COMMENTATORS: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, & Beth Phoenix
The North American Championship is on the line this week on NXT as Damian Priest defends against Dexter Lumis in the main event. Also on the show The Undisputed Era embark on the secondcoming of their Golden Prophecy, Johnny Gargano tries to beat some knowledge into Austin Theory, and Toni Storm makes her in-ring debut as a full-fledged NXT superstar.
- NXT CHAMPION: Finn Balor
- NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPION: Io Shirai
- NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION: Damian Priest
- NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Breezango (Fandango & Tyler Breeze)
- Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan vs. The Undisputed Era (***)
- Ashante Thee Adonis vs. Jake Atlas (NR)
- Johnny Gargano vs. Austin Theory (***)
- #1 CONTENDER’S MATCH: Shotzi Blackheart vs. Candice LeRae (**1/2)
- Toni Storm vs. Aliyah (NR)
- Drake Maverick & Killian Dain vs. Imperium (*1/2)
- Damian Priest [c] vs. Dexter Lumis for the NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP (**1/4)
-LAST WEEK: Ember Moon returned, Velveteen Dream made an enemy of Tommaso Ciampa, Dexter Lumis makes his in-ring return and gets stomped by Cameron Grimes, Ridge Holland gets legitimately injured, Moon & Rhea Ripley defeat Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez.
–The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, & Roderick Strong) make their way to the ring, sans leader Adam Cole who is still out with broken ribs. O’Reilly says he’ll be cleared to return to the ring next week and vows that the Undisputed Era will find whoever was responsible for Holland’s attack on Cole (the money man, as it were). O’Reilly says the second-coming of the Golden Prophecy begins tonight, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch come out and says they’re UE’s problem now, not Ridge Holland.
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs. The Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish & Roderick Strong) [w/ Kyle O’Reilly]
Winner of this one faces Breezango for the Tag Team Championship next week, the duo watching the match from a social distance. Strong drops Lorcan with shoulder tackles, Lorcan responds with a headscissors takedown, Burch tags in to start working the arm. Fish tags in but misses a slingshot senton, Burch making him pay with European uppercuts and fists. Lorcan & Burch hit a double Russian legsweep on Fish, then suplex Strong onto his own partner. Strong gets the blind tag, UE hit a double backdrop on Lorcan and go on the offensive with various strikes and kicks. UE hit a double back suplex, Fish hits his slingshot senton successfully this time but it’s not enough to put Lorcan away. Lorcan escapes the Strong Hold and dodges Fish’s flying headbutt, tagging in Burch who hits a pop-up powerbomb for a two-count. Fish holds onto Strong to prevent a suplex, Fish tags in and connects with a Samoan drop for a two-count. Burch battles back with a double dropkick, Lorcan tags in and hits a double running blockbuster. Lorcan & Burch hit their hanging DDT-looking finisher, Fish pulls Lorcan off. Strong finds his final wind and catches Lorcan with a jumping knee for the 1…2…3.
The Undisputed Era defeated Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan via pinfall (13:27)
- A hard-hitting match I dug a lot, though it would’ve been nice for Burch & Lorcan to get the win and the title shot. I admit to not watching a ton of weekly NXT over the past year but it feels like UE gets all of the title shots all of the time. Give those weird dudes a run. (***)
–McKenzie Mitchell updates us on Finn Balor; turns out he did need to have surgery on his broken jaw and NXT officials are giving him a few weeks of rest before they decide what to do about the NXT Championship.
-VIDEO = Ember Moon talks about her one year away due to achilles injury, saying she found who needed to be and decided to return “home” to NXT instead of getting drafted to RAW or SmackDown. Can’t blame her for that one. She vows to win the NXT Women’s Championship for a second time.
Ashante Thee Adonis vs. Jake Atlas
Atlas has apparently become more vicious in recent weeks following his run-ins with Tommaso Ciampa. Vic Joseph calls this a “resume building” match which I actually like the sound of. Adonis showboats, Atlas kicks him in the face. Shoving match, slugfest, out come Jaoquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza of Legado del Fantasma who distract Adonis and allow Atlas to get the roll-up victory.
Jake Atlas defeated Ashante Thee Adonis via pinfall (1:53)
- “Winning via distraction” is going to look really good on Jake Atlas’ resume, y’all. (NR)
Wilde and Mendoza attack Adonis on the floor, revenge for his involvement in the Cruiserweight Title match at TakeOver 31, Adonis comes to his aid with a double tope suicida. They roll into the ring, Santos Escobar and his emerald jacket come out, and Legado start marching towards the outnumbered duo. In runs Isiah “Swerve” Scott with chairs to even things out, causing Legado to back off.
-McKenzie Mitchell interviews Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae, the latter calling herself the uncrowned Women’s Champion and the former mad that Dexter Lumis is getting a North American Title shot tonight instead of him; he goes on to say that tonight he will give Austin Theory the wrestling lesson of a lifetime for running his mouth.
Johnny Gargano vs. Austin Theory
Gargano controls early with a toehold and keeps a front facelock applied no matter how many times Theory tries to counter. Theory dodges a Garga-No Escape and connects with a clothesline followed by a standing moonsault for a two-count. Gargano charges, Theory sends him crashing into the middle buckle. Gargano bounces back with a slingshot spear from the apron as we go to commercial.
Theory strings some quick offense together after the break, concluding with a superkick and a neckbreaker over the knee for the 1…2…Gargano kicks out. Gargano hits a crossbody, Theory rolls through and goes for the ATL but Gargano counters with a sunset flip, Theory sits on top and grabs the legs for the 1…2…NOPE. They trade forearms, Gargano has enough and connects with a superkick, Lawn Dart, running forearm to the back of the head and One Final Beat for the 1…2…3.
Johnny Gargano defeated Austin Theory via pinfall (10:44 shown)
- Theory continues to be his own biggest enemy, letting his ego get the better of him and costing him in moments he should be seizing the victory. He did take Gargano to the limit though which I wasn’t expecting and this was an all-around good match. I’m sure folks are tired of Gargano by now and I’ll get there probably but right now I’m into it. (***)
–Raquel Gonzalez challenges Rhea Ripley for Halloween Havoc. Ripley shows up to accept and officials have to keep the two separate while they jawjack at each other.
-LAST WEEK = Velveteen Dream accidentally hits Tommaso Ciampa during his match with KUSHIDA, giving him the win but also making an enemy. Ciampa says Dream is a dead man.
#1 CONTENDER’S MATCH
Shotzi Blackheart vs. Candice LeRae
As stated earlier the winner of this one gets to challenge Io Shirai for the Women’s Championship at Halloween Havoc. I wonder who Shirai would rather face: the one she’s already beaten or the other one she’s already beaten? Hmmm tough choice.
Blackheart slides under a LeRae clothesline and connects with a dropkick. LeRae to the floor, Blackheart with a tope suicida. F-5 into a neckbreaker only gets Blackheart a one-count. LeRae sends Blackheart into the buckles and connects with a snapmare/necksnap combo a la Mr. Perfect. Action moves to the apron, LaRae sends Blackheart into the post then slams her face into the apron heading into the commercial break.
Back live for Blackheart’s comeback, a dropkick into the corner followed by a sling blade that looked more like a bulldog. LeRae counters a Swanton with a pair of kness and covers, but Blackheart kicks out just in the nick of time. LeRae hits a backstabber and a Lionsault for the 1…2…Blackheart kicks out again. Both end up on the buckles, Blackheart sends her to the mat and hits a Stage Dive (seated splash) but LeRae rolls to the floor to avoid a possible senton. Indi Harwell shows up and hands LeRae a pair of brass knuckles, she clobbers Blackheart with the concealed weapon for the 1…2…3.
Candice LeRae defeated Shotzi Blackheart via pinfall (11:27 shown)
- Felt weirdly off timing-wise for a lot of the match but I liked it well enough. Harwell continues helping the Gargano family for reasons unknown. Why’s she doing it? Man I don’t know, they don’t pay me to write this stuff. No one pays me at all. I make only exposure. (**1/2)
-EARLIER TODAY: Drake Maverick shows Killian Dain some possible wardrobes for their new team, the picture making Dain look like a fat, hairy man (which he kinda is, but like more cartoony). Maverick floats the name of “The Fury and the Furry” which Dain does not like, Maverick mentions they’re facing Imperium tonight and Dain tells him they better win.
- Maverick and Dain are making it work and I hate myself for warming up to it.
-VIDEO: Highlights of Toni Storm’s Mae Young Classic and NXT UK Women’s Championship wins. She’s in action next.
–Robert Stone and Aliyah are in the ring. Stone isn’t sweating that no one wants to join his group because it’s their loss. Who the f*ck is this guy?
Toni Storm vs. Aliyah [w/ Robert Stone]
Aliyah does get a bit of offense here but this is Storm’s big NXT debut/return/whatever so she gets the shine and wins with Storm Zero.
Toni Storm defeated Aliyah via pinfall (2:31)
- Cool showcase for Storm who I haven’t seen a ton of because NXT UK doesn’t actually exist and everyone is making it up. Props for Storm’s entrance too and the production folks for RAMPING UP the piped in crowd noise. Made me laugh. (NR)
-McKenzie Mitchell is with NXT General Manager William Regal, the only authority figure who can actually hang onto a job in these post-Teddy Long years. He doesn’t like the way Shotzi/Candice ended but the referee made their decision so Candice will get the title shot at Halloween Havoc; however he wants to spice it up. They’re interrupted by Xia Li and Boa, the scared and concerned Li pleading for a match next week. Regal says he’ll take it under consideration but makes no promises. I wonder what’s going on there.
