher says “The cat has no shoes” in Spanish and Ciampa says that means “Challenge Accepted.”

* We get an “Earlier Today” with Cameron Grimes appearing and throwing his keys to Jake Atlas, telling him to park it for him. Atlas says that DiBiase has the front spot, and Grimes says that they’ll meet in the ring tonight. Atlas agrees.

* Up next: the Prime Target segment for Balor vs. Kross.

* We get a vignette back from break with Candice and Indi having a spa day. Candice says they deserve this and Johnny will take care of Bronson. Indi says that she’s right, just like she was about Lumis. All he does is pop up and stare creepily. Of course, Lumis is attending to Indi (who can’t see because of the cucumbers on her eyes) and when Indi calls him a loser, he walks off. Indi and Candice soft high-five.

* We get the Prime Target segment next, which starts off with Kross and Balor separately footage of Kross beating Balor at NXT Takeover: Stand & Deliver. Kross cringes at the stomp and says he wasn’t right for a while after that. Balor says Kross said that his conviction would be his biggest strength, and he felt the force, power, and speed of that conviction full-force. Kross said that it was kill or be killed and he had to be merciless when he took Balor out and pinned him, noting “It was a matter of time.” Balor says falling down is how we grow; staying down is how we die, and Balor isn’t dead. Pat McAfee hypes the match and talks about Kross’ dominance and intimidation, while Balor has excelled everywhere he’s gone. He calls the match a dream come true and predicts that Balor wins an epic battle. Paul Heyman says even Roman Reigns is interested in this match. He says it’s too close to call. Jimmy Smith says it’s a redemption story if Balor wins his title back, and a tragedy if he doesn’t.

Another stellar Prime Target segment from NXT. It did a great job selling the match as the big deal it is.

Grimes comes out and says to cut the music. He says everyone thinks its funny that DeBiase is embarrassing him, and airs a video package of DiBiase being beaten and embarrassed over the years, including his loss to Virgil and being legdropped by Hogan. Grimes in the ring but the crowd is chanting for DiBiase, and Atlas attacks! Grimes falls to the outside and the ref holds him back as we go on break.

Jake Atlas vs. Cameron Grimes

We’re back from break and the match already started, so we’re starting the time now. Atlas in control as he lays into Grimes and hits a big leaping armdrag, then comes off the top with a rana for a two-count. Grimes with a kick to Atlas’ head and he sends Jake over the ropes to the apron, Atlas flips in and comes off the ropes into a knee lift. Clothesline by Grimes gets two and he chokes Atlas angrily for a four-count. Grimes grins his elbow into Atlas in the corner and then whips him hard across the ring. Grimes showboats and goes for a waistlock, but Atlas fights back. Grimes with a big kick but Atlas catches a second and just slaps Grimes across the face! Grimes goes very hard into the turnbuckle after a double reversed Irish whip, and DiBiase’s limo arrives as ATlas ducks a clothesline and hits a big kick, clothesline gets a two-count. Atlas goes up top but Grimes cuts him off. ATlas knocks Grimes down and leaps over into a leapfrog, Grimes catches him with a crossbody in mid-air! Grimes prepares to end it BUT HERE COMES THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN! Grimes is distracted, and Atlas gets the pinfall as a result!

Winner: Jake Atlas (4:42 shown)
Rating: ** 1/2
Thoughts: Nice to see Atlas get a win and the match was fine, but it was more angle than match.

Grimes tries to attack Atlas after but gets knocked down and Grimes goes chasing after Ted. He goes backstage yelling for Ted and goes out to the limo. He tries to get in and Ted rolls the window down. He says, “Not bad, kid. But you’re still no Million Dollar Man!” The limo leaves as Grimes loses his mind.

* We get a promo from Bronson Reed talking about his first match 14 years ago, and how he’s in his biggest match of his life. He says it goes beyond The Way and recounts his long road to getting to now. He says it’s his destiny and Gargano can’t deny it.

