Well, it’s our first episode in over a year and a half without Asuka as NXT Women’s champion and man am I sad. But it won’t last long because not only is Pete Dunne defending his UK title in the main event, but we’ll also have a women’s tag team match that could have big implications as the competitors will be looking to make an impression in order to get a shot at the vacant title. And we won’t have to wait as the music of the Iconic Duo kicks off the show!
Billie Kay and Peyton Royce vs Ruby Riot & A Mystery Partner
The Iconic Duo are in the ring as Ruby makes her entrance and she apparently does not have a partner. The ref for this is fittingly new ref Jessika Carr. They immediately get the upper hand and go to work on their prey and after a couple of minutes, Nikki Cross comes out of the crowd and creeps around ringside. More of the same 2 on 1 action as before, until Ruby takes advantage of a Kay/Royce miscue, and gets the advantage. As she retreats into a corner to gather herself, Cross climbs on the apron and tags herself in. She quickly takes out the Iconic Duo and puts an exclamation mark on things by hitting a swinging fisherman’s neckbreaker on Kay and then tagging Riot back in, then exiting through the crowd. A still confused Riot then hits a diving senton on Kay to end the match.
My Take: Good opener. Cross was definitely the star of the show here. I have said it plenty of times before, Cross can REALLY come across as creepy and scary, and when you add that with how skilled she is in the ring, it makes for a truly special talent. A full on feud between her and Riot over the NXT Women’s title could be really fun to watch play out inside the ring.
After the match, we recap the Johnny Gargano incident last week with Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss, and then it’s announced that Johnny will face Moss next. After a break, No Way Jose is interviewed backstage and gives his thoughts on Lars Sullivan. Jose says he has to teach Sullivan a lesson about how things are done in NXT, and then challenges him to a match next week.
Johnny Gargano vs. Riddick Moss (w/Tino Sabatelli)
Huge ovation for Johnny tonight, as always. And as a contrast, the crowd is totally down on Moss and Sabbatelli. I do kind of like them though. They just need a shot. Early on, Moss asserts his size and strength advantage and it gets a “Johnny Wrestling” chant going in the crowd. A toss of Gargano into the turnbuckle by Moss takes us into a commerical break. More of the same when we return, with Moss teeing off on Gargano in the corner. Moss then yells “You’re nothing without DIY” and it starts a Gargano rally. Sabbatelli distracts Johnny just enough on the outside in order for Moss to go for a powerbomb that Johnny reverses into a Gargano Escape. Moss wills himself over to the ropes to break the hold and Gargano goes into a sort of trance. I have no idea what this is, and Moss clearly doesn’t care what it is because he decapitates Gargano with a clothesline that knocks him under the bottom rope. The follow up is slow though and after dodging a Sabbatelli attack on the apron and neutralizing him with a superkick, Johnny Wrestling hits Moss with a slingshot spear to pick up the victory.
My Take: Fun match. I want to see more of Riddick and Tino. The tag team division has done a complete 180 over the past few months and that has me very excited. Now if we could just get that TM61 return….
Before our next break, we get some hype for the UK title match, and are informed that the future NXT Tag Team Champions will be in action next.
Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) vs. The Ealy Brothers (Gabriel and Yuriel Ealy)
A tag match that I saw coming months ago is now reality. And it should be a show for as long as it lasts. Early on, Gabriel snatches Dawkins headband off during a break in the corner and takes a right hand in retaliation. The Profits then get going with some tag moves before the twins take advantage of some showboating and start to impose their will on the now legal Ford. It doesn’t last long as Ford uses his quickness to escape and make a tag which leads to him and Dawkins clearing house and then finishing matters with their pop-up spinebuster/frog splash combination. After their victory, they then head into the crowd to dance and party with the NXT Universe.
My Take: I kind of count the Ealy twins as a slight step up in competition for the Profits and I’m pretty excited about that. They seem to have found a hold within the NXT Universe and they could ride that to great things. I’ll know I’ll be along for the ride.
Next up, the announcers lead into an extended video package highlighting Asuka’s entire NXT career, and includes words from NXT and main roster superstars such as Ember Moon, Bayley, Corey Graves, and Charlotte. After it ends, we head to William Regal’s office where he states that he is considering ways to fill the title vacancy that Asuka’s injury and promotion to the main roster brings, and that he will reveal the plan over the next few weeks. We then head into break after a recap of the Pete Dunne/Wolfgang situation leading to their title match, which is next.
We return and are informed that Aleister Black will address the NXT Universe next week. Then Wolfgang is interviewed in the back about his title shot before he heads to the ring. When Pete Dunne is then asked how he feels about the title defense, he just stares down the correspondent, puts the belt in his mouth, and heads to the ring.
WWE United Kingdom Title Match: Pete Dunne (c) vs. Wolfgang
After official introductions, this one kicks off and the crowd is firmly behind the champion. Dunne immediately attacks the wrist of the challenger, before attacking the fingers on the opposite hand. Classic Dunne early on, as he tries to play to his technical advantage and stray from Wolfgang’s strength advantage. Momentum switches directions briefly, before Dunne rights the ship and is in control as we head into a break.
The joint warfare continues from the champion upon our return but the strength of the bigger man gets things going for him as he tackles Dunne and he rolls to the outside. The challenger then takes to the air with a tope con hilo and then hits a springboard moonsault once they are both back inside, which brings him a 2 count. Very impressive sequence. He takes a tad too much time on his follow up though and Dunne hits an X-Plex, but then Wolfgang returns the favor with a delayed superplex. He then takes to the air again for his senton bomb finisher but is caught in an armbar by Dunne upon landing. He powers out and more scrambling ends with a Wolfgang pop-up powerslam for 2. Wolfie goes to the well again for another one moments later but Dunne is ready for it and nails the Bitter End to turn back the challenge of the very game Scotsman. After the match, the ROH Invaders hit the ring and have a brief standoff with Dunne, before the Bruiserweight pops Kyle O’Reilly with a right hand and the scuffling begins. Wolfgang comes to help him out but is quickly dispatched in the numbers game, and Dunne leaves the ring. He teases returning to help Wolfgang but instead runs to the apron to grab his belt, then leaves. The now helpless Wolfie proceeds to get his head knocked off by Adam Cole as he is being held by O’Reilly and Bobby Fish, and then the Invaders exit through the crowd. Trent Seven and Tyler Bate then run down to tend to Wolfgang and have words with the retreating Invaders, who are yelling about being “Undisputed” as we fade to black for the week.
My Take: This was a really good main event, as usual when the UK division matches are involved. I am a Progress and RevPro minion so their style is not only appealing to me, but familiar. That’s not the case with some of the NXT Universe though and I think it’s cool that they are getting exposed to that style. And they must like it, and Dunne’s personality because he is very much over and it’s really elevating the entire division. The ending was also very well done and seems to be setting up an Undisputed vs. Mustache Mountain & Wolfgang match, which I think would be well received (Although I would prefer a full on Undisputed vs. British Strong Style match).
Really strong week of Yellow Brand action! The in-ring action was really good in each match and the Asuka package was really well done, and fitting for someone who transformed an entire division. I encourage everyone to watch it. I have always felt like NXT production teams do a fantastic job of capturing the emotion of the talent down there and this was no different.
How do you guys want the women’s title vacancy to be filled? That’s the question I pose to you all this week. Hit me up on Twitter at the handle above to discuss that, and I’ll see you all here next week!