by James Toal
It’s that time once again! It’s been a tough week for me to enjoy wrestling, having missed RAW and SmackDown Live. But, I always have NXT to look forward to every week for thrills and engaging entertainment. We’ve got debuts and one hell of a main event, So let’s take a look at what happened This Week on NXT.
Ruby Riot & Nikki Cross vs Billie Kay & Peyton Royce
What started as a handicap match between Ruby and the iconic duo, until a certain unhinged woman made her way to the ring.
Before that though, Ruby seemed to handle herself while having the disadvantage. But, the numbers game is a cruel mistress, and Ruby soon succumb to a brutal beating. Just as things looked bleak, Nikki Cross waltzed down to make her presence known. Nikki offered her hand, Ruby begrudgingly accepted, and The Iconic Duo now had to deal with the bloodthirsty Scotswoman.
While Peyton did manage to gain the advantage for a few moments, Ruby and Nikki’s unlikely team-up did ultimately lead them to victory. The interesting pairing does lead to some intriguing directions the story could go. Will their past lead them to fight again? Or will they gain a newfound respect for each other? Either way, this was an enjoyable start to NXT.
– Zelina Vega bragged about knowing how to tug on Gargano’s heartstrings, so she’s not too worried about Almas losing.
– Lars Sullivan was interviewed and we find out that he’ll be fighting Danny Burch next week. By the way, how the hell is Lars bloody Sullivan a DLC character for the new WWE 2K game? Literally, anyone else would be a better choice. LITERALLY.
Lip Rush vs Aleister Black
Really? Giving the debuting superstar to the undefeated Aleister Black? Oh, wait no, he just gets blindsided by the Velveteen Dream. Welcome to the WWE Lio! I have to praise how much heat this will give Dream, but I’m so disappointed that it had to come at the expense of Lio Rush. A genuine high-class performer, almost being treated as an afterthought.
With all that being said. Black and Dreams feud is still surprisingly good. Dream desperately trying to gain attention, while Black merely ignores him is enthralling. Keep building this tension and it’s going to be gold when there’s that final moment that makes Black snap. Overall, a bittersweet segment.
Kairi Sane vs Aliyah
I love the god damn pirate gimmick! I shouldn’t, but there you go! Sane made her debut with a welcoming offence by Aliyah. Sane slowly fought her way back into the match and entered NXT in style after winning with her own elbow off the top corner.
It’s really good to see Kairi in NXT, whether she should be the next women’s champion though? I feel like there may be others more deserving that are already in the running for the title.
MAIN EVENT: Rodrick Strong vs Drew McIntyre (c) – NXT Championship
The power and overall size of McIntyre was on display here, almost towering over Strong. In order to get anywhere, Strong would need to adapt very quickly. McIntyre may be large, but that doesn’t mean his attacks would be any slower than his. Strong took the advantage and pulled off a backbreaker on the steel steps. Even if you pulled that move off safely, you have to bet that that’s got to hurt.
The battle raged on as Rodrick’s advantage didn’t last too long, and the match started falling more into the champs’ favour. Wanting to end the fight quickly, the pace picked up, but neither men refused to give up. Move after move, still no three count. Even after a super-plex and an avalanche Celtic cross, both men still fought in this battle of attrition. The match built excellently to the end as Strong hit the sick kick, but McIntyre still didn’t quit. McIntyre hit the future shock, hesitating maybe to signify his respect for Strong, and ending it all with a Claymore to retain his title.
An outstanding main event from both a story and in-ring performance point of view. McIntyre and Strong worked themselves to death for this, and I appreciate the amount of effort that went into it. Although Strong was unsuccessful, his path to the championship may not be over. Adam Cole (Bay Bay) showed up behind Strong and seemed to offer their condolences…
Sowing the seeds of possible storylines and entertaining matches left this as maybe one of my favourite episodes of the year. Cannot wait until next week.