It’s the second week of the new format NXT and I am already well and truly fed up with waiting until 3am on Friday morning to watch it. Looks to be another strong show though.
Keith Lee def. Dominik Dijakovic
Dakota Kai def. Taynara
Matt Riddle def. Killian Dain
Rhea Ripley def. Kayden Carter
Oney Lorcan & Dany Burch def. Ever-Rise
Cameron Grimes def. Raul Mendoza
Kushida & Breezango def. Imperium
The pre-credits involved some self-congratulatory recaps of last week, which is fair enough because it was a great show. The show proper opened with Undisputed ERA, holding all the men’s gold, standing on a balcony above the announce desk.
Keith Lee vs Dominik Dijakovic
A strong opening match for the casuals and NXT faithful alike. There was a tale of the tape graphic before the bel, which is actually a nice touch. Lee and Dijakovic are fantastic opponents, consistently trying to out-power each other and outdo each other’s athleticism. It has the air of a feud that could rumble on indefinitely.
We got all the impressive stuff, Dijakovic choke-slamming Lee on the apron, Keith Lee’s moonsault, an avalanche Canadian destroyer from Dijakovic followed up with a moonsault. So much visual spectacle to draw in the casuals. It was Keith Lee who picked up the win in this round, with a Limit Breaker. They’ve got one win each and the double count-out, so we’ll get at least one more.
» The promo for Baszler versus LeRae next week was another tale of the tape. Interesting, but they can’t tell the whole story.
» Footage was shown of William Regal telling Matt Riddle and Killian Dain that they’re redoing their street fight and the winner will face Adam Cole for the title.
» Street Profits talked about their upcoming tag title rematch, which is also happening next week.
Dakota Kai vs Taynara
Taynara (Conti) has become the latest person to fall victim to the WWE disappearing last name curse. It’s great to see Dakota Kai back. She didn’t get everything her own way on her return though. Taynara has improved with experience, as people do, and she had a modicum of control early on to show that off. Kai pulled it together and turned it around, of course, and finished the match with a GTK.
» In amongst the bits of housekeeping, Cathy Kelley announcing a match for hour two, a run-through of some of next week’s offerings, there was a little hype package for Johnny Gargano. They’re trying very hard to catch new viewers up on the key players of the brand.
Matt Riddle vs Killian Dain – Street Fight – Winner to face Adam Cole
This was the first-hour headline, and on network it started less than half an hour in. As street fights go, it was a decent wrestling match for the first half. With Regal’s stipulation that only a pinfall or submission in the ring would earn the title shot, they were keen to keep it in the ring as much as possible. There was some kendo stick action during the USA ad break early on, but we only saw a brief replay of it.
It was a heavy-handed match, very impact focused. Chairs and bits of the scenery as they took an excursion into the staging areas. Killian Dain put Riddle through a false wall with a crossbody, Riddle put Dain through a table with a senton.
They brought it back to the ring for the finish. Matt Riddle kicked out of a trio of Vader Bombs. Dain after a powerbomb and having a chair kicked into his face. Finally, Matt Riddle got a Fujiwara armbar on and Killian Dain tapped out.
Adam Cole strolled down to the ring to yell insults in Riddle’s face and tell him how unworthy he is. Unsurprisingly, Riddle was unimpressed by this and the rest of Undisputed ERA had to rescue Cole from another armbar.
The network hour picked up after Riddle had left, with Undisputed ERA in the ring and Adam Cole holding his arm.
Rhea Ripley vs Kayden Carter
This started with Kayden Carter (FKA Lacey Lane) dropkicking Ripley. Hopefully, the rebrand means they have plans for her. She’s great fun to watch. I wasn’t going to be her night though, however much she threw herself into it. Ripley is straying back into unstoppable monster territory, where she firmly belongs, and finished this one with Riptide.
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs Ever-Rise (Chase Parker & Matt Martel)
Parker and Martel were presented as up and comers in the division and they’ve been working together for 17 years outside WWE, but there was never any real suggestion of them winning. In fact, they got a lot of the commentary attention and a lot of the match, so maybe they will get a legit shot at moving through the ranks. Lorcan took some punishment to make the new guys look good. Burch came in to clean house before the assisted DDT double team finished Parker and Martel off.
» Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green were shown in the crowd, so they should be on tv in the next couple of weeks.
Cameron Grimes vs Raul Mendoza
Grimes tried to end the match on the first move like he did last week, but Mendoza was ready for it and quick enough to move. It was really good to see Mendoza get some time to show off his capabilities, but Cameron Grimes is on a roll. He caught Mendoza mid-crossbody, and that was the end of any real offence from Raul Mendoza for a while. Mendoza had another nice run of momentum, just before Grimes landed his leaping double stomp finisher. That was a really entertaining match.
Kushida & Breezango vs Imperium
I am completely on board with Breezango now, after an initial sadness that Breeze wasn’t heading towards singles gold. They’re just too much fun together and I watch wrestling to be entertained. It helps that they’re good as well, but they’re fun.
Tyler Breeze took the extended offence in this one while Imperium displayed some very efficient teamwork in both keeping him isolated and taking out his partners when he got too close to them. Fandango came in to clean house on his partner’s behalf then Kushida would have finished the match if chaos hadn’t erupted. It took a few moments for Breezango to clear the ring again then Kushida got the pin on Marcel Barthel.
Kushida hightailed it out of the ring, but WALTER appeared when he got to the stage and kicked him in the face.
The show closed out with Imperium standing in formation on the stage while their music played.
Next week both hours of NXT will be televised, so we’ll see how the new format looks in its entirety. Mauro Ranallo must have said ‘With limited commercial interruption’ at least two dozen times, but the ad breaks are still intrusive. And this week’s show was only an hour and a half once it made it to network. There are three titles on the line next week though, so it should be a great show.