12/16 NXT TV results: Moore’s review of Kyle O’Reilly vs. Pete Dunne for an NXT Title shot at New Year’s Evil, Karrion Kross returns to action, Rhea Ripley vs. Toni Storm, Kushida and Leon Ruff vs. Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory

By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)

Taped in Orlando, Florida at Capitol Wrestling Center (WWE Performance Center)
Aired December 16, 2020 on USA Network

[Hour One] No intro video this week. The show immediately cut to Kushida and Leon Ruff already in the ring with Kushida getting his entrance theme playing. Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, and Beth Phoenix were the commentary team…

1. “The Way” Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory (w/Candice LeRae, Indi Hartwell) vs. Kushida and Leon Ruff. Gargano and Theory did their no-look slow high five before the bell. Gargano teased starting the match before he quickly tagged in Theory to face off against Kushida. Kushida spanked Theory on the floor while toying with him in the chain wrestling sequence. Kushida dragged Theory to the ground and tagged in Leon Ruff for some follow up. Ruff did some parkour evasions on the corner to keep Theory under control. Theory took over the match after blindsiding a confident Ruff.

Gargano tagged in and gloated in front of Kushida a bit. This allowed Ruff to trip up Gargano and hit him with a grounded Pele kick for a two count. Vic Joseph hyped Pete Dunne vs. Kyle O’Reilly in a number one contenders match for the NXT Championship. Gargano and Theory kept Ruff isolated in their corner for a stretch. Kushida dumped Gargano and Theory to ringside. Ruff ended up botching a cannonball at ringside, leading to a nasty fall.

Theory made sure to quickly follow up from Ruff’s botch by dumping him into the ring. Ruff recovered and hit Theory with a Spike DDT for a two count. Theory shoved Ruff into the ropes which allowed Johnny Gargano to nail him with the slingshot spear for the two count. The show cut to regular commercial.[c]

Theory had Ruff in a stretch back from the break. Ruff escaped and hit Theory with a rebound lariat. Gargano and Kushida tagged in with Kushida dominating Gargano and Theory with a flurry of strikes. Kushida hit Gargano with a cartwheel into a dropkick. Gargano went for a Listo Kick, but Kushida ducked it and hit Gargano with a kick. Gargano hit Kushida with a dropkick, but he fell into Ruff. Ruff and Kushida hit Gargano with stereo enzuigiris for a two count.

Gargano slammed Ruff to the mat and tagged in Theory. Theory hit Ruff with a modified Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Gargano tagged in. Ruff went for another rebound lariat, but he ran right into stereo superkicks from The Way. All four men ended up brawling. Ruff caught Gargano with a superkick. Ruff hit Gargano with his corkscrew cutter. Ruff rolled up Gargano but didn’t notice that Theory was the legal man. Austin Theory grabbed Ruff, yelled “we are the way!”, and hit Leon Ruff with a twisting Flatliner for the win.

Austin Theory and Johnny Gargano defeated Leon Ruff and Kushida via pinfall in 10:08 of on-air time. 

The Way posed in the ring after their victory. The camera then cut to Dexter Lumis sitting at a perch in the crowd area. Lumis was looking at a tablet on a drawing canvas.

A Toni Storm promo package played. Storm talked about how she has Rhea Ripley’s number and how she ended up taking the NXT UK Women’s title from her. Storm brought up losing to Ripley at World’s Collide. Storm said it was Storm’s time and she’s ending her rivalry with Ripley on Storm’s terms.

They cut to camera shots of Kyle O’Reilly being psyched up by the rest of Undisputed Era while Pete Dunne was being psyched up by Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch…[c]

John’s Thoughts: A good pin for Theory to get him back on track. They obviously kept Kushida the hell away from the finish because they’re protecting the hell out of him, yet NXT’s creative team still doesn’t know what the hell to do with him. I’m really anticipating The Way’s next feud because of Gargano’s entertaining pest heel work over the past two months. This also helps Theory out in that he looks like a future main eventer, but always came off as a generic and over-emoting video game Create-a-wrestler. I am a bit weary though, because they might be putting Gargano in a feud against cartoony-ass Dexter Lumis.

