– Tonight’s taped WWE NXT episode opens up on the USA Network with a video package for the feud between Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. Triple H narrates. “Blackheart vs. Rebel Heart: One Final Beat” will take place tonight from an empty building.
– We’re live on tape from the NXT Arena at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida as Mauro Ranallo welcomes us. Mauro is back this week but there’s no sign of Nigel McGuinness and WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix. We see a briefcase hanging high above the ring.
#1 Contender’s Ladder Match: Io Shirai vs. Mia Yim vs. Chelsea Green vs. Candice LeRae vs. Dakota Kai vs. Tegan Nox
We go right to the ring for tonight’s six-woman Ladder Match as Io Shirai makes her way out first. The winner of this match will earn a future title shot from new NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. Tegan Nox is out next as Greg Hamilton does the introductions. Robert Stone comes out to the stage next with a mic. He does the introduction for Chelsea Green and out she comes, representing The Robert Stone Brand. Stone walks down to the ring with Green and enters with her.
Mia Yim is out next. Dakota Kai is out next and she has Raquel Gonzalez with her. There’s one tall ladder standing at the bottom of the ramp. Candice LeRae is out last. They all stare at each other and then up at the case. The bell rings and Stone talks some trash before exiting to the floor. Yim and Green go at it. Nox and Kai go at it. Shirai beats LeRae into the corner. Yim puts boots to Green in the corner. Shirai with a wrecking ball double knees in the corner. LeRae counters and dumps Shirai to the floor. Kai tells Raquel to bring the ladder in for her.
Kai drops LeRae and then Nox again. Raquel tries to slide the ladder in but LeRae and Yim dropkick the ladder into her, dropping Gonzalez on the floor. Nox sneaks up on Kai and she is surrounded now. They triple team Kai into the corner. LeRae knocks Green off the apron. The triple team on Kai in the corner resumes now. Shirai with a double dropkick to drop Nox and Yim from the top. Shirai with a Flapjack to LeRae in the middle of the ring.
Shirai brings a ladder from under the ring, sliding it in. Shirai is all alone as she stands a ladder up but LeRae runs up it. Shirai sends her off. They tangle. Shirai goes to drop LeRae on the flattened ladder. They tangle holds and trade counters. LeRae with an enziguri but Shirai comes right back. Green runs in with a big bulldog. The other two roll to the floor for a breather as Green sits up on the mat against the flattened ladder, all smiles as we go to commercial.
Back from the break and Stone cheers on Green but Yim hits her with a steel chair. Kai and Nox unload with strikes in the middle of the ring. Nox with a running uppercut in the corner. Kai with a running big boot in the opposite corner. Nox misses but catches a kick. They trade more moves. Nox nails the big chokeslam in the middle of the ring. Green slides a ladder in but Nox stops her and shoves her back into the barrier. Nox stands a ladder up in the ring now.
Nox climbs for the title but Kai meets her at the top of the ladder. LeRae yanks Kai off and her face smacks a ladder rung. LeRae climbs up with Nox but Green and Kai stop them, pulling them off. Green and Kai climb but Yim and Shirai pull them off, then they climb up. Another ladder is brought in and everyone keeps climbing and pulling someone else off. Yim is alone at the top now, grabbing the case. LeRae pulls her off and they go at it. Yim with Soul Food on LeRae.
Green with a chair shot to Yim. Yim takes out Green with a big chair shot over the knee. Green yells loudly and rolls to the floor for a breather, clutching her knee. Shirai keeps control in the ring now. Stone and a referee check on Green and her knee at ringside. Raquel comes in and pushes Shirai’s ladder over but Shirai capitalizes and leaps from the falling ladder, onto a group of competitors on the floor. Shirai takes them all down at ringside as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Gonzalez is still taking shots at others. She intimidates Stone and Green while he checks on her, then rolls an injured Kai in the ring. Gonzalez puts Kai on her shoulders and starts climbing the ladder, with Kai on her shoulders. Yim runs in and beats on them. Gonzalez kicks Yim into the corner. LeRae pulls Kai from the top of the ladder. Raquel chokes Yim in the corner, lifting her by her neck. Yim fights back. Yim tries to powerbomb Gonzalez from the top through a table at ringside. Tegan comes in and climbs up with them. Nox chokeslams Raquel through the table below, as Yim assists with the powerbomb.
