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The unpredictable nature of Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish overshadowed a hotly contested United Kingdom Championship match on Wednesday night’s episode of NXT.
Moments after Pete Dunne successfully retained his title over Wolfgang, the trio now known as The Undisputed Era made its presence felt, laying waste to Wolfgang before escaping through the crowd.
That attack capped off a show that also featured Ruby Riot take on Peyton Royce and Billie Kay in a Handicap match, the return of Johnny Gargano and another performance from The Street Profits.
Find out who emerged victorious and what it means for a transitioning NXT with the recap of the September 13 episode.
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After splitting the victories with Billie Kay and Peyton Royce in recent weeks, Ruby Riot attempted to defeat them in a Two-on-One Handicap match.
Going it alone without the benefit of a partner, she held her own early but quickly succumbed to the numbers disadvantage.
Nikki Cross lurked at ringside, watching as Riot fought back and had her opponents in a compromising position.
She hopped on the apron, tagged herself in and unloaded on the heels as the NXT faithful erupted.
Riot scored the pinfall victory moments later, pinning Kay.
Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross defeated Billie Kay and Peyton Royce
Much like Sanity inexplicably turned babyface at TakeOver: Brooklyn III, Cross hammered home the point that she is now a heroine by joining former nemesis Riot to defeat Kay and Royce.
The motivation is not readily apparent and the aftermath of the unconventional alliance will be felt in the weeks and months to come but the crowd is clearly ready to support Cross, whose frenetic energy is infectious.
It was nice to see Riot score another win, too, considering how poorly she has been utilized in recent months.
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After a confrontation inside the WWE Performance Center last week, Johnny Gargano looked to silence the arrogant Riddick Moss in singles competition Wednesday night. The presence of Tino Sabbatelli would hover over the match like a dark cloud.
Moss worked the arm early and proceeded to use his size and strength to keep Gargano grounded and at a disadvantage. He pounded away in the corner and appeared to be well in control of the bout.
Until Gargano fired up and fought back.
A suicide dive to Moss ignited the comeback and a slick counter led to the Garga-No Escape but the heel made it to the ropes to necessitate the break.
Momentarily stunned that the finisher did not work, Gargano left himself open to a big fall-away slam. He recovered, though, and delivered a slingshot spear to score the victory.
Johnny Gargano defeated Riddick Moss
The story of Johnny Gargano has been one of the more engaging in NXT.
Betrayed by his partner, he is consistently faced with doubts about his own abilities and stunned when things do not go the way he expected. It happened at TakeOver: Brooklyn III and it cost him on that night.
It nearly did again here. Instead, he fought back, caught Moss with his spear finisher and scored the quality win.
How he continues to adjust and grow as a singles partner without the safety net of a tag team partner will be a staple of NXT television.
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The Street Profits returned to NXT television this week to do battle with the massive Ealy Brothers.
Size was not an insurmountable obstacle for Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford, though, as the popular tandem controlled the early portion of the bout.
The smaller Ford found himself at the mercy of his opponents for a brief moment but was able to dodge a corner attack. The hot tag to Dawkins re-energized the building and set up to the frog splash from Ford for the win.
The Street Profits defeated The Ealy Brothers
The Street Profits continue to win over the fans and earn victories with every passing week, to the point that they will likely find themselves in the tag team title picture before year’s end.
The energy of the crowd is the most important element of their act as it helps them stand out from the darker, more somber and serious on the roster.
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WWE United Kingdom champion Pete Dunne returned to the NXT Arena this week, squaring off with the man who was his tag team partner less-than a month ago, Wolfgang.
Dunne worked the arm of his opponent, manipulating his joints and tendons in a sickening display of viciousness. The challenger countered with a cravat but the titleholder was quick to refocus his attack on the left arm of his opponent.
Dunne controlled the match heading into the break and maintained that advantage until Wolfgang crotched him on the top rope. A massive, delayed superplex followed, leaving the champion writhing.
The action broke down late, each Superstar unloading on the other with a flurry of strikes.
A German suplex from Dunne and the Bitter End wrapped up another successful title defense for The Bruiserweight.
After the match, Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly hit the ring, surrounding the champion like a pack of jackals. Not one to shy away from a fight, Dunne took the fight to the trio. Wolfgang joined in but the numbers disadvantage proved too much.
As they turned their attention to Wolfgang, Dunne escaped, then teased returning to help. Instead, he grabbed his belt and cowardly exited.
Cole put an exclamation point on the segment with a Shining Wizard, leveling Wolfgang and standing tall with his cohorts.
Pete Dunne defeated Wolfgang
Wolfgang had a better match with Tyler Bate in the United Kingdom tournament but this was still an enjoyable, hard-hitting brawl of a match that reaffirmed Dunne’s status as the baddest man in that particular division.
The attack by Cole, Fish and O’Reilly would seem to tease a Six-Man Tag Team match against Wolfgang, Bate and Trent Seven, perhaps as early as next week. It also exhibited the unpredictability of the trio of Ring of Honor alumni, an element sorely missing from the brand.