*This will be my last This Week in WWE article until the new year*
- Otis w/ Chad Gable def Riddle w/ Randy Orton – **½
- Bianca Belair def Doudrop – **¾
- Bobby Lashley def Kevin Owens – **½
- The Dirty Dawgz def Finn Balor & Damian Priest – **¼
- Queen Zelina w/ Carmella def Rhea Ripley w/ Nikki A.S.H. – ¼*
- Bobby Lashley w/ MVP def Seth Rollins (No Disqualification Match) – **¼
- Bobby Lashley w/ MVP def Big E (No Disqualification Match) – ***½
Bobby Lashley and MVP come to the ring to open the show and MVP cuts a promo on how the current generation of superstars have a problem with respect and then talks about how the current generation whines, complains, and backstabs to get a title shot, but that is not how Lashley handles his business. Lashley and MVP would eventually get interrupted by Kevin Owens and later Seth Rollins and they are not happy about Lashley trying to get himself into the WWE Championship match at Day 1 as they believe he should have to earn his way into the match as they did. Lashley tells them if they have a problem then they should get into the ring and handle it, but they smartly stay where they are. Big E comes out and talks about how he has already beat Lashley on two occasions and he has no problem doing it one more time.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville come out and rule that if Bobby Lashley can beat Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, and Big E tonight in three separate matches then he will be entered into the Day 1 WWE Championship match, but if he loses once then his chances of being in the match are over. MVP accepts on behalf of Lashley as Owens and Rollins are still complaining about this entire situation. We later find out that Kevin Owens will be the first to face Bobby Lashley tonight.
It’s time for our weekly Riddle and Orton backstage comedy skit and this week Riddle thinks they should broaden their horizons from broadcasting to podcasting and as Riddle goes on and on, he is finally cut off by Orton who wants him to get serious about their potential challengers for Day 1 as well as Riddle’s opponent for tonight Otis and he says that if he beats Otis tonight then maybe in the far off future he can once again put on the blazer. Riddle and Otis have a good match and surprisingly Otis ends up picking up the win when he hits Riddle with a pop-up World’s Strongest Slam. After the match, Orton lays Gable out with an RKO but ends up getting laid out with a back elbow from Otis.
I’m not sure why they didn’t have Alpha Academy move on and win the RK-Bronament since it they look to be the new team RK-Bro is feuding with.
We get a rematch from last week as Doudrop takes on Bianca Belair This match was a lot better than what we got last week and we actually got a winner this time as Bianca picked up the win with a 450 Splash, but as Bianca is celebrating on the stage she is attacked by Doudrop to continue the feud on to next week. I am glad to see they are finally letting Doudrop have time to wrestle and are not making her into a joke which is unfortunately what I expected from WWE.
We get the announcers going through the entire first class of their new NIL program and then they show Raw draftee Gable Stevenson in the crowd as he was actually the first name to be signed under the NIL program.
It’s time for Bobby Lashley’s first match of the night as he takes on Kevin Owens in a pretty short match that saw Lashley dominate for most of the match and when Lashley hooks one of KO’s arms for the Hurt Lock, KO decides to go ahead and tap out before even more damage can be inflicted upon him as he will leave it to Rollins and Big E to make sure Lashley doesn’t qualify for the Day 1 match. Seth Rollins is furious in the back as he can’t believe KO tapped before the move was even locked in, Sonya Deville walks up and tells him he is next.
Veer Mahaan is still coming to Raw just in case anyone was wondering.
We get a recap of last week’s main event match between Liv Morgan and Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship and then we get the entrance of “Big Time Becks” who comes out for a promo. Becky talks about how Liv once again came up short and then she asks what if Liv had won the match and was standing there with the title, Becky says the fans would be finding every reason to doubt Liv because the fans don’t know what they want. Becky then brings up how the fans were chanting for her to come back but now everyone has opinions on how she does her job, even though they have never stepped inside a ring, never changed the game, never broke down gender barriers, and never left at the height of your career just to come back better than ever. Becky says if you don’t evolve you get left behind and disappoint all of your fans just like Liv did last week and then she throws up the screenshot of the angry little girl and says all of Liv fans can get used to that disappointment because she is going to keep her championship for a very long time.
Liv comes out and says that Becky keeps talking about how people are doubting her but in reality, the only person doubting her is Becky, and Becky doubting her is the reason why Becky almost lost last week had she not cheated. Liv admits that she did cry last week but it wasn’t because of weakness it was because she is human and she was disappointed, but she snapped out of it because she knows she can beat Becky just like that little girl in the picture believed she could beat Becky. Liv said the story isn’t over between her and Becky, not until she can make that title mean something for people like that little girl. Liv challenges Becky to a rematch at Day 1.
Becky tells Liv not to blame her for grabbing the ropes as she should blame herself for not doing it first. Becky then says to blame herself for not being ready because had she been ready she would’ve seen that coming and the only thing Liv proved was that she doesn’t have the killer instinct because she did absolutely nothing. Liv bolts to the ring and takes Becky down with a Thesz press and then follows up with an enziguri sending Becky rolling out of the ring, but when Liv goes out to follow up on the attack Becky shoves her into the steps and then places her arm between the steps and the ring post, Becky repeatedly steps on the arm and then I think Becky was going to dropkick the steps but slips up and falls on her ass. Becky stomps on the arm a few more times before the referees run out to break them apart. Becky grabs the mic and sarcastically acts like Liv injured herself and then tells her she accepts the match if Liv still wants to go through with it. Becky says that since there is nobody else to challenge for her title she is going to train, hang out with her hot husband and beautiful baby, and as for Liv she should probably put some ice on that arm.
This segment was something else for multiple reasons as the Becky promo before Liv came out was really good even though she was a heel that was telling the truth about how the fans never know what they want. It is obvious how much this whole feud means to Liv as you can feel the emotion coming through during her promos and while this promo started off a little shaky I thought she saved it by the end when she started talking about the little girl from last week. The one thing that is going to be remembered from this promo is the little girl behind Liv who was a Becky fan and she sticks her tongue out behind Liv’s back, which was funny considering last week we had the Liv fan who was pissed after she lost.
I also found a couple of other things interesting from Liv’s promo, the first is that Liv says the word doubting strange as it sounds almost like she is saying daddying and the other thing I noticed is that in the middle of her promo she would stop and tell the fan next to her cheering for her thank you which was some nice fan interaction. I thought the attack by Becky using the steps looked pretty weak compared to other times when we have seen that same kind of attack, I thought those weeks when Baszler was using the steps to injure people looked a lot better than this did. I am looking forward to the rematch at Day 1 and I think there is a chance Liv could end up winning the title, however, if she does then I think she loses it by the Rumble.
AJ Styles is interviewed in the back about what happened last week between him and Omos, Styles admits that they weren’t on the same page last week but he isn’t ready to give up on the team just yet and he chalks up their problems to growing pains. Styles says if things go off the rails with their team it is his fault as he is the veteran of the team and he is supposed to show Omos how to do the right things and he has realized that Omos is a good kid and he wants nothing but the best for him in the business. Omos then walks up and puts his arm around Styles and asks if they are good and Styles says they are gold and he tells Omos he is not giving up on them and Omos says neither is he.
This was a really nice promo from Styles and makes me wonder if he is fixing to turn babyface as he was genuine throughout the promo and was actually taking the blame for what happened between him and Omos and the moment at the end with him and Omos was really nice and heartwarming.
We get some Dana Brooke and Reggie footage from earlier in the day and they are outside in the snow and just like last week Dana escapes from R-Truth, Akira Tozawa, and Tamina.
Our next match is a tag match pitting The Dirty Dawgz against the team of Damian Priest and Finn Balor, this was a good match that saw The Dirty Dawgz pick up the win after Austin Theory ran out and distracted Balor allowing Ziggler to roll up Balor. I guess they decided to hold off on the Priest vs Ziggler United States Championship match as we got this random tag match instead.
