NXT TakeOver WarGames and Survivor Series are a week and a half away, so everything is focused on building for those. To that end, Mia Yim and Io Shirai face off in the main event, in a ladder match, to decide which team gets the advantage in the WarGames match. We also get Lio Rush defending his cruiserweight title against Angel Garza and Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott versus Bronson Reed.
Lio Rush def. Angel Garza
Xia Li def. Aliyah
Keith Lee def. Roderick Strong
Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott def. Bronson Reed
Io Shirai def. Mia Yim
Lio Rush (C) vs Angel Garza – NXT Cruiserweight Championship match
Start strong seems to be NXT’s MO and this match was great. Garza went for the early show of disrespect by jumping the barricade to remove his stripper pants next to Rush’s wife. Lio Rush very quickly let him know what he thought of that. It settled into a match of big moves and fast counters from the cruiserweights.
Lio Rush kicked out of Garza’s moonsault powerslam, but when he kicked out of the Wing Clipper, Garza put him back in position and climbed to the second turnbuckle. Rush resisted and they exchanged way too many headbutts before Rush rana’d them down. Garza kicked out of one Final Hour, so Rush hit him with another.
Rush got the pin, but Garza’s leg was clearly under the bottom rope and got caught on it part way through the count. There will be a rematch, of course, and that’s no bad thing.
» Cameras cut to Tegan Nox and Rhea Ripley lying on the ground outside with officials running over to them. Tegan Nox was crying in pain, Rhea Ripley appeared to be unconscious. That led into a video package about Shayna Baszler and her excursions to RAW and SmackDown.
Xia Li vs Aliyah, with Vanessa Borne
I enjoyed this match, what there was of it anyway. I like watching Xia Li, she’s incredibly quick. Vanessa Borne got involved, trying to pull Aliyah free of the ring and causing Li to get distracted with making her let go. Aliyah’s advantage was short-lived, but so was the match. One of Li’s lightning-quick kicks caught Aliyah in the face, and she pinned her. Medics appeared in the ring after the match to stem the blood from Aliyah’s nose.
Finn Balor appeared to complain about the current state of NXT, which he called a joke. He objects to Johnny Gargano being named the heart of NXT. Balor built this place and when he left a bunch of little boys moved in. He moved onto criticising Matt Riddle but didn’t get far before Riddle jumped him from behind. They fought until Balor escaped into the crowd after Riddle tipped him over the barricade.
As soon as he’d gone Undisputed ERA came out and surrounded the ring. Tommaso Ciampa and Keith Lee came to join Riddle before they could do anything. They argued and Undisputed ERA jumped on the apron, but didn’t seem to want to get into the ring.
Keith Lee gave them credit for their main roster exploits, then asked Cole if he was going to stand up to him.
Roderick Strong was upset by this and yelled about Adam Cole deserving a night off, so he offered himself up to fight Lee instead. Keith Lee said he wasn’t that picky, and four refs appeared to clear the extras from the ring.
Keith Lee vs Roderick Strong
This one started with Lee dragging Strong into the ring by his head and Strong immediately getting out again, but it was only so they could go to the ads.
The match itself was everything you’d expect from a Keith Lee match and a Roderick Strong match, tough, proficient and entertaining. The match was never the point of the match though.
When it looked like Roderick Strong was not going to come out on top, the rest of Undisputed ERA arrived, closely followed by Riddle and Ciampa, and chaos broke out at ringside. Riddle was the last man standing, until Balor came from nowhere and took him down with a slingblade, then kept him down with a double stomp and dropkick into the steps.
After that entertaining diversion, Keith Lee delivered a jackhammer and got the pin. Immediately, he was jumped by Undisputed ERA. Ciampa piled in to help, but was outnumbered and overwhelmed. Dominik Dijakovic strolled down and took out the whole of Undisputed ERA.
Dijakovic told Ciampa he wanted into the WarGames team. Ciampa shook his hand but Dijakovic found himself nose to nose with Keith Lee when he turned around. They stared each other down while the crowd chanted hug it out, and settled for a handshake.
» Cameras once again cut to outside. This time is was Marina Shafir, Jessamyn Duke, and Candice LeRae who were unconscious on the ground.
Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott’ vs Bronson Reed
I’ve just got to say, I miss Swerve’s indie music. His new theme is ok, I guess. The match was predictably good, but the window for giving these two enough character to invest in is narrowing. Scott is immensely popular anyway, but consistently good matches without storyline will only get you so far in a roster this big and this talented.
Not the longest match on the show, but long enough for something with no storyline back. Scott seemed determined to exchange power moves with Reed, which possibly wasn’t the smartest way forward and led to him getting levelled a few times. But he kept getting back up and finally delivered a House Call and got the pin.
There was a nice show of respect between them after the match.
» Cathy Kelley gave a non-update on the attacks on the women. No one knows who did it. She did have an update on the NXT TakeOver WarGames card though. Matt Riddle will now go one on one with Finn Balor, so has been replaced in the team to face Undisputed ERA by Dominik Dijakovic. This means Ciampa’s mystery fourth team member is still to be revealed.
» Forgotten Sons had another video package. They really don’t want people to forget them.
Pete Dunne vs Killian Dain didn’t happen. Damian Priest attacked Killian Dain on his way to the ring, then scrapped Pete Dunne and Dain, then took out the plethora of security people who tried to intervene. Dunne and Dain kept trying to start their fight. Even after they’d been wiped out by a thrown security person they got up and started scrapping at ringside. Priest put a stop to that by sailing over the top rope and landing on both of them.
Dakota Kai interrupted Mia Yim’s pre-match interview to say there were no hard feelings, and if anything goes down while Yim is out there tonight, Kai has her back. Mia Yim looked suspicious.
Mia Yim vs Io Shirai – Ladder Match to Decide the WarGames Advantage
They were not shy about weaponizing the ladders in this one. Both women took a ladder to the face in the first couple of minutes and it just got more brutal from there. Io Shirai spent the majority of the match nursing a damaged hand after Yim trapped it in a ladder. She also caught an awkward landing on the edge of a ladder from a suplex.
Mia Yim was the first to try to climb the ladder, but it was much too early, and she ended up being sandwiched in it instead. Shirai kicked a ladder into Mia Yim’s face and busted her wide open. There was a tiny amount of blood shown then it cut to replays and when it came back Yim was being tended to by medics while Io Shirai set up a ladder with one hand as slowly as possible. Yim was back up in time to stop her.
I have no idea how Mia Yim got through the match. She was bleeding and it looked like something was definitively broken. Dakota Kai came to check on her, but merely helped her take a moonsault from Shirai. When Shirai started to climb the ladder again, Kai pulled her down and powerbombed her then helped Yim into the ring.
While Yim was climbing, Kay Lee Ray ran down to the ring, launched Dakota Kai into the steps then pushed the ladder over. Mia Yim was at the top of the ladder and crashed through the ladder set up between the ring and barricade. That’s a really small gap at Full Sail and it looked terrifying.
Shayna Baszler arrived on stage and applauded her now completed team, then got taken out by Bayley wielding a chair. Bayley slammed Baszler’s face onto the NXT title belt then ran off before team Baszler could get to her.
That ladder match was brutal. Mia Yim is listed as day to day on the injury report. She has a fractured nose and suspected rib fractures. There is no official decision yet on whether she will make it into the WarGames match.
The question remains, who wiped out half the women’s locker room? Was it Bayley with her chair? Was it Dakota Kai getting her revenge for not being picked for a team? Is there a new and as yet unknown threat on the horizon? I guess we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks.