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Women’s Dusty Final – Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs. Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart
Considering that the Women’s Tag Titles are currently around the waists of a heel Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler on the main roster, my money was on Moon & Shotzi to walk out victorious. However, I think I was a little short-sighted walking into this matchup. Gonzalez has been on such a monster run lately, that there’s no way she could lose. She defeated Ripley, she’s defeated everyone else she’s come up against. Gonzalez was essentially destined to win this for her team.
My favorite thing about Gonzalez is just how much she has improved in so little time. I feel like less than a year ago, I was talking about how green I felt she was. Now, I feel like she’s settled into this monster heel character quite nicely. A little bit Chyna mixed with a little bit of Rhea Ripley, and you get Gonzalez.
The match itself was perfectly fine, the women pulled out quite a few high spots to get the crowd amped for the rest of the night. With Moon & Blackheart losing, I’m not sure what’s next for either of them. I think Shirai is going to be tied up with Martinez for the forseeable future, so Moon and Shotzi probably won’t to be in the title scene any time soon.
North American Championship – Johnny Gargano vs. Kushida
Wow. Stop reading this and go watch this match. Seriously. I don’t care if you’ve already seen it, I’ll wait. This column will be here when you return.
I think this might be the best NA Title match in the history of said championship. Kushida and Gargano not only flawlessly performed a near 20 minute technical masterpiece, but they did it while telling multiple stories. The story of Gargano’s arm, Kushida’s leg, The Way not being ringside, Where is Theory?, Will Lumis interfere?, will the curse return and keep Gargano from retaining?
The two of them put everything they had into this matchup, and boy did it come across to the audience.
I can’t gush enough about this. Just watch it.
Men’s Dusty Final – Grizzled Young Veterans vs. MSK
If you want to see a technical masterpiece, watch the last match. If you want to see great tag wrestling, then this is for you. The babyface MSK hooked the crowd and kept them invested, GYV looked to thwart them at every turn.
I wanted to see a GYV win here, simply because I feel they deserve their shot at the NXT Tag Gold. But with Lorcan & Burch as the current champions, it makes sense for the babyface team to win the classic. According to HHH on his post-takeover media call, it seemed like MSK was the choice to win from the start but depending on who else stepped up the outcome could have changed.
NXT Women’s Championship – Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm. vs. Mercedes Martinez
On a show that had no shortage of great wrestling, this match absolutely delivered. Martinez and Storm kept squabbling with one another, ultimately and somewhat predictably allowing Shirai to squeak out the win. While I think Storm is going to be moving to another feud, I feel like there is more to get out of Shirai and Martinez and we may see that feud continue.
This match was cut about 8 minutes short, after the announce table literally fell apart while Storm was setting up for a table spot. They had to quickly adjust and restructure the match, and I must give them credit for doing so in a way that didn’t make the match seem disjointed.
NXT Championship – Finn Balor vs. Pete Dunne
Another technical masterpiece! Gargano and Kushida may have been a step above this, but that should take nothing away from what Dunne and Balor did in this match. Plenty of false finishes making Dunne look credible and like he could potentially defeat Balor. Going into the match, I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that Balor would retain. Dunne, while I love him, just isn’t at that main event level yet. Close, but not quite.
After the match, Lorcan & Burch assisted Dunne in beating Balor down until The Undisputed Era, sans Bobby Fish due to injury, came to make the save. Balor accepted the help and stood with them in the ring as they made their UE hand gesture and Balor did his bullet club finger gun when Cole abruptly superkicked Balor. When KOR didn’t like it, he superkicked KOR!
I’d been thinking we were going to see a UE breakup eventually, but with Cole as the face and KOR as the heel. Now, we have the opposite scenario which certainly intrigues me. Roddy looked confused and didn’t know who to side with, and one can only assume that Fish will side with his longtime tag partner, KOR, though time will tell.
This is an angle that I’m super excited about, we’re about to see a complete reshaping of the NXT main event landscape.