Didn’t Even Have To Look (WWE NXT Review)

We are at the NXT following WarGames and what a fun show that was. A few things came from that event and one major one was that Johnny Gargano reclaimed the NXT North American Championship. We shall see what challengers may step up to him. Speaking of challengers, Finn Balor is set to return to NXT and he will say what is next for him as champion. There is also whatever fallout may come from the WarGames matches as well. Let us see what the black and gold brand had for us this week. 

 

Finn Balor In-Ring 

Finn wasted no time as he was already at the ring when NXT came on the air. He gave props to how good of a show WarGames was but that it was time to focus on him. He said some people like him backstage and some don’t so he wants whoever wants a piece of him to come out. Pete Dunne’s music would hit and I was excited. Dunne is someone I have wanted to see take on Finn for some time now and that could be a magical match. Dunne spoke about how he and Finn are similar in their career and he made it known he wants the next crack at Finn. Kyle O’Reilly would then come out and boy is he money. We talk about how Adam Cole is the one who will be the most successful from the UE but I think Kyle may be able to give him a run for his money. Kyle was hilarious on the mic and then Damian Priest would come out to make a claim to be Finn’s next challenger. All three men would continue to bicker and I love how Finn just noped it out of there. He said he will be defending his title at New Year’s Evil but it is up to Regal to figure out who it will be. We then got the music from Karrion Kross and Scarlett came out. Finn told her that he will be ready for Kross if he shows up. I thought that would be it but Damian Priest would have some words for Scarlett about Kross and I loved her reaction to what Priest had to say and he may have bitten off more than he can chew.  

 

Pete Dunne Backstage 

Dunne was walking backstage and looked like he would give an impromptu interview over what happened in the ring when he would be jumped by Killian Dain. The two would brawl for a bit before being separated. We would find out later that the two will have a match tonight and we shall see how that one goes.  

 

Jake Atlas vs Isaiah “Swerve” Scott 

The match was fine and all but something just couldn’t pull me into it. I am a fan of both men, Scott a bit more than Atlas, and it was nice to see them work this week. Something just felt off though and it is a shame because both men did have a good match. They are clearly building up Atlas here and Scott was there to more or less make him look good. Scott is a great talent and he shouldn’t just be in the Cruiserweight division and should be going after something like the North American Championship. Atlas would end up winning with a surprise roll up and Swerve didn’t look too pleased by the shock win. Maybe we will see him go heel and it wouldn’t be a bad thing since he can play that role pretty well. 

 

Tommaso Ciampa Promo 

Ciampa cut a promo in his area backstage and it was a solid one. He spoke about his match from TakeOver against Timothy Thatcher and then moved on with what is next. He spoke about Cameron Grimes and their match that was set to take place. He says he knows Grimes is confident but wonders if he truly is or if he is hiding his insecurities. He plans on finding out during their match and I cannot wait to see it.  

 

Ever-Rise vs Imperium vs Grizzled Young Veterans 

I know there were some in the DD that voiced that they do not get Ever-Rise and I somewhat in the same boat. It is weird seeing them in this position against two of the best teams in NXT right now but they are such huge dorks that I find myself becoming a fan somehow. It might be because they are owning up to their dorky behavior and not many are able to do that. The match itself was a ton of fun with GYV and Imperium doing most of the work since Ever-Rise didn’t want to be in the match. Ever-Rise tried to take the strategy of letting the other teams beat themselves up and they pick at the scraps. That wouldn’t work though as Imperium and GYV were too smart for that. GYV would end up picking up the win in a rather fun tag match. 

 

WarGames Recap 

I reviewed WarGames so not much for me to say here other than that this was a well-done recap. I like that they had the competitors of the matches chime in with their opinions of their respective matches as well.  

 

Toni Storm Backstage 

Toni was interviewed backstage and she spoke about why she turned heel on Ember Moon and that she made the right choice. She spoke a bit more but then business picked up when Io Shirai would show up to crash the interview. She said some things and ended by saying she does not like Toni and the two would have themselves a brawl. I love a good skirmish and this was a fun one. The two brawled towards ringside where Toni would have enough and tried to leave. That was until Ember came out and attacked her a bit. She threw her back into the ring and Io hit her beautiful moonsault onto Toni. I would be all for Toni taking on Io at New Year’s Evil and for her to even take the strap off her to boot. 

 

Cameron Grimes vs Tommaso Ciampa 

This match was really a lot of fun and these two had themselves quite the nice match. Timothy Thatcher would end up coming down to ringside and sat in a chair much like when Ciampa did that to him during his match with KUSHIDA. Grimes is of course coming off a loss to Dexter Lumis but that did not impact his resolve to win here. Really good back and forth and I liked how Ciampa looks like he is adding a bit more grappling to his arsenal and that may be a sign of what may come from his program with Thatcher. I also love that he seemingly has a clothesline party as well. Really fun back and forth and it looked like Ciampa would get screwed out of the match when Thatcher’s student came down but Ciampa would fight him off and still pick up the win. He had a bit of a stare down and traded words with Thatcher after the match and I would be all for them settling things for good in the Fight Pit. Grimes would also get in Thatcher’s face but he would get taken out by the man with 5 stitches in his ear.  

