NXT returned to us last night (November 20) from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. You can find the results on the live blog here.
More of the same
Becky Lynch returned to NXT, and that itself was a great moment.
Becky did not reach the top of NXT. She never won the women's title. The closest thing was to take Sasha Banks to the limit and earn the audience's love during the process. It was something the man remembered when she mentioned it in her campaign.
Lynch is a good campaign. The crowd challenged her a couple of times but she leaned into it, for example when they sang "Shayna Will Kill You" and she got them back on their side. It's not news, but I'm reminded every time she pulls me into her campaign, and it's almost always.
Her challenge to Baszler was actually accepted by Rhea Ripley and the two had a pretty good match. Unfortunately, it was interrupted by the highly predictable Baszler & Co. run. This Survival series build has been canceled a number of matches. We have lost the finish in a fantastic new day versus revival it Beat down Due to that. On Crude, both Andrade vs. Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens vs. Drew McIntyre suffered the same fate. It's creatively lazy and it seeps into NXT.
Seeing Lynch was fantastic. She is arguably one of the most successful NXT grades in a number of very successful NXT ratings. With her ascent last year, it was very cool to see her come back to where she started. We are far away from Irish jigs.
But the booking of this Survivor Series building has been very lazy. It's not usually a problem with NXT, but it was a theme all night with fractions.
After the Becky / Rhea match was not completed we got a Ricochet and Matt Riddle match which included … you guessed it! … disturb!
Since it was just after the opener, saw the same thing happen to an eye roll from me. Mystery picked a win in the middle of the chaos so they wouldn't have two non-finishes in a row. But otherwise it was the same.
Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura got involved and the noise itself was not bad. Ricochet dove from the top rope on the floor which was impressive as hell. And that led to a moment between Finn Bálor and Riddle who helped tease what these guys can do Take over on Saturday.
In a vacuum everything was fine with some cool moments. But it was the second of two segments with interference that took away what could be a good match, which led to NXT losing control of its chaos.
Take Team Classic
Revival vs. the undisputed ERA was arguably the biggest draw for this episode tonight for many people.
These are two of the best teams in NXT history and two of the best tag teams in all wrestling today. Seeing them for the first time ever is huge. And thankfully they delivered.
There is always the risk that a match will not meet expectations, but these two teams clicked. It was strange to see Dash Wilder play a face in danger when he is normally in the other side of that role. But somebody had to and that allowed the ERA to do its thing.
(One of the great things about both of these teams and they make the outstretched face of the danger section entertaining as their offense is credible, whether it's the jui-jitsu backdrop of Kyle O'Reilly or the crushing Revival mouth break.)
Scott Dawson eventually became the hot tag, which in itself is not common. He played it cerebral, but never deviated from his style. Dawson did not fly around the ring and threw his body at the opponent. He would avoid moving and give a big hit. His vast knowledge of wrestling of tag groups is his greatest strength and he used it.
The end of this match felt like extra innings, with both teams feeling the fatigue from their fight. In the end, Fish and O'Reilly were able to position themselves to prevent Dash Wilder from rescuing Dawson from the ERA's high low. Dawson went out on his own terms by saying "screw you" after he knew he had dropped out.
I really appreciated that ERA won because they read the situation and were able to get into a position where they had the positive advantage that guaranteed them the profit. It was like two great generals trying to maneuver each other until one puts themselves in a position of guaranteed victory. And a player like Dawson knew it was over.
Hopefully these guys will do it again someday. No need to be soon. Probably better if it wasn't. But another chapter along the line would be welcome.
The main event was the men's ladder match between Adam Cole (Bay Bay) and Dominik Dijakovic to decide who gets the WarGames advantage.
It was obvious that Adam Cole would win, which he did. Heels always get the WarGames advantage. The match doesn't wear out as much time as the women's ladder match last week. And it wasn't as good (although last week's match was fantastic). But it was still fun.
These two guys had a fun fight with the time they had. And there was no interruption during the match, which was nice.
Of course, after the match was a Pier 6 brawl.
That's right, another show that ends with a big brawl. Happened on Monday. Probably it will happen on Friday. We are heavy on driving again here.
But it still had its moments. Keith Lee stared down Drew McIntyre. Lee and Ivar from the Viking Raiders dive into a sea of bodies on the floor. But that was the end the moment.
Seth Rollins came up and stood tall in the NXT ring. Everyone else was down on the outside. It's with Dad Ciampa came out. He walked through the body of the sea (a fantastic image) and was about to enter the ring before detouring to kick Adam Cole in the head. Remembering that he still hates Adam Cole throughout this war of war was good stuff. Then he and the first NXT champion ever stood face to face before throwing autumn makers when the show faded to black.
They are bras tonight had all their moments, but they went to it too often.
Kay Lee Ray defeated Dakota Kai in a game after Kay Lee bulldozed Kai last week and assisted Io Shirai in the ladder match.
It was a good match, but I'm still disappointed that we don't have an explanation as to why Kay Lee, who has never been to the NXT prime, joined Shayna's team. Either Shayna or Kay Lee should have told us. They didn't and her additions are played at random.
This also ended in a Raw & SmackDown style. It was a great moment when Raw's Kairi Sane and NXT's Io Shirai, once fast friends when they were both real blue babyfaces, started each other. But beyond that, this was a standard friction.
– The only other match not mentioned was a surprisingly good match from Viking Raiders vs. Forgotten Sons. The Raiders won, which should not be surprising, but the sons had a very good showing.
NXT stumbled into trying to balance its own WarGames stories with Survival series build this week. It was too much about random attacks and disturbances, and too much like Raw this week in that sense.
NXT had done a good job of focusing on its own stories with a splash of interbrand war until this week, but it got out of hand here. It felt too much that they were building for Survival series with some WarGames stuff here and there. That should be the opposite as WarGames is their big show this week.
It was still very good stuff in this show. Undisputed vs revival (seriously, see it if you don't). The steps match. The closing showdown. But I look forward to when this invasion is over and they are back to doing their own thing.
Rating: C +
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