By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
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NXT Live Event
Durham, North Carolina at Durham Armory
Report by Dot Net reader Jonny Fairplay
The venue was nearly sold out. The show started with a Triple H video.
1. Matt Riddle beat Adam Cole. The match went 10-15 minutes and was a match of the night contender. I loved it. I could see everything everyone else sees in Riddle, but Cole’s selling his off the charts. Cole is the next Shawn Michaels.
2. Kairi Sane and Xia Li defeated Lacey Evans and Aliyah. A standard match. Sane was super over. Evans appeared to be main roster ready in terms of having her gimmick down. Post match, Evans attempted to leave, but the babyface duo brought her to the ring to deliver a brief farewell to NXT speech. There was lots of hugs and crying.
3. Keith Lee defeated Dominik Dijakovic. It was nice to see that Kenny Dykstra is still wrestling. The match started slow and the crowd really got into the last third. I could see Vince McMahon viewing Lee as the next Junkyard Dog, who I loved as a kid. There’s something special there.
4. Brennan Williams defeated Kona Reeves. Reeves cut a roughly five minute promo before the match. There was nothing to the match and it was the worst of the night. I didn’t come away seeing much of a future for either guy, but it was just one show.
5. EC3 and War Raiders beat Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly. EC3 wore the War Raiders face paint. The crowd loved the War Raiders, who was as over as anyone on the show. A good match.
6. Ricochet defeated Shane Thorne to retain the NXT North American Title. Lots of Australian catcalls from the crowd. A very solid match. Ricochet showed why he is the elite of NXT.
7. Bianca Belair defeated NXT UK Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley in a non-title match. Shayna Baszler was advertised, but she did not appear. The Australia catcalls continued for Ripley from the crowd, which was very vocal and just got louder as the night went on. The crowd loved Belair. She’s great and her winning streak continued.
8. Aleister Black and Velveteen Dream defeated “DIY” Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. This was the spectacle of the night and I loved it. Gargano came out first followed by Ciampa, which drew a huge DIY chant. Black and Dream were out next. Dream wore his new purple t-shirt, which was soft and thin like a cool t-shirt is supposed to be, unlike the Becky Lynch “The Man” t-shirt that I bought the night before (the Lynch shirt could stand up on its own).
Dream took his shirt off and threw it to the crowd. He had a half shirt on underneath of Gargano. Dream ripped off that shirt and he had a smaller half shirt of Black. The crowd chanted “say his name”, but Black refused. Dream threw the shirt out, and Ciampa put it on, which Black didn’t like. Dream had the smallest half-shirt ever with Ciampa on it. He took off the Ciampa shirt and handed it to a roughly three year-old kid, which the crowd loved. A few minutes into the match, Ciampa took the shirt from the kid, who started crying. I love this man. It was the greatest heat I’ve ever seen.
Ciampa tried to goad Gargano into some of the old DIY double team moves, but Gargano refused. They eventually worked together and teased some of their combo moves, but they all backfired. The babyfaces went over and then Undisputed Era ran out and attacked them. Matt Riddle ran out for the save followed by War Raiders, EC3, and Ricochet. Cole took a move from Ricochet and then a big superkick from all the babyfaces. It was really fun.
Afterward, Ricochet and Dream thanked the crowd, then EC3 delivered his farewell speech and said NXT is the best promotion on the planet and “we are NXT.” He pointed to various fans and said they are NXT.
Notes: Trevor Lee was seated by me. Shane Helms was backstage at the Gorilla position backstage as a guest with Scotty 2 Hotty and Norman Smiley. It was one of the best house shows I’ve ever attended.
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