Latest
  • Welcome!

    We're a UK based community of cult entertainment fans - so whether you're into WWE, Marvel, DC, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Star Trek and more - join us!

    It's free to register, so why not sign up and discuss whatever you're into...

NXT 2019 Discussion

Kam

Administrator
Administrator
Messages
13,865
Points
78
I had to start a thread.

NXT TakeOver was INSANE!

That opening tag match was excellent, Hanson impresses me every time!

Dream/Riddle was another good match, I thought Riddle might turn at the end but was pleasantly surprised when he didn't. Although I feel like it might happen sooner rather than later.

This is the first I've seen of WALTER - love that entrance with the silhouette with him in his long coat. Brutal match, some real stiff shots. I wonder if Dunn will make the move to one of the main shows now?

Women's title match was good, some really nice spots. Shayna is doing really well, I can see her doing well on the main roster with her connection to Rousey/MMA/The 4 Horsewomen.

The title match started off slow but by the end, it was just insane, I can't even remember the number of times I thought the match was over but we got a kick out. Really nice moment with Ciampa coming out at the end too! Oh and extra kudos for the video prior to the match, showcasing the history as well as them training to get ready for the match :cloud9:
 

Zack T

Active Member
Messages
774
Points
43
Takeover New York might be the best Takeover ever so far.

Tag title match was the stuff of legends. I was most looking forward to this match and it was insanely good. Wonderful send off for Ricochet and Black, War Raiders getting the win was the right thing to do, and the respect afterwards was just incredible. Absolutely perfect.

Riddle and Dream was better than it had any right to be, it was excellent. Also keep in mind Riddle has like, a year and a half worth of wrestling experience and Dream is at 4 years tops right now. How the hell did these 2 rookies put on a 25 minute classic? Freakin incredible.

UK title match was insanely physical and technical, I loved it. So impactful.

Women's 4-way was pretty good. The "least" good match on the card, but that's not knocking it, this card is filled with 4 and 5 star matches while this one is probably more like a 3 star. Still good! That double EST by Bianca was awesome, and the story between Io and Kairi breaking up each other's pins was excellent psychology.

Main Event did start slow, but you gotta expect that in long matches like 2 out of 3 falls or iron man matches usually. Anyway, it got intense and insane and had me losing my mind. Another perfect match.

TakeOver > WrestleMania
 

Zack T

Active Member
Messages
774
Points
43
First ever live episodes of NXT weekly TV are done, and here's what I thought of them. We started off on the USA Network for hour 1 which included a women's #1 contendership match and a North American Championship match, while hour 2 would feature a street fight main event on the WWE Network. For this week and next week, NXT will air the first hour live on the USA Network and the 2nd hour live on WWE Network because Suits is having their 2 part series finale this week and next week. Beginning October 2nd and beyond, both hours of NXT will air live on the USA network (but they'll be available the following evening on the WWE Network, so watch AEW Wednesdays live and then watch NXT later)

I loved the intro at the very beginning with Triple H's head in front of black background, followed by the reveal that it was just the black stage curtain and he went out there live. I thought that was a fantastic way to start this new era of NXT off. I know you could say that's Triple H stroking his ego a bit and I don't think that'd be wrong to say, but at the same time I think he's earned it. Plus it was very brief. I'd have been bothered if he went out and cut a 10 minute long promo, but this was just 2 minutes and then we're off and running. Plus, Triple H has done the wrestling world right by his booking/handling of NXT and I have 0 problems showing him appreciation for it. It felt very appropriate.

So we start off with the 4-way women's match for the #1 contendership with Mia Yim, Bianca Bel'Air, Io Shirai, and Candace LaRae. This was fun, and I think it was a pretty dang good match. Much better than most women's matches on Raw/Smackdown. 4 Ways usually are fun though. Anyway, I had expected Mia Yim to win but Candace was the other most logical choice. Surprised she beat Yim to do it but that makes sense too, given that Shirai just turned heel and needs protecting to solidify her in that role and while Candace should eventually beat Io for revenge, we don't need to blow that in a 4-way.

KEITH LEE VS DOMINIK DIJAKOVIC NEXT WEEK? HELL YES.

