This week began with a replay of all the hard-hitting action from last week. The replay went on longer than I thought it would. I guess you forget how much action there is every week with 2 hours of NXT.
Rhea Ripley vs Bianca Belair
The start of this match had both women show off their brute strength. Bianca Belair did her “repeated spear in the corner” move early in this match. I like that move, it just makes her look like an animal. Belair and Ripley continued to match each other’s strength, at one point both women had both delivered or received a delayed suplex. The match went to its first picture in picture (PiP) commercial break.
During the entirety of the PiP break, Belair remained consistently on offense. Earlier in the fight, Beth mentioned Belair was “finally looking focused” but we saw Belair start to savor the beating she was giving Ripley during the PiP break.
After the break Ripley started on a rampage. She was throwing Belair around like a stuffed pillow. Eventually, the action made its way outside the ring. Ripley connected on a well-executed cannonball off the apron. After Ripley threw Belair back into the ring, Io Shirai intervened. She hit Ripley with her version of the 619 and then Belair speared Ripley. Ripley still managed to kick out at 2. Ripley countered with the “Riptide” and got the 1-2-3.
This was a good match to help showcase the strength of both competitors. Belair, Baszler and Ripley are showing to be the true powerhouses of the NXT Women’s division.
Winner: Rhea Ripley
After the first match of the night, we found Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate being interviewed outside the arena. Dunne said Priest won fair, despite the low blow. Dunne was asked about Killian Dain, to which he responded by saying “I don’t care about Killian Dain.” Brutal.
After a commercial break, we had a video promo with Tommaso Ciampa. He said the belt was taken from him too early. The video had a lot of footage from his recovery showing how hard he worked to get back to where he is now. The video also had Ciampa exclaim that he’s just getting started. I hope that’s true. He’s a fantastic wrestler.
Matt Riddle vs Cameron Grimes
Both superstars went for their respective finishers right out of the gate. Grimes’ finisher does look pretty cool when it is executed properly. It’s a double boot stomp that slams the opponent’s head straight into the mat. It’s been booked pretty strong since his arrival to NXT too. Riddle quickly gained momentum on offense. He got the crowd in his favor early. They started a Goldberg-esque “Riddle” chant, and Riddle responded by landing a Jackhammer on Grimes. Grimes survived Riddle’s offense just long enough to land a successful counter. His counter was an impressive back-flip escape that turned into a suplex. I have never seen Grimes look so agile to this point in his NXT career. That move took Riddle to a 2 count and took the match to its first commercial break.
After the break, Riddle had clearly regained his momentum. He nailed Grimes with a nasty ripcord knee strike, slammed Grimes to the mat, but only managed a 2 count. Riddle’s frustration allowed Grimes to counter with a superb sidewalk slam. The finale of this match had Grimes get on an offensive roll, but when he went for his finisher, Riddle caught him. Matt Riddle countered and took him down with the “Bro Derek.”
Matt Riddle is a joy to watch in the ring. He displays raw strength and he appears technically sound with his MMA background. It was good to see Grimes paired with Riddle for this match. The match showed off some strengths of Grimes that hadn’t yet been seen. Let’s hope to see more of that.
Winner: Matt Riddle
After the match, Cameron Grimes tried to attack Tyler Bate, who was seen celebrating with Riddle. Tyler Bate faked Grimes out and then knocked him on his back. Rough night for Cameron Grimes.
Breezango had another interesting introduction. This time they were dressed as fighter jet pilots. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott is set to be Breezango’s mystery partner.
6 Man Tag Team Match: Breezango & Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs The Forgotten Sons
Jaxson Ryker started this match by showing his dominance in the ring. Breeze and Scott both tried taking Ryker down without moving him an inch. Eventually, Fandango was tagged in and he got the offense moving for his team. This action had the Breezango/Swerve team looking strong before the first commercial break.
Back from break and the Forgotten Sons were back in charge. We were shown a replay of what happened during the break. Ryker caught Breeze and delivered a uranage to him on the ring apron. The Forgotten Sons were looking strong and remained in charge until Isaiah “Swerve” Scott finally made his presence known. Scott quickly gained offensive momentum. He was dodging and countering attacks until he had every member of The Forgotten Sons outside of the ring. At one point Scott had jumped off of Ryker’s chest and back-flipped onto the other members of the Forgotten Sons. Scott’s move had announcer Ranallo shouting “MAMMA MIA!”
The finale of the match had Scott getting the victory for his team. That was quite the showing from Scott, I’m curious to see his future on the NXT card. He’s fun to watch in the ring.
Winner” Breezango & Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
After the match, Lio Rush’s music hit. He was welcomed by the NXT crowd. He was going to be at the announce table for the Cruiserweight division match.
Before the Cruiserweight match, Killian Dain had a video promo addressing Pete Dunne. Dunne broke Dain’s fingers, now Dain wants to break Dunne.
Angel Garza vs Jack Gallagher
Rush with a mic in his hand is always going to get a reaction. It’s hard to hear him talk this much without him mentioning Bobby Lashley.
