Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs El Hijo Del Fantasma

Following on from last week’s recap of the Interim Cruiserweight Championship tournament, it was action from the off as Isaiah “Swerve” Scott took on El Hijo Del Fantasma. It was the first of many decent matches, with both Superstars putting on a hard-fought performance. As expected between two top performers, there were some great spots, such as Swerve’s hurricanrana off the ropes on Fantasma, and when Swerve went for a flip over the ropes to the outside and missed, only for Fantasma to get in the ring and land another one of his epic suicide dives on Swerve.

It looks as though the honeymoon period is over for Fantasma, as Swerve picked up the win following El Hijo’s failed Phantom Driver, which led to Swerve rolling him up in a Crucifix for the victory. After the match, Swerve said how he had a lot of respect for Fantasma, but that NXT was Swerve’s house, and it was always going to be his night.

Winner: Isaiah “Swerve Scott Rating: 6/10

Candice LeRae W/ Johnny Gargano vs Kacy Catanzaro

Ever since LeRae turned full-on heel after booting Tommaso Ciampa in-between the legs three weeks ago, we’ve been seeing the transformation of the “pint-sized pixie” into something much more sinister. Gargano and LeRae teased a new side of the power couple in their promo last week, and as she walked through the curtains, her new persona was in full effect. Now known as “The Poison Pixie,” LeRae – sporting dyed lilac hair colour – walked out with new entrance music. Gargano was hyping her up on the mic, calling her his favourite wrestler, amongst other things.

In the match, LeRae was more violent – more calculated than before. Although Catanzaro tried to utilise her gymnastic background, the Poison Pixie worked hard on her ribs, which started after she rammed her knees into Catanzaro following a failed crossbody dive. Candice LeRae looked a lot sharper in the ring, and much deadlier. She picked up the win following a Wicked Stepsister that was effectively delivered.

After her match, LeRae returned to the ring to attack Catanzaro once again, applying a face lock as Catanzaro tried to get out of it, however, it was to no avail.

Winner: Candice LeRae Rating: 6.5/10

The Newly-Bros Show!

Matt Riddle isn’t only a fantastic in-ring competitor, but a great showman. He had me laughing a lot with this segment, and I can only hope that one day down the line he’ll be wrestling for the biggest titles at the Showcase of The Immortals. Timothy Thatcher and Riddle came out from the back. Riddle said WWE had a tendency to throw two wrestlers together when making tag teams, but look what happened when they did that with him and Pete Dunne: they won the Dusty Classic tournament, followed by the NXT Tag Team Championship.

Riddle said he knew Timothy Thatcher like the back of his hand if he had known his hand for two weeks. It got funnier, as Byron Saxton came out to host the “Newly-Bros Show.” It was a pastiche on the Mr and Mrs game show, with Saxton asking them both questions to see if the other got it right. Perhaps the funniest moment was when Saxton asked Thatcher where the craziest place he’d “done it” was. Thatcher – thinking he meant where he’d wrestled – said a three-way in a laundromat.

The innuendo related to Riddle’s love of marijuana, Thatcher saying he doesn’t have time to “Netflix and chill,” and all the other laugh-out-loud moments came to an abrupt end when Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel of Imperium came out and brutally attacked both men. RIddle was launched onto the concrete from above the barriers, whilst Barthel and Aichner took Thatcher in the ring to continue the beat down.

It looks as though we’re going to see these two teams go at it soon, and it’ll be one hell of a match when it does finally happen. With next week looking stacked, it’ll probably be happening in a fortnight or so, but I’m fine with that. As long as I know it’s going down, I can be a patient man.

NXT Women’s Championship Match: Mia Yim vs Charlotte Flair (C)

In her first title defence since defeating Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania 36, Charlotte Flair put on a great performance against Mia Yim. She constantly highlighted why she’s one of the best in the business, and rarely allowed Yim to gain any kind of momentum. Yim did try, however, as she dropped Flair with a tornado DDT off the ropes and Soul Food.

Flair managed to control Yim for most of the match, and when it was time for The Queen to pick up the victory, it was done with style. It was all over when Flair locked in the Figure Four and bridging into the Figure Eight to make Yim tap out. As Flair walked to the back, Io Shirai – the number one contender for the NXT Women’s Championship – came out and said that next week, she wanted her shot at her. As for the match itself, Charlotte Flair was dominant. Mia Yim was never going to win, but at least we’re seeing the best of NXT getting the opportunity to go up against arguably the best female Superstar in the WWE.

