Welcome to another week of NXT. Get ready for another week of Professional Wrestling at its finest.
Before we begin our weekly review, here is a brief rundown of last nights show.
Triple H’s Announcement:
As first reported by Sports Illustrated yesterday, we were made aware that ‘The Game’ Triple H would be set to appear live from the Performance Centre in Orlando, Florida.
If you are anything like me, this would be where you would expect to hear that ‘The Cerebral Assassin’ will be taking part in a main event level match at Wrestlemania 36, against one of his many protégés. As many of us are aware, Wrestlemania 36 is taking place on April 4th and 5th from the Performance Centre in Orlando,
Adam Cole — The Longest Reigning NXT Champion:
A much-anticipated segment for last nights episode, was Adam Cole as the NXT Champion was set to make his way to the ring to deliver an announcement to the NXT Universe.
What did Adam Cole have to say after recently surpassing Finn Bálor’s lengthy 292-day reign as NXT Champion?
Candice LeRae vs Kayden Carter: No 1. Contenders Qualifying match for the NXT Women’s Championship:
Next, a match I had personally been looking forward to since its announcement. Candice LeRae vs Kayden Carter in a No.1 Contenders qualifying match for the NXT Women’s Championship.
Let’s get this show on the road. Welcome to this week’s NXT review:
Austin Theory vs Tyler Breeze:
On tonight’s episode of NXT we would see the seasoned veteran, Tyler Breeze, taking on the relative newcomer Austin Theory. Now, it didn’t take an eagle-eyed viewer to spot the fact that Theory had a cell phone tucked into the back of his of trunks. And as we could all guess due to Theory’s cocky demeanor and being aware of Breeze’s gimmick, we knew what was inevitably going to come. Straight out of the gate, comes the trash talk from Theory.
Theory began to spout off while holding Breeze in a headlock, declaring that he is the future and that Breeze is the past, which was expected, and this brash attitude is the making of a superstar. Soon enough, we saw Theory on the turnbuckles in Breeze’s signature pose, adding insult to injury.
Breeze’s athleticism was soon on show with an impressive leapfrog followed by a thunderous dropkick to the jaw of Theory. This was only a momentary advantage for Breeze though, as once again Theory began trash-talking, declaring that ‘everybody is looking at the future’. Not only was Theory’s trash talk entertaining in this bout, but Theory was very successful in slowing down the pace of the NXT original.
Theory’s momentum was not everlasting though, as Breeze sprang back to life with an incredible diving forearm shot to his opponent. Theory fought back and showed a display of talent with a counter to Breeze’s offence. These two superstars quickly brought the fight outside of the ring with Theory pummeling Breeze with a thunderous Irish whip into the barriers on the outside. Breeze avoided a count-out defeat by making his way back into the ring just after the eight count.
Breeze then took control of the match, despite the vicious assault outside of the ring Breeze hit Theory with a knee strike then was momentarily stunned by a buckle bomb from Theory. Breeze hit his Supermodel Kick, which has put away numerous opponents in the past, yet Theory kicked out at two! Theory then continued inflicting damage in the match with a powerful suplex, damaging the neck of Breeze, somehow Breeze kicked out at two! Theory visibly began to show signs of frustration with an intimidating trace of calm all the while. Theory then walked to the corner of the ring and picked up the cell phone mentioned earlier, and commenced a selfie video, arrogantly stating that he is the future. He was still filming himself while holding Breeze in a headlock. Breeze surprised Theory with the Beauty Shot right to the face and gets the one…two…three.
After the match, Breeze picked up his own cell phone and showed the cocky newcomer how it is done.
What a match, especially for an opener. Top tier Professional Wrestling, only here on NXT.
Killian Dain vs Tehuti Miles:
The next match was the Beast of Belfast, Killian Dain squaring up against Tehuti Miles. Before the bell rang, it was clear than Dain would have the strength advantage and Miles would have the speed advantage in this contest.
It was not long until Dain went full beast mode and destroyed Miles’ frame by swinging Miles with all his might into the steel steps on the outside. Now, if Dain wasn’t already scary enough, we had Tom Phillips from the announcer’s table, stressing the fact that Killian Dain is haunted by the memories of Belfast City, and was taking out a lifetime of frustration on Miles’. Needless to say, but Killian Dain was dominating the match at this point. Dain clearly enjoys inflicting pain upon his opponents and Miles was no different. Miles showed no defence as Dain continued to dominate.
Dain went on to flatten Miles like a pancake with the almighty Vader Bomb.
One…two…three! Killian Dain is victorious. Leon White would be proud.
Cameron Grimes vs Tony Nese:
As this episode of NXT continued to roll on, emanating from the Performance Center, We were in for a faster-paced wrestling match between Cameron Grimes and the ‘Premiere Athlete’, the former Cruiserweight Champion, Tony Nese. This match showed a great opportunity for Grimes as if he could defeat the former champion, Tony Nese; this could potentially propel Grimes into the conversation for contendership to the Cruiserweight Championship picture.