We later see Austin Theory barge into Vince McMahon’s office as he is talking to Apollo Crews and he wants to know if Vince was impressed by what he did, but McMahon is not happy with Theory barging into his office like they are friends and as Theory tries to explain himself he gets a classic Shut Up from McMahon. McMahon tells Theory he is not his friend because he doesn’t have friends nor does he want any friends. Then McMahon says he is going to have to pull out his most deadly weapon and things get tense until McMahon pulls out a pencil much to the confusion of Theory. McMahon tells theory the point of the pencil isn’t the most dangerous part it’s the eraser you have to worry about and that is how the segment ends. I can’t remember if I have said this or not but this story with Austin Theory feels like the most accurate portrayal of how Vince McMahon really is as there is no pleasing him and even when a talent thinks they are doing everything right he still finds a problem with it.
We get a conversation between Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. in the back where Nikki feels like she is letting Rhea down, but Rhea gives her a pep talk and tells her she wants the old Nikki back the one she first became tag team champions with. Nikki says she appreciates Rhea and will have her back no matter what.
We get a match that lasts less than a minute between Rhea Ripley and Queen Zelina which saw Queen Zelina pick up the win after she hit a distracted Rhea with a running knee to the head as Rhea was checking on Nikki who had been laid out. It took me longer to type this out than it did for this match. I think I’m ready for Rhea to turn on Nikki and have a heel run as her babyface role has run its course.
Rollins is pissed at KO for tapping out before the Hurt Lock was fully locked in, but KO tells him to calm down and focus on his match. KO wants to go to the ring with Rollins to counter MVP but Rollins doesn’t want him anywhere near the ring. KO admits he tapped so that he wouldn’t be injured before Day 1.
We get the match between Bobby Lashley and Seth Rollins which was going pretty good, but as Rollins was sent to the floor KO runs down and hits Rollins which gives Rollins the win by DQ. Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville come out and say that this is not going to end like this as they restart the match under No DQ rules as will Lashley’s third match. Rollins goes back to the ring and is immediately hit with the Spear which gives Lashley his second win of the night.
It’s time for Miz TV and thankfully Maryse is back as she introduces The Miz. The MIz talks about how he would like to endorse a headliner for the 2022 Hall of Fame Class and then he throws to a video package featuring himself. Miz and Maryse then toast to him beating Edge at Day 1 and sending Edge back into retirement for good. Edge then comes to the ring and says sometimes the squeaky wheel doesn’t get the grease it just squeaks and then he says “squeaks” about twenty times before Miz yells at him to stop and Edge says if that was annoying then Miz now knows how everyone feels anytime he opens his mouth. Edge says Miz would get all of the accolades, the praise, and the glory that he craves if he would just shut his mouth. Edge says Miz is good but is insecure and afraid. Edge says that Miz has been told he isn’t good enough for so long that he started to believe it and that is why he overcompensates by being an annoying, and overbearing jackoff. Edge says that he is not taking his match with Miz at Day 1 lightly as he knows Miz is a future Hall of Famer, but at the end of the day, he is going to teach Miz a lesson as he is going to teach Miz he still has lessons to learn and Miz can consider it him making up for not helping him enough in 2006.
Miz throws his champagne into Edge’s face and then beats him down until Edge makes a comeback and hits Miz with an Edgecution. Edge clears the ring of the Miz TV set and then sets up for the Spear, but as he charges in Miz puts Maryse in front of him, but thankfully Edge stops himself before hitting Maryse. Miz hits Edge with a boot to the face and that is followed by the Skull Crushing Finale, Miz wants to celebrate but Maryse is not happy with him for putting her in front of him, and then she slaps him before walking to the back with MIz chasing behind her.
I thought this was a fine segment but not the best we have seen from either man and the whole thing with Maryse being mad at Edge is obviously going to end up being a setup that could possibly bring in Beth Phoenix as there is no chance of them portraying Miz and Maryse as an unhappy couple when they have a hit reality show that shows the complete opposite as there is no way anyone would believe it.
Big E is warming up backstage when he is approached by KO and Rollins who are depending on him to make sure the match at Day 1 stays a triple threat match. Big E tells them to stay away from his match as he has and will once again beat Lashley on his own.
Bobby Lashley and Big E are interviewed backstage and MVP puts over how Lashley beat both Rollins and KO and when he wins the third match there will be no denying this is the “Almighty Era”, and as far as the match being No DQ MVP says that just gives Lashley the freedom to inflict as much pain and damage as he wants. Lashley says that everyone’s resolution at Day1 will be to bow down to him.
Big E and Bobby Lashley have a really good hard-hitting brawl involving weapons. KO and Rollins interfere in the match and this leads to Big E and Lashley separating to take care of those nuisances and once they put each of them through a table they go back to focusing on each other, but MVP hits Big E in the back of the leg with his cane and then Lashley hits a Spear to pick up the win.
The triple threat match at Day 1 has officially been turned into a fatal-4-way, but I don’t think that changes the outcome as I still think Big E retains the title.
This was not that great of an episode of Raw as the only thing I would suggest watching is the main event as everything else is pretty skippable.
NXT 2.0 Results
- Cameron Grimes def Duke Hudson (No Holds Barred Match) – **¾
- Ivy Nile w/ Malcolm Bivens def Amari Miller – **¼
- Harland w/ Joe Gacy def Guru Raaj – *¼
- Cora Jade def Dakota Kai – **¼
- Tony D’Angelo def Andre Chase – **
- Boa def Edris Enofe – *
- Jacket Time def Grizzled Young Veterans – **¼
- Bron Breakker def Roderick Strong w/ Malcolm Bivens – ***¼
We open the show with a recap video that shows Grayson Waller’s attack on Johnny Gargano last week during his farewell speech. We then go to a video from earlier in the parking lot where Grayson Waller arrives at the CWC and we see him getting booed by the fans outside (who are standing under a canopy next to the table where they do the COVID screenings for the fans in attendance), Waller records the fans reactions as he has no regrets about what he did last week.
We then go inside the arena where we go right into our first match of the night which is the No Holds Barred match between Cameron Grimes and Duke Hudson.
Duke Hudson can’t even get in the ring before he is booted to the floor and then Grimes puts a trash can over Hudson’s head and hits him with a PK from the apron. Grimes works Hudson over with a trash can lid until Hudson grabs the lid and hits Grimes with it. Hudson puts the boots to Grimes in the corner, but is met with a boot when he charges in, and then Grimes catches him with a moonsault off the top for a 2 count. Hudson turns around and Grimes uses his wig to pull him up to the apron only for Hudson to drop Grimes throat-first onto the top rope, Hudson slingshots into the ring where he hits Grimes with a German suplex. Grimes rolls back out to the floor and dodges an attempted chair shot only to be met with a poke to the eye moments later. Hudson gets Grimes up for a crucifix powerbomb, but just like at WarGames, Grimes counters it into a hurricanrana into the plexiglass barricade. Grimes throws Hudson back in the ring and sets up a chair which he uses as a springboard, but Hudson catches him and hits a uranage onto the chair for a very close 2 count and that sends us to a picture-in-picture commercial break.
Hudson fixes his wig before throwing Grimes back out to the floor where he takes his time before following up, but once he does he hits Grimes with a back suplex onto the apron. Hudson reaches under the ring and pulls out a poker table and as this is happening we see the referee talking quite a bit to both men. Hudson slides the poker table into the ring and looks to go back on the attack as Grimes has made his way back into the ring, but he ends up getting sent into the chair via a drop toe hold. Hudson makes a quick comeback as he hits Grimes with a backbreaker and then he sets up the poker table next to the corner. Hudson sits Grimes up on the top rope and after battering him with punches he joins him up top and after being pushed back down to the mat he hits Grimes with another poke to the eye as the commercial comes to an end.
