WWE NXT Review Sept. 18, 2019 (Debut on USA Network) by Jim Kress

Note from John Canton: Welcome Jim Kress to the site. He’s going to be our regular WWE NXT reviewer moving forward. Is his style of writing the same as mine? No, and that’s okay. Everybody is going to have their own voice and their own style. Jim will give you all the key details on the show and he’ll let you know some of his thoughts along the way as well. I plan on writing about NXT every week in a different format from my other reviews. That’s because I’m going to write in-depth about Raw, Smackdown and AEW’s show every week. We’re all figuring it out as we go. Take it away, Jim.

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The WWE NXT brand has long been considered WWE’s “developmental” division, but on September 18th, the brand made its jump to the USA Network. Let’s see what happened.

The show started with a promo from Triple H. The video was a close-up of Hunter’s face and followed him into the NXT Universe as it turned into a live shot of him walking into a sea of chanting fans. It was a very creative way to open the brand’s first episode on USA.

Fatal 4-Way: Io Shirai v Bianca Belair v Mia Yim v Candice LeRae

Shortly following the “NXT” chants, Io Shira’s music hit. She was part of a woman’s fatal 4-way to determine who will be the next challenger for Shayna Baszler’s championship belt. Shirai came out in a fury of chaos, then calmed into a quite composure as she waited for the remaining women to enter the ring. Bianca Belair was the next to enter. Nice pop from the crowd for her. She’s extremely talented. Hope to see a push for her soon. Mia Yim was the third competitor to enter the ring in this fatal 4-way. Mia Yim just had a bit of a mini push towards the Women’s NXT Championship. She pushed Baszler to her limit and had previously secured two(!) victories against Bianca Belair.

Candice LeRae was the last woman to enter and she went directly after Io Shirai. LeRae’s entire reason for entering this match was to get her hands on Io. It doesn’t take much to push a storyline in wrestling, just stay consistent with it. It’s nice to see that in the first match of the evening.

The first five minutes of this match were a wonderful showcase for each of these wrestler’s strengths and abilities. Belair showed off her power, while Yim and Io showed off their technique. It was received well from the fans before the first commercial break.

Following the break, we come back to the competitor’s performing a 4-woman Tower of Doom. The ToD was wonderfully executed and got a big pop from the crowd.

Toward the end of the match, nearly every competitor had a moment where they each performed their own finisher. Belair and Yim both had their cover’s interrupted before the “1-2-3.” In the end, Candice LeRae was the victor after an impressive offensive combination against Mia Yim. Her springboard moonsault landed really well and she grabbed the cover for the win.

Winner: Candice LeRae

Post match, NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler’s music hit. She was accompanied by her squad and they surrounded LeRae as an intimidation tactic. LeRae seemed bothered by it. She’ll be the obvious underdog babyface in her match with Baszler, the bully heel champion.

Adam Cole (Bay Bay), the NXT Champion, had a video promo followed by live shots of him and the Undisputed Era in the locker room. The camera then shifted to the Velveteen Dream backstage preparing for his match.

We were then given an update that #NXT was trending on Twitter.

Dominik Dijakovic v. Keith Lee was teased for next week. Those two have clashed in the past before and those are always “must-see.” Dijakovic won the last match, so I think Lee will come out victorious next week.

Sean Maluta v Cameron Grimes

This was a no contest. As soon as the bell rang, Mulata went after Grimes and Grimes hit him with the double foot stomp. Easy 1-2-3. This was odd because last week’s match was supposed to serve as a match that made Grimes look strong too. Why make him over-the-top tonight as well? I’m sure we’ll see what’s coming up for him in the next few weeks, but be prepared to see a lot more of him.

Winner: Cameron Grimes

North American Championship: Velveteen Dream (c) vs. Roderick Strong

Strong was the first to enter the ring. Dream followed with a predictably entertaining intro. “Jacked Ref” was officiating this match. It looks like he’s been trying to grow a beard. Don’t forget to throw love to our refs too! They work pretty hard in this business too. Velveteen Dream was on fire to start the match. He was getting good offense in on Strong, while also effectively playing the mind game. Strong was visibly frustrated outside of the ring after a few failed offensive maneuvers.

After a brief commercial break, we found Dream still unloading on Roderick Strong. Strong eventually countered to break Dream’s momentum. We were then reminded that the 2nd hour of the episode would air on the WWE Network.

Both men had some great back and forth action until Strong went for his “End of Heartache” finisher. Dream looked done. Against all odds he kicked out after a 2 count, only to then be held in Strong’s submission hold. Dream sold this well. The entire building was on its feet cheering for him to grab the rope. He crawled in agony and stretched his arm out to grab the rope and break the hold.

After the “near tap” moment, Dream was pushed into Jacked Ref and the ref laid unconscious. The Undisputed Era showed up ringside and waited to attack the Dream. Strong nailed Dream with another back-breaker and it appeared to be Dream’s demise, Jacked Ref woke up just in time for Dream to kick out at yet another two count. Big pop from the crowd for that near fall. The Undisputed Era played their cards right, distracted the ref and helped Strong pin Dream to finish the match. Prophecy Fulfilled.

Winner and new NXT North American Champion: Roderick Strong

The first hour of NXT went off the air with the Undisputed Era draped in gold. Time to switch over to WWE Network.

The top of hour 2 showed replays of the previous match between Strong and Dream as well as the women’s fatal 4-way finale. The replays set up a graphic for the LeRae v Baszler match in 2 weeks.

Pete Dunne v Arturo Ruas

Dunne entered the ring ready to break some bones. Arturo Ruas was his competitor in the night’s match.

At first glance, I thought this was going to be another squash match (much like the one Cameron Grimes had in the 1st hour). However, Dunne and Ruas put on a good performance. Pete Dunne let Ruas get in his offense early and sold well for him. For Pete Dunne to do this for Ruas, it shows more of a balance in the roster. You start to get the feeling every person has a chance to become a champion. Great performers getting rewarded for what they can do in the ring, what a concept.

Dunne gained offensive control in the second half of the match and never let go. His offense is simply ruthless. He has absolutely earned the nickname “Bruiserweight.” Pete Dunne emerged victorious after he got Ruas to tap. Those finger snap moves don’t ever get easier to watch.

