Welcome to Monday Nigh… uh… Friday Ni… um. Huh. This is different.
Big Money Drew here, covering NXT for the very first time! This was a show of goodness galore, and we’re going to get right into it!
Wow, this was a deliciously violent main event!
Mercedes Martinez threw a bunch of chairs in the ring and tried to grab a table, but Ripley attacked her and threw the cage into her face! Ripley stepped on her back and held her down and slapped her in the head a few times. Martinez smoothly countered into a Fisherman’s suplex.
After a CRAZY german suplex from the top rope by Martinez, Ripley was able to throw a damn chair at her. Ripley hooked in a cloverleaf submission and Martinez used a kendo stick to try and break free but it didn’t work. Robert Stone climbed the cage and Ripley poked him with it before getting hit with another kendo stick. They crashed to the mat as Stone was draped over the top of the cage.
Martinez set up the table and tried another fisherman’s suplex, but Ripley hit the Rip Tide through the table and pinned Martinez! The strength to do that is incredible. Ripley celebrated atop the cage as Stone was still hilariously draped over the other side.
This was my first time viewing Mercedes in the ring. Her ground and pound style is awesome. I’ve not watched NXT for a while, so I don’t know how borderline goofy Robert Stone ended up pairing with her, but it works. I view her as Stone’s biggest get, and all agents need that one big get to fast track their careers to the top.
I have missed Rhea so much since her short run on the main roster with Charlotte. She somehow looks even more badass! That’s the Rhea I know and love. She took out her revenge on Mercedes and I hope that this puts her back in title contendership.
New NXT champion
I am not usually a fan of headlocks and rest holds, but I thought that both men utilized them in smart ways, particularly Cole twisting Balor’s surgically repaired arm. Balor tried two basement dropkicks to put Cole away, and Cole returned with some stiff elbows and clotheslines. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a backstabber like Cole’s. Ouch. And Cole countered another basement dropkick with the Last Shot for a near fall!
And because of that knee work on Balor, the Coup de grace didn’t work, for the first time. Really smart and well done for Cole to use that figure four. Cole’s staple, the Panama sunrise, was countered and a 1916 from the top rope got Balor the win!
Y’all, I am a big Finn Balor mark and I’m just giddy that he’s won this. Balor was the first man changed by Bray Wyatt’s Fiend and surprised everyone on the first USA Network NXT with a heel turn on Gargano. (And honestly that may have been the last full episode I watched.) He deserves another run with the title of this company he helped build years ago.
As for Adam Cole, I didn’t expect the clean loss here. Knowing about Pat McAfee, I had a thought that he’d try to interfere and set up another match between them down the line. No Undisputed Era out for support, or shown comforting him after the match either. I might be checking out next week to see if there’s any follow up to that. And to see Finn again, because YAY HE WON!
So, I did not know Candice was all purple hair heel and the Garganos were doing these dinner promos. I love them.
While we didn’t get what I saw in previous dinner chats, this felt super relatable. Who hasn’t thrown food and accidentally broken their own television?
Tegan Knox was invited to the Gargano home for dinner to discuss matters. Johnny answered the door and was upping his personality to 100 with jokes and the old Up high, down low thing no one has done since the early 2000’s. Knox sat at the table with Candice and Johnny left to read their dog a bedtime story. That got a laugh out of me.
Candice told her that she doesn’t understand the Gargano way, and said that she’s never led her down the wrong path, so why is this any different? Knox didn’t have a retort for that, which I loved. Showing truth and agreement in a calm disagreement, instead of yelling and going to immediately what we saw at the end.
When they toasted to Candice winning the women’s title, Knox spoke up again, wondering why they were toasting for Candice. Candice said her last title shot didn’t go so well, and now Knox fired back and said neither did her last shot.
So Candice did what anyone would do - throw a bowl of salad at her. Knox threw her water in Candice’s face, and voices got heated. Johnny intervened and called her a piece of garbage, and then Tegan did what anyone would do - dump a bowl of spaghetti on him. Candice missed throwing an object at her and broke their television!
