– Tonight’s WWE NXT “Take Off To Takeover” episode opens on the USA Network with a graphic in memory of WWE Hall of Famer Road Warrior Animal, who passed away at the age of 60 earlier today.
– We’re live on a slight tape delay at the NXT Arena on the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. Tom Phillips welcomes us. He says Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett are both off tonight. Tom is joined by WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix, calling the action from home once again.
#1 Contender’s Battle Royal: Rhea Ripley, Dakota Kai, Raquel Gonzalez, Candice LeRae, Catalina, Shotzi Blackheart, Kayden Carter, Kacy Catanzaro, Aliyah, Xia Li, Marina Shafir, Indi Hartwell, Gia Roman, Raven, Ellie, Rita Reis
Several Superstars are already in the ring. Candice LeRae comes out next to boos. We see footage from earlier today of LeRae injuring Tegan Nox backstage, hurting her knee again. Rhea Ripley is out next as the others look on. The bell hits and here we go. The winner of this match will challenge NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai at Takeover. Beth and Tom talk about new faces getting a chance in tonight’s match, thanks to NXT General Manager William Regal.
Ripley eliminates Gia Roman early on. Raquel Gonzalez ends up eliminating Raven. Ripley eliminates Ellie next. Kai works on Catalina now. Dakota works on Catalina. Ripley works on Shafir, and eliminates her. Gonzalez eliminates Avery. Gonzalez eliminates Rita Reis next for her third elimination. Gonzalez eliminates Catalina next. We see Robert Stone watching Aliyah from ringside. LeRae works on Shotzi Blackheart. Gonzalez works on Indi Hartwell.
Kacy Catanzaro gets kicked to the floor by Aliyah but she saves herself and makes an impressive return to the ring without being eliminated. Ripley and Shotzi double team LeRae in the corner now. We go to a picture-in-picture commercial.
Back from the break and Tom says the eliminations continued during the break. We see Catanzaro hanging on to the barrier again, saving herself once again. Aliyah was eliminated during the break by Ripley. Gonzalez eliminates Kayden Carter, who was distracted by her friend Catanzaro. Carter helps Catanzaro get back into the ring from the barrier.
Ripley and Gonzalez trade big shots in the middle of the ring. Ripley and Gonzalez both tumble over the top to the floor and they are eliminated. They argue at ringside until referees separate them. Blackheart works on Candice in the corner now. Hartwell works on Catanzaro in the corner. Kai and Hartwell take turns on Catanzaro now. Catanzaro eliminates Hartwell.
It’s down to Kai, Catanzaro, Kai and Blackheart now. Kai eliminates Catanzaro with a big boot after some help from LeRae. They double team Shotzi in the corner now. Blackheart counters them both and eliminates Kai over the top. Blackheart and LeRae go at it now. Blackheart unloads with offense in the middle of the ring. Blackheart ends up nailing a big enziguri. She runs the ropes and gets stuck on the middle rope after LeRae moves. LeRae with a neckbreaker. LeRae dumps Shotzi over the top but she hangs on and fights back in with a kick. Blackheart goes to the top but Candice rocks her and climbs up. More back and forth between the two on the apron. LeRae gets dropped from the apron to the steel steps but she still hasn’t touched the floor. Shotzi catches a kick but LeRae uses that to catapult Blackheart to the floor, eliminating her for the win.
Winner and New #1 Contender: Candice LeRae
– After the match, LeRae stands tall and celebrates as her music hits. The crowd of developmental trainees boo as we go to replays. Tom confirms LeRae vs. Shirai for Takeover with the NXT Women’s Title on the line. Johnny Gargano comes out to celebrate with his wife.
– NXT North American Champion Damian Priest is backstage with Sarah Schreiber, asked about his Takeover match with Johnny Gargano. Priest says the match is huge but as good as Gargano is, his own reign in NXT isn’t coming to an end anytime soon and as long as he’s champion, this title will continue sliding through Gargano’s fingers. Priest is also asked about facing Austin Theory tonight. He thinks Theory is good but it sucks for him because his bad luck is going to continue tonight. Priest gives Schreiber some props and says he will see her at the after party tonight.
– Still to come, Ciampa vs. Atlas. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and NXT Tag Team Champion Fandango is backstage with several tag team. NXT General Manager William Regal interrupts. Fandango explains how they will wrestle matches tonight to determine the new #1 contenders for Breezango. Fandango says the competitors will pick someone from each team for a match, and the winners will face each other to determine the next opponents for Breezango. Regal has no idea what Fandango is saying, but Danny Burch explains it in comedy UK-speak and he gets it.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Jake Atlas
We go back to the ring and out first comes Tommaso Ciampa. This is a rematch from Ciampa’s win two weeks ago. Jake Atlas is out next.