Winner: Pete Dunne

After the Dunne v Ruas match, Lio Rush(!) v Oney Lorcan match was teased. Rush hasn’t been seen in months after some controversial backstage drama. It’s good to see him back on WWE TV. He’s a great heel on the mic and a wonderful in-ring performer.

Another Dakota Kai returning promo aired. She’ll be back next week.

Xia Li v Aliyah

If you’ve already seen the match, unfortunately, Xia Li had a pretty rough botch toward the finish. Botches happen and we all certainly don’t hope to see them happen again. Outside of that one move, she was incredibly impressive. Her entrance showed an impressive display of athleticism, her theme music gets people to inadvertently clap along, she’s alarmingly quick and strikes hard in the ring. I hope this match doesn’t derail any of her confidence or momentum. Even after the botch, she quickly recovered with some hard-hitting offense and took the quick cover for the victory.

Winner: Xia Li

Kushida was teased next. The second hour started to feel a bit more like a 205 live episode. I’m sure with a 2nd hour to cover on USA, adding in 205 Live superstars should make that extra hour easy to cover with quality wrestling.

Denzel DeJeounette was mid entrance after a break. His gimmick looked like if MC Hammer and Kris Kross were fused together. He was quickly surrounded by Imperium. “Where is Walter?” chants filled the arena as he was absent from the group beating up DeJeounette.

Without delay, Walter’s music hit hard and the crowd went wild. (Please give us another Walter v Pete Dunne someday soon!) He started on the mic only to be interrupted mid-promo by Kushida. Kushida played quite the sneaky babyface in thwarting Imperium. What an absolute match Kushida v Walter will be.

Lio Rush v Oney Lorcan

Rush is back. New haircut, but same slick quickness. It’s nice to see him back. Full Sail let out a “Welcome Back” chant as well. Rush looked strong right out the gate too. He had the crowd behind him throughout the entire match.

Oney’s power caught up to Rush and he hit him with some devastating slams. He got in some powerful offense of his own as well. Near the end of the match, Oney powered up, only to be hit with a stellar Spanish Fly from Lio Rush. Rush went top rope for the frog splash and got the 1-2-3. Throw him up to Drew Gulak now, he’s ready.

Winner: Lio Rush

The win by Rush means he gets a Cruiserweight Title shot against champion Drew Gulak.

Street Fight: Matt Riddle v Killian Dain

BRO! Riddle entered first. This guy is so talented. He’s coming off of a loss to Dain in their previous encounter and Dain has been getting booked pretty strong lately. Riddle has been pretty strong in the past too, so we’ll have to wait and see which way they’re going to take this.

The match quickly found its way backstage. NXT superstar cameos piled up as Riddle and Dain made their way further backstage. Riddle got into it with Walter (ok?) after tossing Dain through a table, then all hell broke loose.

The action made its way back inside and toward the ring. Nearly every NXT superstar was in or around the ring brawling with one another. Most of them were filtered out of the ring as Dain was the last standing inside. He hit half the roster with a suicide dive and that’s how NXT went off the air.

Winner: Match was a No Contest

Closing Thoughts

Great way to start the NXT brand on USA. The first hour was impressive, showing newer talent along with more recognizable names. We also saw a title change and some storylines start to blossom. There were 7 total matches in the 2-hour span and more than half of them were very entertaining. The black and gold brand has been a reliable source of in-ring entertainment both in quality and quantity. The first episode was promising. Let’s hope to see the brand build on the hard work they’ve already put into it.

 

 

 

The post WWE NXT Review Sept. 18, 2019 (Debut on USA Network) by Jim Kress appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

NXT In 60 Seconds for September 11, 2019

THIS IS HER BRUTALITY
Photo Credit: WWE.com
A Car: pulls up to Full Sail
Rhea Ripley: gets out, sneers, smirks and heads inside

Damian Priest: powers BOA around the ring a few times Step up Owenzuigiri! Release Falcon Arrow!
BOA: lands a few kicks
DP: MURDERDEATHKILL lariat! Cyclone kick! Reckoning of the Dice!
Referee: Winner!

Velveteen Dream: If you think for a second that the Dream’s title reign is going up in flames, you’re lying to yourself. If the Dream burns, you’ll burn too.

Johnathan Grapples: comes out to a rapturous response and high fives some front row fans before getting inside the ring
Full Sailors: chant his name for a solid two minutes
Johnny: I’ve heard the rumors, read the reports, and my mom and everybody else are asking what my future holds…
Full Sailors: Please don’t go! Please don’t go! Please don’t go!
Johnny: Last time I was in this ring, I fell off a steel cage and woke up to a standing O chanting “Thank you, Johnny!” I appreciated it a lot, since without you there’d be no Johnny Wrestling. We built this place together and I say this with every bit of my heart – I love every thing about NXT, everything about this place!
Full Sailors: NXT! NXT! NXT!
Johnny: NXT is me and that locker room coming out and putting out the best professional wrestling this world has to offer! We have a choice and a say in their futures and I’ve made mine. You guys have had my back since day one so I wanted to say that
Shane Thorne: to the surprise of…well, somebody…comes outFull Sailors: BOOOOOOOOOOO!
Thorne: Is this really necessary? All this Johnny time?
Full Sailors: BOOOOOO! Johnny Wrestling! clap clap clapclapclap Johnny Wrestling! clap clap clapclapclap
Thorne: You could’ve taken a selfie, Tweeted maybe, but nooooo! Johnny has to be here
Full Sailors: BOOOOOOOOOOO!
Thorne: You’re an NXT pillar. You’re fine. And this place is going to be just fine without you.
Full Sailors: BOOOOOOOOOOO!
Thorne: With the right person finally in the spotlight, this place will be better, so you can take a walk.
Johnny: walks towards the ropes
Johnny: seemingly remembers something
Johnny: I mean, we are NXT. I am NXT. And I’m not going anywhere SUPERKICK!
Thorne: felled
Johnny: signs NXT with his fingers a la Bret then does the 4 Life hand sign a la Oz

