NXT is giving us ‘A Very Gargano Christmas’ this week, presented by The Way, and a packed show to go with it. Bronson Reed is in action against an unnamed opponent. Killian Dain & Drake Maverick get a tag title opportunity against Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. Finn Balor and Kyle O’Reilly will talk us through their title match at TakeOver 31, ahead of their title match at New Year’s Evil. Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott tries to get a win back against Jake Atlas. And Rhea Ripley faces Dakota Kai as Kai was medically cleared this week.
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch def. Killian Dain & Drake Maverick
Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott def. Jake Atlas
Rhea Ripley def. Dakota Kai
Bronson Reed def. Ashante ‘Thee’ Adonis
Leon Ruff def. Timothy Thatcher
Tyler Rust def. Ariya Daivari
Adam Cole def. Velveteen Dream
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch (C) vs Killian Dain & Drake Maverick – NXT Tag Team Championship Street Fight
Drake Maverick and Killian Dain attacked the champions before they got to the ring, and the bell rang without them ever making it that far because street fight or Christmas or something. There was a festive street fight on RAW this week which was 80% match and 20% people landing on Christmas trees, with AJ Styles ending up wearing a big bowl of eggnog. This was nothing like that. It was tables, chairs, three men who will knock your head off for the fun of it, and Drake Maverick who might be the most resilient superstar on the roster.
Maverick needed to be resilient because Dain got taken out of the match for a while and left him on his own for Burch and Lorcan to torture. He returned while they were gloating about how great they were. They knocked him off the apron onto a table, but the table didn’t break, and went back to whipping Drake Maverick with a belt. Maverick responded by hitting them both in the balls and taking the belt off them. They appeared to enjoy taking the belt much less than delivering it. Lorcan felled him with a low blow and Burch hit him in the stomach with a cricket bat. The double team finisher was just a formality for the champions to retain.
Dain was still laying under the unbroken table when Burch and Lorcan left. He got up to carry Maverick out of the arena. There’s something very sweet about that team.
A Very Gargano Christmas was a multi-part ‘At home with the Garganos’ video. In the first visit, Johnny Gargano was pretending to play piano and Austin Theory got a tub of ‘Gargano Whey’ protein powder. It was extremely odd, LeRae and Gargano are acting like Theory and Indi Hartwell are their children, and they’re going along with it.
The look back over Finn Balor and Kyle O’Reilly’s title match was interesting. There is a lot of respect between them, which is always gratifying to see. I would have liked to see something more in-depth, but they had to promo the New Year’s Evil match as well. Not remotely upset about them having a rematch. They’re a great combination, even if Balor did end up with a broken jaw last time.
Malcolm Bivens speak for Tyler Rust now. He talked up Rust’s debut and called him a ‘Diamond in the Rust’.
Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott vs Jake Atlas
Swerve couldn’t deal with having lost to Jake Atlas, so this match was for him to try to get some pride back. Atlas wasn’t going to make that easy for him. Another great match. I could watch them all day. Swerve got the win this time with the Confidence Boost, which leaves them at one to one. Looking forward to the tie-breaker. Swerve wasn’t even gracious enough to shake Atlas’ hand as a winner. He kind of tried, but he was taunting him and being an asshole about it.
Adam Cole will be fighting Velveteen Dream in the main event after Velveteen interrupted hi and Roderick Strong bigging up Kyle O’Reilly. Velveteen was stirring about O’Reilly being the new leader of Undisputed ERA and Cole being his cheerleader. Cole slapped him and said there is no leader of Undisputed ERA.
Timothy Thatcher promised to take liberties with Leon Ruff to try to get Tommaso Ciampa to come and stop him. He wants to fight Ciampa now.
Rhea Ripley vs Dakota Kai
Rhea Ripley did herself a huge favour by taunting Dakota Kai ahead of this match. She tweeted that you might as well put Raquel Gonzalez on the match graphic because Everyone knows Kai can’t fight her own battles. Gonzalez replied that Kai was more than capable, and they could ban her from ringside if they wanted. William Regal chipped in to say that was a great idea, so as a special Christmas present, she was banned.
Ripley was in control in the early stages of the match, but Kai stamped her shoulder, so it bent awkwardly against the apron, then ran her into the post on the same shoulder. Ripley was screaming in pain on the floor at ringside going into a break. Kai was still in control when we came back, but even with one working arm, Ripley fought herself back into it.
Raquel Gonzalez appeared to cheer Kai on from the stage, while Ripley was trying to tap Kai out. From then on, Ripley’s attention was divided. She couldn’t stop glancing over at Gonzalez. A backstabber that sent Ripley into a dodgy-looking landing didn’t put her away and a Riptide countered into a guillotine also failed. Still, Rhea Ripley couldn’t take her eyes off Gonzalez. She was looking at her while she pinned Dakota Kai off the second attempt at the Riptide.
