Hey gang! So on last week's episode of NXT, we saw a number of confrontations that have lead to this week's card of matches. This is fine with me, as I think sometimes things are best when you keep them as simple as can be and in wrestling, that's usually the best path to take, especially when building new stars. So let's see how that all works out as we see what the gang in Florida has to offer this week.
Mandy Rose, with Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne vs Sarray
A pretty ugly one here as these two have zero chemistry in the ring and there's a lot of sloppy moments. Rose was obviously sent back down to developmental to work on her skills, but Sarray is the one who looks kind of awkward here and appears to be messing up basic transition stuff.
This one ends oddly when Sarray hits her big dropkick into the ropes on Rose, which knocks her outside. Dolin and Jayne then frantically run the timekeeper to call off the match and cover Rose's face with a towel and ushering her out as the ref counts her out. This is all clearly a work and it comes off as very silly.
We now go to a video promo from Tommaso Ciampa where he sets up his match tonight against Ridge Holland.
Kyle O'Reilly vs Duke Hudson
A pretty fun match here and a really nice showcase for Hudson, who continues to look more and more like a star each week. Both men do a good job targeting limbs here and selling it (Hudson going after O'Reilly's ribs and O'Reilly going after Hudson's legs).
There's some good back and forth stuff, but I didn't care for the ending. Hudson has a massive size advantage over O'Reilly and spends most of the match dominating him, but in the end, O'Reilly locks in a Heel Lock, and Hudson taps. I don't think it's wise when you're trying to get a big young guy over that could be positioned as a dominant heel soon that you have him tap out to a way smaller guy who may not even be with the company that much longer. But that's just me!
Winner- Kyle O'Reilly
Next, we get a video package advertising the Indi Hartwell and Dexter Lumis wedding in two weeks.
The new NXT UK Champion Ilja Dragunov now makes his way to the ring and the guy looks like he just survived a house falling on him, with a huge stitched wound on his forehead and a noticeable limp while walking. But the crowd loves him and gives him a big standing ovation as a show of respect for the classic match he had with WALTER at NXT TakeOver 36.
The crowd chants "Please don't go!" to Dragunov as he says he's heading back to the UK, but he assures them he'll be back soon.
Great promo and the crowd absolutely loves him. Hopefully, WWE uses him correctly going forward cause he could be a big star for the company.
We now go to a sit-down interview with Kay Lee Ray, where she confirms she's here in the US full-time now and calls out the entire NXT Women's Division. Very nice heel promo work here from one of the best in the world right now.
Next, we go to a backstage interview with NXT Breakout Tournament Champion Carmelo Hayes, where he's talking about his plans and who he plans on challenging. He's then confronted by Legado del Fantasma, who warn him to stay away from the North American title because that belongs to Santos Escobar.
Imperium vs Grayson Waller & Drake Maverick
The NXT debut here for Grayson Waller, the Australian formerly known as Matty Wahlberg, as he teams with Drake Maverick against a really pissed-off Imperium team. In a short pre-match promo, Waller shows off his impressive cocky promo skills.
The match is ok. Waller is presented as a Marc Mero-esque wrestler who fights like a boxer. He's a little stiff, but he sells well.
Ultimately, the match is all Imperium, who dominate their opponents quickly and hit the Imperium Bomb to Waller to get the pinfall.
We now go to Johnny Gargano and Indi Hartwell in their locker room, where Hartwell pleads with Gargano to give Dexter Lumis a chance. He turns around to find Lumis just standing there and Gargano pleads with him to "be normal!", as Hartwell and Lumis accompany him to the ring for his match.
Next, we have a backstage promo from Pete Dunne, Ridge Holland, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Burch, where Lorcan & Burch demand a title shot from MSK and Dunne & Holland taunt Ciampa ahead of his match with Holland tonight.
Now we go to the locker room, where Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne jump Sarray and leave her beaten on the ground for "injuring" Mandy Rose earlier.
Johnny Gargano, with Indi Hartwell & Dexter Lumis vs LA Knight
There's a pretty funny moment during Gargano's entrance where he holds out his hand to do The Way's gesture with Hartwell, but instead, Lumis's hand comes into frame to do it, startling Gargano.
Very solid match from two seasoned pros. Lots of good back and forth action with each getting their moments to shine. It gets especially exciting in the second half with all of the reversals and hard-hitting move sequences.
Towards the end, Knight knocks Gargano off of the apron, but Lumis catches him and protects him against Knight. When both get back in the ring, Lumis reaches out to Gargano, and when Gargano reciprocates, Knight hits him with the BFT for the pinfall.
Winner- LA Knight
We now go to MSK backstage, where they head into William Regal's office and tell the GM they accept Lorcan and Burch's challenge. Regal is pleased to see they are fighting Champions and sets the title match for next week's show.
We now get a video promo from Tian Sha announcing Mei Ying will compete in her first NXT match next week.
Jessi Kamea, with Franky Monet & Robert Stone vs Raquel Gonzalez
A pretty short match that gets sloppier as it goes. It looks to be Kamea who can't land anything they're trying here and they rely on Gonzalez's strength to finish a lot of moves. After a couple of minutes, Gonzalez hits a Chingona Bomb where Kamea barely lifts up and gets the pinfall.
Winner- Raquel Gonzalez
After the match, Monet gets in the ring to face off with Gonzalez, but nothing happens.
We now go to a backstage interview with Ember Moon, who has words for Kay Lee Ray and challenges her to a match next week.
Next, we have a sit-down interview between Wade Barrett and NXT Champion Samoa Joe, where he speaks about what sacrifices he has made to be NXT Champion and the precedent he will set.
Roderick Strong, with Diamond Mine vs Ikemen Jiro
Jiro is in control early, until Strong hip tosses him into the steel ring steps on the outside and takes over. Strong gets him back into the ring and dominates him from then on, before ending it with two straight vertical suplex backbreakers for the pinfall.
Winner- Roderick Strong
After the match, Strong calls out Kushida and demands his Cruiserweight title.
We now go to a backstage interview with Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter facing off with NXT Women's Tag Team Champions Io Shirai & Zoey Stark, whom they'll be facing in a title match next week. Catanzaro & Carter stress how they're a great team because they're actually best friends and trust each other. Stark responds with some creepy shit about wanting to take a bullet for Shirai, who tells all of them that she doesn't like them and walks away.
Next, we have a backstage interview with Cameron Grimes, who is interrupted by Grizzled Young Veterans and they mock him for being a "fake" champion with a Million Dollar Title Belt replica. Grimes laughs at them and drops the belt on their feet, which hurts them as Grime struts away.
Tommaso Ciampa vs Ridge Holland, with Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Burch
A really hard-hitting slugfest here! Lots of sneaky interference from Holland's buddies, who surround the ring throughout the match, but Ciampa isn't afraid of anyone and keeps bringing the ass-kickings.
Eventually, Ciampa hits Willow's Bell and gets the pinfall, but is immediately jumped by Dunne, Lorcan, and Burch. MSK hit the ring and take out Lorcan and Burch, as Dunne and Holland escape.
Winner- Tommaso Ciampa
The show ends with MSK and Ciampa standing in the ring together, staring down their enemies on the ramp.
Not a bad show tonight. I think it was done a storytelling disservice (as were all of the recent post-TakeOver shows) by being taped at the same time as the other recent shows because even though WWE's editing crew is top of the line, it doesn't allow the creative team enough time to let things breathe and assess what worked and what didn't to create the best possible show each week.
Till next time friends!