Pete Dunne: comes out to a massive response
Angel Garza: gets a solid heel pop, kisses Anita and refuses to touch any of the male fans, which…you know, understandable
Pete: shoots in on the leg to set up joint manipulation PK!
Angel: dodges him to the floor, giving him time to remove his pants (very important and very necessary) Superkick! Count him out!
Full Sailors: Bruiserweight! Bruiserweight! Bruiserweight!
Angel: Rope hung kneelift!
Pete: Step up Owenzuigiri! Release German! Buzzsaw kick! Sitout bomb!
Angel: Kickout! Basement superkick!
Pete: Kickout! Arm trapped stomps! Another buzzsaw kick! Triangle! You don’t need all these fingers!
Angel: taps out
Referee: Winner!
Pete: gives his signature shrug
Angel: nods in almost acceptance

Street Profits from Monday in Central Park: note their success has gotten them to MSG and Monday Night Raw
Angelo Dawkins: notes the moment would’ve been better if they’d still been NXT World Tag Team champions
Montez Ford: notes that they can get them back next Wednesday when something important or other is happening

Raul Mendoza: comes out to a decent reaction
Cameron Grimes: ehhh
Raul: Rolling Magistral cradle! Huracanrana! Springboard
Grimes: Interception dropkick!
Raul: Step up Owenzuigiri! Corner leg lariat! Ropewalk missile dropkick to the running Shooting Star!
Grimes: Kickout! pulls the middle rope into his neck 1-Up Stomp!
Referee: Winner!

Candice: is piqued Io is getting rewarded for her evilness with a spot in the triple threat contendership match next week
Master Regal: puts her in it with Bianca and Mia, notes if Rhea wins in the main event it might become a five-way
Candice: is only focused on Io

Shayna Baszler: comes out to a strongly negative reaction, as opposed to her opponent
Full Sailors: Rhea Ripley! clap clap clapclapclap Rhea Ripley! clap clap clapclapclap
Shayna: does her usual back somebody up and bully-ass legsweep after faking a clean break
Rhea Thiccley: no-sells it and does it to her, then almost stomps her out
Shayna: looks a bit perturbed
Both: grapple a bit rudely on the mat
Shayna: goes for the Clutch
Rhea: gets free and slams her
Shayna: Leg in the ropes! PK to the back! Cravate! Now the Kirifuda Clutch!
Rhea: backs into the corner a few times
Shayna: goes up to the middle rope and does a hanging variant
Rhea: Uppercut! Dropkick!
Shayna: bounces off the apron and hits the floor
Rhea: Electric Chair Face Eraser into the steps!
Marina Shafir: tries to interfere and gets dropped
Jessamyn Duke: will not interfere against a swinging Ripley
Shayna: Step up knee!
Jessamyn: slides Shayna a chair
Shayna: swings
Rhea: blocks and swings successfully
Referee: Yup, that’s a DQ.
Full Sailors: Rhea! Rhea! Rhea!
Rhea: sits in the chair and waves them all on
Shayna: held up by the Underlings, holds up Mrs or Miss Goldie
Full Sailors: BOOOOOOO!
Rhea: poses mid-ring

credits

BUT THEN

Some Guy, BAY BAY: The prophecy will finally be fulfilled – plug for the switch to USA and us because we’re awesome – next week when Roddy gets the North American championship.
Roderick Strong: I got his attention, which is awesome since I always hated that couch, Dream, and I hate you. Come next week I get what’s mine, see what the first guy said.
Adam Cole: NXT’s been getting bigger and better thanks to us, and once we have all the gold no one on the planet will be able to stop them. That’s not a threat – nor a promise – merely…Undisputed.
the Era: throw up their gang gang sign

Shayna Baszler On WWE NXT USA Debut, Ronda Rousey, NXT Women’s Title

WWE NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler recently spoke with Muscle & Fitness and said the NXT USA Network premiere on September 18 will be the most important day in the history of the brand. She was asked what changes she has noticed since first walking through the NXT doors in 2017. “There’s a lot of things,” Baszler responded. “I think I got into NXT at a… Read More Shayna Baszler On WWE NXT USA Debut, Ronda Rousey, NXT Women’s Title

The Four Horsewomen: The Most Valuable Team in WWE? – by Mike Sanchez

This Sunday at Clash of Champions, there will be two WWE Women’s Title matches that will see Bayley defend her Smackdown Women’s Championship against the nine-time champion, Charlotte Flair. On the same show, “The Man” Becky Lynch will defend her Raw Women’s Title against a rejuvenated Sasha Banks.

I doubt either match will top the bill as the ‘Main Event’, but I’m looking forward to them and predict both contests will be of very high quality. All four participants have been showcased well on TV in recent weeks, and they’re all excellent athletes who will undoubtedly deliver on the night. I’ll save any predictions, as I’m honestly happy with any outcome. It got me thinking, are the Four Horsewomen of WWE the most valuable team in the company? And are they collectively carrying their entire division?

Step back in time to 2018 and there was one woman who sat on the top of the WWE Women’s pyramid – Ronda Rousey. Rousey was an excellent and shrewd acquisition by WWE. They signed probably the most well-known female MMA fighter ever and one of UFC’s biggest stars in their history. She’d suffered defeats at the end of a stellar career in UFC and looked to take the next step in her life. WWE saw this opportunity and swooped to pick up this star attraction. I was one of those fans who was very excited to see what WWE would do with such a talent and though I, like many others, had reservations about her ability to learn how to be professional wrestler, she picked it up as naturally as Kurt Angle did when he arrived. Sometimes talent shines through and if you’ve got it, you’ve got it.

The issue with Rousey being top of the pile – and being a very credible, dominant and believable champion from SummerSlam to WrestleMania – was that it stifled the rest of the roster. Over on Smackdown, Asuka was being pushed, but the momentum behind Charlotte, Becky and others means she stood on unsteady ground and soon lost her title before slipping down the pecking order. Rousey, however, stood firm and fended off all challengers until the momentum behind a reignited Becky Lynch in the early part of 2019 saw the champion toppled and off our screens to hopefully take time with her husband and start a family. Therefore, post-Wrestlemania, the new guard had been dethroned and the Four Horsewomen began to rise again.

