Welcome to the WWE NXT review here on TJRWrestling. The next Takeover event is on December 6th, so there’s no rush to build to that card. They are doing a Halloween Havoc edition of NXT on October 28, so that’s something to look forward to. As usual, I’ll be doing a summary review for most of the show and then play by play for the main event.
This is episode #426 of WWE NXT. It took place at NXT’s home called the Capitol Wrestling Center at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. Check out my past WWE NXT reviews right here.
The show began with some highlights of last week’s show.
There was a shot of the Capitol Wrestling Center for this week’s NXT. Vic Joseph was at the arena while noting that Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix would join him on commentary. Barrett was not with Joseph at the show when they showed Joseph, but later in the show, Barrett was seen on commentary.
Undisputed Era entered with only three members of the group: Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish. Kyle said he’ll be cleared to return next week, but Adam Cole has broken ribs due to Ridge Holland while noting that Holland is in the hospital now (broken leg last week), which is where they would have put him. Kyle said whoever paid off Ridge to attack Cole, they will find them and they will hurt them. Kyle said that Bobby and Roddy will become the number one contenders and next week they’ll win the titles.
Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish) (w/Kyle O’Reilly) vs. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan
The winners of this match get a title match against Tag Team Champions Breezango.
Strong and Lorcan started with some mat wrestling. Fish and Burch exchanged strikes, Fish missed a senton and Burch hit a jumping kick to the head. Lorcan and Burch did a double Russian legsweep on Fish and then Lorcan/Burch suplexed Strong onto Fish for a two count. Lorcan worked over the left arm of Fish for a few minutes. Strong tagged in leading to a double back body drop on Lorcan as the heels took control. The champions Breeze and Fandango watched from the stage. That led to a commercial.
Strong and Fish isolated Lorcan in their half of the ring. Fish missed a headbutt off the top, Burch got the hot tag and was on fire with moves on both guys including a Powerbomb for two on Strong. Fish was back in with a Samoan Drop on Burch. There was a comeback by Burch with a double dropkick leading to Lorcan hitting a huge uppercut on Strong. Lorcan hit a double Blockbuster on both opponents. Brutal headbutt by Burch to the back of Strong leading to a huge clothesline with Strong doing a flip bump. Burch with an elevated DDT on for two as Fish made the save. Fish sent Lorcan into Burch to knock him down, Fish with a roundhouse kick and Strong hit a rising knee to the face of Lorcan for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish)
Analysis: ***1/4 Good tag team match between four veterans that know how to put together a meaningful match every time they are out there. The action after the break was great following a slow start before that. Burch/Lorcan got plenty of offense until Fish sent them into eachother rand UE was able to get the win shortly after that. Undisputed Era are the heel team while Lorcan/Burch are faces, so it makes more sense for UE to win since Breezango are babyface champions.
Next week on NXT is Breezango defending the titles against Strong and Fish.
A medical update from Mckenzie Mitchell on Finn Balor is that he had a broken jaw in two places. Balor had jaw surgery as we saw some photos of it. Mitchell said she talked to NXT GM William Regal, who said they will wait a few weeks to see how Balor recovers.
A video was shown with Ember Moon talking about how she ruptured her Achilles and tore it in half. She was out of action for one year. When Ember heard that she was cleared, all she heard was that she was NXT. It featured more comments from Moon saying she was focused on being NXT Women’s Champion again.
Ashanti “Thee” Adonis vs. Jake Atlas
They showed off their speed earlier by countering a lot of moves until Atlas was able to hit a dropkick. Adonis hit an impressive dropkick of his own. After some trash talking, they got into a slugfest and we saw Juaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza on the apron. That distracted Adonis, so Atlas got an inside cradle to win. It only went for two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jake Atlas
Analysis: * A quick math to put over Atlas, who needed a win after losing to some bigger names in recent times. I think both guys have bright futures. Wilde and Mendoza distracted Adonis due to Adonis getting involved in the Cruiserweight Title match at the last Takeover show.
