– Tonight’s WWE NXT episode opens up on the USA Network with a look back at the 2021 Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic kicking off last week. We also get hype for the Women’s Dusty Classic, which kicks off tonight, and the Fight Pit main event between Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher.
– We’re live from the Capitol Wrestling Center at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida as Vic Joseph welcomes us. He’s joined at ringside by Wade Barrett and WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix, who is making her return to ringside tonight after calling the action remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans chant “NXT!” as we see the Fight Pit structure set up in part of the arena.
Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First Round Match: Leon Ruff and Kushida vs. The Way
We go right to the ring and Kushida is already out with Leon Ruff. Out next comes The Way – Austin Theory and NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano. The Way stops at the Dusty Classic trophy as fans boo them. Vic and Wade welcome Beth back to the arena.
Theory starts off by slamming Ruff. Ruff talks some trash and they lock up again as fans rally. Theory overpowers but Ruff gets free. Theory drops Ruff with a shoulder. Ruff comes back with a dropkick. Theory runs into a forearm. Ruff goes to the top but Theory carries him and they tangle. Ruff gets free again and nails a dropkick. Ruff goes on with a pin attempt as they tangle some more. Kushida tags in and they double team Theory.
Kushida starts working on Theory’s arm now as Gargano looks on. Theory fights up and out, then slams Kushida by his head. Gargano tags in and unloads with right hands, beating Kushida to the mat. Gargano drives knees into Kushida while he’s on the mat now. Gargano stomps away and then plays to the crowd for more boos.
Kushida gets right up and unloads with forearms. Gargano avoids an attack and they collide. Theory tags in and immediately drops Kushida with a big dropkick for a 1 count. Theory rocks Kushida into the corner and works him over. Theory launches Kushida into the opposite corner and he lands hard. Theory stomps on the arm now. Theory with an arm submission now. Gargano tags in and elbows Kushida while Theory holds him. They double team Kushida now, dropping him with elbows and then stomping. Gargano covers for a 2 count. Gargano takes Kushida down and kicks him in the back for a 2 count. Gargano takes Kushida back to the corner and tags Theory in for another double team.
Kushida blocks a suplex but Theory rocks him. Theory tries again but Kushida gets free and tags in Ruff, who flies in with a missile dropkick. Ruff with a crossbody and forearms. Ruff drops Theory and then kicks him in the head. Ruff takes Theory to the corner but misses an attack. Ruff knocks Gargano off the apron as he charges. Theory catches Ruff in mid-move and powerbombs him to the mat for a close 2 count. Theory shows some frustration as we go to a picture-in-picture commercial.
Back from the break and Gargano has Ruff grounded as Kushida rallies. Gargano with a neckbreaker for a 2 count. Theory tags in for a double team attempt but Ruff gets his boot up and cuts Gargano off. Ruff crawls to Kushida but Theory gets in the way. Ruff ends up dropping Theory with an enziguri. Ruff goes for a tag but Gargano knocks Kushida off the apron. Ruff is shocked. Theory drops Ruff and tags in Gargano for the big double team. Gargano covers for another close 2 count.
Gargano tags in Theory for an assisted powerbomb but Ruff fights free. Ruff ends up hitting a big flying Cutter from the second rope. Ruff slowly crawls to Kushida for the tag. Gargano also tags in. Kushida flies off the top and unloads on Gargano. Theory pulls Kushida off but Kushida unloads on him with kicks. Kushida with a big springboard back elbow to Theory. Kushida knocks Gargano to the floor, and drops Theory again. Kushida flies out and takes Gargano down on the outside again as fans chant his name. Kushida brings Gargano in but misses a running kick. Gargano rolls and kicks Kushida in the jaw. Kushida counters a move and drops Gargano into the arm bar submission. He tightens it but Theory flies at him and breaks it up.
Kushida sends Theory out to the floor. Kushida ducks Gargano and rocks him, but eats an enziguri. Theory tags back in and drops Kushida into his knee. Gargano superkicks Kushida and Theory covers for a close 2 count. Fans chant “NXT!” now. Theory hold Kushida for the double team but Ruff flies in out of nowhere. Theory gets sent tot he floor and Ruff flies off the top to drop him on the floor. Gargano rolls Kushida up for a 2 count. Gargano with a kick to the head. Kushida with a dropkick as they go back & forth again. Kushida ends up dropping Gargano and nails a suplex with a bridge for the pin to advance.
