This week’s edition of WWE NXT kicks the show off with a very new, very fun video introduction. It’s good to see NXT go back to an introduction style they used before making the move to USA. This new intro rocks too. It uses the same song (All Out Life by Slipknot), but they updated the video with shots that include the 205 Live and NXT UK roster.
Tommaso Ciampa vs Angel Garza
Ciampa entered the ring to a big response from the crowd. His return to the ring, this quickly, after a major neck surgery is nothing short of a miracle. Angel Garza entered the ring to a “Ciampa’s gonna kill you!” chant by the NXT crowd. To no one’s surprise, Ciampa started this match heavy on offense. Angel Garza looked like he’d rather be anywhere else than stuck in a ring with Ciampa.
Garza eventually made a comeback towards the finale of this match. As a mini celebration, he stripped his tights off to amuse the crowd, but Ciampa fired back. After some punishing blows to Garza in the corner, Ciampa followed with a knee strike at full speed. Garza fell out of the ring, but his pants remained. Ciampa then did the same offensive maneuver to Garza’s pants, before finishing off Garza with a mid-rope DDT. “Welcome Back!”
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa
Post match, the Undisputed Era interrupted from backstage. They surrounded the ring. Adam Cole had Kyle O’Reilly give the announcer’s table a USB drive and said, “take a look at that.”
Back from a commercial break and we were given a look at the video from that USB file. It was a video of the Undisputed Era having beaten the Velveteen Dream to a pulp. Roderick Strong was screaming at Dream not to “embarrass him” and “this is what you get!” Adam Cole went on to give a warning that the same thing would happen to Ciampa and Finn Balor if they crossed paths with Cole or the Undisputed Era.
Tag Team Match: Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch vs Imperium
The match started a bit slow before the first commercial break. Neither team seemed to get any traction, both with their offense or with the crowd. After the break, the match picked up to an extremely intense pace. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch controlled most of the contest. Burch was the heavy hitter to start the action. He was wailing on Imperium until he was eventually knocked out of the ring. Lorcan continued the “1-2” charge with some innovative suicide dives.
As quickly as Lorcan and Burch had the crowd on their side, Imperium caught up. Though Lorcan had a near-fall that made you think the tides would turn, Imperium nailed him with a combination powerslam/diving European uppercut. Imperium has been booked very strong since making regular appearances on Wednesday night NXT.
Johnny Gargano had a video promotion that followed the tag team match. It showed some of his more memorable highlights throughout his NXT career. After the video, there was an interview with Gargano where he mentioned he wasn’t worried about Ciampa’s return.
Io Shirai vs Kayden Carter
Kayden Carter had a match a few weeks ago where she impressed against Rhea Ripley. Io Shirai has been booked strong lately. Ever since her heel turn, Shirai hasn’t lost a singles match. Shirai let Carter stay in the match a bit longer than I thought she would. Carter was given a chance to show off some of her athleticism, but everywhere Carter excelled, Shirai seemed to match. This match was part wrestling, part gymnastic display. Shirai showed her expertise in both to help topple Kayden Carter. Before Carter knew what hit her, Shirai finished her off with the top rope moonsault and got the 1-2-3.
Winner: Io Shirai
After the match, Shirai got on the mic to call out Shayna Baszler. Rhea Ripley immediately interrupted Shirai. Ripley and Shirai started shouting at each other until Io rolled out of the ring. The crowd wanted them to fight.
It appears the list of women who want the Women’s NXT Championship continues to grow. I’m sure we can expect a #1 contender multi-woman match in the near future.
William Regal was being interviewed when he updated us on Velveteen Dream’s condition. It appears that the Dream will be out for “quite some time” explained Regal. Regal told us that the winner of the Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic match would be for the #1 contender of the North American Championship.
#1 Contender Match for the North American Championship: Keith Lee vs Dominik Dijakovic
The matches between these two men never disappoint. Every time these giants face off against each other, we witness physical improbabilities and absolute mayhem. Lee was the first to enter in this match. He continues to be a crowd favorite. “Keith Lee *woop woop*” and “Go bask in his glory” are two of my favorite chants that Lee often hears from the NXT crowd.
Keith Lee was first on offense for this match, controlling the ring. Lee focused his attacks on Dijakovic’s left arm. The momentum didn’t last after Dijakovic countered and took the match to it’s first break. The action continued during the break with the smaller video in the top left corner of the screen. Dijakovic continued punishing Lee during this commercial break. As soon as the action returned to full screen, Keith Lee made a comeback. He powered up and continued to focus his attacks on Dijakovic’s injured arm. Lee went to finish Dijakovic, landing a towering power-slam. But the slam flung Dijakovic out of the ring.
As the action made it’s way back to the ring, Dijakovic countered Lee with a cyclone big boot that knocked Lee off of his feet. That was all the offense Dijakovic could muster though, as Lee led the offensive charge for the rest of this match. At one point, while holding Dijakovic, Keith Lee fought threw 2 separate counters to eventually suspend suplex Dijakovic over his head. I’ve pulled my back from sitting in a car the wrong way too long. Sometimes you have to wonder how these superstars are even human.
The finale of this match had Roderick Strong intervening, causing a DQ. William Regal immediately interrupted Strong’s spoil, as Regal announced Strong would have a Triple Threat match next week for his belt.
Winner: No Contest via DQ
Strong was outraged, but Regal was left no choice but to make Strong pay for his recent actions.
Matt Riddle vs Bronson Reed
The last time we saw Matt Riddle, he had nearly beaten Adam Cole for the NXT Championship. With no wrongdoing of his own kind, Bronson Reed was not the early favorite for this match.
