The WWE NXT Reaction review is back again. I’m watching on WWE Network again this week.
As a reminder, this is not a play by play review of the show. Instead, it’s more of a reaction that will include my star ratings for the matches as well as my analysis. It’s a big episode with two title matches, so let’s get to it. You can check out the review by Lance Augustine as well.
Live from Full Sail University in Orlando, FL. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s roll.
The show began with highlights of last week’s show while promoting the main event tag team match.
The announce team of Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness and Beth Phoenix were there to call the action. Beth was in the Rumble match, had a cut on her head and her husband Edge returned. The next night on Raw, Edge was attacked by Randy Orton. Phoenix said what was a celebration for her family was ruined by Orton and she wanted to be with her husband, but Adam (Edge’s real name) told her to show up to work, so that’s what she did because they’re professionals, so let’s do this.
Analysis: It was smart to address that story at the start of the show. Beth did a good job of saying her husband wanted her to keep doing her job.
Finn Balor defeated Trent Seven
Balor was aggressive from the beginning of the match when he hit Seven with a running dropkick to knock Seven off the apron to the floor. Balor continued the attack with chops and kicks outside the ring. Balor got some nearfalls with a double foot stomp while Seven got his first sign of offense with an inside cradle for two, but then Balor took control again with a Slingblade. They went to a break and when they came back, Seven hit a DDT to get some momentum going along with a spinning back fist and clothesline combo for a nearfall. Seven hit a suicide dive, but then he made a mistake by slowly climbing to the top rope. Balor hit his legs to knock him down, then Balor did the corner dropkick. Balor finished off Seven with his usual sequence of the Coup de Grace double foot stomp followed by the 1916 DDT for the pinfall win. The match went about 10 minutes.
Match Analysis: ***1/4 I liked the story of the match with Balor controlling most of it, Seven had a few moments where he nearly won, but then it didn’t happen. Balor continues his strong run as a heel with a win nearly every match since he’s returned to NXT. Balor’s one of my favorite characters in all of WWE right now. This was all about Balor getting the win to continue his positive momentum heading into NXT Takeover Portland against Johnny Gargano. I’m very excited about that match.
The Broserweights team of Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne were interviewed by Cathy Kelly about the main event. They did a nice job of showing off their different personality with Riddle saying Pete’s the life of the party. Pete’s the serious one, so that’s why it is funny.
Shotzi Blackheart defeated Deonna Purrazzo
The fans are really into Blackheart’s act as a babyface while Purrazzo shows a lot of confidence as a cocky heel. Blackheart connected with an enziguri kick, but Purrazzo went right after the left arm because she’s a good technical wrestler. Blackheart got some momentum going with a neckbreaker. Purrazzo with a pump kick, Blackheart hit a Codebreaker and Blackheart went up top with a Senton Splash off the top for the pinfall win. They got about four minutes here.
Analysis: *3/4 This was okay for the time given. They are developing the characters of these women and you can’t always give people 15 minutes to have a memorable matchup. Sometimes it’s okay to go with a short match. Blackheart has some good moves. Purrazzo is very solid technically, but they need to establish her as a character more in the weeks and months ahead.
There was a video package about last Saturday’s WWE Worlds Collide show. I thought it was great action, but after the show there wasn’t a lot of buzz around it like a Takeover event. I review all of those and it got a lot less feedback and views since it was really just a wrestling show without much in terms of storylines. I still enjoyed it. Read my full review of that here in case you missed it.
Let’s Hear from Keith Lee
Keith Lee got a nice response as he celebrated with the NXT North American Title, which he won on last week’s NXT show. The fans greeted him with the familiar “you deserve it” chant. Lee was ready to talk about what’s next, but he was interrupted by Damian Priest. Priest did a promo saying he usually gets what he wants and he said he wants that title. Priest wondered how Lee would give that to him.
Dominik Dijakovic joined this promo party to say they have been through their fair share of battles and if anybody deserves that title, it is Keith. Dijakovic attitude that if anybody is going to challenge you for the title it won’t be “bootleg Marilyn Manson” (referring to Priest) it will be him. I loved Lee’s reaction to that line as Priest got pissed off and the fans went “ooohhh” at that line.
