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WWEekly: NXT Edition (12.18.19)

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Usually WWEekly covers all three main shows in the average WWE week. This time we’re just going to focus on NXT because as much as I’d genuinely love to talk about Otis Dozervic, Tucker Knight and The Revival playing with Lego, it’s the time of year dedicated to family getting in the way, Christmas shopping and pretending to like Christmas songs. It’s the last WWEekly of 2019 so let’s mimic NXT and go out with a bang.

– NXT started with the big bad title match between The Prince Finn Balor and current Undisputed NXT Champion Adam Cole. Balor had earned the match following a triple threat match last week where he bested Keith Lee and Tomasso Ciampa. I say bested, he stole the win but hey he still won right? This was an incredibly well paced gem with Cole being the intelligent targeting strategist he is known to be and Balor returning to the familiar role of underdog despite his more recent role change. It was an exceptional test in back and forth with Cole shutting down Finn’s momentum whenever it dared to crop up. In the end, Balor looked set to win after surviving the Last Shot and hitting the Coup De Grace but as he was setting up for 1916, he looked like he’d seen a ghost. Johnny Gargano appeared on stage, giving Cole the chance to hit a Low Blow and the Last Shot again to make sure Balor wasn’t getting back up. Gargano came in to gain a small matter of revenge by smashing in the scraps left of Balor with a chair.

– Next up was a payback match between Damian Priest and Killian Dain. Killian Dain had damaged the ribs of Priest in a former match and looked to do more of the same throughout the opening phases of the match. Dain bullied the ribs and kept Priest grounded until the big man could mount a comeback and start to bring his striking and strength game back into the mix. He winded himself a couple of times trying to do things his ribs wouldn’t allow but a crafty reversal of a Vader Bomb set Dain up for the Reckoning, giving Priest the win. That’ two for two on people getting revenge in this episode.

– KUSHIDA vs Cameron Grimes followed with Grimes also looking for payback after KUSHIDA cost him a match last week. KUSHIDA took the insult to injury one step further by wearing Cameron Grimes’ hat to the ring. KUSHIDA was in the lead early on running rings around Grimes with technical ability and speed but that gave way once Grimes was able to use his power as an equaliser. The pair mixed it up with an ever-increasing series of technical holds, hard hitting shots and near misses. Cameron Grimes was able to eek out the win by stunning KUSHIDA with a Cave In from nowhere. Grimes ends a strong year with a win over NXT’s biggest import and KUSHIDA is left with a huge mountain to climb if he wants to make 2020 his year.

– We got our first women’s match next as Io Shirai looked to end the year with another win. That win would come over none other than Santana Garrett. This was what you’d expect but Garrett did pull out some surprising moves against Shirai. Io won with the Moonsault.

– It was an NXT UK showcase after that as Travis Banks took on the former head of the brand, Pete Dunne. This was supposed to be a World’s Collide preview but in reality, was just two NXT UK stars beating the hell out of each other. Though, maybe I just can’t accept Pete Dunne is NXT now. The pair showcased their history together/against each other by continuously reversing and outdoing one another. Pete Dunne used an Avalanche X-Plex and The Bitter End to put Banks away. We also got to see Dunne hit an OG Curb Stomp too which was a nice touch.

– The main event was the much-anticipated NXT Women’s Title match between NXT’s Anti-Hero Rhea Ripley and the Tyrant of the Women’s Division, Shayna Baszler. It was going to be a super fight as Baszler has been unbeatable during her second reign as champ. It fell to Ripley to change that. And guess what, she did. In a highly competitive bout, Ripley overcame serious arm damage and Horsewomen interference to best Baszler with an Avalanche Riptide. It was a highly emotionally charged bout as Rhea was forced to fight out of the Kirifuda Clutch and even grabbed the ref to avoid passing out in an ultimate sign of defiance. She had Baszler outpowered and knew she could use that to her advantage. Ripley’s win signals a new era for the division and it could be felt as the final moments of the show were Ripley being hoisted up in a ring full of fans and roster members. What a way to end the year eh?

So that’s it for 2019. Enjoy whichever holidays you may celebrate and see you in the new year!

John is a UK based wrestling obsessive who still wants to believe the Bullet Club is fine. He is always tearing the business apart and first realised wrestling was for him when he saw Mankind fall from the top of the cell at King of the Ring 1998.

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