Kai comes over and rocks Nox from the top. Nox flies off the top and goes crashing through a ladder at ringside. Kai and LeRae are at the top of a ladder now. Shirai springboards at the ladder and sends Kai off. Shirai and LeRae fight on the mat now. Shirai with a German suplex. LeRae ducks a shot and hits a German of her own. We hear Stone trying to talk Green back into the match. She slowly comes in and starts climbing but she’s hurting. Green is all alone but she can’t climb. Stone comes in and climbs up the other side of the ladder. Stone pull Green up the other side of the ladder. Green grabs the case but LeRae and Shirai run in to push the ladder over. Stone and Green both land hard and they are down. They roll to the floor.
Shirai and LeRae stand the ladder back up and climb. They fight and Shirai shoves LeRae off, causing her to fall back-first onto the ladder bridge that was created earlier in the corner across the middle rope. Shirai climbs all the way up and grabs the briefcase to win the match and become the new #1 contender to new NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair.
Winner and New #1 Contender: Io Shirai
– After the match, Shirai sits up on the ladder and yells out as she raises the briefcase. Shirai’s music hits and we go to replays. Shirai celebrates as Green throws a fit at ringside.
– Still to come, Ciampa vs. Gargano.
– We see how Finn Balor was confronted two months ago by Imperium’s Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner, and how they brawled before Balor was left laying. Still to come, Balor will address Imperium and his next move tonight. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we see how Finn Balor clashed with Imperium members on NXT UK last month, also defeating Alexander Wolfe in singles action. We cut to a pre-recorded message from Balor now, who addresses NXT UK Champion WALTER. Balor says they both have creative control over their worlds but here they are. Balor goes on and says the title WALTER holds is now on borrowed time.
– We see how Saurav Gurjar and Rinku Singh attacked NXT Tag Team Champion Matt Riddle last week, along with their manager Malcolm Bivens. The team is named Indus Sher and they will make their official NXT TV debuts tonight. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get another teaser vignette for Killer Kross, possibly featuring the voice of Scarlett Bordeaux. The end is near, it says.
– We see a replay of the masked men abducting Raul Mendoza in the parking lot last month. We also see how they returned last week to abduct Joaquin Wilde. Mauro says we don’t know much about the masked men or what they want with Mendoza and Wilde.
Indus Sher vs. Ever-Rise
We go back to the ring and out first comes manager Malcolm Bivens. He waits and out next comes the team of Indus Sher for their official TV debut – Rinku Singh and Saurav Gurjar. Malcolm poses with the two big men in the ring. Out next comes Ever-Rise, the team of Matt Martel and Chase Parker.
Rinku starts off with Martel. They lock up and Rinku overpowers easily, sending Martel into the corner. Parker tags in and hits Saurav with a cheap shot on the apron. He attacks Rinku but Rinku launches him into the ropes. Parker with a kick to the face. Martel with a quick tag as Ever-Rise uses their speed to take control. After all the offense, Rinku kicks out at 1 and then levels Parker.
Saurav tags in and they level Parker with a big double team. Saurav scoops Parker and slams him in the middle of the ring. Bivens barks orders from ringside. Rinku tags back in and they double team Parker, launching him across the ring with ease. Martel climbs on the top and tries to rally for Parker as Rinku continues to dominate him and keep him down with boots and kicks. Rinku with a big side slam on Parker.