The bell rings and they go at it. Atlas ends up unloading in the corner as the referee warns him. Ciampa comes out with a huge forearm. Atlas avoids Willow’s Bell but they end up on the floor. Atlas counters and beats Ciampa down against the apron and steel steps as the referee counts. Atlas pulls the apron cover up and goes to catapult Ciampa under the bottom of the ring frame, as Ciampa did to him two weeks ago. Ciampa avoids it and they come back to the ring. They tangle and Ciampa levels Atlas with a huge clothesline out of nowhere. Ciampa grounds Atlas and talks some trash while keeping control. Atlas ends up mounting more offense for the comeback now.
Ciampa nails the inverted Atomic Drop but Atlas comes back with a dropkick. Atlas with more big strikes to keep Ciampa down. Atlas mounts Ciampa with more right hands. Atlas catches a kick and they tangle some more. Atlas with a big pump kick in the corner. More back and forth now. Atlas with a big moonsault to the floor. Atlas brings it back into the ring and hits a super Blockbuster from the top. Ciampa still kicks out at 2. Ciampa blocks the cartwheel DDT and drops Atlas.
Ciampa nails the Willow’s Bell draping DDT for the pin to win but he stops the count right before getting the finish. Ciampa kneels down in Atlas’ face and taunts him. Ciampa goes on and hits the Fairytale Ending for the pin to win in the middle of the ring.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa
– After the match, Ciampa stands tall as his music hits. We go to replays and come back to Ciampa making his exit.
– Tom sends us to a vignette for Ridge Holland, who is now apparently off the NXT UK roster and on the main NXT roster full time. He says the NXT Universe will see what he’s all about. Holland will be in action tonight.
– Roderick Strong and Danny Burch vs. Fabian Aichner and Raul Mendoza is announced for tonight’s show to help determine new challengers for Breezango. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get a video package with NXT General Manager William Regal hyping tonight’s Gauntlet Eliminator, featuring NXT Loud artist Corey Taylor performing his “Culture Head” theme, which is the theme for Takeover on October 4. The video includes comments and a look at NXT Champion Finn Balor and his potential challengers – Bronson Reed, Timothy Thatcher, Cameron Grimes, Kushida and Kyle O’Reilly.
Danny Burch and Roderick Strong vs. Raul Mendoza and Fabian Aichner
We go back to the ring and out comes Roderick Strong after his partner Danny Burch. The competitors from the winning will face off later on in a tag team match to determine the new #1 contenders to NXT Tag Team Champions Breezango. Strong is representing The Undisputed Era with Bobby Fish, Burch is representing One Two with Oney Lorcan, Mendoza is representing Legado del Fantasma with Joaquin Wilde, Aichner is representing Imperium with Marcel Barthel.
The bell rings and Aichner goes at it with Strong. Back and forth in and out of the corner. Mendoza comes in and goes at it with Strong. Strong turns it around and goes to the corner to tag in Burch for a quick double team transition. Burch and Mendoza trade holds now. Burch knocks Mendoza out of mid-air for a close 2 count. Burch unloads in the corner but Aichner runs interference and Mendoza drops Burch on his head. We go to commercial.
Back from the break and Aichner has Burch grounded in the middle of the ring. Burch fights up but Aichner nails a back suplex in the middle of the ring. Aichner poses over Burch and taunts him. Aichner takes Burch to the corner and in comes Mendoza. Mendoza unloads with kicks to Burch in the corner as the referee warns him.
Mendoza keeps control and taunts Strong before going back to work on Burch. Mendoza takes Burch back down for a 2 count, and another. Mendoza grounds Burch in the middle of the ring now. Aichner ends up coming in and rocking Burch, then knocking Strong off the apron into the barrier to prevent a tag. Aichner goes back to work on Burch but Strong gets the tag and unloads. Strong runs wild on both opponents, then sends Aichner into Mendoza to send him off the apron. Strong with the Olympic Slam on Aichner but Mendoza rushes in to break the pin up. Strong knocks Mendoza back out to the apron. Aichner blocks a suplex from Strong but Strong counters, then gets hit by a cheap shot by Mendoza. Aichner goes on and drops Strong for a close 2 count. Strong and Aichner tangle.
