NXT’s second week on the USA Network kicked off from the Full Sail University with The Undisputed Era appearing on a balcony above the announcers with all their championships.
*Keith Lee over Donovan Dijakovic in 12:33
*Dakota Kai over Taynara Conti in 2:43
*Matt Riddle over Killian Dane in a Street Fight in 20:01
*Rhea Ripley over Kayden Carter in 2:36
*Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch over Chase Parker & Matt Martel in 6:24
*Cameron Grimes over Raul Mendoza in 7:26
*Alexander Wolfe, Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner over KUSHIDA, Tyler Breeze & Fandango in 11:08
KEITH LEE VS DONOVAN DIJAKOVIC
Lee shoulder blocked Dijakovic and sent him over the top rope. The two fought on the edge of the apron ending with Dijakovic choke slamming Lee and sent the show to a commercial break.
Lee landed a corkscrew pescado that brought the crowd to its feet. They were going for a deadlift suplex spot and just rolled onto the mat and didn’t appear to go smoothly.
Lee climbed and hit a moonsault off the second turnbuckle for a two-count. They fought on the turnbuckle and Dijakovic hit a Destroyer sending Lee off the second turnbuckle for an enormous reaction. Dijakovic followed with a moonsault from the top, Lee rolled to his feet holding Dijakovic and hit the Big Bang Catastrophe (jackhammer) to win the match.
WINNER: Keith Lee at 12:33
Unlike previous matches, especially outside WWE, it wasn’t a match where they did a million things that kept topping each other. Instead, they based the match around 3-4 huge spots and had an exceptionally hot audience that was going to elevate this for the television-watching audience.
It was a really fun big-man match, not their best match though, but the idea is that they are 1-1 and sets up a future rubber match.
Mauro Ranallo said that next week’s two-hour episode on the USA Network will have “limited commercial interruption”.
The Street Profits cut a promo about their rematch for the NXT tag titles next week against Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish.
DAKOTA KAI VS TAYNARA CONTI
Kai tore her ACL last December and this was her first appearance on television since the injury.
Ranallo said it was National One-Hit Wonder Day and that “groove is in Kai’s heart and it’s a Deee-lite”.
Kai used a variety of kicks, including Kawada kicks to the face of Taynara.
Kai won with the GTK, the Go to Kick.
WINNER: Dakota Kai in 2:43
They played up Kai’s use of kicks and being completely healed from her torn ACL. It was a brief re-introduction for Kai, she received a good reaction.
Cathy Kelly announced that the six-man tag involving KUSHIDA against Imperium will take place in the second hour. WALTER was not featured in the graphic, so it appears to be Fabian Aichner, Marcel Barthel, and Alexander Wolfe.
MATT RIDDLE VS KILLIAN DANE IN A STREET FIGHT
The winner will become the number one contender for NXT champion Adam Cole on next week’s show.
Riddle hit a series of Bro-tons and a penalty kick. Dane lifted him onto his shoulders, but Riddle turned it into a Victory Roll for a two-count. Dane hit his own senton and powerbomb as he took over.
Riddle hit an Alabama Slam and Floating Bro (twisting Swanton off the top) for a two-count. Dane took Riddle out on the floor with a suicide dive and hit Riddle with a chair. The two fought around the arena using the various elements. This led to Dane putting Riddle through a makeshift wall and they went to a second break.
They continued to fight by the bleachers, Dane was put through a table with a Bro-ton and attacked with kicks. Dane cut off Riddle with a chair shot and attacked with a kendo stick. Dane placed a chair on Riddle, went for a Vader Bomb as Riddle got up and used the chair before powerbombing Dane. Riddle handed over the chair and drilled Dane with a knee strike to the chair for a two-count.
Riddle used the kendo stick with a chair on top of Dane, the audience was loud, Riddle attacked with slaps and applied a Fujiwara armbar and submitted Dane.
WINNER: Matt Riddle at 20:01
This was a strong main event for the first hour of the show, setting up Adam Cole vs. Matt Riddle for the NXT title next week.
Riddle was excellent and it wasn’t your typical patterned match as Riddle took most of the match and it was Dane briefly cutting him off before Riddle would regain control and got all of Riddle’s key maneuvers on display.
Adam Cole confronted Riddle and was put in the Fujiwara armbar as the Undisputed Era ran down and Riddle left.
At this point, the show moved to the WWE Network.
RHEA RIPLEY VS KAYDEN CARTER
Kayden Carter is the former Lacey Lane, who was featured in the Mae Young Classic in 2018.
