This week we’ve can look forward to the first qualifying match for the NXT Women’s Championship fatal four-way match at TakeOver next month. Kairi Sane booked her place, as winner of the Mae Young Classic, and tonight either Nikki Cross, Peyton Royce, or Liv Morgan, will join her. We also have a TakeOver rematch between Johnny Gargano and Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas, with the ever-present Zelina Vega in Almas’ corner. And Danny Burch takes on Lars Sullivan, it will be interesting to see if he fares any better than anyone else has.
Peyton Royce def Nikki Cross and Liv Morgan
Velveteen Dream def Lio Rush
Lars Sullivan def Danny Burch
Street Profits def Damien Smith & Markos Espada
Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas def Johnny Gargano
After a pre-credits recap of why how the fatal four-way match came about, and why Kairi Sane is already in it, the triple-threat qualifying match started the show.
Peyton Royce vs Liv Morgan vs Nikki Cross
Billie Kay accompanied Peyton Royce as normal. Nikki Cross is enormously entertaining, with her entrance, pre-match psych outs, and her wrestling style.
Surprising start, when Nikki Cross and Liv Morgan teamed up for a few seconds, to clothesline Peyton Royce out of the ring. That was as long as the alliance lasted though, they turned immediately to scrapping.
There was plenty of good stuff in this match. Cross has the energy of three people apparently, and was all over the place to ensure there was never a dull moment. We got the obligatory tower of doom spot, with Liv Morgan definitely taking the worst of it.
At that point, Undisputed Era turned up with Taynara Conti, and sent her to the ring to try to take out Nikki Cross. Her first attempt distracted Cross long enough for Royce to attempt a roll-up, but only for a two count. Conti got involved again when Cross was about to pin Liv Morgan. She pulled Cross out of the ring, then looked to regret it when she saw the look on Nikki Cross’ face.
As Cross chased Conti around, and into, the ring, Peyton Royce caught Cross with a big kick to the face, followed up with the bridging fisherman suplex for the pin. Peyton Royce joins Kairi Sane in the four-way title match.
I’m very disappointed that Cross won’t be in the TakeOver match, but it’s exciting that they’re setting up another non-title women’s feud. Good to see Taynara Conti as well. She looked pretty good in the MYC if memory serves me correctly.
Lio Rush vs Velveteen Dream
After Velveteen Dream stopped Rush’s debut from happening last week, it makes sense that we get this match instead. To be honest, I’d rather have seen Rush versus Black.
In case you’re unfamiliar with him, Lio Rush is really very good. He’s small, quick, and extremely talented. We got a bit of a display of that at the start of the match, before Velveteen Dream decided to show off his power.
It was a good match, if a little short. Both are very athletic, so it was a pacey affair. I suspect, given a longer match, there would be good chemistry between them, I’d certainly like to see more.
Velveteen Dream hit the Purple Rainmaker and got the win. I wasn’t expecting that, I thought Rush had that for sure.
After the match Velveteen Dream sat in the ring, without a mic, apparently talking to Aleister Black. He seems very keen for Black to say his name.
Unusually, there were no interview segments between matches, just some housekeeping – a reminder of what the main event is, and a recap of the reason for the next match.
Lars Sullivan vs Danny Burch
Burch saved Oney Lorcan from the clutches of Lars Sullivan after their match, and challenged Sullivan, so here we are. Sullivan has run through everyone put in front of him recently. If they can give him an actual persona as well, he’ll do great on the main roster at some point.
Danny Burch seemed to think the best way to start the match was by giving Sullivan a good slap. It wasn’t. He put up a brief, but spirited, offence, then got destroyed like every other opponent Sullivan has faced. He did try for a fight back, but a running clothesline ended that.
Lars Sullivan put Danny Burch out of his misery with a spinebuster. He’s really being built as a monster and there aren’t many of those. Sullivan versus Dain should be good when it comes around.
There was a recap of last week’s main event, particularly the ending with Undisputed Era and Roderick Strong. That led to the announcement that Drew McIntyre is coming to talk to the NXT universe next week.
Street Profits vs Damien Smith & Markos Espada
Street Profits are entertaining and fun, but I’m bored of the show matches now. It’s time to give them a storyline, before I lose interest.
Incredibly short match. Lots of posturing, very little wrestling, but still kind of fun. I think the Street Profits trip into the crowd took almost as long as the match. Street Profits won of course.
Before the main event, the next qualifying match for the women’s title match was announced. Ember Moon versus Ruby Riot versus Sonya Deville – that should be amazing, but I’m really sad only one of those three will be in the four-way. SAnitY vs Undisputed Era was also announced for next week.
Johnny Gargano vs Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas, with Zelina Vega
The crowd were firmly behind Gargano at the start of this match. There were a few duelling chants throughout the match, which is an improvement for Almas, but they were considerably louder for Gargano. Let’s face it, there is no way a match between these two could be anything other than excellent. They’re both extremely good at what they do, and their styles complement each other beautifully.
It was a worthy main event match. Back and forth, with a combination of flowing technicality, flight, athleticism and everything else you’d expect. I think it’s matches like this which give NXT the reputation of being more about the wrestling.
During one of his dominant periods, Johnny Gargano had Almas in the Gargano escape. Zelina Vega took her jacket off to reveal she was wearing a #DIY shirt. Gargano looked momentarily startled, but didn’t immediately break the hold. He’d let the pressure up enough for Almas to get to the ropes though. Gargano and Vega had a quick confrontation on the apron, with Gargano shouting that DIY mean nothing to him anymore. Almas tried to roll him up while he was distracted, and it was back to the wrestling.
Johnny Gargano got dumped face first into the bottom turnbuckle, and Almas delivered two lots of double knees into the back of his head. Then Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas dropped Gargano on his head with a hammerlock DDT and got the win. He’s now 2-0 over Gargano
Strange night tonight. Big on action and light in filler, which is a great thing. But I was a little thrown by some of the results.
Five matches in a one-hour show felt like too much if I’m honest. I’d rather have seen four with more time to develop. And there were no interview or character development segments at all on tonight’s show. I don’t like it when a show feels that rushed. Maybe that’s just what happens when you have a sizeable roster and not enough tv time.
Next week’s announced matches look really good though. The quality that NXT is putting out is undeniable. Long may it continue.