So since I haven’t posted about NXT since my review of Takeover: New York, that took place over WrestleMania weekend, I feel I should give you all an update as to the state of the land of the Black and Gold brand… because A LOT has gone on since!!! SOOOOOO:
- Kairi Sane bid farewell to NXT after her friend Io Shirai mercifully saved her from inevitable suffering at the hands of NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler. As a result of her DQ loss Sane, per the pre-match stipulations, could never again challenge for the NXT Women’s title and so that was her done in NXT and off to the main roster. It also set up Io vs Shayna for Takeover XXV (25).
- Matt Riddle and Johnny Gargano joined forces to take on the Undisputed Era, who themselves had to get past problems between leader Adam Cole and member Roderick Strong. This led to the Cole v Gargano title rematch and a singles match between Strong and Riddle at Takeover.
- NXT legend Tyler Breeze has returned to NXT as a full time roster member after languishing on the main roster for some time now. He immediately made the challenge to NXT North American Champion Velveteen Dream in a battle of past vs present and the right to call themselves the ultimate showman of NXT.
- The War Raiders aka The Viking Experience aka The Viking Raiders aka whatever they are called at the time you are reading this vacated the NXT Tag Team titles after their main roster call-up. This led to the announcement of a fatal 4 way Ladder match to crown new champions being announced for Takeover XXV.
Elsewhere we have former New Japan superstar KUSHIDA building up a decent winning streak to begin his NXT career with a bang, Bianca Belair and Mia Yim continuing their feud with a fun series of matches and Percy Watson has been replaced on commentary by WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix. So far Beth isn’t great but is slowly getting up to speed and no doubt just as Percy did will greatly improve overtime alongside the brilliance of Nigel and Mauro.
So NXT Takeover: XXV was unique in that it was a standalone Takeover and not a part of a main roster PPV weekend. That was all down to the rescheduling of the Saudi Arabia show and the cancellation of the Backlash PPV in favour of Stomping Grounds. And even then this Takeover was originally planned to take place in San Jose but was moved to WWE’s home state of Conneticut. Regardless they got the show on and as per it was a GREAT show. The pre-show featured an appearance from former NXT Champion Tomasso Ciampa who got a huge reaction from the fans nearby as he stated that Johnny Gargano was the only person who could hold his “Goldie” aside from him. He also had lots of positives to say in regards to his recovery from neck surgery which was promising. The show itself then… :
Matt Riddle defeated Roderick Strong. Exceptional match between two great wrestlers. Brutal and hard-looking strikes all round and the crowd lapped it all up. Riddle won with the Bro Derek… Yes, that’s really what one of his many finishers is called. ****1/2
Street Profits won the vacant NXT Tag Team Championships in a 4 way Ladder Match against Burch & Lorcan, Forgotten Sons and Fish & O’Reilly. This was nuts! How nobody was seriously hurt in this one I’ll never know! Fans HATED the Forgotten Sons and booed ferociously anytime they got close to winning and more so when their heavy Jaxson Ryker made an appearance. Finish was great; Blake climbed the ladder, below him Angelo Dawkins speared Steve Cutler through the ladder and then suddenly Montez Ford leaped onto the standing Ladder and went face-to-face with Blake, and with an amazing stare on his face he knocked him to the floor below before grabbing the titles. HUGE babyface pop and they celebrated in the crowd afterwards. Super cool moment to cap off a fine match. ****1/4
Velveteen Dream defeated Tyler Breeze to retain the North American Title. Lots of character work, crowd loved both guys, fun match too. Dream won as expected. After the match Dream seemed to show Breeze respect by willingly taking a selfie with him which popped the crowd big. ***3/4
Shayna defeated Io to retain the NXT Women’s title. Io led the match and Baszler kept up every step so it ended up as one of her better matches in WWE. Mid-way through Candice LeRae continued to show she had Io’s back by stopping interference by Shayna’s fellow horsewomen Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir. Candice battered them both with a Kendo Stick which was fun. Baszler made Shirai reluctantly tap which was a bit of a shock but was saved somewhat with the afters. Shirai didn’t take her loss too well and proceeded to destroy Baszler with the Kendo stick. Crowd chanted to the champion ‘You Deserved It’ which was funny. ****
Adam Cole defeated Johnny Gargano to become the new NXT Champion. Wrestle and Flow’s (check YouTube) Josiah Williams rapped Adam Cole to the ring. They did so many crazy moves and exchanges all of which were executed and laid-out brilliantly. At one point Cole pretended to signal for his fellow Undisputed Era members to come out and help him win but it was all a rouse to gain an advantage over a distracted Gargano. With 32 minutes on the clock Cole got the win after a Panama Sunrise and then his Last Shot running knee strike. The crowd erupted like Cole was the hero as Strong, Fish and O’Reilly came down to congratulate their victorious leader. This match was incredible. I didn’t think it possible to go above what they did in New York, and they may well have done that here. *****
On the next week’s weekly show they recapped Takeover and showed the matches filmed in the arena before Takeover went on the air: Keith Lee beating Kona Reeves and Mia Yim defeating Bianca Belair (AGAIN).
