Christmas has come early to the NXT Universe as we are blessed with two HUGE Championship matches tonight!
First Adam Cole will defend his NXT Title against Finn Balor to start the show, and Shayna Baszler will defend her NXT Women’s Championship against Rhea Ripley to not only close out the show but close out the decade with a BANG!
Adam Cole vs. Finn Balor
Like there was any doubt, Cole and Balor delivered an exciting twenty-minute commercial-free match. Both competitors were punishing each other to soften them up to take the loss. Cole targeted his challenger’s knees throughout the match to keep him grounded. Both competitors nailed their finishers but it was the shocking return of Johnny Gargano that was the deciding factor.
Cole utilizing underhanded tactics to put Balor away means that after he’s done feuding with Gargano they will meet down the road at a TakeOver. The NXT Universe will not have to wait long for Balor/Gargano feud to takeover Full Sail and it will be very bloody and brutal!
Killian Dain vs. Damian Priest
Holy crap I have gained so much more respect for Priest after tonight. He was making his return after their highly-intense triple threat match with Pete Dunne at WarGames. Dain was seeking retribution and reading to add another easy win to his resume. Priest has his injured ribs protected by Kinesio tape and Dain relentlessly attacked them throughout the whole match.
It was at times hard to watch as Priest writhed in pain and I was almost certain this match was going to end via disqualification. No matter how many senton splashes or powerful maneuvers Dain hit Priest just kept coming back. I was shocked that Priest won the match given how injured he was and in a way, he was booked as a babyface but it worked.
KUSHIDA vs. Cameron Grimes
Grimes has felt embarrassed after losing to KUSHIDA previously and his latest matches too. The Japanese sensation came out of the gate firing on all cylinders and maintained control for the first half of the match. Grimes turned the tide after a nasty neckbreaker.
KUSHIDA is so damn exciting to watch his offense is spectacular and he really makes his opponents dig down deep. Grimes kept kicking out after some thrilling high-octane maneuvers and hit The Cave-In for the biggest win of his career to date.
Io Shirai vs. Santana Garrett
Garrett showed some great offense and some interesting reversals including her Russian leg sweep into a pinfall for a two-count. Shirai though continues to prove why she is one of the most dangerous superstars in NXT’s women’s division. It’s still a shame that she never won the Women’s Championship, but if Ripley takes it off Baszler tonight I can easily see her being the first to challenge her.
Pete Dunne vs. Travis Banks
The powers to give us a small preview of the Worlds Collide tournament with a highly entertaining sprint of a match between two of the UK’s brightest superstars. Banks was looking to gain his second victory on the black and gold brand. This was a TakeOver-worthy match with dozens of near-falls and counters. Banks looked like a star even in defeat as Dunne bounced back from his loss against Cole with a big win.
NEXT WEEK on #WWENXT:
🌟@roderickstrong's NXT North American Championship challenge
Happy holidays, ya filthy animals. pic.twitter.com/1hAHmwgx04
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) December 19, 2019
Main Event: Shayna Baszler vs. Rhea Ripley (NXT Women’s Championship)
Holy bleeping Crap What A FREAKIN Match!!! There was no doubt in my mind that these two women would deliver a fantastic main event match but damn they blew me away! Baszler the wily and overconfident champion tried to use all her tricks from using joint manipulation and her goonies Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir but it wasn’t enough.
Ripley delivered the performance of her career to date by doing something no one else has been able to: breaking the Kirifuda Clutch. She withstood the pain and almost passed out but rose up and stomped Baszler to break the hold. Ripley hit an Avalanche Riptide to earn the biggest win of her career and capture the NXT Women’s Championship!
To end the show the entire roster came out to celebrate her huge victory! Where Baszler goes from here is tricky, as she can still stay down in NXT and wreak havoc all over the division or she can help breathe life into a depleted Monday Night Raw women’s division that is much-needed at this point. Plus, she and Becky Lynch have unfinished business.
This was a hell of a night for the black and gold brand with some exhilarating matches and big storyline developments I’m definitely looking forward to next week’s episode.
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