We have arrived at the first episode of NXT after Takeover: Portland and what a show that was. Great matches from top to bottom and easily had a few MOTY contenders. This week’s episode features the grudge match between the Velveteen Dream and Roderick Strong and the relaunching of the Robert Stone Brand with Chelsea Green. It will be interesting to see what the fallout from Takeover will be for this episode because the first episode after a big show is always tricky. Will all that said, let us dive right in and see what NXT had for us this week.
The Undisputed Era In-Ring
The UE have some great people on the mic, Cole and O’Reilly, and some not so great but this was a surprisingly short opening promo by them. I was surprised to see that Cole didn’t brag as much about his win but maybe he didn’t want to celebrate too much because Fish and O’Reilly lost the tag titles on Sunday. I loved and was saddened to see Kyle go for his signature guitar solo, but he realized he couldn’t because the title wasn’t there. The look of sadness and disappointment in his face when he looked down and realized he couldn’t do it was perfectly done. Cole did brag a bit about beating Tommaso Ciampa and handed the mic to Strong to speak on his match when the Velveteen Dream would interrupt with his voice being heard throughout Full Sail. Dream spoke much about what he has spoken about when it comes to Strong and his family and I love how this just ticked off Strong even more. Strong told Dream that he would regret saying everything he has been saying and that was that. Shorter segment than I would’ve expected but not bad either.
Lio Rush vs Jordan Devlin
The best thing to happen to the cruiserweights has been the move to NXT because it gives them to be shown to the masses and not in a forgotten show like 205 Live. That is the sad reality of that program because it is very much on the level of Main Event as far as relevancy goes to WWE programming. I know some people say Devlin is just a mini version of Finn Balor and I personally do not see it. Devlin has been one of the best heels for NXT UK and I think people just do not want to give him credit for it. I find that to be a common theme when it comes to heels in WWE. In fact, I may just write an article about a certain heel in WWE now that I think about it. Stay tuned for that one because I am sure people will not agree with me. Back to the match and this was a fun one that started off a bit slower than most cruiserweight matches tend to start out. Lio’s speed in the ring is darn near unmatched and he really can pick it up when he turns it on. Fun back and forth match and Lio hit a beautiful poison-rana off the top rope. Devlin would pick up the win though and remain champion. I have to feel that he will defend the title at Takeover: Dublin and the only question is who he will face because I have no clue.
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzales Backstage
Raquel and Dakota were backstage, and Raquel explained why she helped Dakota get the win on Sunday. I was worried to see what Raquel would be like on the mic because I haven’t seen any of her mic work before and she did a decent enough job. She was a bit robotic, but this was her first real promo so nothing she cannot improve on. Raquel explained how Dakota is like her because she has been overlooked and that is why she is helping her. Dakota seemed to agree with what she said, and she has Raquel’s back now. I thought that would be the end of it, but William Regal would show up and tell Dakota that she will face Tegan Nox in a cage match in two weeks. That match is sure to be a banger and one that clearly should be the main event when it happens.
Rhea Ripley Video
NXT returned from commercial and they played a short video from Sunday of Rhea Ripley’s thoughts on Charlotte Flair accepting her challenge and the attack she gave her on Sunday. Rhea said she didn’t mind the attack because she ended up getting what she wanted out of it. I love the line she gave about queens having nightmares because that it just perfect. This Charlotte/Rhea feud is only beginning, and this has all the makings of a great one.
Austin Theory vs ?
Austin Theory came to the ring for a match, but Tommaso Ciampa would come into the ring before Theory’s opponent would. Ciampa got on the mic so he could address what happened on Sunday. I love how Theory showed his displeasure at Ciampa interrupting his match throughout this and how Ciampa kept telling him to back off, so nothing happens to him. Ciampa spoke about how his obsession to get Goldie back is the reason why he didn’t see Johnny Gargano’s betrayal coming when he knows he would have had he not been. Theory tried to attack Ciampa but Ciampa was able to fend him off and continue his promo. He spoke more about Johnny and how he knows why Johnny did it and will wait for Johnny to say why he did it. Ciampa left and Theory tried once again to attack him but Ciampa would fend him off yet again. It would be revealed that Theory would be facing Ciampa next week and that could possibly be a really good match if given time.
Finn Balor Vignette
I have loved Finn as a heel in NXT and he spoke about how he answered all the questions at Takeover during this vignette. He spoke about how he is playing chess while everybody else is playing checkers and that is a typical heel thing to say. He said he has something planned for next week and I really wonder what that could be. Is he going after Adam Cole or does he have something else in mind? We shall see next week.
Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde vs Grizzled Young Veterans
Right when I saw who Wilde and Mendoza were facing, I knew the match was probably not going to be competitive. That certainly rang true as GYV did a great job in this match to show why they are a top tag team. That is actually something that is lacking in NXT at the moment because the tag division in NXT might be at it weakest in years. It isn’t the weakest as far as talent goes but just in depth because there aren’t many established teams there right now. Mendoza and Wilde tried their best but GYV were just too much for them. After the match, Zack Gibson got on the mic and ran down the crowd in NXT and the USA as a whole. Gibson sure does know how to get heat on the mic and I love it. Later in the night, a video from a Tweet would be played of the Forgotten Sons and they basically said they want a match with GYV. I haven’t been a fan of the Forgotten Sons but maybe NXT is trying to give them something to do other than being tough guys.
Broserweights vs Lorcan & Burch
Prior to this match, Riddle and Dunne cut a promo and it was awesome. This is one of those instances of us as fans not realizing how much we needed this team because they work so darn well together. Dunne is the perfect straight man to Riddle’s comedy, and it works so well. I love how Riddle did his spin on “Dude… Where’s My Car” and how Dunne was quick to say that Riddle got it impounded. I also loved Riddle’s line about the trophy being suspended for 30 days for violating the Wellness Policy. It also reminds me how there have been so many reports of Riddle having heat but it sure doesn’t look like it based on the way he is being booked. Fun segment before the match and speaking of the match…
This match was darn good and reminded you how good Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch are together. These dudes work stiff and hit hard and the Broserweights are the perfect team for that style. Riddle has an MMA background so he can take a shot and Dunne is a member of British Strong Style, so you know he is game. Really good back and forth action in this match and I wondered if a team would come in and attack these teams to establish themselves as the next in line. Not the case though as the Broserweights would pick up the clean win in a hard-hitting match that was pretty darn good.
Keith Lee In-Ring
Keith Lee came down to the ring and that man is truly one of the most over acts in all of wrestling. He very well may be the most over act right now and that is saying something. Keith grabbed a mic but before he could get a word out, Kona Reeves would interrupt him. Kona grabbed a mic and before he could say a word, Lee would pounce him and tell the referee to start the match. Lee hit Kona with his jackhammer finisher and that was that. Dominik Dijakovic would then appear and tell Keith that he wants another shot at him. Dominik started talking about why and how close he was to beating Keith on Sunday. Keith began to speak and said that that he has no problems with fighting Dominik forever as the NXT crowd chanted it. Keith told Dominik he was making excuses for his loss but if he could get Regal to sign off on it, he would be game for another match. If there is another match between these two athletic big men, sign me up for that one.
Kayden Carter vs Chelsea Green
This was a rematch from a few weeks ago when Kayden picked up the surprise win over Chelsea in Chelsea’s debut with the Robert Stone Brand. Robert Stone came out prior to Chelsea’s entrance to hype her and the brand up and I loved it. The match itself was going fine when Bianca Belair would come out and have a Kanye West type of moment. She said that she would let them finish, total Kanye move, and spoke about how she wants a piece of Charlotte. She said she doesn’t care when or where is happens because she wants a match. Maybe this could take place in a main event slot on NXT or it could take place on Raw. My gut feeling is that we see a match between these two at Elimination Chamber. The match would continue, and Green would pick up the win with an awkward looking Unprettier. I am not sure if that is how she usually hits it, but Kayden was completely turned around to take the move. Not quite sure how I feel about the move if that is how Green plans to use it because it doesn’t look pretty at all.
Velveteen Dream vs Roderick Strong
This match was hyped up as a grudge match and you definitely got that feeling watching it. It has been 5 months since we have seen Dream in action, and I can’t believe it has been that long. Dream is a one of a kind talent, and it shows when he is on the screen. His charisma is palatable, and he is gifted inside the ring as well. Strong is someone who is strong in the ring and it is no surprise that this was a good main event match. Strong brought the intensity a bit with his chops and the moves he was hitting on Dream. Dream brought his uniqueness to the match with his moves and was able to hang with Strong. Really fun back and forth action and I love how Dream went full Rick Rude when he stripped down his outfit to reveal that his tights underneath had Roderick’s wife Marina airbrushed on the front and back of them. That is top-level work there by Dream and something that you cannot teach. The UE tried to get involved but Dream was able to fight them off and pick up the win with the Dream Valley Driver. The celebration was short lived though as the UE came into the ring after the match and beat him down. The UE stood strong after the beat down and one has to wonder was is next for this feud. It feels like Dream may be next in line for Cole and might be the one to take that title off of him.
Overall, really solid show from NXT and not much to complain about here. I pretty much say that every week about NXT, but it really is hard for the black and gold brand to have a bad week. The Cruiserweight title match, Broserweight match with Lorcan and Burch and the main event were definite highlights of this week’s episode. Also, the cage match announcement for Tegan and Dakota was great as well and I love how Regal delivered it. Regal is someone I hope to see inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame some day because the man has given so much to the industry in various ways. The only real thing I could complain about is Chelsea Green’s finisher on Kayden Carter because it did not look pretty. Good stuff from NXT once again and I am definitely looking forward to next week. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you all around the WRC.