The week after Io and Candice had a tag match against Duke and Shafir but it ended in a no contest after Baszler and Shirai started brawling in the crowd. KUSHIDA beat 205 Live’s Drew Gulax in a Submission match and Burch & Lorcan beat Strong & O’Reilly despite Jaxson Ryker trying to interfere only to be held back by security whom he then beat up. After the distraction Burch pushed Strong into O’Reilly and then rolled him up for the 3. The Era pair were NOT happy!
The June 19th 2019 show opened with an exceptional opening segment as Undisputed Era came out and presented their own opening video package for the show… featuring… just themselves…, Velveteen Dream followed by Riddle and Breeze came out to interrupt and it set up a main event 6 man tag. Damian Priest (fka Punishment Martinez) after weeks of vignettes made his debut beating Raul Mendoza. We had the announcement of the NXT Breakout Tournament beginning next week featuring names that have not yet been on NXT TV, with the winner getting a future title shot. The participants are: Angel Garza (fka “Humberto Garza”), Boa, Bronson Reed (fka “Jonah Rock”), Cameron Grimes (fka “Trevor Lee”), Dexter Lumis, (fka “Sam Shaw”), Isaiah “Swerve” Scott (fka “Shane Strickland”), Joaquin Wilde (fka “DJZ”) & Jordan Myles (fka “ACH”). Xia Li defeated Taynara Conti in a… erm… it was a match… anyway… Street Profits hosted a ‘Championship’ edition of their promo-segment Street Talk. It was great as always and they said they’re facing The Forgotten Sons next week. There was a cool video hype package explaining the personal background of Mia Yim which was really insightful and got her over as a super yet strong babyface. And finally in the main event Adam Cole, Roderick Strong & Bobby Fish defeated the Velveteen Dream, Matt Riddle & Tyler Breeze in a really fun match. The Finish saw a miscommunication spot between Breeze and Dream led to Strong hitting the End of Heartache to get the win and a pinfall over the North American Champion. Also I should note it was announced that Shayna will defend her title against Io in a cage match on next week’s show!
Sooooooo… now we are all up to date here is what went down this week on NXT, Episode 513!!!
The show opened with a preview video for the main event of the show where Io Shirai will challenge Shayna Baszler once again for the NXT Women’s title, only this time the match will be inside a steel cage thus making it the first women’s cage match in the history of NXT!
After the weekly opening video for the show we went right into our first match.
NXT Breakout Tournament Round One: Angel Garza defeated Joaquin Wilde
This was the first match in the NXT Breakout Tournament. Joaquin Wilde (the former DJZ in Impact wrestling were he won a few titles and made a name for himself), who was wearing a jacket and face mask to the ring that wouldn’t look out of place in a Daft Punk video, facing off against Angel Garza. During Wilde’s entrance they cut to an inset-video of him explaining he once had a serious surgery that has left a large scar across his chest (which he pointed out the doctor’s had to cut into his six-pack) and that as a result people said he was damaged goods but now he had a 2nd chance and he wanted to make a name for himself in this tournament. The Mexican Garza had his own inset-video where he was put across as a braggadocious pretty boy so it’s clear he’s going to be the heel in this one. I’m really interested to see how this whole tournament and the matches play out as it really is a HUGE showcase opportunity for these guys to make a name for themselves. I just hope they’re given the time in their matches to do so… we shall see…
They had a few basic yet fast-paced exchanges early on, with an exchange of nearfalls splattered in as well as some pretty unique-looking offence. Garza eventually ripped off his trousers that were emblazoned with the Mexican flag to leave him with your classic wrestling pants that were red, before he continued to be on the offensive. The Mexican got a couple of nearfalls that he was very cocky in doing so, before he went on to get Wilde in a straight-jacket hold that was eventually flipped over. Not long after Joaquin Wilde got his own nearfall after hitting some form of dropkick to Garza whilst his own back was on the mat-floor. After Garza made his way to the outside of the ring for a breather it was Wilde who went to dive over the ropes on to him but the arrogant Garza escaped out the way, it was to no avail though as Garza got a Tope by diving through the ropes near the turnbuckle and onto Wilde. After they were both back in the ring they would find themselves both on the top rope and exchanged strikes, with the outcome being an amazing Avalanche Spanish Fly off the top which the Full Sail crowd and Mauro Ranallo (in his typical fashion) on commentary went wild for. Wilde after kicking out of the high-flying move got a nearfall of his own by putting Garza in a crucifix roll-up pin immediately after his own kick out. The crowd were really into the match now and after Garza got a double underhook locked in he followed up with a Butterfly Stunner for the win. The crowd gave a standing ovation after what was a fun opener of the tournament. If this sets the tone for what is to come then we are off to a great start. Angel Garza advances to the next round.
