- Raquel Gonzalez, Cora Jade, Io Shirai, & Kay Lee Ray def Toxic Attraction & Dakota Kai (WarGames) – ****¼
- Imperium © def Kyle O’Reilly & Von Wagner (NXT Tag Team Championship) – ****
- Cameron Grimes def Duke Hudson (Hair vs Hair Match) – **¾
- Roderick Strong © w/ The Diamond Mine def Joe Gacy w/ Harland (NXT Cruiserweight Championship) – ***
- Team 2.0 (Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, Tony D’Angelo, & Grayson Waller) def Team Black and Gold (Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne, & LA Knight) w/ Trick Williams (WarGames) – ****½
We open the show with the Women’s WarGames match and unlike previous years where the shark cages are at the entrance we see that they are now placed at the top of the arena where the crowd sits which meant that every time someone came to the ring they would have to go through the crowd which was cool.
This match was pretty much your typical WarGames match until a spot where my girl Cora Jade decided to do the crazy bump of the match as she flips off the top of the cage in order to put Jacy Jayne through a table. When the bump first happened I thought she had landed on her neck and was seriously injured, but thankfully it was just an arm, however, because of Cora’s fantastic selling and the reactions of her teammates for the rest of the match I wasn’t sure whether the injury was legit or a work. Some extra things they did to further put over the injury was they had Io pop it back into place and then for quite a while Cora sat by herself in one of the rings and Raquel would come over to her to make sure she was ok several times.
I thought Mandy did a really great job as the lead heel targeting Cora seeing as she was the weakest link at that moment. There was an awkward moment in the match where the two teams are standing across from each other in the two separate rings and at one point KLR turns and starts walking towards Cora with a kendo stick in hand looking like she is going to hit Cora, but then she swings and hits Dakota instead. I’m still not sure what they were going for with that spot but it didn’t work. At the end of the day when it comes to the Cora injury, I’m 99.9% sure it was all a work, but there is still a part of me that wonders if it was legit and she just somehow worked through it as that is just how good they did to sell the injury. One thing that bothered me was that when Gigi Dolin entered the ring she brought in a backpack with her, but it was never revealed what was in the bag. The fact that they didn’t show what was in the bag is another reason I still have doubts on whether the injury was as it makes me wonder if they went home earlier than they were supposed to as its strange for them to have her brings the backpack into the ring and not reveal what’s inside.
I thought all eight women in the match did a fantastic job and all of the women who are new to NXT had a great showing in their first Takeover (I know the events are no longer called Takeover, but that’s what this was). It’s nice to not have to wait forever before one of my favorites gets time to shine as this match was clearly used to put over Cora as a good chunk of the match was centered around her which made me very happy. I also have to mention how hot Toxic Attraction was looking for this match. I would call this match a success and the rest of the show was going to have to step up to top the craziness we saw in the women’s WarGames match.
Throughout the night between the matches, we would get the same vignettes that have been shown over the past couple of months of all the new characters in NXT 2.0 including Tiffany Stratton, Briggs & Jensen, Boa, MSK, Grizzled Young Veterans, Ikeman Jiro, Legado del Fantasma, Draco Anthony, and my favorite tag team in NXT Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter.
Before the second match, we got a strategy session for Team Black & Gold and Ciampa talks about how this isn’t just their moment as a team, but more specifically this is Gargano’s moment. As someone who watches and recaps NXT every week, I selfishly hope Gargano doesn’t leave as he is one of the bright spots in this new NXT, and losing him would be quite a loss for the brand.
Our next match is the NXT Tag Team Championship match between the champions Imperium and the challengers Kyle O’Reilly and Von Wagner. We are two for two on great matches and if this is indeed O’Reilly’s last match then at least he went out with a banger as this match exceeded my expectations. I thought this was the best showing from Imperium that we have seen in a while as they were on top of their game, especially Aichner who was showing off how versatile he is as he was hitting power moves on Wagner one minute and is then diving to the outside the next. I liked the finish where Aichner uses his power to lift O’Reilly while he is locked in an armbar and it from that position that they hit the Imperium Bomb to pick up the win and retain their titles.
After the match, O’Reilly got a nice reaction from the crowd as they chanted “Thank You Kyle” as this looks to be his last match in NXT. We then see Wagner attempt to attack O’Reilly from behind but given what happened with Adam Cole he senses it coming and takes the big man down with a combination of strikes and then throws up the Undisputed Era hand sign and tells Wagner to suck it before leaving the ring. I’m glad O’Reillys last night didn’t end with him being laid out as he got to beat Wagner’s ass and leave with the spotlight still on him.
Legado del Fantasma is interviewed backstage and Escobar is asked about his match against Xyon Quinn coming up this week on NXT, Escobar says that Quinn bit off more than he can chew, and on Wednesday reality will hit him in the face. Escobar is then asked about Elektra’s meeting with Quinn this past week and Escobar responds that they are a family and just like any other family their personal business is handled behind closed doors. Elektra then says she is a grown-ass woman and what she does on her own time is nobody’s business.
Up next is the Hair vs Hair match between Cameron Grimes and Duke Hudson. I thought they had a good match but it was nothing that special like you would expect from a match on a special NXT show such as this as I felt I could’ve seen this same match on any random episode of NXT. Grimes ends up picking up the win when counters a Razor’s Edge into a hurricanrana which sends Hudson into the corner and then Grimes rolls up Hudson and grabs the tights to pick up the win. After the match, Grimes throws Hudson into the other ring (which is where the barber chair is sitting) only for Hudson to nail Grimes with a clothesline and then he sits Grimes down in the chair looking to shave his head anyway, but Grimes recovers and hits Hudson with the Cave In. Grimes sits Hudson in the chair and starts shaving his head, but after going through his head a few times with the clippers Hudson runs away. Grimes sits in the chair and celebrates while Hudson looks on from the stage distraught over his precious hair. This was all a lot of fun, but nothing special in terms of in-ring work.
We get a commercial showing the return of New Year’s Evil which will be happening on January 4.
Up next is the NXT Cruiserweight Championship match between the champion Roderick Strong and the challenger Joe Gacy. This is either the first match in the new direction for the cruiserweight championship or the last night for the cruiserweight championship all together as Joe Gacy is nowhere near the 205 lb weight limit.
This was the shortest match on the show, but that didn’t prevent them from having a really good match as this match was intense and hard-hitting which is why I had to give this match a higher rating than the Grimes vs Hudson match. There is a spot where Ivy Nile gets in the face of Gacy at ringside and Harland comes over and lifts her off the ground, but Gacy is able to calm him down and he puts her back down. The finish comes when Strong catches Gacy coming off the ropes with a jumping knee and then he hits the End of Heartache for the win. Short match, but really good work for the time they were allotted.
We get another vignette for Ikeman Jiro and I believe this one is new as it s about him eating a lot of super-sized food and then having to take a shit right after. No pun intended but this was complete shit and stuff like this is why people are giving up on this new NXT and also why guys are choosing not to resign as the one brand in NXT that was taken seriously and was adored by the fans is quickly becoming nothing but a joke.
We get an interview with Kyle O’Reilly who is still steaming from Wagner attempting to turn on him. O’Reilly says this is the first time in five years that he hasn’t been in a WarGames match and he is hungry for some steel so if Wagner wants to finish what he started they can this week inside a steel cage. I guess O’Reilly leaving with the spotlight on him isn’t going to happen after all as I am sure he will do the job on Tuesday to Wagner on this way out.
It’s time for the main event as Team Black and Gold comprised of Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne, & LA Knight takes on Team 2.0 which is comprised of Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, Tony D’Angelo, & Grayson Waller inside WarGames. If this being Gargano’s last night in NXT wasn’t emotional enough on its own, try adding the fact that he came out to his old Rebel Heart theme.
I wasn’t expecting much going into this match because I didn’t know how these new guys were going to do on a big stage like WarGames, but they definitely exceeded my expectations as this match was great. I really liked the wrestling we got before the weapons started being used as the first and second periods with Gargano, Hayes, and Waller had some nice sequences. It was nice that they had Trick Williams at ringside as he was able to be the one who fetched all the weapons so that the person entering the match didn’t have to like we saw in the women’s WarGames match, and I also liked that they factored Dexter Lumis into the match in order to chase Williams away from ringside. There was a spot where D’Angelo locks the door so that the next member of Team Black and Gold can’t get in but the spot ends up being pretty pointless as LA Knight climbs the cage and enters the match with ease. Pete Dunne used the weapons in the ring to find ways to work over the fingers of Waller.
