“Wrestling has more than one royal family.”
One-half of the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes makes his way to the ring to a huge reaction. The crowd loudly sings his song. Rhodes gets in the ring, and the crowd chants his name. Rhodes is not carrying the Tag Team Titles tonight. He looks fired up to be there. A “YEET” chant picks up. Rhodes shouts, “YEET!” Rhodes says, “So, NXT Universe, whattaya wanna talk about?” He’d be lying if he told you he thought he’d ever be standing in this particular ring. Now that he is, something feels right. It’s the Rhodes. It’s Florida. They’ve spilled blood all over this state. Rhodes does have an announcement to make. Actually… it’s announcements.
They’ve all been enjoying the Women’s Breakout Tournament. Who will be the next Tiffany Stratton? Who will be the next Rhea Ripley? At the end of that tournament, the men will also have a Breakout Tournament. Rhodes kept hearing about a certain Tag Team Tournament. A “Dusty” chant fires up. Rhodes says it sounds like they want that. The crowd cheers in the affirmative. That’s good because the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is also coming back!
There’s one more announcement! On perhaps the biggest night in NXT history, Shawn Michaels made him the Special Guest General Manager of NXT!
NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov makes his way to the ring. The champion, who is celebrating a birthday, gets a “Happy birthday” chant. Dragunov apologizes for interrupting Rhodes, but he couldn’t pass the opportunity to welcome him to NXT. Rhodes’s announcements bring hope and excitement for the future of the brand. They breathe life into NXT. Dragunov also wanted to just meet Rhodes. Rhodes is a man who brings passion, energy, and the will to suffer for the entire WWE Universe. Rhodes is a man who fights with fire and pushes everything he does to the next level. Dragunov wants to do it like Rhodes. Dragunov promises to push this brand to the next level with a fire that only the Mat Dragon can blow.
NXT North American Champion “Dirty” Dominik Mysterio and Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley come out. Mysterio says the WWE Universe is here to see the greatest superstar this brand has to offer: Dominik Mysterio! A “You suck” chant picks up. Dragunov may be the NXT Champion, but he doesn’t compare to him, the one and only true AA Champion. If you want to feel Rhodes’s energy, why doesn’t he ask about the energy level when the Judgment Day leaves him lying? Dragunov says nobody wants to hear the sound of his voice. Dragunov’s father used to work in a prison, so he knows exactly how to turn a barking dog into a sweet little puppy.
Mysterio asks if he hurt “little Ilja.” Rhodes whispers in Dragunov’s ear. Mysterio challenges Dragunov to put his title on the line tonight to see if he’s half the man he says he is. Rhodes asks if Mysterio isn’t willing to put his North American Championship on the line. Ripley says Mysterio has been carrying WWE on his back for the whole year. He just won the NXT North American Championship again. Dragunov says this is a great day. He couldn’t imagine something better than beating Mysterio in the ring. He’s going to smash Ripley’s boy.
Rhodes says he is the Special Guest General Manager. That match for the NXT Championship is official! Here’s the problem. Knowing what he knows about the Judgment Day and the numbers game, this match needs a special guest referee. It’s not Rhodes. The special guest referee is the hottest star in WWE today, LA Knight! The crowd roars!
Ilja Dragunov (c) vs. Dominik Mysterio w/Rhea Ripley For The WWE NXT Championship. LA Knight Will Be Serving As The Special Guest Referee
LA Knight calls for the bell to start this match. Dragunov quickly takes Mysterio down and applies a side headlock. Dragunov connects with a nice hip toss and tries to power him down for a pin, but Mysterio keeps the shoulders up. Dragunov hits Mysterio with a scoop slam. Mysterio puts himself through the ropes to keep Dragunov back. Mysterio comes out of the corner and applies a side headlock, but Dragunov takes him down for a one-count. Dragunov applies a front facelock, but Mysterio powers him to the corner and hits some shoulder thrusts. Mysterio punches Dragunov in the face, so Dragunov chops him down. Dragunov hits a senton and chops the chest a few more times. Dragunov connects with a pair of German Suplexes. Rhea Ripley gets on the apron, and Mysterio uses the distraction to thumb the eye. Mysterio sends Dragunov into the ropes throat first, and he falls to the floor. Ripley smiles.
Picture-in-Picture Commercial Break: Mysterio bounces Dragunov off the commentary table. Mysterio gets him in the ring and kicks him before whipping him hard into the turnbuckles. Dragunov tries to fight back, but Mysterio takes him down with some strikes. Mysterio applies a rear chin lock. Mami happily watches while lying on the apron. Dragunov soon fights up and pulls Mysterio off. Dragunov stumbles to the corner to recover, but Mysterio is quickly up and stomps him down. Dragunov is holding his neck in pain.
Back from the break, Mysterio is starting up the Three Amigos. One Amigo. Two Amigos. Dragunov fights the third one. Mysterio punches him, so Dragunov hits a step-up enzuigiri. Mysterio fights out of a waistlock, but Dragunov soon comes back and turns him inside out with a clothesline. The crowd is going wild. Dragunov is chopping Mysterio in the corner and hits a pair of snap German Suplexes. Mysterio shouts, “Mami!” Mysterio reaches for her, but Dragunov stops him and hits a wrist clutch German Suplex! Nice!
Dragunov chops Mysterio in the corner a few times. Dragunov bounces him off the turnbuckles and chops him some more. Dragunov sends him to the corner, but Mysterio ducks a chop and unloads a nasty chop! Dragunov forearms Mysterio back and wildly chops him down. Dragunov goes for a powerbomb, but Mysterio fights out and superkicks him. Mysterio dropkicks Dragunov into position. Dragunov avoids a 619 and kicks him in the face. Mysterio counters a move from Dragunov and puts him into the ropes for a 619! Mysterio covers for a near fall. Mysterio goes to the apron, but he stops when he sees Dragunov on his feet. Dragunov climbs the ropes and pulls Mysterio up to the top rope and hits a superplex. Dragunov stumbles around before getting fired up. Mysterio rolls to the apron and kicks Dragunov in the knee as he approaches him. Mysterio hits him with a DDT on the apron. Mysterio goes for a suplex, but Dragunov counters with a nasty powerbomb. Dragunov connects with the H-Bomb.
Finn Balor and JD McDonagh run down. Knight punches Balor away and hits McDonagh with Blunt Force Trauma. Ripley gets on the apron to hit Dragunov with her title, but Trick Williams pulls her off the apron and catches her. Ripley flips out. Dragunov then wipes out Mysterio with Torpedo Moscow for the win.
Winner by Pinfall and still NXT Champion: Ilja Dragnov
NXT North American Champion “Dirty” Dominik Mysterio and Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley are walking backstage. Nathan Frazer tells Mysterio not to treat people like dirt. Ripley says Frazer isn’t a champion and not worth their time.