It’s NXT Year End Awards night tonight, but they’ve set them within a packed show. Bronson Reed versus Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott has been announced as the opener. Breezango take on Grizzled Young Veterans. Mercedes Martinez has her first match in a while, against an unnamed opponent. Johnny Gargano tries to break his championship curse when he faces Leon Ruff. And Roderick Strong takes on Pete Dunne. We’re also getting an in-depth look at the ongoing animosity between Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez ahead of their match at New Year’s Evil next week.
Bronson Reed def. Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott
Grizzled Young Veterans def. Breezango
Mercedes Martinez def. Valentina Feroz
Pete Dunne def. Roderick Strong
Lucha House Party def. Legado del Fantasma
Johnny Gargano def. Leon Ruff
Tonight’s show was dedicated to the memory of Jon Huber (Luke Harper/Brodie Lee).
Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott vs Bronson Reed
New bad-attitude Swerve is going to take a bit of getting used to. He’s developed a mean streak and takes shortcuts now. They didn’t do him any good though. Despite dominating the majority of the match, Swerve succumbed to a tsunami splash.
William Regal announced the NXT Year End Award winners throughout the show.
Breakout star of the Year – Shotzi Blackheart. She gave a lovely acceptance speech and talked about how proud her dad would be.
Johnny Gargano freaked out about a black cat in the corridor in his way into the building. He thinks it’s bad luck and the championship curse is very much in his head. Black cats aren’t bad luck. They’re cute. Adopt one.
Breezango vs Grizzled Young Veterans
This one was all fun and chaos until Fandango threw himself off the ringing and busted his knee. After that, he was isolated with Gibson and Drake working the knee. Breeze came in ready to do the work, but got caught two on one and got pinned off a Ticket to Mayhem.
Ever-Rise came to the stage to yell at Grizzled Young Veterans while being ‘held back’ by a ref. When she’d had enough and walked off, they ran away.
Tag Team of the Year – Undisputed ERA. Third year in a row. They announced that this year’s Undisputed ERA representatives in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic will be Adam Cole and Roderick Strong.
Xia Li and Boa will be back next week. In the final instalment of their training/torture they went through some fight sequences then knelt wearing white as the hooded figure marked them both with a smudge down their noses. There was a lot of smoke and light. The hooded figure walked into the light and they followed.
Mercedes Martinez vs Valentina Feroz
Squash match. Who’s interested in those in 2020. Everyone knows Mercedes Martinez is a badass. What’s the point?
Female Competitor of the Year – Io Shirai. Her acceptance speech was a short thank you. There’s so much talent at NXT, the award means she’s the best of the best.
Male Competitor of the Year – Adam Cole. Most of his speech was as expected, he’s said he’d do XYZ and he did it etc, but he did say that Kyle O’Reilly winning the NXT Championship next week will mean more to him than the award.
Roderick Strong vs Pete Dunne
I’m sure these two haven’t fought each other quite as many times as it feels like they have, but it’s still a lot of times. It was good. It’s always good. Pete Dunne won this round with the Bitter End.
Match of the Year – Finn Balor vs Kyle O’Reilly – NXT Championship match at TakeOver 31. Balor refused his award and told Regal to keep it. He took Kyle O’Reilly’s and said he’d give it to him himself.
On his way to the ring, Balor ran into Pete Dunne on his way backstage. Dunne said he hopes Balor saw that and he wants the title. Balor told him ‘A lot of people want to face the champ, get in line’.
Once in the ring, Balor talked about how good Kyle O’Reilly was that night. He was going to invite him to the ring, but O’Reilly cut him off with his entrance. When O’Reilly bent to pick up the award Balor said O’Reilly deserves it, but he doesn’t need it. He’s got the title. And he has three plates in his jaw to remind him of the match.
O’Reilly said it means something to him. It’s proof he belongs, not just in the ring with Balor but that he belongs at the top of NXT. That said, he doesn’t need it. It’s a consolation prize, a participation award. He’s been participating for fifteen years and he wants the top prize. The trophy is just a reminder that he came up short in the fight of his life. Next week he’ll leave his respect for Balor and do whatever it takes to win the title. That says you’re the best. That say’s it’s all been worth it.
