This week’s show was packed full of promising matches, including an epic main event between Tommaso Ciampa and Velveteen Dream. There was plenty of fallout from Halloween Havoc, a brutal interruption, the makings of new feuds, and plenty more. Without further ado, let’s get stuck in.

Ember Moon vs Dakota Kai W/ Raquel Gonzalez

Moon waisted no time by trying to lock in a ground submission early on, but Kai wasn’t going down without a fight. Both women reversed each other’s moves until Kai played dirty and drove Moon’s shoulder into the ring post. Kai worked the injured arm with multiple arm locks, but Moon managed to break it up with a one-armed powerbomb. Despite struggling, Moon used her power to beat the hell out of Kai, landing a big boot as Kai laid on the apron, then followed it up with a suicide dive which knocked Kai into the barricade at ringside. She went for another, but Kai moved out of the way.

After the break, Moon landed a spinebuster and got a two-count. Kai fought back, but Moon connected with a big move that saw her drive her knees into Kai’s chest after jumping off the turnbuckle. Moon locked in a crossface but Kai reversed it. Moon snapped with some big strikes, throwing Kai around like a rag doll. Moon climbed the turnbuckle, but Gonzalez jumped up onto the apron which distracted the referee. This allowed Kai to grab Moon on her shoulders and hit a big volley to the head and grab the victory. A superb start to the night, and a big win for Dakota Kai.

Winner: Dakota Kai Rating: 7.5/10

Kushida vs Cameron Grimes

Before his match, Grimes was clearly not over his experience at Halloween Havoc as he jumped when McKenzie Mitchell interviewed him and the ref (who was a zombie last week) showed up. In the ring, Kushida kept Grimes close to the mat, using his mat knowledge to keep Grimes grounded. Grimes looked sharp, but Kushida was sharper, using some of his flair to lock in an armbar. Grimes stunned Kushida with a kick to the head, then locked in an armbar of his own.

Grimes managed to drop Kushida by slamming his throat into the top rope, but Kushida fought back with some big kicks and a back elbow. The Timesplitter hit a handstand double kick as Grimes stood on the apron, but Grimes showed off his strength by deadlifting Kushida into a sit-down powerbomb. Both men fought on the top turnbuckle which ended with a Hoverboard Lock into the mat below. Grimes knocked Kushida into the ref, then Kushida threw Grimes into the ref, knocking him outside. Kushida locked in the Hoverboard Lock which saw Grimes tap out. Grimes then hit a Spanish fly and got a three-count, but with no referee, both men couldn’t get a win. The zombie ref from last week ran out which scared Grimes. Kushida managed to trap Grimes with the Hoverboard Lock and he tapped out. Another great match, and an important victory for Kushida.

Winner: Kushida Rating: 7/10

Drake Maverick & Killian Dain vs Ever-Rise

Hurray. The greatest tag team I never knew I wanted faced the jobber extraordinaire, Ever-Rise. They waisted no time in beating the hell out of them as Dain threw Maverick into Parker who laid on the mat. Ever-Rise got some teamwork in early on, with both Parker and Martel wearing Maverick down. Maverick could have tagged in Dain, but he wanted to continue fighting which led to more of a beating for him.

Pat McAfee, Oney Loran, Danny Burch, and Pete Dunne ran to the ring and wiped everyone out. They took out Maverick and Dain whilst McAfee held one of the cameras at ringside. After the break, McAfee grabbed a mic. He said they run NXT now, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. He said they would hang the Undisputed Era’s banner from the rafters to commemorate their legacy as it has now ended.

McAfee mocked all four members of UE and called their fans stupid. Dunne spoke about returning the favour of Strong turning his back on him, which led to him doing the same to Kyle O’ Reilly last week. This was a brutal verbal beatdown of Undisputed Era. They attached the banner to the rafters but decided to throw it into a trashcan instead. They put it in one that was under the ring and set it on fire.

This was a mockery of UE and their fans. McAfee was on fire, proving he is a fantastic heel. As they left the arena and headed to the car they arrived in, Killian Dain grabbed McAfee, but he was overpowered by his flock of vultures. Dunne ended up kicking the car door into Dain which left McAfee looking shocked. They drove off leaving Dain on the floor. Before they left, McAfee looked at the camera and said, “we’re the greatest, you suck.”

Winners: Ended in double DQ Rating: 4/10

Shotzi Blackheart vs Toni Storm

Blackheart ran out and pushed Storm, furious because she thought she had done something with her mini-tank. This was an intense match right from the start. Storm was in control, using multiple submission holds to damage Blackheart’s neck. She hit a big suplex, but Shotzi kicked out. Blackheart fought back, but Storm hit a big German suplex and another which almost led to a pin, but she only managed a two-count.

