Two debuts scheduled for tonight’s show. Adam Cole makes his in-ring debut in the main event against Eric Young. And Fabien Aichner (former Cruiserweight Classic competitor) takes on Kassius Ohno. We also have Liv Morgan making her return to NXT TV, against Vanessa Bourne. Should be a good episode.
Lars Sullivan def Oney Lorcan
Heavy Machinery def Demitrius Bronson and Patrick Scott
Liv Morgan def Vanessa Bourne
Kassius Ohno def Fabien Aichner
Adam Cole def Eric Young
William Regal opened the show by telling us that the new NXT women’s champion will be decided in a fatal four-way at NXT TakeOver Houston, on November 18. Mae Young Classic winner Kairi Sane will be one of the competitors. The rest will be decided by the outcomes of a series of matches, starting in two weeks.
SAnitY appeared in the ring to start the show proper. Eric Young took to the mic and addressed Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly and, his opponent for tonight, Adam Cole. He said that SAnitY is the group who wrote the book on making a mark. Time and space don’t matter in this universe, the only thing that matters is the chaos. Tonight, he will take Adam Cole to the edge of sanity.
Lars Sullivan vs Oney Lorcan
In a pre-match interview Oney Lorcan said he doesn’t like Lars. He dislikes the fact he thinks he can do what he likes to guys like No Way Jose. He wants to see what Sullivan can do to him.
We certainly did see what he could do to Lorcan. On the face of it, Oney Lorcan is a good choice of opponent for Sullivan. Lorcan’s style is very hard-hitting, big blows and huge kicks. He used all of them and more in his attempt to overcome Lars Sullivan, but he couldn’t take him off his feet.
Oney Lorcan dived over the top rope, but Sullivan caught him, and dropped him ribs first onto the apron. Lorcan didn’t give up though. He recovered from the contact with the apron, and went back to throwing the biggest blows he could (and a few slaps) at Lars Sullivan.
He never got Sullivan down. One lariat and one massive slam later, Lars Sullivan had another victory to his name.
As Sullivan attempted to carry on the punishment after the match Danny Burch ran down to the ring and dragged Lorcan out of the ring. Looks like Burch could be next in line for NXT’s new monster.
Ruby Riot was interviewed backstage. Apparently, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay have requested a rematch against her and Nikki Cross. Riot said she and Cross aren’t friends, and Cross is usually trying to punch her in the face when they see each other. She accepted the match against Royce and Kay, but said if Nikki Cross shows up, it’s nothing to do with her and Cross better stay out of her way.
Heavy Machinery vs Demitrius Bronson and Patrick Scott
Knight and Dozovic are such an entertaining big lads team, and they just keep getting better. It’s about time we saw them, and the rest of the tag division, involved in proper feuds, but tonight was not that night.
It wasn’t a bad match though. Patrick Scott was quickly overwhelmed, but Demitrius Bronson had a good go once he was tagged in. He almost got Otis Dozovic down – almost.
The Compactor on Patrick Scott, onto Demitrius Bronson, finished the match in conclusive style.
William Regal interrupted his own interview about what to expect from TakeOver Houston, to tell Johnny Gargano he has a rematch against Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas, in two weeks’ time. Regal didn’t actually reveal anything in the interview, just said there was something special in the offing. The segment was just to announce the Gargano match.
Interview with Roderick Strong next, about his preparations for his title match against Drew Galloway next week. He said he trains for every match like it’s his last chance, because he strives to be the best for himself and his family. McIntyre knows that and he’s rattled. Roderick Strong is the guy that keeps getting up and moving forward, and fears nothing. He’s worked his whole life for this and come close, but this time the outcome is going to be different. He’s indestructible. Nothing is going to stop him until he hear ‘and new NXT champion, Roderick Strong’.
Liv Morgan vs Vanessa Bourne
It’s been a long time since we saw Liv Morgan on NXT TV. She hasn’t been absent from wrestling though, she’s been working hard on the NXT live shows. Vanessa Bourne was part of the Mae Young Classic. She went out in round one to Serena Deeb. During their entrances, pre-recorded video were shown of them declaring their intention to become the new NXT women’s champion.
Liv Morgan looks more well-rounded as a wrestler since her last NXT appearance. She’s always been popular with the NXT crowds, and that hasn’t changed. She was out-powered in this match by Bourne, but easily had the edge in athleticism.
The match was short, but entertaining. Bourne wanted to throw Morgan around, and use her power and, to an extent, she got to do just that for the first part of the match. Morgan pulled it back though. She stepped up the pace and, from that point on, Bourne never quite got her bearing back.