Nese brought the offence to Grimes from the offset of the match and was continuously shut down by Grimes. Cameron Grimes was looking very strong in this match, especially after he threw Nese onto the ropes with such powerful force – giving Grimes momentary advantage. The announcers, Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton, began to remind us about how unpredictable of a superstar Cameron Grimes is and how easily he can suddenly end a match at any moment.
Nese seemed to be making a comeback, delivering chops to the chest of Grimes. Right off the back of a powerful Irish whip, Grimes delivered a devastating clothesline to Nese.
Nese did, however, seem to make yet another comeback by performing a bulldog over the top rope, landing just outside of the ring, then, what appeared to be instantaneous, Nese jumped up on to the apron, and delivered an outstanding springboard moonsault. At this point in the match, Grimes was desperate to get back at Nese who seemed to have the upper hand. Grimes enforced a mighty superman forearm to his opponent. Nese came back with a superkick right to the face. Out of nowhere, Grimes ploughed right through Nese with a double stomp directly to the chest. Grimes covered his opponent for the pin-fall, One…two…three! Cameron Grimes is your winner, Cameron Grime has defeated a former Champion in Tony Nese. Another star-studded performance, right here, on NXT.
Io Shirai vs Aliyah – No.1 Contenders qualifying match for the NXT Women’s Championship:
Next up, we were scheduled to have Xia Li taking on Aliyah, and a video package was presented to show that the last time these two superstars went head to head was last November. In that encounter, Li broke Aliyah’s nose. This was set to be a personal match. However, the cameras cut to the backstage area where we saw that Li had been taken out. We learnt from William Regal that Li was not medically cleared to compete in this match. Clearly this did not bother Aliyah, she even looked pretty happy, assuming that she was going to get an easy pass.
Thankfully, we had the returning Io Shirai who stepped up and took Xia Li’s place in this match. Shirai delivered a strong dropkick as soon as the match started and looked to be in excellent condition. It is exciting to think that we could see Shirai potentially taking on Rhea Ripley or Charlotte down the line, after Wrestlemania 36. Shirai hit her trademark, picture-perfect moonsault to claim victory in this match. It was a great surprise and a very good match.
Bask in his glory. An exclusive in-ring interview with Keith Lee:
The North American Champion made his way to this ring for an exclusive in-ring interview. Going over the fact that two weeks ago, Lee successfully defended his championship against Cameron Grimes, when following that match, Lee was attacked from behind by Damien Priest. However, at that moment, we did see Lee delivering power-bomb to Dominik Dijakovic. Lee went on to explain that he assumed Dijakovic was the one who struck him from behind. Keith Lee admitted that he owes Dominik Dijakovic an apology for his actions. Dijakovic soon made his way to the ring and made it clear that he would not attack Lee from behind because he respects Lee. Dijakovic does, however, have his eyes set on the North American Championship.
Dijakovic went on to show that despite respecting Keith Lee, that he would not allow this attack to go unnoticed. Damien Priest interrupted the pair to declare that all he wants is the North American Championship, and was ready to jump in the ring and prove it. Dijakovic pushed Lee out of the way and started laying into Priest. Lee got back up to show that he was no pushover, Lee effortlessly pulled Dijakovic off Priest, knocking Dijakovic to the ground, and socked Priest with one punch from the apron on to the floor, outside of the ring. Lee continued the attack to Priest on the ramp, Dijakovic then flipped off the top rope, moving in a way a man of his size should not be capable of. Dijakovic took out Lee and Priest and was left as the last man standing. Dijakovic was focused and out for the North American Championship.
Adam Cole is the longest-reigning NXT Champion is history:
As the show rolled on, a video package showed us Adam Cole, pool-side while on vacation. Cole had Velveteen Dream on his mind, speaking about their recent altercation. Cole stated that he was flustered at first, but then asked why should he be? Cole went on to talk about how he and the phrase, ‘the first-ever’ go hand in hand.
Cole was the winner of the first-ever War Games match in WWE; he was the first-ever North American Champion, and now is the longest-reigning NXT Champion in history. Cole went on to run down Velveteen Dream, stating that The Dream is not worthy of an NXT Championship match. However, Undisputed Era member, Bobby Fish wants a piece of Velveteen Dream. Let’s tune in to NXT next week to see if the challenge will be accepted.
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs Shane Thorn & Brendan Vink:
In the first Tag-Team match of the night we saw, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch taking on Shane Thorn and Brendan Vink. Brendan Vink had his very first televised wrestling match this past Monday night on RAW. As this Tag-Team match was his second televised wrestling match, I was looking forward to seeing how this guy would perform.
This match was an important match for Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. To lose to such a fresh, newly formed Tag-Team would damage them, so I expected a hard-hitting match. Lorcan and Burch delivered when it came to pure aggression in this match, their in-ring experience and knowledge of one another was really on show. Vink really impressed me in this match. I can see myself becoming a bigger fan of this guy going forward. However, Lorcan was the man of the match for me, his passion combined with his power and agility kept me engaged throughout. Lorcan and Burch were victorious here with a double submission for the finish with a single leg crab and cross-face ending the match. An incredible match all round.