Hudson looks for a superplex but Grimes blocks it and knocks Grimes back down for a second time and then Grimes comes off the top with a big crossbody for a very close 2 count. Grimes lands several kicks to the chest until Hudson blocks and rolls Grimes up in a schoolboy which is unsuccessful and then Grimes counters a powerbomb into a roll-up of his own for another near fall. Hudson charges into a boot in the corner and then Grimes jumps up to the top only to be crotched and then Grimes goes for the crucifix powerbomb yet again and this time Grimes escapes and lands a roundhouse kick to the head followed by a superkick. Grimes looks to hit the Cave In, but Hudson catches him and powerbombs him through the poker table, but the referee refuses to count while Grimes’ is on the table so Hudson had to drag him into the middle of the ring and that time wasted allowed Grimes to kick out when Hudson went for the cover. Hudson goes to the outside and grabs a pair of clippers from under the ring as he is looking to cut Grimes’s hair once again, but as he sits in the chair and grabs Grimes by his hair he is hit with a kick and then a poison rana knocks Hudson back to where he is sitting in the chair and then Grimes hits the Cave In to pick up the win. After the match, Grimes removes Hudson’s wig and Hudson acts shocked.
This was a fun match, but it felt like there were several times during the match where nothing happened as Hudson was busy fixing his wig. I did like that they used the poker table in the match as a way to call back to how the feud began and I thought the finish with the Cave In onto the chair was creative. Now that we have seen that Hudson is fully bald I am sure that this is finally the end of the feud.
Cora Jade is interviewed about her match tonight with Dakota Kai and Cora says she is excited that the doctors have finally cleared her…and then she is interrupted by Dakota who wants Dakota about Raquel as she is going to do to Cora what she did to her as she uses people to do her dirty work while she takes all the glory. Cora tells Dakota thanks but she doesn’t need her advice seeing as she is on quite the winning streak and after she beats Dakota tonight she will be one step closer to facing Mandy for the NXT Women’s Championship, Dakota spazzes out after Cora walks off before darting off herself.
We then get a quick video of Briggs and Jensen joining my favorite tag team in NXT Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter at a country concert. Kacy and Kayden try to teach Briggs and Jensen to dance, but they finally give up and dance with each other. I guess Kacy and Kayden go to any kind of concert as I thought it was just EDM music they were into, but if that is the case then I guess we can expect to see videos of them at rap, rock, reggae, polka, etc concerts in the future because in NXT 2.0 musical tastes are more important than what they can do in the ring.
Grayson Waller comes to the ring and is accompanied by a chorus of boos and slurs from the audience. Waller basks in the fact that he took out Johnny Gargano as he says Gargano outstayed his welcome. Waller says that last week he became The superstar of NXT after winning WarGames and ending the career of Gargano and after that, he went and partied with celebrities over the weekend (and by celebrities, he means alumni from reality shows, which is not a slight as I am a bigger fan of the people he hung out with than I would be A-list celebrities). Waller then shows a video of tweets from the fans after his attack on Gargano and he decides to point out a certain one that says Wade Barrett should’ve kicked his ass and this leads to Waller ragging on Barrett saying this is not 2010 so he couldn’t care less what Barrett thinks of him. Waller then moves on to Vic Joseph saying he did what he did to Gargano in front of Joseph who is Gargano’s best friend and he didn’t do a damn thing about it and that shows what kind of man he is. Waller says he doesn’t need friends, family, or fans as the only thing he needs to get to the top is himself.
Wow, what a change Waller has gone through over the past couple of weeks as going into WarGames he felt like the least important member of his team but now he is being portrayed as the top heel in NXT and his mic skills are great. I don’t know if it will happen or not as I’m not sure what kind of injuries he has, but it would be cool if this ends up bringing Wade Barrett out of retirement for a match against Waller.
We get a Diamond Mine promo in the back as Malcolm Bivens hypes up the Roderick Strong vs Bron Breakker main event for tonight as he says that Breakker may be the breakout superstar but he is not the workhorse of NXT nor is he The champion of NXT as that title belongs to Roderick Strong. Roderick Strong steps up and says tonight they will divide and conquer as Ivy Nile will go do her thing and he will go out and beat Breakker on his own. Bivens hypes up Ivy asking her if she is ready to crack some skulls and we get a fist bump to close the promo.
It’s time for another edition of Lashing Out with Lash Legend and this time her guests are Jacket Time, but before she gets started we see Wendy Choo walk by in her pajamas holding a pillow and a drink. Lash talks about their fashion and throws to stupid slow-motion video and then she asks them their secret and Jiro says it’s Style Strong. Lash then asks Jacket Time about their issues with Grizzled Young Veterans and Jiro tells her it is a very sensitive operation. Kushida says they are not to be underestimated and then they start talking in Japanese saying that GYV has no respect just like Grayson Waller and tonight they will wipe the floor with their faces. Lash looks confused until Jiro jumps up and opens his jacket and says “It’s Jacket Time” and that is how this edition of Lashing Out ends.
I really don’t get how this talk show thing is helping Lash as the segment highlights her guest more than it does her and after deciding to watch her debut match on 205 Live this past week I think it would serve her better to start having matches as she is pretty good for someone so new.
It’s time for our second match of the night at Ivy Nile takes on Amari MIller
Ivy takes Amari to the mat with a headlock takeover which Amari turns into a headscissors only for Ivy to handstand out of the hold and get back on her feet. Ivy takes Amari back to the mat only for Amari to quickly roll away and get back to her feet and this same sequence happens for a second time as Ivy just can’t keep Amari down. Ivy blocks a whip into the ropes and then hits Amari with a forearm to the lower back and then she sends Amari into the corner where she wraps her legs around Amari’s head and does pull-ups and then she dives off the ropes with an elbow drop. Ivy hits a snap suplex and then goes for a slam, but Amari slides out the back and rolls Ivy up in several different pinning combinations, but comes up unsuccessful each time. Amari starts to make a comeback as she hits Ivy with punches that back her into the corner and then she delivers an inverted roundhouse kick in the corner followed by a kick to the chest and a running dropkick. Amari is on fire until Ivy ducks a roundhouse kick and hits Amari with a powerslam followed by a running dropkick. Ivy uses the O’Connor roll to get Amari in position to apply the hand-locked dragon sleeper for the win.
This was a solid little sprint that was more competitive than I expected it to be as I was expecting a total squash by Ivy, between this match and the one I watched of her against Lash Legend I have to say that Amari is really starting to impress me as she is someone who has the potential to be a star as she is improving in the ring week by week.
Xyon Quinn is interviewed about his loss to Santos Escobar last week and he says that now that he knows what rules Elektra is playing by, it’s game on. McKenzie Mitchell gets ready to throw it back to Barret and Joseph when Robert Stone stops her and says he is tired of being disrespected and looked over as he is going to start being taken seriously and then he is interrupted by Von Wagner who talks about smashing and beating people into the ground because he can. I hope they put Robert Stone ends up managing Wagner as he needs a mouthpiece really bad.
We get a video of MSK with their shaman Riddle and he goes through their bag and pulls out all sorts of junk that he says is weighing them down and they have to put their sole focus on the tag titles if they want them back. MSK asks how they can clear their minds and Riddle pulls out three scooters for each of them and the video ends with them riding away.
It’s time for the in-ring debut of Harland and his victim will be Guru Raaj. Harland immediately slams Raaj to the mat from a lockup and then repeatedly bashes his head into the canvas before grinding the bone of his forearm into the face of Raaj. Harland picks up Raaj and hits him with a back suplex into a slam for the win. After the match, Gacy asks Harland if he feels better and after he shakes his head no he goes back over and bashes Raaj’s face into the mat a few more times until Gacy calms him down. Harland and Gacy walk to the back as referees and producers follow them and we later see them walking him out of the arena, where he ends up throwing NXT agent Brian Kendrick down a flight of stairs.
If they hadn’t put over Harland as an intimidating monster before, they definitely did tonight as he came off looking like a complete remorseless maniac which is a nice contrast to Gacy who is all about worrying how other people feel.