Post match, Wilde and Mendoza grabbed Adonis out of the ring, so Atlas hit a suicide dive to take down both guys. Santos Escobar, the NXT Cruiserweight Champion, was not happy with his boys Wilde and Mendoza failing. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott showed up in the ring for a face off, but the heels backed away.
Analysis: That sets up an obvious six-man tag team match.
Johnny Gargano and wife Candice LeRae were interviewed together. They said it was their destiny to become champions together. Gargano said he’ll give Austin Theory the wrestling lesson of a lifetime.
Johnny Gargano vs. Austin Theory
Gargano was able to take control in the first few minutes with an armbar that grounded Theory. There was a nice standing moonsault from Theory leading to a two count. Theory hit an impressive roll through off the apron into a dropkick. Phoenix kept talking about Theory’s arrogance and noted he should continue to attack while Barrett spoke about how tough Theory is. Gargano came back with a boot to the face and then a slingshot Spear off the apron as they went to break.
Gargano remained on offense with double knees to the back against the ropes. Theory came back with a spinning slam off the shoulders and a suplex. Theory kept attacking with a superkick followed by a suplex into the knee for a two count. Gargano with a cross body block off the turnbuckle, but Theory caught him and sat on top for a two count. Gargano was able to get some offense going with a superkick and a lawn dart toss into the middle turnbuckle. Gargano hit the One Final Beat DDT off the apron for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Johnny Gargano
Analysis: ***1/4 It’s tough to get into heel vs. heel matches sometimes. They made it work since Theory got a lot of offense before falling short with Johnny picking up the win. Gargano was working more like a face than he usually does. Gargano is incapable of having bad matches while this was one of Theory’s better matches during this current run in NXT for him. One of the purposes of NXT is to develop young talent by putting them in the ring with the experienced guys, so Theory is the perfect example of that.
Raquel Gonzalez did a promo talking trash to Rhea Ripley saying she’s the biggest and baddest woman in this industry. Gonzalez challenged her to some match at Halloween Havoc, then Ripley showed up and the women were separated by some guys.
There was a video of Tommaso Ciampa watching what happened last week when Velveteen Dream ruined Ciampa’s match with Kushida last week. Ciampa said “he’s dead” after watching the highlights.
Candice LeRae vs. Shotzi Blackheart
The winner gets to face Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s Title at Halloween Havoc in two weeks. Both women have faced Shirai recently.
Blackheart got some offense going with an enziguri kick. LeRae sent Blackheart out of the ring, then Blackheart managed to take control back with a suicide dive onto LeRae on the floor. Blackheart with a slam off the shoulder that sent LeRae into the top of the leg. LeRae with a running back attack and a flipping necksnap move for a two count. LeRae did some heel tactics by raking the eyes of Blackheart across the middle rope and putting her foot on the throat. The crowd chanted for Shotzi, who hit a suplex. They went to the apron with Shotzi hitting a kick to the face and LeRae shoved Blackheart into the ring post and the apron as the show went to break.
Blackheart got some momentum going with a dropkick and corner splash. Blackheart continued the attack leading to the senton against the ropes for two. Blackheart with a senton attempt off the top, but LeRae got the knees up to block for a two count. LeRae hit a German Suplex off the middle ropes with a rough landing for Blackheart and a kick by Candice got a two count. Blackheart with a bridging Tiger Suplex that got two and then LeRae hit a Backstabber followed by a moonsault off the middle ropes for two. The nearfalls kept coming as the crowd got into the match more. Blackheart applied a unique submission where she hooked both arms, but Candice got her foot under the bottom rope to break the hold. They battled on the top turnbuckle with Shotzi hitting a Thesz Press to knock Candice down, but when Shotzi went up top again, LeRae rolled out of the ring. Indi Hartwell showed up behind the plexiglass, she gave Candice an object and Candice punched Blackheart with the referee not seeing what Candice had on her hand. LeRae covered Blackheart for the win after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Candice LeRae
Analysis: ***1/2 This was great with a cheap finish fitting for a heel like LeRae with the assist to Hartwell. Blackheart continues to improve with several awesome matches in the last few months. LeRae is very comfortable in her heel role even though she was a natural babyface earlier in her career. It was better than I thought it was going to be and they made the most of the time they got. Blackheart kept getting nearfalls while LeRae had a lot of clever counters to moves. Even though Blackheart lost, she continues to gain momentum by coming so close to winning these big matches.