Candice LeRae vs Kayden Carter – No.1 Contenders qualifying match for the NXT Women’s Championship:
The second qualifying match for the NXT Women’s Championship began with a bang with Candice LaRae going toe to toe with Kayden Carter. As this match got going, it was clear that these two competitors were evenly matched. I loved the sportsmanship in this match as both superstars shook hands very quickly as a display of respect for one another. There were several quick pin-fall attempts in this match, which I am a fan of because I find that the face-paced nature makes matches that much more exciting to watch.
Kayden Carter built up some momentum during this match and delivered a nasty kick to the face of LeRae while she was propped onto the bottom ring rope. Candice’s heart continued to show after kick-out upon kick-out. LeRae delivered a flurry of chops and forearms to the chest of Carter and appeared to be in the driver’s seat of this contest. LeRae connected with a senton to the back of Kayden Carter, followed up with a springboard moonsault, and at this point had me on the edge of my seat, Carter then managed to move out of the way just in time. Carter attempted to take advantage of this with a shining wizard, somehow LeRae dodged and got into position for the Gargano Escape submission lock.
Carter submitted after minor resistance. Candice LaRae qualifies to continue forward to potentially become the No.1 Contender for the NXT Women’s Championship. It was a fantastic performance from both competitors. It will be interesting to see who the winner of this tournament will have the opportunity to go up against after Rhea Ripley vs Charlotte at Wrestlemania.
The Main Event Match – Matt Riddle vs Roderick Strong:
The charisma just oozes from both of these guys. We were definitely in for a treat, with this match being an NXT Takeover rematch. With these two guys being so familiar with each other, this was another evenly matched contest. Early in the match, Riddle delivered a gut-wrench suplex, asserting his dominance in the match. The announce team continued to put over each of these performers, first of all, mentioning Matt Riddle’s history in the UFC and how he has many approaches to taking out and taking down an opponent. It was also mentioned that at the Greatest Royal Rumble, Strong completely obliterated the chest of former World Champion, Daniel Bryan. Roderick Strong took control for the majority of the match, bringing the fight to the Original Bro.
Riddle did, however, manage to clock Strong in the temple with a Pele kick, a move I love to see, just because of how effective it can be if used at the right time. Strong was laid up in the corner at this point in the match and Riddle continued the attack with numerous forearm smashes followed by an exploder suplex. Riddle seemed to be in charge until Strong managed to counter and lock in the Boston crab submission move to Riddle. Riddle quickly responds with a counter of his own, into a GTS followed by a German suplex. It was an explosive match. This action continued to display back and forth attacks with Strong delivering an Olympic slam, with force. Strong delivered his last few efforts at striking down Riddle, before suffering a devasting Bro-Derek at the hands of Matt Riddle. One…two…three! Here is your winner!
But wait, there’s more.
Out of the shadows, come these two behemoths, who brought the fight to the worn Matt Riddle.
In typical Riddle fashion, the Original Bro attempted to fight back – but to no avail, these beasts simply ran through Riddle and were left standing tall.
Malcolm Blivens made his presence known and introduced ‘the future of the Tag-Team division.’
Who knows what will happen next week on NXT…
Triple H Addresses Tomasso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano:
The creator of NXT, Triple H, began to address the personal saga between Tomasso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. Which is by far the best feud in recent memory. Ciampa wasted no time and interrupted Triple H to simply say that Gargano is here, bring him out and settle it right now. Chills. Triple H told Ciampa that there would be no physicality between him and Gargano on this edition of NXT. Gargano was then summoned to ring.
Gargano was, quite rightly, not willing to get into to ring with Ciampa, as Ciampa did pretty much attempt to murder Gargano last week. Gargano also argued against the fine he had received for destroying the performance centre along with Ciampa going on to say to Ciampa had provoked the whole situation. Triple H interrupted to say that it is because of him that Gargano and Ciampa are still on NXT, and if it were up to the General Manager, William Regal, the two would have been fired. Triple H went full-on King of Kings telling each guy not to lay a finger on one another. Gargano got into the ring, and Triple H reiterated that this had gone on long enough.
He knew exactly where they are coming from as he had been through something very similar to this, in his day, with the Heart Break Kid, Shawn Michaels. Triple H went on to say that it has to end; he cannot put these guys or anybody else into danger of any kind. Ciampa gave a passionate promo about how he broke his neck and needed this to be over. Ciampa stated that he is the heart and soul of NXT. Ciampa and Gargano said that they don’t need the glitz and glamour; this is going to be a raw fight. Triple H announced he would find an empty arena. These guys will smash each other to pieces.
Triple H ended it by saying if Ciampa and Gargano do not feel that this is over after their final battle, that neither one of them will remain at NXT. In two weeks, Triple H will send Ciampa and Gargano a message with a location, they will go to the place, and this historical feud will end.