Sean Maluta came out and I recognized him, so that's nice. I'd be happy if he has a permanent spot in NXT, I think the guy is gonna keep growing and getting better. Surprised he was facing Cameron Grimes, and I think it's important to note who gets featured on these first couple of episodes. Probably is a good indicator of who is being focused on as we move forward. Interesting to see that Grimes, not Jordan, is the one featured on episode 1. That leaping stomp was probably the first really good one I've seen him do that looked emphatic enough to win. Not sure how I feel about his gimmick. On one hand I like his appearance, it's very wild west/cowboy to me without going super far in being campy (Thank goodness he's not wearing chaps or cowboy boots), buuuut I still don't know his actual character well enough to like or dislike him yet.

Damien Priest gets a video package too, not surprised.

I loved this video package for Dream/Strong. They showed it last week too, and I think it's one of the best ones they've ever done. The transitions, the ambiance, the way Dream appears to control the video at times. It's all really really well done, and I think that really helps new fans to NXT get a sense of who both these guys are but also makes them seem important - after all, you don't get awesome video packages if you're a nobody. The match itself was quite good, the ending was great. I half expected the Undisputed Era to jump Roderick Strong and kick him out, but instead they helped him secure the victory which was also good. Velveteen Dream looked like a star and they did a good job protecting him with the way this loss happened. Undisputed Era gonna be runnin wild on NXT, whatchu gonna do, brother?

Pete and Arturo was a weird match, mostly because of Arturo. I feel bad for him, I get the feeling wrestling is not coming as easy for him as other people. The reason I think that is because of the stats Mauro was mentioning about him, they said he went something like 11 years undefeated in something else and his champions experience in other sports...normally those types of accolades result in early pushes for rookies like that, but not for Arturo. Maybe it's his look, maybe he just isn't progressing as fast as others before him have, I dunno. He's got flashes of good stuff, though. Anyway, I'm not a huge fan of Pete submitting people with the finger snap stuff. I totally believe it, BUT I just think the Bitter End is a better way to go. But I <3 Pete Dunn. Glad he's here.

Xia Li vs Aaliyah - Man, surprised to see this match, but Xia has some serious moves. It's unfortunate she botched her top rope spinning kick cause that thing is absolutely amazing when she nails it. She hit it perfectly a few weeks ago, but not on this night. Oh well, she still won and that should tell you that they want to do more with her. As they should, she's got crazy skills physically. Hopefully they can do more to get her over as a personality than just "She's a Chinese woman!"

IMPERIUM. WOW. DID NOT EXPECT THAT. I love how the crowd was chanting for Walter, even "Where's Walter?" and then he came out. I thought for a second they were gonna tease us, give us the 3 other members but save Walter for something else, but nope, he came out. And adding Kushida to it was so unexpected but lovely, really gave me something more to latch on to Kushida with. It was pretty badass of him to march down to the ring, tell them it was his time now, and fight them off. That jacket slipping off spot was fkn brilliant and I feel like that happened in Back To The Future but I can't remember for sure. It felt like Kushida was Ant Man taking shots against Thanos (Walter) and escaping, but it was cool.

Oney Lorcan vs Lio Rush, #1 Contendership CW title - Heck yea Lio Rush is back, good for him. He's too good to be stuck as a jobber mouthpiece of anyone. Him and Oney had a hellacious match, I loved the physicality, and I honestly expected Oney to win. It made more sense to me than Lio, I thought Lio was gonna have a road to redemption but I guess he's already there. And that's totally ok too, Lio and Gulak should be good. I said this waaaaay back in 2016 when 205 Live was still new, that they'd do much much better if they presented the show from the same venue every week like NXT does. Now, here they are. Folding that division into NXT is absolutely the best thing for all those guys, cause they'll get the respect and adoration they deserve from NXT crowds.