Saurav tags in and Rinku knocks Martel off the apron. Saurav with a big running clothesline on Parker in the corner. Rinku tags back in for a kick in the corner as Saurav holds Parker. Rinku manhandles Parker some more. Parker fights back but Rinku drops him. Rinku knocks Martel down on the apron. Saurav tags in as Rinku sends Parker in the corner and then splashes him.
Rinku then whips Parker into a big boot from Saurav. Saurav drops Parker over his knee and holds him in place with the backbreaker. Rinku follows up with a flying elbow from the top rope while Saurav holds Parker over his knee still. Rinku covers for the pin to win.
Winners: Indus Sher
– After the match, Saurav and Rinku stand tall with Bivens in the middle of the ring as their music hits.
– We go to NXT Champion Adam Cole, still on vacation by a pool, apparently at his home. He mockingly congratulates The Velveteen Dream for beating Bobby Fish last week. Cole taunts Dream and goes on, and says if Dream keeps pushing, maybe he will decide to end the experience, and there will be nothing Dream can do about it. And that’s undisputed.
– Still to come, Gargano vs. Ciampa. Also, a look back at Flair vs. Ripley. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get a look back at Charlotte Flair defeating Rhea Ripley to win the NXT Women’s Title at WrestleMania 36. They air the same post-WrestleMania interview with Charly Caruso and Flair, which was also shown on RAW last night. It’s the woman that makes the title. Ripley was alright but she does what every other woman in the company does – they both down to The Queen. We also see post-WrestleMania video of an emotional Ripley backstage. She says Flair was tougher than she expected.
– Still to come, Blackheart vs. Rebel Heart. We see video of Johnny Gargano pull up to a building. Candice LeRae, wearing the same gear from the Ladder Match, is in the passenger seat. They both get out and Gargano looks around. LeRae goes to get in the SUV to leave but shows Gargano some love before driving away. Gargano enters the building. Triple H is sitting in a chair in the corner. Tommaso Ciampa enters the ring as Gargano walks in. Triple H says when this is done, it’s done. He points to referee Drake Wuertz, and says he’s only here to count the winner. Triple H tosses his steel chair in the middle of the ring and says when he closes the door, it’s on. Triple H leaves the empty but well-lit building.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano
Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano meet in the middle of the ring and have words. They start brawling. There’s somewhat of a cinematic feel to this but not nearly as much as the “Firefly Fun House” or “Boneyard” matches from WrestleMania 36. The brawl continues and Gargano goes for a slingshot Spear but Ciampa kicks him. We go to commercial.
Back from the break and Gargano stops Ciampa from using a chair. Ciampa beats on Gargano while he’s down, talking trash. Gargano pulls Ciampa to the corner and repeatedly wraps his legs around the ring post. Ciampa falls to the floor in pain. Gargano with a running kick to the head on the floor. Gargano taunts Ciampa over his surgeries now. Gargano goes for a suplex on the floor but Ciampa counters and lifts him, slamming him into the ring post.
Ciampa uncovers a table on the floor but Gargano turns it around in the ring and stomps away, sending him back out. Gargano nails a suicide dive to the floor. Gargano sits on the apron and pats himself on the back. Gargano sends Ciampa into a table with small supplies, a laundry-type cart and a trash can. Gargano works Ciampa over and talks trash some more. Gargano with a trash can lid shot. Gargano slams the trash can over Ciampa’s back now. Gargano says he expected more and is a bit disappointed.
Gargano brings it back in the ring but Ciampa crawls for a chair. Gargano stops him and beats him down again, stomping away. Gargano focuses on the previous injuries of Ciampa, hitting him in those spots with a steel chair. The referee checks on Ciampa after he has a chair driven down into his neck. Gargano takes a seat in the chair in the middle of the ring, taunting Ciampa and Drake.
