By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Worlds Collide
Aired live January 25, 2020 live on WWE Network
Houston, Texas at Toyota Center
WWE Worlds Collide Pre-Show
-Charly Caruso, Sam Roberts, and Andy Shepherd hosted the pre-show while standing in the entrance aisle (no desk).
Powell’s POV: I’m going bare bones on the pre-show with notes on interviews and obviously the match. Any feelings of guilt that I would have experienced were washed away because WWE didn’t even bother to set up a desk for their pre-show hosts.
1. NXT UK Champion Kay Lee Ray vs. Mia Yim in a non-title match. The broadcast team of Tom Phillips and Nigel McGuinness checked in from ringside during the ring entrances. Yes, Ray was introduced as the “NXT UK Champion” because “women” is apparently a bad word now (has anyone alerted the WNBA?).
The bell rang and Yim immediately dropkicked Ray. Yim followed up with a cannonball in the corner and then covered Ray for a two count. Ray came back a couple minutes later and caught Yim with a superkick and then covered her for a two count. Ray went up top and went for a moonsault, but Yim rolled out of the way.
A short time later, Yim performed a DDT on Ray and covered her for a two count. Yim rallied and performed a suicide dive onto Ray, who returned to the ring first and then superkicked Yim off the apron. Ray performed a somersault dive off the top rope onto Yim at ringside.
Back inside the ring, Yim stuffed a couple of Gory Bomb attempts. Yim performed a Canadian Destroyer and got a near fall. In the end, Yim rolled up Ray into a pin, but Ray rolled her over, held the rights, then released them while falling into the ropes while the ref made a three count…
Kay Lee Ray beat Mia Yim in 9:15 in a non-title match.
Powell’s POV: A solid opening match. The referee looked bad for counting the pin despite the handful of tights to start the pin and then Ray falling into the ropes. It looked like Ray was trying to grab one of the ropes and her momentum took her body into the ropes, so it was probably a bit off from the planned finish. The idea was to protect Yim, so I guess they accomplished that.
-The pre-show hosts spoke in the aisle and set up a video package on DIY and Moustache Mountain. The hosts discussed the match and Roberts said it will be the match of the night. Caruso wrapped up the pre-show.
WWE Worlds Collide Main Show
The main show opened with a video package that showcased Imperium and Undisputed Era while a Winston Churchill sound byte played over the footage. They cut to the traditional NXT metal music opening, which included footage and sound bytes from the other wrestlers advertised for the show…
The broadcast team of Tom Phillips and Nigel McGuinness checked in while standing with their backs to the ring. McGuinness said it would be a very special night. Phillips spoke about Triple H having a vision for a global brand and said this show was that vision coming to life…
1. Finn Balor vs. Ilja Dragunov. Dot Net reader (and legend) GTS is in the building and noted that Balor received a huge pop, but the live crowd didn’t seem familiar with Dragunov. Balor sent Dragunov to ringside and dropkicked him through the ropes, then threw him back inside the ring. A short time later, Dragunov used the bottom rope to springboard onto Balor on the floor. Dragunov played to the crowd and received some boos. Dragunov went to the ropes and tried to dive onto Balor, who moved out of the way.
Back inside the ring, Dragunov performed a running knee in the corner, then blasted Balor with a clothesline. “Come on,” Dragunov yelled. Some fans booed. Dragunov lowered his kneepad and then performed a knee drop from the middle rope, which led to a two count. Dragunov caught Balor with a knee to the head for another two count. Balor came back with a standing double stomp at 9:45.
Balor and Dragunov traded strikes in the middle of the ring. Balor went for an overhead kick, but Dragunov caught his leg. Balor chopped Dragonov down, then waited for him to get up and performed a sling blade clothesline. Balor set up for another, but Dragunov cut him off and then performed a deadlift suplex that led to a two count. Dragonov clotheslined Balor, who rolled to ringside. Dragunov went up top and dove onto Balor. Dragunov played to the crowd and was booed again.