We were reminded of our main event tonight, as well as the next match that sees the NXT Tag Team Champions the Street Profits taking on The Forgotten Sons.
A video package for KUSHIDA played. He explained he was in an interesting spot right now for NXT, Raw, Smackdown and 205 LIve. He wondered who would stand in front of him next and who was next and that he was excited by the possibilities ahead. He said the best was here in NXT and he will face everyone. It was cool.
We were shown a clip that was filmed last week with an interviewer asking Damien Priest for his thoughts after his victory over Raul Mendoza. Priest, in his dulcet toned voice, said we hadn’t seen anything yet because unlike everyone else around here his name will live forever.
NXT Tag Team Championship (or was it?): Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) (C) defeated Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake) with Jaxson Rykder by Disqualification
Street Profits made their entrance. They’re popular aren’t they?! Great showman and super-over babyfaces, feels good to have them as the tag team champions of NXT, been a LONG time coming! Forgotten Sons by the contrary are by far the most disliked tag team we’ve seen in NXT for some time. Their muscle Jaxson Ryker accompanied Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake to the ring. There is a man stood up front row as they are in the ring with a sign on a luminous green background that reads “Nobody Likes You”. This is accurate. Ford and Dawkins has mics and between them in their usual comedic way they questioned how the Forgetten Sons could think they could ‘step’ to them? And that their opponents think they could take their titles from them, so they said they had an idea to put their titles on the line right now! The crowd groaned and chanted no (this was the first NXT show of the first tapings filmed after NXT Takeover so I think the crowd feared this was going to lead to a title change). Nonetheless Dawkins and Ford said their opponents wouldn’t be forgotten but remembered as the first team to take an L from the new NXT Tag Team Champions the Street Profits. And with that the match was on and the titles on the line… Good luck everyone, lets keep everything crossed…
The three commentators seemed also to be confused if the titles were actually on the line or not, so I’m glad it wasn’t just me. Blake and Cutler isolated Ford and beat on him with stomps and double team moves. He eventually fought them off and jumped over to make the tag to his partner. Dawkins came in hot on both his opponents, he hit a pair of exploder suplexes and spinning splashes on both men, before he hit a Spinebuster as Ford came off the top with a big splash. Ford as the legal man by this point went for the cover but Jaxson Ryker pulled him out the ring and attacked him for the DQ barely a few minutes into the match. The Forgotten Sons beat on both Ford and Dawkins, before Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan came out to make the save and the Forgotten Sons eventually retreated. Burch and Lorcan then found themselves holding the NXT Tag title belts and starred off with the champions opposite them. Eventually they handed the belts over as Burch said to them that these (the belts) belonged to Ford and Dawkins but made it clear that he and his partner Lorcan wanted them next and that they were owed one. The crowd let out a light applause but seemed kind of flat as a result of the non-match. Let’s just be happy that when it was all over the titles stayed were they started.
We cut to shots of NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler preparing backstage with fellow Horsewomen Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir ahead of her title defense later in the show. Followed then by shots of the challenger Io Shirai warming up for the main event.
After that… this is where I got excited… We see an old camera projecting footage of conflicts and wars onto a screen accompanied with some appropriate music. The shots dramatically switch to the camera and we see a shot of a face as well. It then cut immediately to black as the camera reel seemed to have finished. The face in question was none other than KILLIAN DAIN!!! Given the apparent disbandment of his former faction Sanity (given Alexander Wolfe is in NXT UK being pals with WALTER and his boys, Eric Young is being a jobber on Raw and Nikki Cross is waiting hand and foot on Alexa Bliss right now) it appears the Beast of Belfast is coming home to where it began for someone who made a real name for himself when he was last in these parts. Exciting times indeed!
