The Great American Bash continued this week on NXT as the second night of this historic event looked to change the landscape of professional wrestling as we know it.
The night started off in an explosive fashion: a Street Fight between Candice LeRae and Mia Yim!
Street Fight: Mia Yim vs Candice LeRae
What better way to start the evening than with two women who have endured a grueling feud thus far, Candice LeRae and Mia Yim. LeRae walked out towards the ring first and was ambushed by Yim en route. Yim has had enough of LeRae’s crap over the past number of weeks and wasted no time in bringing the attack to the ‘Poison Pixie’. Yim threw LeRae into the ring then proceeded to check out what was laying underneath it. Yim grabbed trash cans, kendo sticks and steel chairs and hurled them over the top rope into the ring.
It did not look like a good night for Candice LeRae!
The match started off with LeRae managing to get the first shot in, pummelling Mia Yim with a kendo stick. Yim managed to block a second strike from LeRae and grabbed hold of the kendo stick. Yim began to wail that kendo into the back of Candice LeRae, over and over, completely torturing LeRae and leaving welts all over her opponents body. As the match continued, so did Yim’s relentless attack. Yim wound up sending LeRae into the crowd section of the performance centre, where a select few of NXT’s recruits were enjoying this match. Yim threw LeRae up against a catering table and continued to pound down on her helpless frame. Yim then looked as if she was going to try to put LeRae through the catering table. Bear in mind there were nothing but concrete floors in this section of the performance centre.
LeRae disappeared from the frame momentarily but resurfaced from behind the clouds of a burst of a fire extinguisher as she looked to blind Mia Yim! LeRae, who had seemed to build up some momentum, jumped upon a raised platform that was near the catering table and looked to super-plex Yim through the table. The blinded Yim managed to avoid disaster here and ended up hitting LeRae with a running drop-kick and sent LeRae crashing through the table and onto the concrete floor below. LeRae had to be seriously hurt after that one.
The closing point of this match came about when Yim pulled out a pair of brass knuckles and threw the punch but LeRae pulled up a steel chair right in the nick of time. Yim’s hand had to broken! LeRae took immediate advantage of the situation and did something crazy. LeRae laid out a table across the corner turnbuckle, the same way you’d lay out some scaffolding, and things ended up with both women standing atop the unstable table and LeRae delivering a swinging neckbreaker from the top all the way to the mat, landing on all of the steel chairs that Yim laid out earlier in the match. With LeRae’s last ounce of life, she placed her arm over the chest of Yim as the ref counted to three! LeRae won this match in such a destructive fashion!
Winner: Candice LeRae
Bronson Reed vs Tony Neese
Earlier in the night, Neese had a match on the pre-show with up and comer Leon Ruff. Ruff isn’t the largest man on the planet and has been seen on NXT quite a lot recently, usually being fed to larger talent. Tony Neese defeated Ruff on the pre-show and, after the match, Neese was simply being a disrespectful guy all round. Neese continued attacking Ruff after the bell rang, with a smile on his face, just toying with Ruff. Bronson Reed was hanging out in the crowd area while this match was going down and decided that he had seen enough.
Reed beelined to the ring, chasing the cowardly Neese, out of the ring . Reed then met with NXT General Manager William Regal backstage and was granted this very match. Top bloke! The South-Australian Reed was ready to teach Neese a lesson in respect and did so by starting this match by overpowering Neese and targeting Nesse’s left arm, which he continued to zone in on throughout the match. Neese is an incredibly talented man, make no mistake about it, but his attitude works against him. This was very much a David vs Goliath scenario based on the sheer size of the Aussie.
Reed even hit a damn bionic elbow at The Great American Bash! If you don’t know what that means, it’s simply that Reed was paying homage to the late-great ‘American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes who was the man behind The Great American Bash event itself. That was a great thing to see – I’m still smiling like an idiot. Reed was fired up after that and ended up catching Neese as he attempted a top rope dive. Nesse wound up gaining some momentum, however, after hitting a springboard moonsault. The momentum didn’t last long as Reed’s strength was back on show as he plowed through Nesse and propped himself atop the top rope, delivering a monstrous splash to his helpless opponent below. Reed picked up the pinfall victory, and got a little bit of revenge of behalf of his new mate, Leon Ruff.
