The show began with a dramatic monologue from Paul Levesque instructing everyone “not to blink” tonight. There is a close-up of Levesque and he walks out into Full Sail University.
Mauro Ranallo did an intro on camera by himself and we cut to the entrances for the women’s four-way to start the show.
Nigel McGuinness and Beth Phoenix joined Ranallo on commentary.
IO SHIRAI VS BIANCA BELAIR VS MIA YIM VS CANDICE LeRAE
The crowd was hot from the beginning.
The first big move saw Belair execute a handspring into a standing moonsault on Yim. Belair hit LeRae with a fallaway slam on the floor followed by Yim with a suicide dive to both and then, Shirai with a moonsault to Belair and LeRae as they hit a commercial break.
LeRae went for a reverse huracanrana to Belair, it was blocked, and the KOD was stopped by Yim, who hit Belair with a Code Blue that was broken by Shirai.
Belair speared Shirai and Yim, hit the KOD to LeRae and Yim stopped it. Yim hit Protect Ya Neck to Belair and was sent to the floor leaving Shirai and LeRae in the ring.
Shirai was knocked off the top by Yim, LeRae fought with Yim on top and ended with a reverse huracanrana by LeRae and the quebrada for the win.
WINNER: Candice LeRae at 10:18
There was a big pop for the finish and the match was a solid four-way with a great atmosphere.
Shayna Baszler walked out to confront LeRae and Mauro Ranallo noted it would have been the late Billy Robinson’s birthday today, who was one of Baszler’s mentors.
On next week’s episode, Keith Lee will face Dominik Dijakovic.
SEAN MALUTA VS CAMERON GRIMES
Grimes immediately hit the jumping double foot stomp and pinned Maluta.
WINNER: Cameron Grimes in 0:07
Just a showcase for Grimes and getting his finisher over in an effective way.
There was a promo for Damian Priest.
VELVETEEN DREAM VS RODERICK STRONG FOR THE NXT NORTH AMERICAN TITLE
There was a commercial break in the first few minutes after Dream sent Strong to the floor.
Dream was knocked off the apron and dropped onto the guardrail by Strong to take over. Strong lit him up with chops and stomped him while continuing to attack the back.
They came back from a second break, Strong avoided the Dream Valley Driver but did hit the Dream-DT for a two-count.
Strong landed a flying knee that was identified as a V-Trigger by Ranallo. Strong hit the consecutive forearm smashes, applied the Strong Hold and Dream fought to the rope.
The Undisputed Era came down, Strong took Dream and rammed him into the referee, who went down. Dream hit the Dream Valley Driver and knocked members of The Undisputed Era off the apron that allowed Strong to hit End of Heartache for a huge near fall.
The Dream Valley Driver was hit again, but Cole superkicked Dream behind the referee’s back and Strong hit another End of Heartache to win the title.
WINNER: Roderick Strong to win the NXT North American title
I was so impressed with Roderick Strong in this match, he truly is one of the best performers in the entire company. Dream sold well and had a great reaction as a babyface but I felt Strong was the clear star of this match.
This is when the show flipped over to the WWE Network. There appeared to be issues for some users logging in to the network.
It was confirmed that Shayna Baszler will defend the NXT women’s title against Candice LeRae on October 2nd on the USA Network.
PETE DUNNE VS ARTURO RUAS
Dunne had to combat the grappling technique from Ruas. Dunne stomped the foot and Ranallo immediately noted how he was taking a page out of Marco Ruas’ book, who was well-known for his foot stomps in MMA fights.
McGuinness provided a history of Capoeira and the influences of Ruas.
Dunne landed a German suplex and stomped the hands. He landed a kick and the X-Plex for a two-count. Ruas did a cartwheel to escape a triangle choke.
Dunne applied a triangle, mounted Ruas and snapped the fingers for the submission.
WINNER: Pete Dunne at 6:42
This was a fun match and their respective styles and was a great emphasis of two guys that don’t work the same way and they would mesh, which we don’t get enough of in WWE.
XIA LI VS ALIYAH
Li hit a spinning wheel kick and Robinson special for the quick victory.
WINNER: Xia Li in 1:51
This was short and seems to be a strategy of big matches mixed with short and quick showcases for the rising talent they have plans for.
Denzel Dejournette was out for the next match and attacked by Alexander Wolfe, Fabian Aichner, and Marcel Barthel of Imperium. The arena was chanting “We Want Walter”, who was not with his teammates. They attacked Dejournette and posed as the music played and WALTER walked out to a massive response.
WALTER said this mat is sacred and are here to restore the honor and tradition of their sport, those that disrespect the tradition will answer to them. They were interrupted by KUSHIDA.
He said, “this is my time”, he fought off members of Imperium before WALTER attacked him and the crowd chanted for the UK champion. KUSHIDA escaped and challenged WALTER to a future match.
ONEY LORCAN VS LIO RUSH IN A #1 CONTENDER’S MATCH FOR THE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE
Lorcan came out of the gate with a series of strikes, Rush recovered and hit a pair of suicide dives at lightning speed.
Lorcan takes over hitting a gut-wrench powerbomb and applied a half-crab.
Rush executed a seated springboard from the bottom rope into a cutter for a two-count, which looked amazing.
Lorcan goes back to the knee and applied the half-crab and then into an STF but Rush reached the rope. Rush slapped him and Lorcan fired up and blasted Rush with his own chops, ran at Rush and was hit with a standing Spanish Fly.
Rush hit the Dragon’s Call and pinned Lorcan.
WINNER: Lio Rush at 10:46
This was a solid match and Rush showed no ring rust after several months away. Lorcan is one of the most under-appreciated talents and as consistent as they come. I enjoyed this a lot and sets up a future title match between Drew Gulak and Rush.
MATT RIDDLE VS KILLIAN DANE IN A STREET FIGHT
They went to the floor early and Riddle was the first to use the kendo stick. Dane sent him over the guardrail and hit a senton on the cement. They fought backstage and then outside and up to a table where WALTER was seated. WALTER got up and applied a rear-naked choke to Riddle as the Street Profits and numerous members of the locker room appeared.
Riddle and Dane fought into the arena, but the NXT locker room followed, and it was a massive brawl.
Security was separating them, and Riddle and Dane were trying to fight through them. Dane hit a suicide dive to take out everyone and the show went off the air without a finish.
WINNER: No Contest at 6:00
It barely got started but the visual of the locker room brawl was great and it sets up the obvious rematch, potentially in a steel cage or something to contain them.
I thought this episode was a solid show with lots of news, some surprises with Imperium and WALTER involved, the set up for future matches, and a great audience for the two-hours.
The pacing was strong and while there will be weeks where the two-hours is going to be a lot, especially with another two-hour offering from AEW, I thought they did well with the added hour for this show.
The long-term questions are maintaining an enthusiastic audience on a weekly basis, which you would assume will be a lot of regulars coming back weekly. The atmosphere was great tonight but will be hard to compete with AEW running bigger buildings in front of different and much larger numbers weekly.
The big push will be for the October 2nd show when AEW launches and thus far, we have the NXT women’s title match set for that show. Next week’s episode needs to construct a major card for the following week.