Welcome to the WWE NXT review here on TJRWrestling. This the follow up to the very good NXT Takeover 31 event on WWE Network (here’s my review). There were some fun matches up and down the show with Finn Balor beating Kyle O’Reilly in a very physical NXT Title match in the main event. Both guys were hurt in the match with Balor dealing with a broken jaw while O’Reilly definitely took a beating. There were no title changes at Takeover 31, but I enjoyed it a lot.
This is episode #425 of WWE NXT. It took place at NXT’s new home at Capitol Wrestling Center at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. Check out my past WWE NXT reviews right here.
I am going to do a much shorter review than usual this week. My apologies for that, but I’ve had a rough day and I don’t think I would have time to write a full review before Smackdown comes on Friday. I’m just going to list results with some comments.
The Capitol Wrestling Center was shown as the new home of NXT. The announce team was the regular team of Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix. Vic and Wade were there while Beth was home in North Carolina.
Tommaso Ciampa defeated Kushida by disqualification
They went for about 15 minutes in a hard-hitting, even matchup. It ended abruptly when Velveteen Dream showed up to attack Kushida for the DQ finish. This felt like a fight with Kushida repeatedly going after the arm and Ciampa fighting back. While Kushida is not a traditional babyface in some ways, I liked this match a lot and hope to see it again with more of a proper finish. I thought that Kushida/Dream rivalry was done, but it’s still going. Bad finish to a good match. (Match rating: ***1/4 out of 5)
Ember Moon did a promo about being back in NXT and returning to action after 14 months off due to major foot surgery. Io Shirai appeared, then Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez also showed up with Dakota Kai as the two friends beat up Ripley. That set up the tag team match main event: Moon and Ripley vs. Kai and Gonzalez.
The Undisputed Era said they were going after Ridge Holland, who broke Adam Cole’s ribs. It’s going to be a while for that story to continue.
Killian Dain and Drake Maverick defeated Ever-Rise
The odd couple tag team of Dain and Maverick is a way to make Dain more of a face since they’ll likely have a lot of success as a team. They got the win here in a short match that went about four minutes. Ever-Rise are a young team that could definitely make some noise in the NXT tag team division since they aren’t pushing tag teams much right now. (Match Rating: *1/2)
After the match, Dain knocked Drake down and then carried him to the back, so he’s a mean guy…with feelings. Something like that.
A Toni Storm video aired hyping up her full-time return to NXT.
The Garganos husband/wife duo of Johnny Gargano and wife Candice LeRae got a new 65 inch TV from Indi Hartwell, so look for Candice to have an ally in Indi soon.
Austin Theory defeated Leon Ruff
A quick match to put over Theory in about two minutes. (Match Rating: *) Theory had another match right after that.
Dexter Lumis defeated Austin Theory by submission
Lumis is back in action picking up a victory using his unique style that matches his crazy man look. Theory got a lot of offense here, it was a bit of a boring match at times and then Lumis got some offense going with a huge spinebuster. Lumis finished off Theory soon after with a uranage (like a Rock Bottom where he sits out) and then the head/arm submission got the win after 12 minutes. I doubt most people like Dexter’s style of wrestling or how slow placed the matches are, but I like the presentation of his character. Everybody can’t be the same. It’s cool to have a different guy. (Match Rating: **1/2)
As soon as the match was over, Cameron Grimes showed up and gave Lumis the Cave In to put Lumis down. Grimes told Lumis to answer Grimes when Grimes asks a question. The fans booed. That’s a new rivalry.
There was a Prime Target video focusing on the NXT Championship match from Takeover 31 with Finn Balor beating Kyle O’Reilly in a very physical match. One of the key spots was when Balor kicked him in the body for a liver spot that rocked O’Reilly. Balor also suffered a serious jaw injury in the match. Balor went on to win the Coup de Grace double foot stomp to the chest. The ringside Physician said Balor had a broken jaw in two places while Kyle was going to miss some time with injuries.
Ridge Holland appeared earlier in the day saying he wasn’t driving a Mercedes Benz before, but he is now. That would suggest they were doing a story where somebody paid him to attack Adam Cole.
Ridge Holland defeated Danny Burch
There was a bit of offense from Burch here including a dropkick off the ropes, German Suplex and clothesline. Holland took over shortly after that with a clothesline. Holland won the match with the Northern Grit sitout slam after about two minutes. (Match Rating: *1/4)
Post match, Holland disrespected Burch, who slapped him and Holland beat on Burch with repeated headbutts. Oney Lorcan saved his buddy Burch, so Holland was on the floor and Lorcan hit a dive over the top onto Holland. They went back into the ring to exchange strikes with Holland decking Lorcan with a clothesline. Lorcan did another dive over the top with Holland’s legs collapsing under him. You could hear Holland screaming in pain while referees tended to him. It was a “left ankle dislocation and fracture, a right knee patellar dislocation and a patellar tendon rupture.” Thank to PWInsider for that info. Brutal injury. Holland had surgery today (Thursday) while the dislocated knee was put back in at ringside and the ankle was put in the right position at the hospital. Basically, Ridge Holland’s legs collapsed under him while he was catching Lorcan and Holland is going to miss a few months of action at least. Brutal timing for Holland, who was obviously about to get a big push in NXT.
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae watched a video with a spotlight on it that showed Indi Hartwell was repeatedly saving Candice in the battle royal a few weeks ago. They said they were starting to like her.
A Timothy Thatcher training video was shown.
Ridge Holland was shown getting taken away on a stretcher as the wrestlers surrounding the ring cheered for him in support with Holland doing a thumbs-up hand gesture.
Shotzi Blackheart defeated Xia Li
A short match with Blackheart winning in under two minutes. Blackheart won with a Senton Bomb off the top. Shotzi continues to pick up wins against most women on the roster. (Match Rating: *)
After the match, NXT wrestler Boa gave Li a letter and they walked to the back together.
Ember Moon and Rhea Ripley defeated Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez
It was great to see Moon back in action and she looked as athletic as ever with a bit of a different look from what she had before. The match slowed down with the heels isolating Ripley for a few minutes. I was impressed by a lot of the power spots by Gonzalez, who is one of the tallest women in WWE and matches up well with Ripley. Moon got the hat tag with dropkicks for all and hit an impressive double knee attack on Kai for a two count. Ripley was back in for a bit, then Moon got another nearfall with a hard forearm smash on Kai and a DDT on Gonzalez. Kai kicked Ripley out of the ring after Ripley gave Gonzalez a clothesline and then Moon hit Kai with a Powerbomb that nearly hurt Kai, but I think Kai was okay. Ripley and Gonzalez went tumbling over the announce table to take eachother out. Moon jumped off the top with the Eclipse (a unique version of the Stunner) for the pinfall win after about 12 minutes. It was the right call to have Moon get the win in her first match back. That was the obvious outcome. (Match Rating: ***1/4)
Moon and Ripley celebrated in the ring. That was the end of the show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Ember Moon
- Tommaso Ciampa
I give this show a 6.5 out of 10.
It was a solid episode of NXT that was lacking a bit compared to great NXT shows. The first match and main event were both very good, but the others were just average or squash matches. I hate the finish to Ciampa/Kushida although I enjoyed their match. It was nice to see Ember Moon back in action after missing over one year as she teamed with Rhea Ripley in the main event to pick up a win. The Ridge Holland leg injury was brutal and he has already had surgery, so best of luck to him in his recovery from that.
I think the show was hurt by some of the top talent not being featured in matches or major angles. It just seemed like a transition episode following Takeover this past Sunday.
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