By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Roderick Strong vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, and Dominik Dijakovic: A hot six-man tag main event with the babyface trio going over and Lee capping off his strong night with a pinfall victory over the NXT Champion. The post match angle with Finn Balor getting involved followed by William Regal setting up next week’s strong Triple Threat main event was well done and ended the night in a way that left viewers looking forward to the next episode.
Kushida vs. Cameron Grimes: It was a really good night for Kushida, starting with the great family based video package. How could you not like the guy after watching him bond with his adorable daughter? It was also nice to see something from Kushida other than his odd love of Back To The Future. Hey, I’m a fan of the series, but I’ve never understood why a pro wrestler would make that particular trilogy the focus of his persona. The actual match was brief yet strong and left me hoping for a longer rematch soon.
Killian Dain vs. Pete Dunne: A Takeover quality match to open the show. It was logical for Dain to demand a fight after his scheduled opponent Damian Priest was pulled due to injury. Dunne seizing the opportunity to face Dain also made sense. I liked the finish in that it put over Dain clean while also giving Dunne an out for losing.
Keith Lee and Undisputed Era: Everyone who spoke shined during this strong verbal segment. Adam Cole delivered his strong mic work before Kyle O’Reilly took his turn and more than held his own while hurling insults at Lee. We haven’t heard a lot from Lee during USA Network era, so it was good to hear from him and he came off well. I like that Lee not only didn’t back down despite being outnumbered, he actually started the fight with the Undisputed Era trio.
Rhea Ripley, Dakota Kai, Mia Yim, Shana Baszler segment: Ripley giving up her match with Kay so that Yim could get a measure of revenge was solid, though it also felt like something that could have been saved for Tegan Nox’s return. The brutality of Kai’s attack on Nox made the Yim situation an afterthought. It feels like Kai needs a heavy. I’m not sure who they have in the system in Florida, but Jazzy Gabert from NXT UK is an interesting possibility. Once Kai and Yim cleared out, it left Ripley exposed to an attack by Baszler and her sidekicks. It was a basic heel beatdown, but the big news was the Baszler vs. Ripley match happening on the December 18 television show. I suspect a lot of NXT viewers are counting down the days to a week before Christmas.
Shayna Baszler vs. Xia Li in a non-title match: Mauro Ranallo summed up the match nicely by saying it only took one mistake for the champion to capitalize. Li has come a long way and had a good showing despite taking the loss.
Mauro Ranallo returns: It was good to have the voice of NXT back where he belongs. I finally had a chance to watch the great Ranallo documentary Bipolar Rock ‘N Roller on YouTube the other night. It was entertaining, heartbreaking, and informative all at the same time. Ranallo is an sensational spokesperson for people battling mental health issues and I have no doubt that his story has helped and will continue to help people.
Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler vs. Adrian Atlantis and Leon Ruff: The “other two” in the Forgotten Sons were given a Road Warriors style squash win over the Evolve duo, but they were still outshined by Jaxson Ryker chokeslamming Ruff onto the apron afterward. Blake and Cutler continue to come off as bland sidekicks. The NXT creative forces seem committed to getting them over, so it will be interesting to see if they can pull it off.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ricky Starks on his NWA run, doing enhancement work for WWE, leaving NOLA due to Hurricane Katrina, the January 24 NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, his relationship with Nick Aldis, and much more...