When Priest got in Dijakovic’s face, Lee left and Priest decked Dijakovic with a punch. A referee went to the ring to start the match.
Dominik Dijakovic defeated Damian Priest
They are two of the tallest guys in NXT at around 6’6” or so each. It started out as a physical battle right away as Priest hit a Crucifix Bomb on Dijakovic on the apron and they went to break there. When they came back, Dijakovic hit a powerful suplex across the ring. Priest blocked the finisher attempt, but then Dijakovic hit a Choke Bomb for a two count. Dijakovic followed that with a moonsault onto Priest on the floor, which is very impressive for a man of his size. Priest came back with a Chokeslam off the top rope for a two count. Priest hit a somersault dive on Dijakovic on the floor and then they did a double kick to the head to knock them down. When Priest hit the avalanche Poison Rana off the top I thought that was the finish, but it was only a two count. Dijakovic hit the Feast Your Eyes knee to the face for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
The win by Dijakovic was big for him and I think it should lead to a Takeover match against Keith Lee for the North American Title.
Match Analysis: ***1/4 The pacing of this match was very fast since it was under 10 minutes with a lot of action. These guys did an awesome job of having a competitive match right from the beginning and had some hard strikes in there too. They hit some huge moves for nearfalls while also seeing them do dives that you never see from guys this size. Priest needs a meaningful feud to get him going with some more momentum. Dijakovic moves so well for a guy his size. I continue to be impressed by him.
Tommaso Ciampa did a quick interview with a steel pipe in his hands.
After a break, they showed Undisputed Era members Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish laying on the floor outside of the arena. Ciampa was standing over them with the steel pipe, so the idea was he beat them up. Ciampa brought a table to the ring. They showed some people checking on the Undisputed Era guys outside the arena.
Let’s Hear from Tommaso Ciampa
Ciampa had some spray paint and he spray-painted an “X” on the table in the ring. Adam Cole, the NXT Champion, showed up in the parking lot, asked who attacked his buddies and was told it was Ciampa, who was in the ring. That led to Cole going out to the arena.
Ciampa told Cole he’s the guy that never lost that title and said he is “Goldy’s Daddy” referring to the NXT Title. Ciampa told Cole that he’s going to come into this ring, Ciampa will whip his ass and give him a Powerbomb through the table. Ciampa said he’ll sign a contract to take back the NXT Title when “Goldy comes home.”
William Regal, the NXT General Manager, showed up to say that Cole didn’t care who faces at NXT Takeover Portland and he already signed the contract. Cole brought the contract to the ring saying he is the NXT Champion of the world, he’ll get in the ring and Cole hit Ciampa with the microphone to the head. The fight was on.
Cole went for an attack with the NXT Title, but Ciampa hit him with a boot to the head. Ciampa gave Cole a Powerbomb through the table right where he painted the X on the table. Ciampa had a cut on his head from the microphone shot. Ciampa signed the contract. Ciampa also wiped some blood from his head and smeared it onto the contract. Ciampa held the title while some of his blood poured onto it.
Analysis: Great segment. What I like about NXT is they get straight to the point in segments like that. They don’t waste time with long promos. Ciampa had some words, but he didn’t talk that long and Cole fired back at him. That’s going to be an outstanding match at NXT Takeover Portland on February 16. I think it’s very possible that Ciampa wins the title back too. It’s another match to look forward to on that show.
They showed highlights of Worlds Collide with the “Irish Ace” Jordan Devlin winning the NXT Cruiserweight Title. I was surprised by the title change just because Angel Garza didn’t have a long title reign, but I like Devlin a lot and he’s going to do well as the champ. It was announced that Devlin will be on NXT week.
