NXT CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Lio Rush(c) vs. Angel Garza- 8.5/10
Basically, Lio Rush’s entire family is here, including his grandma and mother-in-law. Garza hopped over the guardrail and stood right next to Lio’s wife before ripping his pants off. I like how they’ve ben actually using this for spots that matter in a match, instead of just being something Garza does to get a pop.
This was AWESOME, and is almost certainly the best televised wrestling match you’ll see all week, from any company. The best part about it is that the finish means we’ll almost certainly be getting a rematch (hopefully at TakeOver).
TEGAN NOX & RHEA RIPLEY HAVE BEEN JUMPED OUTSIDE BY FORCES UNKNOWN- The supposed mystery here is whether it was invaders from Raw, invaders from SD, or their War Games opponents, but to me, the real mystery is how it was that light outside after 8pm in November.
SHAYNA BASZLER VIDEO PACKAGE- fine, I guess
XIA LI vs. ALIYAH (w/Vanessa Bourne)- 0.5/10
Xia spent the entire match trying to kick Aliyah in the head and Aliyah kept avoiding it until finally she didn’t. Aliyah was bleeding from her nose after the finish, and they actually made a point of showing us the blood, but not in a “LOOK AT ALL THE BLOOD!” kind of way.
BIG SEGMENT WITH LOTS OF STARS INVOLVED-great!
Balor came out and cut a promo on everyone, including bragging about attacking Riddle last week. Riddle ran in and attacked him from behind. They brawled a bit before Riddle sent Balor scurrying, then cut a promo telling him he couldn’t run forever.
At that point Undisputed Era came out and surrounded the ring, but Ciampa and Lee came out to help Riddle. Instead of attacking, Cole grabbed a mic and cut a promo. Lee cut a fantastic promo in response. Roddy responded to that, a referee showed up, and soon we wound up with…
KEITH LEE vs. RODERICK STRONG- 8/10
Everyone else was ordered to the back during the commercial break that preceded this match. Roddy worked over Lee’s back. Lee does a great job at evoking sympathy despite almost always facing off against smaller opponents. Eventually Undisputed Era came back out, which as far as I’m concerned should have constituted a DQ if they had been ordered to the back before the march started. Ciampa and Riddle attacked them, but Balor showed up against o arrack Riddle. Lee won clean to set up a title shot, but was then attacked by Undisputed Era. Dominik Dijakovic came out and cleaned house on UE. I’m fine with this because he is fresh and they’ve been fighting. DIjak shook Ciampa’s hand, then did the same with Lee albeit after a rather intense stare-down.
MARINA SHAFIR, JESSAMYN DUKE, & MARINA SHAFIR HAVE ALL BEEN TAKEN OUT OUTSIDE OF THE BUILDING BY FORCES UNKNOWN- Triple H ordered someone to find security. Scarlett Bourdeaux was an extra.
ISAIAH “SWERVE” SCOTT vs. BRONSON REED- 7/10
A good big man vs. small man match, and another win for Scott over a larger wrestler.
CATHY KELLEY TELLS US THAT FINN BALOR VS. MATT RIDDLE IS OFFICIAL FOR TAKEOVER- Riddle will be replaced in War Games by Dijakovic.
FORGOTTEN SONS VIDEO PACKAGE- I’m pretty sure this was the same thirty-second thing we saw last week.
PETE DUNNE vs. KILLIAN DAIN- no rating, good segment
The match never happened because Damian Priest attacked before the match started. Priest won the three-way brawl this week.
CATHY KELLEY INTERVIEWS MIA YIM- good
Mia cuts a promo on Raw and SD. Then Dakota Kai showed up and let Mia know that there are no hard feelings from last week and vowed to have Mia’s back in case anything happened during tonight’s match. Hmm…
LADDER MATCH FOR ADVANTAGE IN THE WOMEN’S WAR GAMES MATCH: Mia Yim vs. Io Shirai- 7.75/10
Io’s screaming and flailing during her entrance comes off as ridiculously goofy. The match itself was anything but goofy. They did a great job of making every move count and of building things up well. While I thought Dakota Kai’s interference could lead in an interesting direction of her desire to help going against the other babyfaces’ value of fair play, having Kay Lee Ray run in at the end to help Io win has me convinced that no such interesting thing will happen.
I also just plain don’t like Kay Lee Ray’s involvement here. What, exactly, is her motivation for wanting to be in this dangerous War Games match? Attention? She’s the f*cking NXT UK Women’s Champion. Even if no one is actually paying attention to NXT UK doesn’t mean that WWE shouldn’t kayfabe pretend that everyone is paying attention to it.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- meh
Bianca Belair comes out and off the heels engage in an oddly choreographed posing session on the ladder. Then Shayna Baszler came out to join her team but got attacked from behind by Bayley and hit with a Stroke onto the title belt. The other heels chased her away, and then the overrun outlasted my recording.
This was a pretty damn great episode of NXT, but the booking of this whole War Games situation leaves a lot to be desired, and the Survivor Series stuff does not interest me one bit.
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