It’s a big night for NXT tonight, as some of the show is also being shown on USA network. This, of course, means it should be a spectacular show to try and attract as many new network subscribers as possible, which can only be good for all of us. The preview tells us we have four matches; Authors of Pain versus Dany Burch and Oney Lorcan, Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas versus Fabian Aichner, Aleister Black versus Adam Cole, and Ember Moon versus Peyton Royce. Black versus Cole is part of the number one contender’s tournament. For some reason, Ember Moon versus Peyton Royce is exclusive to the WWE network version.
Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas def Fabian Aichner
Authors of Pain def Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan
Ember Moon def Peyton Royce
Aleister Black def Adam Cole
The show opened with footage of Drew McIntyre being injured during his title loss to Almas, William Regal’s announcement of the tournament, and the first two matches. Killian Dain and Johnny Gargano qualified last week. Tonight, either Adam Cole or Aleister Black will join them.
Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas versus Fabian Aichner
Straight in with the champion for the first match of the show, leading strong for the new tv viewers. Aichner was a great choice of opponent, he’s supremely talented with a very compatible style for Almas.
Disappointingly short match, which didn’t actually make the champ look strong until the very end. Aichner looked great though. Nice fast pace, and lots of impressive looking moves. The match itself was good enough to be a main event, it was just much too short.
Zelina Vega didn’t need to interfere on this occasion. Almas pushed Aichner off the top turnbuckle to the outside, then threw him into the steps. He rolled Aichner back into the ring, and quickly won with the hammerlock DDT.
Interestingly, the episode pictures on wwe.com show Zelina Vega talking at the announce desk after the match. That wasn’t shown on the network version, so it must have been from the tv edit. I’d love to know what she said.
Promo package for Aleister Black next, I’m guessing this was also aimed at the tv viewers, there can’t be any regular NXT viewers who need reminding who Black is by now.
SAnitY promo, starting with a look at Alexander Wolfe’s stapled/stitched head. Eric Young talked about having unfinished business from WarGames. WarGames was as beautiful as they thought it would be, but the outcome was not ideal. They have a tag team title rematch next week against Undisputed Era, where they will finish what they started in Houston.
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch vs Authors of Pain
Lorcan and Burch have got so much potential as a team. Sadly, they were always unlikely to fulfil that potential in this match.
They had a good start, taking it to Authors of Pain. All four men were in the ring for all but the first few moments. Unfortunately, Akam and Rezar pulled themselves together, and it was all downhill for Burch and Lorcan from there.
Authors of Pain picked them both up for the Super-Collider, and followed it with a Last Chapter to Lorcan. No-one gets up from that.
Pete Dunne will defend his WWE UK Championship on the show next week. That will be brilliant, I don’t think they’ve ever had a bad match together, and they’ve had many.
Ember Moon vs Peyton Royce
Royce, accompanied as always by Billie Kay, started strong. There was a high energy feel to the whole show, and this match carried that on.
Ember Moon took out both Royce and Kay, launching herself off the top turnbuckle onto them, before Billie Kay got involved by grabbing Moon’s leg. That allowed Royce to lock in her rope based submission hold to wear Moon down.
They’re developing some really good chemistry, and it seemed they could easily have gone back and forth for a lot longer. The turning point came when Moon had Royce stood on the second rope. She, well, she kicked Royce in the backside, then stomped on her.
Ember Moon dragged her out of the corner, climbed the turnbuckle, waited for her to get up, then hit the Eclipse. And that was the end of that.
Billie Kay hit Moon with the Shades of Kay while she was celebrating, and then started laying on the double team beatdown alongside Royce. Nikki Cross made the save, cleared the ring of the iconic duo, then spent some time staring at both Moon and the title belt (to ‘Thank you Nikki’ chants) before bouncing herself off the ropes a bit. Eventually she ran away, leaving Ember Moon to gather herself.
Street Profits presented ‘Street Talk’, which appeared to be them walking around with a microphone talking to the people queuing to get in. They got a kid to tell them they were going to take over in 2018.
Shayna Baszler was revealed as the person in the mysterious promo last week. She’s on her way, and her impact on the women’s division will certainly be interesting.
Adam Cole vs Aleister Black
The rest of Undisputed Era came out as far as the stage with Cole, but left him to it.
Here’s my take on the match in two sentences. Adam Cole likes to entertain people, and hear them say his catchphrase. Aleister Black likes to kick people in the face.
That’s not to say Adam Cole isn’t capable, he is. But the posturing and the far too frequent ‘Adam Cole Bay Bay’, just makes me want to see Aleister Black kick him in the face more. The fact their match was chosen as the main event for the episode aired on tv shows you exactly how highly they are both valued by WWE.
Cole started the match trying to wind up Aleister Black, making kissy faces at him, ruffling his hair, and reminding himself who he is. Black responded by kicking him until Cole fell out of the ring, then having a little sit down.
After that, Adam Cole got a bit more serious. Trash talk replaced the posturing, then even that stopped for a while. Aleister Black had an answer for everything Cole tried. Every time Cole stepped up the intensity to get the upper hand, Black found another gear. There is something about the quiet, assured way Black carries himself in the ring. Even when he’s taking punishment, he rarely seems rattled.
Aleister Black won with the Black Mass. Black goes through to the four-way number one contender’s match.
The show ended with an ad for next week’s UK and Tag Team title matches, in amongst Aleister Black’s celebration.
Three out of four matches were completed by half way through the show. All three of the matches would have benefitted from more time, and all three were good enough to warrant it. I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the restrictions placed on NXT by the one-hour timeslot. There is too much talent to be showcased, the match quality is too good, it needs more time.
I think that’s enough of a rant from me. Tonight’s show was great apart from that. Very little filler, and plenty to entice those tv audiences to check out WWE network. I’m a little surprised that the women’s match was the one they cut from the television broadcast, but I guess they must have had their reasons. It strikes me as an odd decision, I’d love to know what the reasons were.
Aleister Black continues to be awesome. If he’s not NXT champion at some point in the next few months, I’ll be amazed, and more than a little disappointed. Almas is finally getting a decent volume of boos, which is nice to see. Pairing him with Zelina Vega was genius. Fabian Aichner is much underused, hopefully they’ll fix that in 2018. Maybe they could even give him some character build and make him more than a bit part player.
A strong show tonight, and two title matches next week. It looks like NXT are aiming to finish the year on a high.