Dragunov rolled Balor back inside the ring and performed a dropkick with a near Coast To Coast style move. The camera showed that Balor had a bloody and perhaps broken nose. Balor came back with a running dropkick. Balor went up top and performed the Coup De Grace double stomp. Balor picked up Dragunov and performed the 1916 DDT and scored the clean pin…
Finn Balor beat Ilja Dragunov in 14:00.
Powell’s POV: A very good match to open the show. I wish this show was being held in the UK where the fans are more familiar with talents from both promotions. I’m guessing there are some fans who know the wrestlers and are going to root for NXT over NXT UK, but based on what GTS wrote, it certainly seems like there are a lot of fans in attendance who were unfamiliar with Dragunov. It is worth noting that Balor is very popular, so we’ll see if things get better for the UK talent as the show goes on.
A shot aired of Rhea Ripley in her locker room. Fans cheered. A shot aired of Toni Storm in her locker room…
Cathy Kelley stood at ringside with “The Grizzled Young Veterans” Zack Gibson and James Drake, who were in the front row. Kelley pointed to Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne, who were also in the front row with some distance between the teams. Kelley said that the winners of their match will win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament and get an NXT Tag Title shot at the NXT Takeover: Portland event on February 16. Gibson cut a brief promo.
Kelley walked over to Riddle and Dunne. Riddle questioned why Gibson was so serious when they just found out they could get a tag title shot. He said he was smiling and he knew his partner was smiling from ear to ear. Dunne was stone faced. Riddle said that was Dunne’s happy face. Dunne said Riddle would smoke Gibson and Drake on Wednesday…
2. Angel Garza vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Travis Banks vs. Jordan Devlin in a four-way match for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Once the wrestlers were in the ring, Andy Shepherd delivered introductions from ringside. Phillips said Garza had become a fan favorite in a lot of ways, but he was not a locker room favorite. Garza stopped his opponents during the opening minute. He went to rip off his tearaway pants and all three men kicked him (the pants remained on for those keeping score at home).
There was an early sequence that led to Garza performing a flip dive onto Scott, then Banks performed a double stomp from the apron onto Garza. All four men were down momentarily. Back inside the ring, Banks executed a nice German suplex on Scott. Banks took out Devlin at ringside with a suicide dive. Banks returned to the ring and performed a cannonball onto Garza and Scott. Devlin raced in and charged at Banks, who sent him flying onto Garza and Scott in the corner.
Devlin came back with a wild DDT on Scott, then hit a nice DDT on Scott. Banks performed a standing Spanish Fly on Garza. A short time later, Garza recovered and tore off the tearaway pants, much to the delight of McGuinness. There was a cool spot with Garza catching Devlin and then Banks. Scott came off the top with a double stomp on Banks, which drove Garza onto Devlin and resulted in a near fall. The good action continued and the crowd responded with a “this is awesome” chant.
A short time later, Devlin performed a double Spanish Fly on Scott and Garza. Banks took out Devlin with a Slice of Heaven and the Kiwi Crusher for a good near fall. Scott caught Banks on the ropes and slammed him in an innovative manner for another good near fall. Garza worked over Scott until he was cut off by a headbutt from Devlin, who hit his finisher on Scott and then pinned him.
Jordan Devlin defeated Isaiah Scott, Travis Banks, and Angel Garza in a four-way in 12:05 to win the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.
After the match, Devlin climbed onto the Spanish broadcast table and asked if people believed him now. He told them to never bet against The Ace…
Powell’s POV: Outstanding athleticism from all four men. This was really fun. There was no reason to suspect a title change let alone Devlin winning the title, which made it all the more fun. It will be interesting to see if Devlin takes the title back to the UK or if they have him drop it as soon as Wednesday’s NXT television show.
