The Way got off to a strong start, but Leon Ruff instantly changed the pace in he and Kushida’s favor upon tagging in, putting Austin Theory on his heels. Ruff later found himself in desperate straits against the more powerful Theory, eventually breaking free from his grasp to tag in Kushida. NXT’s resident Time Splitter once again got the better of Johnny Wrestling, pinning him for the second time in recent weeks, this time to advance to the second round.
Karrion Kross def. Ashante “Thee” Adonis
Yet another opponent proved to be little more than chum in the water for Karrion Kross. NXT’s doomsday deviant decimated Ashante “Thee” Adonis with no hesitation or wasted movement, flattening him with two Doomsday Saitos. Stalking Adonis back up to hs feet, Kross put him to bed with a huge forearm blow to the back of the neck. Afterward, Kross targeted Desmond Troy, Adonis’ tag team partner in the Dusty Classic, leaving him lying as well after putting him out with the Kross Jacket.
Lucha House Party def. Imperium in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First-Round Match
Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado came out hot with dynamic tag team offense until Imperium took control behind a more methodical pace. But they could not keep Lucha House Party grounded for long, as The King of the Ropes dazzled with a springboard hurricanrana and a springboard moonsault on Fabian Aichner. Metalik & Dorado later followed with a spectacular missile dropkick-sunset flip combination, only to net a near-fall after Marcel Barthel broke up their cover.
Metalik knocked Imperium into disarray with a hurricanrana that sent Barthel careening into Aichner, then took out Aichner for good with a moonsault to the outside. Back in the ring, Dorado blasted Barthel with a huge superkick before connecting with a Shooting Star Press for the victory.
Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Cater def. Toni Storm & Mercedes Martinez
As expected, Mercedes Martinez enforced her will early, nearly ending the bout in short order with a near-fall broken up by Kayden Carter following a huge powerslam. Once tagged in, Carter was the sparkplug her team needed as she battled Toni Storm.
Io Shirai proved to be the ultimate difference-maker, though, as the NXT Women’s Champion pulled Martinez off the apron and achieved payback against her recent nemesis. With Storm isolated in the ring, Catanzaro hit a jaw-dropping twisting senton off the top rope to make good on her team’s promise to pull off the huge upset.
Bronson Reed def. Tyler Rust
Maybe Tyler Rust should have heeded Malcolm Bivens’ advice after all. Rust was unable to overcome Bronson Reed, who showcased his awesome strength and repeatedly overpowered Rust out of the ring completely. Reed picked up the win after hitting the Tsunami splash.
Timothy Thatcher def. Tommaso Ciampa in the Fight Pit
The latest chapter in this bitter rivalry began on the platforms high above the Fight Pit, both competitors battering each other with vicious strikes with the threat of plummeting below looming as a constant threat. Eventually, the battle made its way down, with Tommaso Ciampa stomping on Timothy Thatcher’s fingers as he clinged to the scaffolding above the Pit.
Thatcher answered by digging deep into his sadistic bag of tracks, splaying Ciampa’s fingers and potentially fracturing his digits. But The Blackheart turned the tables by launching Thatcher into the cage, even while severely favoring his left hand.
Ciampa had to resort to a low blow to escape a sleeper hold, making use of the match’s stipulations. Ciampa also got creative, using the referee’s back in impromptu fashion to elevate Thatcher for Willow’s Bell, but Thatcher beat the ensuing 10-count.
The confrontation deteriorated into a sheer test of well, with Ciampa landing the Fairytale Ending and applying a rear-naked choke before being rammed into the cage. “The Professor of Pain” responded with a sleeper, and with Ciampa caught in the cage, Thatcher eventually locked in a brutal modified stretch muffler on The Blackheart’s surgically repaired knee to force a submission and once again plant his flag in the Fight Pit.