Keith Lee kicked off the show with an in ring promo. It was a pretty solid, quick promo that was interrupted by the Undisputed Era. The UE quickly jumped into the ring to take down Keith Lee. Lee held his own for a bit until the UE grabbed a chair. Strong positioned the chair on Lee’s left leg and smashed it from the top rope. He was greeted with a “Roddy sucks” chant from the Full Sail Arena
Tommaso Ciampa made the save and chased off the Undisputed Era. He was greeted with a “Daddy’s home” chant. The crowd was hot tonight.
Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Andrews vs Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne
I have been excited for the team up of Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne. Both wrestlers have championship caliber talent, but are looking down a crowded field. NXT has needed to get creative with how they utilize their roster. They only have so many belts to hand out before they start to lose their value.
The match itself started with an early PiP commercial break. It’s sad that the match had to start this way, because from start to finish this tag team contest was a high adrenaline joy ride. It went one for quite awhile too. Dunne and Riddle had control early in this match and throughout the PiP break. When the match did resume full screen, we saw the team of Webster and Andrews start to come to life. Both Webster and Andrews were flying around the ring, hitting hurricanranas and flips galore. If you didn’t know the NXT UK brand well enough, you might’ve expected these two to get squashed by Riddle and Dunne.
The match had a few nearfalls and roll-ups. Late in the match Riddle was being rolled up by Webster, Dunne went to break the ref’s count but was being blocked by Andrews. As the ref’s arm was going down for the 3 count, Dunne punched Andrews to knock him back into Webster and Riddle. It broke the ref’s count and the match continued on. Riddle had an opportunity late in the match to throw in some Goldberg moves, while the crowd chanted him on. He went for the “jackhammer” but was nearly rolled up. I was sad to see him unable to perform the move, but happy that the crowd waited until the end of the match to cheer for Riddle this way. It was much better than using this up early in a match.
The finale had Riddle ringside, catching Webster during a suicide dive attempt and delivering a ‘Brodereck.’ Andrews looked distraught and went for a moonsault, but Dunne timed a perfect punch as Andrews landed. Riddle and Dunne combined a knee and leg strike to get the 3 count. The Broserweights won and moved on to the 2nd round of the Dusty Rhodes Classic. If this is the type of tag team wrestling that NXT could bring week in and week out, they would continue to creep to the top as the best brand of wrestling.
Winner: Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne
After the match, Tommaso Ciampa got his crack at the mic in the ring. He wanted his life back and he was calling out Adam Cole. The Undisputed Era, just as they did against Keith Lee, came out to attack. At first it was a bit annoying to watch a literal repeat of what happened at the top of the show, but then the song “Rebel Heart” came on.
Johnny Gargano made the save and helped chase away the UE. Ciampa and Gargano even performed their old DIY tag finisher on Bobby Fish. The crowd chanted “DIY” as it appears that the two will team together once again.
Grizzled Young Veterans vs Alex Shelley and Kushida
There was an early “Timesplitters” chant that erupted from the crowd as Kushida and Alex Shelley made their way to the ring. Kushida is another big signing by NXT that has the talent to be chasing after a belt. It’s nice to see him paired with his old tag team partner for the Dusty Rhodes Classic.
Kushida and Shelley work incredibly quick and were very in sync. Their offense came one blow after the other as their opponents couldn’t react fast enough to counter. It was very entertaining to watch. Grizzled Young Veterans caught up before the first ad break. The Grizzled Young Veterans had a video promo last week and looked solid. They remained in charge after the ad break ended.
The action came to a conclusion when the Grizzled Young Veterans isolated Shelley. They tossed Kushida from the top rope, then performed a wheelbarrow throw into Gibson’s double knees. Grizzled Young Veterans win with reversal finisher. Shelley takes the pin. Gibson got on the mic after the match and said that Kushida and Shelley were a good tag team, of the past. He said they were the tag team of the present and future. Crowd wasn’t happy with the results of the match as they booed over Gibson’s promo.
You can’t disagree with the crowd’s reaction. In the middle of the match, I was even saying to myself “give them the belts already!” They worked well enough together to leave an impact on the crowd and still have more to give. Please keep Alex Shelley around with Kushida. They are amazing together. Build the tag division around them. Goodness.
Winner: Grizzled Young Veterans
Robert Stone had an “earlier today” style promo with the intention of showing off his “hottest” new signing: Chelsea Green. It was hard to make out what he was saying at first because the crowd was still chanting for Alex Shelley. It was a bit of an awkward promo. The women’s division is already loaded with talent, and the best way to win over the crowd is to show what you’ve got in the ring.
Finn Balor promo against Draganov at World’s Collide. Balor said Draganov reminded him of himself. That should be a great match.
Triple Threat Match for the last spot of Fatal Four-way for Cruiserweight Championship: Tyler Breeze vs Lio Rush vs Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
This was a match I didn’t know was on the card, but I was excited when I saw it was announced. Scott and Rush have been amazing in the ring lately, and Breeze is always a fan favorite. I’m honestly surprised Breezango isn’t in the Dusty Rhodes Classic. Outside of the Undisputed Era and the Forgotten Sons, there aren’t that many nameable tag teams in NXT.
