– Tonight’s WWE NXT episode on the USA Network opens up with a video package of highlights from “Takeover: WarGames” and the video promo from NXT Champion Finn Balor that aired during the event.
– We’re live from the Capitol Wrestling Center in Orlando, Florida as Vic Joseph welcomes us. He’s joined at ringside by Wade Barrett, and remotely by WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix.
– We go right to the ring and NXT Champion Finn Balor is out to a pop. Balor says WarGames is done and the time for team sports is over. He’s not interested in bragging rights or any of that because it’s Wednesday and The Champ is back. Fans pop.
Balor says some love him and some hate him, but if you want to get to know him, you better come see him in this ring. Now the people in the back… the music interrupts and out comes Pete Dunne.
Dunne hits the ring and says he’s a lot like Balor. They both came from overseas and made a name for themselves, so it’s about time they met. Dunne is glad Balor is back, but tells him to not get used to it because it’s just a matter of time before he puts Balor back on the shelf and takes the title. The music interrupts and out comes Kyle O’Reilly. He apologizes for being late and jokes his invitation must have gotten lost in the mail. O’Reilly wants to put himself in this conversation. He knows Dunne is tough but who left WarGames the winner? He also talks about his recent “Takeover: 31” match with Balor and says Balor won the match but spent the past two months eating through a straw. O’Reilly says he and Balor have unfinished business. He goes on but the music interrupts and out comes Damian Priest.
Priest tells Balor he’s been looking forward to this for a while. No offense to Pete or Kyle, but Priest vs. Balor is a marquee match. Dunne asks Priest if he’s the geezer that couldn’t even beat Leon Ruff. Priest says Dunne gets paid by Pat McAfee to do whatever. Balor exits the ring as Priest, Dunne and O’Reilly trade insults. Priest asks where he’s going. Balor tells them to learn some manners because they cut him off before he was finished. He says he will defend the title at New Year’s Evil on January 6, but it’s up to NXT General Manager William Regal to determine who will get the funeral. The music of Karrion Kross starts playing as fans pop.
Scarlett comes and stares Balor down on the stage. The music stops and he predicts she’s going to say “Tik, Tok” but she just stares. Balor tells Scarlett to give a message to Kross – when he’s ready, Finn is ready. Balor walks off as fans cheer him on. Priest asks Scarlett if she usually tells Kross to wait in the car while she handles his business. Priest says if Kross wants to pick a fight when he comes back, he can just step to Priest like a man. Scarlett turns and stares at Priest in the ring, and smiles at him. Scarlett walks away as we see the Karrion Kross logo on the big screen. We go to commercial.
– Back from the break and a cameraman catches up with Pete Dunne backstage, asking what’s next for him. Dunne says he didn’t come back to NXT to wait for an opportunity… Killian Dain suddenly attacks and they start brawling. Security and official break the brawl up.
Jake Atlas vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
We go back to the ring and Jake Atlas is making his way out. Out next comes Isaiah “Swerve” Scott as Alicia Taylor does the ring introductions.
The bell rings and they lock up. Scott takes Atlas down to start. Scott works on the arm but Atlas turns it around as they trade holds and counters. Scott ends up sending Atlas to the floor and kicking him in the face from the apron. Scott brings it back in as fans cheer him on. He wastes some time and catches a kick. Atlas mounts some offense but Scott drops him. They tangle and Scott with a big Flatliner for a 2 count. More back and forth now. Atlas with a superkick to the face.
They trade counters and holds again in the middle of the ring. Atlas with a clothesline. Atlas drops Scott on his head for another close 2 count. Atlas with punches. Swerve fights back with kicks and levels Atlas with a knee while he’s down. Swerve grabs from behind but Atlas fights him off. They tangle some more and Swerve kicks out of a pin attempt. Atlas fights Swerve off from behind again. Swerve keeps focus on the arm. They tangle on the mat until Atlas turns a counter into a pin for the win out of nowhere.
Winner: Jake Atlas
– After the match, Scott just sits there and he’s shocked. Atlas celebrates as his music hits. Atlas offers his hand for a shake but Scott is seething. Scott ignores the shake and exits the ring as fans boo.
– Tommaso Ciampa is somewhere in the back. He didn’t expect the Takeover win to be easy but now that he’s defeated Timothy Thatcher, nobody is safe. It’s time to let the past die and move forward. Ciampa goes on and addresses Cameron Grimes. Ciampa says Grimes is loud, brash, ignorant, confident… maybe, but to be that loud you have to be confident, or maybe he’s just insecure. Ciampa goes on and says the funny thing about insecurity is that it often disguises itself as confidence, but tonight we will find out which is true for Grimes. We go to commercial.