Aichner gets sent to the floor but Mendoza is legal. Mendoza dropkicks Strong. Mendoza fights off Burch and Strong now from the apron. Strong ends up dropping Mendoza on the top turnbuckle. Burch quickly runs wild and drops Mendoza from the top to the mat with a neckbreaker. Burch covers Mendoza for the pin to win.
Winners: Danny Burch and Roderick Strong
– After the match, Strong and Burch stand tall as we go to replays. It looks like Strong and Fish vs. Burch and Lorcan will take place at a later date to determine new #1 contenders to NXT Tag Team Champions Breezango.
– Schreiber is backstage with Austin Theory, telling him what Damian Priest said earlier about Theory’s bad luck continuing. Johnny Gargano interrupts and yells at Schreiber for getting Theory riled up before his match. Gargano praises Theory and says he’s been watching him since he got to NXT, and he thinks Theory has all the tools. Gargano goes on and says he will not forget it if Theory softens up Priest before his title shot at Takeover. Gargano walks off and Schreiber wishes good luck to Theory. He dismisses the idea of good luck and goes back to working out. Back to commercial.
Damian Priest vs. Austin Theory
Back from the break and out first comes Austin Theory as Alicia Taylor does the introductions. NXT North American Champion Damian Priest is out next for this non-title match.
Theory is all smiles as he stares Priest down when the bell hits. Priest goes right to work on the arm. Theory turns it around and works on Priest’s arm now. Priest turns that around and tosses Theory. They face off and Priest is all smiles as Theory recovers in the corner. They trade holds in the middle of the ring again now. Theory runs into Priest with a big elbow. Priest comes back and levels Theory with a big strike. Priest works on the arm after catching a shot on the apron now.
Priest climbs to the top and hits a crossbody out of Old School. Priest grounds Theory by his arm in the middle of the ring now. More back and forth now. Theory sends Priest face-first into the middle turnbuckle, and works him over while he’s down on his knee. Theory with a belly-to-back suplex but he wastes some time and Priest kicks out at 1.
Theory keeps fighting and drops Priest with a clothesline. Theory with a standing moonsault for a 2 count now. Theory continues to talk trash and beat Priest around the ring. Priest counters the ATL and nails a bell clap. Priest goes on and hits the Ripcord into a Flatliner. Priest waits for Theory to get up. He runs and goes to springboard off the middle rope but Theory runs behind him and shoves him to the floor. Priest lands hard at ringside and we go to commercial as the crowd boos.
Back from the break and they’re going at it. Theory with a big dropkick for a 2 count. Theory talks some trash to the referee now. Theory keeps Priest grounded now. Priest mounts some offense now. Priest launches Theory with a big toss Falcon Arrow but Theory kicks out at 2. Theory ducks a big kick. Priest rocks him into the corner. Theory dodges a running back splash. Theory decks Priest and hits the Blue Thunderbomb in the middle of the ring. Priest kicks out just in time.
Theory goes after Priest but he rolls to the floor for a breather. Theory talks some trash and follows as the referee counts. Priest grabs Theory by his throat but Theory slides out of South of Heaven on the floor. They tangle some more on the floor until Priest connects with a big Cyclone Kick.
Priest with a Razor’s Edge on the edge of the apron for a pop now. Priest brings it back into the ring and nails The Reckoning in the middle of the ring for the pin to win.
Winner: Damian Priest
– After the match, Priest stands tall in the ring as his music hits. Priest holds the NXT North American Title as we go to replays. Priest is still celebrating when Johnny Gargano attacks out of nowhere and lays him out. The crowd of developmental trainees boo Gargano. He stands over Priest and mocks him, pointing down at him and shooting the imaginary arrow. Gargano smirks as we cut to a promo.
– The new video-game style vignette teases the return of a NXT Superstar on October 4, the date of the next Takeover event. The mystery person is using a voice changer but it sounds like they’re coming back for their title, perhaps the NXT Title? The video shows a WWE video game character throwing something at a glass case that is holding a NXT title belt.
– Still to come, Ridge Holland is here.
– Back from the break and we get a video package on Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar, with comments from Swerve. He proposes another match between the two but this time Legado del Fantasma can’t be at ringside. Swerve says the next time Santos gets in the ring with him, there will be a title change.
Ridge Holland vs. Antonio DeLuca
We go back to the ring and out comes Ridge Holland. Enhancement talent Antonio DeLuca waits in the ring.
