NXT returned last night (Nov. 6) from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. You can find the results at the live blog here.
The Survivor Series war between the brands made its way to NXT this week for the first time.
It was something that could have been expected given NXT made waves on both Raw and SmackDown, but it was also possible they’d hold off retaliation so not to burn this out quickly.
It wasn’t a full on invasion but instead the AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows venturing to Orlando to get revenge from the attack on Monday. They first targeted Undisputed ERA, the team that attacked them on Monday. The was a manner of retribution and a way to completely neutralize the men’s title scene in NXT. It led to a verbal showdown with Tommaso Ciampa, setting up a tag match with the OC vs. Ciampa, Matt Riddle, and Keith Lee, three of the four men to fight Undisputed in WarGames. (Fourth man hasn’t been decided.)
Using the OC was a wise move. AJ Is a big name but also a name that’s never been in NXT. Many top stars on Monday and Friday cut their teeth in NXT. So the fans would likely give them a heroes welcome. While AJ is always going to get cheers, using him and the Good Brothers was a way to allow the fans to root for the home team.
It was another great main event, which has become a staple of NXT since they’ve gone to two hours. I wonder if Anderson and Gallows debating lobbying to work more NXT tag matches after this given tag matches in NXT are always really fun.
We didn’t get a finish. Instead it all went to hell after a referee bump.
First Finn Bálor came out, but instead of helping NXT, he attacked an already downed Matt Riddle and fired the double guns at AJ, which threw up the too sweets. Then Adam Cole ran in and superkicked Styles, following up with the Last Shot to Ciampa.
Cole’s motives were clear and actions weren’t surprising. He was attacked by the OC early on so revenge was going to happen. But he’s got a WarGames date with Ciampa so of course he’s not gonna throw away his (last) shot.
Finn on the other hand...
Finn hasn’t shown any allegiances. He’s back in NXT, and he put over the brand in character on WWE Backstage, but he’s pretty much a rogue. He hasn’t taken part in any of the NXT attacks on Raw or SmackDown. Meanwhile, his ol’ Bullet Club mates congratulated him on his initial heel turn. Is he sided with them or does he just not give a damn?
And in the end, it was Cole in the ring and Bálor outside it, staring at each other. Where do they stand on each other? Finn was perfectly fine to sit back and allow the entire Undisputed ERA beat up Tommaso Ciampa weeks back. And the NXT champ also had nice things to say about an evil Finn Bálor.
It’s a strong point of intrigue to close the show on, leaving us with questions as we wait till next week. This is the way to hook an audience at the close of the show.
Shayna Baszler squared off with Dakota Kai tonight. The story behind the match was Kai trying to prove she’s worthy to be on a WarGames team. That in itself was initially a bit odd given how last week ended with her standing side by side by the other three members of Rhea’s team. Plus she’s BFFs with Tegan Nox. Why would she even have to prove herself to them? Turns out, it wasn’t that simple.
But first the match.
Proving herself to Rhea was odd, but proving herself to Shayna was obvious. There’s a long history there, with Dakota playing the part of a timid prey of the champ a year back. So showing she could go toe to toe with Baszler in this match was a sign of her evolving from that version of herself.
The match was good. Shayna worked Dakota’s bad knee. Kai kept fighting back. It ended with Dakota tapping to the Kirifuda Clutch. She almost had the ropes for the break, but the champ wisely wrapped her leg around the arm, preventing that. It was a small detail to the finish that was much appreciated.
This turned into a team beatdown, with all of Shayna’s team and her two henchwomen beating on Team Rhea and Dakota. Mia Yim finally evened the score, jumping into the fray with a kendo stick. This led to some intrigue later in the night when Rhea picked Mia to round out her team, leaving Dakota out in the cold.
It’s a good story about Dakota still not completely finding herself. It makes it even worse that her best friend has a spot on the team. I’d love to see Shayna pick Dakota as a way to mess with the other team and take advantage of Kai’s chip on her shoulder. Whatever happens, I definitely appreciate that there’s something to this story of team building.
All the Rest:
- Pete Dunne got a modicum of revenge this week, defeating Damian Priest. It was another strong bout (Dunne brings out the best of Priest). When the referee was compromised, Priest tried for the low blow again, but Dunne caught it and went low himself. This led to the win. We finally got the Killian Dain attack most match. Priest got involved and he and ended up being laid out by the Beast of Belfast as well. Triple threat, here we come!
- Taynara Conti picked up a pretty big win over the debuting Santana Garrett. It was a surprising finish as Taynara had been playing the enhancement talent they trust on live TV and doing it very well. She’s been doing well enough that she deserves a win to elevate herself. (It’s also possible Garrett was here to put Conti over and then she’ll go off TV for awhile to come up with a full character for NXT.)
- The charismatic Angel Garza defeated the less so Tony Nese to become #1 contender to Lio Rush’s cruiserweight title. It was a strong bout, but the best part was when Nese accidentally powerbombed Garza’s tearaway pants. After the victory, Lio came out to shake Angel’s hand, but Garza slapped the champ across the face. This was a move that the Man of the Hour smiled at. We get that match next week!
- Dominik Dijakovic defeated Isiah “Swerve’ Scott in an exciting match. Swerve is a star and the sky is the limit for that match. Dominik continues to look good. Perhaps this win may help him find his way onto Ciampa’s WarGames team.
NXT continues to be a very good show every week. There weren’t as many big angles this week, but those delivered while the other matches were definitely enjoyable. And they did a very good job mixing in the bigger story about NXT preparing for Survivor Series with the stories they’ve been telling on the brand.
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