 

Raquel Gonzalez Backstage 

Short interview by Raquel here but that is why I enjoyed that. She is obviously still learning but you can see the potential there. She isn’t too stiff on the mic but they are limiting what she says. She spoke about how she won WarGames for her team and that she is getting revenge on behald of Dakota Kai over the Eclipse Ember Moon hit her with during WarGames. I really think Raquel has quite the bright future ahead of her. 

 

Xia Li & Boa Training 

I am so intrigued by what they are doing with Boa and Xia with these training videos. The intensity of them and the blood really adds to their story. I still have no idea what this is leading to but it really is interesting. We also got a somewhat better look at who is the leader of all this and I like that we do not know who she is quite yet.  

 

The Gargano Way In-Ring 

Candice and Johnny are just so much fun as heels and I love every minute of it. Austin Theory has joined Indi Hartwell in buying into the Gargano Way and I am interested to see what happens with him. They look like they are having fun and that is always a good sign. They bragged about their victories at Wargames and Johnny would end up having a gift for his wife. He ended up giving her a trophy and I like how he talked up the quality of it when it was clearly not from Italy like he said it was. They continued to brag about their wins and then would be interrupted by Damian Priest. Priest gave him props and then wanted a piece of Johnny and Theory. Priest would walk down the ramp but would be attacked from behind by Karrion Kross. Kross would take it to Priest and would end up powerbombing him onto a table/stage area. Kross would leave to his car where Scarlett was inside waiting for him and the two would drive off. Kross is back and he is picking up right where he left off. 

 

Tyler Rust Backstage 

I am sure this segment will make Botch happy when he sees it. I knew it wasn’t a coincidence that we saw Bivens hand Rust his business card in the distance last week. Seems like Bivens is recruiting and is taking one of Thatcher’s students as a possible client. I do not mind this one bit and I hope this means that Bivens grows his own group of talent in NXT. The man is talented and I am willing to see where they go with this. 

 

Pete Dunne vs Killian Dain 

I was a bit worried that they would try to make Dunne out to be too strong but I am glad that Dain was able to get some offense in. This was a fun back and forth match and Dain looked rather good here. The man has talent but just has not been given a proper shot at doing something. Seems like they may be building something with his partnership with Drake Maverick and it was something I was calling for prior to me taking time away. There was some stiffness in this match and that is to be expected considering both men and given that is a style they are willing to indulge in. Again, really fun back and forth match and Dain looked like he was in control until Lorcan and Burch would show up. Drake Maverick would come out to try and even the odds but the distraction on the outside ended up costing Dain the match. Dunne would gain the upper hand and hit Dain with the Bitter End for the win. I honestly would not mind if this leads to Dain/Maverick taking on Lorcan/Burch and for the faces to take the titles off them. 

 

Leon Ruff Backstage 

Leon was set to be interviewed about what happened with Damian Priest being attacked by Karrion Kross earlier in the night but Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory would take over the segment. Johnny would mock Priest being attacked and pretty much implied that Ruff has no shot against them. He said he should take them on in a handicap match and they would laugh about it as they left. Ruff looked ready for that possibility but KUSHIDA would step in and say he would be willing to be his partner. They shared a fist bump and that was that. I seriously hope this leads to KUSHIDA versus Gargano because that match could be a classic in the making. 

 

Raquel Gonzalez vs Ember Moon 

This match was a lot better than I expected it to be. I knew it would be solid but this actually was a pretty good match to close out NXT this week. Raquel really does not look lost in there and she knows what she needs to do in the ring. Ember is fantastic in the ring and she really helped to make Raquel look like a beast by the bumps and selling in this match. The story really was Raquel’s size versus the speed of Ember and it was told very well. Really fun match and Ember did have her moments when she would chop down Raquel. Raquel did good in those moments and Ember looked to possibly have the match won. That was until Raquel countered the Eclipse and would hit her with her one-arm powerbomb for the win.  

Toni Storm would come out after the match to try and pick the bones but she wouldn’t get far as Rhea Ripley would come out to save Ember. Rhea would pull Ember from the ring and would have a stare down with Raquel. The two clearly have unfinished business and it feels like they are on a collision course for some sort of match. I would say have them face each other in a Last Woman Standing match and just watch the beauty that would come from it. 

 

And That Is Undisputed 

Overall, fun episode of NXT this week coming off the heels of WarGames. There were plenty of fun matches and segments. The only match I couldn’t get much into was Swerve/Atlas but it still had solid work in the ring. The segments were fun too and I will continue to say that there is so much money in Kyle O’Reilly whenever he goes solo. Karrion Kross is back and it will only be a matter of time before he goes after the NXT Championship again. Raquel continues to progress nicely as well and seems like she is heading for another match with Rhea Ripley. All in all, really solid effort for NXT this week. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you around the WRC.