Real Rasslin Reviews: WWE NXT 16th December 2020
Pixc here with another round of NXT action, let's see what went down!
So, after the announcement of New Year's Evil as the next live special event, it looks like we could be in for a treat. Damien Priest was taken out and will be unable to get any revenge on Theory or Gargano, instead Kushida has offered to partner Leon Ruff. Looks like we have a number one contender’s match for the NXT Title between two recent rivals in Pete Dunne and Kyle O'Reilly and I believe we have Rhea Ripley vs Toni Storm too!
Kushida & Leon Ruff vs Johnny Gargano & Austin Theory (now known as The Way)
Kushida is entering the ring as the show kicks off. When the Gargano faction make their "way" to the ring we seem to have given them that name. So apparently The Way vs Kushida & Ruff. Gargano tags in Theory to go against Kushida. Theory struggles early on and Kushida holds his arm for Ruff and makes the tag. This is when Theory takes over but Ruff uses his speed and agility to escape and that's when Theory shuts him down and tags Gargano in. Gargano is in control and stares down Kushida. Ruff manages to get some offense in and a near fall. Gargano manages to take back control of the match as commentary confirm Pete Dunne vs O'Reilly for right to face Balor at New Year's Evil. Gargano brings Theory back in to the match and the two go for a double team move but Kushida interrupts it and The Way are dispatched to the outside, Theory gets hit with a great DDT by Ruff when the action returns to the ring and we are notified Gargano is the legal man at this point, Ruff is then double teamed and as we return to the action from a break Theory is now the legal man and although Gargano makes the tag Ruff manages to get Kushida into the match and Kushida has a nice flurry of moves. Theory saves Gargano from a submission and takes a brutal arm breaker before Gargano retaliates, then the blind tag by Ruff results in some nice double team action from Kushida and Ruff but Ruff is soon down, Theory is in dominating Ruff, even with Ruff trying his best to reverse, he still gets slammed but only a near fall. Gargano hits a cheap shot on Kushida, great strategy there, a double team on Ruff but Kushida slips in to save breaking up a pinfall. Theory gets a blind tag and Ruff upon doing that amazing cutter from the top and his trademark crucifix pinfall with the ref telling him no. Theory then breaks the pinfall and hits what might be his new finisher shouting "this is the way". Picking up the win.
Kind of expected this, although having Kushida pin Gargano seemed just as likely. Some great action but ultimately nothing special just build for now.
Winners: The Way
A package with Toni Storm building to her match with Rhea Ripley some good shots from their previous matches and building on her new persona. Still not buying this, Toni doesn't feel like a heel for me, turned for very little reason but I'll see what happens.
Another video package promoting Legado Del Fantasma.
Shotzi is asked about her match later vs Indi Hartwell and reminisces on War Games but now it's over. Her war with Candice however is not. She is clearly looking to add Indi to the "injured" list.
Tommaso Ciampa vs Tyler Rust
Ciampa comes down to the ring and sets up a chair with a Thatcher t-shirt on it at ringside. Clearly expecting a visitor or inviting one Timothy Thatcher to join them. They lock up and there is a good wrestling exchange, I often wondered if these matches are on the card to try and bring a different type of fan to WWE NXT programming. As Ciampa is in control Thatcher walks down to the ring and Ciampa seems pleased to see him exclaiming "I knew you'd come" Ciampa is backed into Thatcher by Rust, then Rust boots Thatcher by accident. Ciampa is then squaring up to Thatcher as the referee gets in between them. Then more come from the back to call Thatcher back, he doesn't seem fussed or aggressive and it seems overkill. In the ring Ciampa is taking some damage and commentary plays on his previous injuries. Ciampa manages to reverse it dropping Rust to the mat. Rust takes a couple of chops but goes back to the shoulder. Ciampa then picks up the pace with a few running moves and finishing with a running Samoan drop, near fall only. After an axe kick to the back Rust gets a near fall, he instantly goes for a submission but Ciampa gets back on top, battling back. He struggles to get him up for the fairy tale ending, Rust gets another near fall. Barrett is really keen on Rust, to be honest so am I, he's looking great in this match. Ciampa is stuck in another submission and Rust does well to keep him away from the ropes but eventually he gets his foot on the ropes. Ciampa works on the knee and adds some chops, before hitting Willows Bell for the win. That was a well fought battle, if Tyler Rust hasn't earned your respect after that, I'd be surprised. As Ciampa leaves the ring Thatcher comes as he is held back by officials. Ciampa wipes his Thatcher shirt on his brow then throws it at Thatcher who struggles a little more but Ciampa does his signature wave.
Image Courtesy of Superluchas.com
Great match, unexpected tough match for Ciampa, Rust looked great and I look forward to seeing him in action again. Ciampa wasn't hurt by it too much but I think there needs to be more fire between him and Thatcher personally, it feels a bit luke warm at the moment.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa
Grizzled Young Veterans video package, promoting what they did previously, commenting on the new faces, the more things change, the more they stay the same, we are still soon to be recognised as NXT's number one tag team. like these guys but the division is saturated with heel teams. I can't see anyone being number one outside Undisputed Era for a while yet. Not even the champs.
