The last spot in the Quarterfinals was up for grabs as Johnny Gargano took on T.J. Perkins. In the locker room before the match, Johnny Wrestling was seen having his knee taped up by trainers, a painful reminder of the loss he and Tommaso Ciampa’s suffered to The Revival at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II just four days prior … and a target for his opponent.
Perkins was quick in going after Gargano’s injured knee, stretching it with a Muta Lock early on in the match. Despite the injury, Gargano didn’t hold back, going after Perkins on the floor with a tope suicida and locking on a surfboard hold back in the ring. TJP’s confidence in his counter-wrestling never wavered; he eventually took back control of the match with a snug headscissors, followed by a dab to add insult to injury. Gargano turned the tables with a diving spear through the ropes, but each high-impact move he executed seemed to hurt his injured knee as much as it did Perkins.
Gargano’s fate may have been sealed while diving onto Perkins at ringside, when his injured leg slammed into the timekeeper’s table with a sickening thud. Johnny Wrestling fought valiantly, attempting to pick up TJP and launch him like a lawn dart into the turnbuckles, but his knee couldn’t support the weight at first. Gargano eventually succeeded, but the injury was too much to overcome. Perkins locked on a kneebar, and before the resilient Gargano could reach the ropes, he crossed his leg over, turning the submission into a hold he calls the TJP Clutch. The pain was too much for Gargano to bear; he had no choice but to submit.
The heartbreak was evident on Gargano’s face after the match, just as the elation was plastered over Perkins’. With the victory, the flashy Filipino moves on to face Rich Swann in the Cruiserweight Classic Quarterfinals, which start next Wednesday at 9/8 C, only on WWE Network.