Ripley displayed a ton of aggression with a running dropkick and attacking Carter from the start. Ripley hit the delayed vertical suplex. Carter fought back and hit a huracanrana and mounted a comeback, but Ripley cut her off and hit the Riptide to win.
WINNER: Rhea Ripley in 2:36
They had little time but it was effective as a showcase for Ripley and showed a lot of aggression and was positioned as a contender in waiting for the winner of Shayna Baszler vs. Candice LeRae.
ONEY LORCAN & DANNY BURCH VS EVER-RISE
Ranallo mentioned Lorcan & Burch’s win on 205 Live the night before.
Ever-Rise is the former “3.0”, Chase Parker and Matt Martel.
Behind the referee’s back, Martel sent Lorcan to the floor to allow his teammate Parker to tag out. They got the advantage of Lorcan and cut off the ring. They double-teamed Lorcan with Martel landing a running knee strike to the head.
Burch received the tag, he fired up and then hit their assisted DDT finisher to win the match by pinning Martel.
WINNERS: Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch in 6:24
Lorcan and Burch were fairly popular to the crowd and have a good amount of fire to bring the audience into their comebacks.
Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green were shown in the crowd.
CAMERON GRIMES VS RAUL MENDOZA
Mendoza avoided the double foot stomp after Grimes hit the maneuver and immediately won his match last week. I liked the subtlety of playing off last week’s match.
Mendoza took him down with a springboard headlock takeover. Grimes hit the spinning mid-ring crossbody landing on top for a two-count, which is one of Grimes’ primary maneuvers.
Lee locked onto his arm and focused on the body part until Mendoza was free and hit a step-up enzuigiri. Mendoza hit a missile dropkick and a cartwheel enzuigiri to Grimes on the turnbuckle setting up a Frankensteiner off the buckle for a two-count.
Mendoza kicked out from an O’Connor roll and Grimes caught him with the jumping foot stomp to win.
WINNER: Cameron Grimes at 7:26
This wasn’t a heated match, although Lee is a great personality and the more time he gets, the more he will come across as a great performer. The audience is conditioned to solid wrestling and just saw this as another match that was very good but didn’t react loudly for.
ALEXANDER WOLFE, MARCEL BARTHEL & FABIAN AICHNER VS KUSHIDA, TYLER BREEZE & FANDANGO
Breezango was introduced as the mystery partners.
Wolfe struck Breeze from the floor behind the referee’s back and Imperium made quick tags as they took control of the match.
The three Imperium members did a lot of clever heel tactics as they had the advantage of Breeze for a prolonged period. Breeze back body dropped Barthel to the floor but Barthel returned and stopped the tag. Breeze ducked a clothesline, but his teammates were yanked off the apron to the floor as Imperium triple-teamed Breeze.
The hot tag was made to Fandango and he went after all three. They were sent to the floor and Fandango hit a tope con giro to all three.
KUSHIDA applied an armbar to Barthel and it was broken up. KUSHIDA hit Barthel with the Masahiro Tanaka overhand and an O’Connor roll to pin Barthel.
WINNERS: KUSHIDA, Tyler Breeze & Fandango at 11:08
KUSHIDA celebrated on the ramp and was jumped by WALTER.
Imperium posed over KUSHIDA as their theme played to end the show.
The wrestling was generally very good with the Keith Lee vs. Donovan Dijakovic match as the standout and a good street fight between Riddle and Dane, but this was also a very wrestling heavy program with little in the way of character development, vignettes, or promos.
It felt like NXT knows the bread and butter is the bell-to-bell action, but most will seek a variety in a two-hour show providing it’s high-quality.
They built up next week’s show with the promotional push of “limited commercial interruption” with three championship matches scheduled on October 2nd for the first head-to-head night and first full two-hour show on the USA Network.
The show was top-heavy with the first hour getting the key matches and that’s how this should be structured with the second hour feeling like a comedown with a mix of different names as a guide for who you should be paying attention to as rising talents. The noticeable drop between hours was also reflected in the audience’s enthusiasm level dropping for the second hour.
The main event six-man tag was a house show-style match with most of it spent getting the heat on Tyler Breeze and then the comeback from Fandango into the closing sequence with KUSHIDA. A match between WALTER and KUSHIDA wasn’t announced but it obviously a direction they are headed.
This was a fine follow up show, but the major news was Matt Riddle getting the NXT title shot next week, a strong opener from the heavyweights and, the calm before next week’s storm.