NXT returned last night (Oct. 9) with their second full 2-hour episode on USA. You can find the results at the live blog here.
A crowded scene
Roderick Strong had a match with Isiah “Swerve” Scott that led off the second hour. Scott looked great and despite taking the loss (with a little distraction from the rest of the Undisputed ERA). Swerve has got it in the ring and out. Expect him to be a big star in the promotion sooner than later.
This match led to a big post match angle involving multiple people calling out members of Undisputed.
First Velveteen Dream appeared on a balcony to tell Roderick Strong he’s taking that title from him in two weeks. This led to a joke about the size of Roddy’s manhood, but one that actually worked. It was the punchline, but it wasn’t excessive and that’s the type of thing the overtly sexual character of Velveteen Dream would bring up. Roddy has now learned not to emulate Shawn Michaels’ famous championship pic.
Then Tommaso Ciampa marched down to the ring carrying a camouflage crutch. He grabbed a chair, set it up in the middle of the ring after ERA peaced, and told Goldie, “Daddy’s home.” That’s right. He didn’t say a damn thing to Adam Cole. He just talked to the title, which is prime Ciampa. It underlines his obsession with the championship and serves as big leaguing the man who holds said championship. It was a reminder why he was one of the best things going in NXT prior to his unfortunately injury. And he’s only been back two weeks, but he’s already looking to take that spot right back.
Well it took four title matches, but we finally have a title change on the 2-hour NXT on USA. Champs went 3 for 3 last week. That couldn’t last forever.
Drew Gulak losing the NXT cruiserweight title to Lio Rush is a change that makes sense. 205 Live is in a bit of a holding pattern. Hell, they didn’t even have a show last week. There was no big challenger immediately around the corner for Gulak, and they need to get it across to fans that the cruiserweight title is a part of the NXT universe (universe not Universe).
The match was a fantastic clash of styles. Drew Gulak has the ground game. Lio Rush has the high flying game. When Rush tried a guillotine choke, Gulak had an answer. When Drew went to the top rope, Lio had an answer. That gave Lio the edge this here.
There are still plenty of questions to be had about this division with be primarily featured - is it NXT or 205? But with a charismatic champ in Lio and assumed challenger Drew Gulak, this will be fun.
No longer undefeated
Full disclosure: I was the least jazzed about the Kushida/WALTER main event coming into this show.
So when I found myself getting more and more into the match, it’s a credit of how good it was.
They billed it as two undefeated men going at it, giving us that big fight feel. It was is a good angle to take. They were certainly building Kushida as a man people lined up to try to hand him his first loss. Unfortunately, that kind of stopped the last month plus so it was easier to forget that he was undefeated.
Kushida was booked strong against the much larger WALTER. They really played up his submission game and numerous times it looked like the UK champion was close to tapping out. Kushida may have taken the L, but he felt like a big star in this match. This is a loss that made him a bigger player in NXT.
I assume that this is not the end of Imperium terrorizing NXT. There was no post match angle to hint there’s more to come, but my money is still on Imperium being one half of the WarGames match.
Fighting for your spot
Bianca Belair and Dakota Kai squared off this week and I found myself more intrigued with this match than anticipated.
They’re both strong in-ring talents, but this was an important match for standings in kayfabe and booking wise. In the story, both would benefit greatly for a win. Bianca is on the cusp of getting back into the title scene and a win could put her there. Kai could make a statement by defeating a talent the caliber of a blue chip athlete like Bianca.
Booking wise, this would let us know who they feel is the first to climb the ladder. Are they all in on Kai? Is Bianca’s win streak continuing or is it meant to help put over somewhere else?
In the end, it was Belair who got the win, but Dakota looked strong in the loss. Her new aggressive style is a great addition to her character. It’s what would be needed if she ever gets a shot at Baszler. But a loss this week all but puts her far back in that line.
After the match, Bianca made her intentions for the championship known by telling Rhea Ripley, who did the same earlier, that to get to the title, she has to go through her.
Rhea vs. Bianca? Sign me the hell up.
Breezango picked up their first loss as a team in NXT when they were bested by the Forgotten Sons.
The Sons weren’t even supposed be their opponent. It was Ever-Rise, but Jaxson Ryker dragged out the beaten bodies of that team and the Forgotten Sons took their place. It was a good way to give Breezango an excuse to lose (not having planned for the Sons) and made the Sons look dangerous. However, NXT has a strong babyface authority so the fact that this match was even allowed doesn’t fully fit the world of NXT.
The match was short and solid. Ryker got involved like he’s wont to do, taking out Prince Pretty, which left Fandango to take the tandem finish from Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake.
I still hold out hope that a feud with a team like the Sons will allow Breezango to show another side beside their lovable/goofy sides. Their new entrance, which was silly fun introducing a new construction worker look (four Village People to go!), hints we may not see them explore these characters. But if they want to be a top team, and surely they will be a top team, we’ll need to see another side of Breeze and Dango.
All the Rest:
- More on Rhea Ripley: She is is straight up f’n awesome. Her squash match of Aliyah was short but superb. Hooking in a submission, swinging her opponent around while holding that submission, and then dropping her for the win... :chef’s kiss:
- Another squash for Cameron Grimes with his double stomp, which they are sure working on getting over. This time, Killian Dain caused a bit of a distraction which allowed Grimes to win in seconds once again. Then Dain beat the hell out of Boa, the victim of the squash. This served as our reminder that Dain is still a force despite losing to Matt Riddle weeks back.
This was a solid, enjoyable show.
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