* Up next is Pete Dunne’s sit-down with Arash Markazi. Arash asks about Dunne calling out the entire roster and asks who he’d like to face next. Dunne points out he can beat Kushida whenever, has beat WALTER, has beat Gargano, and then of course Karrion Kross and going after the title. Markazi asks if he doesn’t feel like he gets the respect he deserves, and he says it doesn’t matter because he always delivers. Dunne says everyone who steps in the ring with him leaves differently. Markazi asks where his aggressive style comes from, and he talks about taking inspiration from traditional British wrestling like Fit Finlay and making it more aggressive. Dunne is asked about fans’ reaction to him and he says it adds a different element. Whether the audience is reacting or at home, they know how panful his work is. He is asked about goals and says he’d be lying if going after the NXT Title isn’t the obvious thing.

Alexander Wolfe vs. Killian Dain

This match was supposed to happen last week, but Wolfe is cleared now. Dain comes out with Drake Maverick and Drake is looking paranoid.

Bell rings and they lock up, Wolfe shoves Dain and Dain goes on the attack but eats a punch and then gets felled with a kick to the head. Wolfe aggressively attacks Dain and lays in Euro uppercuts, then Dain fires back with some of his own. Dain batters WOlfe in the corner, and whips him back and forth around the ring. Aichner gets on the apron, Maverick goes up and Aichner gets knocked down, but WOlfe takes control. Barthel throws a chair into the ring, the ref tries to stop them and Wolfe grabs the chair bit gets cross bodied by Dain! Pinfall.

Winner: Killian Dain (1:51)
Rating: N/A
Thoughts: It happened. It was short and all for the angle.

Afterward, Drake and Dain celebrate and leave, then Imperium pose — and Aichner and Barthel attack Wolfe! They get him up, Imperium Bomb! Aichner and Barthel pose over a fallen Wolfe and we’re on break.

* We’re back with McKenzie interviewing Raquel and Dakota and asking about the altercation that took place after her win over Mercedes Martinez. They say they’re allowed to disagree and talk about the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships, only to have Ever-Rise come in and scoff at them. They insult Raquel and talk about their show, and Raquel levels one of them and leaves.

Legado Del Fantasma vs. Tomasso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher

The bell rings and Ciampa goes on the outside, dragging Wilde out and throwing him into the barricade. He gets Wilde back in, comes off the ropes and takes Wilde down with a shoulderblock, and locks in a chinlock. Thatcher tags in and takes over on Wilde, controlling him until Wilde pushes him into the corner and tags in Mendoza. Lockup into a sidelock by Thatcher, right into an attempted armbar! Mendoza blocks up but gets picked up into a wristlock, and Ciampa is tagged in. CIampa with a big chop and then a headlock into a headscissors submission. Shot to the gut and a punch to the gut, cover gets one. Mendoza whipped into the corner and Ciampa comes in with a splash, he tries it again but Mendoza gets the book up. Mendoza got his lip busted open, so we have blood. Ciampa takes over and tags in Thatcher, who continues working the neck. Mendoza rakes the eyes and takes over with a headlock, but Thatcher turns it onto a shoulderlock. Raul powers out into a headlock, gets shot into the ropes, slides under Thatcher and hits a dropkick. Mendoza with big kicks to the chest but Thatcher takes over into an ankle lock. Wilde tries to help but gets drug into the ring, Ciampa in and we have a double ankle lock! Legado flip Ciampa and Thatcher over to escape, we descend into chaos and with a whole lot of kicks, all four men are down and we’re on break.

