Like Mr. Toal was saying last week, for the longest time NXT is consistently putting out an entertaining product under the WWE banner. But NXT TakeOver: Toronto is now 3 weeks away and it’s time to build it up. Let’s find out as we check out what happened this week on NXT!
Matt Riddle vs. Arturo Ruas
The baddie in me was ready to say, squash match, but despite a less than 4 minutes match, it wasn’t that bad. Ruas was formerly known as Adrian Jaoude. They circled and looked for strikes to begin as they locked into an MMA style early on. Ruas grounded things, they scrambled and then separated. Ruas hit a slam and pulled an armbar attempt, but Riddle countered into another armbar attempt. Ruas escaped, they circled again and Riddle shot in for a single leg but Ruas countered as Riddle made the ropes. Riddle followed with leg kicks, Ruas hit the double legs and worked from the guard. Riddle escaped, hit body shots and a push kick until Ruas hit another double leg. Riddle replied with up kicks, the Final Flash connected and Ground and Pound finished it.
As Riddle was enjoying the sweet taste of victory, a mysterious man with a black hoodie stormed to the ring and attacked him. Well, he beat down Riddle, posted him and followed with a lariat on the floor. He hit a senton on the floor and then hit another one through the stage. Welcome back to NXT, Killian Dain!
What happened in between?
• NXT Tag Team Champions The Street Profits cut a promo on Undisputed Era and the constant disrespect from them. They are the dudes around here as they are the Champions (until they definitely go to RAW). They told Cole & co to step up to them and they will get the smoke.
• Mia Yim attacked Marina Shafir in a parking lot at an NXT Live Event last week.
• Tyler Breeze was interviewed about his loss to Strong, and the Forgotten Sons arrived to harass him. Breeze said he’s seen it all and blew them off. “Guess what, boys. I’ve seen everything.”
• Cathy Kelley spoke with Keith Lee about his tenure in NXT. He thought about progress after a year, he’s had a lot of starts and stops and now he wants opportunity. Guys have been given chances he hasn’t, like the Breakout Tournament, which he isn’t part of. Lee talked about Damian Priest being the name everyone is talking about. Maybe he needs to change the narrative next week when they face off.
NXT BREAKOUT TOURNAMENT ROUND ONE: Dexter Lumis vs Bronson Reed
We knew them as Sam Shaw and Jonah Rock, but it was another life, another dream… They locked up and Lumis pulled the hair, but Reed followed with a shoulder tackle. He hit another, but Lumis countered back and dumped him to the floor. The tope missed, Lumis landed on his feet and Reed wiped him out with a running crossbody. Back in, Lumis cut him off with a shot to the throat and followed with strikes and stomps. Lumis grounded the action and followed with elbow strikes. The neck vice followed, but Reed fought to his feet and followed with a powerslam. He mowed him over and hit a senton. Lumis countered back and hit a belly to back suplex and a leg drop. Lumas headed up top and missed a Swanton. Reed hit a slam, dropped the straps, and headed up top for the winning big Splash. He will face Cameron Grimes in the next round.
KUSHIDA vs. Apollo Crews
It was good to see Apollo back in NXT. Mostly when he can compete, and against true competitors. And Kushida is one hell of a competitor. Crews thrashed Kushida with power moves and aerial feats. Unable to match his opponent’s incredible physical attributes, Kushida relied on a strategic counterattack, laying the groundwork for his signature Sakuraba Lock by targeting Crews’ left arm anytime the opportunity presented itself. As the bout reached its final stretch, both Superstars found themselves locked in battle on the top turnbuckle. Then Kushida pulled Crews off the top rope with a rolling armbar. Crews desperately scrambled to break the hold, but Kushida stayed one step ahead and deftly manoeuvred into the Sakuraba Lock for the tap out. Although he lost, Crews held his head high after the match as Kushida raised his arm in a clear show of respect. So good to see Crews getting a chance to deliver like we know he can.
NXT Champion Adam Cole (Bay-Bay) vs Twan Tucker
In fact, not really… Cole arrived and said he’s been on his championship tour, showing all of you morons what real Champion he is, what true power is. His boys have taken care of business, and it’s an undisputed power switch happening in NXT. He will be a fighting champion, and will defend tonight against “this guy.” They showed Gargano meeting with AIW students and Twan Tucker holding it. Cole called him out for a match.
Twan arrived and Cole said he’s all alone tonight and Twan shouldn’t worry. Twan said that’s too bad because he didn’t come alone and Gargano arrived. He and Cole brawled, Gargano superkicked him and Cole powdered and Gargano followed and chased him into the crowd. Cole battled back and ran away but Gargano chased him and continued to attack. Gargano just beat him down and referees arrived to break it up. Gargano then dove off the stage and continued his attack. He beat Cole back into the ring and superkicked him again and locked him in the Gargano escape as Cole tapped. Gargano stood tall to close the show.
I’m not the NXT expert here but I loved this episode. We had some enjoyable wrestling, a big return, a good build-up for next week’s show, KUSHIDA and Crews stealing the show, the continuation of the Breakout Tournament and an interesting setting up for Cole vs. Gargano III. Because NXT General Manager William Regal decided to put his nose into it and the match at NXT TakeOver: Toronto should be a hell of a great one… See below…
All pics courtesy of WWE