A sponsored highlight package aired for Legado Del Fantasma…

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Shotzi Blackheart about her post-wargames thoughts. Blackheart talked about being proud of her team who put in a lot of effort despite the loss. Shotzi brought up Candice LeRae mocking her with the doll on top of LeRae’s prop trophy. Shotzi talked about getting revenge on Candice by beating up Candice’s friend…

Beth Phoenix thanked the band Ghostmane for providing the song “Lazaretto” as the theme for the NXT New Year’s Evil show…

Tyler Rust was already in the ring. While Tommaso Ciampa was making his entrance, he set up a chair at ringside and put a Timothy Thatcher merch shirt on top of the chair. The announce team assumed that Ciampa was inviting Thatcher to ringside…

2. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Tyler Rust. Ciampa brought up Rust being an indie veteran like Ciampa. Rust and Ciampa traded advantage during the chain wrestling sequence. Timothy Thatcher ended up showing up. Ciampa hit Rust with running strikes and then tossed Thatcher’s “student” in front of him. Ciampa got in Thatcher’s face. Rust tried to blindside Ciampa with a big boot, but accidentally gave Thatcher a big boot. The referees ended up getting between Thatcher and Ciampa. Rust took advantage of a distracted Ciampa by attacking Ciampa and planting him with a shoulder yank on the apron heading into regular commercial.[c]

Ciampa escaped an Abdominal Stretch by Rust. Ciampa rallied against Rust with a series of lariats. Ciampa hit Rust with an Air Raid Crash for a two count. Rust escaped Ciampa’s offense and hit Ciampa with a Bicycle Kick for a two count. Ciampa hooked the arms to block a armbar. Ciampa got up and Rust went for the armbar again. Ciampa escaped with shortarm curb stomps. After knocking out Rust, Ciampa went for the Fairy Tale Ending. Rust escaped and hit Ciampa with a Yakuza Kick.

Rust hit Ciampa with a twisting One Percenter for a two count. Rust went for a Fujiwara Armbar, but Ciampa kept close to the ground, going for the ropes. Rust converted the submission into a Rings of Saturn. Ciampa got a toe on the bottom rope for the rope break. Ciampa recovered and tangled Rust between the top and second ropes where he hit Rust with a flurry of Strikes. After a running knee, Ciampa hit Rust with a Willow’s Bell DDT for the victory.

Tommaso Ciampa defeated Tyler Rust via pinfall in 8:50 of on-air time. 

The commentary team congratulated Rust for a good showing against a former NXT Champion. Ciampa picked up the Thatcher shirt on the ramp and wiped the sweat on his face with it. Timothy Thatcher was on the stage, still being held back by the referees while Ciampa walked to the back, waving goodbye…

The Grizzled Young Veterans, James Drake and Zack Gibson, were given a promo package. They talked about almost winning the Dusty Classic. Gibson then did his usual “Soon to be recognized” promo about the GYVs becoming the number 1 tag team in NXT…

Pete Dunne and Kyle O’Reilly were shown heading to the ring from two different parts of the WWE PC…[c]

John’s Thoughts: A really good showing for Rust, who was only signed a few weeks ago and is now getting a showcase match against NXT main eventer. If given the right coat of paint, this guy may be in store for big things. Ciampa is really good himself in allowing undercard talent to get a lot of offense on him, yet not losing any heat himself. Speaking of heat, are they ever going to put any heat on Timothy Thatcher in this feud? Because it always seems like he ends up being the one who loses or gets punked out in his feuds.

A Karrion Kross vignette aired which featured Kross’s usual nihilistic imagery. Scarlett and Kross talked about how “Doomsday” was coming…

The announce team cut to footage before the commercial break where Malcolm Bivens was encouraging Tyler Rust after his match, saying “You’re a star”. Rust and Bivens ended up walking together to the back…

They cut to Dexter Lumis sitting in the crowd area, drawing on his tablet. He drew a logo for NXT New Years Evil…

Entrances for the number one contender’s match took place and Vic Joseph noted that this match was going to be uninterrupted by commercials…

3. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Pete Dunne (w/Oney Lorcan, Danny Burch) for number one contendership to the NXT Championship. Drake Maverick and Killian Dain showed up to trip Lorcan and burch off the apron. The two teams teams brawled to the back. O’Reilly and Dunne traded advantage during the ground jujitsu. O’Reilly and Dunne brawled at ringside. Both men traded punches and almost forgot to beat the ten count, but they did. The show ended up cutting to picture-in-picture. [c]

[Hour Two] Dunne hit O’Reilly with a snap German Suplex. O’Reilly reversed a Bitter End into a Guillotine Choke. O’Reilly got Dunne to a knee and hit Dunne with a running knee to the chest. Dunne reversed O’Reilly’s suplex into his own X-Plex. Dunne gave a double stomp to O’Reilly’s whole left arm. Dunne did his joint manipulation to O’Reilly while also grinding a knuckle in O’Reilly’s ear. O’Reilly tried to fend off Dunne with Octopus stance kicks, but Dunne got O’Reilly to his feet and hit O’Reilly with a suplex.

Dunne gave O’Reilly a leg grapevined headlock. Dunne did a backflip out of the corner to avoid O’Reilly. O’Reilly got some breathing room after a running kick. O’Reilly hit Dunne with a pop up kick. O’Reilly then hit Dunne with a Muay Thai combination right into a karate combo. O’Reilly hit Dunne with three consecutive underhook DDT’s to get a nearfall. Dunne crashed into the corner when O’Reilly sidestepped him. O’Reilly set up Dunne at the top rope.