Winner: Bronson Reed
Backstage Segment #1
Next up, McKenzie Mitchell was seen backstage following Robert Stone around as he was being his overconfident self, bragging about the Robert Stone Brand. He had planned a scenario where he would approach Shotzi Blackheart backstage. Shotzi was hanging out in her army tank just minding her own business. Stone took it upon himself to forcefully tell Shotzi that she should be a part of his brand and that she would be the next big thing. Shotzi, knowing what’s best for Shotzi, declined. Stone declared that his brand is on fire, Shotzi shot back by saying the brand is a dumpster fire and I can’t say I disagree. Shotzi, in no uncertain terms, put Stone in his place.
Apparently, getting his ass kicked by Rhea Ripley last week wasn’t enough as Stone responded like a spoiled child. Stone shouted at Shotzi, demanding to know why she would say no to him. As we know, Stone thinks he’s the bee’s knees, legs and arms. Stone threw a tantrum and even threw his coffee over his shoulder. The coffee landed on Killian Dain, who was standing behind Stone. Needless to say, ‘The Belfast Brawler’ threw Stone around like a rag doll. Shotzi then got involved by driving her tank over Stone, who was laid out in the aftermath of Dain. Stone was screaming for his life as Shotzi’s tank (barely) drove over his left foot. It was fantastic.
Johnny Gargano vs Isiah ‘Swerve’ Scott
Gargano walked into this match extremely arrogantly. The victory that his wife, Candice LeRae, had over Mia Yim earlier in the night may have had something to do with his attitude. Gargano was ready to enforce ‘The Gargano Way’. This match started off with some great mat wrestling techniques from both Superstars involved. Gargano managed to continually gain the upper hand early on. Gargano delivered a running headscissors to Scott, but Scott landed on his feet! From there, Gargano began to take Scott seriously.
Scott built up some momentum, keeping up with Gargano and proving that he should never be underestimated. Gargano escaped from the ring, looking to buy some time and to catch his breath, but Scott was hot on Gargano’s track and dived over the top rope taking Gargano out.
When NXT returned from a brief commercial, Gargano was in the lead. Gargano was in full control of Swerve and looked to be having fun in inflicting pain upon the very impressive Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott. Gargano ended up hitting Scott with a slingshot spear from the apron, completely wiping out Scott. What a move that was!
There was a point when both men were giving each other everything they had. However, Gargano was the one who had his arm raised at the end of this great match as he capitalized on a missed strike with a springboard spiked DDT from the apron to the ring, putting an end to Scott’s dreams of a victory at The Bash.
Winner: Johnny Gargano
Backstage Segment #2
McKenzie Mitchell was once again gracing our screens. This time, Mitchell had Candice LeRae and Johnny Gargano at hand. LeRae instantly insisted that McKenzie announced that she had defeated Yim in a Street Fight. Gargano then butted in, as he does, and declared that he and Candice are ‘the greatest power-couple in the world!’. However, Gargano couldn’t help but wonder how things would have gone if Finn Balor had not gotten in his way a number of weeks ago on NXT.
Gargano then said that he will deal with Balor soon enough and that he never forgets who crosses him. LeRae added to that by saying that she also has not forgotten the people who have crossed her recently and that The Gargano’s have a few wrongs that they need to make right.
This sounds like trouble for the entirety of NXT if you ask me.
Santana Garrett vs Mercedes Martinez
Martinez has recently returned to NXT, with this being her big return match on the black and gold brand. Martinez has made it very clear recently that she is not here to make friends: she is here to elevate herself and prove her worth. Both women involved in this particular match are clearly very experienced performers and incredibly talented athletes. Garrett comes across as more of a colourful and ‘bubbly’ character, but that is not to be mistaken for weakness.
Garrett is a serious threat when she’s staring down her opponent in the middle of the ring. Martinez however, was merciless as she brought the fight to Garret. Garret used her gymnastics background early in the match to work around the brawling fight-style that the dangerous Mercedes Martinez possesses. Martinez put a definitive end to this match as she made quick work of Garrett, delivering a spin crushing fisherman’s buster to pick up the pinfall victory.
Winner: Mercedes Martinez
Adam Cole (c) vs Keith Lee (c) in a Champion vs Champion match
This was a very highly anticipated match. The longest reigning NXT Champion of all time, Adam Cole, was main eventing this incredible show by taking on the NXT North American Champion, Keith Lee, in a ‘winner takes all’ double championship match. This was a huge opportunity for Keith Lee to potentially become the NXT Champion in what would be his biggest NXT match thus far. On this night, Adam Cole had held the NXT Championship for 403 days. A great little bonus that NXT gave us was that before Adam Cole made his way to the ring, the cameras caught up with him backstage and captured footage of him walking from his locker room to Gorilla Position. Cole took a breath just before his entrance music played then stepped through the curtains. That was such a small detail but it gave this match that big fight feeling. Cole and Lee stood across from each other in the middle of the ring and faced off momentarily. The fight was on.