Winners: Kushida and Leon Ruff
– After the match, Kushida and Ruff stand tall in the middle of the ring as the music hits. Kushida and Ruff will now face The Grizzled Young Veterans in the quarterfinals. Kushida and Ruff pose together as The Way recovers.
– We get a new vignette with Pete Dunne, who is sending a message to NXT Champion Finn Balor. Dunne says Balor left while he created the NXT UK brand and what did he get in return as a thank you? Balor told him to get in line. Dunne goes on and says it’s inevitable that they do battle and this time Balor can’t just leave. Dunne says the past was Balor’s but the future is his. He goes on and says Balor will have to pass the torch and when they finally meet, everyone will realize that Balor is just somebody taking part in Dunne’s legacy.
– Vic says Kyle O’Reilly aggravated his jaw injury last week but has been medically cleared to compete.
– We get a quick video package on Karrion Kross and Scarlett. They will be here next. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and McKenzie Mitchell stops Malcolm Bivens outside of NXT General Manager William Regal’s office. Bivens mentions Tyler Rust and says he is the future of NXT, not a rookie but a “diamond in the rust” and a future NXT North American Champion, a future NXT Champion. Rust comes walking out of Regal’s office. Rust tells Bivens they got the match, and they got it for tonight. The opponent is Bronson Reed. Bivens leans into him and quietly says something about this not being the direction that they wanted. Bivens then speaks up and tells Rust that they are going straight to the top tonight. They walk off together.
Karrion Kross vs. Ashante “Thee” Adonis
We go back to the ring and out comes Karrion Kross with Scarlett with another one of their unique entrances. Ashante “Thee” Adonis is already waiting in the ring. Desmond Troy is at ringside to support Adonis.
The bell rings and they size each other up. Kross gets tagged but it does nothing but anger him. Kross grabs Adonis for a big suplex, and then the big Doomsday Saito suplex. Kross yells out as the referee checks on Adonis, who is clutching his neck.
Kross comes over and nails another Saito suplex. Kross yells at Adonis as the referee checks on him again. Adonis slowly gets up as Kross stares him down. Kross charges with a big forearm to the back of the neck, then covers for the pin to get the easy win.
Winner: Karrion Kross
– After the match, Kross stands tall as Scarlett joins him and raises his arm. The music hits as we go to replays. We come back to Kross staring down at Adonis as trainers check on him. Kross runs over and grabs Troy, dropping him into the Kross Jacket submission. Kross breaks it and makes his exit.
– We get a vignette on MSK, looking at last week’s debut in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic with a win over Jake Atlas and Isaiah “Swerve” Scott. Wes Lee and Nash Carter are confident that they will win the tournament.
– Still to come, Lucha House Party vs. Imperium in a first round Dusty Classic match. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get a video with Mercedes Martinez and Toni Storm. They issue a warning to Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro ahead of tonight’s Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first round match.
Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First Round Match: Imperium vs. Lucha House Party
We go back to the ring for another first round match in the Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic as Imperium’s Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner come to the ring while Alicia Taylor does the introductions. Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik of Lucha House Party are already waiting in the ring.
Lince starts off with Barthel. Barthel takes it to the corner and bullies Lince around. Lince charges but gets taken down with an arm drag. Barthel pounds on Lince and nails a suplex. Barthel grounds Lince now. Lince fights up and gets free with a takedown. Lince charges but Barthel shoves him right to the mat. Barthel taunts Metalik.
Barthel rocks Lince in the corner and puts a boot to him against the ropes as the referee warns him. Lince fights out of the corner with chops. Metalik tags in as Lince superkicks Barthel. They unload on Barthel with double teaming. Lince throws Metalik off his shoulders into a splash on Barthel for a 2 count. Metalik works on Barthel’s arm now. Aichner tags in with a big arm drag, then stomps to Metalik while he’s down. Aichner with a big uppercut now.
Aichner keeps control and unloads in the corner some more. Metalik ducks a shot but Aichner catches him. More back and forth now. Metalik runs into an elbow but hits a reverse Slingblade. Lince tags in and they run wild on Aichner, and Lince kicks Barthel off the apron to the floor. Lince runs the ropes for a dive to Aichner on the floor but Aichner catches him and rams him into the apron, then drops him with a big body slam on the floor. Metalik goes to the top but Barthel cuts him off and turns him upside down in the corner as fans boo. Imperium double teams Metalik now. Lucha House Party is down on the floor while Imperium poses in the corner. We go back to commercial.
