NXT – October, 23, 2019

Date: October 23, 2019
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, Nigel McGuinness

Things should be interesting this week as the show is in a bad ratings fight against Dynamite, though this time around isn’t going to matter that much as the World Series is going to massacre both shows. The big match tonight is Roderick Strong defending the North American Title against Keith Lee and Dominick Dijakovic. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Bianca Belair vs. Rhea Ripley

For the #1 contendership. They go to the test of strength to start but Belair sends her into the corner for the running shoulders to the ribs. Ripley gets up some boots in the corner though and a kick to the chest has Belair in trouble for a change. They fight over a suplex with Ripley finally hitting one to frustrated Belair even more.

Ripley goes up and tries what looks like a deadlift superplex to the floor. Since that would kill her, Belair slams her down instead and starts stomping away. We hit the seated full nelson before it’s an abdominal stretch to keep Ripley in trouble. That’s broken up and it’s a double hair takedown to send us to a break.

Back with Rhea hitting a nasty big boot to kick Belair out of the air and getting two off a basement dropkick. The standing Cloverleaf goes on but Belair goes straight to the ropes in a smart move. Cue Io Shirai to kick Ripley in the head behind the referee’s back though and Belair hits a spear for two. Candice LeRae comes out to take care of Shirai and it’s Riptide to give Ripley the pin at 12:37.

Rating: B-. Ripley looks more and more like a star every time she’s out there and it’s always nice to see Belair get beaten up. Ripley vs. Baszler should be a blast and SURELY this is where Baszler loses the title right? I know I’ve said that for about six months now but it has to happen someday.

We look back at the Undisputed Era taking out Velveteen Dream last week.

Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne arrive, with Dunne saying he doesn’t care about Killian Dain.

Video on Tommaso Ciampa coming back from his neck surgery. He’s back to get the NXT Title again. That “Daddy’s home” line was great.

Tyler Bate is in the front row.

Matt Riddle vs. Cameron Grimes

Grimes goes straight for the jumping stomp to start but Riddle ducks away and takes it too the mat. It’s too early for the Bromission so Riddle misses the standing moonsault, only to hit the Broton for two instead. Riddle gets two off a Jackhammer and there are the GOLDBERG chants.

An armbar doesn’t work so Riddle kicks him in the face instead. Another kick is countered into a rollup so Grimes backflips over him into a bridging German suplex as we take a break. Back with the Bro To Sleep into the bridging German suplex for two more. Bro Derek is countered into a swinging sitout Rock Bottom to give Grimes his own two.

A superplex plants Grimes but his knees are up to block the Floating Bro. The Final Flash rocks Grimes but he catches the charging Riddle in the spinning powerslam for two more. The standing double stomp (dubbed the Cave-In) is countered into another Final Flash and the Bro Derek finishes Grimes at 11:24.

Rating: B-. Riddle getting the win is fine and it’s not like Grimes went down to some nobody. They were smart to protect the Cave-In, which has become a pretty sweet finisher in a short amount of time. Riddle can turn it up in the blink of an eye and we got a really solid match throughout. Good stuff here and I could go for more of both guys.

Post match Riddle offers a fist bump but gets shoved away. Grimes goes after Tyler Bate, who knocks him out with one punch.

William Regal makes Dakota Kai/Tegan Nox vs. the Four Horsewomen for a future Women’s Tag Team Title shot later tonight.

Breezango/??? vs. Forgotten Sons

This time, Breezango are in Top Gun mode so Beth asked if they could teach her to fly a plane. Beth: “They said the key was to keep your hand on the throttle but if it’s too big, use two hands.” Mauro: “You should be a limbo dancer because everything goes over your head.” Breezango has Isaiah Swerve Scott as their partner to replace the injured Kushida.

Breeze can’t do much against the monster Ryker to start so Scott comes in for a change. That goes just as well so Fandango takes his shirt off and gets shouldered down with ease. Cutler comes in but gets legdropped down, with Beth calling Fandango a real maverick in there. Back from a break with Blake grabbing a hard chinlock on Breeze to calm the crowd down again.