O’Reilly went for a Super German Suplex, but Dunne landed on his feet, leaving O’Reilly in the Tree of Woe. Dunne hit O’Reilly with a series of kicks and a dropkick. The show cut into Picture-in-picture again. [c]

Dunne caught O’Reilly with a knee to the jaw and a power bomb for a two count. Dunne hit O’Reilly with shortarm curb stomps with the camera focusing on O’Reilly’s head being slammed stiff into the mat. Dunne went for an armbar, but O’Reilly got to the bottom rope for the break. O’Reilly went for a Juji Gatame, but Dunne escaped twice. O’Reilly went for an Ankle Lock, but Dunne reversed into a body scissors Guillotine. Dunne knocked down O’Reilly with a headbutt.

O’Reilly got a moment of respite after nailing Dunne with a Brainbuster. The crowd started a “Fight Forever” chant. O’Reilly hit Dunne with an axe and smash. O’Reilly kicked the mouthguard out of Dunne’s mouth. O’Reilly hit Dunne with a Fishermen Suplex for a two count. Dunne went to pick up his mouth guard, but O’Reilly stomped on Dunne’s hand. O’Reilly and Dunne traded submission counters. O’Reilly got to his feet and caught Dunne with a running PK. O’Reilly went for a rebound lariat, but was countered by Dunne who hit o’Reilly with the wishbone finger break.

Dunne went for the Bitter End, but O’Reilly countered with a suplex that the camera didn’t fully catch which went from the apron to the floor. O’Reilly put Dunne back in the ring and hit Dunne with a slingshot diving knee. O’Reilly picked up the pinfall win.

Kyle O’Reilly defeated Pete Dunne via pinfall in 22:46 to become the number one contender to the NXT Championship. 

An updated graphic appeared on the crowd LED to show that the title match at New Year’s Evil is going to be Finn Balor vs. Kyle O’Reilly for the NXT Championship…

McKenzie Mitchell caught up with Rhea Ripley for Ripley’s thoughts on Raquel Gonzalez and Toni Storm. Ripley said she respects Gonzalez, but Gonzalez is going to be all alone the next time they meet. Ripley said she doesn’t care if Toni Storm is the “new” or “old” Toni Storm, because Storm is still the piece of Trash that Ripley knew back in NXT UK…[c]

John’s Thoughts: A really good match as expected by two of NXT’s workhorses. I liked their ladder match from a few weeks ago better, but it was kinda of a step back to go back to a regular match. Not that that’s a bad thing. What would make their next battle even better is if we could get a match between these two without the commercial breaks (picture-in-picture is a bit hard to keep track of, and the action tends to be more “filler” during PIP breaks). I’m curious to see how they treat O’Reilly this time around in a feud with Balor, this time with O’Reilly having more credibility as a singles wrestler in NXT.

They cut to this week’s iteration of the weekly Xia Li and Boa cinematic where they continued to be put through torture by the Shi Fu and the mystery female leader. This week had Boa continuing to be beaten down while Xia was being overworked to death. They then cut to the Shi Fu, who ordered Li to beat the ever living crap out of Boa. Li went to town, beating the ever living crap out of Boa. Boa had to sit there and take it while the mystery woman watched…

John’s Thoughts: I mean, this is odd and a bit goofy, but I can’t help but be intrigued by this ode to Lucha Underground. Cinematics are good when they have good production values. At least these cinematics are making me feel bad for Xia and Boa. Poor people. Can these two ever catch a break, or at least be allowed to get some sleep? The obvious guess is that this mystery woman is former ROH standout Karen Q, but they might have someone else in mind? Who knows?

4. Shotzi Blackheart vs. Indi Hartwell (w/Candice LeRae, Johnny Gargano, Austin Theory). Shotzi took down Hartwell with a shortarm knee. Indi got to the ropes to break the ground submission. Blackheart went for a running senton on Hartwell, but botched the landing. Hartwell took advantage and suplexed Blackheart for a two count. Blackheart regained control by tossing Hartwell into the corners. This time, Blackheart was able to hit Hartwell with her inverted cannonball. Blackheart knocked Hartwell off the apron with a wrecking ball kick. LeRae tried to distract the referee by standing on the apron. The referee ended up catching Hartwell hit Blackheart with the trophy for the DQ.

Shotzi Blackheart defeated Indi Hartwell via DQ in 4:06. 

