Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now on the road to TakeOver: WarGames. We are also on the road to Survivor Series. The inclusion of the Yellow brand on the latter of those two means that there’s a lot of heavy lifting to do here as we get two different balls rolling. Well with all that mixed metaphors business over and done with, shall we get on with it? Yes, let’s…
Pete Dunne def. Damian Priest // Dunne tapped out Priest with an armbar off a low blow. This was better than their previous encounter, possibly down to reduced main event pressure and improved chemistry. Post-match: Killian Dain laid out Peter & Damian
Taynara Conti def. Santana Garrett // Conti pinned Garrett off a double wrist-grab knee strike. This wasn’t as bad as the one gif of it you’ll see would make you think.
NXT Cruiserweight Championship Number One Contender’s: Angel Garza def. Tony Nese // Garza pinned Nese off a Butterfly Backpack Stunner. At one point Nese went for an avalanche sit-out powerbomb but ended up doing so only on the tearaway trousers, great stuff. Post-match: Garza comes face-to-face with Lio Rush and slapping him in the face.
Promos & Packages
We opened the show on The OC running down NXT till Tommaso Ciampa came out to confront them, bringing along Matt Riddle and Keith Lee for back-up. At one point, Styles makes reference to Ciampa being the only one with the balls to come out. Ciampa then retaliated by pointing out they had a lot of balls which caused Riddle to point to his own quite prominent set with accompanying phallus. Anyway, this was the most fired up I’ve heard Styles sound in forever. This also set up an intriguing six-man main event between the two trios.
Ahead of her match with Shayna Baszler tonight, Dakota Kai tells Cathy Kelly why she’s going to win and go on to win again at WarGames.
Tommaso Ciampa is asked about WarGames and he says he’s focussing on tonight first because who can be expected to build to two PPVs simultaneously?
After her match with Shayna, Dakota Kai finds out her spot at WarGames has been offered to Mia Yim. This didn’t quite work out how they intended as everyone just felt Kai had been screwed. Unless that’s what they want us to think…
Dakota Kai vs Shayna Baszler
Dakota Kai is the best pure babyface in WWE at the moment. This, of course, means that next week she’ll probably turn on everyone and be made into an angry girl clad in black leather. She’ll form a tag team with Shayna Baszler and have a Doomsday Kirufuda driver finisher called The Kaiszler Building. Anyway, this was rad, easily the best thing on the show as the women’s marquee matches continue to impress. Playing off their previous matches while expanding their repertoire, it’s amazing how well a match can work to have a back-and-forth opening, an extended heel heat segment, a fiery babyface comeback, cut off allowing the heel champ to dominate and take over. It’s almost like when you employ structures properly, they can be used to enhance not drag down matches. I will never get tired of watching Kai find new ways to kick people and Baszler is the best champion heel in WWE. It was heartbreaking to watch Kai tap out to the Kirufuda Clutch but at least she walked out on her own. One day, she’s taking Bazler’s title. It’ll be a great day. Post-match: Io Shirai and Bianca BelAir joined in on a beatdown after Rhea Ripley, Tegan Nox & Candice LeRae came in for the save. Mia Yim then cleaned house on the heels with a Kendo Stick. Enter Sand-Mia.
Winner: Shayna Baszler
Dominic Dijakovic vs Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott
You give Peter and Priest-er fifteen minutes, they’ll give you a good match, you give Dijakovic and swerve, they’ll serve you a clinic. Unsurprisingly, the first part of this match played into the expected big man-little man dynamic but once they hit the home-stretch, they went fully into it delivering a firm back-and-forth contest. With the current booking suggesting Dijakovic is likely the fourth man for the WarGames men’s team, it seemed a little expected who the winner would be here but they were good enough to throw in some teases of defeat for Dijakovic including a beautiful reverse of the Feast Your Eyes modified gets into a schoolboy pin and a thunderous kneeling dropkick. Swerve would eventually succumb to a pin from the Feast Your Eyes. Swerve is life.
Winner: Dominic Dijakovic
The OC (Aj Styles, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) vs Tommaso Ciampa, Matt Riddle & Keith Lee
For another week in a row, we had a solid main event leading to some noteworthy post-match shenanigans. It’s clear that Riddle and Lee are now seen as the two solid hands of NXT delivering in the main event and marquee matches almost every week. This was perhaps a minor encounter as it was worked in a house show-style but it served well to build to the upcoming two events and most importantly, gave Keith Lee a chance to drop Gallows with a bodyslam like he was the bassline and this was a Skrillex gig. See, Mauro, I can do your pop culture reference thing. Anyway, the ending of the match saw Finn Bálor attack Riddle on the outside, giving Style an opportunity to reverse Ciampa’s Fairytale Ending into a Styles Clash. Afterwards, Bálor hit the 1916 reverse lifting DDT on Riddle while Gallows and Anderson beat down Lee. Then in came Adam Cole to superkick Styles and reverse Shining Wizard Ciampa. Utter insanity that opens up a lot of opportunities but also leaves little room for anything other than a slam dunk to be a success.
Winner: NO CONTEST
It’s hard to judge NXT week-by-week at the moment as while it often contains strong in-ring action, it is all building to some climaxes that I can’t say if it’s been worth it till we’ve seen the pay-off. With the possibilities placed in front of NXT by its own loose ends, they have the potential to tie it all up very neatly but equally, to let the thread completely unravel. Let’s just hope for the former.
NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Angel Garza vs Lio Rush (c)
For an advantage at WarGames: Mia Yim vs Io Shirai
All photos courtesy of WWE.com