WWEekly is dead. The three-show format is a pain to maintain and in honesty, I just prefer writing about NXT. Now it’s time to return to the black and yellow brand and catch up on all the goings on there. This is the debut so let’s make it a big one by recapping the past two weeks on NXT TV. We’re in a new Women’s Division Era and Adam Cole still has a bullseye on his back. Plus, we have the Dusty Tag Classic to follow. Let’s get into it.
– The show started with the new Women’s Champion, Rhea Ripley making her way to the ring. She cut a promo about memories of winning the title and letting the crowd shower her with cheers. It wouldn’t last as she was interrupted by Toni Storm, the person who beat her for the NXT UK Women’s Title. She taunted Ripley over her losses and challenged her to become Toni two belts since she would be in an NXT UK Women’s title match at TakeOver: Blackpool II the same weekend. Their challenge brought out NXT UK Women’s champ, Kay Lee Ray and Io Shirai.
The challengers just kept coming as Bianca Belair followed suit laying down her own challenge. Then as if there weren’t enough women in the ring, Candice LeRae came to the ring too. Ripley had had enough and initiated a brawl by smashing Bianca in the face. A six-women tag match was made between the heroes and villains. Candice LeRae started hot but was used as a punching bag by the villains. The match fell apart as everyone attacked but LeRae was still not able to get a hot tag. She was constantly kept away from her team until she finally tagged in Toni Storm. Bianca Belair found herself alone later in the match as her team abandoned her so Ripley put her out of her misery with the Riptide.
– We got the first Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic match as Forgotten Sons took on NXT UK’s Imperium. It would be Blake and Cutler vs Aichner and Barthel in a bout to determine who would be the first team sent packing. This was pretty damn fun and way more competitive than I’d have expected. The Forgotten Sons fought hard but they fell to the European Bomb allowing Imperium to be the first team to advance.
– Joaquin Wilde was back from injury but it wouldn’t be an easy squash match welcome as he would have to take on Austin Theory. It was another fun match. A lot of fast paced back and forth ended by Theory hitting his version of the TKO. Theory is going to be a fast-rising star in NXT me thinks, following his EVOLVE successes.
– Following that was the second Dusty Classic match as champions took on champions. It was NXT Tag Champs, Undisputed Era, taking on NXT UK Tag Champs Gallus. It was going to be a tough one to call here. It was power vs technicality as Gallus wanted to fight and UE tried to fight on their terms using their style. Gallus took UE to their limits, coming back multiple times and leaving the champs flat on their asses multiple times. It took Adam Cole interference to give UE the win as Wolfgang was smashed in the face and dropped with High and Low. Excellent match to watch right here.
– Johnny Gargano appeared live, following his attack on Finn Balor during the last episode of NXT (ignoring the NXT Awards.) He ripped into Finn for bailing on NXT to languish on the main roster. He still claimed to love the brand and revealed he hadn’t accepted a main roster call up. The Prince Balor came out giving Johnny a slow clap. He reiterated his point that the roster is soft and gave Gargano a match with him at NXT TakeOver Portland, if he can make it that long.
– Mia Yim killed Kayden Carter. Kayden got some excellent licks in and had Yim on the ropes for a lot of the match but it was Yim that got the win with a surprise Protect Yo Neck. Chelsea Green came out of nowhere to ambush the pair and reveal her part of the Robert Stone Brand, whatever that is.
– The main event was a chaotic fatal four way to determine a contender for the North American title between Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic, Damian Priest and Cameron Grimes. It was everything you’d want as all four men wowed the crowd with their strength and agility. I’d recommend seeing this yourself as it was something special. I was happy to see Grimes get this spotlight and Keith Lee get the big victory with the Spirit Bomb.
– The second week to catch up on opened with Keith Lee strolling to the ring. He was walking tall since he won the fatal four way for the North American Title shot. That will be next week and he wanted the crowd to know he was happy. He praised the Undisputed Era but warned them they aren’t ready for him.
The Era came out, talked a little trash then swarmed the ring to attack Lee. Instead he fought them all off with relative ease. So, Roderick Strong used a chair to bring down Lee and the four of them stomped him out. Roddy then wrapped a chair around Lee’s leg and hit a top rope double stomp onto his leg. Having seen enough Tommaso Ciampa came out and scared the Era off. Ciampa would threaten Cole later in the show about taking back his title but the numbers were too much once again. Prompting Gargano to make a save, creating a DIY reunion and clearing out the Undisputed Era.
– The Dusty Classic continued next as it was the Bro-serweights vs The South Wales Subculture. it was grounded and striking against fast and flippy in a battle to determine who would fight Imperium in the second round. It started fast, grounded in the middle as Riddle and Dunne ground down Flash Morgan Webster then got fast again as Andrews killed both Dunne and Riddle. Webster lost momentum by getting KO’ed by Dunne. Riddle and Dunne kept working together nicely and ended up winning with a Bitter End, Bro to Sleep combo. I don’t want to say too much more as this was an excellent tag bout with both teams meshing well. The Bro-serweights and an excellent unit and worked together exceptionally well. So many brutal shots and unbelievable spots. Give it a watch.
– Following the UE attack on Ciampa, it was time for the other first round match of the Dusty Classic. It would be the reformation of NJPW’s Time Splitters as KUSHIDA and a surprise appearance of Alex Shelly took on the Grizzled Young Veterans. I am so happy to see the Time Splitters together again but well, this match ended with an upset. The Grizzled Young Veterans won after a grueling match. Shelley is a veteran and a pioneer so it’s nice to see him spend even a little time in NXT as so many people could learn from him. It’s just a shame his grand reveal ended in a first-round loss. That being said, it was a loss in a brilliant match. The GYV are the perfect pair to ruin the big feel good return. They take on the Undisputed Era in the second round.
– Next up we got a triple threat match to determine a contender for the NXT Cruiserweight title fatal four way. It was Tyler Breeze taking on Isiah Swerve Scott taking on former champion Lio Rush whilst Angel Garza looked on from the commentary booth. Garza was a gem on commentary as he ran down his opponents and confusing Mauro and Beth with Spanish. My biggest takeaway from this match is that I want to see Isiah Swerve Scott get all the belts, he is an absolute joy to watch. All three men were great but Scott is just in ring gold. The best bit was, he won with the JML Driver on Breeze. He’s one step closer to getting a title.
– I’ll fill a gap by talking about an interview with Gargano and Ciampa where they reacted to Moustache Mountain challenging DIY to a match. They seemed to be into the idea and agreed to team up once more when the UE appeared to ruin the moment. They were fighting against security when Keith Lee appeared, accidentally pounced a security guard and went on a rampage.
– After that carnage, we got the massive battle royal to determine a number one contender for the women’s title. It featured the debut of Mercedes Martinez, Shotzi Blackheart, the return of Kacy Catanzaro and Tegan Nox as well as plenty of familiar faces from the division. There were too many big moments to mention but three things need mentioning, Martinez and Baszler would have an amazing rematch of the MYC if they fought on NXT, Shotzi Blackheart eliminated Baszler which is a huge achievement and Bianca Belair won the whole thing, which is a really boring choice. Well to me at least, I’m just not a fan of Bianca Belair. Oh, I should also mention, Dakota Kai cost Tegan Nox her chance at the title match by knocking her off the top turnbuckle.