Given that this was most likely Gargano’s last match in NXT I am glad to see we got one last reunion of DIY and I thought the callback of Gargano using the crutch and then throwing it to Ciampa was a really nice touch as was them hitting their double team finisher at the end of the match. I didn’t expect much from LA Knight coming into this match, but he decided to turn it up for this match and that belly-to-belly suplex off the top on Waller was insane. We saw Waller get the obligatory dive off the top of the cage as he put Knight through a table with a diving elbow drop and then D’Angelo followed that up with an insane spinning neckbreaker off the top rope using a crowbar. The finish saw Ciampa looking to hit Hayes with the Fairy Tale Ending, but Breakker spears him through a table and then hits him with his powerslam finisher for the win. This match was a lot of fun as it had a bit of everything from good wrestling, crazy spots, callbacks, and most of all it gave Gargano one last time to shine before he makes his exit from NXT.
This show was the end of an era for NXT and a new one is beginning as we saw the new crop of talent really step up and show that they can put on matches that are of the same quality as what we are used to from NXT if they are given the time to wrestle rather than trying to get over a stupid over the top gimmick. While I’m sure NXT will be fine in the hands of the new crop of talent it will never be the same after this week after they lose both Kyle O’Reilly and the heart of NXT Johnny Gargano as it won’t feel right to turn on NXT and not see either of their faces as they both have been apart of some of NXT’s biggest moments in the past 4-5 years. I am writing this on Tuesday afternoon and I don’t know if it will happen but it would be nice if they gave Gargano a big farewell celebration as he has meant so much to NXT. I hope for nothing but the absolute best for Gargano and O’Reilly in their post-WWE careers as they will have no problem succeeding in whatever they do or wherever they go as they both have talent coming out of their ass.
In addition to the departures of Gargano and O’Reilly in the ring, this show was also the last for Beth Phoenix as a commentator for NXT which is just as much of a bummer as Beth has brought so much to the commentary table during her time in NXT and she will definitely be missed as now we don’t have anyone to throw playful jabs at Wade Barrett on a weekly basis.
I would consider this show a success as both WarGames matches and the NXT Tag Team Championship matches were really good and the only bad part of the show was the repeat of all the vignettes in between the matches as well as the new Ikeman Jiro video which was literally the drizzling shits.
- Big E def Kevin Owens (Steel Cage Match) – ***¾
- Queen Zelina w/ Carmella def Nikki A.S.H. w/ Rhea Ripley – **¼
- The Street Profits def AJ Styles & Omos via Count Out (RK-Bronament Tournament Semi-Final Match) – **½
- Damian Priest © def Robert Roode w/ Dolph Ziggler (WWE United States Championship) – **¼
- Bianca Belair def Doudrop via Count Out – **¾
- The Mysterios def Alpha Academy – **¼
- Finn Balor def T-Bar – **¼
- Becky Lynch © def Liv Morgan (Raw Women’s Championship) – ***½
We kick off this week’s show with a big match as Big E faces Kevin Owens inside of a steel cage and this match was really good which is to be expected any time Big E or Kevin Owens is in a match. We got some Seth Rollins interference midway through the match as he slams the door into the head of Big E, but in the end, Big E comes out on top when he hits KO with a Big Ending off the top rope. After the match, Rollins attacks KO but Big E pulls him off and hits Rollins with a suplex and then he drops KO once again with the Big Ending. We go to a commercial break, but when we come back we are shown footage of Bobby Lashley attacking all three participants of the Day 1 triple threat match.
Later in the night, we would get an interview with Bobby Lashley and MVP and they feel that Lashley he been disrespected as he wasn’t mentioned when it came time to name challengers for Big E, and what happened after the steel cage match was the consequences that come with disrespecting “The All-Mighty”. I guess we are getting a four-way match at Day 1.
Queen Zelina will be taking on Nikki A.S.H. in the next match but before the match, Queen Zelina cuts a promo saying the Memphis crowd should feel honored to have the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions and the Queen in their presence, and then she rips on Nikki saying she is going to send her back to the depths of despair. Queen Zelina and Nikki have a quick little match that ends when Queen Zelina sidesteps a crossbody off the top and then hits a Code Red for the win.
We later see Rhea trying to cheer up Nikki backstage as Nikki is feeling down about herself, but then a fan came up and asked for an autograph, but when Nikki says yes the fan tells her she was actually talking about him and then the camera pans over to see Jerry “The King” Lawler. Lawler signs the autograph and then talks down to Nikki asking her if she wants an autograph which makes Nikki walk off as Rhea stares down Lawler. I really wish Rhea would’ve punched this asshole right in his face so hard it made him finally look his age, how the hell is this guy not completely canceled and why do they bring him back at he doesn’t bring anything to the product anymore. Also, I get that Lawler is a legend in Memphis but there is no way the girl who wanted an autograph would be old enough to realize who he is outside of WWE, and nothing he has done in WWE in the last 15 years has made him worthy of getting an autograph from. Sorry about my rant I have just been watching a lot of WWE 2000 and I am ashamed I ever found him funny as he is so annoying even back then and he constantly derails the commentary and throws JR off the point he is trying to make by making a stupid or offensive joke.
The Raw tag division tonight will be involved in the first-ever RK-Bronament tag tournament to determine the #1 Contenders for the Raw Tag Team Championship, the semi-final matches will happen this week and the finals will be next week. RK-Bro will be on commentary for the matches and will also interview the winners after the match and of course, Riddle is dressed for the job as he is wearing a tuxedo shirt and a blazer and he wants Orton to wear a blazer as well, and after some begging from Riddle and the crowd cheering, Orton puts the blazer on and walks out to the ring.
The first match in the tournament is between The Street Profits and the team of AJ Styles & Omos, this was turning into a pretty good match until the finish as Omos starts beating down Dawkins on the outside, and despite Styles’ trying to tell him Omos gets himself and Styles counted out giving The Street Profits a ticket to the finals. The dissension that started last week between Omos and Styles continues tonight and it seems like we are headed for a breakup of the team, I guess that veteran who thought Omos should stay with Styles because Omos was green only got what he wanted for a couple of months.
After the match, Riddle is in the ring for an interview with Styles who is confused as to why Riddle wants to talk to him as he should be talking to the winners, but Riddle says he wants to cover the bigger story which is the dissension between Styles and Omos. Styles tells him it is just a simple misunderstanding and a case of miscommunication and then storms off. I really hope Omos doesn’t end up being Styles’ WrestleMania opponent.
Becky Lynch is interviewed ahead of her big title defense against Liv Morgan in the main event tonight. Becky talks about how this is the biggest night in Liv’s career and admits she has a lot of momentum on her side, however, Liv’s biggest battle won’t be in that ring it will be within her own head and heart. Becky says that right now Liv is the underdog and people want to cheer for her, but the moment she does too well they will turn on her, so really Liv is in the best position right now being the underdog that will never achieve greatness. This was another fantastic promo by “Big Time Becks” as expected as she always knocks it out of the park when she has a mic in her hand.
This week’s United States Championship open challenge is being answered by Robert Roode and they had a fine match but I didn’t find it to be anything that special and after close to 10-minutes Priest wins the match with The Reckoning. After the match, Ziggler hits Priest with a superkick to set up what will probably be next week’s US Championship match.
We finally get our Bianca Belair vs Doudrop match after weeks of Dourop attacking Belair from behind. We get a really good match between these two and definitely Doudrop’s best match since coming up to the main roster, but then we got a shitty finish as Doudrop decides to walk out of the match and we get our second count out of the night. I guess they decided to change things up tonight as we are getting count outs instead of DQ’s on this week’s Raw. I’m sure we will get more matches between these two and probably most of them will end in a non-finish before we finally get a satisfying ending where one cleanly goes over the other.
It’s time for another Vince McMahon and Austin Theory segment and this time Vince let’s Theory know that when people ask how you’re doing they really don’t care. McMahon then says he is going to teach Theory a lesson this week by putting him in a match and then he asks Theory if he expected that and after Theory gets confused on how he is supposed to answer McMahon gives him a dirty look. Later in the night, Theory is doing jumping jacks to get ready for his match but McMahon has changed his mind about Theory being in a match and then he tells him he will have to find another way to impress him. Theory starts doing jumping jacks again showing that he can do that all day, but this isn’t what McMahon was talking about when he said to impress him as he wants Theory to use his brain, Theory looks like has come up with an idea and the rushes off.
We get a really quick match where Finn Balor beats T-Bar quite decisively, after the match Theory runs in and hits Balor with the ATL and then takes some selfies over Balor’s fallen body. I wonder if this was good enough to impress McMahon as I was starting to get worried for Theory as I wasn’t sure what lengths McMahon wanted Theory to go to in order to impress him.
It’s time for Miz TV as The Miz is going solo this week without Maryse. Miz runs down Memphis and then brings up Edge as he says that after going back and watching their confrontation from last week he can’t help but think that Edge is just a shell of his former self and then he introduces Edge as his guest. Edge comes out and says that last week when he gave Miz all of those compliments he meant every bit of it, but he doesn’t want The Miz to take his kindness for weakness. The Miz says he doesn’t need Edge’s kindness now, but he did need it when he was a rookie back as at that time he couldn’t do anything right and was even kicked out of the locker room but Edge just stood by and watched it happen. Edge says that Miz is not telling the whole story as he pulled Miz aside back then and told him he had what it took to succeed and was going to be just fine, but MIz brushed him off even though Edge had been through the exact same thing when he first came into the company. Edge says that Miz needs to look in the mirror as he will see he is just an ass. Miz says that 2022 will be his year and then he challenges Edge for a match at Day 1 which he accepts, but he then challenges Miz to a match right then and there but Miz declines. Edge acts like he is going to punch Miz which causes Miz to fall to the mat and Edge knows Miz is afraid of him.
