Bronson Reed took the punishment to Isaiah “Swerve” Scott early on, until Scott played possum to lure him into a devastating chop block. “Swerve” continued to show a new, more sinister side of himself to the NXT Universe throughout, but Reed’s power won out. Reed went to the top to flatten Scott with a Tsunami splash, coming away with a “Colossal” victory.
The Grizzled Young Veterans def. Breezango
With The 2021 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic only two weeks away, The Grizzled Young Veterans set the tone for what could be another deep run in the tournament. Zack Gibson & James Drake staked out a big win, knocking off Tyler Breeze & Fandango after hitting Ticket to Mayhem.
Their victory drew out Ever-Rise, who seemed to want a piece of the duo they’ve warred with in recent weeks — that is, until a referee no longer held Chase Parker & Matt Martel back, prompting them to flee from Gibson & Drake.
Mercedes Martinez def. Valentina Feroz
Mercedes Martinez continues to leave no doubt that she is all business since returning last week. She dominated in this bout, disparaging Valentina Feroz as she beat her down, putting her away with an Air Raid Crash.
Pete Dunne def. Roderick Strong
As expected, there was no love lost between longtime rivals Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong, who established a break-neck pace from the opening bell. The match featured similar intensity to their WarGames clash earlier this month. However, this time it was Dunne getting the last laugh, pinning Strong after connecting with the Bitter End.
Finn Bálor called out Kyle O’Reilly, Damian Priest brawled with Karrion Kross
Accepting the award for NXT Match of the Year for his unforgettable classic against Kyle O’Reilly at NXT TakeOver 31, NXT Champion Finn Bálor decided to “present” O’Reilly with the award in derisive fashion ahead of their title clash next week at NXT New Year’s Evil.
Karrion Kross and Scarlett soon arrived, assuring both Bálor and O’Reilly that next week’s winner was irrelevant, as the championship would soon be back around Kross’ waist. But they weren’t alone. Damian Priest borrowed a page from Kross’ playbook, approaching the doomsday destroyer from behind, and an all-out melee was soon underway. Battering each other throughout the Capitol Wrestling Center, Kross and Priest decimated a ringside barricade and sent each other through a table, setting the tone for what figures to be a physical encounter at New Year’s Evil.
Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado def. Legado del Fantasma
Empty-handed from the NXT Year-End Awards or not, NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar was content to take a victory lap, touting what he and the rest of Legado del Fantasma had accomplished in 2020, declaring themselves the leaders of lucha libre.
Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado took issue with that, making a surprise appearance on the black-and-gold brand to step to Escobar, Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza. NXT General Manager William Regal ordered a tag team bout to take place on the spot, and Metalik & Dorado made the most of their impromptu opportunity. Dorado spiked Mendoza with a poison rana before Metalik walked the top rope to deliver an elbow drop for the win.
NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano def. Leon Ruff
The Way made their presence felt early at ringside on Johnny Gargano’s behalf, with Austin Theory trying to distract Leon Ruff. But Ruff was on top of his game, as confident as ever after his recent exploits, including his previous win over Gargano.
Johnny Wrestling was poised to avoid another upset, though. Ruff demonstrated his fortitude, kicking out after several big maneuvers, including a massive superkick and a powerbomb, even scratching and clawing his way to a rope break from the Gargano Escape, further frustrating the champion.
Ruff seemed on his way to victory after landing a huge diving cutter on the outside, but Gargano narrowly beat the three-count following an ensuing frog splash by Ruff. One mistake proved costly for the underdog, as Gargano splayed Ruff face-first on the turnbuckle before hitting the One Final Beat DDT to put Ruff — and his so-called “championship curse” — to bed.