Breeze finally gets up and sends the Sons into each other, allowing the diving tag off to Fandango. Everything breaks down and Scott’s high crossbody gets two on Cutler. Scott gets left alone though and it’s a super hurricanrana into stereo diving headbutts…for two as Breezango drives the other two Sons into the cover for the save. A quick Downward Spiral from Scott plants Cutler and the Sons all wind up on the floor.

Ryker loads up a superplex to the floor but Scott slips out, steps on Ryker’s chest, and moonsaults onto the other two Sons in a big crash. Stereo superkicks give Fandango two on Ryker and everyone is down again. Fandango and Ryker fight to the floor so Cutler throws Scott onto the two of them. Back in and Scott hits the jumping kick to the back of Cutler’s head for the pin at 13:17.

Rating: B-. Another solid match here, though it could have had a few minutes cut out to drop a few of the moments where the match just kept going for some reason. The Sons continue to fall through the cracks as they just aren’t all that interesting in the first place. Scott on the other hand is awesome and has all the star power that he needs around here. Good match, but needed to be a bit shorter.

Post match the winners dance.

Roderick Strong is ready for the monsters but he sounds more like his ROH self here, which isn’t a good thing.

Killian Dain wraps his fingers while standing in front of a fire and sounding menacing about Pete Dunne.

Angel Garza vs. Jack Gallagher

Lio Rush is on commentary. Gallagher spins out of a wristlock and grabs a headlock. The crucifix gives Gallagher two and he holds onto the thing despite three attempts to roll away. Hold on though as…..GALLAGHER TAKES OFF GARZA’S PANTS!!! Gallagher gets to show off a very delayed vertical suplex so Garza has to go to the ropes to escape an armbreaker attempt. A backdrop puts Gallagher on the floor and Garza hits a running slap to the back. That earns him the big headbutt into the running corner dropkick but Garza steps aside and slams him down. The middle rope moonsault finishes Gallagher at 5:04.

Rating: C. This could have been on any given episode of 205 Live but at least they had a match where the crowd actually cared for a change. You don’t get that around 205 Live most of the time so having something like this is a good idea. That being said, it also doesn’t mean anything good for the future of 205 Live.

Garza wants the title so Rush holds it up.

Tegan Nox/Dakota Kai vs. Marina Shafir/Jessamyn Duke

The winners get a Women’s Tag Team Title match next week. Duke goes straight for Kai to start and it’s the Horsewomen taking over early on. Shafir comes in and plants Kai, who gets kneed in the ribs for two. A right hand and a kick to the face allow the hot tag off to Nox to clean house. The reverse Cannonball hits Duke in the corner and a high crossbody gets two. A headbutt sets up the Shiniest Wizard to finish Duke at 3:19.

Rating: D+. It’s not a good sign when I was relieved that they kept Shafir and Duke this short as they could have had a disaster otherwise. They’re just not that good, while Kai and Nox are the easiest team to cheer for in years. If nothing else, it means Asuka is back in NXT, where she probably should have been a long time ago.

Post match the Kabuki Warriors pop up to say Nox and Kai have no chance.

Keith Lee has been hunting a title for a long time and tonight he gets it.

In addition to the title match, next week will see Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae and Cameron Grimes vs. Tyler Bate.

North American Title: Keith Lee vs. Dominick Dijakovic vs. Roderick Strong

Strong is defending and bails to the floor at the bell as you probably expected him to. The monsters surround him but Lee beats up Dijakovic instead. A heck of a shoulder sends Strong outside and Lee gets in a second one as we take a break. Back with Lee splashing Dijakovic in the corner but Strong shoves Lee outside in the big heap. Strong’s superplex gets two on Dijakovic and it’s time to rip at Dijakovic’s face.

Lee comes back in and breaks up a DDT, only to get superkicked by Dijakovic. Strong is down so Dijakovic suplexes Lee onto him for two. That sends Lee outside and Dijakovic tries a running flip dive….which is countered into a powerbomb attempt but Strong dives onto the two of them to break it up in a smart move.