I like that they chose to reach back to Miz’s rookie year and how he was treated in order to build this feud, but instead of making it seem like Miz was the victim, they turned the story to make it seem like Miz was just too cocky and didn’t want any feedback from anyone including Edge and how that attitude hasn’t changed about The Miz. This was a nice back and forth to really kick off this feud.
Liv Morgan is interviewed in the back and she is clearly emotional as she says that everyone is watching tonight to see her win the title and she is going to do everything within her power to do just that.
Veer Mahaan is still coming soon.
It’s time for the other RK-Bronament tag tournament match as The Mysterios take on Alpha Academy and this was a quick match that saw The Mysterios pick up the win when Dominik rolled Ziggler up in a schoolboy. Riddle tries to talk to Alpha Academy after the match and ends up paying for it as Otis slams him to the mat and this time Orton wasn’t there to help his buddy as he told Riddle he was on his own earlier in the night as he was retiring from the broadcast team. We still have no indication of a potential split and feud between The Mysterios.
Dana Brooke is walking backstage when she is approached by R-Truth and Akira Tozawa who are confused about what they are supposed to do seeing as they don’t know if the rulebook allows them to fight Dana. Reginald then flips into the picture and starts flirting with Dana but they are interrupted by Tamina who comes charging after Dana, but Reginald steps in front of Tamina to distract her which allows Dana to run away.
It’s time for the main event as Becky Lynch defends her Raw Women’s Championship against Liv Morgan and to add even more hype to this match we get a really well-done video package prior to the match that showed footage from the network special they did on her a year or two ago as we got home video footage as well as comments from her mom on how much she wanted to be a wrestler when she was growing up. If this match wasn’t hyped up enough already, the fact that they were allowed to main event the show on the 21st anniversary of the first-ever women’s main event on Raw between Trish Stratus and Lita made this match all the more important and special.
As much as WWE hyped up Liv prior to the match the real test would come once she stepped inside the ring as she is not going to truly get over with the fans until they can see that she can hang in the ring for an extended amount of time with one of the best, and that is exactly what she did. Becky and Liv put on a great match and although Liv didn’t win the title at the end of the night she showed everyone what she is capable of and that she is a credible contender for the title. I know there are a lot of people that are upset about Liv not winning the title after all the hype surrounding her, but I honestly never expected her to win the title here as few win the title on their first opportunity nor did I want her to win it here as I want her to win on a bigger stage and I hope that now since she has proven herself they will strongly consider giving her the big Royal Rumble win and have her beat Becky at WrestleMania and if they don’t give her the win at Royal Rumble then hopefully that will go to Toni Storm and she can dethrone Charlotte at WrestleMania.
The highlights from this episode of Raw that I would recommend checking out are the steel cage match between Big E and Kevin Owens, Miz TV with Edge, and the main event match between Liv Morgan and Becky Lynch.
NXT 2.0 Results
- Von Wagner def Kyle O’Reilly (Steel Cage Match) – ***¼
- Brooks & Jensen def The Creed Brothers w/ The Diamond Mine – **¼
- Dexter Lumis def Carmelo Hayes w/ Trick Williams via DQ – **½
- Toxic Attraction w/ Mandy Rose def Valentina Feroz & Yulisa Leon – **
- Santos Escobar w/ Legado del Fantasma def Xyon Quinn – **¾
After a recap of WarGames, we go into the CWC where for the third consecutive night we open the show with a steel cage match as Kyle O’Reilly looks to get revenge on Von Wagner after Wagner attempted to attack him after their tag match at WarGames. Von Wagner makes his way out first only to be jumped from behind by O’Reilly who sends him into the cage and the steps before allowing Wagner to get in the ring so that the match can officially start.
O’Reilly is fired up as he works over Wagner in the corner with strikes but is taken down by a clothesline moments later and then Wagner sends O’Reilly into the corner where he drives his shoulder into the gut of O’Reilly and then he nails him with a big headbutt. O’Reilly blocks a suplex attempt and then targets the arm for a minute until Wagner counters with a back suplex only to miss a jumping headbutt which allows O’Reilly to mount him and deliver hammering forearms to the back of Wagner’s neck and that is followed by O’Reilly driving his knee into the ribs of Wagner. O’Reilly looks to continue his attack but Wagner hits him with a running boot and that is followed by a gutwrench suplex that throws O’Reilly across the ring. Wagner attempts a powerbomb only for O’Reilly to crawl through his legs and try for his strike combination, but Wagner catches a kick and slams O’Reilly to the mat and then Wagner successfully hits the jumping headbutt for a 2 count.
Wagner applies a reverse bear hug for quite a while to wear down O’Reilly but he eventually fights out of it with repeated back elbows and then he focuses his attention on the leg of Wagner as he hits him with a dragon screw out of the corner and then lands several kicks to the leg before Wagner takes him down with a short-arm clothesline. Wagner gets O’Reilly up in a powerbomb position and rams him into the cage, but O’Reilly is able to prevent Wagner from doing that twice as he hits him with a DDT and both men are down as we go to a picture-in-picture commercial break.
Both men exchange strikes from their knees and once they get back to their feet Wagner takes O’Reilly right back down when he applies the reverse bear hug once again, but just like last time O’Reilly fights out of it with back elbows only to be sent hard into the corner causing him to collapse to the mat. Wagner hits O’Reilly with a backbreaker and then goes back to the reverse bear hug, but this time when O’Reilly starts to fight back Wagner nails him with a knee to the back and then he catches O’Reilly coming off the ropes with a back elbow. At this point, Wagner goes to the reverse bear hug and I really wish he would find another hold to work over the back and ribs of O’Reilly as this is starting to get old, but nonetheless, O’Reilly fights out yet again as the commercial break comes to an end.
O’Reilly starts to throw some kicks and every time Wagner would knock him down he would start to get stronger and he eventually sidesteps a charge from Wagner sending him flying into the cage and that finally allowed O’Reilly to successfully hit a combination of strikes to take the bigger man down. Wagner rolls in between the cage and the ropes and O’Reilly hits him with repeated running forearms and then O’Reilly climbs the cage so that he can stomp Wagner in the back of the head. O’Reilly then applies a guillotine choke, but Wagner is able to power out of it and hit a suplex and then he sends O’Reilly into the ropes where he catches him with a jumping knee for a 2 count. O’Reilly escapes a back suplex lift and then takes Wagner down with a chop block which allows him to kick Wagner on the top of the head and then nail him with a big forearm. O’Reilly climbs up to the top and Wagner joins him for a moment before O’Reilly knocks him back to the mat and then O’Reilly comes off the top with a diving knee onto the back of Wagner’s neck, but this is only enough to get O’Reilly a 2 count. O’Reilly goes to pick up Wagner only to be hit with a low blow and after sending O’Reilly into the cage several times Wagner hits the spinning butterfly suplex for the win.
After the match, Wagner goes to leave the cage but as he sees O’Reilly getting back to his feet he goes back in the ring and sits O’Reilly on the top rope. Wagner hits O’Reilly with a headbutt which causes O’Reilly to fall back into a tree of woe and then Wagner repeatedly slams the door into O’Reilly and just as a true professional should do O’Reilly goes out by putting over the new guy.
Out of the four cage matches I watched over the past three days this was the weakest as I didn’t care for the repetitiveness of the bear hug spot and I also think Wagner’s offense is nothing more than the template that all guys of his size use and that is one reason why I just can’t get fully into him as he comes off as nothing more than an average big man. O’Reilly did a lot to make this match as good as it was which goes to show just how much of a professional he is as he is willing to take the extra step of making this guy look good on his way out of the company.
Joe Gacy gets a promo video where he talks about how his loss at WarGames wasn’t as important as the bigger vision and what they did was far more important than the NXT Cruiserweight Championship as they broke barriers. Gacy then says he is working on changing the name of a show that promotes exclusivity. Gacy moves on to talking about Harland and how people judge him for the size of his body rather than the size of his heart. Gacy says he accepts Harland and after Harland makes his in-ring debut it is only a matter of time before everyone accepts him as well.
I guess this promo confirms that the cruiserweight championship is soon to be a thing of the past as Gacy completely buried it and then he talked about changing 205 Live, although I think it’s best just to get rid of it rather than change it seeing as nobody watches it anyway.