Gallagher got a decent reaction from the crowd when his music hit. Full Sail Arena is happy to see him back. This match didn’t last very long, but it was very entertaining. The style and character differences were fun to see on display. Gallagher had a little bit of offense to start this match, but Garza controlled most of it. Despite his lack of offense, Gallagher did hit Garza with a nasty headbutt that left the announce table at an awkward silence. Garza recovered from the attack and countered with a springboard moonsault. He got the 1-2-3 and Rush was left looking impressed.
Garza wants the belt and it looks like Rush will allow the challenge. Rush and Garza both have big personalities, so it shouldn’t be hard to get these two in a good feud.
Winner: Angel Garza
#1 Contender for Woman’s Tag Team Championship: Tegan Nox & Dakota Kai vs Marina Shafir & Jessamyn Duke
Nox and Kai are the clear babyface team going into this match. We haven’t seen a lot of Shafir and Duke in the ring, despite the amount of action they’ve seen on camera with Baszler. Duke attacked Kai as soon as the bell rang, and Kai took a beating. Both Shafir and Duke got their offense in, before we finally saw Nox make her entrance. Nox’s offense was quick and effective. She followed a top rope body slam with her “Shiniest Wizard” to get the victory for her team. Nox and Kai will now have an opportunity to take the Tag Team belts from Asuka and Kairi Sane. Hopefully it’s a better match than this one.
Winner: Tegan Nox & Dakota Kai
After the match, the Kabuki Warriors were on the big screen calling out Nox and Kai. It was mostly laughter and the two champs talking over each other. Not the best promo I’ve seen from either Asuka or Sane.
Triple Threat Match for the North American Championship: Keith Lee vs Dominik Dijakovic vs Roderick Strong (c)
Roderick Strong quickly exited the ring as the bell rang. Both Lee and Dijakovic followed, and Strong found himself between a rock and a hard place. This match’s first break was going to run through commercials with the PiP. Feast your eyes, on the top left corner of the screen. Dijakovic and Lee continued to battle each other in the ring during the PiP break. Lee continued to look strong throughout the break and back into the full screen. He threw Strong around so easily, it looked effortless.
The action intensified when Dijakovic found himself alone in the ring with Strong. He was setting Strong up to be superplexed off of the top rope, but was intervened by Keith Lee. Lee powerslammed both men while at the same time Dijakovic was suplexing Strong. This led to the match’s second commercial break, this time it was without PiP.
Back from the 2nd break, and both Lee and Dijakovic started to focus their attacks on Strong. All competitors found their way out of the ring, which is where Dijakovic and Lee knocked Strong out. They looked at each other and decided they wanted to settle their rivalry in the ring. For the belt. These two might literally fight forever. The action between these two kept intensifying, Lee had Dijakovic in a mid rope electric chair and power-slammed him to the mat. However, the two rivals forgot about Strong, who attacked a vulnerable Lee with a running kick. Lee took the pin and Roderick Strong retains.
Strong won clean, which means Dijakovic and Lee might not get a rematch for the North American belt anytime soon. We’ll have to wait to find out who Strong’s next challenger is.
Winner AND STILL NXT North American Champion: Roderick Strong
After the match, Tommaso Ciampa interrupted the Undisputed Era’s celebration. Ciampa entered the ring to a “Daddy’s Home” chant from the crowd. As soon as Ciampa stopped approaching the Undisputed Era, Johnny Gargano’s music hit.
Gargano and Ciampa locked eyes while the arena chanted “DIY”. I’ve mentioned it before, but this crowd makes it so easy to get invested in NXT’s product. It’s loud, energetic and honest. It’s almost fascinating that it remains this electric every week. Standing 4 against 2, Gargano and Ciampa didn’t look like they were quite ready to attack. At that very moment, Finn Balor’s intro hit to a big pop from the arena.
Gargano and Ciampa were in for a surprise of their own. They thought Balor was an ally, but he Pele kicked Gargano in the head! The Undisputed Era attacked Ciampa. Balor grabbed Gargano by the bottom of the ramp and gave him a brainbuster onto the ramp. That was brutal. The show ended shortly after that.
It doesn’t look like Finn is joining the Undisputed Era, but he’s definitely turned heel. This is something the WWE Universe isn’t familiar with. He’s been one of the biggest babyface superstars since his signing with WWE. I’m excited to see how his character develops in the upcoming weeks. A return to his days as heel Prince Devitt, and hopefully more appearances from the demon.
The finish of this week’s episode was amazing. In terms of story, it seems like it could be anyone’s game for the NXT Championship. Cole has been a strong champion, but he’s got heat from Balor, Gargano and Ciampa right now. Finn even turned heel, so he’s extremely unpredictable at this moment. Adam Cole is in trouble. I wonder how long his reign will be.
We also didn’t get a resolution to Lee and Dijakovic in that final match. Maybe William Regal can concoct a stipulation for those two to finally put this rivalry to rest. The same way he did to Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano during NXT’s last Takeover.
NXT continues to put a product together that makes viewers want to tune in. Some of the matches tonight were of weaker quality than we the NXT viewer is used to seeing, but overall the in-ring talent continues to improve. I’m excited to see how the plot continues to unfold for Adam Cole and his championship belt. What are you excited to see next week on NXT? Comment below or on Twitter!