Date: October 9, 2019
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Beth Phoenix, Nigel McGuinness, Mauro Ranallo
We’re into the second week of head to head and that could mean some interesting developments. Above all else, it should be interesting to see how the show adjusts after getting flattened in the ratings last week. Maybe it was a one off surprise due to the debut, but it could be the start of a trend and that could mean some changes. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of last week’s show, which had a lot going on.
Cruiserweight Title: Drew Gulak vs. Lio Rush
Gulak is defending and it is officially the NXT Cruiserweight Title, albeit with the same design and color. Rush dropkicks him into the corner to start and hits a Spanish Fly for two as Gulak bails to the floor. That means a suicide dive and a bottom rope moonsault to the floor. Back in and Rush’s tornado DDT is countered with a toss to the mat, setting up a running clothesline in the corner to give Gulak two.
Gulak works on something like an abdominal stretch on the mat before switching over to an armbar. Rush fights up and goes to the top, only to get kicked to the floor as we take a break. Back with Rush kicking at the chest but the springboard Stunner is countered into the Gulock in the middle of the ring.
Rush teases the tap but unhooks the legs and gets out, including a backflip into a cradle for two. Rush’s dragon sleeper is broken up in a hurry and Gulak’s Cyclone Crash gets two, with Rush getting a foot on the rope. Rush breaks up a superplex and hits the springboard Stunner this time around. The Final Hour (Low Down) gives Rush the pin and the title at 11:41.
Rating: C+. Rush as a face is something that seems like a waste of his natural talking skills but I like his work better as a face than a heel so it’s a weird mixture. This was a pretty obvious title change though and there’s nothing wrong with that, as you want to get the title’s new era started off with a big deal.
Post match William Regal comes out to wrap the title around Rush’s waist but Gulak breaks it up and hands the title over himself in a nice moment.
Video on Finn Balor.
We get another video on Tegan Nox’s return, with her first match next week.
Rhea Ripley vs. Aliyah
Aliyah tries to hit Rhea in the face for some reason and gets blasted for her efforts. The standing Cloverleaf has Aliyah in trouble and Rhea swings her around for a bonus. A forward powerbomb makes it worse and Rhea cranks on it for the tap at 1:22. Total squash and that Cloverleaf looked great.
Post match Rhea says Shayna Baszler didn’t beat her and she’s coming for the title.
There will be a press conference in Las Vegas on Friday, featuring major announcements involving Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez, Brock Lesnar, HHH and Braun Strowman. Sounds Crown Jewelish.
Breezango vs. Ever Rise
Breezango are dressed as construction workers this week, complete with rather fetching women in hard hats. Breeze has to get Fandango away from them as Beth seems VERY pleased with the new look. Mauro: “Adam on line one.” Hang on though as the Forgotten Sons drag Ever Rise out and we have some replacements.
Breezango vs. Forgotten Sons
Cutler beats up Breeze to start and it’s a running hiptoss from Blake to send Cutler into Breeze’s back. Breeze is back up without much trouble and brings Fandango in for the Falcon Arrow, followed by Breeze coming back in pretty quickly. The illegal Fandango hits a sunset bomb on Cutler but Jaxson Ryker pulls Breeze outside for the posting. Fandango dives onto him, only to have Blake do the same to take Fandango out. Back in and a toss powerbomb into the knees sets up the Memory Remains for the pin on Fandango at 3:37.
Rating: C-. I was surprised by how short the match was and that’s a good thing. They didn’t overstay their welcome, though neither of these teams feel like a top pairing. Breezango are the kind of team who can lose and bounce back with no trouble and that’s a valuable thing to have. The Sons….they may be better off being forgotten.
Keith Lee is ready to beat Dominik Dijakovic next week. They need to blow that off already.
Boa vs. Cameron Grimes
They really love Grimes around here, though it might be due to his hat. Cue Killian Dain to distract Boa, allowing Grimes to finish with the standing double stomp at 9 seconds.
Post match Dain beats Boa up, including Vader Bombs and throwing him onto the announcers’ table.
Video on Damien Priest, who wants to use Pete Dunne to make himself famous.
Roderick Strong vs. Isaiah Scott
Non-title and Strong gets some encouragement from the Undisputed Era before coming to the ring. Strong headlocks him down to start and lets him know that this is HIS house. That just brings Scott to his feet for some chops and a cartwheel moonsault for two in a creative spot.
After a quick trip to the floor, Strong comes back in for a strike off, with Mauro getting in a Lucha Underground reference by saying they’re both looking for the kill shot. The first backbreaker cuts Scott off though and it’s time for more loud chopping. Another backbreaker gives Strong another two and we take a break. Back with Scott kicking away from the mat and then kicking at the chest, which draws out the rest of the Era.
Scott crotches Strong on the middle rope and gets two off a hanging DDT. A Downward Spiral into the running kick to the back of Strong’s head connects for two more and Strong is in big trouble. Strong gets caught hanging by his feet from the bottom rope so Scott destroys him with a slingshot double stomp. The Era offers a distraction though and it’s a running knee into the End of Heartache. The Stronghold finishes Scott at 10:25.
Rating: B-. Scott gets better every time he’s out there and the fans are WAY into him, which should be a clear path to something that matters around here. He looked good against Strong here and the champ needed some help to escape, so maybe they have some bigger plans for Scott. He’s impressed me everywhere he has gone so I would certainly be pleased.