After the match, Candice gave the object back to Hartwell. It looked it was brass knuckles that Candice was holding.
That means in two weeks on NXT Halloween Havoc on November 28, LeRae challenges Shirai for the NXT Women’s Title again.
Analysis: Perhaps LeRae will beat Shirai this time to become the champion thanks to Hartwell helping LeRae get the win.
Drake Maverick and Killian Dain were backstage with Drake pitching some new designs for their team: “The Furry and The Fury” since Dain is The Furry due to his body hair. Dain didn’t seem interested in most of his ideas. Dain said Drake better hope that they win their match tonight.
Aliyah was in the ring for a match with Robert Stone with a quick promo from him that didn’t say much. Toni Storm’s entrance led to a big reaction of piped in noise, but it made her seem like a star, so that’s cool.
Toni Storm vs. Aliyah (w/Robert Stone)
It was noted by Beth that Toni is just 24 years old and she’s already very good, so she has a bright future. Storm hit a dropkick, Aliyah avoided a corner attack and hit a running kick. Aliyah hit a neckbreaker. Storm came back with two atomic drops and a release German Suplex. Storm with a running hip attack, clothesline and the Storm Zero sitout Powerbomb led to the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Toni Storm
Analysis: *1/2 A win for Storm in her first match as a regular on NXT. That was expected since they are making a big deal out of Storm, who is likely a future NXT Women’s Champion. Aliyah barely got any offense here. It was all about making Storm look like a star.
The NXT GM William Regal was interviewed backstage. Regal said that in two weeks when Io Shirai defends the NXT Women’s Title against Candice LeRae, he wants to up the stakes, but he hasn’t thought about how to do that yet. Regal also said in two weeks at Halloween Havoc it will be Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez. Xia Li, who was with suit-wearing Boa, went up to Regal asking for a match next week. Regal said he’ll consider it, Li said please and Regal said he’ll take that into consideration.
Killian Dain and Drake Maverick vs. Imperium (Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner)
No team name for Dain and Drake yet, but they had some cheesy music. They did a spot where Dain gave Maverick a hiptoss onto Aichner. Imperium worked on Maverick for a bit, then Drake got out of the heel corner and Dain got the tag. Dain was on fire with clotheslines, then Aichner with a clothesline and Barthel with a kick. Dain with a suplex, then Maverick tagged back in and was on fire with a dropkick to send Aichner to the turnbuckle. Barthel attacked Dain on the floor, Maverick jumped into Aichner’s arms and Aichner hit a suplex. Barthel and Aichner hit their double team finish (forearm into a Powerbomb) called the Imperial Implosion for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Imperium (Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner)
Analysis: **1/4 A short match that was fun as it told the story of Dain and Maverick continuing to have problems since they’re very different people. I’m all for Dain and Maverick picking up wins as a team, but it’s okay for a former championship team like Imperium to pick up wins too.
Post match, the Ever Rise team went into the ring to attack Maverick. They slapped Maverick. They left the ring and Dain hit a double clothesline on the Ever Rise guys. Dain told Drake: “Nobody hits you, but me.” They left together.
Analysis: It’s a slow build to Dain and Maverick being a functioning weird tag team.
In two weeks at NXT Halloween Havoc:
* Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez
* Io Shirai defends the NXT Women’s Title vs. Candice LeRae.
Next week on NXT:
* Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze) defend the NXT Tag Team Titles vs. Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish of Undisputed Era.
It’s main event time as Damian Priest entered first with the North American Title and Dexter Lumis was the opponent. Lumis was in the North American Title match at Takeover 30 a few months back, but he was hurt and now he gets a title match.