Imperium vs. Ever-Rise vs. Grizzled Young Veterans
Back from the break and out comes The Grizzled Young Veterans – James Drake and Zack Gibson. We see Matt Martel and Chase Parker of Ever-Rise waiting in the ring, along with Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner of Imperium.
The match is about to start when a big six-man brawl breaks out at ringside. They restore order and Gibson goes at it with Aichner in the ring. Ever-Rise was taken out on the floor. Barthel tags in and takes over on Gibson, working him over in the corner. Barthel with a takedown for a 2 count. We see Ever-Rise hiding out at ringside, watching the action.
Martel with a cheap attack to Barthel from the apron. Barthel knocks him back to the floor. Drake tags in and they double team Barthel. Drake then dropkicks Martel off the apron back to the floor with Parker. Dain vs. Dunne is confirmed for later tonight. Barthel is sent to the floor by Drake. Gibson holds Barthel at ringside, allowing Drake to fly out and elbow him. Ever-Rise is still hiding out and talking strategy. Gibson brings Barthel back in and grounds him. Drake tags back in for a quick forearm while Gibson holds him. Barthel kicks out at 2 again.
Barthel finally hits a suplex on Drake. Martel rushes the ring and stomps away on Barthel and Drake. Parker tags in for the double team on Barthel for a 2 count. Parker tags Martel back in and they double team Drake in their corner. Martel covers for 2. Drake catches a kick from Martel. Barthel runs over Martel. Aichner and Gibson tag in and go at it. Drake comes back in and they double team Aichner. Martel sends Gibson to the floor and then clotheslines Drake. Parker tags back in and they drop Drake over the top turnbuckle for 2 count but Aichner breaks the pin up just in time.
Aichner sends Parker to the corner and tags in Barthel. Imperium with a big double team from in and out of the ring on Parker. Aichner with a rolling senton and a moonsault to Drake. Barthel covers for 2. Gibson pulls Barthel to the floor but Aichner kicks him through the ropes, right into a backbreaker on the floor from Barthel. Imperium double teams Drake in the ring now. Ever-Rise attacks from behind and almost steals the win, shoving the others to the floor. Parker can’t believe Drake kicked out. Parker looks to finish Drake off but The Grizzled Young Vets hit him with a Ticket to Mayhem for the pin to win.
Winners: The Grizzled Young Veterans
– After the match, Drake and Gibson stand tall and have their arms raised as the music hits. Drake and Gibson celebrate on the ramp.
– Back from a commercial and we get a “Casualties of WarGames” video package looking at WarGames highlights, with comments from the various competitors. Raquel Gonzalez says she deserves a shot at the NXT Women’s Title for winning WarGames for Team Candice LeRae.
– McKenzie Mitchell is backstage with Toni Storm now. She asks Storm why she turned on Ember Moon before WarGames. Storm says Ember was in the wrong place at the wrong time and she guesses she made the right decision because her team won at WarGames. Storm goes on and says she made it clear when she came back that she was focused on the title but all she heard about was Moon, who stole her thunder. But that’s OK now because we’re looking at the next NXT Women’s Champion… Io Shirai interrupts with her belt. She mentions the title and says she doesn’t have a problem with Storm, she just doesn’t like her. Shirai attacks Storm and they brawl through the backstage area as officials try to stop them. The brawl spills out into the arena as fans cheer them on. Shirai ends up hitting the running double knees in the corner. Shirai goes to the top for the moonsault but Storm retreats to the floor. Ember runs down and attacks, launching Storm into the steel steps. Moon talks some trash and rolls Storm back into the ring. Shirai nails the moonsault as Moon looks on. Shirai mocks Storm as her music hits. Moon stares back at the ring while backing up the ramp, also taunting Storm.
– We see Tommaso Ciampa walking backstage. We also see Cameron Grimes walking. Back to commercial.
Cameron Grimes vs. Tommaso Ciampa
Back from the break and out first comes Cameron Grimes. Tommaso Ciampa is out next, wearing his battle mask.
Back and forth for the first few minutes. Ciampa goes for a submission but Grimes turns it around with one of his own. Timothy Thatcher brings a chair down to ringside and takes a seat, staring Ciampa down as Ciampa grounds Grimes now. Grimes and Ciampa stare at each other. Grimes fights to his feet and they trade strikes now, going into the ropes to break. Grimes yells at Ciampa and gets rocked. They keep fighting and Ciampa levels Grimes with an elbow.