Cole wasted no time in attempting to wearing down Lee, as the NXT Champion locked Lee into a vicious headlock. Lee retaliated and began to utilize his strength, gripping the wrist of Cole and elevating him into the air. Lee soon brought the fight outside the ring and charged towards Cole. Cole side stepped Lee and the North American Champion went flying through the plexiglass barricade at ringside. Cole followed up with a stiff kick to the face and soon enough started to drive Keith Lee’s face into the steel steps.
The match made its way back to the ring, and Cole had Lee in the palms of his hands. After manhandling Lee for an extended period of time, Cole locked in a triangle death-lock submission by locking his legs around Keith Lee’s neck. Cole continued to tackle Lee to the ground every time it looked like Lee was getting back into this match. Soon enough, Lee did manage to intercept Cole and hit a monstrous power slam, driving Cole down to into the mat. Lee began to build some serious momentum here, as he continued to strike the wounded NXT Champion.
Lee’s comedic side came out mid-match: as he had Cole laid out on the mat, Lee approached the turnbuckle and spoke to the camera and said ‘I must break him.’. Cole was too quick at this point in the match, though, as he managed to deliver a backbreaker to Lee, potentially saving himself and his Championship. Cole went for a pin but could literally not hook the legs of Keith Lee! Later in the match, Cole was stood on the apron next to the corner turnbuckle. Lee approached the turnbuckle and stood atop the second rope. Lee then lifted Cole from the apron in a suplex position and literally had no leverage. With Lee’s sheer strength, he propped Cole into a suplex position from the apron and delivered a mega super-plex. No better time for Mauro Ronallo to scream MAMA MIA!
Just when thing looked to swerving in Lee’s direction, Lee attempted his signature Big-Bang Catastrophe body slam attack. Cole sensed he was in danger and pulled a jaw shattering super-kick out of nowhere, following up with a second! The attack seemed to enrage the beast that is Keith Lee. However, Adam Cole being the longest reigning NXT Champion in history, is no fluke. Cole immediately bounced back with a running Last-Shot, driving his boot into the back of Lee’s head, bringing down the big man. Cole went for what he thought was the pinfall to end the match and retain his NXT Championship, as well as becoming the first two-time North American Champion in NXT history. Somehow Keith Lee kicked out! Not only did Lee kick out, but he sent Cole flying upwards as he lay prone. This man’s strength never ceases to amaze me. You could say I’m basking in his glory, but now is not the time for my great puns.
Adam Cole could not believe that this match was still going. Cole then had that cold glaze come over his face as he geared up for a second Last-Shot kick to Lee. Lee was in the right place at the right time however, as he hit Cole with a lariat clothesline that flipped Adam Cole (Bay Bay) inside out! Just when you though there was going to be a new NXT Champion, Cole hit the Panama Sunrise on Keith Lee, finally grabbing the opportunity to slay the super-human. Adam Cole successfully hooked Keith Lee’s tree trunk sized leg and went for the pinfall. Lee kicked out at two! What?!? Watch this match after you’ve read this. My god.
Adam Cole was beside himself at this point and had to be wondering what was it that he would have to do to put away Keith Lee. Cole gestured for Lee to make it to his feet and hit Lee with THREE super-kicks to the face, followed by a pinfall. Lee kicked out at two again. Cole was clearly infuriated after that. Cole had given this match everything he had, yet Keith Lee would not stay down.
Cole knew he had one last shot to end this. Cole composed himself while sat atop the turnbuckle as Keith Lee began stirring on the mat. Cole demanded that Lee get up off his feet. The groggy Keith Lee finally made his way to his feet just in time and in position for Adam Cole to hit the final Panama Sunrise. As Cole dove from the top rope towards Lee’s body, Lee caught Cole mid-air and transitioned into the Spirit-Bomb, driving Cole spine-first into the mat from such a height! Lee could almost taste the victory. Lee grabbed Coles now lifeless body and hit his signature Big-Bang-Catastrophe for the final time. Lee quickly hooked Adam Cole’s leg as the referee began to count. One-Two-Three!!
Keith Lee was victorious on night two of The Great American Bash and is now North American Champion and NXT Champion!
Winner: Keith Lee