By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Shayna Baszler vs. Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s Championship: A fantastic match that delivered the long awaited payoff of Baszler finally dropping the title. The wait was worth it, as they found the right person in Ripley to take the title. Only time will tell whether she’s the right person over the long haul, but she’s caught fire and certainly was the right person in the moment. Ripley did an outstanding job of selling the arm injury caused by Baszler, who did a great job of her own of targeting the bad wing with realistic looking offense. There were several believable near falls or near submissions, and the spot where Ripley grabbed the referee to prevent him from calling off the match was great. I could have done without the ref bump and visual pinfall, but it really was a terrific match and it felt like a major moment for those who have followed Baszler’s long title reign.
Adam Cole vs. Finn Balor for the NXT Championship: A match that looked excellent on paper and somehow exceeded my expectations. Both men delivered Takeover main event worthy performances. The finish wasn’t Takeover worthy, but it was perfectly logical to have Johnny Gargano return for the first time since taking a brainbuster on the entrance ramp to set up the distraction that led to Cole hitting a nut shot and stealing the pin.
Kushida vs. Cameron Grimes: NXT followed up last week’s brief match by giving these two more time. Both wrestlers made the most of it. This was a very good match and it was cool to see Grimes get a clean win over Kushida to extend the feud, which alleviates my concern from last week that NXT could be picking up where Impact left off by under utilizing the former Trevor Lee. I am already looking forward to the rubber match.
Pete Dunne vs. Travis Banks: The Hits keep rolling as Dunne and Banks worked a really good match. I hope we get more character development with Dunne in 2019. I still find him to be stronger as a heel and it would be fun to see him bring that act to the U.S. based NXT.
Damian Priest vs. Killian Dain: They had a tough act to follow by going on after the NXT Championship match. I really liked the basic story of Dain relentlessly targeting the injured ribs of Priest during the first part of the match. It was perfectly logical and gave the fans a chance to catch their breath following the hot opener.
Io Shirai vs. Santana Garrett: A quality match with good work from both women before the expected winner went over clean.
None: NXT closed out the 2019 live broadcast schedule with an excellent two-hour show.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...