After some ads, Undisputed Era were in their locker room… Keith Lee and Mia Yim were shown in the front row of the crowd. Robert Stone and Chelsea Green were shown arriving at their front row seats… A video package set up the tag team match…
3. “DIY” Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano vs. “Moustache Mountain” Tyler Bate and Trent Seven. Both teams were well received during their entrances. Bate and Gargano started. Bate caught Gargano’s leg at one point and there was some tension, but Bate slowly released Gargano’s leg for a clean break, then they shook hands and were applauded.
Seven tagged in and pointed at Ciampa, who also tagged in. The live crowd chanted “Daddy’s Home” in support of Ciampa. Ciampa teased doing the Mustache Mountain pose. Seven stopped him and did the post. Ciampa flexed. Seven teased flexing, then thought better of it and shook Ciampa’s hand. Funny.
Bate checked back in. Ciampa mocked him by holding up his hand high for a test of strength, which they eventually had. Bate got the better of it at first, then Ciampa overpowered Bate, who ended up monkey flipping Ciampa into a pin for a two count. Bate waved at Ciampa, who smiled and responded with a wave of his own. Ciampa finally put an end to the comedy fun by punching Bate. He followed up by knocking Seven to ringside. Gargano ran over and delivered a kick to Seven from the apron.
Ciampa threw Bate over a broadcast table, then Gargano did the same with Seven. The DIY duo sat on the apron and clapped and then patted themselves on the back. Ciampa brought Bate back inside the ring and targeted his left shoulder. Gargano checked in and struck a pose, which drew cheers. DIY isolated Bate until he made a tag to Seven at 12:10.
Seven went on an offensive flurry against both DIY members and picked up a near fall on Ciampa. There were dueling chants for both teams with the DIY chants clearly winning out. Both men tagged out. Bate charged toward Gargano, who dropkicked him while entering the ring. Gargano caught Bate with a slingshot spear and got a two count. Gargano tried to run the ropes, but Seven grabbed his foot until Ciampa took out Seven. Ciampa held the ropes open while Gargano performed a suicide dive onto Bate.
Back inside the ring, Ciampa performed a draping DDT on Seven, then Gargano performed a slingshot DDT on Bate for a two count. Ciampa checked in and worked over Bate, who avoided Project Ciampa and blasted him with a clothesline. Bate hit a Tyler Driver 97 on Ciampa for a near fall. Seven chopped Ciampa. Gargano hit both opponents with superkicks, which led to another near fall for Ciampa. All four men stayed down briefly while the fans cheered.
A short time later, Bate did an airplane spin on Gargano, but Gargano slipped out out of it and applied the Gargano Escape. Meanwhile, Ciampa caught Seven in a submission hold. Bate and Seven both broke free and powered DIY onto their shoulders and performed airplane spins to cheers from the crowd. Bate ended up getting a two count on Gargano.
Bate accidentally hit his own partner. DIY set up for their double team finisher. Seven rushed over and covered up Bate. When DIY approached, Bate and Seven both stood up and punched their opponents. Bate and Seven hit their Burning Hammer double team move on Ciampa. Seven went for the pin and only got a near fall. Seven and Bate slammed Ciampa. Bate went up top and performed a corkscrew dive, but Ciampa pulled Seven on top of him. Bate was celebrating while the ref started the count for Ciampa on Seven, then Bate realized what was happening and broke it up at the last moment.
Both teams ended up in the ring and struck fighting poses. Ciampa knocked Bate out of the ring with a knee to the head. Seven suplexed Ciampa, but Gargano threw blasted him with a kick, then Ciampa fired off one of his own. Bate tried to springboard back into the ring, but DIY caught him with a superkick and dropkick combo. With Bate at ringside, DIY hit Seven with their meet in the middle finisher, and Ciampa scored the pin.
Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano defeated Tyler Bate and Trent Seven in 22:55.
After the match, the teams met in the middle of the ring and shook hands and exchanged hugs. Seven and Bate raised the arms of Gargano and Ciampa…
Powell’s POV: That was terrific. Expectations were through the roof for this match and both teams delivered in a major way. My early concerns regarding the live crowd appear to be unfounded. There were more fans cheering for DIY, but it was clear that most of the fans were familiar with and like Mustache Mountain. So the early negativity regarding Dragunov was likely because he hasn’t been featured on NXT television.