Gargano with a chair shot over the back while Ciampa is down. Gargano wedges a chair into the corner now, telling Ciampa this won’t last much longer. Ciampa counters as Gargano tries to send him face-first into the wedged chair. Gargano hits hard and goes down, clutching his face. The referee checks on Gargano as Ciampa stands tall and we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Ciampa remains in control. Gargano is bleeding some. Ciampa with a running trash can lid shot at ringside. Gargano shows frustration and pain on the ground. Ciampa stops him from grabbing a chair. Ciampa opens the chair and wraps it around Gargano’s neck, then rams him head-first into the ring post. Ciampa taunts Gargano as the referee checks him. Ciampa stomps away while Gargano is being checked on. Ciampa picks up a spool of wire from the table and slams it on Gargano’s back. Ciampa grabs a crutch and tells Gargano this brings back memories. Ciampa holds Gargano down by pressing the crutch into his throat, yelling at him.
Ciampa kicks Gargano and yells at him some more. Ciampa beats Gargano around the ringside area some more. Gargano tries to fight back. Gargano sprays Ciampa with a fire extinguisher to send him back. Gargano gets up now and tries to put Ciampa through the table. Ciampa fights him off. Ciampa then powerbombs Gargano straight through the table.
Ciampa looks down at Gargano and tells him this ends in the ring. Ciampa grabs a pair of cutters and starts cutting the ring apron cover. He pulls it off and tosses it. He then starts removing the canvas. The referee tells him to stop, he’s taking it too far. Drake says they’ve known each other for too far and don’t need to take it this far. Ciampa has to take it this far. Ciampa enters the ring and starts pulling all the padding and canvas away. Ciampa goes back to the floor and kicks Gargano in the ribs. Gargano goes out through a door to the outside parking lot. Ciampa yells at him that this ends in the ring.
Ciampa goes out the door and Gargano rams a production case on wheels into him. Ciampa goes down. Gargano sends Ciampa into the side of a NXT production truck a few times. Gargano mounts Ciampa in the parking lot and pounds on him. Gargano pushes the production case over again but Ciampa moves so it won’t hit his head. Gargano calls Ciampa a coward as Ciampa disappears. Ciampa has made his way onto the very top of the box truck now. They have words while Gargano and Drake are down below. Gargano starts climbing up to the top of the truck with Ciampa.
Drake also climbs to the top of the truck. Ciampa and Gargano start brawling up high, trading big strikes. Ciampa gets the upperhand but Gargano superkicks him. Ciampa with a big kick to rock Gargano. Ciampa looks to throw Gargano down to the ground as the referee tries to talk him out of it. Gargano resists and Ciampa misses a stomp. Gargano turns it around and drops Ciampa on top of the truck with him. Gargano with the GargaNoEscape submission on top of the truck. Gargano breaks it and goes for a superkick but it’s caught. Ciampa rocks him. Gargano kicks back. Ciampa fights back. Gargano superkicks him again. They’re both showing signs of fatigue on top of the truck as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Ciampa is walking back into the building. Drake follows him. He enters the door and Gargano attacks him from the side, leaping off the table. Gargano mounts Ciampa with right hands while talking trash. Gargano rolls Ciampa into the exposed ring now. We can see the boards on one half but the other half is covered like usual. Gargano tosses a trash can lid in. Gargano unloads in the corner with stomps while Ciampa is down.
Gargano takes Ciampa to the top and rocks him a few times. Gargano climbs up top and tries to put Ciampa on his shoulders, possibly for a slam down onto the exposed boards. Ciampa blocks it and unloads with strikes. Ciampa turns it around up top and hits a massive Air Raid Crash from the top turnbuckle down to the floor. They both land hard. The referee asks Gargano if he wants to continue. Ciampa is barely able to roll Gargano into the ring for a close 2 count, the first pin attempt of the match. There are no announcers for this match. We go to commercial right after Drake makes the 2 count.
