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.


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.

Vince McMahon Was “Thrilled” With WWE NXT’s Two-Hour Broadcast

Following WWE NXT last night, Triple H conducted a media call where he revealed that Vince McMahon had texted him after the broadcast was over.

Triple H claimed that the WWE Chairman was “thrilled” with the show, stating:

“[Vince McMahon] sent me a massive congratulations after it was over and was thrilled with the product.”

Triple H noted that Vince had been texting him all day, including giving hourly messages ahead of the live broadcast and was said to be very impressed with the talent, who he believes knocked it out of the park.

H/T to ProWrestling Sheet.com for the transcript.

The post Vince McMahon Was “Thrilled” With WWE NXT’s Two-Hour Broadcast appeared first on ProWrestling.com.

WATCH: Triple H Appears After WWE NXT & Rejoices With The Fans

Following the first-ever live two-hour episode of WWE NXT, Triple H appeared in front of the Full Sail crowd to thank the fans for building the brand.

The Game appeared following the end of the taping in a dark segment that was captured for WWE’s YouTube channel, with Triple H telling the fans that whatever energy they bring, the roster will give back.

Triple H cut a very passionate speech in front of the live crowd, before actually joining the fans to rejoice and celebrate the first episode, which you can see in full below.

The post WATCH: Triple H Appears After WWE NXT & Rejoices With The Fans appeared first on ProWrestling.com.

Triple H Discusses Lio Rush Returning, When Ciampa Will Be Back & More WWE NXT Notes

In a post-show media call, Triple H discussed a range of topics in relation to WWE NXT’s debut night on the USA Network following the epic two-hour show. Below are some highlights with a H/T to WrestlingInc.com for the transcriptions.

Triple H on Lio Rush returning to action:

“No, it was something we’ve been talking about for a while,” revealed Triple H. “This whole thing with NXT on USA, we’ve been talking about doing it for a year and a half, two years, then when it finally happens it’s a recent development. Until it actually happens, it hasn’t happened. Until we knew what was going on there was a bit of a lag there. I’m just really excited, Lio Rush won. He’s just a phenomenal, energetic, and money performer to me. Thrilled that we get to put him on the show and have him showcase what he does. He and Oney tore it up and that’s what it’s about.”

When Ciampa will be back:

“He is getting very close,” answered Triple H. “When you come down to the end of-unfortunately I’ve been through a lot of these, when you come down to the end there is this point and time when you are just chopping at the bit. You’re ready to go, you feel like you can move the world. And yet, the doctors are still like, ‘Give it a bit more, take it slow.’ That last couple of percent to getting to 100% is the most frustrating part for an athlete because you feel like you can take on the world but you can’t just quite yet. He’s ready, he’s as close as he can get. He is the racehorse right now, stomping and pulling at that gate. When that doctor tells him to go, he’s going to come flying out of there.”

On the debut show:

“I just stood in front of talent and said, hard to follow up what they just accomplished without saying anything that doesn’t sound trite other than to say how proud I am of all of this,” said Triple H. “It’s taking a long time to get here. This was a starting line, not the finish line. We went out there tonight on the number one network on cable television, USA, amazing partners for us for years and put on what I feel was an epic hour of programming on USA. Number one trending in the USA the entire time, number one in the world the entire time, and number 4 in the world the entire time. Tough to say more than that other than I thought it was a hell of a night and thought it was an epic performance on everybody’s part.”

The post Triple H Discusses Lio Rush Returning, When Ciampa Will Be Back & More WWE NXT Notes appeared first on ProWrestling.com.

Triple H Addresses Live Crowd After WWE NXT Goes Off the Air (VIDEO)

After a sparkling debut on the USA Network and WWE Network tonight, NXT’s head honcho Triple H simply wanted to say “thank you.”

Once the dust cleared following a chaotic brawl between Matt Riddle and Killian Dain at show’s close, The Game cut a promo for the rabid crowd at Full Sail University in Orlando.

He said that NXT will continue to deliver blistering action every single week, emphasizing that the fans are the most important part of “WE ARE NXT.”

The segment ends with Trips jumping into the masses and leading them in an “NXT” chant. Check out it yourself on the video below.


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Vince McMahon And More Top Executives Reportedly Not At WWE Raw; Paul Heyman Runs The Show

According to a report by ProWrestlingSheet.com, Vince McMahon and several other top executives were not at WWE Raw last night.

As well as the WWE Chairman, the report stated that Triple H and Kevin Dunn were also missing from the show, which led to the new executive director, Paul Heyman, being in charge of the show.

Triple H was missing due to being in Orlando, Florida in order to prepare for NXT’s debut on the USA Network tomorrow night, but it isn’t known why either McMahon or Dunn was unavailable.

Michael Mansury, WWE’s VP of Global Television production was the man who filled in for Dunn, while Heyman was in control creatively of the show.

The post Vince McMahon And More Top Executives Reportedly Not At WWE Raw; Paul Heyman Runs The Show appeared first on ProWrestling.com.

Triple H Reveals The Future Plans For WWE 205 Live

Triple H recently spoke with Newsweek where he revealed what the future is looking like for the WWE 205 Live brand and if it will move.

With WWE SmackDown Live moving to Friday nights soon there has been plenty of questions regarding WWE 205 Live and its future, which The Game addressed, revealing the cruiserweights will start to work under the NXT banner.

“You’ll start to see 205 begin to,” Triple H revealed. “I think it always existed as an island onto itself, a little bit, and it’s become lost in this limbo. You’ll begin to see it move more towards the NXT banner and the talent there. We have a lot of talent. For them to begin to compete either open against anyone or in the cruiserweight division, but have that title sit under the NXT brand is more meaningful. It creates more opportunities for more people. As for RAW and SmackDown, it’s an open division for them. When you’re on both shows, everybody is competing against everybody.”

Triple H also spoke about the partnership with Full Sail and the importance of Florida’s crowds in building up WWE NXT as a brand:

“For me it was very important,” he said. “For one, with our partnership with Full Sail. We do so much there than just put on shows. If you’re a student at Full Sail, they are working on our shows with us shadowing and it’s a learning process for them as well. To continue that process, I wanted to keep it there. They are one of our biggest and best partners. The other thing to me, that fan base in Florida, they built this. They were there on the ground floor and their energy and excitement allowed [NXT] to become what it has become and what it is becoming, and I want them to be on that ride with us and to continue to grow it. When we say ‘we are NXT’ they are every bit a part of that as the talent are in some ways. I want them to continue to show the world when we go live on USA. I want them to stand up and say ‘we are NXT’ because they are.”

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