The tag team division took center stage on Wednesday as the WWE Women’s Tag Team titles were up for grabs and the men’s champions were in action.
Tag team gold was on the line as both the NXT tag team titles and the WWE Women’s tag team titles were on the line. There was a shift in one of the matches, but the fill-in was a viable option. Even with this, there was still a lot to look forward to on Wednesday.
The men’s tag team title match was up first, but there was a shift in the schedule. Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher stepped in to take the place of MSK as Wes Lee was injured in last week’s attack.
The champions were sent reeling early in the match as Thatcher and Ciampa were able to gain the advantage. Thatcher went for an early pin after a nasty assisted European uppercut. Thatcher was rolling early but he suffered an injury to his arm that looked serious. He got back into the match but was at the mercy of the champions until Ciampa was tagged in, taking both men out on his own.
Ciampa and Thatcher started taking turns beating on Danny Burch, but he would not go away. Midway through the match, it looked like Thatcher was about to make the tag to Ciampa, but Imperium stood at the top of the, and Thatcher looked like he saw a ghost. The distraction was enough to give Burch and Lorcan the space to finish off Thatcher, pinning him in the center of the ring.
Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan defeat Tim Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa: B-
This was a good match while it lasted. Not a fan of the injury angle to get MSK out of this moment, not sure why that decision was made, and hopefully, they get that match and the titles. Ciampa and Thatcher are always entertaining. Another distraction finish but hopefully this leads to something big with Imperium as the main event NXT faction.
Back in the ring, Roddy Strong calls out Adam Cole, but instead, he gets Finn Balor. Their back and forth leads to Adam Cole and Finn Balor being announced for next week. Before Balor could finish, Strong attacks him and they brawl in the ring.
The Way kicks off their therapy session next. Every time Dexter Lumis is mentioned, Candice LeRae and Johnny Gargano get furious. By the end of the segment, Gargano has been kicked out of the room.
Women’s action was up next as Aliyah was out with the rest of the Robert Stone Brand. She was facing Ember Moon with Shotzi Blackheart in her corner.
The former champion was out to the early advantage, but Aliyah did have some moments. But those moments only infuriated Moon, and she took it out on her in spades. Moon landed a nasty kick on Aliyah while outside the ring, but Aliyah kicked out of the following pin attempt. She returned the favor, and continued to goad Moon, while grounding her.
Aliyah took Moon to the top rope but was dropped by Moon, while Blackheart wasted everyone on the outside. Back in the ring, Moon hit the Eclipse and pinned Aliyah for the win.
Ember Moon defeated Aliyah: B-
A solid match to give Ember Moon a needed win. The continued fear that Robert Stone has of Blackheart was a good touch as well. Aliyah is better in the ring but still looks a bit out of sorts at times when on her own. Still, a solid match by all involved.
The women’s tag team titles were up in the next match as Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez challenged Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax.
Kai and Jax start things off with Jax tossing the smaller woman around the ring. Kai’s fortune changes when Baszler is in the ring as she can get some offense in on the former NXT Women’s champion. Things picked up when Gonzalez and Baszler squared off in the ring, as Baszler was not able to bully the bigger woman. The tag team champions were able to isolate Kai on their side of the ring, taking turns attacking her while mocking Gonzalez.
Baszler and Jax attacked Kai’s knees but she was able to do enough to create some separation and get to Gonzalez. Gonzalez hit a series of fallaway slams on Baszler and nearly pinned her for the victory. Gonzalez was able to get out of the chin lock and landed a big boot. Jax had to save her partner before taking the loss. Gonzalez and Jax nearly went through the announce table outside, but Kai is in the ring. Adam Pearce comes out with a Raw official that sees Kai get chocked out, calling for the bell. Even though, Kai was not the legal person in the ring. Still, Jax and Baszler retain.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler defeat Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez: B-
This was a great match and what should have been a showcase moment for Gonzalez and Kai. However, due to a Screwjob finish, Jax and Baszler retain. It will be interesting to see what this decision leads to, but it completely killed the momentum of the show.
Bronson Reed and Cameron Grimes were set for singles action up next. Grimes tries to buy his way to victory but eats a right hand for his troubles. Grimes tried a sunset flip, but Reed just sat down on his chest, nearly getting the win.
Back in the ring, Grimes was able to get some offense in and landed a nice Spanish fly but did not get the victory. Grimes grounded the bigger man and laid into him with elbows and knees. The offense from Grimes started to fire up Reed, who came back with more of his own. Grimes tries to leave but Reed lands a suicide dive outside the ring. Reed went up to the top, but LA Knight came out and caused the distraction, allowing Grimes to win.
Cameron Grimes defeated Bronson Reed: B-
Another good match. Good to see the Cameron Grimes push continue and setting up something between Bronson Reed and LA Knight, but this is yet another distraction finish on the show.
EverRise were out for more tag team action against Breezango. But Legado del Fantasma attack before the match starts.
Finn Balor and Roderick Strong were set for the main event. The match immediately went to the mat, with neither man able to keep the other grounded for too long. They continued to exchange positions and looked to be even until Strong landed a backbreaker to ground the champion. Strong was in control for a moment, but that did not stop Balor from taking over.
Strong reversed one of Balor’s holds into a body slam, to swing things back his way. Balor continued to attack Strong’s arms, but he would not quit. Strong landed a powerbomb into a pin, but the champion continued to kick out. Balor countered coming off the ropes and hit the drop kick into the corner. Balor landed the double-foot stomp, into the 1916 and picked up the win.
Finn Balor defeated Roderick Strong: A-
This was exactly the type of match expected from Balor and Strong. Hard-hitting and fast-paced, the two men delivered and reminded everyone why they are main event material. It will be interesting to see where Strong goes without the Undisputed Era, but this was the perfect setup for next week’s match between Cole and Balor.