The NXT roster have had a busy week. First they turned Friday night into NXT TakeOver SmackDown, necessitated by most of the SmackDown roster being stuck in Riyadh after Crown Jewel, then they invaded RAW and caused chaos. It honestly made for the best main roster shows in a long time. With NXT TakeOver WarGames and Survivor Series in just a couple of weeks, there’s a lot of building to do.
Pete Dunne def Damian Priest
Taynara def. Santana Garrett
Shayna Baszler def. Dakota Kai
Angel Garza def. Tony Nese
Dominik Dijakovic def. Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott
The OC vs Tommaso Ciampa, Matt Riddle, & Keith Lee – No Contest
Mauro Ranallo opened the show with footage of The OC attacking Undisputed ERA before The OC made their way to the ring. Styles opened with ‘So this is NXT’ and got an NXT chant from the crowd. He said Undisputed ERA tried to take over RAW because they wanted a war, so they’re bringing to war to NXT. The OC are taking over NXT, and that’s undisputed.
Tommaso Ciampa arrived and said for years he’s been asked when he’s going to go up to the main roster, so he wants to be the first to welcome Gallows Anderson and Styles to the main roster. NXT is now and always has been the show. He doesn’t mind them coming and whipping Undisputed ERA’s ass, that’s fine, but he does have a problem with them claiming to be taking over.
Styles asked if the three of them were supposed to be scared of him. The crowd said yes. Styles said Ciampa was the only one with big enough balls to say anything, and Ciampa was joined by Matt Riddle and Keith Lee. Tommaso Ciampa said that he, Riddle, and Lee were preparing for Undisputed ERA at WarGames, but challenged The OC to a match for tonight. AJ Styles accepted.
Pete Dunne vs Damian Priest
This was the opening match and it was a good tussle for their place in the pecking order of NXT. After both failed to deliver their finishers in the first minute of the match, they settled down into an increasingly vicious and heavy-handed contest. Damian Priest went for another low blow when the ref’s back was turned, but Dunne caught his leg and delivered his own low blow before snapping Priest’s fingers and tapping him out in an armbar.
Killian Dain attacked Dunne after the match, then Priest and Dain had a brief squabble over who was going to beat Dunne up. Dain won and delivered a Vader Bomb, then got attacked by Priest on his way out.
» The women’s WarGames teams have been partially picked. Shayna Baszler has chosen Bianca Belair and Io Shirai. Rhea Ripley went for Tegan Nox and Candice LeRae. One place remains on each team.
Dakota Kai was asked in a backstage interview about comments made by Baszler that she would be a waste of a pick for the WarGames team. She admitted she was intimidated by Baszler but she’s not the same person she was before her injury. She came back with more aggression and fire so she’s going to prove to Rhea Ripley why she deserves to be on her team. And she’ll see if Shayna Baszler still calls her a waste of a pick after she’s kicked her face off.
Taynara vs Santana Garrett
Short and pedestrian match. It just never seemed to get going, then Taynara finished it with a kick in the face.
Dakota Kai vs Shayna Baszler
Baszler was accompanied to the ring by Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, who Baszler has not chosen for her team. Dakota Kai started hard and fast, taking the early advantage and keeping it until she tried to follow Baszler to the outside. She got as far as the apron before Shayna Baszler grabbed her leg and dragged her into the ringpost, then started to work over her leg.
It worked for a while, but Dakota Kai was exorcising her demons by facing Baszler, as well as proving her worth, and that’s a pretty strong motivation. But the momentum she started to build was halted with a superplex. Still, Dakota Kai came back, exchanging strikes and kicks. She got out of the Kirifuda Clutch the first time, and almost got to the ropes the second, but Baszler trapped her arm and she had to tap.
After the match Duke, Shafir, and Baszler attacked Kai. Team Ripley ran down to help but were taken out by team Baszler before they got to the ring. Mia Yim eventually arrived with a kendo stick to chase off Baszler and associates.
