The big match of the night is the triple threat number one contender’s match for the NXT Championship, between Keith Lee, Tommaso Ciampa, and Finn Balor. There is also an NXT Cruiserweight Championship match, with Angel Garza trying to take the title from Lio Rush, and Mia Yim gets her hands on Dakota Kai.
Angel Garza def. Lio Rush
Raul Mendoza def. Cameron Grimes
Travis Banks def. Jaxson Ryker
Dakota Kai def. Mia Yim
Breezango def. The Singh Brothers
Bianca Belair def. Kayden Carter
Finn Balor def. Keith Lee and Tommaso Ciampa
The show opened with a rant from Adam Cole about what winning the triple threat number one contender’s match for the right to face him would mean for the winner. He doesn’t think any of them have earned it and hopes the three of them destroy each other. According to Cole, they’re just setting themselves up to lose and he doesn’t care which one of them he beats.
Lio Rush vs Angel Garza – NXT Cruiserweight Championship match
Apparently, this was a war on Lio Rush’s face and neck early on. He got his face smashed into the apron, took a massive kick or three, and got hung up on the top rope by his neck. Garza took his fair share of punishment too. He didn’t even get to rip off his stripper pants himself. Rush pulled them off when he was trying to stop Garza leaving the ring. Great, high energy, opening match and hugely entertaining. They chucked every move they had at each other, twice, and nicked a few of each other’s moves as well.
After about a hundred near falls, Angel Garza tapped Rush out to become the new NXT Cruiserweight Champion.
After the match, during the commercial break, Angel Garza proposed to his girlfriend in the middle of the ring. She said yes.
» Shayna Baszler’s promo package, ahead of her title defence against Rhea Ripley next week, was excellent. There was a slightly drawn out analogy about cars, then she went through the list of people she has defeated in her time as champ. It’s a long list of impressive names. She’s planning to add Ripley’s name next week.
Cameron Grimes vs Raul Mendoza
Footage of Cameron Grimes attacking Kushida was shown before Grimes’ entrance for the match. That was revenge for Kushida beating him last week in the match that was supposed to be Mendoza’s. This match was supposed to be Raul Mendoza’s chance for retribution for attacking him and stealing that opportunity.
It worked for him at the start. As soon as Grimes started to turn it around, Kushida appeared. Kushida didn’t do anything to interfere, he simply walked to the ring and climbed the steps, but it was enough to put Grimes off just long enough for Mendoza to fold him up and get the pin.
After the match Kushida stole Cameron Grimes’ hat and left wearing it.
» Mia Yim got a backstage interview ahead of her match with Dakota Kai. Yim said it goes beyond revenge. Kai put her in an ambulance and took away the biggest opportunity of her career. This isn’t going to be a wrestling match, it’s going to be a fight and she’ll inflict so much pain Kai will be the one riding in an ambulance.
Travis Banks vs Jaxson Ryker
Another Worlds Collide preview match. Travis Banks got an intro video before the match, for those who don’t watch NXT UK or indie wrestling. Jaxson Ryker brought Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler with him to the ring. Decent enough match. Ryker is aggressive but his style doesn’t really resonate with me. Something, commentary said a forearm, properly caught Banks and he was bleeding from his eyebrow by halfway through the short match. Travis Banks picked up the win and scrabbled out of the ring at the speed of light before Blake and Cutler could get hold of him.
Mia Yim vs Dakota Kai
The footage of Kai attacking Tegan Nox has been taken off her entrance video now, but she’s still carrying Nox’ knee brace as a trophy.
Mia Yim said it wasn’t going to be a wrestling match it was going to be a fight, and Dakota Kai seemed into that idea when she got the opportunity. As it played out, it was a fair mix of both. It didn’t have quite the grudge match intensity it could have, but this feud is far from over and they’ve got to leave room to escalate. Dakota Kai tried to use the brace and Mia Yim tried to take advantage of the ref taking it off her, but Kai was ready. After kicking Yim away, Kai managed to get the turnbuckle pad off and ram Yim’s forehead into it to get the win
It didn’t end there though. Mia Yim got back up and beat Kai through the staging and tech area before putting them both through one of two tables set up below the tech area. Yim definitely cracked her head on the other table on her way down, I think they both did.
Breezango vs The Singh Brothers
Breezango were dressed as doctors when they arrived on stage this time. Weren’t The Singh Brothers on RAW a few weeks ago? I guess they came for better opportunities, they’ve not exactly been given killer storylines on the main roster. They failed to pin Tyler Breeze despite using underhand tactics. Breezango showed off a new vicious streak after Fandango came in, with an apron powerbomb and a massive double team elbow on the outside, but they were back to having fun as some as Fandango’s leg drop gave them the win.
» Rhea Ripley’s promo package was a ‘story so far’ video that fed into the main match promo. I’m really looking forward to this match.
Kayden Carter vs Bianca Belair
Bianca Belair was not messing around in this one. She’s had a quieter second half of the year. Part of WarGames without being the focal point, and the same with Survivor Series despite doing great things in both. And she’s not currently in the title picture, which can’t sit well. She took all the frustration out on Kayden Carter, who barely got a look in. Belair gave the impression of barely getting out of first gear and maybe not giving her opponent the respect she deserved, which gave Carter the brief moments of momentum she did get. Unsurprisingly it was Belair’s K.O.D. which finished the match.
Adam Cole watched the main event from the podium above the commentary desk.
Finn Balor, Keith Lee, and Tommaso Ciampa all had promos through the show to build to the match. Ciampa’s was right before his entrance and finished with a camera cut to him saying tonight’s match was for Goldie.
Tommaso Ciampa vs Keith Lee vs Finn Balor – Triple-threat match to face Adam Cole for the NXT Championship
Fun main event. There’s inevitably a lot going on when you get Keith Lee, Tommaso Ciampa, and Finn Balor in the same ring. And it’s hard to maintain any kind of control when you’re forced to be looking over your shoulder for the third man every time.
Ciampa putting Balor on his back only for Lee to put Ciampa on his shoulders and drop them both was an impressive moment that didn’t result in a pin. But, to be fair, there were a lot of impressive moments that didn’t result in a pin, and a few opportunistic ones as well. Keith lee kicked out of Ciampa’s Air Raid Crash. Ciampa kicked out of a Lee moonsault.
In the end, Lee delivered a Spirit Bomb to Ciampa and got caught with a perfectly timed Coup de Grace from Balor and pinned.
So, next week is the holiday edition of NXT and they’re celebrating with two title matches. Shayna Baszler versus Rhea Ripley, and now Adam Cole versus Finn Balor. That’s a pretty strong episode before they add anything else.