Post match, the Era gets in the ring with Cole praising Scott. Everyone wants to be the best and fulfill this dream of being the best, which is why Finn Balor and Tommaso Ciampa. Cue the Velveteen Dream to ask if someone said Dream. He pops up above the entrance and says that while some of the Era is great, allow Dream to show him his reality.
We see Strong imitating Shawn Michaels’ Playgirl pose with the North American Title in a certain place. Dream gets his rematch in two weeks, but first he snaps his fingers and the title disappears from the picture, being replaced by a rather small censored logo. Cue Tommaso Ciampa with a chair and a crutch to chase the Era off and have a seat. Ciampa: “Goldie? Daddy’s home.” I could go for Undisputed Era vs. NXT Legends/All Stars.
Quick video on Walter and Imperium.
During the break, Angel Garza tried to hit on the interviewer and steal Ciampa’s interview time. Ciampa showed up and laid out Garza after some Spanish ranting. Interviewer: “What did he say?” Ciampa: “I have no idea.”
Dakota Kai vs. Bianca Belair
Kai starts fast by kicking Belair to the floor for an early two. A charge gets Kai launched face first into the buckle and the hard shoulders to the ribs in the corner make it even worse. Belair squats her to show off but has to kick out of a small package. A tilt-a-whirl faceplant gets two and we take a break.
Back with hitting some clotheslines and a running dropkick, followed by the pump kick to the side of the head. Some kicks to the head in the corner give Kai two, including the running kick to the face in the corner. Kai rolls her up out of the corner but gets pulled into the double chickenwing facebuster. Belair’s running shooting star press gets two and frustration is setting in. Back up and Kai tries one more kick but gets caught in the KOD for the pin at 10:12.
Rating: C+. This started slowly but got a lot better in the end, with Kai kicking her heart out but coming up short. I like Kai more and more every time I see her and hopefully this is a sign that she has her old skill back. She looked a bit better here with the more serious looking gear and the kick working more than usual. Push her and you might have an underdog star on your hands. I’m not sure about having her lose here, but NXT loves it some Belair so her getting a win like this isn’t surprising.
Post match Belair says that she wants Baszler and Rhea can go through her to get the title shot. It’s amazing how much better her promos are without the un-de-fea-ted nonsense.
Dominik Dijakovic is ready to bring out the best in Keith Lee again. He knows Keith’s limits though and is ready to take him there.
We look back at Finn Balor being drafted to Raw and becoming the first Universal Champion.
Video on Pete Dunne wanting to make a name for himself in WWE. That’s what he’s done ever since, and now Damien Priest is trying to do the same thing. That won’t be happening off of Dunne’s back.
The NXT roster congratulates Rush for winning the title.
Kushida vs. Walter
Non-title. Feeling out process to start until Walter powers him onto the apron and pats him on the head. They take turns riding each other on the mat until Kushida gets in a dropkick to send us to a break. Back with Kushida slipping off a springboard and getting kicked in the face for his efforts. The one legged Liontamer has Kushida in more trouble as Walter cranks away.
That’s broken up so Walter chops away but the powerbomb is countered into a DDT for the breather. Kushida gets sent to the apron and manages to snap the arm across the rope. A sunset bomb is blocked though and Walter stomps on the face to put Kushida on the floor. He’s right back up with a rolling DDT to the floor though and they both have to beat the count.
Back in and a kick to the arm sets up the Hoverboard Lock but Walter reverses into the sleeper. Kushida flips out of that and Walter has to grab the hands to block a cross armbreaker. Walter powers out again and it’s a half nelson pumphandle suplex into a bridge for two.
The frog splash is broken up and Kushida grabs the Hoverboard lock on top before superplexing him down by the arm. A foot on the rope gets Walter out of trouble so Kushida dropkicks the arm again. Walter dropkicks the heck out of him and the powerbomb gets two in a great near fall. With nothing else working, Walter hits a ripcord lariat to FINALLY put Kushida away at 16:48.
Rating: B. Much like Kai vs. Belair, this one took its time getting going but once they hit that other gear, it was some awesome stuff with both guys hitting each other very hard and setting up a big finish. It didn’t hit the level that some of Walter’s matches have but it was the match Kushida has been looking for around here. Walter still feels like a treat and a big, special performer, which is why you put him in a spot like this. Very good main event.
Next week: Ciampa vs. Garza and in two weeks, Strong defends against Dream.
Overall Rating: B-. This was another good show, this time focusing on the wrestling instead of the surprises and the angles. I like where most of the stuff is going, though I still have some issues getting behind the Undisputed Era holding everything. The challengers are starting to line up though and that could make for some quality television going forward. Some of the stuff at the beginning didn’t click, but the bigger matches made up for them enough and that’s what matters here.
Overall, I think it’s a tie between the shows this week as I might have rated Dynamite a bit low. They had the better match with Private Party vs. the Bucks and their stuff being set up for the future was better, though I liked the wrestling better overall on NXT. What matters is that neither show dropped in quality by any major amount and both were rather good shows that you could watch back to back with no issue. Another good week, as the wrestling renaissance continues.
Lio Rush b. Drew Gulak – Final Hour
Rhea Ripley b. Aliyah – Seated Cloverleaf
Forgotten Sons b. Breezango – Memory Remains to Fandango
Cameron Grimes b. Boa – Standing double stomp
Roderick Strong b. Isaiah Scott – Stronghold
Bianca Belair b. Dakota Kai – KOD
Walter b. Kushida – Ripcord lariat
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