Tegan Nox defeated Dakota Kai
This is the first match between former best friends after Kai turned on Knox at NXT Wargames in November. They brawled right away as Kai hit a running boot to the face, but then Nox hit a corner dropkick. Kai tossed Nox over a barricade and then Nox sent Kai into part of the set. Nox broke the referee’s count, then she went back out and Kai kicked her in the head to knock her down. Nox whipped Kai face first into the ring post. Kai missed a shot with the knee brace and Nox hit a German Suplex, but Kai hit her with a forearm. Candice LeRae took a steel chair away from Kai, Nox hit Kai wit the knee brace (the referee missed it due to looking at Candice) and Kai hit the Shiniest Wizard knee for the pinfall win. They got just over three minutes.
Match Analysis: ** It was a nice story for the time they were given with Kai wanting to cheat, but LeRae helped Nox and it actually led to Nox using the knee brace weapon leading to the win. I expected a longer match.
They showed highlights of The Broserweights winning matches on the road to the Dusty Classic finals.
Kayden Carter defeated Chelsea Green (w/Robert Stone)
They promoted this as Green’s NXT debut although she has been on Raw as well. Green was aggressive with a dropkick and sent her into the turnbuckle. Carter got two rollups, then a superkick and a back kick for a two count. The crowd was barely reacting to this. Green with a boot to the face, which looks good since she’s one of the taller girls in WWE. After Green did some trash talking, Carter gave her an inside cradle for the pinfall win after about three minutes. At least it wasn’t a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! finish.
Analysis: *1/4 It was a boring match with the crowd not really reacting to much of it. The result surprised me since they have tried making Green into a big deal, yet here she is doing the job in her official NXT TV debut. It will probably be part of a storyline and I think they’re still going to push Green eventually.
After the match, Green was freaking out about the loss while Stone was trying to calm her down.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: The Broserweights (Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle) defeated Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake)
The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic trophy was on the stage. Fun fact: I was at the NXT Takeover event in Orlando in October 2015 when Finn Balor and Samoa Joe won the first tournament. Calling it the Dusty Cup is a good name too. I’m going with play by play for this match since I’m a grizzled young (old) writing veteran.
Dunne stomped on Drake’s arm, then Riddle tagged in and both of the faces stomped on Drake’s arms. Gibson tagged in with a quick clothesline on Riddle, but Riddle came back with strikes followed by a gutwrench suplex. Dunne back in with Riddle hitting a splash and Dunne hitting a dropkick. Dunne hit a clubbing clothesline on Drake, who tagged in and Dunne hit a moonsault off the apron on Gibson. Drake hit a forearm on Dunne on the floor. Gibson picked up Dunne with a Tombstone and Drake jumped off the top with a spike Tombstone double team move on Dunne on the floor. That looked vicious, yet it only got a two count when they went into the ring. Drake sent Dunne shoulder first into the turnbuckle leading to a break.
The match returned with Dunne hitting a suplex into a slam on Drake, Gibson tagged in, Dunne broke free and brought in Riddle. There was a jumping kick by Riddle, a corner clothesline, exploder suplex and a broton splash followed by a running kick. Riddle hit a bridging German Suplex for a two count. Riddle hit a Spear on Drake and a Brohammer (like a Jackhammer) on Gibson as Riddle did his Goldberg-like moves. Dunne tagged in for double team strikes on Drake, then Dunne gave Drake a Powerbomb into the knees of Riddle for a two count. Drake tossed Dunne out of the ring and then GYV hit double team sitout powerbomb/neckbreaker combo on Riddle for a two count. Gibson with a high angle back suplex on Riddle for two. The GYV boys did some double team kicks on Riddle including a step up enziguri, but then Dunne came in the ring for a kick/knee combo. Riddle hit a Powerbomb on Drake followed by a running knee to the face for the two count. Riddle hit a Fisherman’s Buster on Drake for a two count. Drake hit another Broton splash on Drake, but then Drake hit a DDT. Dunne tagged in against Gibson with a German Suplex, then a stomp on the hand of Gibson. Dunne and Riddle each slapped on Ankle Locks on their opponents, but the heels fought out of those moves. That led to another break.
