For a more detailed recap, check our live results post here.
The rivalry of @_StarDESTROYER and @strongstylebrit takes a back seat in the wake of @LarsSWWE’s warpath! #WWENXT pic.twitter.com/38xpwdNPW8— WWE (@WWE) September 28, 2017
After an announcement from William Regal regarding the Women’s title, SAnitY hit the ring so leader Eric Young can send a warning to his opponent in tonight’s main event, Undisputed’s Adam Cole. Lars Sullivan def. Oney Lorcan via pinfall with a side spinebuster and looks to continue punishing him after the match, but Oney’s rival Danny Burch makes the save.
The worst kept secret in women’s wrestling is out, and I’m excited to get to the qualifiers which will determine who faces Kairi Sane at TakeOver: Houston. Could do without having to wait a couple weeks to start seeing them, but there’s still almost two months until the event and at least one story to tie-up or move along before they can start, so... fine. I’ll be patient.
Decent enough promo from EY to set the scene, but what I mostly took from it was that Full Sail is on-board with their face turn in idea more than they are in execution - the entrance pop was much louder than what the crowd offered for anything that followed. Or, like me, Young is the member of the group they’re least interested in hearing from or seeing wrestle. And I say that as a fan going back to the Team Canada and Super Eric days of TNA. World Elite could have ruled... damn you Hogan! Ahem, sorry. As we’ll see later, he knows his role but - LET ALEXANDER WOLFE TALK!
Fast-tracking Lars is okay by me, and bringing the Lorcan/Burch story into his is even better. The match largely exists to set up that conflict, but it also allowed us to see Sullivan blow through another type of name wrestler. Oney gave him his stiff striking best shot, and the big man did all but laugh it off. Catching Lorcan on the fly after the tope was dope.
If you're going to dominate... you've got to do it in style. @WWEDozovic #WWENXT pic.twitter.com/Bs8pUuq6UP— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) September 28, 2017
An interview with Ruby Riot establishes that she and Nikki Cross will have a rematch with The Iconic Duo, but that Nikki is not her friend. Heavy Machinery def. Demetrius Bronson and Patrick Scott via pinfall following Compactor. William Regal chats with reporters revealing he has something planned to help Houston top Brooklyn. He also informs Johnny Gargano he’s booked his requested rematch with Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas for two weeks from now.
Good stuff from the Punk Rock Ragdoll. Have I mentioned how great her long hair looks? If I have, sorry. If not, there you go. It gives her what I imagine is a more appealing look for some fans - and WWE brass - without sacrificing the distinctive style and beauty she brought to the company.
The angle with Peyton Royce, Billie Kay and Nikki Cross is a good way to do the reluctant tag partners thing with these players, as it makes sense hating the vain Aussies would be something on which Ruby and Nikki can begrudgingly find common ground. But I also can’t wait until their feud resumes.
Dozer and Tucky are Dozer and Tucky. I will say that Otis’ pre-elbow drop jig is one of my favorite things I’ve seen them do. Still waiting for Heavy Machinery and NXT creative to show us how the crowd-pleasing schtick works into a longer pro wrestling story.
Setting up Gargano vs. Almas II, and how much Lars we’ve been getting lately, really made me think about the length of this show and how they’re managing a growing roster. For the most part, they do a great job. We get to see enough of people without getting sick of them, and they’re usually savvy about putting acts they’re confident will catch on like Sullivan, or Street Profits, on frequently. But Andrade and Zelina Vega were just heating up when they vanished (see also: Moon, Ember), so they don’t manage it perfectly.
Another thing while I’m on this side-riff. They could do a better job of varying match styles within episodes. Watching Dozovic and Knight catch smaller guys in mid-air isn’t as neat minutes after we watched Lars do it.
Roderick Strong warns Drew McIntyre he won’t stop in their match next week until he hears “and NEW NXT champion”. Liv Morgan def. Vanessa Borne via pinfall following a Codebreaker variant. Aleister Black is interviewed after a sparring session about his run-in with Velveteen Dream last week and he says he won’t give ‘Patrick’ the attention he’s acting out in order to get.
Roddy will never be the smoothest promo in the business, but he’s gotten a lot better at using the elements beyond the words he’s saying to convey meaning. Here, the emotion was just different enough from what he showed during the feud with Bobby Roode to imply he might use any means necessary to win the belt. Maybe even allying himself with some former co-workers? He does describe himself with an adjective similar to ones a certain Panama City guy will say later. Hmmm...
