Date: November 27, 2019
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Beth Phoenix, Nigel McGuinness
Things took quite the turn for NXT over the weekend as they won the battle for Brand Supremacy on Sunday at Survivor Series, defeating both Monday Night Raw and Smackdown in the process. They’re celebrating with a Tag Team Title match as the Undisputed Era defending against Keith Lee and Dominick Dijakovic. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of WarGames, as we should.
The entire NXT roster comes out to celebrate, naturally in the matching shirts (NXT 4, their score from Survivor Series). Josiah Williams, the rapper who did the Takeover theme song, gives us a big victory song as the roster celebrates at ringside. The Undisputed Era breaks everything up as Tommaso Ciampa, Dijakovic, Lee and Matt Riddle get in the ring. Adam Cole says no one around the ring did a thing to get them where they are. The Undisputed Era is NXT, though the fans don’t seem to agree.
They dominated at WarGames and Survivor Series and they’re just getting started. They are the Iron Men of this brand but Ciampa cuts him off and brings up the loss at WarGames. The Era’s collapse is continuing and those titles are going away. Before WarGames, Daddy said Goldie would have to wait, but now there’s nothing in his way. Cue Finn Balor, to say he’s in Ciampa’s way. Ciampa: “Well Prince, you just met your king.” The challenge is made for tonight but Balor doesn’t say anything. Lee grabs the mic and tells the Era to get in here because it’s basking season.
Tag Team Titles: Kyle O’Reilly/Bobby Fish vs. Keith Lee/Dominick Dijakovic
Lee/Dijakovic are challenging. The champs jump them in the corner to start but get thrown to the floor by Lee as we take an early break. Back with Dijakovic in trouble but driving over for the tag to Lee anyway. Roderick Strong, in street clothes, has replaced Fish, who got hurt while being tossed to the floor before the break. Lee shrugs both of them off without much trouble and Dijakovic suplexes Lee onto them for two. Strong goes after Dijakovic’s knee to take over though and we take an early break.
Back again with O’Reilly working on Dijakovic’s knee but Dijakovic runs him over and gets the tag to Lee. House is cleaned in a hurry, including a double backdrop to the floor. The champs are smart enough to move before the dive though and a shot to the knee has Lee in trouble. A missed splash lets Lee get over to Dijakovic for the tag though and it’s time for the heavy shots in the corner. O’Reilly grabs a triangle so Dijakovic pulls him up for the powerbomb, but throws in a chokeslam to Strong AT THE SAME TIME JUST BECAUSE HE CAN DO THINGS LIKE THAT!
Lee isn’t about to let the champs leave so Strong chop blocks him again. With the Era on the floor, Dijakovic busts out a huge springboard flip dive to take them both down. O’Reilly is right back on the bad leg to slow him down, so Dijakovic chokeslams both of them again. Cue Adam Cole, but Lee Pounces him over the barricade and into the crowd (that was INSANE and looked like something out of a cartoon). The distraction lets Strong and O’Reilly hit a High/Low for the pin on Dijakovic at 20:15.
Rating: B. Lee and Dijakovic are going to get some strong pushes just due to the insane amount of stuff that they can do. They can do things that almost no one else can think of, let alone pull off, and they do it every single time. What matters here though is Fish’s injury, which seems like it could be a big problem should it be that serious. But find the clip of that Pounce because it’s unreal.
We look at Dakota Kai turning on Tegan Nox and destroying her knee at Takeover.
Candice LeRae promises revenge. Tonight, Kai isn’t facing her friend, because Candice is going to be Nox’s ticked off big sister.
We look back at Angel Garza flirting with Lio Rush’s wife. Then on Saturday, Rush attacked Garza as the feud continues.
Shane Thorne vs. Mansoor
Mansoor starts fast with some dropkicks, including one to send Thorne outside. The suicide dive is countered into a suplex onto the floor though and Mansoor is a bit shaken up. Another belly to back suplex gets two back inside but Thorne charges into an enziguri. The superkick puts him outside again and this time the suicide elbow connects. A slingshot neckbreaker puts Thorne away at 3:03.
Rating: C-. It’s nice to see someone fresh like Mansoor come out of nowhere, hit a cool finisher and win. On paper he would seem like little more than a token addition to the roster for the sake of tying things into the Saudi Arabian shows but he is more than fine in the ring and could go a little somewhere in time.
Candice LeRae vs. Dakota Kai
New music for Kai, as there should be. She also has Nox’s knee brace so Candice goes straight at her with a running kick to the face. It’s too early for the Lionsault though as Kai bails to the floor, only to get dropkicked in the back of the head. A suicide dive drops Kai again and Candice drops a backsplash to the back for good measure. Kai is right back with a shot to the face before tying Candice’s arms in the ropes.
That means a kick to the face and a rather sneering look, which is almost hard to imagine from Kai. Another kick to the face rocks LeRae and we take a break. Back with Candice kicking at the leg and taking her to the apron for a belly to back suplex. They’re both down on the floor until Candice throws her back inside for two off a tornado DDT (not a good one, but a tornado DDT).
Kai gets in some kicks but LeRae drops her with an enziguri. The knee brace is knocked out of Kai’s hands and a kick to the head sets up the Lionsault for two. The Kairopractor gives Kai her own two and it’s off to the Kawada kicks. LeRae spins her down into the Gargano Escape so Kai bails outside, grabs the knee brace, and knocks LeRae out for the DQ at 12:39.
