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NXT recap & reactions (Oct. 23, 2019): Return of the Prince

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NXT returned to us last night (Oct. 23) from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. You can find the results at the live blog here.

Delivering in the main event

Closing the show on a high note is very important when it comes to the impression the show leaves. And tonight delivered big time.

The advertised main event tonight was the triple threat North American title match between Roderick Strong, Keith Lee, and Dominik Dijakovic.

And it was friggin’ dope.

NXT has just been killing it when it comes to the in-ring performance and this was no different. Adding in a smaller Roddy changed the dynamic for the better. It allowed them to space their epic spots more, which in turn made them feel bigger. (Seriously, how insane was that corner spot. I mean, c’mon!) Plus Roddy is such a crisp wrestler, and he brings a different style that the big guys have to account for.

The final moments of the match featured Lee and Dijakovic working together to neutralize the champ so they could go in the ring and finish on their terms. And the crowd went wild for it. However it was their desire to beat the other in the biggest way possible that allowed Roddy to sneak back in to with a shotgun knee to win the match.

And if they closed the show here, it would have been really good. But then they dropped a HUGE post match angle.

After the bout, Undisputed came out to beat on Keith Lee. That led to Tommaso Ciampa coming out and standing across the ring from ERA four on one. Then his old partner (and old enemy) Johnny Gargano came out to aid him. This in itself was a great moment given all that history between them and their ever evolving relationship.

Finally, Finn Bálor came out to help them. But like the introduction of many a third man in wrestling, it did not go well for the babyfaces.

Finn struck Gargano square with a huge Pelé kick. This allowed Undisputed to beat the hell out of Tommaso while Bálor continued on Johnny, including a Bloody Sunday on the ramp. It looked pretty clear that Finn wasn’t with Undisputed, but he’s certainly a heel.

That’s a huge turn of events and a major angle to end the show with. It was already a dang fun show, but a hot closing angle really sealed the deal.


The NXT women’s division may be their biggest strength right now and they’re definitely showcasing it.

It’s smart. Obviously when you have such a deep roster, it makes sense to display it. (It also is the one thing their competition can’t claim to be as good at so makes sense to show it off.)

The show opened with Rhea Ripley going against Bianca Belair. The match played into the strength of both women. They started with a collar and elbow tie up which transitioned to a test of strength, which was actually a pretty perfect way to start a power based match. It laid the ground that these two women are both very strong - and neither one that much stronger than the other. This was illustrated later when both women countered suplex attempts.

It slowed down maybe a bit too much when Rhea played the face in peril for probably longer than she should have, especially given she’s the larger of the two women. But then it picked back up towards the end.

Io Shirai interfered with a modified 619 to try to cost the woman who made her back off last week. But that wasn’t enough for the EST of NXT to put Ripley away and Candice LeRae neutralized her foe Shirai pretty quickly to keep the playing field even.

Io and Rhea are bound to lock up soon and that contrast of styles should be really fun. It’ll be completely different than the powerhouse vs. powerhouse match we got tonight. And tonight also served to say, “Hey, don’t forget about Candice!” when thinking about their deep roster.

Who are you?

NXT is really in on Cameron Grimes.

He had a long match against one of their top talents in Matt Riddle, a two segmenter actually. It was Grimes’ best match on the main roster. It really heat up at the end. He’s a talented guy between those ropes.

Unfortunately, we still don’t know anything about him. They haven’t given us much of anything character-wise for us to connect with. He’s a guy in a hat and vest. That’s pretty much it. And his character isn’t coming across during the match. It was a smart move to really build up his Cave In double stomp finisher because it gives fans something to look for, but they really need to give us more on Grimes to help him connect on a deeper level.

He took a punch from Tyler Bate after the match. The former UK champ was in the crowd and after the loss, Grimes gave him a shove, which led to the punch. Tyler is great so seeing him in any feud is fun, though I’d be lying if I didn’t hope his being in the crowd next to Riddle’s family was leading to a feud between those to with maybe a Bro heel turn.

Riddle still oozes charisma. He delivered a jackhammer tonight while the crowd chanted “Rid-dle” in the Goldberg cadence. I appreciate such trolling. Some may not, but that’s why he’d work so well as a heel.

All The Rest:

- Isiah “Swerve” Scott teamed with Breezango to defeat the Forgotten Sons in a reminder that almost all NXT tag matches are a blast. Isiah looked like a star, Breezango came out as sexy pilots (hopefully meaning we’ll get a new entrance every time), and then Swerve danced with Breeze and Fandango after the match. Fun times!

- Angel Garza beat Jack Gallagher in a cruiserweight showcase. I’m a big fan of both these guys. They didn’t mesh completely, but it was still an entertaining bout. Lio Rush was at ringside doing a little commentary (something he wasn’t too hot at, which was surprising given all his mic work on Raw with Lashley last year). Garza/Rush could be a future title match, and a great one at that. Whether it be on NXT or 205 Live remains to be seen.

- Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai (who aren’t officially called Team Kick in NXT) defeated Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke to earn a shot at the Kabuki Warrior’s tag titles next week! That’s right, we’re finally getting a Women’s tag team title match in NXT almost a year after Sasha Banks and Bayley promised it. I’m already pumped for this match and it’s just another example of how good the NXT women’s division is right now.

NXT continues to deliver excellent matches and has a fantastic women’s division currently. A hot closing angle that leaves a ton of questions anchors another really fun two hours of NXT.

Grade: A

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