Bron Breakker comes to the ring and cuts a promo on how Team Black & Gold were tough and how he has the utmost respect for them. Breakker says that since he pinned Ciampa in WarGames they are even so he is throwing out a challenge for one more match and he wants it to be for the NXT Championship. Breakker is then interrupted by The Diamond Mine (minus Roderick Strong) where Malcolm Bivens congratulates Breakker on his win at WarGames, but he isn’t the only one with a win coming out of WarGames, and since Roderick Strong has beat everyone in the cruiserweight division the weight limit has been lifted. Bivens realizes that Breakker’s eyes are on Ciampa but Roderick Strong is the champion and his eyes are on Breakker and then challenges Breakker to a match against Strong for next week and Breakker accepts. Breakker walks to the back and then Briggs and Jensen make their way out as they will be taking on The Creed Brothers in the next match.
This was a decent interaction between Breakker and Bivens and the match next week between Strong and Breakker should be really good.
We now go to the previously mentioned Briggs & Jensen vs The Creed Brothers match and we see that The Grizzled Young Veterans will be on commentary for this match and then before the competitors can touch we see the NXT Tag Team Champions Imperium come out to the balcony to watch this match.
Jensen and Brutus start out the match and Brutus takes advantage of Jensen being distracted by Imperium as he attacks Jensen from behind. Brutus hits Jensen with mounted punches and then tries to ride him like a bull before Jensen throws him off and gets back to his feet and knocks Brutus on his ass with a forearm. Jensen takes Brutus down with a shoulder block and an elbow drop and then works him over in the corner before hitting him with a snapmare and driving his forearm into the back of Brutus. Jensen drags Brutus over to the corner where Briggs tags himself into the match and they take Brutus down with a double shoulder block.
Briggs is still distracted by Imperium being on the balcony even though they have been there for a minute and this ends up costing Briggs as Brutus nails him with an uppercut and makes the tag to Julius. Julius reverses a whip into the ropes but ducks his head allowing Briggs to hit a clubbing blow to the back and that is followed by the release side slam and a big splash. Briggs tags Jensen back in and they hit Julius with the Big Boss Man slide out of the ring and punch your opponent as they are draped over the second rope spot. Julius is able to sidestep a charging Jensen and then makes a tag to Brutus who sends Jensen flying with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex and then he grinds his wristbone into the face of Jensen and then tags Julius back into the match.
The Creed Brothers drive their knees into the ribs of Jensen and then Julius hits him with a powerslam before driving him into the corner and tagging Brutus back in. The Creed Brothers hit repeated fireman carry slams on Jensen, but when Brutus tries to follow up we see Jensen fight his way out of their corner only for Brutus to hit him with a clothesline moments later sending Jensen out to the floor. Brutus tags in Julius to make him legal and Julius hits Jensen with a suplex on the floor. The referee gets distracted by Briggs and Julius arguing which allows James Drake of the Grizzled Young Veterans to remove the tag rope from Briggs & Jensen’s corner. Brutus Creed is tagged back in and he throws Jensen back in the ring where he goes for a cover, but only gets a 2 count.
Brutus tags in Julius who applies a stretch muffler until Jensen kicks him in the face and so he decides to release the hold and then Jensen hits him with a desperate punch leaving both men down on the mat. Jensen finally makes his way over to Briggs and we get a tag on both sides, but the referee won’t allow Briggs to come into the match seeing as he isn’t holding the tag rope. Briggs turns to see James Drake holding the rope and as this is happening Jensen rolls up Brutus in a tight O’Connor roll and that is enough to pick up the win.
I did not enjoy this match as much as I expected that I would. I liked the creative spot of having GYV remove the tag rope so that Jensen couldn’t make a tag, but it ended up being for nothing as Briggs and Jensen won the match anyway.
Von Wagner is interviewed and says that Kyle O’Reilly may be done but his WarGames is just starting.
Duke Hudson makes his way to the ring wearing a horrible blonde toupee to cover up his newly shaved head. Hudson gets on the mic and says that he has seen multiple articles saying that Cameron Grimes shaved him bald at WarGames, but here he stands with a head full of hair and that is why you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Hudson admits Grimes did take a little off the top, but he fixed it up and put some color in it and now it’s good as new. Hudson calls Grimes a disappointment to everyone who has ever walked into his life. Cameron Grimes walks out and Hudson quickly puts on some headgear for fear of Grimes ripping off the toupee. Grimes can’t believe Hudson is being such a sore loser as he was put through a table and had his hair cut but he took it like a man, but Hudson can’t handle losing. Hudson tries to dispute Grimes’ win saying he only won because he pulled the tights, but Grimes interrupts him and tells him they can do it again and this time they can throw out the rules and make it a No Holds Barred match. Hudson accepts the challenge and then tries for a sucker punch, but Grimes blocks it and lays in several punches before sending him into the ropes where he goes for the Cave In, but Hudson stomps himself and retreats from the ring.
This was a fun segment and Hudson acting like that toupee was his actual hair with some color added to it was pretty funny. Hopefully, their No Holds Barred match next week is better than their match at WarGames.
Briggs and Jensen are recovering after their match when Jacket Time walks in to congratulate them and then we see Grizzled Young Veterans walk up and they are mad that their plan didn’t work and say that Briggs and Jensen only won because of them. Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter walk by with two free festival tickets and they want to know who wants to go with them and that leads to Briggs and Jensen walking off with them. We get a brawl between Grizzled Young Veterans and Jacket Time until the referees break them apart and while this is happening Wendy Choo pops up from behind the counter in her pajamas and then goes back down while drinking from a straw. This was a very strange and very random backstage skit.
We see Grayson Waller chatting with some lady in the parking lot as he is still bragging about his elbow drop off the cage and then he asks her if she has plans tonight and is shocked when she says that she does and when he asks who she has plans with the camera pans over to LA Knight and she gets into his car and they drive off together.
Up next Dexter Lumis looks for revenge on Carmelo Hayes after he and Trick Williams smashed his hand a few weeks ago, Hayes has his ribs taped up to sell the damage he took at WarGames.
Hayes goes right at Lumis with a headlock only to be sent into the ropes where Lumis ducks his head and Hayes rolls over his back only to be met with a big uppercut from Lumis. Lumis stares down Williams at ringside which allows Hayes to come from behind and take Lumis to the mat and then we get a couple of moments that are really awkward as Hayes is trying for something but I’m not sure what as he just moves around Lumis’ prone body. Lumis corners Hayes but gets hit with a kick to the gut and then grabs a headlock, but Lumis sends him off into the corner in order to inflict punishment on the injured ribs of Hayes. Lumis grabs Hayes by the tape around his ribs and slams him repeatedly to the mat. Lumis turns his attention to Williams once again as he exits the ring and starts stalking him and when Hayes tries to take advantage he is met with a big right hand and is then rolled back into the ring.
Lumis picks up Hayes and drives him into the corner where he repeatedly buries his shoulder into the gut of Hayes and then he looks for a running strike in the corner but Hayes is able to sidestep Lumis just in the nick of time. Hayes ducks a clothesline from Lumis and comes off the ropes with a big springboard clothesline, but he is unable to follow up as his ribs are bothering him. Hayes eventually gets back to his feet and stomps on the injured hand of Lumis and then he attempts to remove the glove of Lumis but is stopped with a shot to the chest and then Lumis hits Hayes with a Thesz press and then comes off the ropes with an ax handle to the midsection. Hayes tries to crawl away from Lumis and create distance, but Lumis chokes Hayes with his boot and then throws him out of the ring. Lumis drops to his knees and crawls towards Williams and as he sticks his head out from under the bottom rope Hayes catches him with a running boot causing Lumis to drop to the floor and that sends us to a commercial break.
We come back from the break to Hayes in control as he is working over the arm of Lumis and when Lumis tries to fight out Hayes takes him right back down with a slam to the mat by his hair and then Hayes locks in a reverse chinlock while stepping on the injured hand of Lumis. Hayes goes for a big stomp on the hand, but Lumis is able to move it out of the way and then he nails Hayes with a big right hand. Hayes blocks a whip into the ropes and delivers a knee to the hand and then he takes Lumis down to the mat and slams his hand into the mat a couple of times. Hayes sends Lumis into the corner and then stomps him down to the mat which allows Williams to talk some trash right in the face of Lumis.
Lumis gets to his feet but is met with a bicycle kick and then Hayes goes for a suplex but it ends up being reversed and then Lumis nails Hayes with repeated clotheslines followed by a corner clothesline and a bulldog. Lumis hits Hayes with a back suplex and the rotating leg drop for a 2 count. Lumis looks to hit a uranage but it is countered into a schoolboy which is unsuccessful and then Lumis ducks a kick and applies the Silencer, but as Lumis gets Hayes down to the mat we get Williams hitting Lumis which causes the match to end in a DQ. After the match, Lumis applies the SIlencer to Williams until Hayes runs over and pulls Williams free.
This was a fine match but went a few minutes longer than it needed to, especially since it ended in a DQ. I think I’m ready for this feud to end and for both men to move on to something new but seeing as this match ended with a DQ finish I guess we are getting at least one more match between these two.
