NXT fans were in for a treat this week as four first-time ever clashes took place – something which we definitely can’t say for their corresponding main roster product where Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler faced off for the 6329th time this past Monday.
The show kicked off with the now fan-favourites Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch making their way to the ring. The British-American duo only returned to NXT a few weeks ago after Lorcan’s injury.
They were joined in the ring by Shane Thorne and Nick Miller, also known as The Mighty. This was a very, very entertaining match between two teams with very contrasting styles. The charismatic Australians sold very well for the babyfaces with Lorcan and Burch even trapping their opponents in a double-submission very early on in the match, teasing a fast finish.
The two teams put on a match which was arguably better than any tag-team match on the entire Survivor Series show. A very high-octane and captivating bout from start to finish. The match reached its finale with the Mighty looking to hit their finish on Oney Lorcan but Danny Burch came spearing Shane Thorne out of nowhere, allowing his partner to roll through on Nick Miller and spring a sunset flip for the pin. An excellent back and forth match. The crowd popped huge for the babyfaces winning.
After the match, the Mighty got some heat back by attacking Lorcan and Burch from behind and laying them out.
A New Top Babyface
EC3 came out for his match against Marcel Barthel to an absolute raucous reception from the NXT faithful. The crowd sang along to his theme just as they used to with “the Glorious One”, Bobby Roode. Here’s to hoping EC3 doesn’t get utilised in the same manner as Roode on the main roster.
The match offered another very intriguing contrast of styles as the German formerly known as Axel Dieter Jr. on the indies brought his own technical prowess up against the one-percenter.
EC3 eventually made quick work of Marcel Barthel, finishing it off with a fireman’s carry into a spinning diamond-cutter. Barthel looked impressive, EC3 looked immense.
After the match, EC3 cut a promo on the Undisputed Era talking about how Bobby Fish didn’t finish the job. EC3 stated that he was a vindictive man and he was coming for the Undisputed Era. The one-percenter could be ready to challenge Ricochet or Aleister Black as the new top babyface of NXT.
A vignette was aired for the impending re-debut of the repackaged Chris Dijak, formerly known as Donovan Dijak, who is now being called Dominik Dijakovic.
Dijakovic made his NXT debut earlier this year in a losing effort against Ricochet. Big things appear to be in story for the former ROH and PWG star, who has a lot of history with guys in NXT like Keith Lee.
The War Raiders were shown in a photo still backstage at the performance center, recovering from their injuries. This may come across as problematic to some fans. For a team that portrays themselves as from a different era and calling themselves “War Raiders” or War Machines as they were formerly known as, they could really have been protected better instead of being shown as vulnerable and human.
NXT Champion, Tommaso Ciampa, also cut a pre-taped promo proclaiming himself once again as the greatest sports-entertainer of all-time while also urging all other NXT superstars to follow his lead.
A pre-taped interview with Kairi Sane, Io Shirai and Dakota Kai was shown with Kairi being asked about Shayna Baszler and the NXT Women’s championship. The Pirate Princess said that she wasn’t done with Shayna yet while Dakota commented on her own history with the current NXT Women’s champion and Io promised to always protect her best friend, Kairi Sane.
This came across as a very cheesy, corny promo in terms of its delivery. The two Japanese women clearly struggle with translating their undoubted talent into a good verbal promo.
In the show’s only Women’s division match, Vanessa Borne took on Mia Yim who was another to receive a very warm reception by the crowd.
The match started off interestingly with Yim, the babyface, offering a handshake to Borne but the heel didn’t just refuse, Vanessa Borne slapped the taste out of Mia Yim’s mouth. Yim eventually got a win after a good back-and-forth match with her Eat De-Feet finisher.
It was the clash of two behemoths as Keith Lee and Lars Sullivan collided in the main event of NXT this past week. The match started with a very impassive face-off between the two huge men who are almost the same exact height which made for a good visual.
Keith Lee never fails to amaze with his agility as he sprung and hopped around the ring like a cruiserweight. While Sullivan was at his monstrous best, bringing his big-man style to the match, the Limitless One was the undisputed star of this match.
Surprisingly then, it was Sullivan who first went to the top rope, delivering a diving head butt. The crowd was fully behind Lee who awed the audience with, first, a high-impact pounce across the ring before delivering a jaw-dropping springboard-corkscrew plancha from inside the ring to out on top of Lars Sullivan. The crowd was eating it all up.
It was one high-risk move too many for Keith Lee though as a textbook moonsault from the big man didn’t pay off, allowing Sullivan to hit the Freak Accident for the win. There was little doubt that Sullivan was going to win this one given the recent main roster vignettes that have started airing for his debut but both men came out of this match looking like mega stars.
An unbelievable episode of NXT in terms of fresh and unique in-ring action.