Reviews

WWE NXT Review 11/6/19 by Jim Kress

We were all lucky enough to see NXT invade both Smackdown and Raw since last week’s episode. NXT looked strong coming out of their invasions on both Friday and Monday night. Retaliation was expected on tonight’s episode. Who knew it would kick off the show?

The O.C. was seen brutalizing the Undisputed Era backstage. This led to their ring entrance, where Luke Gallows threw an NXT staff member into the steel steps. AJ Styles delivered a quick promo in the ring, only to be interrupted by Tommaso Ciampa. A “Daddy’s Home” chant erupted from an electric Full Sail Arena.

Matt Riddle and Keith Lee came to Ciampa’s aid after Styles called out NXT for not having any balls. Ciampa, Riddle and Lee will go to war with The O.C. for the main event.

Pete Dunne vs Damian Priest

Damian Priest defeated Pete Dunne in their last encounter. Priest won when he hit Dunne below the belt while the ref’s back was turned. It was a lengthy match that was executed well by both combatants, but came to an abrupt end when Priest took advantage of the situation. Dunne said that Priest had won fair, but the commentators for this match wanted to make sure you knew that was how Priest won.

The match went to a quick PiP commercial break. It’s unfortunate that this match had any breaks. There was a tremendous back and forth from both Dunne and Priest during the first PiP commercial break. When the match came back to full screen, the action continued.

Dunne’s offense is brutal by nature. He’s the bruiserweight for a reason. With that in mind, Dunne did a great job at selling for Priest, which made Priest’s offense look much more powerful. These qualities, combined with a quick pace, made for a sensational back and forth between both men. The finale of the contest had Dunne and Priest set up in a similar situation to their last match. The ref was briefly distracted and Priest went to kick Dunne down low. Dunne outsmarted Priest this time. He caught Priest’s low blow attempt, and delivered one of his own. Dunne finished Priest off by making him tap out.

Winner: Pete Dunne

After the match, Killian Dain attacked Dunne in the ring. Priest tried to stop Dain (only to attack Dunne himself), but Dain recovered easily and removed Priest from the ring. Dain delivered his Vader Bomb on Dunne and a cannonball on Priest into the steel steps. Dain has great in-ring abilities, but is not well received from the NXT crowd. He needs to do some promos that give reason for his actions. Stories matter in wrestling and most of his recent feuds have been booked without any substance.

Dakota Kai gave a fire promo on the mic during an interview. She was asked why neither Rhea Ripley or Shayna Baszler picked her for their respective WarGames teams yet. It was a great promo, but at the end, she said she was going to “kick her (Shayna’s) face off!” and proceeded to exercise her arms before her match. Her fighting style and in-ring gimmick is centered around an innovative kick-heavy offense. She’s the captain of Team Kick. Why deliver that line, then continue to warm up your arms?

Taynara vs Santana Garrett

Taynara was Tegan Nox’s opponent in Tegan Nox’s return to the ring from injury. She was impressive, despite losing to Nox. Santana Garrett was making her NXT TV debut. I don’t know much about Garrett, but her in-ring gear looks like it was inspired by the Marvel classic comic book Scarlet Witch costume.

Taynara has a strong judo background, and showed it throughout the match. She was throwing Santana around like a rag doll. Despite her size, Taynara delivers absolutely lethal strikes. She has a running high knee strike that looks identical in execution to Kenny Omega’s V-Trigger. Her finisher was brutalizing too. She holds her opponent’s arms and performs a jumping kick to the face. Santana sold it really well. Taynara executes her strikes well and she incorporated that into her offense. The match ended in her favor. She wants the last spot on Baszler’s team.

Winner: Taynara

Dakota Kai vs Shayna Baszler

Baszler came to the ring accompanied by Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke. Dakota Kai was alone. Baszler has been a bit more promo heavy in her recent television appearances. Her last match was against Candice LeRae on October 2nd.

Dakota Kai was fun to watch in this match. Her offense is unique and she moves around the ring really well. She looked strong early in this match, and proving why she is captain of Team Kick. Shayna appeared to be outmatched for a moment. Shayna found her stride against Kai when she got her to the ground and slowed the pace. She locked up Kai in the Kirifuda Clutch. Kai tried to roll to the rope to break the hold, but before her hand could grab it, Shayna locked it up with her leg, sealing her victory. Kai tapped. Shayna continues her dominance as Women’s NXT champion.

Winner: Shayna Baszler

After the match, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir attacked Kai. Shortly after, all the women involved in WarGames were fighting in the arena. Mia Yim came out with a kendo stick to make the save for Ripley’s team. LeRae and Nox went to Kai’s aid as Ripley admired Yim’s help.

Later in the episode, Ripley was asked who her last pick was for her team. She chose Mia Yim. Kai was disappointed, but it was hard to hear what she said. Reporter of the year kept the mic about six feet away from Kai after Ripley said she didn’t make the cut. It was very odd positioning for the set up of this promo.

#1 Contender for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Tony Nese vs Angel Garza

Angel Garza has been all over NXT as a midcarder ever since his arrival in the NXT Showcase Tournament. Every match he’s been in, he’s incorporated a moment during the match where he tears his pants off. There was a moment in this match, before the first commercial break, that was set up by the months of consistency to that bit.

Tony Nese intervened Garza’s tearaway moment, action continued with Garza’s pants still intact, until Nese went to give a powerbomb to Garza from the corner of the rin, only to remove Garza’s pants in the process. Garza remained unscathed and executed a missile dropkick. I fully appreciated the time it took to build for that moment to work. Great job.