Both Kyle O'Reilly and Pete Dunne are shown getting hyped for the match by their respective factions.
Then a promo saying doomsday is coming with Karrion Kross footage, talking about the toll. I think he has really been hampered by injury when winning the title and I wasn't a massive fan before, but I look forward to him and Priest having a competitive match, if it's a squash I'll be disappointed.
A clip of Malcolm Bivens calling Tyler Rust a star during the break is shown.
We see Dexter Lumis on a stool drawing NXT New Year's Evil artwork.
Kyle O'Reilly vs Pete Dunne (#1 contender match)
Bit unsure why this is on now, but guessing the women are being given the main event, with Bobby Fish out is 3 on 3 if you include the ringside support. Oh wait, Killian Dain and Drake Maverick come out, then Undisputed Era join the brawl. Breezango ended up flying over and getting involved, all the while Dunne and O'Reilly stare each other down the referee not knowing what to do. Some officials come to take everyone backstage and the ref starts the match. No need for a slow start here they get straight into it. The early going is counter after counter, great mat wrestling. Some ring rope action which results in Dunne taking down O'Reilly the two have a small foray on the outside next, O'Reilly locks in a sleeper which somehow turns into a slug fest and the two only hear the referees count at 9 and both stop dead and return to the ring, this was quite amusing. We go to picture in picture or "uninterrupted action" next with some massive adverts. Kind of kills the atmosphere for me. We go back to technical action here; the match slows down but still relatively even. Dunne gets a nice stretch going at one point. As we return O'Reilly is trying to bring Dunne back into the ring but Dunne lands on his feet. The bitter end Dunne goes for is countered into a submission and O'Reily is countered into an x-plex. Dunne then working on his arms with his signature manipulation style. Off a neck breaker he locks in a grapevine submission. O'Reilly ends up back on his feet and Dunne has hold of the arm. He is trying to frustrate Kyle here. Kyle twists the momentum in his favour then hits a multiple suplex run. He gets a near fall here, they end up on the top rope, precarious position bit of back and forth and Dunne lands on his feet from an attempt at a German suplex and we cut to more picture in picture as O'Reilly is down with Dunne in control. A nice suplex into the turnbuckle by Dunne as we come back the two are locked in either side of the turnbuckles, thought this was different, but not necessarily good, Dunne hits a sit out powerbomb but only gets a near fall, he immediately goes to work stomping on O'Reilly, but his submission is cut short with a rope break. O'Reilly reverse what looked like an attempt at a piledriver and the two go into a reversal run, chess is definitely a good comparison here from Barrett. A brain buster from O'Reilly has both men down after a nice sequence. A near fall for Kyle after a nice backdrop pin. O'Reilly takes a page out of Dunne's book stomping on his hand as Dunne tries to get his mouth guard. Dunne gets a spell in control working on the hand, but as soon as we get that O'Reilly reverses and throws Dunne back in and gets the win after a top rope knee to the back of the neck.
Not the best finish, feel like they get a good ending, then carry on longer, seemed a bit flat for me, but a great match, some epic back and forth, very fluid, enjoyable but hopefully we don't see them fight again for a while as it has happened a few times recently.
Winner: Kyle O'Reilly (meets Finn Balor at New Year's Evil)
Backstage Rhea Ripley is asked about her confrontation with Raquel Gonzalez. Rhea says she backed down and at War Games she had three other competitors backing her up, obviously this feud isn't over yet. They then move on to Toni Storm as Rhea claims it doesn't make a difference which Toni Storm she is facing, either way the result will be the same. Not digging this promo, can't tell what Rhea Ripley is, they have flip flopped a lot with her and having her against two heels makes her face, but she doesn't act/feel like she is a face to me.
Another Chinese triad angle, with the old guy having Xia Li in tears and Boa is there. Again, Teletubbies is what I thought here, not understanding this and it is revealed they are apparently fighting each other, very weird.
Indi Hartwell vs Shotzi Blackheart
Wade Barrett struggles to understanding Taking Care of Business from Shotzi's tank, how did he not know this? They lock up and it starts with some back and forth, fairly even. The Way are seen at ringside looking on. Some good kicks from Shotzi. Commentary has to patch what looked like a miscommunication on the corner cannonball, with Shotzi diving over Indi's outstretched legs, didn't get all of the impact. Hartwell goes for a pin, too early and Hartwell continues her offense, a near fall this time and Shotzi manages to turn the match in her favour. She puts Indi in the corner and hits the cannonball to her back, this confirms to me the previous spot was meant to hit. I guess Indi panicked when seeing Shotzi hurtling towards her, so she flipped her round this time so she didn't see it coming? Next Candice LeRae provides a distraction getting up on the ring apron as Indi is passed the cheap looking trophy, but Candice lets the referee go to soon or Indi is too slow and the referee sees her use it on Shotzi, this was very poorly done, it was so obvious and either way it could have been avoided, feels so tacky, but the idea was good. Unlucky guys but someone messed up, my guess would be Indi judging on her performance here tonight, she's got potential but has been better without The Way involvement in my eyes.
