NXT returned last night (Oct. 7) from the Capitol Wrestling Center in Orlando, Florida. You can find the results at the live blog here.
A New Star
There were probably plenty of NXT fans who heard the hype about Kushida when he signed but didn’t yet see why. He had a pretty good start before his first injury, but he was never jumping off the screen.
Now those fans likely get it. I know I do.
Kushida opened the show against Tommaso Ciampa, a match that would have seemed like a gimme match for Ciampa if this were a month ago. But now the Japanese sensation is almost as aggressive as the man known as Psycho Killer. And now this match was anyone’s game.
It was a fantastic bout. Kushida’s mixture of focused aggression and technical savvy is a great combination. Tommaso Ciampa seemed dangerous against a man like Jake Atlas. He was on the same level as Kushida.
As you could have guessed, the match ended with Velveteen Dream trying to attack Kushida. At this point, Kushy had the Hoverboard Lock hooked in tight and Tommaso was in trouble, so Kushida looked very good in this non-finish. Dream ended up accidentally hitting Ciampa, so that will be a problem.
This is a way to introduce Ciampa for this feud and giving Kushida two challenges to try to fend off. Ciampa and Kushida will need to happen again eventually, which is great because it was a very fun match.
NXT has found what they were looking for when they signed Kushida and touted him as a blue chip talent. He’s ascended greatly in such a short period of time that I could see him in the NXT title picture sooner than later. With his new character, he’s killing it.
The Best Women’s Division
I feel like I’m beating the same drum over and over again, but the NXT women’s division is so damn good.
They had a tag match to close the show - Dakota Kai & Raquel González against Rhea Ripley & Ember Moon. It was set up earlier in the night. Ember cut a pretty standard promo about coming back and now taking what she wants. She was interrupted by Io Shirai, who was interrupted by Rhea Ripley, who was attacked by Dakota and Raquel. Ember got involved. Io Shirai did not.
Io explained later that she doesn’t care about those four women. She cares about the championship. Just like she should. Badass.
The main event tag was rather fun. Ember looked fantastic out there. Everything she did was crisp, with no evidence of ring rust like you could expect after a 14 month hiatus. She looked to be wrestling with the fire from not being able to do what she loves for a year.
Outside a weird spot with Rhea and Raquel that looked like it was supposed to be a fallaway slam through the announce table that went awry, this was a really good match.
It sets up plenty of options for Io Shirai with plenty of title challenges for that NXT Women’s title.
The odd couple team of Killian Dain and Drake Maverick continues to deliver.
Drake booked them a match against Ever-Rise this week (of course against the wishes of Killian). This included some incredible entrance music - a happy-go-lucky, upbeat whistling tune that’s pretty much the anthesis of everything Dain is.
Their comedy chemistry carried over to the match from the moment it started, with Killian tagged Maverick so hard, it hurt the smaller man’s hand.
Maverick took a beating (because that’s what he does) before Ever-Rise was dumb enough to call Dain a bozo, motivating him. The big man dragged Drake to his corner to tag him in and wreck house. However, Maverick isn’t the smartest either so he tagged himself back in as the Beast of Belfast was putting the match away. So Dain powerbombed Drake into their opponent to pick up the win that way.
Drake was annoying enough afterwards that he ate another punch from Dain, but he seemed happy enough when his partner carried him out as that cheesy music played.
This has all been very very entertaining. The music and Drake jumping around to it was laugh out loud funny. I look forward to watching this progress.
Austin Theory has to stop asking for trouble.
He had a match with Leon Ruff, which didn’t even go as smoothly as he’d have liked. Leon had a flurry of offense and even came close to scoring an upset before the young phenom was able to put him away.
But then Theory got on the mic and started running his mouth about how he wasn’t prepared to face Adam Cole last week but he’ll face anyone now.
That brought out Dexter Lumis (who technically returned last week by just briefly creeping backstage), to take him up on that offer. Theory was able to endure the offensive of Dexter and fight back. But Lumis wouldn’t stay down, which included popping right back up from an Austin drop kick, and put him to sleep with his choke submission.
Theory continues to go on a pretty big losing skid. Sure he beat Ruff, but who doesn’t? Not that it’s an issue now. Theory is such a cocky bastard who’s future you know is very bright that he can afford this series of losses without it affecting him down the road.
Lumis was immediately attacked by Cameron Grimes and the Cave In after the match, setting up that feud. This is all because Dexter didn’t talk to Grimes backstage last week, instead just giving him the icy stare.
Bad Turn of Events
Ridge Holland’s hot night ended in disaster.
They booked the big man to beat up both Danny Burch (after winning his match against him in short order) and Oney Lorcan. But in a very unfortunate turn of events, Lorcan hit the big man with a splash over the top rope and Ridge’s left leg gave out.
He ended up getting stretchered out.
This is of course very unfortunate. They were clearly pushing Holland big time with a major role in a top billed angle against Undisputed ERA. He had a comment before the show in the parking lot that he now has a Mercedes “thanks to Adam Cole,” implying someone paid him to attack Cole at TakeOver 31. It was intriguing and could have developed into a fun mystery angle.
But that’s all going to have to wait. That injury looked gnarly. Let’s hope it wasn’t as bad as it appeared, but the fact he was stretchered out is not a good sign.
Get well fast, Ridge.
All the Rest:
- Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae returned from walking their dog in rad couples track suits to find a new TV gifted to them by Indi Hartwell. Indi included a video that highlighted how much she helped Candice in the battle royal, looking to team up with the Garganos it seems.
- Because of how banged up both Kyle O’Reilly and especially Finn Bálor (a fractured jaw is more than banged up to be fair) are, they got a Prime Target fallout video this week.
- Shotzi Blackheart defeated Xia Li. After the loss, Boa walked out and handed her an envelop. Interesting...
This was a good show, though playing a lot of set up with O’Reilly and Bálor out of action tonight. The women shined as usual. Dain & Drake are pretty dang hilarious. Obviously the Ridge injury was very unfortunate.
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