LA Knight arrives in his really nice car and he rags on Grayson Waller and how he got butthurt last week when that girl was more interested in him than Waller. Knight says that he wants someone to find Waller and tells him to go find Knight, that is if Knight doesn’t get to him first.
It’s time for the Cora Jade vs Dakota Kai match, but as Cora runs around the ring she runs into Mandy Rose who will be on commentary for this match.
Dakota charges right in and hits Cora with a bicycle kick and then she sends her into the corner where Cora jumps up and over Dakota and then nails her with an uppercut. We get both women sending the other into the ropes and Cora tries for a headscissors, but it ends up getting botched, and then she hits Dakota with a dropkick followed by a backslide for a 2 count. Cora goes up top but is cut off as Dakota hits her with a running kick to the bad arm and then she pulls the injured arm into the ring post and as Cora falls to the floor Dakota hits her with a PK from the apron. Dakota throws Cora back into the ring and goes for a cover but Cora is able to kick out at 2. Dakota continues to work over the arm in the ring as she stomps on it and applies an armbar and then she transitions in a short-arm scissors which Cora rolls into for an unsuccessful pin.
Cora starts to make a comeback as she nails Dakota with a couple of forearms and then is able to move out of the way when Dakota goes for the running kick in the corner and Cora uses that as an opportunity to dump Dakota out to the floor. Cora tries to slap some feeling back into her arm as she waits on Dakota to get back in the ring where she nails her with a couple of clotheslines and running hurricanrana which sends Dakota into the corner. Cora hits Dakota with a running knee in the corner and then follows that up with a dropkick off the top for a 2 count. Cora tries to continue the attack but is met with a scorpion kick and a backbreaker onto the knee for a 2 count. Cora crawls over to the corner where Dakota hits her with a couple of running kicks, but even that is not enough to keep Cora down.
Dakota hits an inverted spinning facebuster for a 2 count and at this point, Dakota has had enough as she goes out to the floor and pulls out her trusty shovel, but this leads to a tug of war between Dakota and the referee and once the referee finally pulls the shovel away it stuns Dakota and Cora sees this an opportunity as she rolls Dakota up in a schoolgirl for the upset win.
After the match, Dakota lays Cora out with a kick and then grabs the shovel, but before she can do any harm Raquel runs down and hits Dakota with a kick sending Dakota out to the floor and they battle to the back. Cora is sitting in the ring alone when Gigi and Jacy walk down to the ring, but they were only a distraction to allow Mandy to hit Cora from behind, and then she drops Cora with an armbreaker.
I thought the match between Cora and Dakota was fine outside of the botched headscissors as the work on the arm and the selling of it by Cora was well done. I wonder how long we will have to wait until we get the Cora vs Mandy title match as they have done a good job of building to it and getting the fans to root for Cora.
Grayson Waller is in the back and nobody wants anything to do with him as even Tiffany Stratton says her daddy told her he is a bad person. Waller then runs into Io Shirai who tells him off in Japanese but he thinks she likes him.
We see Dakota and Raquel fighting out in the parking lot with the referees pulling them apart and then we get a promo from Raquel later in the night where she wants to end Dakota for good and then challenges her to a street fight next week.
Our next match is Tony D’Angelo vs Andre Chase.
Chase is mouthing off to D’Angelo as he hits him with his folded up paper and that leads to D’Angelo dropping him with a right hand and then he takes him down with a waistlock only for Chase to get to his feet and nail D’Angelo with a back elbow. D’Angelo takes Chase around the ring smashing his face into the top turnbuckle and then he hits a side belly-to-belly suplex sending Chase rolling out to the floor where he looks for some support from the Chase University student section. D’Angelo throws Chase back in the ring and then looks to send him into the ropes, but that is countered into a headlock and then he slams D’Angelo to the mat by his hair. Chase hits a spinning neckbreaker for a near fall and then fires away with mounted punches and stomps. D’Angelo tries to fight back but is taken back down with a Russian leg sweep for a 2 count.
Chase grabs a chinlock until D’Angelo starts running around the ring and drops down sending Chase into the corner and then he catches him coming in with a backdrop/ D’Angelo pulls Chase’s sweater over his head and starts nailing him with shots to the stomach and that is followed by a suplex. D’Angelo hits the roll-through northern lights suplex followed by the twisting fisherman’s neckbreaker for the win.
After the match, D’Angelo cuts a promo on how he has done everything he said he was going to do as he just laid waste to Andre Chase and at WarGames he smacked Pete Dunne in his mouth, D’Angelo is then interrupted by the entrance of Pete Dunne. Dunne wants to know if D’Angelo has that same energy when he stands face-to-face with him and D’Angelo tells him he has a face only a mother could love. D’Angelo then talks about how Dunne is missing his mouthguard which D’Angelo has in a glass case at ringside and says that he bets Dunne wants that back. Dunne says he didn’t come to talk but D’Angelo doesn’t want to fight tonight as he has things to do, but he would be down for next week, D’Angelo acts like he is fixing to leave but then tries for a sneak attack but Dunne saw it coming as he grabs the arm of D’Angelo and snaps his fingers causing D’Angelo to roll out to the floor. Dunne walks over and smashes the glass box and puts his mouthguard back in his mouth to end the segment.
The match was a typical paint-by-numbers NXT TV match. Of all the people for one of my favorites Pete Dunne to be feuding with it has to be Tony D’Angelo who is one of my least favorite wrestlers, I can’t wait to see Dunne punch him in the face and break all his fingers.
Grayson Waller enters the locker room where Bron Breakker is training and he tells Waller to get out of the locker room as nobody wants him around and after asking some other guys who we have never seen before if they agree (which they do) he grabs his bag and exits the locker room. Wow, Breakker turns on his WarGames teammate just a week after he helped the team gain a victory.
We see that Brian Kendrick is in the trainer’s room wearing a neck brace because of course you would stay and let the NXT trainers take care of you rather than going to the hospital.
It’s time for our next match as Boa takes on Edris Enofe as this was brought on after Enofe helped Solo Sikoa who was being attacked by Boa a couple of weeks ago.
Enofe hits a couple of strikes to start out the match until he was caught with a kick to the chest as he came off the ropes and then Bos hits a teardrop suplex. Boa locks in a cobra clutch as we see Solo Sikoa watching the match from backstage, Enofe gets back to his feet only to be spun into a series of knee strikes. Boa sends Enofe into the ropes and follows him in landing a knee to the gut each time and then he hits a butterfly suplex for a 2 count. Boa grounds Enofe with a chinlock but he quickly fights back to his feet only to be sent into the corner where he catches an incoming Boa with an elbow and then he delivers a flurry of strikes before dropping Boa with a dropkick and then hitting a bridging fisherman’s suplex for a 2 count. Enofe dives off the middle rope right into a kick to the chest and then Boa locks in the deathlock before delivering a spinning kick to the head for the win.
I did not care for this match at all as Boa never does anything for me and while I liked Edris Enofe during his debut he didn’t impress me as much in the outing, but then again that could have something to do with Boa being his opponent.
We see Grayson Waller and a lovely lady (who looks to be wearing the same pink top that Tiffany Stratton had on earlier) leave in LA Knight’s car and after they speed away we see Knight laid out in the parking lot.
It’s time for some tag team action as the Grizzled Young Veterans take on Jacket Time.
We get some mat work early on with Kushida showing up James Drake and that infuriates Drake to the point where Gibson has to calm him down. Kushida lands a couple of kicks to the leg and then takes Drake over with an arm drag and then he makes a tag to Jiro who comes off the top with a chop to the arm of Drake and then he tags Kushida back in and Kushida grounds Drake with a hammerlock and then twists the arm of Drake. Drake drives Kushida into the ropes and makes a blind tag to Gibson and as Kushida runs the ropes Gibson trips him up and pulls him out of the ring where GYV hit a Russian leg sweep and tope suicida combo. GYV talks some trash to Kushida on the floor before Gibson throws him back into the ring where he delivers a series of forearms until Kushida starts to fight back, but as Kushida attempts a sunset flip Gibson makes a tag and Drake lands a kick to the back of Kushida.