» The hype package for Survivor Series is superb. Adding NXT has made it much more interesting all round.
» Tommaso Ciampa was asked if he’d found the fourth member for WarGames. He said the public, and Undisputed ERA, will know when they need to know. One war at a time. Tonight The OC came into their house looking for a fight… they’re ready.
Tony Nese vs Angel Garza – NXT Cruiserweight Championship Number One Contender’s match
There was a lot of posing and ab counting, and a tearing off of stripper pants which was thwarted by a chop fest and only occurred when Tony Nese accidentally powerbombed them off. Sadly for him, he only powerbombed the pants and not the man. In between all the posturing was a really interesting and entertaining match. NXT is the logical home of the cruiserweights, despite their addition making an overstuffed roster faintly ridiculous in size and strength.
It will be Angel Garza who faces Lio Rush for the title. He finished it with a Wing Clipper. Lio Rush came out to shake his hand afterwards, and Garza slapped him.
» Rhea Ripley was asked about the fourth member of her team. She named Mia Yim and apologised to Dakota Kai because she didn’t make the cut. Kai looked upset and angry. She said she gets it and it’s fine, then left looking like she was about to cry. This can’t be going the way it looks like it is, surely.
Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott vs Dominik Dijakovic
I thoroughly enjoyed this match. Swerve is endlessly entertaining and ferociously talented. Dijakovic is also massively talented, and seems to want to break people. Scott bounced around the ring a lot, not always under his own power, but he had Dijakovic rocked and reeling several times. A DDT probably gave him his best chance, but he also countered Feast Your Eyes and almost got a roll-up victory. And he kicked out after being choke-slammed into the mat.
Dijakovic got annoyed after that and made the mistake of trash-talking Scott, so was immediately taken down with a poisonrana and very nearly taken out with a double stomp and clothesline. But he kicked out and the second Feast Your Eyes found its mark to give Dominik Dijakovic the win.
» Forgotten Sons got a promo video… to make sure no one forgets them, I guess.
» Next week it will be Mia Yim versus Io Shirai in a ladder match to decide which team get a WarGames advantage. And Angel Garza gets the title shot he earned tonight.
The OC vs Tommaso Ciampa, Matt Riddle, & Keith Lee
A main event that would have been unthinkable even a few weeks ago. Tonight is the first time any of The OC have set foot in an NXT ring, as all debuted straight to the main roster.
There was a brawl before there was a match, but Styles and Ciampa kicked things off after the bell and it was wonderful. Once Keith Lee came in, Styles quickly decided to let Luke Gallows have a turn, and that was good fun too although Gallows didn’t seem to make much of an impact. The crowd chanted for the NXT home team throughout the match (except for the odd Too Sweet chat, but we’ll ignore that). Karl Anderson couldn’t break Lee down either and Ciampa was back in after a break cut.
Funnily enough, The OC made a point of knocking Keith Lee off the apron, they clearly didn’t want to deal with him anymore, but Matt Riddle came in fired up and ready to fight them all. So he did. Luke Gallows had to break up Riddles pin on Styles and Ciampa had to prevent Keith Lee taking a Magic Killer. No one could stop him taking a DDT from Styles though.
Keith Lee pounced AJ Styles into the referee, then chaos broke out. Ciampa was about to give AJ Styles a Fairytale Ending when Balor appeared (o the fifth anniversary of his debut) and 1916’d Riddle on the ramp. Styles raised the Too Sweet, Balor raised the finger guns in return. But when Styles turned back to finish off Ciampa with a Styles Clash he got superkicked by Adam Cole. Cole delivered a Last Shot to Ciampa the stared down Balor to finish the show.
A strong episode of NXT which performed much better in the viewing numbers, probably thanks to the SmackDown and RAW invasions. Survivor Series weekend, as it stands at the moment has the potential to be the most exciting weekend of WWE programming in quite a long time.