Back from break and Ciampa is marathoning charging clotheslines to both members of Legado. He comes off the ropes and hits a double clothesline, sending both men out. Ciampa goes for Wilde, but Mendoza saves him and slips in to take Ciampa down. Legado with a tandem kick to Ciampa, and Wilde is now in. Ciampa backs Wilde into the corner but Mendoza tags in and takes over. Ciampa and Mendoza trade shots, but Mendoza gets advantage by biting Tommaso and then hits a hard knee. He backs up and charges into the corner, but Ciampa moves and Mendoza goes out of the ring! Thatcher tagged in and goes hot, taking down Wilde and Mendoza. Uppercuts to Mendoza, big suplex and a cover gets two. Thatcher now battering Mendoza in the corner and he tags in Ciampa, who lays in the strikes. Thatcher back in and he punches Mendoza repeatedly in the face, Ciampa tagged back in and they t4eam up to batter Mendoza. Running knee to the temple gets two. Wristlock by Ciampa, he throws Mendoza in the corner but Mendoza moves and takes over briefly with kicks before Ciampa just gets back in control. Mendoza counters Fairy Tale Ending, Ciampa goes for a kick but gets countered and Wilde is now tagged in. Legado now making quick tags, springboard assisted splash by Wilde and then Mendoza with his own move but Thatcher comes in. Thatcher knocked off the apron, Wilde comes off the ropes but gets tripped, Mendoza to the apron and gets tagged by Ciampa! Rope assisted DDT! It’s chaos, but Grizzled Young Veterans run in and attack Ciampa! They roll him in and Legado get the pinfall!

Winner: Legado del Fantasma (X:XX)
Rating: *** 1/2
Thoughts: That was just absolutely stellar. Great work by both teams, who displayed how well they can work together for a match that has high spots but is also very technically proficient and tells a story.

* McKenzia is backstage with Bobby Fish and asks about his saving Kyle O’Reilly. Fish says it had nothing to do with Kyle and everything to do with taking out Dunne and Lorcan. He notes that they took him out and while the Kings of NXT imploded while he was out, he’s back and he’s happy to go after them. He says Dunne and him have unfinished business and challenges Dunne to a match for next week.

* Back from break and we get more of The Way’s spa day. Candice’s credit card was declined, and they scoff and say to run it again. The employee says there was an unpaid expense from a florist three weeks ago. Candice plays dumb, and Indi puts two and two together that Candice set up Lumis. Indi says it means Lumis still loves her, and celebrates as she runs off to Candice’s astonishment. InDex is back!

* We get a promo from Gargano saying that he’s the top champion and did what no one else could do when he left Karrion Kross laying. He’s going to do the same to Bronson and will show him why he’s the NXT North American champion and untouchable.

Aliyah vs. Sarray

It’s SARRAY TIME! (Poor Aliyah.) Bell rings and Sarray offers a hand, only to get assaulted by Aliyah. Irish whip reversed by Sarray into an armdrag and another one. She comes off the ropes, Jessie tries to trip her and Aliyah takes over with strikes. Sarray into the ropes and gets hit with an elbow, cover gets two. Aliyah grabs Sarray by the hair and chucks her across the ring, then runs in for a big kick in the corner. Sarray fights back, Aliyah is punching but a spinning heel kick by Sarray gets a cover for two. Sarray takes Aliyah down and goes up top, missile dropkick! Sarray odd thew ropes, diving dropkick to Aliyah and a Saito suplex gets the pin.

Winner: Sarray (2:24)
Rating: N/A
Thoughts: It was exactly the squash match everyone expected it to be.

* We get a vignette with Shotzi and Ember, who say that things aren’t over with Indi and Candice. They say Raquel and Dakota shouldn’t get too hasty, and say they’ve done some fine tuning. They’re coming after the titles again.

* Hit Row is in action next.

* We get another vignette for the Diamond Mine, with no new information about it.

Ashante Thee Adonis & Top Dolla vs.

Ashante stars against Nese and quickly takes over, taking him down. Top Dollas comes in, and Daivari tags in. He gets Daiviari up and then grabs Nese from the outside — double slam! Daivari gets dragged into the corner, Ashante tagged in. Ashante picks up up and Ariya starts firing back! Ashante stops it with a drop kick and then batters Daivari in the corner until Top Dalla tags in to avoid the DQ for not heeding the count. He cools Ashante off, chucks Daivari and slams him down for a pinfall.

Winner: Hit Row (2:11)
Rating: N/A
Thoughts: It was dominant, nothing else to say.

Afterward, the group cuts a promo where they all deliver individual lines talking themselves up. He talks about the steel cage match main event and says he doesn’t care who wins, but will be watching.