Winner: Charlotte Flair Rating: 6/10

Dexter Lumis vs Shane Thorne

Lumis has become more and more impressive over recent weeks, and once again he put on a dominant performance against Thorne. Whilst Shane Thorne presented Lumis with his toughest challenge yet, it still wasn’t enough to end Lumis’ winning streak. Lumis hit another one of his signature spine busters, then landed a modified Uranage, followed by an Anaconda Vice to make Thorne tap out. The creepiness of Dexter Lumis continued after the match, as Thorne laid in his lap, with Lumis softly stroking his head.

Winner: Dexter Lumis Rating: 6/10

Tony Nese vs Drake Maverick

It was once again time for NXT to play on the recent firings by reminding us all that Drake Maverick was fighting for his career in WWE. Before the match, we saw footage from last week as Jake Atlas told Maverick he believes in him, to which Maverick thanked him in return. His match against Tony Nese wasn’t anything special, acting more as an opportunity to tell his underdog story.

For most of the match, Maverick struggled to keep up with the athleticism of Nese. At times, Maverick was selling his ‘injuries’ a little too much, but when it was time for Maverick to hit the move that finished Nese off, it felt like a satisfying conclusion to the match. From the top rope, Maverick got creative with a diving bulldog for the win, and it looked great. Maybe this storyline came to fruition after WWE realised what Maverick could achieve within NXT, but I guess we’ll never know.

Winner: Drake Maverick Rating: 6.5/10

NXT North American Championship Match: Keith Lee (C) vs Damian Priest

This was by far the best match we’ve seen on NXT in weeks, with both men putting on stellar performances. Throughout the show, we’d seen Keith Lee and Damian Priest cut promos on each other, but this was the time for talking to end. I don’t think I’ll ever not be surprised by how powerful and agile Keith Lee is. He showed multiple times in this match why he is indeed limitless, powerslamming Priest from the crowd side of the barriers onto the ring apron, and dead-lifting the 6ft 5″ Archer of Infamy into a suplex twice were just two examples of that.

Lee was in control a lot, but Priest got in some solid offence. He landed an impressive cyclone kick on Keith Lee, and dived over the ropes into Keith Lee, knocking him through the barriers. It was an aggressive showdown throughout, but the moment when they exchanged chops, boots, and counters towards the end took it to a new level. Although Damian Priest put on a good performance, it wasn’t to be his night. After grabbing his nightstick and trying to hit Lee when the referee was distracted, Lee hit two Spirit Bombs in a row to pick up the victory and retain the gold.

Winner: Keith Lee ( Still NXT North American Champion) Rating: 8/10

What Else Went Down?

– Dominik Dijakovic cut a promo about Johnny Gargano playing the victim but said he didn’t know why. He challenged him to a match next week on NXT to see if he could back up his words.

– Following El Hijo Del Fantasma’s match, the two masked men who kidnapped Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde once again tried to grab him, but he managed to fight them off for a second week running.

– A video package aired for Make-A-Wish, and the work WWE has done to help those less fortunate. You can donate to the wonderful cause through their official website.

– Adam Cole once again said for the millionth time this month that Velveteen Dream doesn’t deserve a title shot, but regardless, a match between the two Superstars has been set for next week, with the NXT World Championship on the line.

– In a vignette, Scarlett Bordeaux announced that next week, herself and Karrion Kross will finally be making their official debut on NXT. After months of waiting, it’s finally happening, people!

– Kacy Catanzaro was backstage tending to her neck when Candice LeRae walked past to say that this was the new NXT, and she should get used to it.

– On next week’s NXT, Finn Balor will return to confront his attacker. There is no further information who it was, but with Karrion Kross appearing on the same show, is Balor’s time up?

After The Bell

I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s NXT. It was much better than last Wednesday’s and gave us match after match that delivered every time. The main event was the best we’ve seen in a while, and I’m happy Keith Lee managed to retain the North American title once again.

We now know Karrion Kross and Scarlett Bordeaux will be live next week, and the likelihood they had something to do with Balor’s attack last week is looking even more probable seeing as though The Prince will be addressing his attackers next Wednesday as well.

The Newly-Bros Show was genuinely funny. I’m enjoying Thatcher and Riddle as much as The Broserweights, and I don’t want either partnership to end when Pete Dunne finally returns. Maybe they’ll form a stable, or maybe it’ll end in tears. At this point, I’m just going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Charlotte Flair is making an impact on the women’s division, but after Io Shirai, who’s next? Maybe the newly-named Poison Pixie will be facing down The Queen. Dexter Lumis is ready to explode into the bigger picture anytime now, and the impression is it’ll have something to do with Undisputed Era. I’d love to see him interrupt the announced main event match for next week of Adam Cole and Velveteen Dream, leading to the “maniacal mannequin” entering the NXT World title picture.

Star of the Show: Keith Lee Overall Rating: 8/10

All images and videos courtesy of WWE

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