Matt Riddle vs Killian Dain - Solid brawl for when it was just these 2 guys, but honestly I don't even remember much of their fight, I mostly just remember Walter grabbing Matt Riddle and I instantly began thinking of Walter vs Riddle and how much I would love to see that. Then seemingly EVERYONE gets involved in a big backstage fight the likes of which I can't remember seeing since the Invasion in 2001, the night Stone Cold returned as THE OLD STONE COLD. I was seriously expecting a big return or debut in the middle of the brawl when a lot of people were in the ring, but that didn't happen. Kind of bummed the match sort of just got canceled I guess? There was a point near the end where Dain was alone in the ring and I felt like he was looking for Riddle but he couldn't find him and it was like "Ok well I guess we're done then". Not sure if that was the best ending, but it wasn't the worst either. It was good, just unexpected.

Overall, I enjoyed it. It felt like NXT, just a bit longer. Fingers crossed it stays awesome.
 
Last edited:

Kam

Administrator
Administrator
Messages
13,865
Points
78
It was a good intro, I would have preferred it if they aired both hours on USA but I understand the network had to juggle stuff around.

I really was not expecting WALTER. I thought I read somewhere that he didn't want to go over to USA...so when he didn't show up with the rest of the group I totally thought he wouldn't be there. Nice reaction for WALTER and Imperium there.

I've caught some of Oney Lorcan on 205 Live and I think he's great. Seeing Lio Rush was another surprise, hopefully he'll receive a singles push now and not end up only being Lashley's manager.

I loved the brawl at the end too.

Great start for them.
 

Zack T

Active Member
Messages
774
Points
43
I've read that too - but Walter said in an interview recently that he has 0 problems with flying over to my side of the world, he just doesn't see himself ever moving. Austria is his home and he doesn't want to live elsewhere.

I get that, and I respect that. It's a practical standpoint, I'm glad he's willing to travel. Though that does mean we probably won't see him very regularly in NXT-US, but sometimes I guess so.

Got another street fight with Riddle/Dain tonight, #1 contendership to the NXT Championship on the line so I assume we'll get a winner. Some kind of confrontation with Walter and Kushida, maybe their match. Also Dominik Djakovich against Keith Lee, that should steal the show right there.
 

Ogmore

Active Member
Messages
183
Points
28
@Zack T, I appreciate that you recap the action a lot of the time. I haven't had time to keep up and I hate feeling out of the loop. This makes jumping back in easier. I mean, I know it's just wrestling rather than a long mystery movie with plot twists, but if I go a few weeks without catching up all the feuds and alliances will have switched and I won't know top from tail.
 

Zack T

Active Member
Messages
774
Points
43
Thank God I didn't get spoilers anywhere. I didn't watch NXT 1st hour til last night, and the 2nd hour at lunch today.

I popped HARD when Finn Balor returned. I said that in another thread or forum that they should move Balor back to NXT. I literally choked for a minute, I was so excited.

Anyway, Riddle/Cole was intensely awesome, good grief. Then Balor's return after that? Man. Talk about a stellar way to start the show.

<3 Velveteen Dream. CLIMAX.

Johnny Garganno and Shane Thorn was good too. Love that high high powerbomb, so impactful. Expected Johnny to win, but Shane looked real good in defeat (as he should).

Mia Yim and Io had a solid match, surprised to see Io win so handily. I expected she would, but thought it'd be closer than that in the end. Mia seems to be on the downward spiral.

Shayna and Candace was real good too, and I loved the ending. She fought and fought, but eventually had to give it up. I wonder what her husband thinks of that.

Kushida vs WALTER next week? Hell yea.

Pete Dunn vs Danny Burch was solid, and that attack by Damian Priest actually felt welcome cause it gives Pete Dunn something to do. I hope it ends with him vanquishing Damien Priest.

Tag title match was good, although it felt slightly long to me. I understand that watching live, the show had a 15 minute run over? Geez. Longest run over WWE has had since The Rock returned in 2011 I think (That Raw ran over by like 23 minutes). Still, good match, Street Profits looked great, good ending. Tomasso Ciampa returning was FANTASTIC.

So now Finn Balor and Tomasso Ciampa are gunning for Adam Cole? Sign me UP.
 
