We are getting close to the end of 2020 and NXT has had quite the year. This is the penultimate episode of NXT for 2020 and they had plenty to offer. We had a tag title street fight and a match between Rhea Ripley and Dakota Kai to look forward too. NXT is continuing their build towards New Year’s Evil and the card is shaping up nicely. We also had A Very Gargano Christmas to look forward to as well and that will surely be a fun time. Let us jump right in and see what NXT had for us this week.
Lorcan & Burch vs Dain & Maverick
This was quite the fun opening match. I, like many others in the DD, am pleased that Drake and Dain have become a team because the chemistry is there. Dain had been floundering and he has some direction in being in this team with Drake. Drake and Dain wasted no time in getting the match started when they jumped Lorcan and Burch as they made their entrance. This was a fun opener and Drake really took a beating in the match. The man has come a long way from being more of a comedy act to someone to take a bit more seriously. He took quite the lashing from his own belt when Lorcan and Burch each took turns beating him with it. Dain took quite the rough bump as well when crash onto two tables that were set up outside and did not break. Lorcan and Burch would end up retaining the titles in a fun opening contest.
A Very Gargano Christmas Part 1
I knew we were in for some fun with this but I didn’t know how much fun it would be. Johnny is just a riot as a heel and Candice has fully bought in as well. I like the additions of Indi Hartwell and Austin Theory too. Theory has really found his personality while working with The Way. I loved that Johnny was using a camcorder to record the event rather than his cellphone. Theory was the first to get a gift and I loved that it was protein powder and that it was Johnny’s special blend. This whole segment was fun and we will be blessed with two more later in the show.
Finn Balor & Kyle O’Reilly Video Package
This was quite the well done video package and a great way to promote their upcoming rematch at New Year’s Evil. Both men were rewatching their encounter from TakeOver 31 and each had comments to offer on how the match went. It is so hard not to root for Kyle at this point because he is seemingly being positioned into a place where he is truly being elevated. Both men are confident they will win in the rematch and that is sure to be a possible early match of the year contender for 2021.
Tyler Rust & Malcolm Bivens Backstage
I am sure Botch is so happy that Bivens is being given an opportunity on-screen as we start to close out 2020 and I am also pleased by it. The man is clearly talented and I am digging his pairing with Tyler Rust so far. Rust really impressed me last week in his match with Tommaso Ciampa and he could be someone to watch next year.
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs Jake Atlas
Swerve seems to be going heel and I am all for that. The man makes for a solid face but he just brings his swagger out more as a heel. This match was fun and it was good seeing Swerve work the match as more of the heel. Jake is fine in the ring but he really should develop his character more. He is a bit in that generic babyface role right now and that is not a good place to be. The man is solid in the ring but he needs that other wrinkle if he wants to take the next step. I will say I did bump the grade up a bit because of that awesome spot of Swerve landing on his feet when Atlas went for a top rope poisonrana. Swerve sold that so well with how cocky his body language was. Swerve would win and Atlas would decline the handshake after the match. We might be heading towards a rubber match between these two sometime in the future.
Adam Cole & Roderick Strong Backstage
Cole and Strong were backstage and they did a good job in talking up Kyle for his match with Finn Balor. They are both confident he will come out on top this time and we would then get the return of the Velveteen Dream. He mocked them like he usually does and said that Kyle is the leader of the Undisputed Era because Cole cannot get it done anymore. That would tick off Cole and he would sit Dream down with a slap. Cole said there is no leader of the UE because they are all equal and he wants a match with Dream for tonight.
Timothy Thatcher Backstage
Short promo by Thatcher here and he wants more of Ciampa. He says he has been trying to get his attention but it has not worked so far. He says Ciampa will be the one to blame for what he does to Leon Ruff during their match because Ciampa will not listen to him. I am continuing to dig Thatcher and he should have a nice 2021 if they continue to build him up.
Rhea Ripley vs Dakota Kai
It is always nice how NXT will continue to deliver us with some lengthy women’s matches that have story built into them. This match was plenty of fun and it was Dakota’s first match since WarGames where she took a nice beating. The two women have some nice chemistry and it showed here. There is word that Dakota is having some visa issues so this match could be a way to write her off until she gets that fixed. Solid back and forth match and Raquel Gonzalez would appear on the ramp to stare at Rhea as the match continued. Raquel was banned from ringside so all she would do was look from afar. Dakota looked to be gearing up for the win but Rhea would hit her with the Riptide for the win.
This is when things got more fun and is the reason that I bumped up the grade. Raquel would come down to the ring and she was start sharing some words with Rhea. This would lead to a brawl between the two in the ring and they would have to be separated by referees and backstage officials. Raquel and Rhea have lowkey had one of the best feuds in NXT this year and I will get to where this is leading to later.
A Very Gargano Christmas Part 2
This segment had me dying and I loved every minute of it. Indi would be the next to open her gift and she was delighted to see that it was a PS5. It ended up only being the box and she was puzzled as to why Johnny only gave her the box. He said that it was to reward her for embracing the Gargano Way and that she will be gifted something even greater. Johnny would then dub her “Indi Wrestling” and I started dying when that happened. Indi embraced it and said it was better than a PS5. Really fun segment and we will get one more of these later in the night.
Toni Storm Backstage
Short promo by Toni here and she bragged a bit about her win over Rhea Ripley from last week. She said she wants Io Shirai next and that Io has been running from her. She says she knows she can beat her again like she did in the finals of the Mae Young Classic and is gunning for the NXT Women’s Championship. I will see I am digging Storm as a heel and it is a lot better than when she was a smiling babyface.