An ad aired for NXT Takeover: Portland on February 16…
Walter was shown holding court in the Imperium locker room…
Mercedes Martinez was shown in the crowd. Dakota Kai was shown in the front row. She was immediately blasted from behind by Tegan Nox. Security tried to pull away Nox, but Kai recovered and hit Nox. The women brawled until security pulled them apart while the fans chanted “let them fight.” Phillips hyped the previously announced Nox vs. Kai match for Wednesday’s NXT television show…
A video package set up the NXT (Women’s) Championship match… Bianca Belair was shown in the crowd (she will challenge for the title at Takeover: Portland)…
4. Rhea Ripley vs. Toni Storm for the NXT (Women’s) Championship. Alicia Taylor delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Storm received some cheers, but the live crowd popped huge for Ripley. Storm performed an early German suplex that sent Ripley crashing into one of the corners of the ring. Ripley rolled to ringside and held her neck. Storm followed and threw her back inside the ring. Storm suplexed Ripley and covered her for just a one count at 3:15.
A short time later, Storm DDT’d Ripley and got a two count. Ripley continued to sell neck pain. Ripley eventually fired back with some punches and then performed a pair of clotheslines. Ripley delivered knees to Storm’s jaw, then ran the ropes and dropkicked a seated Storm. Ripley delivered a jumping kick that sent Storm into the corner. Ripley picked up Storm and slammed her to the mat. Ripley applied a standing cloverleaf. Storm eventually broke free.
Storm went for Storm Zero, but Ripley didn’t budge. Storm came right back with a German suplex for a two count. Both women stayed down for a moment and the crowd was quiet. Once they were back on their feet, Ripley caught Storm with a kick and then a dropkick. Ripley ran the ropes and ran right into a headbutt from Storm, who went to the top rope and went for a frogsplash. Ripley rolled out of the way, then performed her Ripcord finisher and scored the clean pin.
Rhea Ripley beat Toni Storm in 10:15 to retain the NXT (Women’s) Championship.
Ripley celebrated her win. Bianca Belair was shown applauding from her spot in the crowd. Ripley stood on the ropes and they exchanged words from a distance while Phillips hyped their title match for Takeover: Portland…
Powell’s POV: Meh. It wasn’t a bad match, but they had a tough act to follow and didn’t seem like the match was laid out in a way that gave them much of a chance to shine. The crowd seemed fired up during the entrances, but the wrestlers just didn’t keep them fully invested. I continue to be disappointed by the way that Storm has been introduced to the North American viewers. It’s rare to see a swing and a miss like this from the NXT creative forces.
After some advertising, the broadcast tam setup footage of Gargano being interviewed in a backstage area when Finn Balor attacked him. Balor threw Gargano over a table. Tyler Bate showed up and made the save. Phillips hyped Gargano vs. Balor for Takeover, then McGuinness hyped Triple H and Shawn Michaels appearing on Facebook Live… A video package set up the main event…
5. “Undisputed Era” Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly vs. “Imperium” Walter, Alexander Wolfe, Fabian Aichner, and Marcel Barthel in an eight-man tag match. There was a loud “Walter” chant while Imperium made their entrance. Undisputed Era gained the first advantage of the match. Fish and Strong performed a kick and a chop on Wolfe.
Fish covered Wolfe and the referee had to stop his count because Wolfe was apparently out. McGuinness immediately said the referee noticed that one of Wolfe’s arms was just barely underneath his body and so his shoulder wasn’t actually down. The ref backed off Fish, a replay was shown, and Wolfe was out of the match. Phillips said Wolfe was being tended to by the medical team.