MSK finally meets their shaman and it turns out to be Riddle as he has been watching them on NXT this whole time. MSK is worried that they have peaked too soon since they won the tag titles very shortly after debuting and Riddle tells them it’s a hard journey to the top but once you get there the view is beautiful. MSK then wants to know what they need to do in order to get their title back as they are worried they are doing something wrong, but Riddle tells them to just keep being MSK. Riddle tells them they have been at the top and at the bottom together and they will climb back up that mountain together and he is going to be there every step of the way, MSK as they ask Riddle if that means he isn’t leaving them and he says he isn’t. Riddle wants to know what is in the bag and after they tell him to open it they all get excited and although it’s not shown its clear that there is weed in the bag.
I wasn’t sure who the shaman was going to end up being but Riddle is a good fit for them seeing as they pretty much have the same personalities. On an unrelated note, I feel like we need to see a video of MSK with Kacy and Kayden at one of these festivals as they seem like they would enjoy that kind of thing a lot more than Briggs and Jensen who would look so out of place at an EDM festival.
We go to the announce table, where they talk about Riddle being the shaman, but as Vic Joseph is talking he is interrupted by a voice telling him to shut up and then we go to the back where we see that it was Mandy Rose talking to him as she says that when she is speaking everyone else shuts their mouth. Mandy says that Gigi and Jacy have business to take care of like real women and not like little girls with hand-me-down sneakers and stupid skateboards. Mandy then tells Vic to stop drooling before we go to a commercial.
We come back to Indi Hartwell-Lumis and Persia Pirotta in the back and Indi is happy to see her hubby back in the ring and so is Persia for the sole reason that now maybe Indi can finally put her full attention on them as a team. Dexter Lumis then walks up and Indi jumps in his arms as Persia looks on annoyed and then Gargano joins the fun and the three of them are all happy as Persia looks on feeling like she isn’t wanted. I don’t think this Indi and Persia team is going to last long as Persia is already pissed that she isn’t getting all of Indi’s attention so it’s only a matter of time before she turns on her best friend.
Our next match sees Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne take on the team of Valentina Feroz and Yulisa Leon. Toxic Attraction is taped up to sell the brutality of what they went through at WarGames. I have to mention that before the match started Wade Barrett was ragging on Vic after Mandy told him to stop drooling and Vic responds there is only one woman in NXT that he drools over and it’s not Toxic Attraction, in case your wondering that woman he is talking about is McKenzie Mitchell as they are engaged.
Jacy backs Valentina into the ropes and playfully slaps her around and then we get a lockup and Valentina grabs a headlock only for Jacy to spin out of it and send Valentina into the corner, but Valentina jumps up and over Jacy and catches her in a rollup for a 2 count. Valentina sidesteps a kick from Jacy and shoves her into the corner where she tags in Yulisa who takes Jacy over with a fireman’s carry and then grabs a headlock, but Jacy backs her into the ropes which allows Gigi to tag herself into the match and she nails Yulisa in the back with a knee to stop her momentum and then Jacy takes her down with a big clothesline. Gigi hits Yulisa with a big forearm and then chokes her across the bottom rope and then talks some trash before sending Yulisa into the corner where she hits her with a running boot to the face and then tags Jacy back in who hits Yulisa with a cannonball for a 2 count.
Jacy grabs a chinlock until Yulisa fights out and attempts to lift Jacy but Jacy hits her with an elbow to the side of the head and then runs to the ropes but is caught in a rolling Samoan drop which leaves both women laid out in the ring, but we soon get a hot tag by both women. Valentina takes Gigi down with a few arm drags, a running dropkick, and a big crossbody off the top but Gigi won’t stay down for the 3 count. Valentina applies a waistlock only for Gigi to walk over to the ropes where Jacy tags in and as Valentina goes for an O’Connor roll Jacy hits her with a running neckbreaker. Jacy knocks Yulisa off the apron and then hits Valentina with a spinning boot to the face and that is enough to pick up the win for Toxic Attraction.
After the match, Mandy Rose gets on the mic and says that they are still the baddest bitches in town and they have all the gold. Mandy knows everyone wants a shot at them because she hears them talking as they are the talk of the town and that is exactly what she expects because they are that damn good. Mandy says they are not running from anyone, so if there is anyone out there who wants a title shot bring it on because they will be waiting. Cora Jade then comes out (with her arm in a sling) and she thanks Mandy for talking about her and then reminds Mandy she beat her a couple of weeks ago and then won the match for her team at WarGames, so she is coming out to see if Mandy wanted to handle this face-to-face. Mandy says that Cora is not the one but if she wants her to embarrass her then she can step into the ring. Raquel Gonzalez comes out with a chair in hand to back up Cora, but before she can even hit the ring Toxic Attraction retreat to end the segment.
The match was fine but nothing special outside of the fact that Valentina and Yulisa are improving more and more every time I see them. It really is amazing just how much Mandy has improved on the mic since being down in NXT as she now has credibility and conviction when she delivers a promo. I will also say that while it was nothing spectacular Cora’s mic skills aren’t that bad for someone who is so new to the business, but then again I could be biased because Cora is one of my favorites. While I don’t expect Cora to take the title from Mandy anytime soon I do look forward to their rematch and hopefully, they can put on a banger.
We get another Tiffany Stratton vignette and this time she talks about her gymnastics background and how her daddy paid for a personal trainer and how she was so good she went all the way to the 2016 Olympics, but her daddy told her she is too good to be on a team and is a solo star and she deserves a gold medal all to herself, but the only thing better than a gold medal is the NXT Women’s Championship.
Tony D’Angelo is interviewed backstage and after being in awe of Tiffany Stratton he talks about how he showed Pete Dunne at WarGames that he is someone he shouldn’t cross and then he holds up a glass box with Dunne’s mouthguard inside of it. Andre Chase walks up and congratulates D’Angelo on his win but says if he had listened to him he would have been the big star of the match rather than Grayson Waller. D’Angelo says usually he would beat him down right there but he has other things to do so he challenges him to a match next week which Chase accepts.
Cora Jade and Raquel Gonzalez are talking in the back and Cora brings up how crazy things have been since she debuted and how she could have a title match against Mandy, but Raquel tells her to slow her roll as she is more deserving of a title match only for Cora to tell her she has already been NXT Women’s Champion and Raquel just shrugs her off and says they will talk about it later. Kay Lee Ray walks up and gives Cora her bat saying she needs that more than she does and when asked what she is going to use KLR tells her she has plenty. This was a fun little backstage interaction and I like how KLR is looking out for Cora.
It’s time for the main event match of the night as Santos Escobar takes on Xyon Quinn.
We get a lockup that goes to the mat but once Quinn hits a kip-up Escobar starts hitting him with strikes backing him into the corner where he looks for a running strike but Quinn just stands still and Escobar runs into him. Quinn locks in a cravate and scrapes Escobar’s face across the top rope and that is followed by snake eyes, Escobar tries to fight back but Quinn is completely dominating him with clubbing blows. Quinn slams Escobar near the ropes and looks for the senton atomico, but he gets distracted by Legado which allows Escobar to get back to his feet, and then he hits Quinn with a running knee strike knocking him off the apron, but he quickly recovers once Escobar exits the ring as he throws him into the commentary table and then right back into the ring. As Quinn gets in the ring Escobar slides back out to regroup with Legado and that sends us to a picture-in-picture commercial break.
Quinn goes outside the ring looking to continue his attack, but Escobar sends him into the steps and then throws him back in the ring where he hits a Vader bomb onto the back of Quinn. Escobar works over Quinn in the corner with some mounted punches in the corner and then he nails a running knee, Escobar pushes Quinn into the ropes so that he can deliver forearms to his back, and with that, the commercial comes to an end.
We come back to Escobar hitting the running double knees in the corner and then he turns Quinn around and does the same to his back. Escobar then focuses on the arm as he has a standing armbar applied, but Quinn fights out of it and hits Escobar with a couple of shots to the gut followed by a headbutt. Quinn hits an inverted atomic drop and then takes Escobar down with a clothesline followed by a biel across the ring and a running shoulder attack in the corner for a 2 count. Quinn then charges at Escobar in the corner but Escobar sidesteps and hits Quinn with a kick to the head. Escobar is fired up as he hits Quinn with another knee strike in the corner and then he goes for the Phantom Driver, but Quinn escapes and hits a DVD. Quinn puts Escobar up on the top and meets him up there as he looks for a fallaway slam, but Escobar escapes out to the apron, and then he hits the super hurricanrana off the top.
Quinn rolls over to the side of the ring closest to Elektra and she places brass knuckles on his hand and as Quinn comes to he notices them, but he tosses them to Joaquin Wilde who is on the apron and then he boots him off the apron, but he turns around into a jumping knee from Escobar and that is followed by the Phantom Driver for the win.
