With NXT TakeOver: WarGames II just around the corner, we look at how the go-home NXT show panned out with major repercussions attached to this week’s main event clash between one member of the Undisputed Era and one member of the Ricochet, Pete Dunne and War Raiders’ alliance.
NXT this week started with a Women’s Division match as the EST of NXT, Bianca BelAir, came out hoping to continue her undefeated streak against Mia Yim. The two crossed paths last week in a verbal altercation backstage. Yim only made her NXT debut two weeks ago in a victory over Aliyah.
Nigel McGuinness made an interesting comment on commentary during the match, referencing some past history between Mia Yim and the current NXT Women’s champion, Shayna Baszler. McGuinness stated that Yim learned her submission techniques from her old roommate who happened to be Shayna Baszler.
Bianca was at her confident and cocky best, showcasing her terrific in-ring character work which can sometimes be let down by her backstage promos and mic skills. The Full Sail crowd were split with dueling “let’s go Mia” and “EST” chants ringing in the arena. BelAir eventually got the better of Mia and finished the match after countering out of Mia’s finish with a forearm square in the face. BelAir then hoisted her up in a torture rack position before planting her face first for the 1-2-3. According to Nigel McGuinness, Bianca calls it the KOD.
Surprisingly perhaps, Bianca BelAir did not have to use her trademark hair-whip to get the better of an opponent this time. She does seem to be in line for a title shot soon after TakeOver: WarGames II, no matter who the champion is.
There was a second women’s division match this week on NXT as the classy Lacey Evans took on the debuting enhancement talent, Karissa Rivera. Rivera is a second generation professional wrestler with her father also being a wrestler.
Rivera got a little offence in before Evans’ seemingly flipped the switch and went into a fit of rage, finishing her opponent off with the Women’s Right. After the match, the Lady of NXT got on the mic and called the women of NXT “classless nasties”. Evans said that she, being the Lady of NXT, planned to lead by example and teach them some sophistication.
TakeOver: WarGames II
An absolutely intense vignette for Johnny Gargano vs Aleister Black was broadcast, previewing the grudge match between the duo. It was an incredible video package which is sure to increase the excitement levels of any fan for this match. At TakeOver, Johnny Gargano comes face to face with the devil himself.
Another spectacular promo this time for the NXT championship match between Tommaso Ciampa and the Velveteen Dream was shown this week on NXT. It will be interesting to see whether WWE decide to pull the trigger on the 23-year old as the new NXT champion this Saturday.
The women’s championship match was also previewed with a very emotional promo from Kairi Sane. Sane’s opening statement of “my treasure box is empty now” was very moving and made you feel for the babyface. Could we see the NXT debut of Io Shirai in Kairi Sane’s corner to alleviate the threat posed by Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir at TakeOver?
Things keep heating up between the knockout artist, Kassius Ohno, and Mr Regal’s “shiny new toy”, the King of Bros, Matt Riddle. Ohno interrupted an interview that Riddle was giving backstage, calling Riddle and his hype “trash”. Riddle responded by saying he accepts Ohno’s challenge and that next week he would leave the knockout artist knocked out.
A Kassius Ohno promo rarely ever falls flat but it somewhat did here as his reasoning for wanting to fight Riddle, having challenged previous NXT champions Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode, just came across as plain confusing. Riddle, on the other hand, oozed charisma with his promo delivery. However, before Ohno’s interruption, the most intriguing part of the newcomer’s promo was the way he pronounced ‘debut’. Riddle pronounced it as ‘da-butt’.
In a backstage segment earlier in the show, Ricochet, Dunne and the War Raiders were shown arguing over who got to face Kyle O’Reilly in the main event in the WarGames Advantage match. With Ricochet and Dunne bickering, Rowe interrupted with a loud ‘enough’ before Hanson proclaimed that he would be the one to face O’Reilly.
Both men came out for the match alone, without their teammates at TakeOver. However, you must be new if you thought this match was going to end with no interference just six days before their clash in WarGames.
This was a very captivating match between two very contrasting styles. O’Reilly tried to keep the match as close to the ground as he could, even going as far as lying down in a defensive MMA position mid-match in an attempt to lure Hanson into a mat wrestling match.
O’Reilly who is also one half of the NXT tag-team champions, worked on Hanson’s legs throughout the match, limiting the big man’s offence. However, Hanson showed his incredible athleticism late in the match delivering a jaw-dropping moonsault from the top rope which Kyle O’Reilly managed to evade.
The match would near its conclusion with the arrival of Adam Cole to ringside. His distraction was enough to cause Hanson to miss his moonsault before managing to escape O’Reilly’s ankle lock. The leader of the Undisputed Era would then physically get involving, delivering a jumping enziguiri to Hanson as he staggered to his feet. Hanson’s partner, Rowe, would come out to even the numbers, taking out Cole with a thunderous right hand. However, Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong would then come down and start a two-on-one assault on Rowe before Pete Dunne arrived to level both Fish and Strong. The numbers would get the better of the NXT UK champion as Cole, Fish and Strong started ganging up on Dunne. Predictably, the NXT North American champion would come out but, unpredictably, he would enter from the opposite side of the action, get in the ring first, and jump over the referee to deliver a spectacular-looking somersault to the outside on top of the Undisputed Era.
Amidst all this, Kyle O’Reilly grabbed his tag-team title belt and hit Hanson with it from behind with the referee’s attention diverted by the chaos outside. O’Reilly would get the pin and the heels get the advantage going into WarGames.