Gibson had Dunne on his shoulder, Dunne punched Drake to stop a double team attack and Dunne got a rolling cradle for two. Drake with a jumping kick on Dunne and Gibson launched Drake over the top onto Riddle on the floor. Gibson jumped off the middle ropes with a jumping knee off the ropes for a two count. Gibson slapped on his armbar finisher, Dunne nearly got the ropes and Drake pulled the ropes back. Riddle jumped in the ring, Drake went on his back and Riddle hit a Spear on Gibson while Drake on his back, so all four guys were down in the ring. Riddle got the tag, the Broserweights gave Drake a Powerbomb onto Gibson’s back. Riddle and Dunne pulled on the fingers of their opponents. Dunne slammed Drake off the shoulders onto a knee from Riddle for a two count. That was a great nearfall. Dunne went up top, Gibson knocked him down and Drake did a jackknife cover on Dunne for two. Drake with an enziguri kick on Riddle and he launched off Riddle’s back for a kick on Dunne. Gibson had Dunne on his shoulders and Drake hit a suicide dive into a Hart Attack clothesline on the floor! Wow! That was an amazing move as Dunne was out on the floor. Gibson tagged in, Drake with a running dropkick and Gibson hit a suplex followed by Drake hitting a 450 Splash off the top on Riddle leading to Gibson covering for a two count. Another awesome nearfall in this match. Dunne got back into it with each man hitting the Bro Derek slams on each opponent. Dunne with a moonsault on Gibson on the floor while Riddle hit a twisting flash on Drake in the ring. Dunne slammed Drake off the shoulders into a jumping kick by Dunne for the pinfall win on Drake. This match went about 20 minutes.
Analysis: **** This was an outstanding main event tag team match that was given a lot of time to tell a story and they worked well together. The last five minutes of this match were so great with several believable nearfalls by both sides, plus some unique double team moves and then an ending the fans loved with the faces going over big. There were moments where it looked like either team was going to win, so it was exactly it should be when they’re competing for a trophy. I’ve commented before that Gibson is a favorite of mine from the NXT UK brand. He’s like an old school that I enjoy watching. Drake is good too, but Gibson stands out more to me. Dunne and Riddle are two of the best in NXT and they were the smart pick to win this tournament from the moment it began.
The win by The Broserweights means they win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and they also get to challenge The Undisputed Era for the NXT Tag Team Titles at NXT Takeover Portland.
After the match, Riddle and Dunne celebrated in the ring with the Dusty Rhodes Classic trophy. The NXT GM William Regal was in the ring applauding them as well. There were some sparklers in the ring along with some confetti. Ranallo said “The Broserweights are a team of Dustiny” to end it. Yes, he said “Dustiny” at the end. Well played or cheesy? You decide. Anyway, that was the end of NXT for this week.
Analysis: There might be a title change at NXT Takeover Portland. I really like this Dunne/Riddle team and it might be the right time to move the titles.
The Broserweights also received #ThePoint photo with Triple H after the show as well.
Winning the #DustyClassic with that type of performance in the finals, is what elevates careers.
— Triple H (@TripleH) January 30, 2020
Three Stars of the Show
- Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle
- Zack Gibson and James Drake
- Finn Balor
I give this show a 7 out of 10.
This was a good show and I enjoyed the main event a lot. Awesome match by the Broserweights and Grizzled Young Veterans having a very competitive match worthy of the Dusty Cup finals. The Ciampa/Cole segment was very effective while not dragging on too long like some non-wrestling segments on other shows. I would have liked to see Nox/Kai get more time, but they might have more matches down the road. Also, this heel version of Finn Balor is becoming one of my favorite characters in all of WWE. He is doing so well. I think they built some of the NXT Takeover Portland matches well while other matches were not promoted enough. I like where things are headed, though. It’s another great Takeover show to look forward to on February 16.
The matches announced for NXT Takeover Portland on February 16 are:
* NXT Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa
* NXT Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Bianca Belair
* Finn Balor vs. Johnny Gargano
* NXT Tag Team Championships: The Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly) (c) vs. The Broserweights (Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne)
The fifth match is probably going to be Keith Lee defending the NXT North American Title against Dominik Dijakovic, which should be awesome.
NXT Takeover: Portland streams live, Sunday, Feb. 16, at 7 ET/4 PT on the award-winning WWE Network!
There will likely be at least five matches on the card because that’s what most Takeover events have.
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