Aliyah and Vanessa Borne were shown in an ‘earlier today’ promo. They kept up their mean-girls act mocking the emotional Mia Yim video from last week. Borne asked since when did people get applauded for being poor and Aliyah said they couldn’t relate. Aliyah faces Yim next week.
A man by the name of Nykos Rikos came out for a match. He was wearing a black leather suit that looked out it was taken from Catwoman’s wardrobe that had then been cut diagonally across the front and on one side at the bottom so that his right pectoral and also left leg were not covered by the suit, it had a Greek flag across the front of it. I rate his attire about as highly as I give him chances of winning this match. Keith Lee came out to a big reaction. I love Keith Lee. He’s tremendous.
Keith Lee defeated Nykos Rikos
Exactly what you’d expect. Crowd did the “oooo bask in his glory” chants to the theme of the Seven Nation Army song. Rikos tried his best but Lee just took his offence in and obliterated him with amazing power. Rikos was a cruserweight and the super-heavyweight Lee made light work of him to the delight of the crowd, winning after a huge shoulder tackle that sent Rikos flying into the ropes and following up with a Limit-Breaker Fireman’s Carry. Can’t have gone more than a minute surely? Keith Lee continues to be adored by the NXT crowd. Lee said this was his NXT.
They played an advert for NXT UK’s Takeover show in Cardiff on August 31st. Hopefully I wont have too much wrestling to watch on that same day, I’m pretty sure nothing else is going on anywhere else in the wrestling world on August 31st …………………………………………………. anyway…
They showed a video of NXT Champion Adam Cole taking his Bay Bay Championship Tour to Download Festival in the UK. Cole was in a glorious blue suit and upon boarding a private jet Cole said this was the life of the NXT Champion and that Johnny Gargano didn’t know about travelling in class like this on a private jet. They then showed Cole at the festival in a place called “Leicestershire” in England meeting with Slipknot lead singer Corey Taylor (NXT UK Tag Team Champion Zack Gibson was also seen in the background), and then shots of Cole making his entrance and then being victorious in his match at the NXT show that took place during the festival weekend. He said the Bay Bay Championship tour had just begun. After a “Next Week” graphic was shown we see Cole having just landed back from Download on the phone to fellow Undisputed Era member Roderick Strong, he asked if had put the order in? and said he was about 10 minutes out? and that he’ll let him know how it goes? Cole then asked his driver if he had the address? This wall all weird but then the car Cole was in stopped outside a diner of some form called “Gargano’s”. Cole got out his car and closed the door behind him before the ‘BAY BAY CHAMPIONSHIP CELEBRATION TOUR’ graphic came on the screen. I hope this series of segments turns out as good as it looks like it could be, just Adam Cole being Adam Cole on tour, already got me excited for next week’s!
Next week Roderick Strong will take on Tyler Breeze (which should be great) and in the NXT Breakout Tournament Isaiah “Swerve” Scott (fka Shane Strickland) will take on Cameron Grimes (fka Trevor Lee).
As we cut back to the ring area the steel cage was in place and the lights lowered ahead of what should be… well… It’s going to be something let me tell you…
NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler (C) defeated Io Shirai in a Steel Cage Match by escaping the Cage to retain
Io came out to a big babyface reaction. I love Io’s entrance music a lot as I do her whole entrance and gimmick and if she were to ever change it I’d be a little sad… Shayna came out and was not as well liked let me just say that. They did the classic big-match ring introductions they do so well in NXT of lowering the lights and all of that, really gives it a big occasion feel. Shayna is wearing MMA gloves now which was noted by commentary, following on from a couple of other notable heel champions of very recent times.