After the break, Garza and Nese put on a slapfest. These two were countering each other’s chest slaps and the sounds coming off of their chests echoed throughout the entire arena. The action continued and Nese performed a 450 splash on Garza. Garza saved himself by touching the rope with an extended toe at the very last moment on a pin attempt.

Garza seems to have a new finisher called the “wing clipper.” It looks like a front-facing sit-out slam, while the opponent’s elbows look like clipped wings. Clever. Garza performed this move on Nese after a failed springboard moonsault attempt.

Winner (and #1 Contender): Angel Garza

After the match, Cruiserweight Champion Lio Rush came out from backstage to congratulate Garza on his opportunity. Garza slapped Rush in the face and walked away. Rush looked on and laughed, but that had to hurt. These NXT stars take some bumps.

Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs Dominik Dijakovic

Isaiah “Swerve” Scott filled in for an injured Kushida a few weeks ago, and has been very impressive ever since. He kept pace in a slugfest with Dominik Dijakovic. You never truly understand how massive Dijakovic is because he’s always featured in matches with equally large human, Keith Lee, but Dijakovic towers over Scott.

Scott didn’t let himself fully get sucked into a battle of brute power. He showed off some quick, innovative offense that took Dijakovic by surprise. Scott sprinkled some superkicks and hurricanranas into his offense, and nearly had Dijakovic beat. Unlike Dijakovic and Keith Lee’s matches, which are usually littered big spots, this match maintained a persistent offense. There was less time to set up on big spots, which kept the action moving quicker.

Dijakovic eventually regained his strength, and caught up with Scott’s quick offense. He landed a devastating Feast Your Eyes and got the 1-2-3. This match showed off strengths in both competitors. NXT continues to show that even if a wrestler loses, they can still be impressive.

Winner: Dominik Dijakovic

Main event time. All 6 men were in the ring fighting each other before the bell rang. It seemed like all hell had broken loose. Ciampa and Styles were the last standing in the ring, so the ref rang the bell to start the match.

Six Man Tag Team Match: The O.C. (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson) vs Matt Riddle, Keith Lee & Tommaso Ciampa

Tommaso Ciampa was matched up against AJ Styles in a 6 man tag team match on USA for an NXT Live episode on November 6th, 2019. Imagine being told this would happen in March after Ciampa had major neck surgery, NXT was still on WWE Network and Styles was still on Smackdown in a feud with Randy Orton. Things change quickly in the world of wrestling.

It didn’t take long before the ref had lost control of this match and bodies were all over the place. A chunk of action took place during the PiP break, but with this much star power in the arena, it was nice to still see what was going on during the commercial break.

The NXT crowd has been fanning the Matt Riddle vs Goldberg flames every chance they get. I love that Riddle has started to incorporate Goldberg’s offense into his very own. When Riddle starts to gain momentum in a match, he fights like a kid who just discovered the turbo button. His combinations are smooth and hit hard. At one point he went off on The O.C. for a minute straight. Sprinting from one member of The O.C. to the next, just to get a new combination in.

The finale of this match had Lee plowing Styles into the referee, resulting in a “Holy Shit” chant from the crowd. It was a no contest finish. Ciampa tried to finish Styles off, but Finn Balor’s music hit.

Match Result: No Contest

Finn Balor started the Bullet Club in New Japan when he wrestled under the alias ‘Prince Devitt’ and Styles took over the Bullet Club when Balor left for NXT 5 years ago, so there’s a history there and the fans knew it.

Balor performed a brainbuster on Matt Riddle on the ramp, and Styles went for the Styles Clash on Ciampa. Adam Cole intervened with a superkick to Styles’s face while Styles was holding Ciampa. It was a perfect execution by both Styles and Cole. Cole hit his Last Shot on Ciampa as well. He and Balor alone stood tall after the chaos settled.

 

Closing Thoughts

Some of the NXT storylines we had been following previous to last week were put on a bit of a hold for the Survivor Series buildup. I’m a bit disappointed to see the entire NXT roster invade both Smackdown and Raw, only to see the lone O.C. retaliate between the two brands. Survivor Series is still a few weeks away, but that wasn’t much of a “receipt” from Raw or Smackdown. I’m happy to watch NXT stars three days a week, but this PPV is currently being carried on the shoulders of NXT. (Editor’s Note: Jim makes a good point about not enough main roster people on NXT. However, a lot of the Raw and Smackdown talent were already in Europe or flying to Europe for the tour over the next year, so that made it difficult.)

Opposite of Killian Dain’s problem, I want to see Balor in the ring. We still haven’t seen him in a match since he was last taken down by Bray Wyatt at Summerslam. He’s looked tough since his return, but he needs to show some more action. I sound like a spoiled fan wanting Balor in the ring after just watching Ciampa, Riddle, Lee and The O.C. compete, but I’m more worried fans will start to lose interest in Balor if he doesn’t do anything soon.

Taynara was impressive in her victory tonight, but I think the last spot on Baszler’s team is going to go to a heel turned Dakota Kai. Taynara looked great, but ignoring the talent that Kai has would be a mistake for such a big event.

Is Dijakovic the last person on Team Ciampa? Or will Ciampa surprise us with his pick for WarGames? There are only a few weeks left until Takeover in Chicago.

Who would you like to see go to war? Comment below or continue the conversation on Twitter.