Becky Lynch was at the forefront of this rise and although she dropped the Smackdown Women’s Title to Charlotte Flair (who held the belt for just under five minutes before Bayley cashed in her Money in the Bank briefcase), Lynch has been a mainstay on Raw and like Rousey before her, has defeated all challengers. The introduction of the Women’s Tag Titles allowed the women’s division to breathe and expand outside of two titles, however they haven’t been as successful as WWE would have liked and the lengthy reigns with minimal defenses haven’t helped either. Only in recent weeks did WWE move away from the ‘newer’ women in the company holding the titles and opted to put them on the more recognizable faces on the roster. Alexa Bliss has done a fine job in pushing the titles and bringing Nikki Cross along for the ride, but even that hasn’t jostled the top tier of women wrestlers form their position.

To be fair to WWE, they have tried to improve the division; Natalya has been superb in putting over the other women and they’ve given Lacey Evans a fair crack at the whip, although her push appears to be on the wane of late. The IIconics (Billie Kay & Payton Royce) were given the Women’s Tag Team titles, capturing the new belts from the inaugural champs, Bayley and Sasha, Banks at Wrestlemania. The IIconics held the titles for 120 days, yet I struggle to recall any of their defenses. Asuka disappeared from the title picture and has yet to return, while others on the roster such as Ember Moon, Tamina, Mandy Rose, Liv Morgan and Sonya Deville have rare forays at the top of the women’s card if any at all. WWE seems firm on the idea that the trusted members of that roster are Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Bayley and Sasha Banks.

That isn’t a criticism of WWE at all, but the fact is they’re blessed with four of the most talented women in professional wrestling right now. Each has their own unique look, style, move-set and approach. They’re way above average than most on the mic, although I think Bayley is bottom of that small list, but improving. That being said, Bayley and Lynch are natural faces in the company. Bayley has a connection with younger fans and has a huge following from children and young girls in particular. She’s smiley, colorful and playful. Her recent descent to the dark side notwithstanding, she is a draw for a big demographic of the WWE fanbase.

Lynch was catapulted into the next level after her fracas with Nia Jax (and attack on Rousey that same night) that saw ‘The Man’ character be born. Her unending quest to be crowned champion was a well thought out story that carried over several months and culminated in her victory at Wrestlemania. Her recent engagement to Seth Rollins (arguably the biggest name on Raw right now) only serves to raise her profile both inside and outside of WWE.

Both Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks took a back seat post-Mania and didn’t enjoy the push their former NXT colleagues did. Charlotte is not someone who can be kept quiet or away from the spotlight for too long. She’s arguably the most talented of the group and has the pedigree and championship history to prove it. She’s a natural heel who comes across as arrogant, entitled and determined, yet is a fully believable champion and every bit as dominant as Lynch or Rousey.

Sasha Banks has returned from a hiatus to become her best persona, a heel. Banks is a popular character, but her best work is as the bad girl foil to a babyface. Her NXT run was spectacular and she is a great worker. I believe WWE is doing the right thing by pushing her in that direction once more. It’s apparent that WWE is focusing on the foursome going into 2020 with little to stop their momentum. They’re a tight-knit group and I don’t foresee anyone challenging their spots anytime soon.

What does the future hold for the Four Horsewomen? Are they set to be dominant for the next five years or more? I think they’re comfortably top of the pile for now, but WWE aren’t daft and know they’ll need to bring through the next group of women to challenge them, rather than rely on another Ronda Rousey. NXT is the breeding ground of great talent and none more so than their women’s division. Though perhaps not just yet, WWE can’t be far away from considering main roster debuts for Shayna Baszler, Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, Rhea Ripley, Mia Yim and more.

The present may belong to the Four Horsewomen, but the future is far from certain. It’s up to them to continue to prove they’re the best and we know they’re up to the challenge.

The post The Four Horsewomen: The Most Valuable Team in WWE? – by Mike Sanchez appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

The John Report: WWE NXT 09/11/19 Review

Welcome to the TJRWrestling review of NXT. This is the last NXT that’s WWE Network only. Next Wednesday, NXT becomes a live show. The first hour on September 18 and September 25 will be on USA Network (for those of you in the US) while the second hour will be on WWE Network. That’s because USA Network is showing the final two episodes of their long running TV show Suits at 9pmET those weeks. On October 2, NXT will be live on USA Network for two hours from 8-10pmET. Anyway, this is the last taped NXT episode, so let’s get to it.

Taped from Full Sail University in Orlando, FL, this is WWE NXT episode #369. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.

There was a shot of Chevy truck pulling up to the arena and the driver opened the door to reveal Rhea Ripley, who is in action on this show against Shayna Baszler. Ripley walked into Full Sail University.

The NXT intro video aired. They might have a new intro video next week on USA Network. They showed the crowd chanting “NXT” as the show came on the air and noted that Johnny Gargano will be there later.

Damian Priest vs. Boa

Priest has a big size advantage here. I don’t know much about Boa other than he was in the Breakout Tournament and he is from China. Priest with a shoulder tackle. Boa wanted him to run the ropes to do it again, so Priest just punched him in the face instead. Priest with a jumping kick to the head, a corner splash and a Falcon Arrow slam. Boa avoided strikes, two kicks to the chest and he hit a running kick to the head. Boa ran the ropes and Priest came back with a spinning lariat. Priest with a jumping kick to the head followed by The Reckoning neckbreaker for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest

Analysis: * Easy win for Priest, who continues to get a pretty good push in NXT as one of the taller guys on the roster. I can see Priest having a bigger role in NXT in the future. Boa is an athletic guy that may get a push down the road, but not any time soon.

There was a video package showing what we saw last week when Roderick Strong burned Velveteen Dream’s couch. Dream had a message for Strong that he was ready for their match.

Next week on NXT on USA Network: Velveteen Dream defends the North American Title against Roderick Strong. McGuinness said it will be in the first hour of NXT next week, so that part is on USA Network.

Let’s Hear from Johnny Gargano

Johnny Gargano made his entrance in his street clothes including a jacket, shirt and jeans. The fans gave him a nice ovation as he greeted some fans at ringside. There were “Johnny Wrestling” chants (plus “clap clap clap”) for him that lasted about two minutes. It might have been more. I didn’t time it, but it was long.