The match began at a fairly slow pace as they exchanged strikes and holds early on. Shayna was in charge for most of it and after some hard striking offence by Io she climbed the cage wall before Baszler pulled her down and rammed her hard into the cage wall… twice… OUCH! Mauro Ranallo perfectly called it when he said that Shirai was being ‘twisted like a pretzel’ by the champion Baszler. Beth Phoenix also got over well how Baszler was using various forms of attack to get at her challenger. Baszler absolutely dominated the next part of the match in a variety of ways including her hitting her with strikes whilst having her pinned against the cage wall and at one stage Shayna went to leave via the cage door, but instead turned back to beat on Shirai some more. As the crowd tried to will Shirai back into the match she was able to move out of the way of the incoming Baszler so she then went flying into the cage wall herself, this was followed up with by Shirai who ran off the ropes and dropkicked Shayna into the cage wall twice in a row. Io Shirai then get her first real series of offence on Baszler to finally get some momentum going, before she then climbed to the top of the cage only for Shayna to grab her foot and with both women on the ropes in the corner Io eventually got the better of it by giving Baszler a german suplex off the 2nd turnbuckle. Later after Io got a nearfall she went to try and escape towards the cage door, only for Duke and Shafir to come running down and stop the ref on the outside from opening the door. Shayna would get back up and get the Kirifuda on Shirai only for Io to use her momentum to kick up against the cage door sending the referee, Duke and Shafir flying. Io got out of another Kirifuda Clutch attempt by flipping Shayna and giving a double foot-stomp to Shayna on the floor. Marina Shafir meanwhile locked the cage door and shouted to try and get Shayna to get back up, Io climbed the Cage wall but Shafir climbed on the outer side to try and stop her from winning. Candice LeRae then came down and beat on Duke, before herself climbing the cage wall and kicking Shafir off before continuing to climb. Jessamyn Duke ran into the ring to try and help Shayna leave via the cage door, but to stop this Candice came FLYING off the top of the cage for a flying crossbody to Duke in the ring below (this was something else to witness, little did we know it would soon be topped). Baszler took down LeRae soon after, but then Io came off the top of the cage with an INCREDIBLE moonsault to Baszler in the ring below! This was an unbelievable move to see and the crowd loudly chanted NXT. Everyone in the ring as well as Shafir on the outside were all down, ‘Yowie Wowie’ chants came from the crowd which made me very happy. Io and Shayna then each tried a number of times to try and escape via the cage door, only for the other to get some strikes in on them and stop them from winning as they desperately crawled towards potential victory. Baszler got in the Kirifuda Clutch on Shirai as they were practically hanging out of the open door, and as they were in the doorway Shirai willed herself to use the cage door to ram it multiple times into Shayna’s head to try and break the hold… it did so… Shayna was so hurt and effectively knocked out that she released the hold and collapsed, falling in a heap OVER Io and onto the floor below! So somehow and in what I thought was a super creative finish Baszler wins! The crowd, who were super hot towards the end from pretty much when Candice came running out, seemed utterly devastated at how on earth this had happened and yet again Shayna had escaped still as your NXT Women’s Champion. I thought as TV matches go this was really good. It built really well and of course the two major high spots were incredible, and I loved the finish a lot. Great stuff. Io was completely disconsolate to the referee in the ring at what had happened. Shayna seemed not to have a clue that she had won when she was handed the belt. Candice tried to comfort Io in the ring as the Horsewomen left up the ramp. As the camera cut back to the ring Shirai attacked LeRae to the shock and horror of everyone watching. And after initially appearing to be shocked at her own actions Io then rolled to the outside and got a steel chair from under the ring, before coming back and taking her anger out on her ‘friend’ Candice LeRae. The crowd watching were horrified as were the commentary team. When was the last time you saw a main roster heel turn for example that people legitimately were upset at the one who turned and didn’t cheer because it was cool? Shirai then Vertical Suplexed LeRae onto the steel chair that she had set up. I bet that wasn’t fun to take. Shirai actually had a big smile over her face as she told the crowd she didn’t need her former friends help. The crowd continued to boo loudly as Io made her way back up the ramp. Shirai bartered away in Japanese (I did make out something about Kairi in there also) but in English said “I don’t need a friend”. Io also said she didn’t care about the crowd’s booing of her before making her exit. The camera panned to an aerial shot of LeRae laying beaten in the ring as the show ended.
This was a fucking TREMENDOUS angle and heel turn to follow what was a good match to close the show.
Wowsers… who saw that one coming??? Once again, just as they did at the time with Gargano in late 2018, NXT have turned one of their top babyface stars heel. I’m interested to see what story they try and tell with Shirai here, we’re going to get a match surely between her and Candice which I’ve no doubt will be great. But my oh my what a shocker that really was! Overall a good show; the breakout tournament got underway with a promising outing, Street Profits continue to be over as heck, Keith Lee continues to be cool as heck, and then the main event was a good match followed by a legitimately shocking turn by Io Shirai. I’m not sure what her reasoning for all this is going to be but I’m looking forward to hearing Shirai’s explanation over the coming weeks.
Next week we have Strong vs Breeze and the second Breakout match which should both be fun to watch. Plus I’d expect the second part of the BAY BAY Championship Celebration Tour and all the fallout from the shocking conclusion to this week’s episode.
As always… thank u, NXT!