Drake Maverick & Killian Dain vs. Imperium (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel)
Dain immediately puts a stop to their music/Maverick’s dancing during the entrance and decides to start the match himself this time. He does a fair bit of work, Maverick gets tagged in and covers for two. Aichner takes control of the contest with a clothesline and slam, Barthel tagging to punch Maverick into mush. Maverick outsmarts Imperium and makes the hot tag to Dain. Aichner hits a spinebuster, Marcel follows up with a Penalty Kick, Dain fights back with a suplex and reluctantly tags an excited Maverick back in. Maverick is a house of fire until he’s not and with Dain sent into the ring steps, has nowhere to go as Imperium hit the Imperium Implosion for the 1…2..3..
Imperium defeated Drake Maverick & Killian Dain via pinfall (3:50)
- A little more teamwork from Maverick and Dain this week but Imperium seem like a real tough team to beat so it’s not surprising they got the win. I like their SERIOUS BUSINESS faces. (*1/2)
Ever-Rise (Chase Parker & Matt Martel) come out to make fun of Maverick and attack him for the loss last week, Dain absolutely BODIES them and tells Maverick “no one hits you but ME”. Uhhhhh cool? Maverick tries to get Dain to dance, Dain throws him into the backstage area.
- Dain warming up to Maverick’s charms is pretty good; the little guy is trying so hard, it’s difficult not to like him. I also like NXT having a geek tag team like Ever-Rise.
Damian Priest [c] vs. Dexter Lumis for the NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Lumis apparently had qualified for a North American Title opportunity but injured his ankle in that same contest so Regal is giving him this title shot as a make good. Makes sense, I like it.
Priest and Lumis lock up and jockey for position, ending up in between the ropes and staring each other down. Lumis should be in at least ONE horror movie in his life. Priest connects with a ropewalk crossbody, Lumis with a Thesz Press and jabs. Priest targets Lumis’ ankle and connects with a roundhouse kick and a Broken Arrow for a two-count. Action moves to the floor, Priest being sent into the steps and Lumis getting dropped face-first on the apron. Back inside Lumis counters a flying Priest (heh heh a flying priest OH MY GOD END THIS QUARANTINE ALREADY) with an uppercut, following up with a clothesline and a bulldog. Priest goes for South of Heaven, Lumis counters into a spinebuster for the 1…2…not yet. Priest hits another roundhouse kick followed by a flatliner, Lumis kicks out of the pinfall attempt so Priest immediately moves to an Ankle Lock. Lumis manages to kick him off, hitting a back suplex and legdrop for the 1…2…champ still in it. Priest dodges a Swanton and connects with a clothesline, and prevents getting choked out by Lumis by getting to the ropes. Lumis sends Priest into the plexiglass board, ref gets distracted and in comes Cameron Grimes for another Cave-In on the apron, the champ and the ref unaware. Priest takes advantage anyway though, hitting South of Heaven for the 1…2…3.
Damian Priest [c] defeated Dexter Lumis via pinfall to retain the NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP (12:09)
- Priest’s kicks are cool and I unabashedly love whatever the f*ck Dexter Lumis is supposed to be, but this match did not do much for me. Felt really slow and I was over it about five minutes in. (**1/2)
Grimes goes to attack Lumis some more, Priest hits him with a Recknoning and tells him to stay out of his business. Priest wants to show off his cool arrow pose but that’s broken up with a chair attack by Johnny Gargano. Gargano and Candice LeRae laugh at their fallen enemy when William Regal shows up behind them. He reiterates LeRae will challenge for the Women’s Title while Gargano will challenge Priest for the North American Championship. Regal says the stakes will be higher and takes it to Halloween Havoc host Shotzi Blackheart who rises to a smoky stage. Blackheart announces that each of their matches will be decided via SPIN THE WHEEL MAKE A DEAL (cue graphic of spinning wheel instead of cool-ass real wheel). Blackheart laughs and howls and that’s the show.
- NXT leans even harder into their older demographic by bringing back one of WCW’s dumber gimmicks just because it happened at a couple of Halloween Havoc events. Amazing. I’m all for it as long as it’s a real wheel and not just a graphic like it was tonight and also if one of the matches ends up being a Coal Miner’s Glove match.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Some good build for the next two weeks of NXT TV here and a couple of good matches, but man I think NXT really lost something with that second hour getting tacked on. This one felt like an eternity to get through even though nothing was overtly bad. Gargano and LeRae getting ANOTHER shot at the titles is a little eye roll-inducing.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs. Undisputed Era
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Spin the Wheel Make A (it’s THE but WHATEVER) Deal is announced for Halloween Havoc in the dorkiest way imaginable. WHERE’S THE COOL MINI-MOVIE WITH THE LASER EYES I WANT LASER EYES