If these dinner chats have been overdone to anyone and you don’t like them, or never did like them, I’m sorry but this is great stuff. A little birdie (Sean Rueter) sent me what these started looking like with the black and white shots and music changes and I am in love with this. Difference is always going to grab my attention, and I am a huge fan, considering I both watch and recap Monday Night R(aw)epetition every week. I want more Tegan and Candice.
Sizzle - Breezango got it, y’all. I am so ridiculously happy to see that they are tag champs somewhere because they deserve it. Five long years of comedic booking and gold are finally around their waists. Imperium are not happy that they lost to some jokes, and will be facing off in a rematch next week. Imperium are not taking them seriously, and that’s bad on their part. Breeze and Fandango are tough to beat when they have a game plan. Please let them have a decent reign!
Bronson Reed def. Austin Theory - Haven’t seen Theory since his main roster run ended, and man is he as cocky as ever. Theory tried the headlocks but Reed, holy crap this dude is awesome. He tossed Theory all over the place and did a springboard elbow. Theory… has some interesting selling, doesn’t he? Flipping around like The Rock after a Stunner. Theory tried to pick the big man up, but never succeeded, and Reed crushed this dude.
I have never seen Bronson Reed before and I love this dude. Exactly the type of big man I enjoy watching, and pairing him with a bodybuilder is excellent. Strength vs. strength the way this was booked is how you get people over.
Shotzi and Io had some fun - Robert Stone tried to destroy the tank, but Shotzi surprised him and Aliyah blindsided her. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t know Io was on the other side of the screen, and Io chased her into the ring. Shotzi slid into the ring on the other side and both of them attacked Aliyah together. Robert Stone tried to be sneaky but also failed. Shotzi held onto the NXT women’s title a bit longer than Io was comfortable with and pulled it out of her hands.
This is the type of entertainment I would like to see more of on the main roster! I’ve only seen the moment where Stone got run over by the tank the first time and he’s really entertaining. Shotzi and the tank look great and I’m not up to date with Aliyah, but she played the cocky heel made into a scared fool really well here, so I’m eager to see more from her.
Roderick Strong def. Killian Dain - The Undisputed Era always up to their antics. Bobby Fish got in the way a few times, taking advantage of the ref not paying attention. Killian Dain hit a great senton, but when he went up to the top, Bobby pulled Roddy out of the way. And that caused more distraction which Strong took advantage of to get the win. They ganged up on him after, and Drake Maverick made the save! Dain looked to be appreciative, but then socked him in the mouth and walked off.
For the life of me, I never got how referees don’t always keep their eye on a UE member on the outside. Just like this week, Fish was interfering and the ref let him stay out there. I could go on a tangent on how referees are inconsistent with them, but it’ll be at least a full page long. This is something I remember and disliked from the WWE Network NXT days.
Thatcher film school - Thatcher took time to teach us how Damian Priest wrestles so he can be prepared for their North American title match next week. This was a great way to show that a wrestler is scouting their opponent. I don’t know if this is something Thatcher typically does, but I like it.
Velveteen Dream def. Ashonte Adonis - I thought this was going to be a squash match, but boy was I wrong. Dream slapped Adonis and Adonis took control for the whole match, until he accidentally attacked the ref, and got his eye poked. Death Valley driver and Dream got the win. He paid for it though, because KUSHIDA returned and nearly killed him! Definitely did stuff a lot of people have been dreaming of doing to him as of late!
To be upfront with everyone, I am mainly an AEW viewer on Wednesday nights. However, I have to say I enjoyed this episode of NXT. I don’t not watch because AEW vs. NXT and all that nonsense, though. In fact, I’d prefer NXT and AEW to be on different nights so I could enjoy them both. I just don’t have much time to seek NXT out every week. You can bet that I’ll be looking to see what happens next week.
Finn Balor is champ, Breezango are champs, Damian Priest seems cool, and I like Io Shirai. NXT’s women’s division has a lot of talent. All of this makes NXT a watchable and enjoyable show. I’m a big fan of the different stuff NXT is doing with Thatcher and the Garganos, and I’m a big fan of Bronson Reed. Nothing really fell flat for me, except for Velveteen Dream. Sorry I’m just not a fan these days.
What were your thoughts, Cagesiders?