Blackheart hit a suplex of her own and was very close to pinning Storm. Storm headbutted Shotzi and fell on her, almost getting a three-count. Blackheart jumped onto the top rope and DDT’d Storm who was on the ring apron. Blackheart climbed into the ring as LeRae appeared on the big screen which showed her with the mini-tank. As she was distracted, Storm managed to get the win out of nowhere. Back on the screen, LeRae drove over the tank in her truck, which left Blackheart in tears. Storm went to see if she was alright as the show went into a break.

Winner: Toni Storm Rating: 7/10

Velveteen Dream vs Tommaso Ciampa

Ciampa’s aggression was on overdrive as he went after Dream’s injured left arm. He tried to stomp on it, but Dream escaped the ring. Outside, Dream drove Ciampa into the barricades, but he recovered and dropped Dream onto the barricade, landing his knee into his jaw. Ciampa planted Dream onto the announcer table then slammed his cast onto it. Back in the ring, Dream tried to gain some momentum, but Ciampa whipped him hard into the turnbuckle and sent him outside.

Dream tried to walk to the back, but Ciampa took him into the ring and hit a German suplex. He went for the Fairy Tale Ending but couldn’t get it, instead, slamming Dream’s arm into the mat. Dream was getting destroyed by Ciampa. He kicked the hell out of him as he sat in the corner, then did the same as The Experience sat against the steel steps at ringside.

After the break, Dream got a bit of respite after scraping Ciampa’s eyes, hitting a big spinebuster to knock the wind out of him. Dream pummelled Ciampa on the mat, then locked in a modified Boston crab. Ciampa hit a succession of clotheslines and charged into Dream in the corner. He almost got the victory after he dropped Dream with a superplex, but it wasn’t to be. The two continued to beat the hell out of each other, with Dream flying over the ropes onto Ciampa outside.

Dream hit a suplex on Ciampa which sent them both outside whilst still locked up. Dream grabbed a chair but the ref threw it outside. Ciampa then hit Willow’s Bell followed by a Fairy Tale Ending for the victory. What a phenomenal match and a great way to end a superb night of action.

Winner: Tommaso Ciampa Rating: 8.5/10

What Else Went Down?

– A video package featuring Io Shirai aired, with the NXT Women’s Champion saying she wanted another match with Rhea Ripley.

– Johnny Gargano was at his home talking about how great he was. He got a call from Ghostface who said he was “in his house,” but was sat next to him, poking fun at the Scream franchise. It was a funny segment and a nice break from the savagery that had been seen from McAfee and his cronies.

– El Legado Del Fantasma were in the parking lot where Santos Escobar was talking about how he beat Jake Atlas fair and square. Atlas drove up to them in his car and attacked Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde with a baseball bat, then rode off.

– Another live episode of Thatch-As That Can aired where Timothy Thatcher talked about reversals. Once more it was a pretty dull segment that did nothing to build him as a heel. It feels as though NXT don’t know what to do with him at the moment.

– Xia Li was talking about some letters she received from her family. William Regal brought out a letter, which led to Li asking for a match with Raquel Gonzalez next week. I’m a big fan of Li, so I hope this leads to a change of pace for her. She needs something to build her up after being used poorly as of late.

– Rhea Ripley replied to Io Shirai in another video package accepting the challenge. Surely there are other women on the NXT roster that deserve a shot?

– It was announced that Johnny Gargano will face someone for the NXT North American Championship, and Breezango would get their rematch for the NXT Tag Team Championships against Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch.

After The Bell

The matches tonight were fantastic. Right from the opening between Dakota Kai and Ember Moon to the main event, everyone put on a great performance. Even though the Ever-Rise vs Drake Maverick and Killian Dain match wasn’t anything special, the interruption from Pat McAfee and the kings of NXT was superb. His return has me excited with every new week, and that is something I never thought I would feel.

Shotzi Blackheart and Toni Storm ended in upset, and LeRae’s actions set a great turn of events in motion. Johnny Gargano was on top form, and I am excited to see who his opponent is next week. Timothy Thatcher’s segments continue to become stale, Rhea Ripley getting another shot at the NXT Women’s Championship is annoying, the potential for Xia Li to get an important victory next week is exciting, and I’m growing more in love with Cameron Grimes.

Star of the Show: Pat McAfee Overall Rating: 8/10

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