Last edited:

Poppy

Active Member
Messages
177
Points
28
I like the NXT crew, I feel like they always try the hardest to connect with fans and give a good show. The last show was pretty darn great, even beyond their usual high standards! It seemed a bit obvious that there's competition for viewers thanks to AEW as NXT went all out. I'm not a massive Riddle fan, but he was truly spectacular and so was Cole.

Does anyone know why Tom Phillips is joining the NXT UK commentary team? It seems like there should be a story there.
 

Zack T

Active Member
Messages
774
Points
43
Paul Heyman allegedly really really likes Dio and Vic Joseph and wanted them on Raw, then they added Lawler to give it some familiarity and veteran presence. Smackdown was gonna be Corey/Cole, and that leaves Tom and Byron and Renee left out. I dunno what Byron is gonna be doing, but Renee I believe is gonna host the FS1 WWE studio type of show and Tom is going to NXT UK since they could use another commentator what with Nigel being over in the US every week and that'd be hell travel for him.
 

Zack T

Active Member
Messages
774
Points
43
NXT was another solid show this week. I had thought we might see some new/old faces appear since the draft was now completed - I had thought maybe a few people who went undrafted would end up on NXT, but so far that hasn't happened. However I'd still be on the lookout for that, particularly for Sheamus, the Usos, and Naomi. They're the biggest profile names I'm aware of who didn't get drafted (Other than Cain Velasquez but he's obviously going to be on Raw or Smackdown).

Solid return match for Ciampa against Angel Garza. I love Angel Garza. His tear-away pants thing is awesome, he oozes charisma and just owns his presence. He's also pretty good in the ring, I think he's got a bright future. Ciampa is doing a great job being a bad-ass anti-hero type of guy who isn't really good and isn't really bad, he's just a man on a mission at the moment. He still brought out some of his signature act, like the sarcastic clap for Garza and patting on the back. Ciampa I think ALMOST got himself boo'd when he was attacking Garza's Mexican Flag-pants, but I think the crowd let him slide on that cause it was more about insulting Garza than Mexico. Also love that he's STILL bringing out the crutch as a weapon. That's just his thing now. Awesome. Anyway, this led into a unique little segment of the Undisputed Era trying to intimidate Ciampa and handing a freakin USB to the commentary booth. That was kind of weird, dunno why they didn't just send it to the production truck themselves, but it was also unique and different and as long as that doesn't get done again for awhile, I think it was cool on its own. The video of them surrounding an apparently unconscious and beaten Dream was a pretty good shot in the arm for Undisputed Era, definitely adds a sense of meanness and gang-mentality to them that hopefully will help make them appear to be more dangerous than ever.

Oney/Burch against Imperium was quite good. I like that this match didn't go on for very long, I'm guessing it was around 10 to 12 minutes, but it was action packed and hard hitting and that's what Lorcan and Burch are good at. It's a bit funny to see Alexander Wolfe act so calm and collected now though, after seeing him in SaNiTy :p But I'm glad Imperium got the win here, they need to look strong. I hate it when groups get formed and only the leader wins matches while the rest are glorified jobbers (See - The Nexus, The Corre, League Of Nations, SaNiTy, and probably others I'm forgetting). Solid match all around.

Interesting Johnny Garganno interview done backstage, although it was odd they put "Earlier today" in the bottom corner of it. I think it would've been better to not acknowledge that, it would've made more sense to have it seem like Garganno was asked after Ciampa's return how he felt, rather than just randomly earlier in the day. I mean it does make sense at any time to ask Garganno that, but just the way this was structured made it seem odd. ALSO, Garganno playing coy and acting like he doesn't know how he feels about Ciampa til he sees him is a bit odd too, considering that when Garganno won the NXT title earlier this year, Ciampa came out on the stage while Takeover was still on air and they hugged. So it's a bit strange to act like you don't know how you feel now.

I love Io Shirai. I love everything about her. Her music, her persona, her style, her outfit, everything. Fantastic. Cayden Carter had a good showing for herself but really this was just to get Io another win and that was nice. Cool stand off between her and Rhea Ripley after Io started trying to say she was more important than Rhea and Bianca to challenge Shayna again, though that probably means we'll get Io vs Rhea at some point. I'm sure that'll be a good match, but I don't want Io to lose :( But I know right now, Io's not in line to be the next NXT Women's Champion. I'd imagine the person to dethrone Shayna will be Rhea, Dakota Kai, or maybe Candace. Tegan Nox needs time to get established in NXT first, I think.