Drake hits a neckbreaker on Kushida and then applies a reverse chinlock and while this is happening we see The Creed Brothers make their way out to the ring. Kushida fights out of the chinlock and then fights his way out of the GYV corner and then he takes a big leap to make the hot tag to Jiro. Jiro comes in on fire as he takes Gibson off the apron and then hits Drake with a spinning heel kick followed by some shots with the jacket. Drake reverses a whip into the corner, but Jiro jumps up and over and hits Drake with a German suplex. Drake comes back in and hits Jiro with a back elbow and then GYV tries for a double clothesline, but Jiro counters and shoves Gibson into Drake and then he takes both men down with a double springboard crossbody. Jiro tags in Kushida and they hit Gibson with a double hip toss followed by a double cartwheel dropkick and then Kushida applies the Hoverboard Lock until Gibson drives him into the corner and Drake hits him with a dropkick to the back and then Gibson hits a suplex for a 2 count.
Gibson makes the tag to Drake and they look to hit Ticket to Mayhem, but Kushida slides off Drake’s shoulders and shoves him into Gibson and then he hits Drake with the big punch and both members of GYV are on the floor. The Creed Brothers tease attacking GYV but as they get closer they stop and point towards the ring and as GYV turns around they are hit by stereo dives from Jacket Time. Kushida rolls Drake back in the ring and makes the tag to Jiro as Jacket Time hits an inverted DDT and Swanton bomb combo for the win.
This was a fun little match and I’m glad to see that although Jacket Time is made to be the joke of the tag division they are allowed to still have good matches as both Jiro and Kushida are good workers, on the flip side GYV are a great team but over the past month have been made to look like jokes. I am looking forward to the GYV vs Creed Brothers match as it could be really good if it is given enough time.
We see Roderick Strong and Malcolm Bivens walking backstage when they run into Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams. Hayes wishes Strong luck nut Bivens tells him they don’t need luck but it looks like they do, and as they move out of the way we see a Dexter Lumis drawing of him chasing a scared Trick Williams. I thought this feud with Hayes and Lumis was over last week.
We go to the commentary table where Vic Joseph gives us a medical update on numerous people. Cora Jade has reinjured her shoulder and is day to day, LA Knight has multiple undisclosed injuries and has been taken to the hospital, and Brian Kendrick has a cervical fracture and has also been taken to the hospital. OMG Vic Joseph just committed a sin on national TV as he said the word hospital twice rather than a medical facility. For someone who had a cervical fracture, they sure did take their time getting Kendrick to the hospital as they had him sitting in the trainer’s room earlier in the night.
It’s time for the main event as Bron Breakker takes on Roderick Strong.
Strong goes for a single leg takedown right away but is thrown to the side, but he goes for the leg a second time and after sweeping the other leg he takes Breakker down to the mat only to get distracted by the arrival of Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams on the balcony. Breakker gets to his feet and throws Strong away only for Strong to come back with a headlock, but Breakker sends him into the ropes and drops him with a shoulder block and then he gator rolls Strong into the center of the ring and pulls him up into a delayed vertical suplex. Strong rolls out to the floor and Breakker follows him which ends up being a mistake as Strong sends him into the announce table and then hits him with a back suplex onto the hood of the announce table. Strong continues to have words with Hayes as the show goes to a picture-in-picture commercial break.
Strong throws Breakker back into the ring and puts the boots to him as Hayes and Williams finally decide to leave the balcony. Strong drives his shoulder into the gut of Breakker in the corner and that is followed by a backbreaker for a 2 count. Strong applies a modified bow and arrow which Breakker eventually powers out of and then it seems like he is going to make a comeback as he rocks Strong with a couple of right hands, but then runs right into a dropkick which gets Strong another 2 count. Strong then looks to lock in a camel clutch but can’t get it properly applied so he pulls at the nose of Breakker instead and that ends the commercial break.
Strong tries to keep Breakker grounded but he is too powerful as he gets to his feet and rocks Strong with forearms and then Breakker sets up for a belly-to-belly suplex only for Strong to fight out of it and he takes Breakker back down with a knee to the gut and a gutbuster for a very close near fall. Strong applies a Boston crab, but Breakker turns his hips to escape the move and then he kicks Strong out of the ring. Strong runs right back into the ring where he is hit with a powerslam and then he dodges an incoming running knee strike by Strong and takes him down with a flying shoulder block followed by a Steinerline. Breakker sends Strong into the ropes and hits him with the Frankensteiner followed by a side belly-to-belly suplex, but somehow Strong is still able to kick out of a pin attempt.
Breakker tries to power Strong up for a powerbomb, but Strong escapes so Breakker drives him into the corner where he delivers repeated shoulder strikes to the midsection, and just when he thinks he has everything under control Strong fires back with a discus back elbow and then he runs back and forth hitting Breakker with glancing forearms as he passes by him and then he hits an Olympic Slam for a 2 count. Strong sends Breakker into the corner and sits him up top where he hits a superplex and as soon as he lands that he smoothly transitions into a tiger bomb where he stacks up Breakker, but that still isn’t enough to keep Breakker down. Strong looks for a suplex, but Breakker blocks it and hits a gourdbuster and then looks to continue his attack but Strong still has some fight left in him as he lands a kick to the head which staggers Breakker, but he catches an attempted knee strike from Strong and turns it into a slam. Breakker takes down the straps and hits the military press powerslam for the win.
After the match, Tommaso Ciampa hits the ring and hits Breakker with the Willow’s Bell, and talks trash to Breakker as the show goes off the air.
This match started out shaky as I didn’t like Strong constantly being distracted by Hayes and Williams who were all the way up in the balcony, but once they left the match definitely picked up and turned into a pretty good main event. So, with Breakker kicking Waller out of the locker room and Ciampa attacking Breakker from behind does this mean Ciampa and Breakker have switched babyface and heel roles? I expect their rematch to be announced next week for New Year’s Evil.
The highlights for this week’s NXT are the No Holds Barred match between Cameron Grimes and Duke Hudson, the main event between Bron Breakker and Roderick Strong, and the development of Grayson Waller becoming the brand’s biggest heel.
NXT UK Results
- Charlie Dempsey def Joe Coffey – ***¾
- Kenny Williams def Danny Jones – *¾
- A-Kid def Nathan Frazer (NXT UK Heritage Cup Championship #1 Contender Match) – ***¼
This week we go right into the intro video and into the BT Sports Studio where after some hype for tonight’s main event we go straight to our first match of the night.
The opening match will see Joe Coffey taking on Charlie Dempsey in his first match since turning heel on Gallus and joining Die Familia.
We get a lengthy segment with both men trying to feel the other out, but nothing they try ends up working until Dempsey breaks a double knuckle lock and takes Coffey to the mat with a headlock takeover, only for Coffey to fight back to his feet and come off the ropes with a running crossbody followed by a side slam for a 2 count. Dempsey tries for a hip toss, but Coffey keeps blocking it, and then when Dempsey does hit the hip toss, Coffey rolls through it into an armbar. Dempsey gets back to his feet and escapes Coffey’s grasp by hitting him with a headscissors and when Coffey takes him back down to the mat Dempsey applies a headscissors on the mat as we see that Coffey’s nose has started bleeding a bit. Coffey rolls out of the headscissors and pins the legs of Demspey to the mat as he hits him with repeated shots to the gut and then he applies a nerve hold before standing up on the crossed legs of Dempsey and stomping them into the mat. Dempsey hits a headbutt to the gut out of desperation that barely phases Coffey as he nails Dempsey with shots to the body and then goes for a punch to the head, but Demspey sidesteps causing Dempsey to hit the turnbuckle. Coffey reverses a whip into the corner and then Dempsey blocks a whip attempt by Coffey and then arm drags him into the corner they are in. Dempsey hits a gutwrench suplex which gets him a 2 count.