I’m not the biggest Santos Escobar fan, but this was a really good match and he did a good job of making Xyon Quinn look like a star as well. I liked the finish as it still isn’t clear where Elektra stands as she could’ve given the knucks to Quinn to help him or to get him disqualified, but thankfully the match didn’t end in a DQ.
We go to a vignette for Boa as he wants a piece of Edris Enofe next week.
The Diamond Mine is out in the parking lot and Bivens talks about how Roderick Strong is going to beat Bron Breakker next week when Carmelo Hayes walks up and lets them know he is The champion in NXT. Bivens recalls Strong’s accolades to try and shut down that claim by Hayes, but Hayes says he knows how good Strong is but he isn’t the A Champion.
We see Gargano giving a kiss to Candice LeRae and his little dog before he comes to the ring. Gargano comes to the ring and lets us know that Shawn Michaels gave him permission to go long since Chucky is over for the season. Gargano says this is coming from the heart as he didn’t prepare anything and he says the one thing he regrets about his time in NXT is that he didn’t take time to live in the moment as he was always worried about how good he did. Gargano hopes he gave us wrestling we can be proud of and then he recalls how he was told no during an NXT tryout, but thanks to William Regal he was brought back for a dark match and the fans chanted for him so loud that they kept bringing him back every week until they finally signed him.
Gargano talks about how the fans helped his dreams come true as he now has TakeOver main events, video games, and action figures and then says that NXT is the only place where he ever felt special in the ring. Gargano says that part of his family is back in Cleveland, OH but the men and women backstage are his family as well, and then he thanks Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and all the trainers and staff that have helped him during his time in NXT. Gargano says that change is scary, but it is also necessary and he wants us to remember that if you bet on yourself you can never fail. Gargano says he doesn’t know what the future of his career is headed, but he does know that in February he starts the most important job in his life as he becomes a father and he is going to love that little guy so much. Gargano says he is going to take time to worry about Candice and his son as he is going to teach him to be the best man he can be.
Out of nowhere, Grayson Waller comes from behind and hits Gargano with a chair, and then throws him out of the ring where he horsecollars a chair around the neck of Gargano, and then he drives Gargano chair-first into the steps. Waller hits Gargano with a powerbomb through the announce table to close the show.
This was a really good farewell speech from Gargano and it still doesn’t seem right that he is leaving NXT as he seemed like someone who would be a lifer for NXT seeing as he was so close to Shawn Michaels and Triple H. I was convinced by the beatdown from Waller that perhaps Gargano had resigned and that would be his next feud, but that wouldn’t be the case as Gargano was just putting over a younger star just like O’Reilly did earlier in the night.
On this episode of NXT, I recommend watching the steel cage match, the post-match promos from Mandy Rose and Cora Jade, the Santos Escobar vs Xyon Quinn match, and the Gargano farewell speech.
NXT UK Results
- Blair Davenport def Emilia McKenzie – **¼
- Sam Gradwell def Sha Samuels w/ Noam Dar – **¼
- Moustache Mountain def Pretty Deadly © (NXT UK Tag Team Championship) – ***¼
We open the show with a video package hyping tonight’s main event which is Pretty Deadly vs Moustache Mountain for the NXT UK Tag Team Championship. We get our intro video and head into the BT Sports Studio where we go straight to our first match of the night which will be Blair Davenport taking on Emilia McKenzie.
Emilia goes behind with a waistlock and then we get both women trading wristlocks until Blair grabs a headlock, but she is shot into the ropes and is taken down with a couple of arm drags only for Blair to block a third, but Emilia hits a twisting neckbreaker for a 2 count. Emilia goes for a waistlock but is backed into the corner where Blair escapes and then she throws Emilia across the ring with an arm drag and then takes her down with a shoulder block. Blair is in full control as she throws Emilia into the corner and chokes her with her boot and then she snapmares her into the center of the ring where she hits a basement dropkick to the back for a 2 count.
Blair locks in a chinlock until Emilia fights out and then she hits Blair with a series of clotheslines and then charges at Blair in the corner, but is hit with a back elbow only for Emilia to come back moments later with a back suplex that gets a 2 count. Emilia looks for a double underhook move, but after it is blocked Emilia fires away with forearms and then she hits Blair with a spear for a very close near fall. Blair breaks a waistlock and nails, Emilia, with a boot to the face and when she is sent into the corner she leaps up to the top and comes off with a dropkick for a 2 count. Emilia escapes a suplex attempt and drops Blair on her head with a German suplex but that still isn’t enough to put away Blair. Emilia charges at Blair in the corner and is backdropped to the apron where she catches Blair with a shoulder to the gut and then looks to hit her flipping off the turnbuckle spear, but runs into a kick, and then Blair hits the Falcon Arrow for the win. After the match, Blair pulls Emilia into the center of the ring and locks in an STF as she calls out Meiko Satomura, or at least I guess that is what she was saying as all I could understand was her saying final boss.
This was a fine match and I was glad to see Blair continue to pick up wins as she is my favorite in the NXT UK Women’s Division and I look forward to her and Meiko finally meeting for the NXT UK Championship.
We get footage from earlier in the week where Noam Dar and Sha Samuels bust into Sid Scala’s office and Dar wants Scala to congratulate him which he does, but then he tells Dar that next week A-Kid and Nathan Frazer will face each other to determine the #1 Contender for the NXT UK Heritage Cup Championship. I guess Johnny Saint has disappeared once again as he was nowhere to be seen in Scala’s office.
We get a recap of the Ilja Dragunov vs Rampage Brown match last week and then we get exclusive footage of Brown getting stretchered out and he still looks very glassy-eyed, but he is aware enough to flip off the camera. Andy Shepherd tells us Brown refused help from the medical officials and has not answered the phone calls of NXT UK management.
We go to Xia Brookside who is training at the UK PC when she is asked about her feeling after losing to Meiko Satomura last week, but she is not pleased with this question as she accuses the interviewer of trying to embarrass her. Xia then starts complaining about having only one week to train and as she is complaining her friends she was working out with walk away. Xia says her loss wasn’t her fault and then storms off.
Jordan Devlin comes to the ring and brings up how he is the longest-reigning NXT Cruiserweight Champion and the Ace of NXT UK and then he says there really isn’t anything left for him to do except to win the NXT UK Championship and then he calls Ilja Dragunov out to the ring. Dragunov comes to the ring and tells Devlin he respects his abilities in the ring, but he doesn’t get all of the talking and bragging Devlin does, if Devlin wanted a title match all he had to do was just ask. Devlin says he is not like the other men Dragunov has defended his title against as he won’t quit if he gets his nose broken and there is nothing sacred to him within that ring. Devlin says that if Dragunov gives him a chance then he will only need that one chance to end Dragunov’s career and take the NXT UK Championship from him. Dragunov laughs at Devlin as he tells him there is nothing he can say to intimidate him, make him nervous, or make him scared as he is prepared for any kind of fight Devlin can bring. Devlin then brings up Dragunov’s wife and son and this finally sets off the champion as we get a brawl until the referees run out to break them apart.
This was a really good segment to set up Dragunov’s next challenger and I look forward to this match as it has the chance to be one of the best matches in NXT UK history as both men are fantastic workers.
We then get a vignette for Amale and it looks like we are getting a face turn from her as this vignette was very inspirational as she talks about her background and how she almost quit on her dream to be in WWE, but now that she is here she wants to make it to the top of the NXT UK Women’s Division. She also tells us that Amale means hope in Arabic. This was a really great video and she was even at the point of tears halfway through the video.
We get footage of Kenny Wiliams eating and talking about how NXT UK is full of people pretending to be something they are not and the biggest culprit of that is Mark Andrews as he is just a scared little boy and he can say that because he used to act like he was someone else, but not anymore as he is everything Mark Andrews thinks he is and ten times worse. Williams says that once he finishes with Andrews there will no longer be a Subculture it will just be a culture of Scum.
It’s time for our next match as Sam Gradwell takes on Sha Samuels after Gradwell took offense to Samuels having him at the bottom of the list in his betting odds to be Dar’s next challenger.
We get a couple of lockups that go nowhere and then Samuels grabs a headlock only to be shot off into the ropes but Samuels stops himself from running back and then he goes over to get some advice from Dar. Samuels gets control after a knee to the gut, but he takes his focus off Gradwell to conference with Dar and that allows Gradwell to come back as he traps Samuels in a hammerlock, but when he tries for a ripcord it allows Samuels to come back with clubbing blows. Samuels sends Gradwell into the ropes but ducks his head which leaves him open for an STO takedown for a 2 count. Gradwell looks for a butterfly lock, but Samuels escapes and pulls Gradwell face-first into the middle turnbuckle and then he hits an avalanche in the corner followed by a big clothesline and a kick to the spine for a 2 count.