The bell rings and DeLuca charges but Holland gets the upperhand and starts dominating him. DeLuca connects with a kick and charges again but Holland sends him flying through the air. Holland yells at DeLuca to get up. He comes at Holland but Holland easily nails a big overhead belly-to-belly suplex, continuing to dominate. Holland launches DeLuca with another big throw.
DeLuca nails a strike as Holland tosses him into the corner but this just enrages Holland. Holland nails a big headbutt and and then several more big headbutt strikes in the corner. Holland goes on and hits his Northern Grit side suplex finisher for the pin to win.
Winner: Ridge Holland
– After the match, the crowd boos as Holland stands tall in the middle of the ring. His music plays and we go to replays. Holland puts his cap back on and tips it, then makes his exit.
– Schreiber is backstage with NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai, asking about her match with Candice LeRae at Takeover. Shirai speaks some in Japanese and then English but LeRae walks up with Johnny Gargano. They taunt Shirai until NXT North American Champion Damian Priest enters. He drops Gargano and the two sides yell at each other as officials get in between them.
– We see Kushida and Kyle O’Reilly preparing to start the main event backstage. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get a video for Connor’s Cure and Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.
– Dakota Kai vs. Shotzi Blackheart is announced for next week.
Gauntlet Eliminator Match: Kushida, Kyle O’Reilly, Bronson Reed, Cameron Grimes, Timothy Thatcher
We go right to the ring and Kyle O’Reilly faces off with Kushida before the bell hits. They go at it to start. The winner of this match will become the new #1 contender to challenge NXT Champion Finn Balor at Takeover.
They trade holds for a few minutes, going back and forth on the mat. O’Reilly looks to work on the arm as Kushida grounds him on the mat. Kushida works on the arm now. They go into another submission but the hold is broken as they go under the bottom rope. They size each other up again and then go at it. Kushida takes control. O’Reilly drops Kushida with a big shoulder. They tangle and O’Reilly nails a big kick. Kushida comes back and dropkicks O’Reilly in the face.
Kushida takes O’Reilly back down and focuses on his arms. Kushida drops down on the shoulder. Kushida takes O’Reilly back down by his arm. Kushida with forearms on their feet now. O’Reilly fights back with strikes of his own in the middle of the ring. The timer counts down and the third competitor is Bronson Reed.
Reed hits the ring and goes to work on both opponents. Reed presses Kushida high in the air and tosses him onto O’Reilly. Reed with a big running splash on both men in the corner. Reed keeps control and ends up going for a double Samoan Drop but Kushida stops it. More back and forth with Kushida in control. Kushida tries to roll O’Reilly up but O’Reilly locks on an armbar. Reed stomps O’Reilly but O’Reilly applies a heel hook to Reed. Kushida with a standing moonsault into the Hoverboard Lock on O’Reilly. Reed with a big stalling suplex to Kushida to break it. Reed with a senton to O’Reilly to keep him down. Reed works over O’Reilly while he’s down and then goes after Kushida in the corner.
O’Reilly rocks Reed and saves Kushida, but Reed levels O’Reilly. Reed slams O’Reilly again and goes to the apron. Kushida charges but Reed rocks him. Reed climbs but O’Reilly cuts him off and decks him. O’Reilly climbs up but Reed fights back. Kushida climbs up with them but Reed headbutts him to the mat. Kushida comes back with a spinning kick to knock O’Reilly off the top to the floor. The referee is distracted by looking out at O’Reilly on the floor as The Velveteen Dream hits the ring. Dream takes advantage of the distraction to hit the Dream Valley Driver on Kushida. Dream retreats back to the back. Reed follows up and hits the big Tsunami Splash on Kushida for the pin. Kushida has been eliminated.
The counter starts back up and out next comes Timothy Thatcher as Reed goes at O’Reilly. Thatcher hits the apron but Reed meets him with a big right hand, sending him right back to the floor. Reed stands tall as we go back to commercial with the other two competitors down.
Back from the break and they’re all going at it. Reed counters Thatcher and hits a big German suplex. The timer counts down and here comes Cameron Grimes in next. Grimes runs wild and takes out Reed first, then Thatcher out of the corner. Grimes gets hyped up and delivers a huge kick to O’Reilly’s face from the apron to the floor. Thatcher goes for Grimes’ arm but Grimes superkicks him. Reed levels Grimes and runs over him. All four competitors are in the ring now, trading moves and counters. Grimes drops O’Reilly again with a side slam but Reed runs over Grimes in the middle of the ring with a clothesline as Thatcher watches from the apron, re-grouping.
