Well, this week’s NXT was certainly something I was looking forward to but probably not for the best of reasons. Reports came out saying that there was an outbreak of positive tests in NXT so this week’s episode was said to have undergone some changes. I wondered what kind of changes were to be made so let us see what NXT brought with us in light of that news.
Finn Balor In-Ring
This was a nice opening segment by Balor here as he didn’t waste much time in getting to the point as to why he was out there to start NXT. Balor would list the men he has beaten and how there is only one person left for him, Karrion Kross. Kross would come out with Scarlett and they would have a back and forth over who is the rightful champion. Kross never lost his title so he feels like he is getting back what is owed to him at TakeOver. Scarlett would talk about how everything happens for a reason and Balor didn’t care much for that. Lorcan and Burch would interrupt them and talk about how Pete Dunne should be the one facing Balor. Scarlett would end up using he ways to convince them to put the tag titles on the line against Balor and Kross and Scarlett would continue to reiterate that everything happens for a reason. Nice opening segment here and I truly do love the dynamic between Kross and Scarlett.
Dexter Lumis vs Austin Theory
Nice little match here as Theory was going to get a piece of Lumis over the things Johnny said he did. Theory would talk to Johnny and Candice via a tablet prior to his match because they were at home. They would say this was his last test and they fully believe in him. There were some nice things in this match and I liked Theory’s new gear as it was done in the same style as Johnny’s gear from TakeOver Vengeance Day. Solid back and forth in this match and I liked how Lumis would look at Theory with a sense of wonder because he knows the things that Johnny told him were false but Theory is just too trusting of Johnny. I liked how Lumis would reach out to Theory towards the end of the match but it was just a setup to his finisher. Lumis would end up winning and I have to imagine that he is going after Johnny next.
Tommaso Ciampa Backstage
There was an update being provided on the tag title challenge when Ciampa would come in. He wondered where Alexander Wolfe was and he would end up saying that only one person was leaving the ring tonight after his match with a member of Imperium. Thatcher is rumored to be someone that is quarantined so it does suck but they weave his absence into the story quite well.
Adam Cole In-Ring
Cole really knows how to dial up the intensity when it is needed. He doesn’t go too far with his yelling and raising of his voice and he has it at the optimum level. He is tired of dealing with Kyle O’Reilly and wants to end things with him. William Regal would come out and inform Cole that Kyle will be out of action for even longer because he was not medically cleared when he attacked Cole last week and he has suffered more damage. Kyle would end up appearing on the screen and had similar words for Cole that Cole had for him. Cole vows to find Kyle and to end things tonight and Regal did not look pleased at the notion.
Shotzi & Ember Backstage
That was aa nice recap package of Shotzi and Ember’s win last week and the reaction from Shotzi’s dad over seeing his daughter win a title right before his eyes was truly wholesome. They were being interviewed as to what was next for them and the Robert Stone Brand would appear. Jessi and Aliyah made it clear that they want a shot at the titles and Shotzi and Ember were more than happy to oblige them. Shotzi would leave and Ember would soon follow but not before taking a shot at Stone’s suit. I thought it was a rather nice-looking suit and I liked how he sold how offended he was by her statement.
Legado del Fantasma vs Breezango
This was a nice match and these teams have met in the past so the chemistry was there. I do like how they mentioned Fandango’s past of winning his season of NXT and how he won his debut match at Wrestlemania. I also dug how they mentioned how Breeze wrestled Jushin Liger at a TakeOver because for my money, that is the most underrated match in TakeOver history because all people talk about from that TakeOver is the legendary Sasha/Bayley match. The match was solid and there was plenty of back and forth as well. I also liike seeing Breezango work the ring because both men can bring it in there and I still hate that their tag title reign was lackluster. Legado would end up winning but there was more to come.