Gonzalez came to the ring after the match, accompanied by several officials. She and Ripley circled each other, trash-talking the whole time, then started fighting. It took a ring full of officials and producers to separate them into opposite corners and they still broke free a couple of times to continue the fight.
Indi Hartwell got to open her present on the second visit to the Garganos. She got the box for a PS5, because Gargano kept the PS5 for himself. Her real gift was a family nickname as a way to prove she belongs because she’s proved her loyalty. She will now be known as ‘Indi Wrestling’.
Toni Storm said Io Shirai is next for her. She thinks Shirai is scared of her and knows she can’t beat her.
The torture might finally be over for Xia Li and Boa. They were yelling through Li kicking Boa in the chest and punching him in the face, instead of crying, and the master guy who has been overseeing it said enough. The mysterious figure with the facepaint still hasn’t been revealed.
Bronson Reed vs Ashante ‘Thee’ Adonis
This was so short I felt sorry for Ashante ‘Thee’ Adonis. He’s significantly better than that, but this was about showcasing Reed’s power, so he had to get his ass kicked then get flattened by a Tsunami Splash.
Io Shirai came to the ring to address Toni Storm’s comments. She sat on a chair in the centre of the ring, facing the stage, and called Storm out immediately. Instead, she got attacked from behind by Mercedes Martinez and destroyed with the help of the barricades, ringpost, apron, and announce desk. Martinez flung her into the announce desk so hard Shirai was left crumpled in the front of it.
Candice LeRae got her gift from Johnny Gargano in the final visit. It was a wheel from Shotzi Blackheart’s destroyed tank. They took a family photo at the end but Theory was eating the whey powder and spat a cloud of it out when saying Merry Christmas, so was partially obscured by a cloud of dust.
Timothy Thatcher vs Leon Ruff
Thatcher promised to take liberties with Leon Ruff, and he was as good as his word when the match got underway. For most of the match, Thatcher put on a clinic of how to hurt your opponent. It’s generally a bad idea to underestimate Leon Ruff though. Thatcher took a break mid-match to set out a chair and invite Ciampa to join them and Ruff was ready for him when he came back.
The resurgence was short-lived for Ruff. Thatcher punched him out of the air. Thatcher made no effort to pin Ruff, he was waiting for an audience. But Ruff was waiting for an opportunity and got it, and the win, with an inside cradle.
It’s also a bad idea to upset Timothy Thatcher. He caught Ruff at ringside and beat on him until Tommaso Ciampa ran down to the ring. Ciampa gave Thatcher a Willow’s Bell and told him if he wants a fight he’ll see him in the fight pit.
Damian Priest thinks Karrion Kross is not as bad as he thinks he is. At New Year’s Evil, he’s going to prove it.
Kross feels disrespected and says that’s the biggest mistake Priest has ever made in his life. It is inevitable that Kross will take back the title he never lost, but Priest is an interesting roadblock that he can’t take his eyes off.
Dexter Lumis drew a cartoon Rhea Ripley vs Raquel Gonzalez picture with Last Woman Standing written across the top. He’s the host of New Year’s Evil, so that’s a match confirmation.
Tyler Rust vs Ariya Daivari
This one was quietly pretty good. The presence of Bivens suggests there are plans for Tyler Rust, or that he doesn’t do well on the mic. Maybe both. One of Rust’s moves involved spinning Daivari around and around then smashing his face into the mat. That didn’t get him the win though, that came much later as a result of a submission. Rust looks interesting, but I need more information to invest. Good to see Daivari though. I hope they use him more on NXT.
Leon Ruff secured a rematch against Johnny Gargano for the NXT North American Championship. The match takes place next week.
Adam Cole vs Velveteen Dream
Not the best of main event matches for me. I’ve never liked Adam Cole, although I’ve always acknowledged how good he is. I’ve thawed on him a little, ok, quite a bit, but I don’t want to watch Velveteen Dream anymore ever. Until the accusations against him are properly addressed he shouldn’t be on tv. Social media through the match was full of fans uncomfortable with his presence, and I was one of them. If WWE are waiting for people to forget, they may be waiting a very long time.
There was some distraction from Pete Dunne attacking Roderick Strong mid-match and the finish was Adam Cole’s Last Shot.
Decent episode. New Year’s Evil is looking like it’s going to be special. I don’t think there’s much more to say. The NXT Awards are being handed out next week. Voting on the WWE website. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Best Festive Wishes to you all.