Thatcher and O’Reilly trade big strikes on the apron. Thatcher with a Sleeper to Reed from the apron. Grimes rocks them and that sends Thatcher to the floor. O’Reilly with a running knee to Thatcher’s face from the apron to the floor. Grimes goes on to leap out but Reed stops him with the top rope. Reed uses the top rope to launch Grimes from the ring, sending him down to the floor to take down O’Reilly and Thatcher. Reed follows and works over the other three on the floor. Thatcher rocks Reed and rolls him back in. Reed counters Thatcher and drops him with a big slam for a close 2 count in the middle of the ring.
O’Reilly and Reed trade strikes in the ring now. Reed counters a takedown attempt and hits a big powerbomb, holding it for a 2 count. O’Reilly rolls back out, leaving Reed alone in the ring again. Grimes fights in and rocks Reed with a forearm, then a knee to the face for a 2 count. Reed counters and tosses Grimes across the ring. Reed runs the ring and leaps out with a suicide dive, taking out Grimes, Thatcher and O’Reilly on the floor. We go to commercial with all 4 competitors down at ringside.
Back from the break and Reed fights off Grimes and Thatcher with huge strikes in the middle of the ring, taking turns on them both. O’Reilly comes in but Reed also drops him. Reed catches O’Reilly with a big powerslam to pay tribute to WWE Hall of Famer Road Warrior Animal. Reed takes O’Reilly to the top but has to go back to Grimes and Thatcher. He drops them both and covers Thatcher for a 2 count. Reed goes to the top but Grimes approaches. Reed fights him off from up top. Thatcher rocks Reed and climbs up with more right hands to the face. Reed fights back. Reed knocks Thatcher to the mat. Reed misses the Tsunami Splash as Thatcher moves. O’Reilly follows up with a big knee drop to the back from the top, covering Reed for the pin to eliminate him. Reed has been eliminated.
Thatcher goes right into an ankle lock on O’Reilly after the pin on Reed. They tangle and O’Reilly eventually turns the hold around on Thatcher. They break the hold and trade big strikes now. Grimes comes in and hits a big release German on O’Reilly. Thatcher grabs Grimes for a submission but Grimes kicks him away. Thatcher goes on and nails a release belly-to-belly suplex on Grimes. Tom announces Shirai and Priest vs. Gargano and LeRae for next week, per General Manager William Regal.
O’Reilly and Thatcher trade big strikes in the middle of the ring. Grimes gets in the mix but goes down. O’Reilly works on Thatcher’s arm but Thatcher turns it into a standing Sleeper. O’Reilly applies the ankle lock to Grimes while still in Thatcher’s Sleeper. O’Reilly breaks it but almost gets pinned by Thatcher. O’Reilly ends up sending Grimes to the floor. O’Reilly unloads on Thatcher now. They brawl and both go down. O’Reilly with a running knee in the corner. Thatcher catches a charging O’Reilly with a big uppercut. They continue trading big strikes. Thatcher rocks O’Reilly to his knees. O’Reilly backslides Thatcher for 2. They tangle some more and O’Reilly rolls Thatcher up for the pin. Thatcher has been eliminated.
O’Reilly turns around and Grimes immediately nails the Cave In but O’Reilly kicks out just in time by getting his foot on the bottom rope. Grimes starts celebrating but the referee informs him of the kick out. Grimes can’t believe it. Grimes talks some trash and boots O’Reilly in the head while he’s on his knees, and again. The boos get louder as Grimes talks more trash and delivers more kicks. O’Reilly gets up and fights back with big strikes. They collide in mid-air with the crossbody attempts and Grimes holds it for a close 2 count.
Grimes and O’Reilly trade strikes from their knees now, fighting to their feet. O’Reilly with an axe kick. Grimes with a forearm smash. O’Reilly catches Grimes with a jumping knee. More back and forth now. Grimes with a big back kick to the face. Grimes misses the Cave In and his knee buckles as O’Reilly moves. O’Reilly takes Grimes down in the kneebar and Grimes quickly taps out.
Winner and New #1 Contender: Kyle O’Reilly
– After the match, The Undisputed Era’s music hits as O’Reilly stands tall. We go to replays. We come back to Adam Cole and Roderick Strong congratulating O’Reilly in the ring. The announcers confirm O’Reilly vs. NXT Champion Finn Balor for Takeover. Balor makes his way out to the stage with the title over his shoulder. Balor stares down at the ring, pointing his gun as O’Reilly stares back. The “Take Off To Takeover” edition of NXT goes off the air.