Gradwell tries to come back with an uppercut but Samuels hits one of his own as well as a Mongolian chop. Samuels talks some trash to Gradwell which leads to him getting his ear twisted and then Gradwell hits a big smack to the face. Samuels charges in and is met with a clothesline followed by several back elbows and then he throws Samuels into the corner which leads to a backdrop and a clothesline out of the ring. Gradwell goes out to the apron and takes Samuels down with a forearm off the apron and then he throws him back into the ring. Samuels begs off and rolls back out to the floor and when Gradwell goes out to the apron Samuels grabs the leg to trip him up and then he hits him with a slam on the floor. Samuels rolls Gradwell back into the ring where he hits him with a Michinoku Driver for a 2 count.
Samuels hits an exploder for another near fall and then he unclips his suspenders and looks to hit Gradwell with them, but the referee prevents that from happening, Gradwell then wraps the scarf of Samuels around his neck to make it seem like Dar was choking him with it and as the referee is busy arguing with Dar, Gradwell grabs the scarf and smacks Samuels in the nuts with it and then he hits the Samoan Driver for the win.
The match was nothing special, but I liked the finish with Gradwell outsmarting both Dar and Samuels.
We get a video of Gallus in a parking lot and they are walking back to their vehicle while carrying crowbars and other tools as it looks like they have been up to no good. They talk about Die Familia and more specifically Charlie Dempsey as they think once they leave their mark on him the rest will crumble. We hear police sirens and Gallus is ready to get out of there. What the hell does Gallus do on their time off, this seems like something Sid Scala should check into as I believe NXT UK is employing three criminals.
We get a video package for next week’s A-Kid vs Nathan Frazer to determine the #1 Contender for the NXT UK Heritage Cup Championship and we see that Frazer is now sporting a shorter haircut.
It’s time for the main event as Pretty Deadly defends their NXT UK Tag Team Championship against Moustache Mountain. Pretty Deadly come out and they are wearing an outfit that has to be the brightest shade of yellow there could possibly be as they are so bright it’s almost blinding.
Tyler Bate and Sam Stoker start out the match and after an exchange of wristlocks, we get Bate hitting Stoker with a dropkick and delivers one to Howley as well. Bate grabs a headlock only for it to be turned into a top wristlock which Stoker uses to take Bate to the mat and as he brings Bate back to his feet he reaches back to tag in Lewis Howley. Pretty Deadly have both of Bate’s arm in a top wristlock but Bate uses the turnbuckles to flip out of it and take them both down with a Japanese arm drag, Bate ducks a double clothesline and makes a tag to Trent Seven and they hit stereo dropkicks which are followed by them clotheslining Pretty Deadly out to the floor. Stoker provides a distraction that allows Howley to attack Seven from behind and then he grabs a headlock and after being sent into the ropes he takes Seven down with a shoulder block and then he catches a crossbody attempt from Seven only for Seven to escape and hit Howley with a slam to the mat. Seven hits a leg drop on Howley and then tags in Bate which leads to stereo vertical suplexes from Moustache Mountain.
We get another tag from Moustache Mountain and Seven bounces off Bate’s shoulders with an assisted senton atomico for a 2 count. Howley prevents Seven from targeting his arm as he sends him into the corner and delivers a chop, but this fires up Seven as he fires away with a series of chops and then looks to go for a DDT, but Stoker grabs the arm of Howley to prevent that from happening. Howley sends Seven out to the floor and sends him into the ring apron before tagging Stoker back into the match. Stoker sends Seven into the steps and then rolls him back in the ring where he delivers some mounted punches and then he sits Seven on the top rope, but Seven knocks him back down to the mat with an elbow. Seven looks to be going for a move off the top but before he can do anything, Stoker chops his leg out from under him causing Seven to take a nasty fall back to the mat which gets Stoker a 2 count. Pretty Deadly work over Seven in their corner with frequent tags and double team moves, Seven is thrown out to the floor where he hits Stoker with a suplex and then he finally gets back in the ring to make the hot tag to Bate.
Bate comes in with running elbows and then he stacks Pretty Deadly in the corner where he hits both men with exploder suplexes and then Bate hits a running shooting star press for a 2 count. Bate sets up for the Tyler Driver 97, but it is blocked and then Howley catches the rolling Kappo kick and tries for a powerbomb, but Bate escapes and hits the Tyler Driver 97 for a very close 2 count. Bate looks for the deadlift German suplex only for Howley to reverse it and then he runs to the ropes to make a blind tag to Stoker. but Bate dodges an attack from him only to be hit with a back elbow in the corner by Howley. Howley then tosses Bate towards Stoker who hits him with a gutbuster for a 2 count. Pretty Deadly work over Bate in their corner and even go for the rebound clothesline and dragon suplex finisher of Moustache Mountain, but Bate ducks and Howley hits Stoker and then Bate rebounds off the ropes with a big clothesline.
Bate crawls over and makes the tag to Seven who comes in with chops and punches on Howley and then he goes for the DDT, but first, he has to hit Stoker with a backdrop and then he plants Howley with the DDT. Seven then hits Howley with the Seven Stars Lariat for the closest near fall yet. Howley makes a blind tag to Stoker and then runs out of the ring, Seven tries to go after him but is hit with a boot to the head and then Pretty Deadly hits Spilt Milk on Seven for a 2 count when Bate breaks up the pin. Bate knocks Stoker out to the floor and tries for a tope suicida, but is caught and Pretty Deadly hits Spilt Milk on the floor. Pretty Deadly hit a propelled lungblower and then Howley powerbombs Seven onto the knees of Stokely for a 2 count.
Howley throws one of the tag titles to Stoker and while the referee puts that one away Stoker hits Seven with the other tag title, but even that isn’t enough to keep Seven down. Stoker tags in Howley and they are looking for a top rope version of Spilt Milk, but Bate cuts off Howley on the top rope, and then Seven hits Stoker with a dragon suplex, and when Howley dives off the top Seven meets him with a kick to the gut. Seven makes the tag to Bate who hits Howley with a Koppo kick and that is followed by the Tyler Driver 97, but instead of going for the cover Bate goes up top and when Stoker tries to run interference he is stopped by Seven who hits him with a Birming Hammer onto Howley and then and then Bate hits the Spiral Tap to finally pick up the win.
This was a long-ass match that went longer than it needed to but was enjoyable nonetheless and it’s great to see Moustache Mountain finally win the NXT UK Tag Team Championship and with this win, Tyler Bate becomes the first-ever NXT UK triple crown champion and Trent Seven wins his first-ever championship in NXT UK.
This episode of NXT UK was mostly taken up by the tag title match, so I would recommend watching that as well as the vignette for Amale as it was really well done.
- Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs def Los Lotharios – *½
- Drew McIntyre def Sheamus – **¾
- Toni Storm def Charlotte Flair via DQ – **¼
- The New Day def The Usos & RK-Bro – ***1/2
The show opens with Sami Zayn coming out in a wheelchair as he is in a neckbrace and leg brace and he also has two male nurses accompanying him to the ring. Zayn is not happy about what happened last week as not only did the moves themselves hurt but so did the betrayal by Brock Lesnar. Zayn then starts listing off names of people he is going to sue for costing him the Universal Championship last week until he is interrupted by Paul Heyman who comes to the ring and starts doing his usual intro but gets interrupted by Zayn who says he wasn’t done talking and after this happens a couple of times Zayn gets to his feet and he tells Heyman there is nobody there to protect him seeing since Reigns is not there this week, but he was wrong as Brock Lesnar comes out dressed in overalls and a flannel shirt.
Lesnar takes a seat next to Zayn and plays nice with him as he acts like he sincerely cares about Zayn as he tells him what happened last week was for Zayn’s benefit and Zayn realizes that Lesnar injuring him before the match meant that his match with Reigns didn’t really count. Lesnar moves the conversation to talk about Canada and this leads to Lesnar offering to take Zayn to do something more fun than hanging out in Hollywood. Just as they are about to leave Heyman grabs the mic and wants to know what the hell is going on as he feels like he spent too much time as the dispensary and the edibles are kicking in as this is not the Brock Lesnar that he knows. Heyman then goes into his old schtick for Brock Lesnar which finally turns Lesnar into the ass-kicking machine we are used to as he destroys Zayn’s male nurses and then kicks Zayn out of the wheelchair before hitting him with an F-5.
After the commercial break, Lesnar is asked by Kayla Braxton why he is back tonight and he just tells her to ask Paul Heyman. Kayla would do just that later in the night, but he just tells her to stop asking him questions like that and walks off. We also get more of Brock Lesnar later in the night as he corners Adam Pearce in his office and thanks him for the suspension as it gave him time to enjoy his main hobby which is hunting. Lesnar tells a story about how he killed a giant moose and he wants to show it to Pearce on his flip phone, but after he can’t figure out how to pull it up he crushes the phone and then describes how he skinned and gutted the moose and then he says he named the moose after Pearce so that every time he looks at that moose head on his wall he will remember that suspension that Pearce gave him.