Grimes goes to the floor and wanders over to where Thatcher is as Ciampa follows. Grimes tries to sneak back around Thatcher and attack but Ciampa rocks him and gets the upperhand. Ciampa rolls Grimes back in and takes a look at Thatcher before re-entering the ring. Ciampa comes in but Grimes decks him and turns it around. Grimes covers for a 2 count as we go back to a picture-in-picture commercial.
Back from the break and Grimes has Ciampa grounded as fans chant “NXT!” now. Thatcher is still watching from his chair at ringside. Ciampa fights up and out but Grimes knees him in the gut. Ciampa counters and rolls Grimes for 2. Grimes keeps fighting but gets kicked. Ciampa with a series of running clotheslines, then a flying clothesline for a pop. Ciampa with a running clothesline in the corner, then a running boot to the face in the corner. Grimes kicks out at 2 as the “NXT!” chant continues.
Ciampa keeps control now. Grimes avoids the Fairy Tale Ending. Grimes kicks Ciampa away, nailing him in the jaw. Ciampa goes for the draping DDT but Grimes blocks it and turns the counter into a 2 count. Ciampa comes right back with a knee to the jaw. Grimes with a big jumping forearm. They collide in the middle of the ring in mid-air and Grimes gets the upperhand for 2. Fans chant “NXT!” some more. Grimes goes for a German but it’s blocked. Ciampa fights Grimes off with a back elbow. They tangle some more. Grimes goes to the top but Ciampa chops him several times. Grimes fights back but Ciampa just shoves him to the floor by his head.
Thatcher is standing at ringside now. Tyler Rust (new Performance Center recruit Russ Taylor) runs down and attacks Ciampa on the apron but Ciampa fights him off. It looks like Rust may be a student of Thatcher. Vic identified him by name, Tyler Rust. Grimes take advantage of the distraction and attacks but Ciampa plays cat & mouse, running out and right back into the ring. Ciampa catches Grimes with Willow’s Bell for the pin to win.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa
– After the match, Thatcher stares from his chair while Ciampa stands tall as his music hits. Ciampa stares back at Thatcher. Ciampa rolls to the floor and Thatcher stands up to prepare for a fight. Ciampa walks past Thatcher and they have some words. Thatcher says he had nothing to do with the interference. Ciampa backs up the ramp as Thatcher looks on. Grimes comes from behind and grabs Thatcher, yelling at him. Thatcher turns back around but Grimes grabs him again. Thatcher grabs Grimes’ ankle and twists it, sending him to the ground. Thatcher heads to the back.
– McKenzie is backstage with Raquel Gonzalez. She says WarGames was the biggest night of her career and as much as she’d like to continue the celebration, the win came at a cost because Dakota Kai is sitting at home injured due to what Ember Moon did to her. She says after tonight, Moon will regret ever coming back to NXT. Gonzalez walks off.
– We see Johnny Gargano, Candice LeRae, Austin Theory and Indi Hartwell walking backstage. Back to commercial
– Back from the break and we get another dark vignette with Xia Li and Boa. Xia is shown punching thick wooden pole pieces until her hands bleed. Next we see Boa take kendo stick shots across his back until he bleeds. He also has cuts on his face. The ShiFu master is directing the punishment, telling Xia to fight the wooden structure faster. We see Boa take more kendo stick shots all over his body, while he’s standing and laying. He’s taking strikes to the face now. The blood pours from Xia and Boa as they continue to train. Xia wipes blood across her face at one point. Barrett says he’s not sure if they’re training like Shaolin Monks, or they’re just being tortured.
– We go back to the ring and out comes new NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano, Candice LeRae, Austin Theory and Indi Hartwell, who is still wearing a neck brace. Candice is wearing a small brace on her wrist from the WarGames arm injury.
Fans start booing as Gargano takes the mic. He says for months they told everyone they’d show us the way, and we’re looking at it. Not just the future of NXT, but the present – Hartwell, Theory, LeRae and Gargano. Gargano tells everyone to open their eyes because this is The Way, and Sunday is the way it’s done. Candice says they dominated, Gargano became champion, and she won WarGames. Theory chimes in with some awkward comedy that doesn’t fit in. They brush it off and get back to bragging. Gargano says Candice broke her arm on Sunday and he had to get stitches in his mouth. He goes on about making history by becoming the first-ever three-time North American Champion, and about Candice leading her team to a WarGames win for the second straight year. He says if he’s Mr. Takeover, then Candice is Mrs. WarGames. Fans chant “you suck!” but Gargano disagrees, and yells at them for ruining a special moment. Gargano has a special gift he bought for Candice brought in the ring, noting that he had it shipped from Italy and it was expensive. Gargano calls for a drum roll and they lift the cover to reveal a trophy, with a baby doll head on top. It’s supposed to be Shotzi Blackheart’s head. It’s very underwhelming.
