We are at another episode of NXT and there is plenty to look forward to with this one. KUSHIDA is issuing an open challenge for the Cruiserweight Championship and Dexter Lumis is set to take on LA Knight. We also have Kyle O’Reilly kicking off NXT and a sit-down interview with Io Shirai. Plenty to look forward to here so let us jump right in to see what NXT had for us.
Kyle O’Reilly In-Ring
Kyle went from dressing like a metal head/punk to a hipster and I am not sure how I feel about it. I guess he is dressing like this because he is rid of Adam Cole so he can be a bit more lighthearted and not so serious. He spoke about how he is rid of Adam Cole for now and what his goals are next. He spoke about possibly going after the NXT North American Championship and I liked that he called it the “workhorse” championship because it really is. It seemed like his real focus though is the NXT Championship and that is what he really wants to go after. He would be interrupted by Cameron Grimes and I loved how Grimes was quick to pitch a partnership between the two. Kyle thanked him for the stock tips and it was hilarious in the way he did it. Kyle would end up saying he has an opponent tonight and I loved how he gave Grimes a false sense of security by saying it wasn’t him until he put on his shades and said it was him and gave him a punch. Really fun opening segment and I think this really solidifies Kyle’s place as the top face in NXT.
This was a nice little video of Sarray arriving to the CWC. William Regal was there to greet her and Zoey Stark would come in as well. Stark welcomed her and would love to welcome her properly by having a match with her. Sarray would accept and this should be a good one.
LA Knight Promo
I like that Knight does these promos prior to coming out to the ring. It really gives him something to stand out from the rest and gives him some time to do some trash talking. He said the participants of the gauntlet had to gang up to eliminate him because they know how big of a threat he is. He talked some smack about Dexter Lumis and that was that.
LA Knight vs Dexter Lumis
This was a solid match between these two. I did wonder who would win here because both could kind of use it. Solid back and forth but the moment of the match had to be when Indi Hartwell appeared at ringside. She is continuing her pursuit of Lumis but that would end up being the downfall for him. Lumis was distracted by her and Knight would take advantage and hit him with his finisher for the win. Indi would get on the apron and prepare for a kiss with Lumis but the Way would come down and take her away because they do not approve of this. The Way continues to get in the way of InDex and I am loving it.
Leon Ruff Promo
Good promo by Ruff here as he talked about how he attacked Swerve last week. He still isn’t done with him and is waiting for Swerve’s response so they can end things. This was simple and to the point like it needed to be.
Io Shirai Interview
This was a pretty standard interview for the most part between Io and Beth Phoenix. Beth asked Io questions about how she felt when she won the NXT Women’s Championship and Io spoke about it. Io then talked about how she has felt since she lost the title to Raquel Gonzalez and she is eager to get it back. First, she plans some time off because she needs the rest after being champion but she plans on getting it back when she comes back. This all felt pretty by the books but it got better when a familiar doggy came running on the table. Franky Monet would show up and I loved how she said she has been a fan of Beth Phoenix since she was a kid when they are close in age. Franky would then turn to Io and talk to her about how she can take the mantle of being atop the division from her because she will be away. Io didn’t take too kindly to that and would get in her face and tell her that she likes cats. I am all for seeing an Io/Franky match because it can be a banger.
Breezango vs Grizzled Young Veterans
This was a fine match and I loved the costumes Breezango were in this week. Gibson cut another fantastic promo prior and this was a good back and forth match. The tag division is strong in NXT again and it is always a nice sight to see them highlight the teams they have. I will continue to say that WWE does do tag team wrestling well, you just have to go to the right show to see it. The thing about this match was that I had no doubt that GYV would win because they are clearly being built back up so they can challenge MSK for the titles in the future. Good match and GYV would win this one.
Indi Hartwell Interview
This was supposed to be an interview but the rest of the Way got involved so she couldn’t possibly say anything about Dexter Lumis. Bronson Reed would show up and would say he still wants a shot at Johnny. Theory would intervene and say that he spoke to Regal and that the only way Reed gets a shot is if he beats him in a match. Gargano did not like that and reminded him of how he pinned him last week. Candice would continue to stop Indi from talking and I love that they even went as far as to take the microphone as they left. Fun stuff from the Way as usual.
Cameron Grimes Backstage
Grimes has just been money since he came back as rich and he spoke about investing in an NTF. He seemed happy about it until he read the letter some more to reveal he was outbid by a familiar name. Ted DiBiase would outbid Grimes and once again Grimes was screwed by DiBiase. I have no idea if this will lead to an interaction between the two somewhere down the line but I love that Grimes continues to be screwed by “old money” and he is quite the joy to watch.
Zoey Stark vs Sarray
This was quite the fun match and a really good debut for Sarray in NXT. I loved her entrance and think her music fits perfectly with her. The action was great and Zoey was really a good opponent for Sarray’s first match in NXT. I also dug that they shook hands prior to the match and it brought back memories of the handshakes ROH would do prior to their matches to have them done with honor. I will also admit I have not seen anything from Sarray outside of the clips WWE has shown and was quite impressed by her. NXT has done a very good job with the Joshi wrestlers that have come over and it looks like they may have found another one especially since Sarray is only 25 years old. Really good back and forth and I loved that it was not a squash match. Sarray would win and the two would have a moment of respect after. That moment wouldn’t last though as Stark was jumped on the outside by Toni Storm but Toni would be chased off by Sarray. Seems like Toni is not done with Stark and maybe we will get a match between Sarray and Toni later as well.
Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai Backstage
It was very noticeable during this segment how much Dakota was talking when this was about Raquel. I think the seeds are starting to be planted for the split between these two because it seems like Dakota is living through Raquel a little bit so far. They spoke about who Raquel’s next challengers will be and they laughed at the idea of Mercedes Martinez being next. Nice segment and I hope I am not reading too much into how Dakota was acting here because it does feel like they are starting to plants to seeds for their split.
Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell Backstage
Another hilarious segment featuring the Way here as Candice was trying to get Indi focused on what they were about to do. Candice told her they were going to confront Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart and she needed to her to be there fully. It seemed like she would until she saw Dexter Lumis and would leave her hanging. Candice confronted them but she was all alone and tried to escape but they caught her. They dragged her into the room they just left and sounds like they are putting quite the beating on her. This was just hilarious and we are not done with the Way quite yet.
KUSHIDA Open Challenge
KUSHIDA wanted to repay the favor of the open challenge and came out to the ring to issue it. It was strange to see him without shoes and I guess this completes his new look. Oney Lorcan was the one to answer and I cannot say I was too excited for him. That being said, this was quite the good match between them. Oney always brings a stiff style and KUSHIDA was game for it. Solid back and forth in this match and they had some good chemistry in there. The only thing was that there was no doubt that KUSHIDA would win here unlike his match with Santos Escobar from last week. Oney would lay in some chops that left KUSHIDA’s chest all kinds of red but he withstood them and would lock in the Hoverboard Lock for the win. KUSHIDA’s night was not over though as Santos Escobar would show up after and then KUSHIDA would be jumped from behind by Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde. The numbers were not in KUSHIDA’s favor until MSK would come out to make the save and they cleared the ring. It would be revealed later that a six-man tag match will take place next week and that should be a banger.
Mercedes Martinez Promo
Nice response promo by Mercedes her as she responded to the comments by Raquel and Dakota. She laughed at them thinking she is not worthy and is out to prove she does deserve the next title shot. She says she will shut up Dakota and then move on to face Raquel for the title. That match would be made official later in the night and I will say that I noticed how Mercedes specifically pointed out how Dakota was answering for Raquel. The seeds are definitely being planted for the split between Raquel and Dakota.
The Way Backstage
The Way had one more segment for the night and this was quite hilarious once again. Johnny and Austin were talking about his discussion with Regal when Candice would show up. She definitely looked like she took a beating and they looked concerned until Indi came in and took their focus away from her. She mentioned seeing Lumis and then quickly talked about how she spoke to Regal and got them a tag title match. This was great and I loved how Candice was just over this whole night as she sat in the chair. I will continue to say the Way are my favorite thing in wrestling right now because they nail it every time.
Ever-Rise vs Imperium
I love Ever-Rise and think they should be on NXT more but they stood no chance against Imperium here. Imperium, like GYV, are being built up as possible challengers to MSK so there was no chance they would lose here. Ever-Rise did look good but this was all about Imperium especially when Killian Dain would show up to confront Alexander Wolfe during the match on the outside. Drake Maverick would also show up and it puzzled me a bit why Dain dragged him to the back rather than to let him confront Wolfe as well. Maybe Dain wants to protect Drake or he doesn’t want him in his business. Either way, seems like the Dain/Wolfe story isn’t done yet and I am interested in seeing where it goes.
Kyle O’Reilly vs Cameron Grimes
This was quite the great main event and both really came to play here. Kyle is no longer the man people wondered could be the other breakout star from the Undisputed and is a bonafide main event babyface. He had a brief interaction with Karrion Kross and Scarlett while he was making his way out to the ring and I do hope they wait a while before they cross paths because they could do a nice slow burn. We all know both are fully capable in the ring and we were treated with great work in the ring to cap off the night. Really good back and forth and I will also add that Kyle’s new theme is growing on me a bit. I had no doubt that Kyle would win here but that doesn’t mean that Grimes looked bad here because he totally worked his butt off. I digging Kyle using that diving knee as his finisher too because it isn’t something you see used as a finisher really so it works. Kyle stands tall to end NXT this week and we shall see what is next for him.
Kiss My Grits!
Overall, this was quite the fun episode of NXT and the perfect palate cleanser after Raw on Monday. I think that is what I am digging most about NXT is that it can wipe out any bad taste I may get from Raw right away. The matches were all solid and so were the backstage segments. I loved Io delivering that line that she likes cats right at eye-level of Franky’s doggy. Sarray had a great debut match and the Way continue to prove why they are the best thing going in NXT. KUSHIDA and Oney delivered in the open challenge and Kyle and Cameron had a very good main event match. All in all, another good showing by NXT this week and I cannot wait to see what they do next week.