Well it would be if Dijakovic went down as well so the superplex is loaded up again, only to have Lee catch him in the Tower of Doom (with Dijakovic holding Strong for a bit in something that could have gone very wrong). Back from another break with Lee suplexing both of them at once for the double knockdown. Strong sends Dijakovic to the floor and hits the running forearms as Lee is tied in the ropes.

The Angle Slam gets two on Lee but Dijakovic has to be knocked down again. That means the big double chop from Lee to Strong and they all fight to the floor. Feast Your Eyes and the Pounce DESTROY Strong at once so it’s Lee vs. Dijakovic one on one for the title. The fans really, REALLY like this as Lee slugs away but gets caught with the cyclone boot.

A super sitout chokeslam plants Lee for two but Strong is getting back up. That’s fine with Dijakovic, who hits a great looking Fosbury flop onto the champ. Not to be outdone, Lee hits his own big flip dive onto Dijakovic, crushing him to pieces. Back in and it’s a super Batista Bomb to Dijakovic but Strong knees Lee in the face to steal the pin and retain the title at 18:19.

Rating: A-. I’m not sure where to start with this one. First and foremost: LEE AND DIJAKOVIC SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO DO THAT!!! Just….that’s not normal man. Second, this was a very impressive trick to pull off as the formula looked perfectly set up to have Strong slip through the cracks and retain the title here so they had to figure out a way around it.

Instead of some fluke trick or something though, they went with another idea: have two monsters beat the fire out of each other and have Strong steal the win after one of them was all but dead. They sucked me into this one and I actually let out a deep breath once the pin went down. That’s something that doesn’t happen very often but they pulled it off here. Very well done with Strong having to work incredibly hard to be believable against these two but he managed to make it work.

Post match the rest of the Undisputed Era comes in to take out Lee. The fans want Balor but get Tommaso Ciampa (it was going to be one of them), complete with crutch. Fans: “DADDY’S HOME!” Ciampa stares the four of them down but here’s Johnny Gargano as well. Gargano stares Ciampa down but turns to face the Era as well…..and here’s Finn Balor. The staredown is on…..and Balor Peles Gargano, leaving the Era to destroy Ciampa.

Balor stares down at Gargano as the beatdown continues. As the fans are livid at Balor, he heads outside and dropkicks Johnny into the barricade, knocking it and the people behind it down as well. Even the Era stops beating up Ciampa to watch the beatdown. Balor hits 1916 to SPIKE JOHNNY ON HIS HEAD on the ramp to end the show. The Era does their pose as Balor looks down at Gargano but he doesn’t return it and walks away with another stare.

That was a big angle to close the show and the fans were into it. I’m curious to see where it goes as well because it’s a very easy story to follow (Balor is an NXT legend, Gargano says he’s Mr. NXT, jealousy ensues in a battle of the generations) but also a smart way to go. Balor just being back and being his old self is interesting but doesn’t have the longest shelf life. On the other hand, Balor going full heel for the first time in NXT (or WWE) is rather interesting and could go somewhere.

Overall Rating: A-. When I looked back at this one, I was rather surprised by how much stuff they had going on. The wrestling was almost all good to very good with only the three minute women’s tag not living up to the standard. It had an awesome main event and big angle to close the show, so what else could you actually fit into a two hour event? Great stuff here and the kind of hot show they needed (it’s been a LONG time since NXT needed much of anything).

Overall, this was a week where you could go either way and it’s splitting hairs to decided which show was better. I liked NXT’s big angle just a little bit more than as it was a surprise rather than building something already set up and that’s the kind of thing that makes me want to see where they’re going with it. Other than that, it’s a complete tossup and you can’t go wrong either way, which has been the case since the shows started going head to head.


Rhea Ripley b. Bianca Belair – Riptide

Matt Riddle b. Cameron Grimes – Bro Derek

Isaiah Scott/Breezango b. Forgotten Sons – Jumping kick to the back to the back of Cutler’s head

Angel Garza b. Jack Gallagher – Lionsault

Tegan Nox/Dakota Kai b. Marina Shafir/Jessamyn Duke – Shiniest Wizard to Duke

Roderick Strong b. Keith Lee and Dominick Dijakovic – Running knee to Lee

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