Barthel has control of Lince after the match. Barthel with a big kick in the corner. Barthel takes Lince to the top but Lince fights back with punches. Barthel with an enziguri to stun Lince while he’s sitting on the top. Barthel climbs up but Lince fights back. They end up back on the mat and Lince nails a big DDT. Metalik rallies and waits for the tag. Metalik and Aichner tag in at the same time.
Metalik springboards in with a big crossbody. Metalik keeps fighting but ends up on the apron. Metalik with a kick to the head. Metalik walks the top rope and hits a big hurricanrana for a pop. Aichner runs into a kick. Metalik with a big top rope moonsault for a close 2 count. Metalik slides out of a slam now. Barthel tags in and counters Metalik. Imperium with a big assisted DDT for a 2 count as Lince makes the save just in time. Barthel beats Metalik into the corner. Aichner tags back in for a big assisted suplex but Metalik slides out and tags in Lince. Lince tries to roll Aichner up bu it’s blocked. Metalik assists with a big double team move but Barthel breaks up Lince’s pin just in time. Aichner gets sent to the floor as Lince beats Barthel back down.
Aichner sends Lince to the corner but Lince elbows Barthel. Aichner ends up dropping Metalik wile Aichner drops Lince at the same time for a big sequence. Lince kicks out at 2. Imperium with anther big double team on Lince. Lince counters another double team with a Facebuster to Aichner. Metalik flies in and takes out both opponents. Metalik nails a big moonsault from the top to the floor on Aichner. Barthel rolls Lince up from behind for 2. Lince superkicks Barthel and he goes down. Lince goes to the top and hits a Shooting Star Press for the pin to advance.
Winners: Lucha House Party
– After the match, Lince and Metalik celebrate as the music hits. We get a look at the Men’s Dusty Classic brackets and they will face Legado del Fantasma in the quarterfinals. Lince and Metalik pose together in the corner as Imperium recovers at ringside. They turn around and see Alexander Wolfe of Imperium staring them down from the stage. Wolfe snaps into the Imperium pose as Aichner and Barthel do the same, still at the bottom of the ramp.
– We see footage of the Fight Pit weigh-in from earlier today. Timothy Thatcher weighed in at 225 while Tommaso Ciampa was at 205. Things got physical after Thatcher ignored a handshake and shoved Ciampa while NXT General Manager William Regal and others broke it up.
– The Women’s Dusty Classic begins next. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and NXT General Manager William Regal is on the stage with WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix. Regal introduces Phoenix and she talks about being here as NXT prepares to make history again. Beth goes on about NXT being at the forefront of the Women’s Evolution. We see images of many main roster Superstars who have gone through NXT, everyone from WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Charlotte Flair and RAW Women’s Champion Asuka, Shayna Baszler, SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss and several others. Beth talks more and kicks off the first-ever Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. All 8 teams are on the stage with Phoenix and Regal now. Beth calls Mercedes Martinez, Toni Storm, Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter to the front and they face off with the trophy behind them. They head to the ring now.
Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First Round Match: Team Ninja vs. Mercedes Martinez and Toni Storm
The bell rings and Toni Storm starts off with Kayden Carter. They lock up and break, then aggressively lock up again. Storm works on the arm but Carter counters and they tangle. They break and end up colliding in the middle of the ring. They go at it again and Storm drops Carter with a shoulder.
Storm keeps control and nails a basement dropkick for a 2 count. Martinez tags in and they double team Carter, keeping her down with a sidewalk slam and elbow drops. Martinez covers for a 2 count. Carter ends up dodging a shot and tagging in Catanzaro. They double team Martinez now. Catanzaro launches herself in from the apron with a splash for a 2 count.
Martinez blocks a shot and drops Catanzaro. Martinez beats Catanzaro around now, putting a boot to her face. Martinez drops Catanzaro with an uppercut, then grounds her with a knee to the spine. Martinez puts Catanzaro back down and talks some trash to Carter on the apron. Catanzaro ducks a clothesline but ends up dropped with a big powerslam from Martinez for a 2 count as Carter makes the save. We go to commercial.
