Chris King checks in with his takes for this week’s edition of WWE NXT, as the black and gold brand kicks off the year with a bang!
We start the new year off with our new NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley, and our main event is a colossal fatal-four-way number-one contender match for the North American Championship! So without further ado let’s jump right into the action!
Rhea Ripley, Toni Storm, Candice LeRae vs. Kay Lee Ray, Bianca Belair, Io Shirai
The six-man tag team match culminated after all five women interrupted Rhea Ripley’s speech after defeating Shayna Baszler on the final episode of last year wanting a piece of the gold. So, a brawl ensued that led to this match.
While it appears that NXT took a page out of the WWE playbook, this was a fun way to show just how important the women’s division and the title has become. The heels isolated LeRae the majority of the match until the end. A little miscommunication between Belair and Shirai allowed dissension and Ripley delivered Riptide to score the victory and establish dominance.
First Round Dusty Rhodes Classic: The Forgotten Sons vs. Imperium
Holy crap, this match was fast and furious between both amazing tag teams. Both teams laid their bodies on the line in a high-octane action-packed contest. I was pleasantly surprised by how much offense Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake were able to dish out to Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel.
Just when it appeared that The Forgotten Sons we’re ready to clinch victory and advance in the tournament, a well-placed distraction allowed Imperium to hit The European Bomb for the victory! A great win for Bartel and Aichner as they head into Blackpool II this Sunday!
Austin Theory vs Joaquin Wilde
Before I dive into the match, I need to say that Theory has “IT” he’s got a great look, a perfect theme song, and a ton of charisma. He’s going to be the breakout star of 2020 mark my words.
This match was extremely fun to watch as two of the newest faces on the black and gold brand battled it out. Both superstars delivered a stellar fast-paced high-octane action-packed contest. There were dozens of near-falls and incredible counters but in the end, Theory delivered his rendition of the TKO for the victory!
First Round Dusty Rhodes Classic: The Undisputed Era vs. Gallus
As much as I was looking forward to The Forgotten Sons vs Imperium I was more excited about the NXT Tag Team Champions vs. the NXT UK Tag Team Champions. Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish vs. Mark Coffey and Wolfgang have money written all over it.
This highly-anticipated tag team match didn’t disappoint as both Tag Team Champions brought everything to the table in a hard-hitting affair. At first, it was all Gallus until Adam Cole offered a distraction. O’Reilly and Fish targeted their opponents with heavy strikes keeping Coffey and Wolfgang grounded.
In the end, though, Cole hit a well-placed kick and High/Low was enough to earn the NXT Tag Team Champions the victory to advance in the tournament. It’s a shame that the win was tainted but the numbers game is how The Undisputed Era dominates.
Mia Yim vs. Kayden Carter
Carter has impressed me in the Mae Young Classic and the NXT Universe is behind her. Both women came out of the gate firing on all cylinders which led to a stalemate and a handshake.
This was a fun sprint of a match as the young up-and-comer was trying to prove herself against the veteran. Carter got some great offense in but unfortunately, Protect Ya Neck gave Yim the victory. After the match, Chelsea Green blasted both superstars. Her manager Robert Stone declared that she was the hottest free agent (he’s not wrong)!
Main Event: (Fatal-4-Way Number-One Contenders Match) Keith Lee vs. Dominic Dijokovac vs. Cameron Grimes vs. Damien Priest
This right here is why NXT is so awesome to watch, as all four competitors gave everything they had for a title shot for the North American Championship. These colossal fatal-four-way matches never ever disappoint because there are so many moving pieces including this one.
You’ve got Grimes and Priest making their ascension up the ladder in NXT after months of impressive victories and hard-fought battles. Then, there’s Dijokovac and Lee who have had some epic wars over the past year and who have an immense amount of respect for one another.
Lee is a FREAKIN beast and his leapfrogs are absolutely insane! It’s not even the execution of the maneuvers it’s how gracefully he does them without breaking a sweat. In this match, Lee deadlifted Priest into a superplex from the corner that blew my mind. Lee absolutely deserved to walk away as the number-one contender, and that’s exactly what he did!