NXT returned last night (October 14) from Capitol Wrestling Center in Orlando, Florida. You can find the results on the live blog here.
Spin the wheel
The main event on this week’s show was Damian Priest defending his title against Dexter Lumis.
He felt too early to start this as a legitimate quarrel. So it wasn’t too surprising when Cameron Grimes cost the silent superstar the game with a Cave In behind the referee’s back. This is the obvious feud based on the past two weeks.
It will be interesting to see who is right. Conventional thinking would say it’s Lumis, who is the babyface of this program and the bigger man. He would have a harder time recovering from loss than Grimes, who can make up a BS excuse and be good to go. The goal is to raise the two men and I hope they can do it.
This week’s title game was fun enough to earn the spot at the main event. Lumis’ bursts of agility are always a sight to behold and play out very well in his enigmatic persona. Meanwhile, Priest does what he needs as a midcard champion. I like him much more since he became babyface after his loss to Finn Bálor. It’s not at a time when I would be very excited to see him in a main title game, but at this point, maybe it’s a preference. I hate Priest, but I’m not a mega fan.
Then Damian will have to face Johnny Gargano again at Halloween Havoc after defeating him at TakeOver 31. An attack on the champion with a chair after the game earned Johnny that right. (Just like the fact that they had to put together a match in a short time.)
William Regal added the spice when he gave it to Shotzi, who made the match (and Candice’s title match which we’ll get to in a moment) a Spin the Wheel, Make a Deal match.
It’ll add at least one fun stipulation to the rematch. There’s some ridiculous stuff on that wheel, like a coffin match, a school miner’s glove on a match, and a match buried alive. The result will be the same, but it is still appreciated when they go retro with the classics. And they should have fun with these stipulations.
Rematch number two
Candice LeRae gets another Io Shirai title shot at Halloween Havoc in two weeks.
She got there by beating Shotzi Blackheart in what was a good game between two women who always had good games. The deciding factor was Indi Hartwell, who last week started sucking Candice (and Johnny Gargano) off giving them a new TV. Indi slipped brass knuckles LeRae, a weapon the Poison Pixie used to win the match.
So we get another rematch of TakeOver 31 less than a month later. It’s a bit lazy to start the same game over. They obviously want to wait for bigger challengers like Rhea Ripley, Toni Storm and Ember Moon. And they should.
At least Candice and Io have great chemistry and the game will be good. The new wrinkle will be Hartwell, who could be a deciding factor for LeRae. But in reality, she doesn’t beat Io Shirai, and the lack of drama in what is possibly the best title match in the series is a bit of a letdown.
The wheel will help spice things up, however.
Undisputed still shows unity … for now.
Kyle O’Reilly joined Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong at ringside for their No.1 match against Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. O’Reilly spoke for the group (much like the frontman?), Showing no simpy for Ridge Holland. In fact, he claimed that if Ridge wasn’t in a hospital bed because of last week’s horrific injury, he would be because Undisputed put him there.
KOR admitted that someone was behind the attack on Adam Cole, ie “who dunnit?” the angle will continue. I am glad it is. It is obviously a great shame that Ridge suffered such an injury. But it looks like they can continue that major angle with Undisputed.
Fish & Strong defeated Burch & Lorcan in a fun match to set up a game against Breezango next week. And it should be a fun time. But the wide angle here is the future of the Undisputed, which despite all their insistence, could move towards a break.
The Drake Maverick & Killian Dain team are just a little more cohesive than they were last week.
Killian is not in the music (which is weird because she rules) and was definitely not in the Drake, Furry & Fury team name (which I understand). But he tolerates all of this more. Because he can beat people.
Drake booked them a match against the former champions of Tag Imperium. This time around, Dain was ready to participate, even holding out his hand. It’s huge for this relationship! But it wasn’t enough to win.
I am happy that Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner have passed. This weird new couple tag team is hugely entertaining, but they’re not in a place where they should defeat a team of the caliber of the Imperium. They showed some combat, but it was not enough.
The biggest step forward came after the game. Ever-Rise thought Drake was left alone and tried to get revenge for the past week. But Big Dain sent the two men to the ground with a double clothesline. He then told Drake that he was the only person who could hit Maverick.
Austin Theory continues to lose.
This week it was in the hands of Johnny Gargano. It wasn’t squash. It was a two-segment match that at times could have gone the young man’s path. But in the end, it was another L for Theory. Wade Barrett highlighted his losing streak and qualified it with the fact that he was up against a very good talent roster.
But at the same time, a loss is a loss. And it’s not like Johnny Gargano wins all the time. It was kind of a battle between two guys who lose more than they win. In the end, Johnny was too experienced for recruit theory.
This losing streak is an obvious scenario. And NXT has done well with this in the past. Andrade (“Cien” Almas) wasted all the time before working with Zelina Vega, a move that took him to the top. Eventually, Theory will find something that works for him when they want to stop him from just putting the others on.
– Jake Atlas defeated Ashante “Thee” Adonis. He took advantage of this when Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde came out, seeking revenge on Adonis for TakeOver 31. After using this to his advantage, Jake chose to help Adonis. Santos Escobar joined his boys and Isaiah “Swerve” Scott did the same for Adonis and Atlas, leaving it at a dead end. I wonder if this will lead Atlas to fight for the Cruiserweight title because Scott lost his last two chances.
– Rhea Ripley and Raquel González had words when the Nightmare heard Raquel talk about trash in an interview. It took a slew of officials to pull them apart. NXT did a really good job of building this up as a great game in a short period of time, especially since González really wasn’t a featured actor before that.
– Toni Storm won her first victory (obvs) against Aliyah. It’s great to have this rockstar back on Wednesday.
It was a solid episode. Some of these matches seem longer than usual. It’s good for games like Shotzi against Candice. Not as necessary for Theory vs Gargano. Performing TakeOver rematch and missing the male title scene make these shows less essential, but they’re still not bad.