Santos Escobar would get on a headset at announce and call out Jordan Devlin because he knows he is there. Devlin would come out and he would call out Escobar for being a phony champion because he is the real Cruiserweight Champion in NXT. Santos would tell Wilde and Mendoza to stay on the outside because he can handle things in the ring. The swagger that oozes from Santos really is on a nice level and he brought it in the ring when he told Devlin that he has done more for the title than he ever did. Santos challenged him to a match to see who the real champion is and Devlin would give him a headbutt so I would assume that was his way of accepting. Good match and a nice post-match confrontation between Santos and Devlin.
Adam Cole Backstage
This was short and to the point as Cole is still irate and is on the hunt for Kyle. He wants to end things with him and he continues to show his grasp on how to be intense.
I know little to nothing about this signing but from the video package, she looks like she will be following the footsteps of Asuka and Io Shirai of quality female Japanese wrestlers that make their way to NXT. I am excited for this because she looks like she will be right at home in the best women’s division in America.
Cameron Grimes Tweets
There isn’t much to this but I just had to say how much I love this version of Grimes. He is making it work so well and I love the images he had in the tweet to show him on vacation. Grimes is just one of my favorite things going right now in wrestling.
Zoey Stark vs Dakota Kai
This was my favorite match of the night and they continue to throw Stark into the deep end of the women’s division. There is nothing wrong with that because they did a similar thing with Shotzi and I wonder if they are hoping Stark succeeds like Shotzi did. I know Queen commented in the DD about Stark’s gear looking better and I do have to agree. It had some character to it with the colors and it helped her stand out more. Stark has really shown she is really good in the ring and Kai is a great dance partner to show what you can do. Both women had a great back and forth here and we even got an HBK-esque superkick from Dakota when Stark came off the top rope but was met from a kick from the captain of Team Kick. Really great match and Dakota would end up picking up the win here.
Io Shirai’s music would hit right after the match and she came down to the ring. I loved how Dakota tried to get in her way in the ring but Io just walked right by her because she doesn’t view Dakota as a threat anymore. She would hand Raquel a contract and say she wants her to sign it so they can have their match. Io would help Stark to the back and that was that. Great match and some nice stuff after the match as well.
William Regal Backstage
Regal was walking backstage to provide an update on the Devlin/Escobar situation in an interview when a stagehand would tell him that he needs him because something happened. Regal would run out with him and we are left wondering what happened. I always like a bit of chaos in my wrestling and this certainly seems to be some.
Grizzled Young Veterans Promo
Grizzled Young Veterans are not happy being on the shelf because of MSK and they are planning on getting their revenge when they come back. I enjoyed the intensity from Gibson and Drake here and this feud is actually being built quite nicely even though it seems GYV may be part of the talent that was sent home because of the reported outbreak.
Marcel Barthel vs Tommaso Ciampa
This match actually felt a lot more one-sided than I was expecting. Sure, Barthel got his licks in but this was pretty much the Tommaso Ciampa show for the most part. Ciampa would jump Barthel and Aichner prior to the match so he could have Barthel without the worry of Aichner. Ciampa really did dominate most of this match and he would go on to win it. You may wonder why the grade is so high for something that seemed so one-sided and I will explain because of what happened after the match.
WALTER made his return to NXT and it seemed clear why he was there. He walked to the ring and would take off his coat to get in the ring. He delivered one heck of a chop to Ciampa and would beat him down along with Barthel and Aichner. Imperium would stand tall and I really hope this means we are getting WALTER versus Ciampa on one of the nights of TakeOver. That match has all the potential to be a match of the year contender if they give them around 20 minutes.
William Regal In Chaos
NXT would cut outside of the CWC to reveal what Regal had to deal with. Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole were in handcuffs and police were on the scene. Seems like a fight happened as Cole had his shirt torn and Regal was none too pleased over the altercation. This feud has really turned up the intensity quite nicely and we shall see what happens next.