I thought everything involving Lesnar tonight was good, especially the in-ring stuff at the start of the show as I enjoyed his insincerity while talking to Zayn. I loved the part where Heyman unintentionally gave himself away as he couldn’t control himself seeing Lesnar be a nice guy and without thinking he immediately reverted back to his old Lesnar schtick. If Heyman didn’t have any interest or investment in Lesnar then why did he care so much that Lesnar wasn’t the same person he was three years ago. Heyman has made a huge mistake as Reigns now has to deal with the awoken beast that had been hibernating within Lesnar and that is going to make Reigns’ job at Day 1 a lot more difficult.
We get a very quick tag match that sees Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs pick up a win against Los Lotharios. I think WWE has forgotten that Nakamura is the Intercontinental Champion as he hasn’t defended the title in forever and for some reason, he is feuding with tag teams alongside Boogs rather than being in a feud over the title, if they aren’t going to do anything with him as the champion then put the belt on someone else.
King Xavier Woods and Sir Kofi Kingston reveal a new crown for King Woods and they state they are going to show they are the best tag team in WWE, but that is no disrespect towards The Viking Raiders who are standing right beside them. Well, if this was any other company than WWE then The Viking Raiders would be in contention for that title of the best tag team as well as they are a great tag team, but you would never know it as they are hardly in matches that last longer than five minutes and haven’t been in the tag title picture in forever.
Drew McIntyre visits Adam Pearce as he wants to know why Pearce didn’t put him in the battle royal a couple of weeks ago, but Pearce says that order came from someone above him and this week he has another message from this higher power which is that McIntyre is not allowed to carry his sword out to the ring for his match tonight. McIntyre takes the sword and stabs it through the desk of Pearce and then storms off. Drew McIntyre takes on Sheamus and they have a hard-hitting match just like we have seen in the past and after a back and forth match where both men knew what was coming from their opponent we finally see McIntyre hit the Claymore to pick up the win.
We see Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss steal the desk of Adam Pearce with the sword stuck inside it and I really hope McIntyre’s next feud isn’t against these two.
We get an In Memorium for Blackjack Lanza.
It’s time for the Naomi vs Sonya Deville match and this time Sonya is actually in wrestling gear (and is looking damn good in it), but before the match starts Sonya gets on the mic to introduce the guest ring announcer and timekeeper which are Natalya and Shayna Baszler. Naomi thinks fast and slides out of the ring to take them out, but once she gets back in the ring Sonya bails from the ring. The heels surround the ring and just when it seems like Naomi is in trouble we get the SmackDown debut of Xia Li who comes out with some cool 3D lightning effects that make her looks like a comic book come to life as this is by far the best use of this technology we have seen from WWE. Xia and Naomi beat down Natalya and Shayna and then they sandwich Sonya between them, Xia hits Sonya with a spinning kick, and then Naomi drags her over to the corner looking for the split-legged moonsault but as she jumps up Sonya is pulled out of the ring. Naomi and Xia bow to each other to end the segment.
While I am glad to see Xia debut and think her entrance is badass I wish they had found a different way to debut her as this made Naomi feel like an afterthought once again as everyone is going to be talking about Xia rather than Naomi. I guess we will tag several weeks of tag matches until Naomi finally gets her match with Sonya where Natalya and Shayna don’t factor into the match.
RK-Bro is backstage because they get their own little backstage segment even when they are not on Raw and this was all about Riddle introducing Orton to Johnny Knoxville and the rest of the cast for the new Jackass Forever movie. We are told that Migos will be making an appearance at Day 1.
It’s time for Charlotte Flair vs Toni Storm which is the match I was most looking forward to and of course, it only goes a little over 3-minutes and ends with a DQ, but I think for the time they got Toni looked very impressive and much like Liv on Raw she showed that she belongs on top, in fact, she looked better than Charlotte who completely botched a moonsault like she always does. If you are going to have a first-time match go less than 5-minutes and end in a DQ then why even have the match as it would’ve been a lot more special if they had waited and had Toni vs Charlotte happen for the first time at Day 1 rather than waste it on this random episode of SmackDown. I’m not surprised that Toni didn’t get to beat Charlotte clean in this contender’s match like we see happen all the time in other contender’s matches and not only did Toni not get a clean win, but Charlotte once again got the last shot in after the match, because God forbid the segment ends without Charlotte looking completely dominate.
It’s time for the main event which is a triple threat tag match to determine the greatest tag team in WWE as it’s The Usos vs The New Day vs RK-Bro in a match that feels very random and thrown together at the last minute. Instead of booking this random match on short notice, they could’ve just lengthened the times of the matches already on the show to fill out the 2 hours as it would’ve been nice to see Charlotte vs Toni get more time and they could’ve made that the main event.
This was a really good match that saw both teams get heat on Riddle for quite a while and once Orton got the hot tag the crowd was electric as he was firing on all cylinders and looked as smooth as butter with everything he did in the ring, but his momentum would eventually come to a halt and after a blind tag by Woods and a Up Up Down Down on Jey Uso we see New Day pick up the win to become the greatest tag team on this night. The show ends with New Day celebrating and we are told Roman Reigns will be back next week.
For this episode of SmackDown I would recommend the opening segment as it was pretty fun and you get to see Brock Lesnar in overalls, even though it didn’t last long check out the Toni vs Charlotte match to see how Toni outworked Charlotte, and then of course check out the main event as it was by far the best match of the night.
In the news
When it comes to the upcoming holiday schedule for WWE programming it looks like the Christmas Eve episode of SmackDown will be on Fox, but will be a taped show and it looks like they are planning to tape this episode after the live 12/17 episode of SmackDown. For New Year’s Eve, WWE will be airing a Best of 2021 episode of SmackDown and it will be airing on FS1 due to Fox airing their yearly New Year’s Eve special.
One of the top stories this week has been the release of Jeff Hardy after he was sent home from this past weekend’s live events after acting strangely. While it is not 100% confirmed many are to think that Hardy has unfortunately relapsed once again, however, both Matt Hardy and Jeff’s wife have made statements saying he is fine, and in the case of Jeff’s wife the Tweet she sent out seemed to be a bit defensive towards the wrestling media about their coverage on the situation. Andrew Zarian reports that the past few weeks have been rough for Hardy. Dave Meltzer reports that Hardy was aware WWE would take action once he refused to go to rehab.
It appears that Kairi Sane’s deal with WWE is over as she recently dropped the WWE from her Instagram handle and is referring to herself as a former WWE superstar. In addition to this Kairi recently hinted on Twitter that she could be returning to the ring soon.
Dave Meltzer reports that whenever Vince McMahon passes away Nick Khan is the person most likely to replace him. Wow, if this is true then Nick Khan must really have Vince snowed over that he would put him next in line over his own kids.
The Observer reports that this Liv Morgan push will result in a title win even if she isn’t champion for long. This is not the best news as this makes me feel like she could win it at Day 1 and lose it at Royal Rumble which is only a 4-week run that will be forgotten by the summer of 2022, but if she wins it at WrestleMania like I am hoping it will be then it will be remembered more fondly.
The Observer also reports that the reason Kevin Owens was added to the Day 1 match is so that he can take the pin and allow both Big E and Seth Rollins to look strong. KO is still expected to leave fairly soon.
A week after WWE introduced their NIL program they have introduced their first class of collegiate athletes that will be under the WWE’s NIL program which you can check out here.
The Wrestling Observer reports that the Day 1 PPV was Nick Khan’s idea as he hopes to make it become one of the company’s big yearly shows and that is why they are loading up the card for this year’s as they are wanting it to be a success.
Fightful Select reports that regardless of what Johnny Gargano decides to do next with his career Candice LeRae’s contract status hasn’t been discussed as they usually don’t do contract negotiations until it is close to expiring and Candice’s isn’t set to expire until the Spring. There also hasn’t been any discussion of freezing for the time she has missed while being pregnant.
In a bit of sad and unfortunate news, we have sadly lost WWE Hall of Famer Blackjack Lanza this week as he passed away on Wednesday at the age of 86. Lanza had quite a lengthy career before entering the WWE, but he is probably best known as ½ of The Blackjacks tag team along with Blackjack Mulligan. The Blackjacks would become WWWF Tag Team Champions in August 1975 when they beat Dominic DeNucci and Pat Barrett, however, they would lose the titles in November to Louis Cerdan & Tony Parisi. After retiring from the ring Lanza would work for the WWE as a road agent and producer and in 2006 The Blackjacks were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Coming up this Week
- The Street Profits vs The Mysterios (RK-Bronament Tag Tournament Finals)
- Bobby Lashley speaks on his attacks on Big E, Kevin Owens, & Seth Rollins
- Duke Hudson vs Cameron Grimes (No Holds Barred Match)
- Bron Breakker vs Roderick Strong
- Tony D’Angelo vs Andre Chase
- Boa vs Edris Enofe
- Harland in-ring debut
- A-Kid vs Nathan Frazer (NXT UK Heritage Cup Championship #1 Contender Match)
- Return of Roman Reigns