clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NXT recap & reactions (Oct. 16, 2019): No Wasted Motions

NXT returned to us last night from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. You can find the results at the live blog here.

The Return

Tommaso Ciampa predictably defeated Angel Garza in his return match. There was minimal ring rust, which in itself is impressive. Not that he had to do a ton in this match, but he didn’t look like a man who last worked a televised match in February.

Angel Garza continues to be incredible. The sky’s the limit for that man. He played a great obnoxious foil to the No BS Ciampa. The former NXT champion won with a hangman’s DDT, borrowing a move from another man who is a vicious heel that a lot of fans really like in Randy Orton.

It was interesting to watch how they’d display a character who’s been the heel for so long. He’s clearly not a heel like he was. But he still works with similar mannerisms. Likely he slots in that “anti-hero” role, and it’s one he’s suited for.

The real angle happened after the match when the Undisputed ERA walked out and surrounded the ring. It was not to attack but to give the announce desk a USB containing a video for them to broadcast. That video showed that they beat the hell out of Velveteen Dream as a message to Tommaso Ciampa, Finn Bálor, and whoever else wants to cross them.

It’s a move that reminds us that the ERA are in fact heels, something we can easily forget because they are so charismatic.

I also appreciated the transition between a Tommaso return match to the ERA revealing the attack on Dream. It’s a reminder that the NXT world is fluid with storylines intersecting. For my money, that’s when wrestling is the best.

Watch the Product

We’re still not done with Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic.

Their fourth installment in the series was in the same vein of the last few. A big time, hard hitting affair with big men delivering big moves they have no business delivering. Without any story outside “These guys are going to keep fighting,” I was starting to lose some enthusiasm in the series, but the matches always deliver an epic feel.

William Regal had to add some stakes to this one, giving it a little more weight. Given Velveteen’s injury, the winner of this match would take his place. We didn’t get a winner though. Instead, Roddy had to go be an idiot and attacked both men towards the end of the match.

Has the man ever watched the product? If he did he’d know that the result of that move is always defending the title in a triple threat. William Regal goes to that move all the frickin’ time. Hell, that even happened to Adam Cole one time.

The match next week should be good, but it’s weird that they took Dream out. He’s definitely one of the most electric NXT talents right now. Is this a last minute call because he’s actually banged up and can’t work right now? Or do they just want to delay that match because they don’t want to switch the title back just yet?

Either week, next week should be fun. Tossing a smaller guy in with the two powerhouses should really alter the formula.

Title aspirations

All the women want the NXT women’s title.

Last week Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair made claim to Shayna Baszler’s title. This week Io Shirai threw her name into the hat as well.

This was after Io defeated Kayden Carter, who was able to shine in this short match. She picked up the mic and said it’s not Rhea. It’s not Bianca. It’s her. Those words drew out Ripley.

After another classic mic snatch, the Aussie told Shirai that she’s already going to take care of Belair next week. If Io spits her name again, she’ll do the same to her! Shirai stepped back, but flashed a smile to make sure she didn’t lose anything by being the one to leave first.

First things - Rhea vs. Belair next week is going to be hypeeeeee. I’m also already here for Io and Ripley doing battle. This feels like it’ll be Rhea battling through other top contenders to finally cement her spot. It’s a good way to build her as THE top contender while also giving us a couple of great matches. This is a much better way to go about that than Rhea facing both of them at once in a triple threat.

But it may not be that simple...

But Wait, There’s More!

Tegan Nox returned to wrestle in the building that she suffered her devastating injury last year.

She went up against the ever improving Taynara and looked sharp in there. (Also, that bomber jacket was a great look.) After the match was over, I was already excited for more Tegan in NXT. Then they dropped the post match angle.

Cathy Kelley went ringside to interview Nox and Tegan’s good friend Dakota Kai walked out to join her. But the next interruption was unwanted.

NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler, with Horsewomen in tow, sauntered down to the ring to talk trash. When that led to Nox telling Shayna to back it up with a title match, Baszler wasn’t having it. She told Tegan to ask her friend Dakota what happens when she gets into a ring with her. The champ told the returning Nox to call her when she does something of note.

The NXT Women’s division is lit right now.

You have a big heel champion and the entire roster trying to go through each other to get to her. There’s Rhea Ripley, who’s magnetic. She’ll have to through a cocky EST of NXT and probably the Evil Genius of the Sky. Meanwhile, Nox already has her gripes with Baszler and they called back to Dakota’s major issues with the champ earlier. (And let’s not forget that Rhea was the woman in the ring with Nox when she blew out her knee last year. That may be something to draw on in the future.)

So far, it’s the women who have benefitted the most from the added hour of TV. It’s allowed them to open up the division and remind us how much great talent they have there. NXT may be the place for women’s wrestling right now.

Main Event

The main event this episode was Pete Dunne squaring off against Damien Priest.

It was another match worthy of the main event spot, but honestly, most matches that go two segments are worthy of the main event spots. They’ve been delivering the goods when it comes to in-ring presence every week. And that’s not new to the two-hour format.

Priest has finally fully graduated from the squash matches to real feuds and it has helped him. There isn’t too much to his character of club hopping archer. We need some real time in ring to get to know the guy a bit more.

He hung with Pete Dunne, making him look like he belonged. His win was dirty (low blow) but a win is a win. The finish protect Pete a bit, but not enough to detract from Priest’s victory.

However, with all that, the most noteworthy thing may have happened before the match started. As Pete Dunne was walking to the ring, Killian Dain was leaving his match, and they had themselves a stare down - and then Pete snapped Dain’s fingers.

This is an example of NXT not wasting motions. This will be a feud and they used a brief interaction between matches to set it up. It’s appreciated that this didn’t affect the main event. Plant the seed and let it grow later.

All the Rest:

- Hot damn, Imperium (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel) and the Brit-Am Brawlers are great tag team wrestlers. The UK duo bested the half UK duo tonight in a match that didn’t give us a ton of time to breathe. It was very fun.

- Matt Riddle defeated Bronson Reed in a bout that allowed the Bro to show off his strength. Watching him wrestle is always a treat with his more unique style.

- Killian Dain short circuited Boa’s attempt for revenge after the attack last week. The rookie tried, but he ended up tapping to the Beast of Belfast. What I appreciate about this the most is this wasn’t just a squash match for no reason but it was set up last week. They gave Grimes a win (last week), Dain a win, and still featured Boa in a smart way.

This week feels like NXT is really figuring out how to use their 2-hour format. There’s little wasted motion. Yes, there was a random tag - but really, was it random? It reminded us that the tag division is strong and Imperium is a force. Matt Riddle’s match didn’t connect with anything else, but his style is so fun to watch, and it was a fun exhibition.

But really, everything else fed into a larger story. The women’s scene is fantastic. The Undisputed ERA having multiple titles threads multiple angles. Even a shared moment between Pete Dunne and Killian Dain sets up bigger things.

I really enjoyed this episode.

Grade: A

Sound off below.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats