The SmarK Rant for NXT – 12.11.19

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 12.11.19

Well, with the demise of Hidden Gems on the Network, I wanted to start doing NXT instead, but it doesn’t drop until late in the evening for me and I got shit to do tonight.  However, it’s up right away on Hulu, albeit in a one-hour edited format.  So I might as well use my subscription and check it out and see what’s missing or if it’s even noticeable.

Live from Orlando, FL

Your hosts are Mauro, Nigel and Beth.

Adam Cole interrupts the opening video from the truck, and he’s disgusted by the triple threat main event tonight, because none of them have done anything to earn a title shot.

NXT Cruiserweight title:  Lio Rush v. Angel Garza

Angel definitely appears to have gotten all the charisma in the Garza family.  And yet Humberto is the one on TV every week on the main roster for some reason.  Lio attacks before the bell and Angel is amused, and they brawl to the floor before he can even get his pants off!  They have a nice scrap and Rush runs him into the stairs, but Garza yanks him off the apron for a facefirst bump onto THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING.  No but seriously, I could really do without the guys trying to take the craziest bumps possible on the apron.  Back in the ring, Garza’s pantsing is cock-blocked by Rush again, but he misses his springboard move and Garza dropkicks him for two.  Garza hooks him in the corner and superkicks him down for two, and they get into another good scrap, as Ed Whalen would term it.  Garza drops him neckfirst on the top rope and Rush bails as we take a break.  Back with Angel working the arm and trying a full nelson, but Rush makes the ropes and reverses to a rollup for two.  Lio tries a flying headscissors, but Garza tries to reverse to a powerbomb, which Rush blocks by taking him to the floor.  Lio follows with a quebrada, and back in for a head kick for two.  Mauro is just going into pop culture overload here.  It’s like Eminem and Fat Joe and Nick Cannon and he’s firing like a cannon!  Take it down a notch there, Jim Ross of the Twitter Generation.  They fight to the top rope and Angel hits him with an enzuigiri and flips away, then pops back up with a Spanish Fly off the top for two.  They slug it out on the mat and Rush clocks him with a spinkick, so Garza hits his own superkick and both guys do the facefirst sell in a nice spot.  They fight for a suplex and Rush gets Garza’s own Wing-Clipper on him for two.  Lio tries to finish but Garza grabs the leg to block him, then turns it into the electric chair, but Rush lands on the ropes and bounces back with the stunner for two.  Rush to the top with a frog splash, but Garza manages to crawl to the floor while finally losing his pants.  And this revives him, as he blocks a dive from Rush with his knees, and back in for the Wing Clipper for two.  But then he hangs on with a reverse full nelson, and Rush submits away the title at 15:08.  Good for Angel, there’s something there with him and this was a hell of a match.  ****1/4

Shayna Baszler introduces her car and runs down a list of the “flavors of the month” that she’s beaten since becoming champion. They’ve gotta get that belt off her next week.  It’s the right time and place to pull the trigger on Rhea.

Finn Balor is tired of Ciampa taking credit for all his hard work in building NXT.

Earlier tonight, Angel Garza proposes to his girlfriend during the break.

Dakota Kai v. Mia Yim

Nice logical grudge match here.  Yim attacks to start with hairtosses and a low dropkick for two.  Kai runs her into the corner, but Yim reverses into a Tarantula and a missile dropkick.  They fight to the floor and Yim sends her into the stairs and follows with a cannonball as NXT ROLLS ON.  Back with Yim working the injured knee, but Kai fires back with a big boot in the corner for two. Nice to see her actually throwing kicks after months of being “Team Kick”.  Yim fights back with her own kicks for two and a belly to belly suplex for two.  Kai escapes a Code Red attempt, but a second one gets two.  Yim misses a charge and Kai gets a powerbomb for two.  Kai tries more kicks, but Yim gets a german suplex for two.  Yim with the armbreaker, but Kai bumps to the floor to escape and grabs Tegan’s knee brace from the corner.  The ref steals it, but Kai undoes a turnbuckle and runs Yim into it for the cheap pin at 9:40.  Kai sold WAY too much for Yim before the shit finish, and it wasn’t a particularly great match, but it was fine.  ***  I dunno, I guess “Cowardly heel” is a direction for Kai if they want to go there with her.  And then they brawl to the tech area and Yim suplexes her off a balcony and they go through a pair of tables to give Yim her heat back, I guess.  Didn’t really need that, it should be Kai’s time to get some heat after the heel turn.

Rhea Ripley gets a preview video of her own, showing her evolution from the first Mae Young Classic to today.

#1 Contender match:  Keith Lee v. Tommaso Ciampa v. Finn Balor

Finn attacks both guys and chased out by Lee right away, and Keith follows and drops Finn on the apron with a press slam.  Back in, Ciampa tries to catch Lee with a draping DDT, but Balor breaks it up and then Lee hits both guys with a slingshot crossbody as we take a break.  Back with Ciampa fighting to the top with Balor, but Lee brings them both down with an electric chair in a freakish show of strength and gets two on Ciampa.  Lee to the top, but he misses the moonsault and Ciampa tries to follow up, so Lee hits him with a jackhammer.  Balor breaks up the pin and cradles Lee for two, then counters the powerbomb with a double stomp out of the air.  Lee heads to the floor and Finn follows with a tope con hilo and then dropkicks Ciampa into a section of planted fans.  Back in, Lee takes out Balor and tries the powerbomb on Ciampa, but he escapes and clips the knee, then follows with an Air Raid Crash on Lee for two.  Ciampa’s no slouch in the strength department either.  Lee fires back with a spinebuster and goes up with the moonsault for two.  Spirit Bomb, but Balor flies in out of nowhere with the Coup de Gras for the pin on Lee at 9:30.  I feel like they cut a big portion out of this match, but I’m impressed that they did it so seamlessly that you can’t even tell.  I inserted an extra 3:00 into the time for the ad break that Hulu omits, but there was actually only 6:30 of action aired here.  I liked what I saw but I might have to rewatch the full match on the Network when it drops later tonight so I’m gonna hold off on a rating for now.

Regardless, this was definitely the “all killer no filler” version of the show, omitting all the stuff that people were complaining about this week.  I’d happily watch this every week on Thursdays instead of Hidden Gems.

Still liked AEW better this week, but much love to both sides.