Dempsey tries to gain control of the arm but Coffey hits him with a slam, but Dempsey comes back and applies a hammerlock and uses his free hand to deliver forearms to the gut of Coffey. Dempsey drops Coffey with an uppercut and then stomps him on the mat until Coffey is able to move away and get back to his feet where he counters an uppercut with a backslide attempt but isn’t able to pull it off, but he does flip Dempsey over his back and tries for a fireman’s carry but Dempsey rakes the eyes to escape. Dempsey rolls Coffey across the ring with a snapmare and then tries to take him down with a shoulder block which doesn’t work, but he does catch Coffey off a leapfrog attempt and slams him to the mat for a 2 count.
Dempsey applies a submission on the mat which goes nowhere so he lets Coffey up and targets the arm of Coffey only for him to escape moments later. Dempsey jumps up and locks in a guillotine, but is unable to get Coffey down to the mat, and Coffey looks to suplex Dempsey but is having a hard time which allows Dempsey to escape and then we get both men knocking each other down as they clunk their heads together. Both men slowly get to their feet and trade uppercuts until Dempsey takes control and hits Coffey with strikes to the chest only for Coffey to come back with his own series of punches and after one final shot by Demspey to the ribs we see Coffey hit a discus clothesline as both men are down once again. Dempsey once again goes for the arm but Coffey throws him off and gets his boots up when Dempsey charges at him and then he hits the double jump crossbody off the top but is unable to make a cover.
Dempsey pulls himself up in the corner but gets hit by Coffey with the Glasgow Sendoff. Teoman and Rohan Raja run out and pull Dempsey out of the ring and as Coffey confronts them we see Mark Coffey and Wolfgang run down to ringside to even the numbers, while the other members of Gallus and Die Familia fight at ringside we see Dempsey pull Coffey into the steps and then he throws him back into the ring. Dempsey hits Coffey with a death blow and then locks in a dragon sleeper that ends up making Coffey pass out, giving Dempsey the win.
This was a fantastic way to start the show as this was one of Joe Coffey’s best matches and Dempsey had his first great showing in NXT UK. One thing I loved about this match was that it felt like a fight as it felt like both men had to struggle for every move they hit rather than feeling like every move was set up by the competitors in order to put on a good show and make the fans go ooh and ah. I do wish they had saved the Gallus and Die Familia brawling until after the match, but seeing as their interactions didn’t factor into the outcome of the match then I can let it pass. If Dempsey keeps putting on performances like this (which I have no doubt that he will) then we should see him challenging for the NXT UK Championship before the end of 2022.
We get a recap of the NXT UK Tag Team Championship match from last week where Moustache Mountain won the titles from Pretty Deadly. We then go to Sid Scala who announces that in three weeks there will be a mini-tournament to crown the new #1 contenders for the NXT UK Tag Team Championship where the first round will consist of Symbiosis vs Ashton Smith & Oliver Carter and Die Familia vs Dave Mastiff & Jack Starz and the winners of the tournament will face Moustache Mountain at a future date.
We get a vignette for Jordan Devlin that is done as if he was in a commercial for cologne.
The new NXT UK Tag Team Champions Moustache Mountain comes to the ring for a promo where Trent Seven says he needed this title win and after talking about how they came up short in previous title matches he asks what happens to him if they lose the titles. Seven then suddenly becomes lost for words as he fakes being emotional and then he says he doesn’t know how long he has left and he doesn’t know what he would do if he wasn’t tag team champion, but he is champion right now and as long as he has that he is going to keep fighting. Bate talks about how it has been a long journey to become champions, but with patience, hard work, and energy from the crowd they stand there as the first team to win both the NXT and NXT UK Tag Team Championships. Seven reminds Bate that he is the first-ever NXT UK grand slam champion which gets a “grand slam boy” chant from the crowd. Seven thanks the crowd both in attendance and at home on behalf of the entire NXT UK brand for sticking with them through the pandemic and says from there it is only onwards and upwards, Seven wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I guess given what was said in his promo we are getting NXT UK best of shows over the next two weeks as everything is being scheduled for three weeks from now. It still feels like they are setting up a Seven heel turn for once Moustache Mountain loses the titles.
Ashton Smith and Oliver Carter cut a promo in the back where Smith says their goal is to become NXT UK Tag Team Champions and then Carter talks about how he has bling on his neck and wrist but it’s time to have some gold around his waist to make the fit complete. Smith looks confused at what Carter just said but goes on to say that it’s not a matter of when as now is their time.
We get a two-in-one combined vignette for Meiko Satomura and Blair Davenport as they are set to finally have their long-awaited match for the NXT UK Women’s Championship on the first NXT UK episode of 2022. There was a nice line from Blair during this promo where she talks about how she was the top gaijin who conquered Japan, but now Meiko is the gaijin in her country and when they face each other it will be a flawless victory for Blair Davenport.
It’s time for our next match as Kenny Williams is set to take on Danny Jones, but Williams gets on the mic and says that Jones can have the night off as he wants Mark Andrews. Jones doesn’t even make an effort to leave the ring and thus the match is going to happen whether Williams wants it to or not.
Williams takes Jones to the mat with a waistlock but Jones gets back to his feet and takes Williams to the mat with a wristlock, but Williams gets back to his feet and moves over to the ropes to break the hold. Williams grabs a headlock and is shot into the ropes where Jones takes him down with a shoulder block and then catches him with a kitchen sink for a 2 count. Jones lifts Williams over his shoulder, but he slides out the back and takes Jones down with a chop block which is followed by repeated stomps in the corner, and then he drives his knee into the side of Jones’ head. Williams pulls Jones off the mat and nails him with a knee to the gut before taking him back down where he stomps on his head and rakes his back. Williams slaps Jones a couple of times which fires him up as he lands a series of forearms and then throws Williams in the corner where he hits him with a running knee strike and an exploder for a very close 2 count. Williams rolls out to the apron where Jones lifts him up by his hair, but Williams drops Jones throat-first across the top rope and then he charges in and hits a chop block to the front of Jones’ knee before repeatedly stomping on it and then he hits the headlock driver twice for the win.
I’m not sure why they don’t use Danny Jones in any kind of role other than a jobber as he has a good look and is also a good worker.
We get another Symbiosis vignette by the fence and they talk about how things are going to change in this new year and Primate says that if they keep being fed to the wolves sooner or later they will come back leading the pack. This was another over-the-top vignette that is supposed to make Symbiosis even more intimidating than they already are, but it doesn’t do anything to make people care about them any more than they already do which is not a lot.
While no details were given we get a graphic that next week’s show will be a Holiday Special which most like means a best of NXT UK in 2021 as I predicted.
We see that during that commercial Kenny Williams finally found Mark Andrews and attacked him and he tells the cameraman to get a doctor as it appears that the third and final member of Subculture has been put on the shelf.
It’s time for the main event as A-Kid faces Nathan Frazer to find who will become the new #1 contender for Noam Dar’s NXT UK Heritage Cup Championship. I have a feeling this is going to be a treat to watch as these two guys can put on one hell of a match. We get a handshake between the competitors before they go to battle.
Round 1: A-Kid goes behind only to be taken over to the mat where he puts a headscissors on before both men get back to their feet in a stand-off. A-Kid picks the leg and grabs a headlock on the mat until Frazer gets back to his feet and sends A-Kid into the ropes where A-Kid hits him with a shoulder block and then grabs a chinlock which Frazer counters into a hammerlock. A-Kid jumps back to his feet and grabs another headlock only to be shot off into the ropes, A-Kid springs off the ropes and takes Frazer down with an arm drag and that is followed by a dropkick which gets A-Kid a 2 count. A-Kid applies a wristlock and even after Frazer spins around and hits a monkey flip A-Kid keeps control of the arm. Frazer finally breaks the grip of A-Kid and this leads to a few leg sweeps and quick pins by both men. Frazer ducks a kick to the head and then goes for a kick of his own which is caught by A-Kid and after being spun around Frazer goes for a kick, but A-Kid ducks it as the 1st round comes to an end.