Back from the break and Storm drops Catanzaro for a 2 count. Storm beats Catanzaro into the corner and in comes Martinez. Martinez launches Catanzaro over her head, into the corner. Storm runs the ropes and nails a back splash to Catanzaro while she’s down. Martinez goes on and covers Catanzaro for a 2 count. Martinez unloads in the corner now, chopping Catanzaro down. Martinez takes Catanzaro to the top for a superplex but Catanzaro resists and fights back. Martinez rocks her and scoops her to the shoulders but Catanzaro slides out again, turning it into a big Frankensteiner.
Catanzaro is down but fans rally for her. Martinez is also trying to recover. Storm tags in but Catanzaro slides out of a move, then tags in Carter. Carter unloads on Storm, then dropkicks Martinez as she runs in. Carter double teams both opponents in the corner. Carter with a big running dropkick to Storm, falling onto Martinez with a splash. Carter keeps the offense to Storm coming. Carter with a running boot to the face while Storm is down as fans chant “NXT!” now.
Carter rolls Storm for a 2 count, then springboards into a dropkick for a 2 count as Martinez breaks it up. Catanzaro drops Martinez with an enziguri, sending her to the floor. Catanzaro launches herself over the top to the floor with a corkscrew, taking Martinez back down. Carter gets rocked by Storm with a big headbutt. Storm with a German suplex. Storm and Carter trade shots now. Storm tries for the single-leg Crab and gets it with the foot on Carter’s back.
NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai appears out of nowhere, pulling Martinez off the apron and sending her over the announce table for a pop. Storm is distracted now. She turns back around to Carter taking her legs out. Carter holds Storm down with a submission and tags in Catanzaro. Carter twists Storm’s leg out of the submission. Catanzaro tags in and goes to the top to hit some sort of huge 450 for the pin to win and advance.
Winners: Team Ninja
– After the match, Carter and Catanzaro stand tall to celebrate as the music hits. We get a look at the brackets and they will now face the winners of Aliyah and Jessi Kamea vs. Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez. Carter and Catanzaro pose on the stage by the trophy now.
– NXT Champion Finn Balor storms into William Regal’s office and says he wants Pete Dunne, but first he wants to start with NXT Tag Team Champions Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. Balor says he will chop off the arms first, and then the head. Regal understands how he feels but he has to protect Balor from himself. Regal says Balor must find himself a partner as he can’t take on Burch and Lorcan alone. Balor says he doesn’t have friends anymore, that’s the hold him, and all he has now is enemies. Regal says they’re all the same. Regal tells Balor he needs to keep his enemies close. Balor and Regal stare at each other before Balor leaves. Regal sits back down to end the segment.
– Bronson Reed is walking backstage. Isiah “Swerve” Scott stops him and says a few words that we can’t hear, apparently giving him some advice. Swerve smiles and walks off as Reed looks annoyed. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we see referee Drake Younger going over Fight Pit rules with Tommaso Ciampa.
– McKenzie Mitchell is backstage now. She announces that Ashante “Thee” Adonis was injured by Karrion Kross earlier tonight and will not be able to compete in the Dusty Classic match on WWE 205 Live this Friday. Adonis was to team with Desmond Troy against Tony Nese and Ariya Daivari but there’s no word on his replacement yet. McKenzie is interrupted by Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro, who run around celebrating their win. They go on about how they’re going to win the Dusty Classic tournament.
Tyler Rust vs. Bronson Reed
We go back to the ring and out comes Tyler Rust with Malcolm Bivens. Bronson Reed is out next. Vic shows us what Isaiah “Swerve” Scott said in the previous backstage segment. He told Reed not to get in his business like he did with Jake Atlas last week, and then wished him good luck tonight.
The bell rings and here we go. Rust avoids an attack early on but Reed goes to work on the arm and hand. They tangle some more and Reed applies a headlock. Reed ends up sending Rust out to the floor. Malcolm helps him up as the referee counts. Rust runs back in and kicks but it’s blocked. Reed decks him and presses him high in the air, then drops him with a shot to the gut. Reed then nails a big reverse fall-away slam, sending Rust back to the floor.
Bivens gives Rust a pep talk but here comes Reed grabbing him. Rust fights Reed off and goes to work on the arm. Rust fights back in and drops Reed with an arm bar. The camera cuts backstage and we see NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai brawling with Toni Storm as officials try to keep them apart.
