WWE NXT results, recap, grades: Two No. 1 contenders named, DIY reunites in night of insane action
Action-packed from start to finish, NXT delivered against some tough competition in the Sunshine State
NXT has started 2020 with a bang, following up last week's opening episode of the new year with an action-packed episode that developed a ton of storylines and matches for its upcoming events. No. 1 contenders for the cruiserweight and women's championships were decided, and the two quarterfinal matches for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic were filled with phenomenal action.
The two-hour show was nonstop with intriguing angles from the brand's top stars considering it is building both to Worlds Collide -- NXT vs. NXT UK -- on Royal Rumble weekend and NXT TakeOver: Portland in February. One constant storyline throughout the show was Undisputed Era attempting to take out its competition, which is where we start our breakdown of what happened on Wednesday night.
Undisputed Era attacked Keith Lee and Tommaso Ciampa, first Lee after he cut a promo highlighting his strong end to 2019 and hot start into 2020 before promising to take the North American title off Roderick Strong next week on NXT. Lee was about to clean house until Strong took out his knee with a chair and Adam Cole hit Last Shot. Strong then wrapped Lee's ankle in the chair and stomped on it from the second rope, injuring the behemoth. It was not until then that Ciampa ran out for the save. Later in the show, Ciampa was cutting a promo on the group and Cole, the NXT champion, promising to take his title backs soon when they attacked again. This time, it did not take long for a save as Johnny Gargano had his back and the former #DIY tag team members hit their Meeting in the MIddle finisher to clear the ring. Later on, #DIY was discussing fighting Moustache Mountain at Worlds Collide when Undisputed Era was restrained from attacking them in the parking lot. Lee ran in, ejecting a security guard into the bushes and throwing another into the windshield of a Mustang.
Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne def. Mark Anders & Flash Morgan Webster via pinfall to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: A combination electric chair-poisonrana by the former NXT UK tag team champions nearly took down Riddle, but he kicked out late. Riddle was again almost taken out, but Dunne punched Andrews, who fell back into Webster to break up the pinning attempt. Andrews then countered an X-plex into a cutter on Dunne, but as Webster tried to take out Riddle with a tope suicida, Riddle caught him for a Bro Derek outside the ring. Dunne then got up just in a time to block a shooting star press with a punch, and the now-named "Broserweights" ended things with a combination Bitter End-Bro To Sleep for the 1-2-3. Insanely good match with solid chemistry between Riddle & Dunne. Grade: A-
Grizzled Young Veterans def. Time Splitters via pinfall to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: Expectations were that Kushida and former long-time tag team partner Alex Shelley (making his NXT debut) would come out on top -- especially after they hit a combined splash and standing shooting star press -- but Kushida was pushed off the top rope late, leaving Shelley prone for the Ticket to Mayhem. The former IWGP junior tag team champions looked great reunited and may ultimately remain together in the NXT tag team scene. Time Splitters offered to shake hands after the match, but the Veterans refused, cutting a heel promo against Shelley and the crowd. Grade: B
Lio Rush def. Isaiah "Swerve" Scott def. Tyler Breeze (via pinfall) to become No. 1 contender for the NXT cruiserweight championship: Double flips to the outside by Rush and Scott stunned one another, and Rush added a step-up huricanrana off the ring apron for good measure. With Rush outside the ring, Breeze grabbed Scott around the waist for an impressive combination German suplex-vertical suplex. Rush then hit a standing Spanish fly on Scott for a 2.5 count, the first near fall. A poisonrana by Rush on Scott followed by a tope suicida on Breeze outside left Scott prone for the Final Hour, but Breeze broke it up. Breeze's Supermodel Kick appeared to take out Scott, and Rush looked to have the win put away following a spinning kick and FInal Hour on Breeze, but Scott tried to throw Rush out of the ring. Instead, Rush bounced off the bottom rope and hit a cutter. Scott rebounded to drill Breeze in the back of the head with a kick and followed with his JML Driver for the 1-2-3 in a stunner of a match that stole the show. Grade: A+
Bianca Belair wins a women's battle royal to become No. 1 contender for the NXT women's championship: Shotzi Blackheart made her NXT debut, Mercedes Martinez had her first match since officially signing, Kacy Catanzaro returned from a long layoff and near-retirement, and Shayna Baszler came back for the first time since losing the title.
Baszler, Teagen Nox, Io Shirai and Bianca Belair were the final five -- or so we thought. Baszler eliminated Martinez with her legs, and Nox cleaned house with running sentons and a chokeslam of Shirai onto Baszler, who then took a spear from Belair. Nox hit a Shiniest Wizard onto Shirai, but Dakota Kai appeared and pulled her down from the top rope for an elimination, drilling her former best friend in the face with a thrown knee brace.
Just as Baszler had the Kirifuda Clutch on Shirai over the top rope, Blackheart ran in and threw Baszler overboard. Belair then tossed a distracted Blackheart, leaving Belair and Shirai. A tiger fate kick from Shirai was not enough, and neither was a step-up enziguri that left Belair hanging on the ring apron. After a thrilling back and forth, Belair lifted Shirai and moved to the side of the ring where she hit the K.O.D. over the top rope, eliminating her competitor to win. Definitely one of the best battle royals on TV in quite some time (any brand). Great mix of surprises, returns and action. Grade: B+
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