Gargano joked that he told them in the back that he wouldn’t be there for long, but now they chanted. Gargano said that everybody has asked him, including his mom, what the future holds for him. The fans chanted “please don’t go” at him. Gargano said the last time he was in this ring, he fell 20 feet from a steel cage and he woke up with 20,000 people chanting “Thank You Johnny” at him. These fans chanted that as well. Johnny said he appreciated that and he thanked the fans as well. Gargano said that we built this place together and he says this with every bit of his heart, he absolutely loves everything about NXT…everything about this place. There were “NXT” chants.

Gargano said that this place is about people like him, like that locker room and pouring their hearts out to put on the best professional wrestling show that this world has to offer. Professional wrestling and not sports entertainment? That’s nice to hear. Gargano said he’s seen a lot of people come and go while noting that they have a say in their choice. Gargano said he made his choice…the fans have had his back since day one so he wanted to tell them that he is officially…and here comes Shane Thorne for the interruption.

Thorne did a promo on his way to the ring as the fans booed him for complaining about Gargano getting promo time. Thorne said that Gargano could have taken a selfie or put a tweet out, but oh no…he has to be there. Thorne got into the ring. Thorne said that Gargano is a pillar of NXT because he’s Johnny Takeover. Thorne said that this place is going to be just fine without Johnny and he added that with the right person in the spotlight, it’s going to be even better. Thorne told Gargano to take a bow and take a walk.

Gargano said that Shane is right that he is NXT and he is not going anywhere. Gargano hit a superkick on Thorne and stood over him. Gargano did hand gestures to the camera saying, “NXT 4 Life.” The fans cheered loudly for all of this. They loved it.

Analysis: There were rumors that Gargano would be moved to Raw or Smackdown after the last Takeover because of how it ended, but when they taped this last month and he announced he was staying in NXT I think that made a lot of people happy. I feel like NXT is the perfect place for him because he is established as one of the greatest NXT stars ever thanks to so many main events and classic matches. Thorne hasn’t done much as a singles wrestler after being in a tag team for many years, so this is a nice opportunity for him to show what he can do against a top NXT guy like Gargano. I assume we’ll get Gargano vs. Thorne either next week or the week after.

There was a commercial for WWE Clash of Champions this Sunday on WWE Network.

A video package aired about the Forgotten Sons trio that showed highlights of some of the destruction they have caused in NXT. They said they will not be forgotten anymore.

Pete Dunne entered for a match. He is expected to be a regular in NXT moving forward. Angel Garza entered as the opponent and he let an old lady kiss him on the cheek.

Pete Dunne vs. Angel Garza

Dunne tripped up Garza and twisted the foot. Dunne wrenched back on the left arm of Garza and did the dreaded finger snap move that always gets a good reaction because it looks brutal. Garza came back with an armbar, Dunne countered with a headscissors and they had a staredown. They did a sequence where they ran the ropes, did some leap frogs and Dunne hit a clothesline. Dunne kicked the arm of Garza. Garza grabbed the arm of Dunne, then he pulled off his tights to reveal trunks underneath. Dunne went for a diving attempt, Garza avoided it and hit a superkick while Dunne was upside down on the apron. Dunne got back in the ring, he set up Dunne on the turnbuckle and hit a running knee to the ribs. Dunne sent Garza to the turnbuckle, Dunne with chops to the chest and a step up enziguri kick to the head. Dunne with a release German Suplex that sent Garza across the ring. Dunne stomped on the hands and followed with a kick to the head for a two count. Garza with a dropkick to the face. Dunne came back with a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. Garza with a rollup for two. Dunne to the turnbuckle, Garza tripped him up and Garza hit a dropkick to the side of the knee for a two count. Garza worked over Dunne with punches. Dunne came back with a takedown, then a roll through, stomps to the chest and Dunne hit a kick to the head. Dunne with a kick to the ribs, then he sent Garza to the other turnbuckle and Garza hit a kick to ribs. Garza went for a moonsault off the ropes, Dunne moved and Dunne slapped on a triangle choke plus a finger snap for the submission win after about eight minutes.

Winner: Pete Dunne

Analysis: **3/4 It was a competitive match with the crowd cheering for both guys. You could tell they liked the charisma that Garza showed, but it was no surprise that Dunne got the win since he’s the more established name in NXT. The more wins for Dunne the better because he is one of my favorite wrestlers in NXT, so I’m in favor of a push for him.

There was a shot of Rhea Ripley getting ready backstage. Shayna Baszler was also shown warming up for her match.

A video package aired about WWE’s work in raising money for Pediatric Cancer awareness.

There was a video featuring The Street Profits from Monday when they were on Raw in Madison Square Garden. Montez Ford said it was amazing and Angelo Dawkins said it’s not the same without the NXT Tag Team Titles. Dawkins said that if they had the titles it would have been special. Ford said what better way to make a statement on September 18 NXT than showing up and taking back the NXT Tag Team Champions. Dawkins said they need to go handle their business at MSG. Ford and Dawkins were standing on a rock, they asked a fan where MSG was and he said it was about two blocks away, so they left.

Cameron Grimes vs. Raul Mendoza

Mendoza got a cradle pin attempt to start the match. Mendoza with a headscissors takeover. Mendoza with chops to the chest, Mendoza to the apron and Grime got some momentum with a dropkick that sent Mendoza to the floor. Grimes with a running clothesline for a two count. Grimes grounded Mendoza with an armbar on the left arm. Mendoza with a punch to the face, then a kick and a dropkick. Mendoza with a running kick, then went up top, walked the ropes and hit a dropkick. Mendoza hit a running Shooting Star Press for a two count. Grimes drove Mendoza’s face into the ropes. Mendoza with a kick to the ribs and an enziguri kick to the head. Mendoza up top, he went for a Phoenix Splash, Grimes avoided it and hit a jumping double stomp to the shoulders for the pinfall win after about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Cameron Grimes

Analysis: ** It was a decent match with Mendoza getting a lot of offense, but Grimes made the comeback by avoiding a big move and hitting his finisher to win. I remember when Kofi Kingston added that jumping double stomp to the shoulders when Trevor Lee was doing it in Impact and now they are in the same company. Anyway, I like Grimes’ heel attitude and it’s not a surprise that they want to give him a push.