Angel Garza was sitting at the announce table during the match. It was an awkward exchange throughout the match between Ranallo, Phoenix and Garza. Garza continued to speak in Spanish and be genuinely amazed by the action he was watching, which is fine, but Phoenix and Ranallo continued to try and converse with him despite neither of them knowing any Spanish. It distracted from what was going on in the ring. The action took a bit to start as all three wrestlers embellished their own individual crowd chants. As soon as the action did start, it didn’t ever slow down. Tyler Breeze came out looking strong early in the match. There was a point where Breeze took a shot to the face by Scott and “Not the Face” chants erupted from the crowd before the first commercial break.
Breeze continued to look strong in the match. Rush had Scott in a suspended suplex on the apron, but Breeze intervened and hit a big suplex reversal back into the ring. Lio Rush looked exceptionally good in this match. There was an exchange where he hit a frog splash on Breeze, Scott went to throw Rush out of the ring, but Rush countered with the “come up”. I didn’t know one match could contain that many suicide dives. They look good and the crowd loves them. This match delivered them.
As impressive as Rush was, it wasn’t enough to get the win. Swerve Scott got his “JML Driver” on Breeze for the win. It was a suspended roll-up looking piledriver, but looked awkward on the landing. I hope Breeze is okay. This was a good match, despite the lack of story leading to it. I would like to see Rush a bit more after seeing how well he performed, yet again, on NXT.
Winner: Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
Rhea Ripley had a backstage promo after the match. She’s claiming her reign of nightmare is just beginning.
Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa were found together backstage. DIY is back together against Moustache Mountain at World’s Collide. DIY was claiming this would be just for old time’s sake.
The Undisputed Era came out for payback while being pushed back by numerous security guards. Keith Lee then charged and sent a security member flying into the bushes. He threw another into a car windshield and another into the side of a semi truck. He appears to be fine after the attack the UE performed on him earlier. He said that he will end the prophecy.
Women’s Battle Royal to Determine #1 Contender for NXT Women’s Title
MJ Jenkins the first to go (eliminated by Baszler). Jessie Kamea was out 2nd (eliminated by Belair). Catalina landed awkwardly and was the 3rd to go (eliminated by Baszler). Kayden Carter saved Kacy Catanzaro on the apron when Kacy performed a neat escape off of Carter’s back, but Carter was eventually kicked out (eliminated by Baszler). Santana Gerrit next to go at 5 (eliminated by Baszler). Vanessa Borne nearly saved herself after getting the “protect yo neck” hit on her, lifting her whole body up while dangling with her feet on the bottom rope. Yim penalty kicked her feet and Borne fell out (eliminated by Yim). Deonna Perazzo then quickly flew over the top rope (eliminated by Blackheart). Perazzo pulled Shotzi Blackheart out from under the bottom rope and dropkicked her. Xia Li showed off her impressive kicks, but she was next to go (eliminated by Baszler). Kacy Catanzaro had some fancy rope work when dueling with Io Sharai, but she was next to go (eliminated Shirai). Candica LeRae was a surprisingly early exit (eliminated by Belair). But not short after, another surprising elimination, Mia Yim (eliminated by Martinez). Mercedes Martinez had a great back and forth with Shayna Baszler, but Shayna outwitted her on the ropes (eliminated by Baszler). Tegan Nox did some impressive work, laying out the competition. Unfortunately she left herself too vulnerable, as she went to the top rope, and was thrown off by an unexpected Dakota Kai (eliminated by run-in Kai). After Kai eliminated Nox, she threw he knee brace at Nox’s face. It look like it got her clean on the nose. Insult to injury. Shayna Baszler was trying to choke out Shirai on the apron, but was then thrown over the top rope (eliminated by Blackheart). Shotzi Blackheart admired her work a bit too much and was then thrown over the top rope herself (eliminated by Belair). Io Shirai and Bianca Belair were alone in the ring. Last 2 women standing. They flirted with disaster on the apron for a moment before being pulled back in. Belair went for a “KOD” on Shirai, but Shirai reversed it. Io Shirai went to throw Belair over the top rope, but Belair reversed into an over the rope KOD (eliminated by Belair).
Winner: Bianca Belair
Shayna Baszler might have a new feud with Shotzi Blackheart. Baszler had 6 eliminations before getting thrown out. Belair wasn’t a slouch either, having 4 eliminations herself and grabbing the victory. Tegan Nox (0 eliminations) and Dakota Kai (1 elimination) will soon have a feud that I’m excited for. Dakota Kai has been great since her heel turn.
I’m mostly concerned with Io Shirai. Yes, she finished 2nd in the battle royal, but if she’s not challenging for the title and has no feud in line, what is NXT doing with her? She’s too talented not to have either of those things going on right now.
Outside of Shirai, things are looking well for NXT. The women’s division continues to grow, while there are 3 different men’s belts on the line currently with decent stories building each week. They are a month away from Portland Takeover, but have built a little bit of steam going into World’s Collide, which is still 2 weeks away. If they can keep the heat going in the tag division, this brand will continue to entertain.
(EDITOR’S NOTE FROM JOHN CANTON: Jim informed me that this will be his last review because life is too busy for him to keep doing these reviews. I want to thank Jim for his contributions to TJRWrestling over the last few months. I would have liked for him to continue, but I know how crazy life can be. Good luck to you, Jim. Thank you my friend.)