September 8th, 2020
I didn’t watch the Iron Man Match from last week just because the thought of it pained me. They recap it before we head into the opening match of the night which also happens to be the tie breaker from the iron man match between Adam Cole & Finn Balor who both had two falls a piece at the bell.
1) Adam Cole vs. Finn Balor - NXT Championship Match
Now this was good. Not amazing, but good none the less. It’s hard for me to have any sort of reaction to almost anything Cole does anymore because it all seems so robotic and formulaic however Finn has been spiced up since coming back to NXT as I’ve said in previous reviews so his fire here combined with the backstory of this being between the two longest reigning champions and both men having a history in Bullet Club kept me into it from bell to bell. Things start slow and pick up nicely down the stretch. The finish is bonkers with Balor hitting a 1968 off the top turnbuckle to become a 2x NXT Champion. He deserves this and I am stoked on it.
Match rating - ***1/2
Rhea Ripley pre-taped promo heading into her “battle of the badasses” cage match with Mercedes Martinez later
Throughout the night we get a series of vignettes with Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae inviting Tegan Nox over for dinner to talk through their issues.
Backstage, Adam Cole too sweets Finn Balor and shakes his hand as does Triple H. Finn says this is why he came back to NXT — to be champion.
Io Shorai is in the middle of a photo shoot when Aliyah accidentally knocks into her brawling with Shotzi Blackheart. Io chases Aliyah to the ring. Io & Shotzi take out Aliyah. Robert Stone comes down and gets taken out by the women also. Io & Shotzi look to be working well together until Shotzi is hesitant to give Io the title back. Io says “don’t make me hurt you” OMG that fucking ruled.
Big Tim Thatcher hosts a film study on Damian Priest. He challenges Priest for the North American Title next week. Excited for that match.
2) Velveteen Dream vs. Ashante Adonis
Squash. Also big thumbs down for Dream still being featured prominently on this show.
Post match KUSHIDA viciously attacks Dream and it absolutely god damn rules. I haven’t seen KUSHIDA this intense since he came to NXT but I hope it continues because this pull apart/attack made me want this match super bad and I hope it delivers.
Tyler Breeze & Fandango and Imperium exchange words in a pre-taped promo to hype their match next week. Imperium says next week they get their titles back and end the shortest NXT tag title reign of all time. I kinda like seeing two guys like Breeze & Dango get this tag title run considering they are veterans of the NXT brand.
3) Bronson Reed vs. Austin Theory
This was solid. Best I’ve seen Reed look in a singles match and Theory nailed his role also. I really think Theory could be something special considering he’s only 22 years old.
Match rating - **1/2
Adam Cole backstage says Finn was the better man tonight, but he won’t be next time.
Mercedes Martinez says when the cage door shuts she won’t stop until there is nothing left of Rhea Ripley.
4) Roderick Strong (w/ Bobby Fish) vs. Killian Dain
Roddy wins this off a distraction from Fish. The match is ok, but very forgettable and didn’t last long enough to develop into much.
Match rating - **
Post match Drake Maverick runs down to save Dain from an attack from Roddy & Fish. Drake ends up taking a beating himself before Dain makes the save. Drake asks for a handshake but Dain elbows him in the face.
Back at the Gargano house, Johnny leaves Candice & Tegan alone. They appear to have mended their friendship until Candice says she will be the next NXT Champ in a toast. Tegan challenges this and Candice throws salad at her. Little food fight breaks out and Candice accidentally throws something through Johnny’s tv. She chases Tegan out of the house as Johnny mourns the loss of the television. You could tell Tegan was holding back laughing during the entire food fight portion.
Damian Priest vows to re arrange Tim Thatcher’s face next week.
5) Rhea Ripley vs. Mercedes Martinez - Steel Cage Match
I hate the “battle of the badasses” tag line but this match was awesome. They brought some weapons into play like a chair and a kendo stick, but also worked the stip well and did a number of sick spots off the top rope and using the cage. It felt like a good classic grudge match and didn’t go into overkill at all either. Fantastic job by Ripley & Martinez here. Ripley wins after planting Martinez through a table.
Match rating - ***3/4
Final thoughts: Pretty solid episode of NXT this week. First one I’ve been interested enough to make it all the way through in a month or two so hell yeah. They should keep NXT on Tuesday nights, tbh.