Powell’s POV: I suspect the Fish kick caught Wolfe and knocked him out based on the replay. He was picked up in double suplex position and dropped face first prior to the kick/chop combo move, but he seemed fine and was bracing for the kick/chop. Obviously, I hope he’s okay. McGuinness was awesome in trying to cover for what was happening. He didn’t even miss a beat when he came up with the explanation for the referee stopping his count.
There was a good exchange with Walter and O’Reilly with O’Reilly catching the big man in a guillotine, which Walter powered out of. Strong tried to help O’Reilly, which led to Walter performing a double German suplex on both men for a big pop. Strong landed awkwardly and rolled to ringside while McGuinness wondered if it would become a three-on-three match because of Strong’s landing.
Riley was isolated by the remaining Imperium trio. Walter threw chops at O’Reilly, who fired up and returned fire until Walter cut him off with a vicious chop. Strong was apparently fine, as he returned and had a nice exchange with Walter. Aichner made a blind tag, but Strong powerbombed him for a two count. Aichner eventually blasted Strong with a clothesline and tagged in Barthel while Strong tagged in Fish. Aichner caught Fish with a spinebuster, then Barthel followed up with a PK around 18:00.
A short time later, Cole checked in and had Barthel pinned, but Walter broke it up. Strong, Fish, and O’Reilly entered the ring and attacked Walter and eventually put the boots to him in the corner. Fish and O’Reilly tossed Walter to ringside, then they and Strong followed. The Undisputed Era trio cleared off a broadcast table. Walter fought back and tried to powerbomb Strong through the table, but O’Reilly broke it up with a kick to the back of Walter’s leg.
Walter continued to fight all three men and then tore another broadcast table apart while the fans chanted his name. Walter threw O’Reilly onto one of the broadcast tables. Strong cut him off with a kick and ended up suplexing Walter through the other broadcast table. A “holy shit” chant was followed by an “Undisputed” chant.
In the ring, Barthel suplexed Cole and hit him with an uppercut from the ropes. O’Reilly returned to the ring and ended up being tossed at Aichner, who caught him and muscled him up for an impressive suplex. Cole caught Barthel with a superkick. then caught a springboarding Aichner with a superkick. Cole picked up a near fall on Barthel. Strong tagged in and performed a gut buster, then Cole followed up with a knee to his head, which led to another two count.
A short time later, O’Reilly went up top and dropped a knee onto Barthel’s legs, then put him in a knee bar submission hold. Barthel reached the ropes to break the hold. O’Reilly didn’t break the hold. Aichner performed a while rope to rope moonsault onto O’Reilly to break it. Walter returned to his corner and held out his hand for a tag while Cole and O’Reilly tried to stop Barthel, who eventually tagged in the big man.
Walter worked over the Undisputed Era members on his own. Walter powerbombed Strong and then went up top and splashed him. Cole caught Walter with a running knee to the back of the head and tried to pin him, but it was broken up by Aichner. The fans responded with an NXT chant.
Around 28:30, the teams got together in the middle of the ring and traded punches. Some of the wrestlers ended up at ringside, then Strong performed a dive over the top rope onto them. Aichner ran up the ropes and performed a big cross body block dive onto the pile. In the ring, Walter avoided Fish’s top rope splash attempt. Walter followed up with a dropkick and a powerbomb and got the pin.
“Imperium” Walter, Fabian Aichner, Marcel Barthel, and Alexander Wolfe defeated “Undisputed Era” Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly in 29:50 in an eight-man tag match.
As Imperium stood in the ring, the broadcast team spoke while footage aired from throughout the night. They went back live and showed Walter, Aichner, and Barthel striking their pose on the stage while their music played and the “Imperium” name was on the screen behind them…
Powell’s POV: That was one hell of a match despite the early issue with losing Wolfe due to injury. As good as the DIY vs. Moustache Mountain tag match was, they picked the right match to close what turned out to be a top notch show. I will have more to say in my members’ exclusive audio review coming up shortly. Let me know what you thought of Worlds Collide by voting for the best match and grading the overall show in our post event poll on the main page.
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The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...