Rating: B. That was the perfect way to end this as Kai looks vicious and doesn’t lose in her first match while keeping LeRae primed for a rematch. This is the kind of story that could go in a lot of different directions for a good while and they needed to do an ending like this to keep it hart off the bat. Rather nice stuff all in all here, with Candice looking like she was out for revenge and Kai being vicious.
Post match Kai grabs a chair but Rhea Ripley runs out for the save and chases Kai off.
Ciampa isn’t worried about Balor.
Video on Cameron Grimes, who is a country boy who has worked hard to get here. Why aren’t people talking about him more than they are?
Video on Rhea Ripley.
Cruiserweight Title: Akira Tozawa vs. Lio Rush
Rush is defending. Feeling out process to start as they even go to the mat early on, only to both try a cheap shot kick to the ribs. Both catch the kick though and they’re not sure what to do. Tozawa heads to the apron so Rush tries the German suplex that will never connect, followed by trying the powerbomb that can connect occasionally. That’s blocked as well and Tozawa drops the backsplash onto the apron as we take a break.
Back with Tozawa slipping out of an armbar and sending Rush outside for the running Cannonball off the apron. The missile dropkick gets two and it’s time for the crazy rapid fire exchange of strikes. They both hit pump kicks to the face at the same time and it’s a double knockdown. It takes a second for them to get up so they head to the apron….where Tozawa ACTUALLY HITS THE GERMAN SUPLEX OFF THE APRON!
Rush crashes hard into his face and they’re both down again. They both dive in to beat the count and Rush knocks the mouth guard out. Some more kicks to the chest and back have Tozawa in more trouble but he’s right back with a bridging German suplex for two. The rope backsplash misses though and Rush scores with the Final Hour. That’s not enough for a cover though so Rush hits it again to retain at 13:04.
Rating: B. I’m trying to get my mind around the fact that the German suplex off the apron actually hit. These two beat the heck out of each other with a great display of speed and striking that would have been lost on the 205 Live audience. I know there are a lot of other factors to the whole thing, but my goodness people. Just do what makes sense and put the cruiserweights around here full time. Or at least get them away from 205 Live.
Balor isn’t worried about Ciampa.
Xia Li vs. Vanessa Borne
Borne is fighting for Aliyah, whose nose was broken in a match with Li. An early charge goes into the post though and Borne gets powerbombed down hard. Cue the Horsewomen as Li kicks Borne in the head for the pin at 1:14.
Post match the Horsewomen come in so Li beats them up for a bit, only to have Baszler nail her with a clothesline. Ripley grabs the mic and demands respect but here’s Ripley to interrupt. The Horsewomen bail but Shayna gets back on the apron to stare at Ripley. Rhea says that she’s beaten Shayna up before and the next time it’s going to be for the title. Shayna gets in and says she’s heard that before. Rhea is going to be napping or tapping just like the rest of them. Rhea: “They why don’t you do it now?” As expected, Shayna bails.
Damian Priest has bad ribs but he’ll face Killian Dain next week anyway.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Finn Balor
Ciampa takes him into the corner a few times to start and hits a hard shot to the ribs. Balor is right back with a takedown and basement dropkick, though the chinlock doesn’t last long. A dropkick through the ropes has Ciampa in some trouble but the White Noise on the floor is blocked. Ciampa posts him instead and gives himself some applause as we take a break. Back with Ciampa fighting out of the chinlock and hitting some clotheslines.
Some hard chops in the corner have Balor down so Ciampa stomps away for a bonus. Balor is right back with a Sling Blade though and they head outside for the running dropkick into the barricade. With Ciampa rocked, Balor loads up 1916 but gets reversed into the White Noise for the double knockdown. That’s good for a double seven so it’s Project Ciampa for two back inside.
Balor hits the running dropkick and goes up, only to get caught with the super White Noise for two. Ciampa says this is for Johnny Boy but here’s Adam Cole for the distraction. With nothing else working, Balor picks up the NXT Title that Cole dropped. That’s taken away so Balor hits the Eye of the Hurricane onto the belt (seemingly by accident) for two. The referee gets rid of the belt and Cole adds an enziguri from the floor. 1916 gives Balor the pin at 11:13.
Rating: B-. Another situation where they make sure to take care of the person in a big loss as Ciampa didn’t lose a thing here (other than the match that is). What mattered here is that Ciampa was able to hang with a big time main roster star the whole way and never once felt overwhelmed by Balor. Now get us somewhere with these two and Cole for the title and we’ll be fine.
Post match Cole gets in the ring and picks up the title. Cole gives Balor a pat on the back and gets blasted by the Pele kick to end the show.
Overall Rating: B+. Yeah that worked. This was AEW not wasting time with a victory lap and getting right back into things with the fallout from the biggest weekend the show has ever had. NXT has taken a step forward over the last few weeks and it feels rather well earned. Normally I would be worried about them being able to maintain momentum, because that is exactly what NXT does every single week. Another rather strong show and the future looks bright, as well as now.
Kyle O’Reilly/Roderick Strong b. Keith Lee/Dominick Dijakovic – High/Low to Dijakovic
Mansoor b. Shane Thorne – Slingshot neckbreaker
Candice LeRae b. Dakota Kai via DQ when Kai used a knee brace
Lio Rush b. Akira Tozawa – Final Hour
Xia Li b. Vanessa Borne – Kick to the head
Finn Balor b. Tommaso Ciampa – 1916
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