Reed fights Rust off but Rust kicks him and nails an uppercut. Reed blocks a kick and drops Rust to one knee with a right hand. Reed drops Rust twice with two forearms. Reed whips Rust into the ropes and levels him with a running splash. Reed with a splash in the corner as Bivens looks on. Reed keeps control and chokeslams Rust for a close 2 count. Reed goes to the second rope but Rust runs up with a right hand to daze him. Rust climbs up and works on the arm but gets sent to the mat. Rust runs back up with a pump kick to the jaw. Rust then nails a big super Samoan Drop from the top for a close 2 count.
Reed blocks a move and nails a senton in the middle of the ring while Rust is down. Reed goes back to the top for the Tsunami Splash for the pin to win.
Winner: Bronson Reed
– After the match, Reed stands tall as the music hits. Bivens scratches his head at ringside as we go to replays. Reed poses in the middle of the ring as Bivens gives Rust a pep talk on the apron, telling him he will get it next time. Bivens shakes Rust’s hand and keeps encouraging him as they head to the back.
– McKenzie Mitchell is backstage with Finn Balor now, asking him about his potential tag team partner against Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. Balor says there are a few people around here that owe him favors, and it’s time to have a chat. He walks off and we go to commercial.
– Back from the break and we see referee Drake Younger going over the Fight Pit rules with Timothy Thatcher.
– Finn Balor walks into The Undisputed Era’s locker room. Adam Cole tells Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly to look at what the cat drug in. Balor says the cat is looking for his payback. Balor says they’re all grown men. He looks at O’Reilly and says O’Reilly knows why he’s here. Balor asks O’Reilly if he’s in, or is he still sucking his meals through a straw? Strong tells Balor to watch his mouth but Cole holds him back. Balor looks at O’Reilly and asks, “Well?” O’Reilly says he’s in. Balor says he will see O’Reilly next week. O’Reilly agrees, champ. It looks like they will face Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch next week.
– NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar comes out with a mic and says a real champion does what he wants, when he wants. We are looking at a champion of champions. Escobar goes on about what a true champion is. A champion of champions doesn’t have to conquer a curse like NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano, doesn’t have a glass jaw like NXT Champion Finn Balor. We see Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde. Escobar says he doesn’t need the pomp & circumstances like Karrion Kross, and when it’s time to make it to the first title defense they fail. Escobar goes on and enters the ring now. He’s backed up every word he’s said and beat every person in his way. He mentions how Lucha House Party came to NXT to try and take over his empire but he sent them packing. He tells Wilde and Mendoza that they have won their first match in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, and that puts them one step closer to becoming the NXT Tag Team Champions, and joining him right here as the champions of champions.
The Lucha House Party music interrupts. Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik hit the ring but they get beat down. Mendoza and Wilde hold Lince as Escobar goes to the top but here comes Curt Stallion to make the save. He yanks Escobar off the top and then they clear the ring of Legado del Fantasma. Lucha House Party’s music hits as they stand tall with Stallion while Legado del Fantasma recovers at ringside.
– McKenzie is backstage with Killian Dain and Drake Maverick, asking about next week’s quarterfinals match against MSK. Drake cuts a promo on how he and Dain will win the Dusty Classic. Dain says that was pretty good and Drake thanks him. Dain pats Drake on the back but almost hurts him. Dain walks off.
– We see Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher walking backstage. Alicia Taylor is standing in the Fight Pit structure now as it’s lit up. She welcomes everyone to Fight Pit and a “NXT!” chant starts up as we go back to commercial.
– Back from the break and McKenzie is with Curt Stallion and Lucha House Party backstage. Legado del Fantasma interrupts and Santos Escobar promises to expose Stallion for the rookie he is and embarrass him next week with the NXT Cruiserweight Title on the line.
Fight Pit: Timothy Thatcher vs. Tommaso Ciampa
We go to the Fight Pit structure for tonight’s main event as Timothy Thatcher walks up the steps. He stops as the catwalk referee and is checked out before allowing to proceed. Thatcher paces the catwalk as we see another referee down on the bottom level. Tomaso Ciampa is out next. Ciampa marches up the Fight Pit steps and stops at the first referee. Ciampa is also checked out as Thatcher stares him down.