Riddle was heavy on offense throughout the entirety of this contest. He was laying in big slams and punishing kicks. Riddle’s athleticism was on full display as he showed off his speed and power in the ring. Reed managed to get in a swanton bomb that had Riddle at a 2 count, but Riddle quickly gathered his composure to further his onslaught. Reed showed his resiliency in this match, but he couldn’t keep up with The Original Bro. Riddle got the win. Matt Riddle showed his sportsmanship after the match, giving Reed a fist-bump.
Winner: Matt Riddle
After Riddle’s victory, we saw a promo from Bianca Belair. I hope that she gets a good match against Rhea Ripley next week. With the Street Profits off to Raw, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Belair moved to Monday nights too (since she’s married to Montez Ford). It would be a nice shot in the arm for the WWE women’s division. Belair is a very entertaining in-ring competitor.
It appears that Kushida had a cast put on his left arm after the match with Walter last week. He appears to have a hairline fracture. He will be out for a bit as he recovers.
Taynara vs Tegan Nox
This was Tegan Nox’s comeback match, and she showed exactly why she was considered a favorite to win the Mae Young Classic before her injury. She was wearing a Captain Marvel themed outfit. I wonder if she used the same costumer Johnny Gargano did when he had his Captain Marvel themed wrestling gear.
Nox’s opponent, Taynara, was quite impressive in the short amount of time she was given. This match was meant to show off Nox’s abilities (and it did), but it also showed off the talent that Taynara is capable of. Her judo background helped create offense, while her strikes looked quick and punishing. Hope to see more of her soon. Nox eventually got on a roll that couldn’t be stopped. She hit Taynara with some offensive combinations that ended with her “shiniest wizard”. Nox got the victory and a big pop from the crowd.
Winner: Tegan Nox
After the match, Nox was being interviewed while accompanied by Dakota Kai. Her interview was cut short when Shayna Baszler interrupted. After some back and forth, Baszler said Nox wasn’t worthy of a title shot yet. It seems odd to interrupt Nox, only to tell her she hasn’t done anything worth Baszler’s attention. Nevertheless, it appears that Nox might also be involved in a future title shot.
Finn Balor had a video promo. The video centered around Finn wanting his past and future to connect. We’ll get to see him in action soon.
Boa vs Killian Dain
Boa wanted retribution on Dain, after the way Dain treated him last week. Dain is coming off of his feud with Matt Riddle. He’s looked strong, but hasn’t had any traction since his return to NXT.
Boa got off to a surprisingly quick offensive start in this match. He was getting in enough offense to eventually drive Dain out of the ring. As Boa pursued Dain out of the ring, he already started to feel his rib injury bother him. As soon as Boa came to this realization, he was hit with a huge cross body slam from a sprinting Killian Dain. Dain dragged Boa back into the ring where we continued to see a replay of what happened last week. The finale of the match had Killian Dain hit Boa with 2 Vader-bombs. Dain grabbed Boa for a submission hold, and the ref called the match.
We never saw Boa tap out from the camera angle they used during the live feed. But we saw him clearly tap in the replay after the match. I’m glad they showed that because it looked like an odd finish until they showed that angle. Dain wants a belt.
Winner: Killian Dain
Pete Dunne vs Damian Priest
During Pete Dunne’s entrance, he was distracted by an angry Killian Dain. Dain got in Dunne’s face, but not before Dunne could grab onto Dain’s fingers and snap them. Dunne shrugged his shoulders as Dain was escorted out of the ring. He then continued toward the ring, unphased.
Pete Dunne surprised Damien Priest with his strength early in this match. Dunne got some early joint manipulation on Priest’s left arm. Dunne took his time trying to contort and destroy Priest’s arm. Priest eventually countered and kicked Dunne off the apron and out of the ring. That led us into the first commercial break.
The break continued with action as the action was being viewed in the smaller screen. When the contest returned to the full screen, Priest and Dunne had found themselves on the top rope. Dunne hit Priest with a superplex that opened a box full of offensive combinations. Pete Dunne reminds me a lot of Johnny Gargano. They both have a million moves they make look good, but also do a great job of showcasing their opponent’s talents. Priest eventually got his offense together and showed off his power. He slammed Dunne a few times, getting a few nearfalls along the way. The finale of this match had Dunne counter Priest’s crucifix hold. Both men unintentionally pushed the ref out of view, where Priest found an opportune time to kick Dunne below the belt. Priest hit his finisher and got the 1-2-3.
Winner: Damian Priest
It’s upsetting to see such a good match end so poorly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a match that had the crowd chanting “fight forever” also “boo” it’s finale. Priest has fought like a heel since his arrival to NXT so it isn’t surprising to see him use cheap tactics. However, this was a clean match throughout, until the final moments.
This isn’t the only match Priest has used a “distracted ref” to get a victory against a big name in NXT, either. He used a ref as a bodyguard against Keith Lee, when Priest beat Lee a few weeks ago.
We are coming to an age in wrestling where the fans like clean finishes. AEW is thriving that way, and WWE continues to struggle when they don’t (example: HIAC). NXT has shown itself to be a brand that also cares about “wins and losses.” They consistently use them to help drive storylines and it works. Finishing matches with questionable victories makes it difficult to take those W’s & L’s seriously. In two different (otherwise fantastic) matches we had dirty finishes. I hope it’s not a trend that continues.
Outside of the main event’s finish, this was another solid show. It didn’t need to rely on title matches to grab the viewer’s attention. They found time to get eight quality matches in and helped push “non-title” stories along. Next week will have a triple threat championship match along with Finn Balor’s return. It should be an exciting episode that I hope includes Pete Dunne’s retaliation.
If you want to continue the discussion or express your thoughts on NXT, join in on Twitter @jimcrushjr or in the comments below!