I love this little balcony thing they've added in the Full Sail Arena, it's been serving them very well to have wrestlers appear and talk there. Last week Dream got to do it, now this week William Regal is up there. It was a bit strange for them to casually mention NXT TakeOver War Games coming up soon. I feel like that's the first time it's been officially announced on TV that it's even happening, and it was just an off-hand remark. Anyway, I loved that Regal had some real consequences for the Undisputed Era's actions against Velveteen Dream and made Dominik and Lee a #1 contendership match for the North American title. That was some logical good booking right there.

Speaking of, Lee and Dominik was a pretty good match. I don't think this one was quite as good as past matches, it felt a little slower than their other ones. The thing that really bothered me more than anything else is that Lee appeared to have the advantage probably 90% of the match. He had a smart game plan, attacking Dominik's arm and Dominik did a great job of selling that injury the whole match. Unfortunately, Lee kept using it to his advantage and almost every single time Dominik tried to mount some offense, Lee shut him down. So the match ended up feeling like 15 minutes of Lee slowly meandering around, deciding what to do next to Dominik and more or less just having his way with him. That being said, there was still some very impressive spots in this match. Lee's suplex to Dominik where he held him up, gets countered, held him up, gets countered, then finally suplexes him all without ever letting Dominik's feet touch the ground was absolutely mind boggling power. The reverse hurricanrana was like a slow motion car crash but it was so good. Dominik lands that cyclone boot so perfectly and he absolutely nailed Lee right in the freakin mouth with it, I loved it. Roderick interferring should've been more obvious to me earlier, given the pacing of this match (I've found WWE Superstars have a penchant for not going very hard when the match is just gonna end in a DQ type finish anyway) and I appreciate that Regal was right there, still on the balcony, to lay down the law on Roderick immediately. I was expecting Keith Lee vs Roderick Strong, but I like this better because Dominik gets to be involved too. Like I said, Lee dominated this match and I was worried that if he had won, Dominik would've suffered badly from such a resounding defeat. Thankfully they got around that, and the triple threat should be pretty rad.

They did a little backstage segment afterwards where the Undisputed Era tried to yell/talk to Regal and he just ignored them and went through a door somewhere else. They didn't edit this as well as they could've though, as you can tell at the start of the clip that the Undisputed Era are all sort of just standing there waiting for their que for just a half a second after the footage begins to play. If they had cut just 1 second off from the beginning of the clip, it would've looked a lot more realistic.
 

Zack T

Active Member
Messages
774
Points
43
Matt Riddle and Bronson Reed was a hell of a physical match, I loved it. Bronson's got tremendous potential and Riddle showed off ungodly strength in this match, it was seriously something to behold. Love the mutual respect, and while Bronson took a clean loss here again, he made a good showing against Riddle and continues to be on the rise. Soon enough, it'll be Bronson on a winning streak.

Good video package for Bianca, I like her a lot. Odd that they didn't fix their graphic for Tegan Nox's return though, it still said "Returns next week!" but it was this week.

Speaking of Tegan Nox, Taynara is a good opponent for her to come back against. Taynara is quite good, in my opinion, and eventually she's gonna get the spotlight on her. But for now, it's about Tegan. I personally don't know who Tegan Nox is because I didn't watch the Mae Young Classic nor had I watched independent wrestling, but they've done a good job about making her seem very important with these video packages. Personally though, I think they went a bit overboard on how much they've tried to hype her up because it went from being "Here's a big name player joining NXT" to "SHE'S GOING TO REVOLUTIONIZE NXT SHE'S AMAZING SHE'S THE BEST WOMEN'S WRESTLER IN THE WORLD" and that type of hype is hard to live up to, even if you are really good. Just sets expectations too high. As it was, the match was fine. Not bad, not super memorable, but fine. Shayna coming out afterwards and talking down to Tegan and Dakota and basically everyone was great. I loved the line she said as she was leaving "You want a shot? You haven't earned it, come back when you've actually done something important". I freakin love Shayna. She has a way of speaking that is so damn realistic.