Balor said that’s nice but he’s going to do everything in his power to make O’Reilly suffer. He broke his jaw last time they wrestled, so this time he is going to make him pay.
Scarlett and Karrion Kross arrived. Scarlett said what’s in the ring belongs to them. It doesn’t matter who leaves with it in seven days because their fate is already sealed. Kross said ‘Doomsday is here. Tick tock.’
Damian Priest appeared behind Kross. When he turned around Priest said ‘This is how you step like a man’ and forearmed him in the face. They had a fight on stage and down the ramp until they crashed through the plexiglass and chainlink over the barricades and brawled their way backstage. They both crashed through a table in a nasty looking one. Scarlett sat on top of a packing crate and laughed.
Hell of a promo from O’Reilly. Adam Cole talks for the group so much I forget how great O’Reilly is on the mic.
Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa meet in the fight pit at New Year’s Evil next week.
The in-depth look at the relationship between Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez was interesting. I had no idea they were so close. It’s probably best watched rather than described.
Legado del Fantasma took to the ring for Santo Escobar to talk about the year they’ve had and the year he’s going to have. He said William Regal is looking for his next challenger but he won’t find anyone who belongs in the ring with him.
They were joined by Lucha House Party. Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik take exception to Escobar claiming to own Lucha Libra because no one does, Lucha is for everyone. They rushed the ring, and we got a tag match.
Lucha House Party vs Legado del Fantasma
A nice fun surprise match for the final show of the year. It messed up Santos Escobar’s message somewhat. Raul Mendoza got pinned by Gran Metalik. Escobar looked very unimpressed.
Future Star of the Year – Austin Theory. He was still carrying the tub of ‘Gargano Whey’ he got for Christmas. Indi Hartwell was sulking, so Candice LeRae and Johnny Gargano made him share. He told Gargano he was going to break the curse and Gargano got angry. He snatched the tub off Theory and threw it… straight through a mirror.
Gargano stomped off to the ring freaking out, and walked under a ladder.
Event of the Year – TakeOver WarGames
Rivalry of the Year – Adam Cole and Pat McAfee
Overall Competitor of the Year – Io Shirai.
Johnny Gargano (C), with The Way, vs Leon Ruff – NXT North American Championship match
The final NXT match of 2020. Ruff started so well that Theory felt the need to get involved within the first couple of minutes. His distraction didn’t work, but Gargano shoved Ruff off the top turnbuckle to the floor and got the advantage that way. As soon as Ruff got back into it, LeRae, Hartwell, and Theory caused a distraction that left him open to a kick in the face from Gargano.
Another very good match. Gargano started to get desperate when Ruff kept kicking out despite barely being able to move. He took it to the outside, but that backfired and he took a flatliner on the floor. Ruff got him back in the ring and followed up with a frogsplash, but Gargano kicked out. Ruff dragged Gargano onto the top turnbuckle but Gargano stood up to put Ruff on his shoulders while he was stood on the top rope and smashed his face into the turnbuckle. One Final Beat later, the curse was broken.
Dexter Lumis was stood on the platform above the announce desk to reveal cartoon graphics for New Year’s Evil
Santos Escobar vs Gran Metalik – NXT Cruiserweight Championship
Timothy Thatcher vs Tommaso Ciampa in the Fight Pit – Win is by knock out or submission
Damian Priest vs Karrion Kross
Rhea Ripley vs Raquel Gonzalez
Finn Balor vs Kyle O’Reilly
The full NXT End of Year Awards winners list:
Breakout Star of the Year – Shotzi Blackheart
Tag Team of the Year – Undisputed ERA
Female Competitor of the Year – Io Shirai
Male Competitor of the Year – Adam Cole
Match of the Year – Finn Balor vs Kyle O’Reilly – NXT Championship match at TakeOver 31
Future Star of the Year – Austin Theory
Event of the Year – TakeOver WarGames
Rivalry of the Year – Adam Cole and Pat McAfee
Overall Competitor of the Year – Io Shirai