NXT set out to follow up its USA Network debut by crowning the next contender to the NXT championship, seeing the return of Dakota Kai and featuring a host of great matchups fitting of the black and yellow brand. Did NXT continue to keep up the momentum after their impressive first outing? Let’s find out.

Keith Lee vs Dominic Dijakovic

Dijakovic not letting Keith Lee catching his boot get the better of him

Keith Lee and Dominic Dijakovic had an absolute barn burner in the opening match of the show that set the standard incredibly high from the outset. The fans were firmly behind Lee as he took advantage early with his tremendous power and even more tremendous speed, knocking Dijakovic to the outside with a pounce Monty Brown would have been proud of.

Dijakovic managed to make his comeback before the break by slamming Lee with a chokeslam to the apron but Lee wrestled control back and followed up with an impressive diving corkscrew to Dijakovic on the outside. A moonsault from Lee wasn’t enough to put Dijakovic away with a counter in the corner leading to a devastating avalanche Canadian destroyer. Not only did Lee kick out of this but he rose like the Undertaker to counter a moonsault from Dijakovic to deliver Big Bang Catastrophe for the win.

A great opening match from these two that made both of them look like a million bucks. It’s only in hindsight you realise how much Lee dominated the match but it was not to the detriment of Dijakovic and it made Lee look like a dominant presence.

Dakota Kai vs Taynara

Taynara has Dakota Kai right where she wants her

Dakota Kai made her return from injury here against Taynara demonstrating what makes her such a fan favourite with the NXT audience. Kai started out well with a swift kick to her opponent but was quickly countered allowing Taynara to take control of the match early.

After some trash talking and pressure from Taynara, Kai managed to make a comeback with some crafty kicks that allowed her to gain the advantage and finish off Taynara with the G.T.K.

Dakota Kai has the capacity to hit the babyface heights of Bayley if booked well as she has a natural charisma and likeability combined with a unique move set that was well showcased here.

No.1 Contender Street Fight: Matt Riddle vs Killian Dane

Matt Riddle kicks Killian Dane in the chest as the actions spills outside the ring

This rematch from last week’s chaos had raised the stakes with a chance to face Adam Cole next week for the NXT Championship. The match started at a steadier pace than last week with Matt Riddle utilising a vicious striking offence to keep Killian Dane down but he retaliated by flattening Riddle with a suicide dive.

Following this, the street fight began proper spilling out to around the arena where the two used the clutter around the arena to beat each other senseless. Heading into the break Dane smashed Riddle through a wood panel. After slamming Dane through a table after the break, Riddle brought the action back to the ring but Dane took back control with the use of a chair and a series of devastating Vader Bombs.

A retaliation from Riddle with a Final Flash knee using the chair wasn’t enough to put Dane away so followed up with a double kendo stick strike thanks to a lucky catch from the rebound.

Despite all his effort, Dane couldn’t pull it back and Riddle made him tap with the Fujiwara armbar making him the No.1 contender for Adam Cole’s NXT championship. Cole came out to trash his challenger with Riddle surprising him with another armbar that Cole attempted to tap out from almost instantly.

This was a well-paced match that made up for what we missed last week and the stipulation added greater stakes that helped the match as a whole. Riddle and Cole have good chemistry in the ring and should provide some excellent technical wrestling in their title match next week.

Rhea Ripley vs Kayden Carter

Rhea Ripley dominates Kayden Carter in the corner

NXT opened their hour on the WWE Network with a Women’s division match that saw Kayden Carter attempt to use her speed to catch Rhea Ripley off guard early but Ripley shut down her quickly with her power advantage. It wouldn’t keep Carter down however who displayed some impressive Lucha offence with a series of springboard moves from the ropes.

The tricky offence of Carter wasn’t enough however as Ripley planted Carter with a Rip Tide allowing her to win by pinfall. A good showcase for both of these female stars in a women’s division that continues to foster amazing talent. Maura Ranallo made a comment on Ripley showing the NXT UK brand intends to dominate which hopefully is more hinting towards an NXT vs NXT UK showdown in the future.

Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch vs Ever-Rise

Lorcan struggles to break free of Matt Martel's hold

Oney Lorcan returned to NXT with his partner Danny Burch in tag team action against the newly christened Ever-Rise consisting of Matt Martel and Chase Parker. Early in the match, Burch had to fend off both members of Ever-Rise. He tagged in Lorcan but his momentum was quickly snuffed out by Ever-Rise and some vicious double team manoeuvres.

Ever-Rise kept the pressure on Lorcan wearing him down in the corner and down on the mat but a counter by Lorcan at the last second gave him the opportunity to get the hot tag to Burch who cleaned house with a beautiful missile dropkick and kip-up.

Seemingly Burch transferred his power into Lorcan by screaming “ONEY!” and leading Lorcan to scream in rage back to life demanding the tag before the pair finished their opponents off with a wheelbarrow DDT.

Although this match was nothing to write home about, the added addition of the rage up from Lorcan was a highlight of the episode and shows that NXT are willing to lean more into the crazier aspects of his character he’s been exhibiting on Twitter. More rage-mode Lorcan, please!

Cameron Grimes vs Raul Mendoza

Cameron Grimes keeps the high flyer Raul Mendoza grounded

WWE must have read my review from last week as they gave Cameron Grimes a longer match here against Raul Mendoza. Grimes went for a quick victory to mirror last week but Mendoza saw it coming and took control of the match. Mendoza looked great here with a swift Lucha-libre style and an impressive springboard to side headlock takedown.

Grimes tried to keep Mendoza grounded methodically beating down his opponent but Mendoza couldn’t be kept down with another lightning-fast flurry of offence that culminating in an avalanche hurricanrana. However, Mendoza would be brought down as quick as he came back into the fight as Grimes nailed him with the standing double stomp to take the victory.

This match served to put over Mendoza overall which is no bad thing as he seems to have an excellent ring ability with a very confident Lucha move set. Grimes still came out looking strong here but whether it’s enough to get him over with crowds is yet to be seen.

Imperium vs Kushida and two Mystery Partners

Imperium faced down a lonesome Kushida before the arena lit up with police sirens as the Fashion Police themselves Breezango were revealed to be the ones coming to Kushida’s aid.

Kushida and Breezango stare down Imperium

Kushida started out looking strong against Fabian Aichner early on but the combined efforts of the team of Imperium put him on the backfoot before he tagged out. Tyler Breeze struggled to contest the combined force of Imperium with Marcel Barthel hitting a devasting running uppercut on the outside that allowed Imperium to put the pressure on again. Imperium continued to bully Breeze and prevented him from tagging out for the majority of the match until, finally, he broke through for a hot tag to Fandango.

Kushida keeps Fabian Aichner at bay with an arm bar

Fandango cleaned house with an impressive flurry that culminated in a dive over the top rope to Imperium. Kushida managed to end up one on one in the ring with Barthel who he managed to roll up for a quick pin to end the match. Kushida didn’t have a change to celebrate for long on the ramp however as Walter came out and blindsided him leaving Imperium to stand tall to close out the show.

This was a fun match that not only had a fun reveal with Breezango but also showed off what a well-oiled machine Imperium is and how dangerous they are as a faction to the NXT audience that hasn’t had first-hand experience with them. It should also be noted how much Fandango has improved as he came off as the MVP of this match with a great showing.

Overall, this was a fun episode of NXT that featured some great matches that kept fans ticking over until next week that will feature 3 major title matches. NXT seems to be using the 2-hour format effectively to showcase new stars and build excitement for future storylines and was paced much better with the ad breaks than last week which bodes well for their future on the USA Network.

All pics and videos courtesy of WWE