Weird message by Balor but I love him so whatever. I think I understand the point of this was something along the lines of "getting back to your roots", but talking has honestly not been Finn's strong point in NXT/WWE. That's the one weakness I think he has. I don't know if he got to talk a lot in Japan or anywhere else he was beforehand, but every time he's been on the mic in NXT and WWE, he's been average at best and I think that's partially why he had a hard time on Raw and Smackdown. He's definitely got the cool factor, the look, and the skills in the ring, but hopefully being back in NXT will help him continue to improve his mic skills.

Boa was the sacrifical lamb for Killian Dain, who I'm honestly surprised lost the feud to Matt Riddle. They've got to pick up the pieces from that now, because that feud sadly didn't live up to the hype. Those two just did not have any chemistry together and I wish they'd have cut it off sooner than they did, but at least it's over with. Dain is good, but I'm glad he's back in NXT because I felt like when he was with SaNiTy and getting massively popular with his performances in War Games and other big matches that he was benefitting from having 3 other teammates around him to carry the match and he mostly just had to come in and do big spots and look like a monster. But if you go back and watch his singles matches, most of them are barely average. He had a pretty good one with Drew McIntyre last year, but beyond that, eh. His last singles match before going to Smackdown for awhile was with Lars Sullivan and it was just...not very good. Then again, Lars isn't very good. But as Booker T would say, "he's a big guy!".

I'm glad Pete Dunn has something to do, and I liked the confrontation between him and Dain during Pete's entrance, that was pretty awesome and definitely setting up something between those 2 moving forward. However, I worry that's gonna result in Pete taking more losses, and he ended up taking one tonight. I'm still not sold on Damian Priest yet, he's a bit hard to buy into at the moment for me. He's got a reasonably cool look, the gothic/Matrix style. Not really a fan of his music though, it feels real cliche to me. I do like that since NXT has gone to USA, they've done a bit more to flesh out Priest's character as being a player who's almost always surrounded by beautiful women, fancy cars, that sort of thing. They're building his character and that needs to continue, maybe my opinion will change. As far as his in-ring work goes, I'm not terribly impressed by him just yet. His squash matches didn't really do much to make him stand out like other people's have been able to do, and his real matches with Keith Lee and Pete Dunn have been pretty decent but not all that memorable either. Having a "pretty ok" match with Pete Dunn is a bad sign to me, I consider Pete Dunn to be one of the absolute best wrestlers in the world today and they had a good length of time to go out there and tear it down. They did have a good match, I'm not saying it was bad. But I'd rate it as barely a 3 *** match, just barely above average to me. I personally don't like that Priest won, mainly because Pete Dunn spent nearly 2 years as UK champion and has barely ever lost during that time. The only losses I can clearly remember during that time frame were when Roderick Strong turned on Pete last year, and when Walter beat him for the UK title, and recently when Dream got to pin Pete in the triple threat, but that was a sneaky beaky win and Pete took Roddy's finisher AND Dream's finisher back to back. In this match, he did suffer a pretty damn good low blow kick and then Priest's finisher, but still. I know I'm just being a bit of a butthead about it, but if Dunn loses here and then goes on to feud with Dain...Dain is in bad need of winning an important match, and I worry Pete's gonna end up losing that one too. I don't want that :(

Overall, solid show. It's incredible that NXT is so well booked and put together overall as well as having pretty damn good matches all throughout, while Raw/Smackdown feel like repetitive garbage week in and week out.

Sorry for the double post, I didn't realize I exceeded maximum post length.
 