Candice LeRae gave Shotzi Blackheart a Wicked Stepsister stomp right before the segment ended, leaving Blackheart lying while The Way stand tall…

They cut to a Karrion Kross promo package. Kross talked about how he became NXT Champion and made everyone suffer. Kross said doomsday is coming and he prays to God for those who ended up getting trampled in his path…[c]

Karrion Kross and Scarlett [Bordeaux] made their entrance. Scarlett is back to lip synching with the “Fall and Pray” portion of Kross’s theme. His victim of the week was Desmond Troy, the former Denzel Dejournette…

5. Karrion Kross vs. Desmond Troy. Kross manhandled Troy around the ring. Kross hit Troy with the Doomsday Saito. Kross locked Troy in the Kross Jacket for the submission win.

Karrion Kross defeated Desmond Troy via submission in 1:05.

Kross talked to the camera, saying that he challenges Damian Priest for a match at New Years Evil…

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Isaiah Scott who acted pissed off for losing to “someone like” Jake Atlas. Scott regained his composure and then challenged Jake Atlas to a match next week. Scott left. McKenzie tried to do her interview outtro, but was interrupted by Ever Rise acting like goofs. Chase Parker ended his promo by yelling “EVER RISE RULESSSSSS!” in McKenzie’s face, which left McKenzie with nothing to say…

They cut back to Dexter Lumis finishing up his drawing, which was now in color and revealed that he is the host for New Years Evil…

The camera showed Rhea Ripley and Toni Storm heading to the ring for their match…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Simple and per usual for Kross, who is great in these squashes. He’s also great in longer MMA style matches, trust me, you guys haven’t seen Kross’s best work yet. That weird segment with Ever Rise, I felt like I was seeing two more Cameron Grimes’s in terms of being overconfident goofballs. I’m ok with that if they hopefully end up giving Grimes the serious reboot. I think Ever Rise is more suited for the goofy role anyway just because they are underutilizing Grimes compared to his full potential.

The show cut to a Finn Balor dark room promo. Balor said O’Reilly took Balor to the limit and broke Balor’s jaw, yet he still lost. Balor said the match is not going to be Balor vs. O’Reilly II but rather Balor vs. O’Reilly “The End”…

The commentators advertised Balor vs. O’Reilly for the NXT Championship and Karrion Kross vs. Damian Priest for the New Years Evil show…

Entrances for the main event took place…

6. Rhea Ripley vs. Toni Storm. Beth Phoenix noted that she became WWE Women’s Champion by having a similar mean-streak transformation as Toni Storm. Ripley dominated the initial collar-and-elbow. Ripley took down Storm with a shoulder tackle. Storm and Ripley countered each other’s rollups. Ripley responded to Storm’s chop with a stronger chop. Storm tried to duck a chop, but Ripley adjusted into a double back slap. Ripley caught Storm with a cresent Superkick. Vic Joseph continued to drop the line about NXT having the “Best women’s division in the world”. Storm knocked Ripley off the apron heading into commercial.[c]

Ripley caught Storm with a crescent kick. Ripley hit Storm with cravate knees and a basement dropkick to the shoulder. Vic Joseph announced “A Very Gargano Christmas” next week. Ripley and Storm traded running strikes with Ripley winning the exchange with a running dropkick. Ripley locked Storm in the Prism Lock, the inverted Texas Cloverleaf. Storm escaped it and sent Ripley into the bottom rope, where she followed up with a basement clothesline. Ripley hit Storm with a Bridged German Suplex for the two count. Joseph reiterated NXT having the “best women’s division in wrestling”.

Storm tossed Ripley into the bottom buckles. Ripley lifted Storm into the electric chair and hit her with Snake Eyes for a two count. Ripley hit Storm with a series of legdrops for a two count. Storm held on to the ropes to avoid a rip tide. Raquel Gonzlalez got up on the apron. Ripley dropkicked Storm into Gonzalez to knock Gonzalez off the apron. Ripley ended up distracting the referee, so Gonzalez could lawn dart Ripley into the turnbuckle. Storm caught Ripley with a running hip attack to the head followed by the Storm Zero for the win.

Toni Storm defeated Rhea Ripley via pinfall.

The camera focused on Ripley in the corner glaring at Raquel Gonzalez to close the show…

John’s Thoughts: I was afraid they were going to feed Toni Storm to Rhea Ripley out of the gate of Storm’s heel run, but I like that they didn’t and they ended up setting up Ripley to go against Gonzalez. Storm gains from this loss because Ripley doesn’t lose often, even dirty loses. If Ripley ends up sticking around in NXT for a long period of time, they can go back to Storm vs. Ripley in a prolonged feud, especially with the backstory of theirs dating back to NXT UK.

This week’s NXT show as a good one and the goal was to set up the New Years Evil show a couple of weeks from now. The card looks great on paper with O’Reilly vs. Balor on top and Priest vs. Kross being a potential hit (potential, because it can also end up being a one-sided Kross match). I’ll have more thoughts on this week’s show in my member’s exclusive audio review and Jason should be by tomorrow with his NXT Hit List.




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