The bell rings and Taylor goes over the rules as the fighters stare each other down. The decision must happen in the Pit, the only way to win is by knockout or submission, and there are no pinfalls. Taylor does formal ring introductions. The bell rings again and here we go. Ciampa stalks Thatcher on the catwalk. Thatcher backs away but charges and they start brawling as fans cheer them on. Ciampa tries to toss Thatcher over the railing to the floor or hit a Willow’s Bell. Thatcher fights back and hits a big uppercut, and another.
Thatcher grinds Ciampa’s face into the railing now. Thatcher with more right hands, and another big uppercut. Thatcher with a suplex on top of the perch. Thatcher goes for the single-leg Crab on the perch while kicking Ciampa in the back. Ciampa resists the submission and kicks Thatcher away. Ciampa charges with a running boot to the side of the face. Ciampa stomps away while Thatcher is down. Ciampa with a big chop. Thatcher fights back as they continue trading strikes. Ciampa with big chops against the railing. Thatcher fights back with rights of his own, bringing Ciampa to one knee and then down on the catwalk. Ciampa crawls away. Thatcher tries to send him face-first into the steel railing but it’s blocked. Ciampa grinds Thatcher’s face into the railing again. Ciampa stomps some more while Thatcher is down. Ciampa slingshots Thatcher’s throat under a part of the railing and smiles. We go to a picture-in-picture commercial break.
Ciampa ends up knocking Thatcher to the bottom level during the break. Ciampa beats Thatcher around the cage but Thatcher takes Ciampa down and grounds him as the referee checks on him. Ciampa fights back with a chop but Thatcher uppercuts him back down. Thatcher stomps on the limbs and drives a knee into Ciampa’s back while he’s down. Thatcher with a headlock in the middle of the cage. We come back from the break and Thatcher sends Ciampa face-first into the steel but Ciampa does the same. Ciampa keeps sending Thatcher face-first into the cage walls.
Ciampa with a running knee to the face, sending Thatcher face-first into the steel again. The referee counts but Thatcher makes it back to his feet at the 6 count as Ciampa attacks. Thatcher blocks the Fairy Tale Ending and sends Ciampa shoulder-first into the steel. Thatcher grinds Ciampa into the steel and tries to bend his hand into the corner of the cage post. Ciampa fights back but Thatcher rams him into the cage wall, then slams him in the middle of the structure with a suplex. Thatcher grounds Ciampa again, focusing on his arm and shoulder.
Ciampa breaks the hold but Thatcher stays on top of him and bends the fingers back. Thatcher smiles at Ciampa’s pain. Ciampa sends Thatcher face-first into the steel. Ciampa goes on and launches Thatcher face-first into the cage wall again. Ciampa with a single-leg Crab again. Ciampa breaks it and kicks Thatcher in the spine again. More back and forth between the two fighters. Thatcher kicks Ciampa away, into the steel. Thatcher applies a Sleeper hold in the middle of the ring now.
Ciampa starts to fade as the referee checks on him. Ciampa breaks the hold with a back kick that goes below the belt, but is still legal. Ciampa drapes Thatcher over the referee’s back while the referee is checking on Thatcher, and nails Willow’s Bell. Thatcher makes it back up at the 9 count. Ciampa immediately attacks. Thatcher blocks the Fairy Tale Ending. They trade big strikes in the middle of the ring now. Thatcher rams Ciampa into the cage wall. Ciampa drives Thatcher’s head into the cage post, then drops him with a Fairy Tale Ending. Ciampa jumps on Thatcher’s back and rolls him over in a Sleeper on the mat. Thatcher fights to his feet and breaks the hold. Thatcher rams them back into the steel and Ciampa goes down.
Thatcher with another Sleeper hold now. Ciampa gets wedged in between two of the cage walls in a corner now. Thatcher wails away on him. Thatcher uses that to apply a modified Stretch Muffler now. Ciampa finally taps out as he’s all twisted up in the corner and Thatcher wins.
Winner: Timothy Thatcher
– After the match, Thatcher drops to his knees and poses as he remains undefeated in the Fight Pit. Thatcher stands tall now as his music hits. We go to replays. The referee raises Thatcher’s arm as we see Ciampa down in the corner of the cage, trying to recover. The referee checks on Ciampa while Thatcher drops to his knees and stares Ciampa down. Thatcher comes over to Ciampa and drops to his knees, then stares Ciampa down. Thatcher nods at Ciampa in an apparent show of respect as NXT goes off the air.