There was a shot of GM William Regal in his office where Candice LeRae complained about Io Shirai in an upcoming triple threat. Regal said that instead of a triple threat match next week, it will be a Fatal 4-Way and the winner of that will face Shayna Baszler for the NXT Title. Regal said if Ripley wins tonight then it would be a 5-Way match. LeRae said as long as she can get her hands on Shirai next week then she doesn’t care who else is in the match.

The commercial aired for NXT on USA Network next week on September 18.

A video aired about Dakota Kai, who told us she is the captain of Team Kick. It said “Dakota Kai” returns soon.

Next week: Velveteen Dream defends the North American Title against Roderick Strong in the first hour and Matt Riddle vs. Killian Dain in a Street Fight in the second hour.

Rhea Ripley, who is from Australia, made her entrance for the main event match. Shayna Baszler entered with the NXT Women’s Title. This is not a title match.

Rhea Ripley vs. Shayna Baszler

Baszler went for an armbar, Ripley got to the ropes and tripped her up. Ripley with a body slam. Ripley with repeated shoulder tackles to the ribs against the turnbuckle. Baszler got a rollup and Ripley came back with a dropkick. Ripley was tied up in the ropes after missing a kick, so Baszler kicked her in the back. Ripley tried to come back with a dropkick, but Baszler moved and slapped on a hanging sleeper on the turnbuckle. With Baszler seated on the top, Ripley hit a dropkick to send Baszler to the floor. Ripley followed to the floor and picked up Baszler on her shoulders followed by Ripley sending Baszler into the steel steps. That led to Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke to go to ringside to help Baszler, so Ripley kicked Shafir down. Baszler capitalized with a jumping knee to the face. Duke handed Baszler a steel chair, Ripley blocked the chair shot and Ripley hit Baszler in the back for the DQ finish after about six minutes of action.

Winner by disqualification: Shayna Baszler

Analysis: **1/4 A short match to tease something down the road between them. The chair finish was a way to say Ripley lost the match without pinning her. I think their styles mesh well together with Baszler as a submission specialist and Ripley is more of a well rounded wrestler with some power.

Post match, Ripley had the steel chair in her hand while Baszler and friends left up the ramp. Ripley had a staredown with Baszler with Ranallo saying that this issue between the two women is just beginning. In other words, it’s a new feud that is just getting started.

There was a pre-taped promo featuring The Undisputed Era where they said NXT is on USA Network because of them. Adam Cole said that Roderick Strong is gong to beat Velveteen to win the North American Championship next week. Strong said he’s going to get what is finally his and that’s the North American Championship, so then they will have every title in the group. Cole said that NXT is getting bigger and badder thanks to them. They posed to end it.

Analysis: Good promo. I’m a big fan of all four guys and the Undisputed Era as a group is a polished group. They are definitely the centerpiece of NXT these days.

This show had a run time of 57:00 on WWE Network.

 

Final Thoughts

This episode was mostly about building stuff for next week when NXT is live for two hours. There wasn’t a standout match and everything was kept under ten minutes. I would have liked to see more from Baszler/Ripley in the main event, but obviously WWE is building up to more from them down the road. That’s a future feud for sure.

I’m really looking forward to Dream vs. Strong next week and the women’s 4-way match.

Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

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The post The John Report: WWE NXT 09/11/19 Review appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

Rhea Ripley Comments On Confronting Shayna Baszler & Hypes NXT UK Takeover: Cardiff

Top NXT and NXT UK Superstar, Rhea Ripley has commented on her impressive week with her confrontation with Shayna Baszler and NXT UK Takeover.

Ripley made a surprise appearance on WWE NXT this week when she confronted Shayna Baszler, taking the microphone from her and making it clear she wants the NXT Women’s Championship.

On social media, Ripley stated that she confronted the ‘champ champ’ and left her running with her tail between her legs. However, she then put her focus on Saturday’s NXT UK Takeover: Cardiff where she is set to face Piper Niven, stating she is ready to put her in her place.

The post Rhea Ripley Comments On Confronting Shayna Baszler & Hypes NXT UK Takeover: Cardiff appeared first on ProWrestling.com.

The John Report: WWE NXT 08/28/19 Review

Hey yo. I’m back to review the WWE NXT show here on TJRWrestling. Before I begin, I want to thank Kurt Zamora for doing a fantastic job of being our NXT reviewer. I did some checking and found out that he had been our NXT reviewer since August 12, 2015. I was reviewing NXT most of the time up to that point and we also had a guy named Lonestar before me. Kurt has moved on because of work and life commitments becoming too busy for him, which is understandable. He’s a close friend and I appreciate the four years he spent reviewing this show as well as NXT Takeover events. I’m hoping that Kurt can still contribute columns or other content to the site as well.

I don’t know if I’m going to review NXT long term or if we’ll find somebody else. We have a writer search in two weeks, so I’ll see how it goes because I plan on doing WWE Raw, WWE Smackdown and AEW’s show every week, plus at least one retro PPV every week and all the news posts. I don’t know if I’m crazy enough to add NXT to it, but I might be! Anyway, that’s to be determined.

Taped from Full Sail University in Orlando, FL, this is WWE NXT episode #367. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.

The NXT opening video aired. The NXT announce team is Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness and Beth Phoenix.

Io Shirai vs. Cami Fields

Shirai with a running dropkick, a running back elbow and Fields came back with forearms to the chest. Shirai with a running knee attack against the ropes. Fields countered a move, Shirai landed on her feet and hit an uppercut palm strike to the face. Shirai with a double knee attack against the turnbuckle. Shirai went up top and hit a moonsault, but she pulled Fields up at the count of two. Shirai slapped on the Harajuku Clutch submission and Fields tapped out to give Shirai the win at 1:39.

Winner by submission: Io Shirai

Analysis: 1/2* An easy win for Shirai to continue her push as a heel. Fields barely got any offense in, which is fine. This was about showcasing Shirai.

After the match, Shirai grabbed a kendo stick from under the ring. Shirai went back in the ring, but Candice LeRae showed up. LeRae got the kendo stick, hit Shirai two times and Shirai left the ring. They had a staredown.

Analysis: I’m glad that this feud is continuing because they had a great match at Takeover Toronto earlier in the month.

The Undisputed Era’s Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly were shown backstage warming up for their NXT Tag Team Title match later in the show.

