NXT – September 18, 2019

NXT
Date: September 18, 2019
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, Nigel McGuinness

It’s time to make this show live and double the length as well because of course it is. This is the first episode of the anti-AEW defense system and that means we’re in for a stacked show. That would include Velveteen Dream defending the North American Title against Roderick Strong and a street fight between Matt Riddle and Killian Dain. Let’s get to it.

An extreme closeup of HHH opens the show, with the boss talking about how this is the present and the future. He’s ready to show us what this is and we get a first person trip through the curtain to see the arena.

Mauro welcomes us to the show and the arena looks more vibrant than usual, though it may be the difference between a laptop and a TV.

Io Shirai vs. Bianca Belair vs. Mia Yim vs. Candice LeRae

One fall to a finish and the winner gets a shot at Shayna Baszler at some point in the future. Candice goes right after Shirai to start but Io gets sent outside. Belair’s handspring moonsault gets two on Candice with Mia making the save. Shirai’s springboard missile dropkick gets the same on Belair with no one making a save. Belair slams Candice on the floor so Mia dives onto both of them, setting up the huge top rope moonsault from Shirai to send us to a break (that’s going to take some getting used to).

Back with Belair getting the worst of a Tower of Doom, followed by Candice grabbing a Black Widow on Belair until Shirai makes the save. Candice suplexes Shirai to the floor but walks into a reverse Alabama Slam into the buckle. Mia breaks up the KOD and hits Code Blue for two on Belair with Shirai making a save.

Belair spears Shirai and Yim down, setting up the KOD for two on LeRae. Protect Ya Neck sends Belair outside but Shirai sends Candice to the floor as well. Running knees in the corner rock Candice but Mia sends Shirai outside. Candice spikes Mia with a reverse hurricanrana and adds a Lionsault for the pin and the title shot at 9:59.

Rating: B-. This worked well with everyone working hard and some good near falls throughout. Candice winning is the absolute right call as she hasn’t gotten a shot at the champ yet and is the better of the two faces in the whole match. It would be a great underdog story to see Candice win the title and that’s how you want to present things from here. Great way to open things and show what NXT is about too.

Post match Shayna Baszler and her cronies come out to stare Candice down.

Quick Adam Cole video.

Video on Dominick Dijakovic vs. Keith Lee and their instant classic last month. They meet again next week.

Video on Matt Riddle vs. Killian Dain to set up tonight’s street fight.

Sean Maluta vs. Cameron Grimes

Standing double stomp finishes Maluta at nine seconds.

Video on Velveteen Dream vs. Roderick Strong.

Video on Damien Priest.

North American Title: Velveteen Dream vs. Roderick Strong

Strong is challenging. Dream takes him into the corner so Strong shoves him away, meaning it’s time to grapple to the mat. A clothesline puts Strong on the floor but Dream is ready for a springboard, sending Strong outside for some ranting and a break. Back with Dream hitting a dropkick for one and hitting an ax handle to put Strong on the floor. That means another ax handle but Strong is right back with a suplex onto the barricade.

Back in and we hit the chinlock, followed by another backbreaker for two. Dream is back up and tries the Sharpshooter but get knocked to the floor instead. A right hand sends Strong into the steps and we take another break. Back again with Dream slugging his way out of the top rope superplex and hitting another ax handle. The Dream Valley Driver gets two but Strong pulls him to the apron. A kick to the face has Dream hanging over the middle rope and Strong ties the arms in the ropes.

Strong hits a series of running shots to the face and it’s another backbreaker into a tiger bomb for two. The Strong Hold goes on so Dream makes the slow crawl to the ropes. Cue the Undisputed Era and of course the ref gets bumped. There’s another Dream Valley Driver but Dream has to knock the Era off the apron. End of Heartache gets a great near fall and Dream hits another Dream Valley Driver. Cole superkicks Dream off the top though and it’s another End of Heartache to give the Era all the titles at 22:30.

Rating: B. I know it’s all about the moment but the match never hit that other gear that Dream matches can get to. Maybe it was the obvious ending but other than that near fall off the first End of Heartache, there wasn’t much here to get excited about. You can see where they’re going with WarGames, but this Undisputed Era Holds All The Titles deal isn’t all that interesting.

We move to the WWE Network and recap the title change.

We recap the four way. Baszler vs. LeRae is in two weeks.

Pete Dunne vs. Arturo Ruas

They trade arm holds to start and it’s an early standoff. With the wrestling out of the way, it’s time for a slugout with Dunne nailing a clothesline. Dunne misses the stomp to the arm and Ruas cartwheels over for a kick to the face. Ruas is back with more kicks to the chest and another to the knee keeps Dunne down.

