NXT Champion Kevin Owens has had a full plate in recent weeks. When his sights aren’t set on John Cena and taking his United States Title at WWE Battleground, Owens has had to deal with a furious Samoa Joe and No. 1 Contender Finn Bálor breathing down his neck. As his July 4 showdown with the demonic Superstar rapidly approaches, how will Owens deal with everyone closing in on his title?
Making his first appearance since the brutal parking lot attack that left him with a torn rotator cuff and forced him out of the No. 1 Contender’s Match at TakeOver: Unstoppable, Hideo Itami wasted no time in setting up his return to the ring. Though he will be out of action for 3 to 4 months, Itami issued a challenge to the winner of the NXT Championship Match between Kevin Owens and Finn Bálor on July 4 upon his return from injury.
As soon as the challenge was issued, Owens emerged to deny any accusations that he was Itami’s attacker, and demand an apology from Itami for calling him a “bad person” prior to TakeOver. After Itami refused, Owens stormed toward the ring, only to be cut off by Bálor. The enigmatic No. 1 Contender got the upper hand on Owens, but was blindsided by Rhyno, who viciously kicked him off the stage in a near repeat of their battle from earlier this month. Following the fracas, NXT General Manager William Regal announced that Bálor would take on The Man Beast in the main event!
Jason Jordan’s search for a new partner continued this week with Sylvester Lefort, who he teamed up with to face Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady. Though the pairing of Jordan & Lefort seemed to gel at first, a breakdown in communication led to Amore rolling Jordan up to win the bout, leaving the amateur wrestling standout furious and most likely in search of another partner.
Though The Total Diva thought she could toy with NXT newcomer Cassie, she quickly learned that the Australian Diva was no pushover. While Cassie put up a fight and surprised Dana on several occasions, Brooke powered her way to victory, winning the match with a fireman’s carry slam.
Now collectively known as The Hype Bros, the team of Mojo Rawley & Zack Ryder charged into action this week on NXT. The amateur wrestling knowledge of Angelo Dawkins & Sawyer Fulton was no match for the pure energy of The Hype Bros, who picked up the victory with a devastating spinebuster/Rough Ryder combination.
Not only did Bálor have to deal with the raging Rhyno in the main event, but he had to keep one eye on the announcers’ desk, where Kevin Owens was watching. The No. 1 Contender was aggressive out of the gates, trading blows with the much larger Man Beast. Bálor eventually sent Rhyno to the arena floor and followed up with a huge dive over the ropes.
The Man Beast took control back in the ring, trying to squeeze the air out of Bálor’s lungs with a bear hug. Rhyno continued to work over the No. 1 Contender’s midsection, but Bálor fed off the support of the NXT Universe and battled back. The demonic Superstar even stopped Owens’ attempted interference before hitting the Coup de Grace to put away The Man Beast.
But just as the referee called for the bell to end the match, Owens pounced on Bálor, pummeling on his top contender with Rhyno’s help. Bálor’s night didn’t look like it was going to end well, until Samoa Joe came to the rescue. The submission specialist chased off Rhyno and the NXT Champion, ensuring that Bálor will fight another day.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Uhaa Nation defeated Johnny Gargano
- Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady (w/ Carmella) defeated Jason Jordan & Sylvester Lefort (2:39)
- Dana Brooke (w/ Emma) defeated Cassie (3:40)
- The Hype Bros (Mojo Rawley & Zack Ryder) defeated Angelo Dawkins & Sawyer Fulton (4:20)
- Finn Balor defeated Rhyno (8:40)