7/28 NXT ON USA PRIMER: Lumis vs. Balor vs. Thatcher to earn entry into North American Title ladder match at Takeover, Shotzi vs. Martinez, Lee responds to Kross

By Amin Ajani, PWTorch contributor


The build to NXT Takeover: XXX continues tonight as Finn Balor will face Dexter Lumis and Timothy Thatcher in a Triple Threat Match to earn an opportunity to compete in a Ladder Match for the vacant NXT North American Title. Plus, how will NXT Champion Keith Lee respond after watching Karrion Kross vicious attack on his frenemy Dominik Dijakovic. It’s sure to be another action packed show as NXT takes places tonight on the USA Network from Full Sail University. Now let’s take a look at what’s advertised for tonight’s show.

  • Balor, Lumis, and Thatcher battle for NXT North American Title opportunity
  • NXT Champion Keith Lee responds to Karrion Kross’s heinous assault
  • Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong take their issues to the ring
  • Shotzi Blackheart battles Mercedes Martinez

Balor, Lumis, and Thatcher battle for NXT North American Title opportunity

Keith Lee decided to vacant the NXT North American Title to give other wrestlers an opportunity to compete for the title. NXT General Manager William Regal announced a series of Triple Threat Matches were wrestlers will earn a chance to compete for the vacant North American Title in a Ladder Match at TakeOver: XXX. Finn Balor has made it clear he wants the one title he never held but in order to compete for the NXT North American Title he will have to defeat Dexter Lumis and Timothy Thatcher in a Triple Threat Match. It won’t be an easy task for Balor as both Lumis and Thatcher are coming off victories from last week’s show. The question is will Balor get past Lumis and Thatcher and come closer to winning the one single’s title he never held in NXT?

(Amin’s Analysis: There will some people who don’t like the decision of Lee vacating the North American Title but I didn’t mind how this was played out with Regal announcing a series of Triple Threat Matches. This way you can showcase some great wrestling matches on TV. The announcement of the Ladder Match also works as it was the same match where Adam Cole became the first champion. This match should be great which features three terrific wrestlers. Both, Lumis and Thatcher have been showcased strongly and I see that happening in this match as well. In the end, I see Balor winning and advancing to Takeover: XXX.)

NXT Champion Keith Lee responds to Karrion Kross’s heinous assault

Last week Karrion Kross unleashed a vicious assault on Dominik Dijakovic as NXT Champion Keith Lee watched on. Well, tonight on NXT, Lee will appear and address Kross’ action. The question is what will Lee have to say and will he and Kross come face-to-face?

(Amin’s Analysis: The build so far has been simple but effective from the subtle tease of Lee smashing the hourglass to Kross watching the NXT Championship celebration. Last week was more of the same with Kross sending a message to Lee by attacking his best rivalry in Dijakovic. What I would like to see is a strong promo from Lee building up the upcoming NXT Championship match with Kross which could be announced on tonight’s show.)

Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong take their issues to the ring

It didn’t take long as the rivalry between Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong has been quickly escalating which began during a backstage confrontation. Issues heated up as Gargano looked to have punched his ticket to TakeOver: XXX when he delivered the One Final Beat DDT too Strong. However, it didn’t happen as Bronson Reed leaped off the turnbuckle, splashed Strong and punched his first TakeOver: XXX. The issue didn’t end their as both Gargano and Strong escalated their tension on social media which you can see below. Regal took notice to this and announced Gargano will face Strong in single’s competition. Who will come out on top when Gargano and Strong meet inside the square circle.


(Amin’s Analysis: This should be a great match as both Gargano and Strong are terrific wrestlers. It will be interesting to see if both Gargano and Strong will get a second chance to qualify for the North American Title match or see what other matches will they be in at TakeOver: XXX.)

Shotzi Blackheart battles Mercedes Martinez

Shotzi Blackheart got a measure of revenge last week when she defeated Aliyah and then ran over Robert Stone’s other good leg with her mini tank after costing her a match against Indi Hartwell. Shotzi’s celebration didn’t last long as she was attacked by Mercedes Martinez who’s the biggest acquisition to join the Robert Stone Brand. The question remains can Shotzi overcome Martinez and stop the Robert Stone Brand before it gets moving?


(Amin’s Analysis: A little bit of comedy on a mostly heavy focused wrestling show is fine and Robert Stone has been great in his role. I want to give this a chance and see where this goes with Martinez joining the Robert Stone Brand. This should be good as Shotzi is a very talented wrestler and what makes her special is that her character stands out in the NXT Women’s Division next to my favorite Io Shirai.)

The Big Takeaway From Last Week’s Show

Bronson Reed defeated Johnny Gargano and Roderick to qualify for the NXT North American Championship Ladder Match at Takeover: XXX. Dakota Kai has her eyes locked on the NXT Women’s Championship calling out my favourite Io Shirai.

Overall Thoughts

The wrestling on NXT is consistently good as always get to see one if not many more great standout matches each week. What seems to be missing is the element of surprise on NXT and I get the thinking as they want to completely separate the show from the lack of inconsistencies you see on Raw on SmackDown. I would like if NXT takes a little more chances and I expect you will see that going forward with Takeover: XXX approaching. Overall, this should be another great episode of NXT and show why it’s the must watch wrestling show on TV.

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