* McKenzie interviews Regal, who says Legado are the #1 contenders and will face MSK in two weeks for the titles. Next week Ember and Shotzi battle Dakota and Raquel for a Women’s Tag Team title shot.

* We’re back with another vignette hyping Franky’s world premiere next week. Also next week:

* Cameron Grimes & Ted DiBiase Million Dollar Face-Off
* NXT Championship Match: Finn Balor vs. Karrion Kross

NXT North American Championship Steel Cage Match
Bronson Reed vs. Johnny Gargano

Reed shoves Gargano down during intros, and we’re ready to go. Gargano dives for the door right away but Reed catches him. He throws Gargano into the turnbuckle and goes to splash, Johnny gets his feet up and climbs but Reed catches him. Reed goes for a slam and Gargano slides down, tries to slam Reed into the cage door but Reed catches him. Gargano off the ropes, he sends Reed into the ropes and Reed just swats him down. Reed grabs Gargano and throw him into the cage, he picks him up on his shoulder and launches Gargano. Reed grabs Gargano, puts him between the ropes and the cage, and crushes him there! Reed comes off the ropes and leaps but Gargano moves, Reed hits the cage. Gargano gets caught on the cage and Reed DDT’s him, but Gargano is fighting back. He climbs up the cage and leaps off in a moonsault DDT! Gargano punches at Reed and then starts to climb, but Reed catches him and hits a big DVD for a two-count. Red climbs toward the top but Theory climbs on the outside and distracts him, letting Johnny kick Reed down and we’re on PIP break.

Reed is crotched on the ropes and Gargano leaps on the ropes to make it hurt. Reed on his knee on the mat and Gargano stalks him with punches, then climbs on him in the corner and lays in elevated punches. Gargano climbs the catch, but Reed catches him. Gargano stomps on Reed’s head, but comes down and hits a big kick that sends Reed through the ropes so he’s caught between the ropes and the cage wall. Gargano batters Reed and slams him back into the cage, he comes off the ropes and eats a punch, but stays in control and kicks Reed down. Reed now in the ring, and Gargano plants a foot in Reed’s groin for some pain. Mounted punches by Gargano, who then picks Reed up and chokes him against the ropes. Reed back on the apron and they trade shots as we’re coming back from PIP break.

Gargano and Theory tandem pancake Reed with the cage between Theory and Reed! Reed is coming back through, and he hits a powerslam and then catapults Gargano into the cage! Reed gets Gargano on his shoulders and climbs the turnbuckle — top rope Samoan drop! Reed slowly rolls over, covers Gargano and gets only two. Reed now going up the cage but Gargano grabs the leg. Shots to Reed’s knee, and Gargano climbs up and slams Reed into the cage — LEAPING SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB by Gargano! He covers and gets a nearfall! Theory gets the cage door open and Gargano crawls, but Reed has him caught! Theory is dropped and Reed with a squash! Reed goes for the door but Theory blocks it. Reed takes out Theory but Gargano superkicks Reed! Gargano with a big Poisoned Frankensteiner to Reed. Gargano slowly up and begins to climb the cage, but Reed is up. Gargano goes for a leap over the ropes for a DDT but gets caught and thrown into the ropes. Reed goes for the door but Theory slams it in his face! Gargano with the diving DDT, cover but Reed kicks out! Gargano is climbing the cage, he’s at the top but Reed has him. Gargano punches Reed and tries to climb over him — Reed with a power bomb off the top rope! Reed climbs for the ropes, gets to his feet and goes to climb, but Gargano is up and Theory is on the outside of the cage! We have three men at the top and Reed is fighting them both off! Gargano is dropped, Theory is dropped. Gargano crawls for the cage door – SPLASH OFF THE TOP! Reed with a Tsunami, and he gets the top! New champion!

Winner: Bronson Reed (15:28)
Rating: *** 3/4
Thoughts: Look, that was just great. Nothing sloppy here, nothing out of place, and everything delivered. Reed looked like an absolute star here, fighting off both guys and hitting some big moves to get the win.

And with that, we’re done for the night!

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WWE NXT, Jeremy Thomas