They do some more comedy and Gargano mentions that Leon Ruff and Damian Priest want to face he and Theory next week. Gargano has a feeling the result will be the same. Gargano says they will show the world that if you’re not in the way… stay out of the way, Candice finishes his sentence. Priest interrupts and comes out with a mic. He talks some trash and threatens to come to the ring and shove that pipe up Theory’s backside. Karrion Kross suddenly attacks from behind, making his return.
Kross destroys Priest and leaves him laying near the production area as fans pop. The camera follows Kross back out to the parking lot.. He gets in his Challenger, where Scarlett is waiting in the passenger seat. Kross looks at her and she laughs. He then speeds off as we go back to commercial.
– Back from the break and McKenzie stops Tyler Rust and asks about the attacks he’s been involved in for the past few weeks. Before he can respond, Malcolm Bivens interrupts and says it’s been a week since he gave his business card to Rust, and it’s time to talk business to see what they can do. Rust walks off with Bivens.
Pete Dunne vs. Killian Dain
We go back to the ring and Pete Dunne is already out. Killian Dain is out next.
Dain hits the ring and they start brawling as soon as the bell hits. Dain unloads in the corner and beats Dunne down as the referee warns him. Dain tosses Dunne across the ring. Dain catches a kick and rams Dunne back into the corner. The referee pulls Dain off and Dunne attacks. Dain ducks a kick and nails a big boot to the face.
Dain with another running boot to knock Dunne to the floor. Dain follows and levels Dunne with another big boot as the referee counts. Dain talks some trash and slams Dunne face-first into the edge of the apron. Dain keeps control but Dunne kicks him off the apron. Dunne comes out but Dain scoops him. Dunne counters and tries to shove him into the ring post but it’s blocked. Dunne fights with strikes. Dain puts him against the ring post and goes for a headbutt but hits the post instead as Dunne moves.
Dunne decks Dain and keeps control now, stomping his head on the apron. Dunne beats Dain while he’s down in the corner now as the referee warns him. Dunne stomps on Dain’s head in the ring now. Dunne with kicks to the side of Dain’s head. Dunne bends Dain’s fingers back and kicks him in the face a few times. Dain starts to power up. Dain with a big overhead toss across the ring. Dain with big body shots in the corner now. Dunne counters in the corner and nails an enziguri. Dunne with a snap German suplex next, then stomps to the fingers. Dunne drops Dain with a roundhouse kick to the head. Dain yells at Dunne from the apron as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Dunne has Dain down in the middle of the ring. Dain powers out and beats Dunne down in the corner. Dain charges but Dunne dumps him through the ropes to the floor. Dain fights back in and launches himself over the top rope with a senton. Dain with a big powerbomb and another senton for a close 2 count in the middle of the ring. Dunne ends up with a Triangle applied. Dain powers up and out with a one-arm powerbomb.
Fans rally now. Dain with a big running dropkick. Dain misses the Corner Cannonball as Dunne moves. Dunne stomps away while Dain is down, on his face. Dunne goes to the top but Dain cuts him off. Dain climbs up and hits a superplex. Fans chant “NXT!” as Dain covers for 2. Dunne with a big enziguri but his hip is hurting him. Dain counters and comes back with a big lariat.
NXT Tag Team Champions Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch end up running down to help Dunne but Drake Maverick returns to chase them off with a chair. Drake turns back tot he ring to encourage Dain but the champs come back down the ramp and take Drake out. Dain checks on Drake and chases them off. He turns back around to Dunne, who takes advantage of the distraction with a kick and a Bitter End for the pin to win.
Winner: Pete Dunne
– After the match, Lorcan and Burch join Dunne on the ramp and they celebrate. Dain checks on Drake as Dunne, Lorcan and Burch taunt them.