Xia Li & Boa Training
We got a bit of advancement in the story of Boa and Xia going under harsh training by their mysterious sensei. They are not covered in blood and asking for the training to stop anymore. In fact, they are wanting more and it seems like the training is paying off. I really am intrigued by where this is going and we got a flash of their sensei’s face when the segment ended.
Bronson Reed vs Ashante “Thee” Adonis
This was your standard squash match for someone making their return. Bronson does look good and I still think he is someone with a bright future. Wade also said that on commentary and you have to believe those in NXT feel the same way. Bronson looked good here and made quick work of Adonis to get the win.
Io Shirai In-Ring
Io seems ticked off by what Toni had to say earlier and she wants a piece of her right now. She came out to the ring and sat in the middle of the ring in a chair to call out Toni. Someone would come out but it was not Toni. It was a returning Mercedes Martinez and she laid it into Io here. Mercedes showed some nice aggression here in her beatdown of the champion. Io did try to fight back but Mercedes was too much for her here and would even send her through the front of the announce table. Mercedes is looking like a beast and seems like Io will have to go through her before she can get her hands on Toni.
A Very Gargano Christmas Finale
This was the third and final segment and it was another fun one. Candice was the last to open her gift and it would be revealed as a piece of Shotzi’s tank that was destroyed. I loved how Johnny exaggerates how much time he spent in getting it because he does it so well. Candice loved the gift and then the Way would gather around to take a group picture. I loved that Theory would cough up some of the protein powder and Johnny’s reaction in the picture was perfect.
Timothy Thatcher vs Leon Ruff
This was a fun match and a Leon does make for a good crash test dummy for Thatcher. Thatcher was his usual ruthless self and was taking out his frustration over Ciampa not answering his challenge on Ruff. Ruff did try and fight back but Thatcher was just seemingly too much for him. Thatcher is just fantastic in his ground game and it showed here as he continued to beat on Ruff. His aggression would be his downfall though as Leon would pick up the shock win. Thatcher would then beat-up Ruff after the match and Ciampa would come out to make the save in such a perfect moment. The camera work was beautifully to sell how much Ciampa was catching Thatcher off guard. Ciampa would tell him that he will see him in the Fight Pit and that match would be made official for New Year’s Evil. That match will be a slugfest and I am all for it.
Damian Priest Promo
Priest is not buying into the hype surrounding Karrion Kross and thinks he is just another dude. I like that Priest is taking Kross somewhat lightly but that he shows no fear as well. He is ready to beat him at New Year’s Evil and I wonder if he is setting himself up for a bad time.
Dexter Lumis Art Work
I have been calling for Rhea and Raquel to do battle in a Last Woman Standing match and I have gotten my wish. Lumis would reveal in his drawing that the two will square off in a Last Woman Standing match at New Year’s Evil and that match has all the makings of being a darn good one.
Tyler Rust vs Ariya Daivari
Rust is coming off a great outing in a losing effort against Ciampa and now he gets an easier opponent in Daivari. It is sad to say but that really is the truth. Rust looked great here and I liked how Bivens continues to hype him up at ringside and have no issue in saying it to the announce team as well. Rust got to show off a bit here and would pick up the win. I like that they are saying that Bivens has found a diamond in the Rust and it is quite catchy. I have to imagine that will end up on a t-shirt at some point.
Leon Ruff Backstage
Not the strongest from Ruff here on the mic as he would tell McKenzie that he is still happy over his win against Thatcher. Even with the beating he took; he is still happy. He then said he will get his rematch for the North American Championship next week and is ready to continue the Gargano curse of not being able to defend a title. That match should be fun next week if they give it time.
Karrion Kross Promo
It was now Kross’ turn to retort to what Priest had to say and he pretty much said that he will show Priest what all the hype is about surrounding him. He is ready to destroy Priest at New Year’s Evil so he can move towards his real goal; regaining the NXT Championship. Solid work from him and his best feature really is his unique delivery for promos and I do see what the hype can be about with him.
Velveteen Dream vs Adam Cole
This was quite the fun main event and that should not be a surprise considering it featured Adam Cole. It is hard for Cole to have a bad match at this point in his career and he had another good one with Dream. As I have stated in the past, I will not go into any of the accusations that were made against Dream because this is not the time nor the place for it. Strong was ringside for this match but he would be taken out by Pete Dunne. Strong would get helped to the back and Cole would be riding solo for the rest of the match. It would also be made official that Strong will be facing Dunne next week and that will surely be a great match. Fun back and forth in this match and Cole would come out the victor here. I have no idea what is next for Dream because he hasn’t really done much since losing to Cole at TakeOver In Your House. I also don’t know what is next for Cole either but he would look into the camera after the match and say that Kyle would be bringing the NXT Championship home to the Undisputed Era as NXT would come to a close.
And That Is Undisputed
Overall, this was another fun NXT this week. The Rhea/Dakota match was a ton of fun and we are getting Rhea versus Raquel in a Last Woman Standing match. The main event was fun too and so was the video package that featured Kyle and Balor. Rust looked good in his quick match and so did the returning Bronson Reed. A Very Gargano Christmas delivered and quite possibly gave the line of the year by having Johnny give Indi Hartwell the name “Indi Wrestling”. We are also getting Thatcher/Ciampa in the Fit Pit at New Year’s Evil and that will certainly be a hard-hitting match. All in all, solid outing by NXT this week. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and happy holidays to everyone in the WRC!