Round 2: We get a lockup and A-Kid takes Frazer back down to the mat with a waistlock takedown, but as they get back to their feet Frazer breaks the grip of A-Kid and sends him into the ropes where he delivers a picture-perfect dropkick. Frazer takes A-Kid to the mat with a big arm drag and locks in a top wristlock, but A-Kid bridges and turns his body in order to catch Frazer in a headscissors which Frazer quickly flips out of. Both men take each other to the mat with Lucha-style arm drags and then Frazer rolls into a pin for a 2 count. A-Kid blocks an arm drag and drops to his knees to pin Frazer, but Frazer rolls through into a pin of his own and is able to get the 3 count to pick up the first fall.
Round 3: A-Kid charges at Frazer looking to hit him with a kick into the corner, but Frazer dodges and then ducks a kick from A-Kid only to come back with a spinning kick of his own, A-Kid plays opossum in the ropes and then hits a dropkick as Frazer comes near him. A-Kid hits a German suplex and then holds on to the waistlock looking for an O’Connor roll but Frazer grabs the ropes only for A-Kid to kip up and hit Frazer with a northern lights suplex and then he quickly transitions into an armbar until Frazer gets his foot on the rope to break the hold. Frazer catches A-Kid with a kick and then sends him across the ring with a headscissors, but A-Kid comes back with an octopus hold and a big kick to the chest. Frazer reverses a whip into the ropes and hits A-Kid with a snap belly-to-belly suplex and he follows that by springing off the ropes and hitting A-Kid with a cutting edge for a very close 2 count. Frazer and A-Kid trade forearms and then A-Kid locks on a sleeper which he uses to get Frazer down to his knees and then he runs off the ropes and hits the running kick for a 2 count, but I thought that was going to tie the match up. A-Kid pulls back on the arm as the round comes to an end.
Round 4: Frazer tries to take the first shot of the round but A-Kid ducks and locks in a sleeper only for Frazer to throw him off and hit a dropkick. Frazer goes up top but has to jump down and roll through and then he catches A-Kid with a sling blade followed by a twisting suplex for a 2 count. A-Kid gets back to his feet and quickly goes back to the sleeper to set up for the running kick, but this time Frazer catches A-Kid and rolls him into a Boston Crab only for A-Kid to slide onto his stomach and reverse the hold into a pin for a 2 count. Frazer tries for a springboard but A-Kid follows him and hits him with a German suplex as A-Kid slides through the middle rope. A-Kid gets back in the ring and hits the jumping superkick to win the fall which ties the match at 1-1.
Round 5: A-Kid immediately hits the running kick in the corner and then hits a bridging fisherman’s suplex for a 2 count. A-Kid grabs a waistlock which Frazer tries to elbow out of, but A-Kid pushes him into the ropes, and after hitting a kip-up, Frazer lands a superkick for a very close 2 count. A-Kid plays opossum as he jumps to his feet when Frazer hops up to the top rope as he catches Frazer with a kick and then looks for a superplex, but when Frazer blocks it and then slides through the legs of A-Kid so he is back standing on the mat and then he catches A-Kid with a dropkick which causes A-Kid to lean back onto the ring post. Frazer goes back up top and hits A-Kid with a moonsault fallaway slam for a very close 2 count. Frazer goes back up top and tries for a moonsault but lands on his feet as he sees A-Kid moving out of the way and then Frazer starts hammering down with forearm shots, but A-Kid catches him and transitions into an armbar and then he traps that arm and uses his leg to pull back on the other arm and that is ie enough to finally make Frazer quit which gives A-Kid the win.
While this was a good match I was expecting a little bit more from these two as this was somewhat underwhelming and for the first time ever I have to say that a match involving Joe Coffey was better than an A-Kid vs Nathan Frazer match. I feel like I was wanting an, even more, fast-paced and high-flying match than what we got. I’m sure that A-Kid vs Noam Dar will be a fun Heritage Cup Championship match.
Outside of the Moustache Mountain promo, there wasn’t much filler on this show as we got two really lengthy matches that were both good for different reasons, and on top of that, we got a really good video package for the Meiko Satomura vs Blair Davenport match that is coming up on the first episode of NXT UK of the new year and that is a match I have been looking forward to for quite a while.
- Toni Storm & Sasha Banks def Charlotte Flair & Shotzi – **¾
- The Viking Raiders def Jinder Mahal & Shanky – **
- Ridge Holland w/ Sheamus def Cesaro – **¼
- Naomi def Shayna Baszler – DUD
- New Day def The Usos – ***
We open the show with a recap of last week’s angle involving Brock Lesnar, Sami Zayn, and Paul Heyman and then we go to the parking lot where Paul Heyman is waiting for Roman Reigns to arrive.
We go into the arena where we surprisingly go straight into the first match which will see Toni Storm teaming up with Sasha Banks against the team of Shotzi and Charlotte Flair. This was a good match that got a lot of time and finally, Toni was allowed to show what she is capable of in the ring, however, I am a little pissy that she wasn’t able to have an entrance as she was standing in the ring as the show began as if she were a jobber. It’s nice to see Shotzi back as she was definitely missed these past couple of weeks as she brings her own kind of energy to the show that none of the other women have. I am glad to see they let Toni pick up the win and not get beat down after the match as that is usually what happens to people who beat Charlotte in a match. We later find out that Toni will face Charlotte next week for the SmackDown Women’s Championship and for once I hope this match doesn’t happen as I want their first one-on-one match to come at the PPV.
We go backstage where the babyfaces are chanting for King Xavier who is sitting on his new white throne. Rick Boogs kisses his hand and then The Usos come up as say Woods looks like a joke which leads King Woods to remind them of the royal beating they gave them last week and they will do the same tonight, and then at Day 1 they will beat them again and become the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions.
We see Natalya watching Xia Li’s debut from last week and when she is interviewed about it she talks about how she is now in the Guinness World records for having more matches than any other woman in WWE. Natalya finds it humorous that Xia attacked her and called it protecting. Natalya says that on SmackDown Xia is a nobody while she is the best of all time.
It’s time for some tag team action as Viking Raiders face the team of Jinder Mahal and Shanky. I guess Viking Raiders got the feud that was meant for Hit Row before they got fired. This match was average at best and we can thank Viking Raiders for that as they made this match tolerable against Jinder Mahal and a green non-intimidating giant. I expect this won’t be the last we see of these two teams facing each other.
We get a recap from last week where Drew McIntyre drove his sword into the desk of Adam Pearce, we see that Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss still have the desk as they stole it last week and it will be in the ring up next for another edition of Happy Talk.
We go back to the parking lot where Paul Heyman gets excited as he sees an SUV pull up and as he opens the door he starts praising Roman Reigns until he realizes it’s Brock Lesnar. Lesnar realizes Heyman was waiting for Reigns and Heyman even admits that he was, so Lesnar wishes him luck on that. I didn’t notice it at first but Heyman is holding Reigns’ WWE Universal Championship which makes me wonder why the champion doesn’t keep his title with him.
It’s time for another edition of Happy Talk. Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss have the desk with McIntyre’s sword stabbed through it in the ring with them. Corbin talks about how many different ways you can use McIntyre’s sword and then Madcap Moss makes terrible jokes like always and this segment is absolutely terrible and the fans in Chicago are letting them know that. Corbin then decides to gift Moss the sword and this leads to both Moss and Corbin trying to remove the sword from the desk with no luck, but when Drew McIntyre comes out he pulls the sword out with ease as only the chosen one can pull the sword from the stone, or in this case from the desk. This segment sucked and was a complete waste of time and I hate that McIntyre is feuding with Corbin and Moss. We later find Corbin and Moss hiding in a dark corner and Corbin says McIntyre will face Madcap Moss at Day 1, I now know what my bathroom break for that show will be.