Another kick is blocked by a grab of the knee for some toe manipulation. The dragon screw legwhip sets up more strikes to Ruas, followed by the stomp to the fingers. The X Plex gets two on Ruas, who is right back with more strikes to the face. Dunne enziguris him and grabs the triangle, meaning it’s time to bend the fingers back for the tap at 6:41.

Rating: C+. The technical stuff was good here though I’m still having issues getting used to seeing Dunne having regular matches. The fact that he is around regularly now is a great sign for the future as Dunne has seemed ready to break through every ceiling there is in WWE and having him presented more often is a great thing.

Xia Li vs. Aliyah

Li goes straight to the kicking to start and Aliyah gets knocked down in a variety of ways. A kick to the leg sets up a spinning kick to the back of the head to finish Aliyah at 1:50. That was quite the surprise as I was expecting Aliyah to get beaten up until she won with a cheating rollup or something. Well done on going with a surprise.

Denzel DeJournette vs. Kushida

Hold on though as here’s Imperium, minus Walter, to beat down Denzel. The fans want Walter and here he is to a MONSTER pop. Walter introduces the team and promises to make anyone who disrespects them pay the price to the ring general. Cue Kushida, who says this is his time. The rest of the team is cleared out but Walter rips off Kushida’s vest. That earns him a kick to the face but Kushida is smart enough to bail. This is where NXT can shine: take two stars you wouldn’t expect to see go at it and then pair them together. It helps when you have several all star teams worth of talent at your disposal.

Lio Rush vs. Oney Lorcan

The winner gets a Cruiserweight Title shot at some point in the future and hokey smoke Rush is allowed to exist again. Lorcan hits some running elbows in the corner and gets two off a Blockbuster. As the announcers explain that Lorcan is angry that Rush is getting this spot (explaining things we wouldn’t otherwise know as commentary should do), the half and half is blocked and Lorcan is sent outside. Three straight suicide dives hit Lorcan but he’s fine enough to whip Rush hard into the corner. Another shot to the face puts Rush on the floor but he’s right back in, allowing Lorcan to hit a gutwrench powerbomb for two.

The half crab works on Rush some more and a chop sends Rush to his knees. Rush is right back with a bottom rope springboard into a Stunner for a VERY close two but he tweaks his knee on a frog splash attempt. Lorcan is right on the leg and powerbombs him into another half crab. Lorcan switches into an STF but somehow Rush makes it over to the rope for another break. For some reason Rush slaps him in the face and Lorcan is all fired up, only to run into a standing Spanish Fly. The Dragon’s Call finishes Lorcan at 10:15.

Rating: C. It’s hard to imagine Rush not winning the title to kick the title’s run on NXT off in a hurry, though I’m not sure how wise it is to have Rush go away for six months and then hand him a title as soon as he gets back. Maybe that won’t be the case, but it’s hard to imagine Gulak retaining the title again.

Matt Riddle vs. Killian Dain

Street fight. Dain goes right at him to start and the fight is on with Riddle not being able to get much in. The Broton hits knees and it’s time for the weapons in a hurry. They fight into the crowd with Dain hitting his own backsplash and they brawl into the back. Riddle gets thrown into the side of a production truck but knees Dain. They fight over to Walter, who jumps Riddle despite not being touched.

Imperium, the Street Profits and the Forgotten Sons (who we saw during the brawl) all get in on it and it’s time to head into the arena again. Pete Dunne and maybe Danny Burch are in there as well with security breaking up Riddle and Dain. Security gets beaten up as well and more wrestlers get involved until Dain is left alone in the ring. That means a suicide dive onto a bunch of people to end the show. I won’t bother rating the match as it was just a few minutes before everyone else got involved, but that was certainly a hot angle.

Overall Rating: B-. This is a hard one to grade as it felt like two big episodes put together with some interesting stuff throughout. The problem though is the double length takes away a lot of what made NXT feel so special. It always had this feeling of getting a little taste and leaving you wanting more. Maybe it’s having so much content on Wednesdays but a lot of that feeling was missing here. I’m sure I’ll get used to it and they’ll get the hang of the feeling, but this felt long instead of special, which makes the show more like every other wrestling program around rather than the special one it became. It’s sad, but that’s wrestling.

Results

Candice LeRae b. Io Shirai, Bianca Belair and Mia Yim – Lionsault to Belair

Cameron Grimes b. Sean Maluta – Standing double stomp

Roderick Strong b. Velveteen Dream – End of Heartache

Pete Dunne b. Arturo Ruas – Bent fingers

Xia Li b. Aliyah – Spinning kick to the head

Matt Riddle vs. Killian Dain went to a no contest

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