LA Knight vs August Grey
Prior to the match, we had a short promo by Knight and he really does know how to hype himself up as he was walking towards the ringside area after leaving his locker room. We would see Bronson Reed in the background and I will get to him in a bit. This was a pretty standard debut match as Grey looked good in there but this was all about Knight. Bronson would end up showing up and he came with Knight’s blue jacket. He would try it on and it was too snug of a fit as he would tear it apart. The distraction wasn’t enough for Grey to win though as Knight would take out his anger over seeing his jacket destroyed on Grey. Knight wins in his debut but he cannot enjoy it because Bronson destroyed his jacket.
Raquel Gonzalez Backstage
The seeds seem to be slowly planted on the eventual breakup of Dakota and Raquel. Raquel would be interviewed about Io handing her a contract and I loved how she said that Io made a mistake to give her the choice of signing the contract. Dakota would end up coming into the interview and tell Raquel that she got a tag match against Io and Zoey Stark. I loved how Raquel was puzzled by that because she has a guaranteed future match with Io because of the contract but Dakota would talk her into it being a good idea. She mentioned how they have taken some losses as a team and they need to remind the roster of how dominant they can be. Raquel seemed to go along with it and this really had an HBK/Diesel vibe to it with Dakota playing HBK and Raquel being Diesel. It very much felt like something HBK would do in talking Diesel into doing something even if he wasn’t 100% sure about it. It will be interesting to see who is the heel when their probable breakup happens because I think it can go either way.
Tian Sha Vignette
Short little vignette for Tian Sha here as Xia Li did all the talking. She spoke in her native tongue and would say how things would need to be removed. I am digging this story and I wonder what is next for Xia.
William Regal Outside The CWC
Regal is fed up over what just happened with Cole and O’Reilly and he has a solution for this. He would not reveal what it is yet and said that he wants both men at the CWC next week so he can tell them. I am thinking we may get an unsanctioned match between the two if they continue the story of Kyle not being cleared by the medical staff. If that does end up being the match, that could be quite the banger.
Karrion Kross & Finn Balor vs Lorcan & Burch
This was a nice main event and I really liked how Kross would show off his strength in front of Balor to show him what he can expect in their TakeOver match. Solid work from both teams here as the titles were on the line. Plenty of back and forth in this match. Burch would end up being checked by a medical staff member and that meant that Lorcan would pretty much finish out the match solo. Balor looked to have the momentum on his team’s side when he had Lorcan set for a dropkick on the outside. It ended up going the worst way possible though as he dropkicked him right into Scarlett. Balor looked at her after he saw what happened and this would tick off Kross. Kross would go right on the attack and go after Balor on the outside. He would throw him into the ring and Lorcan would roll him up for the win and to retain the tag titles. The beating was not over though as Kross would throw around Lorcan and refocus on Balor. He would beat him down soundly and I loved how Scarlett would put the NXT Championship on his body as he laid in the ring and would tell him how she told him that everything happens for a reason. Kross looks great here and Balor shows some vulnerability to end NXT this week.
Kiss My Grits!
I know I said last week was the new title for the end summary but I think I will go with this instead. Grimes has won me over even more with his “Rich” gimmick and this is a proper tribute to it. Overall, this was a really good NXT and did a lot of story building for TakeOver. The Kross/Balor feud is really shaping up and we got the showdown between Devlin and Santos as well. Cole and O’Reilly feud seems to be heating up to its boiling point and Regal seems to have the solution for them. The Raquel/Io story is building nicely and it seems like Dakota may be showing signs of uncertainty over seeing Raquel get this shot. Speaking of shots, Zoey Stark continues to impress and we shall see how she does in the tag match with Io as her partner. Shotzi and Ember have their first challengers and Lumis was able to take care of Theory tonight. We also got a nice debut from LA Knight and the continuing story of him and Bronson Reed. Seems likes Ciampa is on a collision course with WALTER and I am totally ready for that. All in all, great episode of NXT and I cannot wait to see what they have for us next week.