Two potentially exciting matches on the card for tonight’s episode. Ember Moon will take on Ruby Riot, and Drew McIntyre faces Killian Dain. The winner of McIntyre versus Dain will be Bobby Roode’s opponent at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III. The Moon versus Riot match is billed as a simple battle for supremacy in the women’s division, but it seems likely that the winner will face Asuka at TakeOver, unless they’re bringing in someone ‘off roster’ again. However the result play out, getting to them should be fun to watch.
Ember Moon def Ruby Riot
Oney Lorcan def Danny Burch
No Way Jose def Cezar Bononi
Drew McIntyre def Killian Dain
After a bit of opening ‘housekeeping’ from Mauro Ranallo, we were straight into one of the pre-advertised matches.
Ember Moon vs Ruby Riot
Both started the match by going for the quick pin, but when that didn’t work out, they touched hands and got to the wrestling. It’s a joy to see two people enjoying their wrestling and relishing the competition, gender is not important here. It makes it easy for the crowd to get into as well, and they did for this one (shame they haven’t killed off ‘sweeting’ the two counts, but we can’t have everything).
What a fantastic opening match. I like that it was the first match, they usually gets a fairly decent amount of time, and this was no different. There is a limited history, and a healthy rivalry here, but no major storylined animosity really. So the match got the chance to be a test of skill, a simple contest to see who’s better.
It was a close contest. Both Riot and Moon had opportunities to put the other away, and both cemented their place as key players in NXT’s women’s division going forward. That’s important considering there is likely to be an influx of talent following the Mae Young Classic (I hope).
Ember Moon won with the Eclipse. Great match, hopefully not their last. Maybe it’s finally time to put the championship on Moon, and make their next match for the title.
An interview with Kassius Ohno next, or part of one. After starting to answer a question about comparing his current and previous stints in NXT, the interview was broken up by Hideo Itami asking if Ohno asked for a match against him. Ohno said yes. Itami got annoyed, kicked a bin, and left. That match will take place next week.
We got another Street profits promo. This time they were playing on one of the NXT trucks. Looks like they could be a fun team, the tag division needs some of that at the moment.
Oney Lorcan vs Danny Burch
Interesting match. Similar size and weight opponents, both with plenty to prove in NXT. Both men are technically very good, but neither have become cornerstones of the NXT roster. Burch is very much an NXT part-timer, but it feels like Lorcan might be running out of chances to pick up his win rate.
The match was a nice mix of technicality and brutality. Danny Burch ended up with a bloody nose, courtesy of an uppercut. Lorcan Bloodied Itami’s nose last time as well, I hope that’s not a pattern forming. Anyway, seeing his own blood only fired Danny Burch up and he had a good period with a near fall.
He had the momentum on his side, but Lorcan caught him in a single leg crab and Burch quickly tapped out.
After the match there was a handshake, then Danny Burch pulled Oney Lorcan back and asked him for one more match. Lorcan agreed. I’m pleased, I’d happily watch them go at each other again.
Next up, we got to see the arrival of Killian Dain. No promo as such, just Dain baring his teeth and hitting himself on the head.
No Way Jose vs Cezar Bononi
Last time we saw Bononi he got a somewhat surprising victory over Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas. And we haven’t seen much of Jose recently. This was fast paced all the way though, not that it was a particularly long match. Bononi might have built some confidence with his win over Almas, he started strong as the main aggressor. Jose wasn’t going to let him develop a streak though. After taking some punishment, Jose took control.
A minute or so later, the pop up knock out punch sealed the victory for No Way Jose.
Post-match, Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas appeared at ringside with Thea Trinidad (still referred to as an unnamed female, so maybe she’ll get a name change). With a few words from her, he slid into the ring, beat on Bononi a bit, then called for Jose to come get him. Jose rose to the challenge, but Almas vacated the ring before he got there.
Drew McIntyre vs Killian Dain
A bit of big lads wrestling for our main event of the evening. My favourite kind of big lads wrestling as well, big guys who can really move. Dain especially is predominantly a power based wrestler, as befits someone his size and strength, but he has a grace and speed to his movement which belies his size.
Not only was this a battle for a chance at Bobby Roode’s title, it was a battle of the undefeated streaks. Neither man wanted to concede their first loss. I was pleased to see Killian Dain arrive by himself, it’s a much better contest without the rest of SAnitY causing a distraction or interfering.
Dain had the best of the offence in the early part of the match. He got several two counts, but just couldn’t keep McIntyre down for that final second. McIntyre turned it round with a massive powerbomb. It was back and forth with the huge moves from then. McIntyre got Dain with a ‘Fit Finlay Drop’, for a two count. Dain got another two with a Belfast blitz and Vader Bomb combo. McIntyre hit the Futureshock, but Dain kicked out on one, then sat straight up from a Claymore kick.
The second Claymore was the final straw. Killian Dain stayed down for the three count. Drew McIntyre will face Bobby Roode at TakeOver.
As the show went off air, Drew McIntyre told Roode he is coming for him and his bloody title.
Very little padding in tonight’s episode, and it was all the better for it. All four matches were good or great, and all told their stories well. I particularly enjoyed Ember Moon versus Ruby Riot, I have become a big fan of both women. I’m frequently pleasantly surprised what NXT manages to achieve in a single hour. This was a particularly strong episode.
We now have, what we can only assume will be, the main event for NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III. It will be Bobby Roode versus Drew McIntyre. I think it’s time for a change, and when I think about future title matches, I’d rather see people fight McIntyre than Roode. I guess my allegiances are set.
Next week we have Kassius Ohno vs Hideo Itami to look forward to. I hope the rest of the episode keeps up the strength and momentum of this one.