A commercial aired for NXT Takeover UK’s Takeover Cardiff show this Saturday on WWE Network.

A video aired showing some highlights of Kushida, who said he’s ready to face everyone in NXT.

Keith Lee made his entrance with the fans giving him a nice ovation. Ranallo talked about how Lee and Dominik Dijakovic had a great match in February that ended in a double countout, there was going to be a rematch, but Dijakovic was on the shelf with a right knee (torn meniscus) injury. Now Dijakovic is back, so here’s the match. Dominik Dijakovic made his entrance. He’s one of the tallest guys in NXT that stands at 6’6” while Lee is about 6’2” and over 300 pounds. Dijakovic is the heel while Lee is the face.

Analysis: These guys had an incredible match in PWG in September 2017 that Dave Meltzer rated five stars. Dijakovic, who made a name for himself in Ring of Honor as Donovan Dijak, made his NXT debut later that same month while Lee arrived in April 2018. Now they get to show what they can do on the WWE NXT stage.

Donovan Dijakovic vs. Keith Lee

Lee took control early on with a running shoulder tackle. The fans love chanting “bask in his glory” for Lee. When Lee ran off the ropes, Dijakovic stopped him with a spinning kick to the face. Dijakovic with forearms to the chest, but he couldn’t lift up Lee for a suplex. Lee with two elbows to the face, Lee went for an attack, Dijakovic sent him to the apron and Lee sent him face first into the turnbuckle. Lee with a slingshot cross body block onto Dijakovic for a two count followed by a running clothesline for two. Dijakovic sold that with a flip bump. Dijakovic was on the apron, Lee followed him there and Lee gave him a spinebuster back first on the edge of the ring apron. That looked brutal. Dijakovic came back with a kick that sent Lee out of the ring and then Dijakovic with a running, twisting dive (a Fosbury Flop) over the top onto Lee on the floor. That’s so impressive for a guy as tall as he is. Back in the ring, Dijakovic tried a flipping attack, but Lee caught him, which was incredible, Dijakovic got out of it and landed on his knees. Dijakovic with a back elbow to the face followed by a suplex into a toss across the ring. Dijakovic went up top with a moonsault and connected with it for a two count. They battled on the top rope with Lee elbowing Dijakovic in the head, then Lee stood on the top rope and jumped off with an Avalanche Spanish Fly (flipping Rock Bottom) off the top! Holy shit! The fans were standing on their feet. Mauro was going crazy as usual. Lee covered for a two count. There were “NXT” chants that followed. McGuinness called it a 600-pound Spanish Fly and that’s why it was so impressive. The fans chanted “fight forever” for them. Lee went to the ropes again, Dijakovic stopped him briefly and then Lee elbowed him down. When Lee stood on the top, Dijakovic kicked the back of the leg. Dijakovic put Lee on his shoulders in the Torture Rack position, flipped him off and kneed him in the face for a move called Feast Your Eyes. That was impressive too. Dijakovic covered for the pinfall victory at 11:14.

Winner by pinfall: Donovan Dijakovic

Analysis: ****1/4 This was an awesome match that was like what we get on Takeover shows. If they got a few more minutes they could have gone to another level, but it was still awesome for a match that got just under 12 minutes. It was a back and forth match wrestled at a fast pace. It’s not like they grabbed rest holds. It was a hard-hitting fight with Lee coming close to winning a few times, but Dijakovic was able to get the victory. The Spanish Fly was amazing. The finish was well done with Lee going for a big move, but Dijakovic stopped him and Lee going for that move was why he lost. These two guys are future main eventers in NXT or the main roster because of how skilled they are in the ring and being bigger guys will help them a lot. Shoutout to my pal Kurt Zamora for being one of the first people to tell me about how good Keith Lee was long before anybody was talking about the guy. Keith is awesome.

After the match was over, they got a standing ovation from the fans while the announcers put this over as a classic match. Dijakovic had his hand raised as the winner with Dijakovic looking like he was shocked that he won.

Analysis: I think we’ll see this match again when WWE is on USA Network on September 18. Perhaps they’ll save it for October 2. I’m not sure if it can wait until Takeover in November. These guys are awesome together and when you have that kind of chemistry with somebody, fans are going to want to see more matches between them.

There was a video package about the NXT career of Johnny Gargano aka Johnny Wrestling. They showed when he won the NXT Tag Team Titles with Johnny Gargano in November 2016. I was there in Toronto for that. It also covered his epic 2018 rivalry with Tommaso Ciampa. Earlier this year at NXT Takeover New York, he became the NXT Champion for the first time. Gargano is the prototypical babyface wrestler (even though he had a brief heel run) that was living his dream. Gargano is one of the leaders of NXT that has wrestled in more Takeover events than anybody else.

The announcers wondered what the future holds for Johnny Wrestling. They were interrupted by Shane Thorne, who said that Johnny is the past. Thorne said they should talk about his win streak. Ranallo said they had to take a break.

Analysis: Thorne has been getting a bit of a push, so perhaps he’ll start a feud with Gargano. I did not read the spoilers for future shows.

A clip aired from last week with Shayna Baszler wanted Mia Yim to join her group, but Yim refused and got beat up by Baszler and friends.

There was a WWE.com video of Yim asking William Regal for another shot at Baszler. Regal said she had her opportunity at Takeover and she attacked two of them, so what did she expect? Yim was frustrated.

Let’s Hear from Shayna Baszler

Shayna Baszler, the NXT Women’s Champion, made her entrance with Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir for a promo. When Baszler was about to speak, she was interrupted by the music of Rhea Ripley.

Rhea Ripley got a big ovation from the crowd. She is a former NXT UK Women’s Champion that is a very talented wrestler. The fans popped big for her and gave her “Rhea” chants.

Ripley took the microphone from Baszler. Ripley said she knows Baszler will say she’s beaten everybody here and Ripley told her “you haven’t beaten me, bitch.” Ripley’s music played again as Baszler backed away with her group.

Analysis: Ripley is a new rival for Baszler. I like it and the fans obviously love it by the way they reacted to it. Ripley has a lot of talent and a bright future. What I like about NXT is they don’t have long talking segments that often. They keep it simple. They didn’t need to say a lot of words. What they did was effective enough.