Our women’s match this week was a rough one. Borne is onto something with her character, which is basically LayCool as a singles act. But she hasn’t wrestled a ton, and it shows. Morgan on the other hand... I don’t know. We’ve been saying “she’s young” for all three of the years she’s been in developmental. For someone with a bunch of matches under her belt, working with the most talented trainers, coaches and fellow wrestlers in state of the art facilities, especially with the folks signed for and from The Mae coming in... I don’t know. She’s over with the Florida crew and fans who follow her on social media because she’s a nice personality (and a cute young lady), but there’s nothing to attach to if you just see her on your screen without context like this.
Possibly my favorite part of the entire show was Black’s interview. I wasn’t sold on his promo last week, but that was designed to get cut off. This was a focused, well put together piece of business which was EXACTLY what the Satanic kickboxer should say about the Prince wannabe trying to play sexy mind games. Calling Velveteen “Patrick” instantly made me ten times more interested in their feud, and Dream’s character.
After a reminder of Fabian Aichner’s impressive one-and-done showing in the Cruiserweight Classis, Kassius Ohno def. Aichner via pinfall with a cyclone kick. McIntrye speaks highly of Strong, saying he’d be champion if it were another time.
Match of the night goes to Ohno and the young Italian. Not that there was a ton of competition. I’ve made my peace with Kassius’ role as a Performance Center coach who is also an on-screen character, which explains both his booking and why we haven’t really seen a Chris Hero match since he came back. KO worked well with Aichner and made his NXT debut a success. The combination of aerial manuevers and power game from Fabian are very Apollo Crews-esque. That springboard crossbody he hit is insane!
Remember fighting champion Drew McIntyre faces Roderick Strong for the NXT title next week. Pretty sure that’s all we were supposed to get out of the champ’s speech.
After a video package on Kairi Sane’s Mae Young Classic win, Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly enter for the main event. A pre-match promo from Cole declares his group Undisputed and claims this as their Era. Cole def. Eric Young via pinfall following a kick after EY decided to leap onto a brawl taking place on the floor between Fish and O’Reilly and SAnitY’s Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain that started when Undisputed distracted him.
Cole’s talk was on point, but not great. A little too much of the same things we hear from everyone who arrives on Wednesday nights, could have compared and contrasted the change he says they’re bringing with SAnitY’s chaos more - but Cole stuck the landing. It’s possible this confirms my hope they’re called “Undisputed”, a group which has an era, as opposed to their name being “Undisputed Era”.
That was the highlight of what I found to be a very underwhelming debut, BAY BAY. Honorable mention goes to Young forearming him mid-signature taunt and then screaming in Cole’s face like a banshee.
It wasn’t the performers’ fault, or at least not exclusively. Whoever decided that the first time a lot of WWE fans see the hot free agent leading a new main event stable should be in a five minute match where he works rest holds for most of the time he’s in control - that person or persons screwed the pooch. When you debut by attacking the champ on the biggest show of the year, I understand wanting to set Cole opposite another name. Young’s the perfect choice, because he’s here to put future stars over. But there’s a better match layout to use than whatever this was.
Since turning face, EY’s gone from being NXT’s Bray Wyatt to their Dean Ambrose. His squad wasn’t catching a beating at ringside, which would have made his decision to jump on the fray instead of his opponent honorable rather than dumb. The Undisputed leader’s win doesn’t mean as much as it could have, since SAnitY’s leader basically opted to lose.
While I’m ranting, concerns about the tag champs being booked as traditional técnicos were realized here. The fun of SAnitY was the crazy way the members of the group would try to get involved in each other’s matches. Playing by the rules meant Dain and Wolfe only became part of the action once, and in the least inventive, exciting way possible. They can be fan favorites, but they have to do more than just give lip service to anarchy.
Despite there being a lot packed into this hour, and what should have been a major debut building off last week’s hot finish, this episode felt fairly inessential. The women’s bout is probably the only thing I’d call bad or skippable, but a lot of the other things were just there. We’ll be caught up on them with a few words from Mauro Ranallo or a clip before the next match or beat in the story.
This week’s “Lars Sullivan is a freaking beast” segment and Black’s interview were the must-see bits for me. Otherwise, we’ll try again next Wednesday.