For the first time ever, WWE NXT came to the land down under. NXT travelled to six of Australia’s major cities, showcasing the world-class talent developed in their ranks. In Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena, which welcomes sport and music from around the world, wrestling fans gathered and eagerly awaited a phenomenon unlike anything else, right on their doorstep. Flocks of people headed to two locations: Margaret Court, and Rod Laver Arena next door where Keith Urban was playing. I know where I’d rather be.
Aussies are stealing the show in NXT, and with WWE holding tryouts earlier in the day for local wrestlers in the independents, we could see a few new true blue recruits in the near future.
Liv Morgan, Ember Moon and Billie Kay opened the show. Despite songs of “Hey Billie”, she did not want to be our girl. A nice finish, as Billie appeared to be going for a Tower of Doom spot at the turnbuckle, instead suplexing Liv as Moon held on to the top corner. Ember Moon’s finisher was even more stunning than usual in person, picking off Billie Kay and winning by pinfall.
The atmosphere was odd for Wesley Blake v Andrade Almas, Blake falling victim to the Australian catch-cry of ‘You are a wanker’. He managed to earn the favour of the crowd towards the end, but was defeated by Almas’s hammerlock DDT.
The arena erupted for the Revival – such is the world we live in, where good heels get all the love. They picked up the win against Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli with a phenomenal Shatter Machine. We might be seeing a lot more of Moss and Sabbatelli down the road, and hopefully, the Revival are waiting on the call-up.
Next up was Patrick Clark vs Oney Lorcan, and Clark was an absolute enigma. Chants of “Sexual Chocolate” went ignored by Clark, but he happily indulged in a bit of “Purple Rain”. At this point, fans appeared to be getting a little carried away. It’s easy to forget the purpose of NXT as “developmental”, given the star power on the top end of the card. Nonetheless, hardcore fans should know better than to leave their respect at the door.
DIY vs TM61 for the tag titles was the match of the night. The air was electric, where hometown heroes and indie darlings collided in a soul-warming classic. Shane Thorne and Nick Miller, founding members of Melbourne City Wrestling faction TMDK, continue to prove that “The Mighty Don’t Kneel”, as they leave their mark on NXT. As for Johnny Wrestling and Psycho Killer, they’re something else, and Melbourne had no problem letting them know. The tag champs were victorious. Fingers crossed this one makes the network, so the world can see the true extent of the tag team Renaissance.
I personally lost my shit when the King, William Regal, serenaded the crowd for a moment, thanking the NXT Universe for making this possible. Looking at where NXT came from, it’s hard to believe that in such a short space of time, it’s developed a global brand and such a loyal following on the other side of the world as it has. Where the future direction of the brand lays in question once its big exports depart, Regal demonstrates a trust in his fans to make their future stars.
Elias Sampson and Bobby Roode teamed up against Tye Dillinger and Buddy Murphy, and it’s the most fun of the night. Sampson is booed out the building upon entrance and throughout; his singing didn’t strike a chord with the crowd, as chants of “Shut the f*** up” bellowed to the rafters. Bobby Roode is adored worldwide, and undoubtedly has the best theme song in the WWE today. He didn’t take too friendly to being rated a “1” by the crowd, and his reactions were ridiculously amusing.
Ten counts plagued the entire event, burning brighter as the originator joined in the antics. He and Murphy, who rejoiced in one of the biggest baby face reactions of the night upon his homecoming, are dubbed as “Aussie Ten” by the crowd. As cheesy as it is, I couldn’t help but laugh along. Surprisingly, Tye got the pin on Sampson in Murphy’s home town. Maybe a sign of big things to come for the Perfect Ten, especially with a possible number one contendership on the horizon.
Peyton Royce was greeted with “Sydney Sucks” chants (despite her extensive work in Melbourne promotions), and a guy excitedly hoisting a sign “Peyton check your DM’s” from the front of the second level. He got her attention, and she turned up her nose. She challenged for Asuka’s NXT Women’s Championship. Calls for a Mexican wave and tables were rather disappointing. At least the ‘CM Punk’ chants were shut down early on. Asuka won with the Asuka Lock, in what was a fairly standard affair.
Before the main event commenced, it wouldn’t be a complete night without a technical fault. The cage was stuck at an angle upon descent, striking fear that the stipulation might not go ahead. Despite the ten-minute delay, officials were finally able to position the cage over the ring. The cage “still got it”.
The match was slow to start, but the crowd was still pretty hot, majorly in favour of Shin. Joe never really got any close calls in, which should be indicative of a call up around the corner. Nakamura had the opening to walk out the cage door, but instead slams it shut and lands another Kinshasa to retain the NXT Championship by pinfall. This match will make its way onto this week’s episode of NXT.
The night ends with a grand celebration and a chorus of Shinsuke’s song. It might be my bias, but I’m sure it would have beat the Keith Urban any day.