NXT North American Championship: Damian Priest vs. Dexter Lumis
They locked up leading to both guys going to the ropes. Priest with a shoulder tackle, Lumis did a kip-up and Priest got a takedown with an armdrag. Priest went for a rope walk while grabbing the arm and hit a cross body block. Priest with an armbar to ground Lumis again. Lumis charged right into a back elbow, Priest ran the ropes and Lumis hit a Thesz Press into punches as if he was Steve Austin. Priest kicked Lumis in the left knee, then kicks to the body, a punch and a jumping kick that knocked Lumis down. Priest hit the broken arrow suplex into a slam for a two count. That led to a break.
Lumis got some momentum going with a bulldog out of the corner. Lumis charged, Priest got a hold of him, Lumis avoided a chokeslam and Lumis hit a spinebuster for two. The fake crowd noise was really cranked up at this point although the “fans” banging the glass was legit noise. The other noise was obviously fake. Anyway, Lumis went for a choke on the head/arm, Priest sent him out of the corner, roundhouse kick and a spinning flatliner for two. Priest slapped on an ankle lock on the injured left leg of Lumis, who was selling it for about 30 seconds until he got free. Lumis avoided a slam and hit a belly to back suplex, then a kip-up and into a leg drop for two. Lumis went up top for a senton bomb style move, Priest moved and Priest hit a huge clothesline. Lumis hit a uranage slam into a submission around the right arm/shoulder and head of Priest, but Priest got his foot on the bottom rope. Priest was out of the ring, so Lumis sent him into the cage and back into the ring. The referee was looking at Priest, Cameron Grimes showed up and did a Cave In double foot stomp to the chest on the apron. Priest capitalized with the South of Heaven slam for the pinfall win at 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest
Analysis: *** They worked hard and had a pretty good TV match that was a bit better than I expected. I think there was a bit of a styles clash for sure because both guys are better working with smaller opponents. I liked the story of Priest going after the injured left leg of Lumis, who sold it pretty well for most of the match. That was the story going in and Priest, even as a babyface, was smart to attack the left leg as much as he did. Lumis didn’t lose clean, so he can go after Grimes to continue that rivalry.
After the match, Grimes was in the ring taunting Lumis. Priest went into the ring and hit The Reckoning neckbreaker on Grimes to put him down.
Priest was doing his posing on the ramp, but Johnny Gargano showed up with a chair to the back and then Gargano gave him a superkick into the chair in the face.
William Regal appeared on the stage with Gargano and wife Candice LeRae. Regal said that at Halloween Havoc, Candice will face Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s Championship and Gargano will face Priest for the NXT North American Championship. Regal told them that the stakes will be higher. Shotzi Blackheart, the host of Halloween Havoc, appeared to say that both of their matches will be determined by “Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal” and Shotzi laughed about it. Johnny and Candice weren’t happy as the show ended there.
Analysis: It’s an old WCW thing to bring back “Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal” because it means unique stipulations for the matches. I’m not sure what the stipulations will be, but it does give a different feel to those two matches that we saw at the last Takeover. Putting stipulations on the matches will make them more interesting.
Three Stars of the Show
- Candice LeRae
- Shotzi Blackheart
- Johnny Gargano
I give this show a 7.25 out of 10.
It was a pretty good episode of NXT as usual. It’s an easy show to watch with interesting matches up and down the card. The stories make sense from week to week as they build to the Halloween Havoc episode in two weeks, which looks like a mini-Takeover kind of show. Some really fun matches on the show like Candice and Shotzi, plus Gargano and Theory worked well together even in a heel vs. heel setting and a solid main event between Priest and Lumis. Nice to see a competitive tag team match on the show as well as Undisputed Era picked up the win over Burch/Lorcan. It’s also cool to see Toni Storm as an NXT regular since she’s so talented as well.
I think the absence of Finn Balor hurts since we don’t know when he’ll be back from his jaw surgery. They said they will see how things go with him before they decide on what to do with the NXT Title.
While I don’t think NXT is in a hot period right now, they still put on consistently good shows week after week. I’m looking forward to the Halloween Havoc themed show on October 28.
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