Zack T

Active Member
Messages
774
Points
43
NXT started off with FIRE as the OC invaded NXT. I loved it, I loved seeing AJ Styles in NXT and I loved the way they carried themselves, like they were above all of us. Luke Gallows grabbing a random production worker at ringside and throwing him into the steel steps right in front of AJ was great, as AJ looks at it and just has this facial expression of "Sucks to be you, guy". This led to Tomasso Ciampa coming out and I loved the consistency here - Tomasso said that he has no problem with the OC kicking Adam Cole in the face, but if they want to plant their flag in the NXT ring, he's got a problem with that. Another great line he had was that for years, people had been asking him when he was finally going to go to the main roster and now he wanted to take this opportunity to welcome AJ Styles and crew to the main roster (Meaning NXT is the main roster, if you didn't catch that). It was just a nice way to elevate NXT. Matt Riddle and Keith Lee come out to show solidarity for NXT and we've got our main event set. AJ Styles vs Tomasso Ciampa or Matt Riddle? SIGN ME UP.

First match of the night is a rematch between Damian Priest and Pete Dunn, and this was excellent. Really good pacing, excellent psychology, crisp execution. I've said before that I'm not sold on Damian Priest because I just can't really figure him out, there hasn't been much to latch on to his character with yet (Similar to the Dark Order in AEW). But he's continuing to slowly win me over, and this match helped. I particularly loved the ending, I thought it was so well executed and smartly designed. Dunn grabs Priest's arm like he's gonna go for the finger snap, Priest backs himself into the corner with the referee caught between the turnbuckle and Priest and Priest tries for a low blow kick again, but Dunn blocks it and delivers one of his own, THEN snaps Priest's fingers. I LOVED the continuation of their last match, the play on that finish, Dunn learning from the past and I felt this was a great way to hand Damian Priest his first loss and not hurt him one bit. I also really appreciated how Damian was selling after the match, he kept putting his hand on his crotch as though he were in pain, kept doing things like saying "DAMN IT" and slamming his fist on the mat in frustration - it really added a sense of realism that he would act pissed off about losing, because...well, it sucks to lose. I also liked that when Killian Dane came out to attack Pete Dunn that Damian Priest tried to do the typical heel thing and join in the beatdown, but inadvertendly pissed off Dane since he pulled Dane off Dunn just so he could beat Dunn down himself. This led to Dane headbutting Priest, and later Priest trying to get revenge but ultimately getting beat up by Dane some more outside the ring - BASICALLY, everything about this chain of events felt like it made sense and I loved that.

Dakota Kai had a nice interview backstage, simple and effective. This was followed by a women's match of Taynara vs Santana Garrett. I initially thought this was a match for Santana Garrett to establish herself, but it was actually for Taynara! Hooray! She's got some fire and spunk and I love her move-set. I think she's gonna be someone to keep an eye on.

I did find it odd that Shayna didn't choose Jessamyn Duke or Marina Shafir to be on her team for War Games. You'd think she'd pick 2 of her closest allies, but I guess she knows they suck.

Anyway, another women's match with Shayna vs Dakota and this was quite good. I think it was early last year that Shayna "broke" Dakota's arm and I've said ever since then that I think Dakota might be on a long story arc like Bayley or Johnny Garganno went on to establish themselves as champion, and that she'll be the one to finally conquer Shayna Baszler. I could be wrong, she might not win the title, but I could still see her finally getting the moral victory much like Roderick Strong got over Bobby Roode after Roode lost the NXT title to Drew McIntyre. Anyway, excellent match, lots of fight from Dakota Kai and it told a great story - This is the 3rd time Shayna's faced Dakota Kai 1 on 1 on NXT TV if I recall correctly and while Shayna has won each time, Dakota's performance has improved each time. Match 1 saw Shayna break Dakota's arm and Dakota entered that match ultra intimidated. Match 2 saw Dakota try to stand up to Shayna after returning from her arm injury and while she did do better, she still wasn't able to push Shayna to the limit. Match 3, it's quite clear that Dakota rocked Shayna pretty hard and damn near beat her.

I was surprised to see Mia Yim run down for the save during the post match fight segment, I kind of forgot about her to be honest and it seemed like she was being written down based on her recent performances. But she was on fire here, and Rhea Ripley ends up giving her the 4th slot for War Games in a backstage segment later on in the evening, which resulted in Dakota Kai dejectedly just walking away from everyone. Ouch. More fuel for Dakota's fire, though. Good stuff overall, though I do still think it's a bit odd that Shayna is gonna team with Io and Bianca, given that both of them have made it quite clear recently that they want to beat Shayna for her title. On top of that, 1 more person still needs to be added to team Baszler and I'm not sure who it'll be. I think Dakota Kai is a dark horse possibility, maybe to show Rhea Ripley that she would've been a better pick than Mia Yim, but that's unlikely. But if not Dakota, then I'm not sure who. Taynara maybe? Jessamyn or Marina?

