The first episode of NXT which got fully aired on the USA Network began with the fight for the NXT Championship between the titleholder Adam Cole and Matt Riddle. Ahead of the entrances, a video got aired which showed as Riddle put Cole last week in the Fujiwara Armbar after his match against Killian Dain. And it also said that the champion was medically cleared to compete, but he wore a cast on his right wrist.
The match itself took about 14 minutes and was incredible. Typical for an NXT championship match both men had several near falls and due to that the whole crowd went crazy. Riddle even kicked out after a Panama Sunrise while Cole was able to get out of the Fujiwara Armbar several times.
However, at the end of the fight, Cole broke out of another Fujiwara Armbar and then was able to perform the Last Shot which gave him the victory via pinfall. After the match, Cole celebrated in the ring, but suddenly Finn Balor’s music hit, and he made his entrance. As a consequence, a “holy shit” chant broke out as Balor made his way to the ring. “As for now,” he said as he stood face to face with Cole. “Finn Balor is NXT.”
Cole left the ring while Balor played with the audience. If they plan to have a feud between Cole and Balor it would be absolutely awesome. Anyway, it’s great to see him back.
Then we saw Velveteen Dream on the stage on a new sex couch with some women on it. He held a short promo and challenged Roderick Strong for a rematch for the NXT North American Championship. He added that Strong should consider fighting on his own unless he’s scared to step out of the shadow of the Undisputed Era. He closed his promo with the words “dream over” and the lights went out. A nice segment and let’s see when Strong will response.
After that, Io Shirai took on Mia Yim in a match which lasted about as long as the opening match of the show. So, both women had plenty of time to show their great in-ring ability. It was over as Shirai performed a Monnsault from the top rope to secure a pinfall victory.
Then a video package was aired showing Tegan Nox suffering a torn ACL and how she fights for her comeback.
After that, it was time for the match between Jonny Gargano and Shane Thorne. Thorne showed a great performance even though he was the clear underdog, but Gargano was logically able to get the victory. It’s questionable if Thorne would have picked up the win if the show would get aired on the WWE Network since the regular NXT viewers would still know how strong Gargano is even though he would have lost that match. Besides, Thorne would get a huge push because of that win. But since the show is now on the USA Network, they need to show new viewers too that the former member of DIY is one of the biggest superstars of the roster.
Following that, the match for the NXT Women’s Championship between Shayna Baszler and Candice LaRae took place. Baszler tried it several times to apply the Kirafuda Clutch but LeRae was always able to get out of it. However, after about 14 minutes the champion once more tried it but LeRae forced her way out, but then Baszler reapplied it and defended her title via submission. It’s really questionable who should be able to take the title away from Baszler. Maybe Rhea Ripley can do so in the near future, but Baszler already defeated every other big name on the roster at least one time.
Next was the fight between Pete Dunne and Danny Bunch scheduled. After about seven minutes Dunne performed the Bitter End to get away the victory. As the fight was over, the lights went out and Dunne got attacked by Damian Priest who performed his finisher. This could be the start of a great feud since both picked up several wins over the last few weeks, but Priest needs a feud to build his character.
Then we saw Cathy Kelly in the backstage interviewing Adam Cole. The NXT Champion cut her off while she asked him about his cast. He explained that it is medically required. The other members of the Undisputed Era Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly interrupted the champ and Strong talked about Balor. Cole just answered “screw Finn Balor” and said that they should focus on defending their Tag Team Championships against the Street Profits which was next.
The challengers made their entrance through the crowd and were accompanied by rapper Wale. Then the champs Fish and O’Reilly came out. The match took about 20 minutes and was until now probably the best match of the Street Profits. However, they weren’t able to secure the win due to an interference of Strong. Because of that Angelo Dawkins delivered a Spear to Strong on the apron to fight him off and so Fish and O’Reilly had a two on one situation in the ring. They performed their finisher and pinned Montez Ford for the win.
Cole went onto the stage and held his title up while the other three members of the UE did the same with their titles in the ring. Suddenly, Tommaso Ciampa’s music played and Cole looked totally dejected, Ciampa came on the stage and walked around the champion while he looked at the championship in Cole’s hand. Before the show went off air, he stood in front of Cole and starred him in the eyes and at the belt.
This episode was perfect for the first one which got fully broadcasted on the USA Network. The upcoming weeks look pretty good with the returns of Balor and Ciampa. Besides, Riddle and Gargano have also the standing and potential to be in the title picture, so it’ll be very interesting to watch what will happen next week. In addition, we will see in the next episode the match for the Cruiserweight Championship between Drew Gulak and Lio Rush. Considering all of this, next week’s episode has got a lot of potential.