Morgan hit a double knees to the face finisher, and got the pin. The new finisher looks good. We’ll have
After a recap of The Velveteen Dream interrupting Aleister Black last week, Black was shown training, then asked for his thoughts on him. He said, in this age of individuality there is always one who thinks they’re more unique or special. But they all want recognition. He refuses to acknowledge a child who holds its breath, or throws a tantrum to get attention. And if by being bizarre, Patrick thinks he can get his, he’s rudely mistaken.
Interesting that Black chose to call him Patrick (The Velveteen Dream’s name is Patrick Clark). I can’t imagine that’s going to go down too well with The Velveteen Dream at all.
Kassius Ohno vs Fabien Aichner
As soon as I saw the announcement for this match I thought it was going to be great. I’m a huge fan of Kassius Ohno, and I’ve been very impressed with Aichner the few times I’ve seen him. I wasn’t let down.
Aichner was in the cruiserweight Classic last year, but he was always on the large side for a cruiserweight. He’s bulked up since and is now billed at 220lbs. For reference, Kassius Ohno is 40lbs heavier and a few inches taller.
Despite being heavyweights, these two flew around like cruiserweights at times. The crowd started off firmly behind Ohno, but there were duelling chants before the end of the match. Aichner is very impressive. There was power and skill mixed in with the high risk stuff, and it made for a beautifully entertaining match.
A huge kick in the face from Kassius Ohno put Aichner down for the three-count, this time. It might not have been the main event, but it was match of the night for me.
Drew Galloway had his interview about next week’s title match. He said that Roderick Strong was the only man who stepped up when he said anyone who asked could have an opportunity. And Strong earned it by beating Bobby Roode. Roderick Strong would be the champion by now at any other time, but it’s Drew McIntyre’s time, and this will be his first title defence not his last.
We got a look back at Kairi Sane’s journey to victory in the Mae Young Classic next, followed by the reminder that she will be in the TakeOver match for the women’s title against three, as yet undecided, opponents.
Adam Cole vs Eric Young
Main event time. This was billed as a singles match, Cole’s in-ring debut no less. But, as Cole came to the ring with Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly, and Eric Young had the rest of SAnitY with him, I think we all knew that wasn’t going to be the case.
Before SAnitY arrived, Adam Cole had a few things to say. He’s not sure how NXT survived before they got there. There’s something new in the air, he feels it. It’s change, a shock to the system, them. Fish, O’Reilly and Cole are untouchable, unstoppable and undisputed. This is their era.
It started off simply enough. One on one, with Eric Young wearing a creepy smile before the first lock up. The Adam Cole Bay Bay chant could end up being more annoying that the sweet after every two-count. They could have done with an extra ref or three to keep the people outside the ring separate. The ref had to have words any time either Cole or Young ended up on the outside. But everyone behaved themselves for the early part of the match.
The match was good enough. It felt a bit anti-climactic after the Aichner vs Ohno match though. Like it was more about the factions as a whole than the action in the ring. And a little like we’re all supposed to be impressed just because it’s Adam Cole and he has a catchphrase. That’s not to say he’s no good, just that I want a bit more (yes, I’m familiar with his work. And I still want to see a bit more than we got).
The good behaviour on the outside couldn’t last, of course. When O’Reilly and Fish got up on the apron to interfere, Dain and Wolfe dragged them down and the brawl started. Instead of concentrating on his opponent, Young launched himself onto fighting foursome.
When he got back into the ring, Adam Cole caught him with a massive knee in the face, pinned him, then get the hell out of there before the rest of SAnitY could get their hands on him. Debut victory for Adam Cole.
The next NXT TakeOver event isn’t until November 18, in Houston. With so much time to build to it, now is a good time for debuts and strengthening the roster. They took that opportunity tonight, with a packed episode. Five matches is a lot to fit into a single hour of tv, and it did feel a little rushed tonight, but it was a good episode nonetheless.
It was great to see Kassius Ohno being used, and Fabian Aichner is a fabulous addition to the roster. The depth of talent on the NXT roster right now is astounding. The women’s division is filling out nicely. It will be very interesting to see who gets the qualifying matches for the four-way title match at TakeOver.
I feel that, to a certain extent, NXT is in a permanent state of transition. It’s one of the issues with it being a developmental/feeder system for the RAW and SmackDown roster. That said with the volume of talent that has arrived in the last few months, and the major names who have arrived at the performance centre awaiting tv debuts, it’s a really exciting time for the brand. I’m not sure the pre-recorded, hour-long, format serves NXT as well as it used to. But that is a subject for another article, another time.