We go to the office of Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville where Sami Zayn comes in and he is still unhappy about Brock Lesnar costing him his shot at the Universal Championship and he says that it took him a year before he got a chance to earn his Intercontinental Championship back. Adam and Sonya stop Zayn as they have a gift for him seeing as he loves the Intercontinental Championship so much, they announce that on next week’s SmackDown there will be a 12 Days of Christmas Gauntlet match which is a 12-man gauntlet where the winner becomes the #1 contender for the Intercontinental Championship. We find out later the participants for this match will be Shanky, Cesaro, Ricochet, Erik, Ivar, Jinder Mahal, Angel, Humberto, Mansoor, Drew Gulak, Sheamus, and Sami Zayn.
The next match is Cesaro vs Ridge Holland but before the match begins Sheamus distracts Cesaro allowing Holland to hit Cesaro in the ribs with his baton and this takes Cesaro down as the show goes to a commercial break, once the show comes back we see Cesaro has his ribs taped up but he still wants to fight, so the referee calls for the bell. This was a hard-hitting match as expected and although Cesaro was able to fight through the pain for a while a distraction by Sheamus allowed Holland to hit Cesaro in the ribs and then hit the Emerald Flowsion for the win. Glad to see Holland finally pick up a win even if it wasn’t clean and I expect this isn’t the last time we will see these two face each other in the next few weeks.
Naomi comes to the ring and she talks about how she never has a long Christmas list and this year she only has one thing written on it which is to face Sonya Deville one-on-one. Naomi calls Sonya out for a match tonight and while Sonya does come out she isn’t dressed to compete and she reminds Naomi that as long as she is wearing the suit she is in charge and Naomi can’t touch her. Sonya then says she has an opponent for Naomi who has been wanting to get her hands on her and that person is Shayna Baszler, Naomi is fine with facing Shayna but she wants Sonya now. Sonya acts like she is going to get in the ring to fight, but this was merely a distraction to allow Shayna to attack from behind. Shayna attacks Naomi’s leg and then Sonya tells the referee to ring the bell and when the bell rings Shayna locks in a heel hook, Naomi struggles to get to the ropes, and when she gets close Shayna grabs her by the leg and pulls her back into the center of the ring and this gives Naomi the opportunity to shift her weight and fold Shayna up for the 3 count.
They are really making Naomi look dumb in this story as she has come out week after week saying the same thing about wanting to face Sonya, knowing that Sonya isn’t going to have a match with her one-on-one, so instead of just coming out every week and expecting Sonya to magically change her mind why doesn’t Naomi find another way to get the match she wants with Sonya such as making it where if she can beat Shayna for a second time then Sonya is forced to face her in a match with no interference allowed or perhaps Naomi should raise the stakes in Sonya’ favor like if Sonya faces her and she loses then she will leave WWE. Please just let Naomi be smart and come up with a different way to get into this match instead of just coming out and nicely asking as that clearly hasn’t worked so far.
Up next is the New Day vs Usos match and while every match between these two teams is good (including this one), I really didn’t need these two teams facing off just two weeks before their title match as we have seen them go against each other a hundred times and unless they are fighting for the titles I don’t really need to see more unnecessary matches between them, which is exactly what this was. New Day ends up picking up the win after Sir Kingston hits Jimmy with the Trouble in Paradise.
We go back out to the parking lot one last time with Paul Heyman and this time Roman Reigns arrives and he tells Heyman they are headed to his ring.
It’s time for the final segment of the night as Roman Reigns comes to the ring along with Paul Heyman and they join The Usos who are still in the ring after their match. Reigns takes the mic and says that he doesn’t like it when his cousins lose, but they are family so they can get through it because they are blood, however, Paul Heyman is not his blood and he should know better than anyone that he won’t have people disrespecting him as disrespecting him is like disrespecting his family. Reigns says he is going to ask Heyman a series of questions as he may have taken last week off but he knows everything that goes on and last week Heyman was being shady. Reigns then asks Heyman if he knew that Lesnar way going to be at SummerSlam, was going to be at MSG, and was going to have his suspension lifted? Reigns then asks Heyman the most important question which is whether he is an advocate or a is he special counsel?
Heyman hesitates to answer and before he can say a word Reigns warns Heyman that it is very important that he acknowledge him by telling the truth and then he asks Heyman why he is protecting Brock Lesnar from him? Heyman finally speaks up and tells Reigns that he isn’t protecting Lesnar from Reigns he is protecting Reigns from Lesnar, this does not sit well with Reigns and The Usos but Reigns holds his cool. Reigns wants a hug from Heyman as he thanks him for his honesty and for being of service to his family for the past 40 years, but he is fired. Reigns hits Heyman with a Superman Punch and then orders The Usos to go out and get a couple of chairs as he is looking to hit a con-chair-to, but before he can Lesnar runs out and he lays out both Usos at ringside with a couple of F-5s and then he hits the ring where Reigns works him over with a chair until Lesnar gets him up and hits him with two F-5s and that is how the show comes to a close.
I thought this was a really good segment as I liked how Reigns was able to keep his cool the entire time even though he knew the whole time that Heyman was full of crap. It is rare that Heyman gets attacked as he is not a Bobby Heenan or Jimmy Hart who used to take bumps quite frequently, so Reigns laying him out is a pretty big deal. I wonder if this means that Heyman will become a babyface for what I believe is the first time in his career, if this does lead to a babyface turn for Heyman this could be an interesting twist in the Lesnar vs Reigns feud.
This was not the best episode of SmackDown as outside of the opening match and everything involving Heyman and Reigns the rest of the show was either skippable or really bad (Happy Talk & Naomi segments).
In the news
The biggest story of the week is that Kevin Owens has signed a new contract with WWE much to the displeasure of a lot of wrestling fans who were sure that he was going to be All Elite. Not only did he sign but he said his decision was easy to make as it was the best for his family. It is being reported that the new deal was actually signed a few weeks ago and Dave Meltzer reports that the contract is for three years. It is also being reported that Owens will be making $2-3 million while having a reduced schedule.
As for Owens’ best friend Sami Zayn, it is being reported that he has already re-signed with the company as well.
WWE are highly interested in signing MJF once his contract expires as his feud with CM Punk has caught the eye of non-wrestling people within Fox and USA network which is why WWE has suddenly become a lot more interested in him, but don’t expect MJF to jump ship anytime soon as his AEW contract doesn’t expire until 2024.
Matt Hardy said earlier this week during a Twitch stream that Jeff Hardy is in a good place and is not using alcohol or drugs. Matt is confident that the drug tests WWE gave Jeff will come back clean and he thinks this is one instance where WWE jumped the gun.
Dave Meltzer reports that many talents in WWE no longer have downside guarantees and while salaries are higher than they used to be, the talent is no longer getting bonuses merch sales, and house show gates.
Ringside News reports that Roman Reigns’ absence last week was due to a vacation which was known about ahead of time.
The Observer reports that after his recent cardiac event Triple H is highly unlikely to ever wrestle again.
The Observer reports that ticket sales for Day 1 started moving faster after the announcement of the Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns match, however, it is still unlikely to be a sell-out.
WWE has recently filed a trademark for the name Piper Niven which hopefully means that Droudop will eventually go back to using the name she used in NXT UK.
Coming up this Week
- Finn Balor vs Austin Theory
- Bianca Belair vs Doudrop (3rd week in a row for this match)
- The Cutting Edge w/ Special Guest: Maryse
- Miz TV w/ AJ Styles & Omos
- Rhea Ripley vs Queen Zelina
- Dakota Kai vs Raquel Gonzalez (Street Fight)
- Pete Dunne vs Tony D’Angelo
- Von Wagner in action
- Charlotte Flair © vs Toni Storm (SmackDown Women’s Championship)
- 12 Days of Christmas Gauntlet (WWE Intercontinental Championship #1 Contender Match)
As I said at the top this will be my last “This Week in WWE” article of 2021, but when I come back I will have tons to cover as I will have both Day 1 and NXT: New Year’s Evil to recap as well as the fall out of Day 1 and the start of the build to the Royal Rumble.