Tony Nese and Angel Garza fought for #1 contendership to Lio Rush's Cruiserweight title and I just love everything about Angel Garza. I love his appearance, I love the way he carries himself and his presence, and I love his ring work. The only thing I don't really like is his finisher, it's awkward as hell and I don't think it fits him. But otherwise, he's great. Good solid match that had Angel making fun of Tony Nese for awhile early on, and then one of the single greatest spots I've ever seen when Tony Nese powerbombed the pants off Angel Garza...literally tearing the pants off him and powerbombing the pants and nothing else. It's on WWE's youtube if you didn't see it, just go watch it, it's amazing. I was thrilled that Garza won the match, and I loved that he slapped the taste out of Lio Rush's mouth when Rush came out to congratulate him afterwards. Angel Garza only debuted a couple months ago in that Breakout Tournament but I think he's gone the furthest out of all 8 of those guys in terms of getting over already.

Isaiah "Swerve" Scott vs Dominik Dijakovich was surprisingly good. I expected Swerve would get some offense in, but I thought this would ultimately be a match for Dominik to look strong in. I was wrong. This was a great example on how to elevate both opponents even though 1 wins and 1 lost. Swerve looked amazing, executed breathtaking moves, and had tenacity that made me genuinely believe he was gonna upset Dominik. Even when he lost, it was only just barely and I loved how Dominik caught him. Side note - They showed 2 or 3 little video promo packages as they came back from commercial breaks, I remember seeing them for Angel and for Swerve and someone else. I really like those, it's helpful when trying to establish new talent.

Main event time, OC vs Ciampa/Lee/Riddle. I love how this started off, with a big fight and craziness. We got to see AJ square off with all 3 of his opponents at some point during this, and it was a lot of fun. I was expecting the OC to get the win here over Lee or maybe Riddle, but I am also fine with the match just being thrown out. The finish was absolutely excellent though - Keith Lee pouncing AJ Styles into the referee for the ref bump was amazingly well timed and executed. Normally, I see a spot like that coming from a mile away because everyone will begin moving into place in a somewhat obvious way. However, this time it happened so naturally that I didn't even realize what was about to happen until the ref went flying and I was like :O Well done. Matt Riddle nearly killed himself when he tried for his dive over the ropes and didn't quite clear it, but thankfully he's ok. Finn Balor coming out was freakin perfect, Bullet Club reunion there and it made sense. Adam Cole coming out was very surprising but I also loved it because AJ had been calling him out and Cole hit both AJ and Tomasso because he hates both those guys. Absolutely perfect. Rumor is we might get the OC + Balor vs Undisputed Era vs Team NXT (DIY/Lee/Riddle) in War Games. I think that's probably true, although I'm not a fan of us having 2 war games matches in a single night. I thought the women were gonna get it this year, which would've made more sense seeing as the Undisputed Era has all the gold and putting them in War Games means no title matches, but I guess we're gonna go that route anyway. I'd guess we'll get an NXT UK title match at War Games just so we can have a title match, cause literally every other NXT Champion will be involved in a War Games match. But at the same time, that helps ensure there's no spoilers related to Survivor Series plans. After all, all the champions are supposed to be facing Raw/Smackdown champions there too and if we book Undisputed Era to face Viking Raiders and Revival in a Raw/SD/NXT triple threat tag match, it kind of takes the wind out of the sails of any other tag title match any of those teams might have because we know they're gonna win, otherwise they wouldn't advertise the match in the first place.

Anyway, amazingly solid NXT this week, even more so than usual. I believe I liked NXT better than AEW Dynamite this week, but only just slightly. They went neck and neck in ratings this week as well, Dynamite narrowly winning at 822,000 viewers to NXT's 817,000 or so. Exciting times!
 
Top