NXT returned last night (Aug. 28) with their second episode of the most recent set of tapings. You can find the results at the live blog here.
Io Shirai def. Cami Fields
After the match, Io grabs a kendo stick to attack her vanquished opponent further, but Candice LeRae runs out to make the save.
Finally, some heeling by Io Shirai.
While she won the match clean, she opted to grab a kendo stick to unload on Fields after the match. This was probably the first real heel thing she’s done since turning. And if they want her to be a heel, they need more of this. (If they want her to be a cool tweener, that’s fine too, but if she’s a heel in the mind of creative, they need to let us know.)
It may have even been better to let her get some licks in on poor Cami Field prior to Candice making the save to leave the fans with an image of Io being terrible instead of just the intent of her being terrible. But at least they framed her as a heel.
After their match at TakeOver, there are no complains from me on this feud continuing. That was a banger so let’s do it again.
Dominik Dijakovic def. Keith Lee
Finally this match happened. After waiting for months, these men finally got to give us the match we were supposed to get months ago.
It was worth the wait.
This was the style of match that was almost out of a comic book, an epic, over-the-top superhero battle. These were two larger than life men doing things they should not be able to do to each other to try to get the win. A Spanish Fly from the top rope? GTFOH. That’s nuts.
Keith Lee losing is the right move. This match proved he’s got it in the ring, but we still need a character for the big man in NXT. And we’re amidst this story about him not finding what it takes. Losing such a battle furthers that along. Will it be a heel turn? Or just him finding something that finally works? Either way, they should follow that story through.
When the announcers are questioning what’s next for Johnny Gargano, Shane Thorne walks out and demands to know why they’re talking about the past and not the future.
The questioning of “What’s next for Johnny?” echos what the fans are wondering, but makes it pretty clear he’s not going anywhere.
Maybe a date with Shane Thorne? That could be used to elevate Thorne, even in a loss.
When Mia Yim confronts William Regal about what happened on last week’s NXT, Regal told her she had her chance and reminds her she attacked the horsewomen first. What did she expect?
Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir walk to the ring. But before she can say a word RHEA RIPLEY INTERRUPTS! She stands face to face with Shayna and then yanks the mic from her. Ripley tells her champ that she may have beaten everyone here, but she hasn’t beaten her.
This. Was. Awesome.
This was a fantastic surprise, aided by the Mia video being used as misdirection. Rhea Ripley is fantastic from what she showed in the Mae Young Classic last year and in NXT UK.
The great thing about Ripley is NXT fans don’t have to have watched the MYC or UK to understand that she’s something special. Ripley has a presence about her that doesn’t need explanation. Her swagger and poise tells that story for her.
The promo was short and sweet. And it certainly helps that the crowd, who was super hot this episode, gave her a massive ovation. Credit to Shayna responding to it in a way that helps sell Ripley to the audience that may not know her. This should be great.
And props to William Regal for being a no-nonsense GM and reminding Mia that maybe what happened to her last week was a consequence of her own actions. Including that video must mean that Mia isn’t done in this story yet, which would only make sense after taking a 3 on 1 attack last week.
Video package/interview with Pete Dunne. He claims he would have won that North American title if Velveteen Dream didn’t stop the referee from counting. But if he has to go to the back of the line, fine. He’ll fight anyone who wants to step up.
There wasn’t much in this interview that teased what’s next for the Bruiserweight. It was more of a hype video and reminder that he’s on the roster than anything else.
The Undisputed ERA (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) def. the Street Profits to win the NXT tag team championships
These two teams are just very good at tag team wrestling.
Undisputed never have a bad tag match. In fact, I’d argue they never even have an OK tag. They’re always at least good because of their talent and chemistry.
Street Profits hit their stride more recently, but since they did, they too have been incredible to watch. So of course we’d get a really good main event to close out a really good episode of NXT.
Now it’s up to Roderick Strong to complete the series and that’s going to be a tough challenge. (Also, Adam Cole has to not lose his title to Jordan Myles next week.) If Roddy does win the North American title, I’ll wonder why they opted not to do it at the pay-per-view.
Not that it was a wrong move. It’d just be interesting if they opt to pull the switch on fallout TV and not end a TakeOver special with the image of Undisputed draped in gold. (Perhaps they want to get fans thinking that big things happen on NXT TV as they go into a wrestling war on Wednesdays.)
As for the Profits, I’d assume they stick around on NXT given the expansion, but they’re already hanging on Raw all the time so you never know.
This was a very good episode of NXT.
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