Image courtesy of explica.co
The Way beatdown Shotzi. Not great but it's all build, I guess.
Winner: Shotzi Blackheart via DQ
A video building to Karrion Kross coming back. More of the same here, nothing special but serves its purpose.
A bit of hype for Bronson Reed who returns next week.
Karrion Kross vs Desmond Troy
So Karrion Kross comes to the ring, I expected a promo but he is dressed to compete. I literally thought; "Is he going to face a jobber again or are they actually going to have him earn his title shot this time round?" Nope it's a jobber. Seriously this again, is Vince in charge of this guy? Kross proceeds, as expected, to dominate in quick fashion, hits his suplex and the cross jacket. Pointless filler, apologies to all the fans of Karrion Kross but this guy bores me to tears. It's probably not his fault. Him squashing jobbers does not make him a predator. Only saving grace is he will face Priest at New Year's Evil. Bit annoyed Priest is likely going to get fed to Kross as judging on the match with Ciampa, Priest won't look great coming out of that match. Anyhow, your winner as if you didn't know before the bell rung, Karrion Kross.
Winner: Karrion Kross
Isaiah Swerve Scott is backstage not pleased with his loss to Jake Atlas, he says he got a rematch booked for next week and expects a different result, nice rivalry building here. Do feel like the heel/face line is very blurry in NXT at the moment, needs a bit of direction.
Ever Rise pile straight in following this complaining about their loss to Grizzled Young Veterans, they apparently went to corporate to have it stricken from the record. Mackenzie isn't convinced it will be done but wonders if they want a rematch, they don't seem like they want that and finish by saying Ever Rise rules!
Dexter Lumis is drawing away again and it is revealed, he will be the host of New Year's Evil, great reaction from Barrett here, he doesn't even talk, exactly what I was thinking but also intrigued how will this work and will he wrestle on the night, if so against who? Is he going to communicate with drawings, this could be amazing if done right!
Toni Storm with her Dame Edna shades and Rhea Ripley are heading to the ring and its up next.
Finn Balor has some words for in the next segment though, saying you proved yourself and you broke my jaw but you still lost, this time it's not Finn Balor vs Kyle O'Reilly 2 it's Finn Balor vs Kyle O'Reilly The End. Great work here loved it.
Toni Storm vs Rhea Ripley
This should be pretty good. I feel some interference coming on though or a no contest, eh James? Loving the purple from Rhea, might be mistaken but I think Toni Storm is channelling Shakira. I found myself just watching this forgetting to make notes being a fan of both and knowing they know each other so well. it was great back and forth action. Some straight chops n slaps to the back are traded and Ripley hits a nice crescent kick but Toni manages to get Rhea out of the ring, when Rhea grabs her from the apron Storm manages to thrust her into the ring post and takes control of the match. Ripley avoids an elbow drop and after a few misses kicks Storm to the ground, follows up with a basement drop kick and gets a near fall. Storm reverses and attempt at the riptide and a collision of headbutts leaves both down in the ring. A Gargano Christmas for next week is announced and the two in the ring slug it out. Storm kicks out after a dropkick from Ripley. Ripley lifts Toni Storm into the standing cloverleaf but she escapes hits a great German suplex with a bridge for a near fall. Storm throws Ripley around a bit by her hair it seems. She ends up missing Ripley in the corner and gets an electric chair drop onto the turnbuckle for her troubles. A near fall though as the match continues. Gonzalez appears at ringside and the referee shouts at her which ends up meaning Rhea knocks Storm into Gonzalez who falls out of sight. Ripley the comes over and ends up on the outside climbing in while Storm is checked on by the referee. Gonzalez then grabs Rhea and kind of lawn darts her into the ring post on her way out of ringside, very casually might I add. Toni sees and capitalizes, hitting Rhea with Storm Zero for the win. Nice way to keep Storm's momentum going, not keen on the heel turn but she seems to be doing well. Gonzalez looks on smiling and Toni celebrates in the ring.
I enjoyed this match good back and forth, these two always deliver. Great build towards the finale for Rhea and Gonzalez, curious to see where it all goes.
Winner: Toni Storm
So that is that folks. another good NXT, I enjoyed most of it, just a couple of minor gripes from me, Indi messed up I think and Karrion Kross should be fighting people we are aware of not squashing jobbers in my book. Even if it is lower ranked talent, I'm not a fan, plus I see him going over against Priest and I'm not too happy about that. What are your thoughts? Get them in the comments below.