Hi, and welcome back to NXT. Last week we saw the fallout from TakeOver: WarGames, but this week was all about the build to the last episode of the year, December 18th, when as we find out in the episode, there will be 2 title matches. Who will be in those matches? Read on to find out…

The Undercard

Killian Dain def. Pete Dunne // Dunne had Dain in a sleeper when he fell back off the top rope, on top of Peter for the pin. A fun opener that showed improvement from Dain but perhaps went on a little long and was at times, disjointed

Shayna Baszler def. Xia Li // Baszler tapped out Li with the Kirufuda Clutch. A good, little match but Li deserved better than the radio silence Full Sail gave her

Forgotten Sons (Wesley Blake & Steve Culter) w/Jackson Ryker def. The Skulk (Leon Ruff & Adrian Alanis) // The Sons pinned Alanis off an assisted single-foot stomp. Post-match:  Ryker Chokeslammed Ruff onto the apron. It was pretty sick

Promos & packages

The Undisputed Era came out after the opening match to declare they had a November to Remember, I don’t remember that ECW PPV. They declared that their prophecy has only just begun but that they have a problem with Keith Lee pouncing Adam Cole to death last week. Adam Cole’s not a ragdoll, as we know from his PWG days, he’s a fat piece of sh*t. Then Cole turned his attention to Finn Balor, asking him to come out and explain why he kicked him and they won’t leave till he does. He didn’t but Keith Lee came out and informed them he is a gamechanger and he’s coming for all the gold. All of it will be and should be his. Anyway, brawling happened, out came Ciampa, a match was made for later. This was a really good segment and a great way of showcasing how great at everything Keith Lee is.

Kassius Ohno was here to promote the upcoming Royal Rumble weekend Worlds Collide USA vs UK NXT special. He declared himself to be the best British wrestler alive and wanted to face the best NXT has to offer.

Dakota Kai was interviewed backstage. She said she doesn’t care about Tegan, that Rhea is thick and going to get a beating tonight and confirms that she took out Mia Yim. What a wrong’un.

Xia Li talked about beating Shayna Baszler tonight. A good, confident promo that showcased her strong English.

Kushida got the “I’ve been away injured and now I’m back and I fight for family and live for love” treatment. Really lovely stuff but even better was the announcement that he was returning to the ring THAT VERY NIGHT!

Cathy Kelly backstage with Ciampa and Lee who are in a 6-man main event with a partner who is Dijakovic “Who’s ready to go back to war?” He asked like the Big Boss he is.

Finn Balor spoke about building NXT and Adam Cole, then he started on some “They’re playing Checkers, I’m playing Chess” metaphors. I wish he could bring the intensity of these promos to the ring.

We got a highlight reel for Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott. Swerve is confidence, Swerve is love, Swerve is life.

We got a very good video package for next week’s NXT Cruiserweight Championship match between Lio Rush and Angel Garza.

Dakota Kai vs Rhea Ripley

First off, I loved the trolling of Kai’s Titantron bring her attack on Nox played on a loop. Secondly, I thought this was a smart decision to not have this match here as you can’t really have 2 DQs for Kai 2 weeks in a row and frankly, neither could afford a loss right now. So having Yim come out to get some revenge for her ‘attack’ at TakeOver not only continued to build some depth in the division but also provided a feelgood moment if you feel good about watching people get thrown into barricades. After Kai and Yim had brawled to the back, The 3 Horsewomen came out to attack Ripley. Though she fought them off for a while, eventually she succumbed to a wicked Kirufuda Clutch while Shafir and Duke pulled her arms through the ropes. After this, Baszler told a broken Ripley that if she wants a title shot, she gets one, on December 18th. That will be a nice Birthday present for me.

Winner: Never happened

Kassius Ohno vs Matt Riddle

The disrespect shown during this match, they cut in halfway through Ohno’s entrance. Ridiculous treatment of our fair nation’s greatest import. Anyway, this was a very good match that actually did showcase both the British and American styles very well. In some years time, I think we will begin to appreciate how much Ohno has done for this generation, raising everyone’s game and esteem by delivering great performances but most importantly, making everyone he works with look like a star. This match was no different. Riddle, for his part, delivered significantly more than his Balor encounter did, bringing in the history of their feud from earlier this year. It was only a very slight match though, delivering in the ring but that will probably not matter come next week. Riddle won off a flash knee and a Bro Derek leaping gotch-tombstone.

Winner: Matt Riddle

KUSHIDA vs Cameron Grimes

This match was about to be KUSHIDA vs Raul Mendoza but as Mendoza made his entrance, he got stomped to hell by Grimes who declared himself KUSHIDA’s new opponent. What followed was a nice, little match serving to remind me how much I missed KUSHIDA and why Grimes could have a good future ahead of him in the upper-mid card. Also KUSHIDA had lovely, colourful gear that I am choosing to believe is in tribute to his returned brother Hiromu Takahashi. KUSHIDA hit an outside seated Swanton bomb, later on Grimes went for a bridging German but got rolled up for the pin. A nice encounter but too slight to be anything more than enjoyable at best.


The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly) vs Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee & Dominic Dijakovic

By now, these 6 can wrestle this sort of main event in their sleep. It’s not by any means an unmissable piece of emotional storytelling but for pure spotty silliness, it’s very good. While every man got their moment to shine, especially when it took all 3 of the Era to pull back Dijakovic from a tag, this was very much Keith Lee’s moment to shine. He’s been handed a golden baton and it is fantastic to see him running with it. Also, the set-up of using some interference by Finn that saw him getting Spirit Bomb-ed by Lee before he hit the Ground Zero leaping powerslam on Cole for the pin. After the match, William Regal came out and declared that, on December 18th, Cole will defend his title and that he will do so against the winner of a match next week between Balor, Ciampa & Lee. That could be something quite special.

Winner: Ciampa, Lee & Dijakovic

A much better week than previous as the focus was less on making MOTY contenders than building rivalries and relationships.  Now we have clear ideas of where NXT could be going without a precise roadmap which is the best way for it to be. Overall, a very fun show.

Next Week:

Dakota Kai vs Mia Yim

NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Angel Garza vs Lio Rush (c)

Keith Lee vs Tommaso Ciampa vs Finn Balor

Read more about NXT Year-End Awards here

All pics courtesy of WWE