There was a video package about Pete Dunne talking about what he’s done at just 25 years of age. Dunne said he goes where he wants whenever he wants. Dunne said he has got everybody on notice. Dunne noted that the North American Title was almost his, but Velveteen Dream stopped that referee’s count. Dunne said if anybody wants to step top him, he’ll break their fingers, he’ll break their spirit…just watch.

Analysis: Dunne is awesome. I hope he’s featured more on regular NXT. I know he’s been a part of NXT UK too, but they need to utilize him on the regular NXT brand.

The Street Profits were backstage getting ready for their NXT Tag Team Title match. Their match is next.

A commercial aired for WWE Clash of Champions on Sunday, September 15. A commercial aired for the WWE 2K20 video game that comes out in October.

Next week on NXT: North American Champion Velveteen Dream vs. Kona Reeves in a non-title match and Adam Cole defends the NXT Championship against Jordan Myles. Great matches on tap as usual for NXT. I’m especially excited about Cole vs. Myles.

The Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish made their entrance as the challengers. The story is that the Street Profits pinned the non-legal man at Takeover Toronto, so that’s why Undisputed Era get another title shot. The Street Profits made their entrance as the champions and the fans cheered them as one of the most popular acts in NXT.

NXT Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) vs. The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish)

Fish took down Ford with a headlock followed by knees to the ribs. O’Reilly tagged in with headlock, Dawkins tagged in with a shoulder tackle followed by a slam. Fish got the tag, so Dawkins slammed him down as well with an amateur wrestling style slam. Ford with a dropkick on Fish, a double flapjack on O’Reilly and Dawkins slammed Ford onto both opponents for a two count on Fish. Ford with a kick to the face of Fish, then a kick on O’Reilly while on the apron and a slingshot cross body block on Fish for a two count. Ford with a deep armdrag on Fish, then O’Reilly with a cheap knee to the back while the referee wasn’t looking and the heels took control. The heels took control with O’Reilly kicking the left leg of Ford and driving the leg into the mat. Fish jumped right onto the left knee of Ford. When O’Reilly tagged in, Ford came back with some punches, but O’Reilly wrenched on the left knee again. Fish with a slingshot senton splash on Ford for two. Ford broke free with a leap across the ring and Dawkins got the hot tag.

Dawkins with punches followed by a double clothesline on both heels. Dawkins with an exploder suplex on Fish, a sky high slam on O’Reilly, corkscrew splashes on both guys against the turnbuckles and Dawkins shoved Fish into O’Reilly. Dawkins with a Spear on Fish for a two count. O’Reilly tagged in, Dawkins with a German Suplex on Fish and O’Reilly hit a chop block on Dawkins. O’Reilly with a brainbuster while Fish hit a kick to the back and that got a two count. O’Reilly slapped on a leg lock submission, so Ford shoved Fish onto the other guys to break the hold. All four guys were down with some fans chanting for both teams, but it wasn’t most of the fans. Ford was taken down with a leg whip. Dawkins with a spinebuster on Fish, Dawkins punched O’Reilly and O’Reilly blocked a suplex attempt into a triangle choke submission. Dawkins powered out of it with a Buckle Bomb into the corner. Ford tagged in with a uranage slam on O’Reilly. Dawkins went up and hit a Frog Splash on O’Reilly, Ford covered, but Fish pulled O’Reilly out of the ring to save his partner. Ford with a somersault dive over the top where he barely grazed both guys because he jumped too far. Dawkins with a Spear on O’Reilly. Fish crushed Dawkins with a stiff knee to the face. Ford went for a Frog Splash, O’Reilly moved and O’Reilly/Fish capitalized with a double team High Low kick combo and O’Reilly pinned Ford to win the match at 11:26. New NXT Tag Team Champions!

Winners by pinfall and New NXT Tag Team Champions: The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish)

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good tag team match, but not as good as their match at the last Takeover. The crowd wasn’t into the match as much as you might think. They did a nice job of building up to Dawkins getting the hot tag, he was impressive and then it was an even match at that point. I thought the finish was booked well with Ford missing the big move, Fish took out Dawkins with the knee and the High Low kick combo was a strong way to end it. I think it would have been better with some more false finishes.

That win makes the Undisputed Era the first-ever three-time NXT Tag Team Champions. One of those reigns was O’Reilly and Roderick Strong and this is the second time for O’Reilly and Fish. The NXT Tag Team Title reign of The Street Profits lasted 75 days.

Analysis: When this was taped a few weeks ago, the immediate reaction from fans was that the Street Profits lost because are going to be on the main roster since they are on Raw doing back promos every week. However, the reports are that they are going to continue in NXT. It makes sense to move them to the main roster since there are a lack of natural babyface tag teams, but now that NXT is on USA Network the “move to main roster” means less than it used to. They have a bright future no matter what show they are on.

The Undisputed Era’s O’Reilly and Fish celebrated with the NXT Tag Team Titles. The announcers tried hard to put this over as a great match. It was good, but not that special. Replays aired of the finish.

When O’Reilly and Fish were on the stage with their titles, they were joined by NXT Champion Adam Cole and Roderick Strong, so it showed how dominant the Undisputed Era was.

Analysis: It’s a good strategy to have a dominant heel group like The Undisputed Era holding the NXT Championship and NXT Tag Team Titles too. Roderick Strong may end up winning the North American Title as well, but I like Velveteen Dream as the champion. Anyway, this is the best group in NXT history and I look forward to their future as champions.

This show had a run time of 54:32 on WWE Network.

 

Final Thoughts

This was an excellent show with the outstanding match between Dijakovic and Lee. The main event was pretty solid as well with NXT Tag Team Title change. You don’t see many title changes on NXT TV because they like to save those for Takeover events. I liked the introduction of Rhea Ripley as a challenger for Shayna Baszler too.

Since the next Takeover show is in November, they have a lot of time to set up rivalries for that show. Plus, we know NXT is moving to USA Network on September 18 and that’s going to be a big night for them as well as October 2 when they are head to head against AEW. It’s an exciting time for WWE’s NXT brand.

Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

 

 

The post The John Report: WWE NXT 08/28/19 Review appeared first on TJR Wrestling.