Back from the break and Ciampa is slowly bringing the crutch back into the ring. Gargano rolls in behind him. Ciampa swings the crutch but Gargano hits him in the legs with a trash can lid first. Ciampa goes down. Gargano manhandles him on the mat using the crutch, yelling at him to tap out. Ciampa grabs the trash can lid and smacks him with it a few times. Gargano comes back with a crutch shot. Gargano with another trash can lid shot while they’re both down. Gargano on his knees now, nailing Ciampa with repeated trash can lid shots.
Gargano holds Ciampa up on his knees and superkicks him back down. Part of the ring is still exposed and they’re fighting right before the boards, but still on the padding. Gargano talks trash, using the crutch to hold himself up. Gargano goes on about how Ciampa is a failure as a man, a husband and a father. The referee tells Gargano to just finish Ciampa. Ciampa laughs while getting to his knees. Gargano holds his face and calls him a monster, saying Ciampa’s daughter Willow will thank him for this. He goes to swing the crutch to put Ciampa away with a shot to the neck but Ciampa avoids it. Ciampa takes it back and unloads on Gargano with the crutch while he’s down. Ciampa is ranting and beating as he snaps, with some of his words bleeped. Ciampa calls Gargano a piece of shit a few times. We go back to commercial with Ciampa in control of this fairly slow-paced fight.
Back from the break and Gargano ducks a crutch shot. Gargano tries to capitalize but Ciampa pulls it back across Gargano’s face and in his mouth, pulling back harder on the crutch. Ciampa accidentally knocks Drake from the apron to the floor with a big knee. Ciampa is shocked. Gargano with a big crutch shot over Ciampa’s back, sending him out to the floor. Gargano brings it back into the ring but Ciampa drops him on the exposed boards with the draping Willow’s Bell second rope DDT.
Ciampa slowly pulls himself up. They both have pieces to the crutch. Ciampa swings one but Gargano nails a big superkick after slowly pulling himself up. Gargano swings a piece now but Ciampa kicks him down. They both go down again. We see LeRae make her way into the building now. LeRae enters the ring and she’s emotional. She looks at both competitors and screams at them to stop, asking them what they’re doing. She repeatedly tells them to stop. LeRae asks her husband who is he right now. She asks Ciampa if he’s happy. She tells Ciampa that she hates her husband right now. She tells Ciampa to go ahead and finish it. LeRae says fine, she will finish it. She turns and kicks Gargano with a low blow. He goes down. LeRae looks at Ciampa, then back at Gargano on the mat. LeRae makes her exit from the ring. She has apparently left the building.
Ciampa sits on the bottom rope and looks at Gargano, who is still down from the low blow. Ciampa looks down at the mat as he kneels in front of Gargano. Ciampa quietly tells Gargano it’s over, man. He’s saying a few other words we can’t quite hear, but it appears he’s shocked and disturbed by what’s happened. Ciampa says he’s sorry and apologizes a few times to Gargano.
Gargano is on his knees now. Ciampa is bent over a little bit and it looks like he’s about ready to finish it, but conflicted over what’s happened. LeRae suddenly comes back in the ring and kicks Ciampa from behind with a low blow. Ciampa goes down. Gargano removes a protective cup from his pants and starts laughing at Ciampa. Gargano repeatedly tells Ciampa he loses now. Gargano lifts Ciampa and drops him with his Fairy Tale Ending in the middle of the destroyed ring. Gargano covers for the pin to win “Blackheart vs. Rebel Heart: One Final Beat” as Drake counts.
Winner: Johnny Gargano
– After the match, Gargano rolls to the apron and Candice comes over to help him off. They’re laughing and he’s telling her how good she did. LeRae had handed Gargano something in a bag earlier when she first dropped him off, and apparently it was the cup. They walk out of the building and are all smiles but Gargano is limping. They walk to their SUV and we cut back inside to Ciampa trying to recover in the ring. We cut back outside to the parking lot. Gargano gets in the passenger seat and LeRae drives off as NXT goes off the air.