– McKenzie interviews Leon Ruff in the back and asks if he’s worried that Damian Priest won’t be ready for next week’s tag team match. Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory walk in. Gargano cracks jokes about Priest getting hurt by Karrion Kross. He’s sure Ruff is a brave little soldier and will be able to take them on 2-on-1 next week. Gargano walks off and Kushida approaches Ruff. Kushida says he will team with Ruff next week. Kushida stares ahead at Gargano and Theory walking away as we go to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get a promo for the NXT New Year’s Evil special episode on January 6.
Raquel Gonzalez vs. Ember Moon
We go back to the ring for tonight’s main event and out first comes Raquel Gonzalez to mostly boos. Ember Moon is out next to a pop.
The bell rings as the two Superstars face off. Moon ducks an attack to start. Moon dodges Gonzalez again, and again, then kicks her. Gonzalez talks some trash and is upset at Moon using her peed. Gonzalez backs Moon into the corner but she gets out. Gonzalez goes for a powerbomb but Moon slides out. Gonzalez catches Moon in the air again and ends up pancaking her to the mat on her knees.
Gonzalez rag-dolls Moon some now, manhandling her against the ropes by holding her jaw. Gonzalez takes it to the corner as the referee warns her. Gonzalez decks Moon and then launches her across the ring again. Gonzalez with an elbow to the jaw before tossing Moon again. Gonzalez with a running splash in the corner and some more trash talking, slapping Moon around. Moon counters from a hip toss, then kicks Gonzalez in the face. Moon kicks her off again but Gonzalez slams her to the mat by her hair. Gonzalez drops a series of quick elbows for a 2 count.
Gonzalez goes for a running big boot but Moon moves and she hits the top rope. Moon mounts some offense now. Moon with two dropkicks to stagger Gonzalez. Moon with a third dropkick. The fourth dropkick brings Gonzalez to one knee. Moon charges in and drops Gonzalez with a Flatliner but she rolls to the apron to avoid a pin. Moon charges and knocks Gonzalez from the apron to the floor, tumbling out with her. We go to picture-in-picture commercial as Gonzalez brings it back into the ring.
Back from the break and Gonzalez has Moon on her shoulders in a Rack. Fans try to rally for Moon. Moon slides out and tries to roll Gonzalez up but it’s blocked. Moon decks Gonzalez and charges but Gonzalez knocks her out of the air with a big boot. Moon kicks out at 2. Gonzalez grounds Moon now, focusing on her arm as fans cheer Moon on. Moon fights out with a kick. Gonzalez stalks Moon but gets kicked again fro the mat, and again. Moon sends Gonzalez face-first into the turnbuckles for a pop.
Moon fights from the second turnbuckle with another kick to the face. Moon with a big suplex. Both Superstars are down now. Moon ducks a running clothesline and avoids a big boot. Moon unloads with strikes and hits an enziguri to bring Gonzalez to one knee. Moon screams out and flies into the corner with a clothesline. Gonzalez blocks a bulldog. Moon counters a move with a big DDT for another close 2 count. Moon dropkicks Gonzalez to the floor. Moon then nails a suicide dive, sending Gonzalez back into the announce table for a pop.
Gonzalez looks over and sees the lighting rig at ringside. She climbs a few steps but Gonzalez pulls her off and launches her face-first into the ring post. Gonzalez comes back in and holds Moon down but she somehow kicks out at 2. Gonzalez can’t believe it. Moon fights Gonzalez off as she keeps charging. Moon with a big knee to the face for a close 2 count. Moon climbs to the top for the Eclipse but it’s blocked in mid-move. Gonzalez rag-dolls Moon but she slides out.
Gonzalez with a running clothesline in the middle of the ring now. Gonzalez goes for her big powerbomb in the middle of the ring but Moon rolls her up into a close 2 count. Gonzalez comes right back and this time she hits her modified powerbomb for the pin to win.
Winner: Raquel Gonzalez
– After the match, Gonzalez stands tall in the middle of the ring and has her arm raised as the music hits. We go to replays. Toni Storm comes marching to the ring as fans boo. Storm stands over Moon as the referee warns her. Storm goes to grab Moon but the music hits and out comes Rhea Ripley. Storm is shook. Ripley pulls Moon out of the ring as Storm stare them down. Ripley stares back at Storm. Ripley stands on the apron and faces off with Storm now. Gonzalez steps in front of Storm. Ripley enters the ring and faces off with Gonzalez, sizing each other up as fans cheer them on. Ripley and Gonzalez circle each other and have words as a “NXT!” chant breaks out. Gonzalez backs out of the ring as Ripley tells her to get out of her ring. Fans boo as Gonzalez stares Ripley down from the bottom of the ramp. NXT goes off the air.