One week before NXT goes live for two full hours on USA Network, WWE’s third brand gave fans another terrific taste of the action that is in store for them every Wednesday night going forward. Following up on a nice debut last week, NXT jumped out of the gate with barn-burner of a match between a pair of behemoths and ended its first hour with a key match that determined the No. 1 contender for the NXT championship.
What NXT has accomplished through two weeks is proving that this brand is must-watch for the average wrestling fan. Not only that, there have been few hiccups going from a one-hour show taped four episodes at time to two hours of live TV each week despite many of the NXT superstars not having too much experience in the latter.
Mauro Ranallo shined once again on the mic, adding another insane level of excitement to the aforementioned matches, and there was enough in the second hour on WWE Network to keep viewers invested after the switch. The one drawback for NXT on cable TV is that it is almost purely in-ring wrestling, and if WWE hopes to attract new viewers, it needs to tell them who some of these characters are through short promos, vignettes or flashbacks.
So what went down on Wednesday night and what does it mean for next week’s uber-important show? Keep on reading for full results and grades from the second episode of NXT on USA Network.
NXT results, grades
Keith Lee def. Dominic Dijakovic via pinfall: The third showdown between these two behemoths proved to be the best yet, evening the series at 1-1-1 with a fourth and final match expected on a future show or perhaps an NXT TakeOver. Dijakovic delivered an early highlight with a chokeslam on the ring apron. Lee bounced back with an impressive corkscrew plancha to the outside.
However, it did not take Dijakovic long to answer with an avalanche destroyer and a moonsault as he attempted to pick up the fall. As the referee began counting, Lee sat up with Dijakovic in his arms, dead-lifted him into a standing position and then hit his Big Bang Catastrophe finisher (jackhammer) for the victory. Another fantastic match between these two, and yet, somehow fans were left wanting even more of it in the future. Grade: A
The Street Profits want the smoke: Helping promote next week’s NXT two-hour debut on USA Network, the Profits explained why they would be victorious in their NXT tag team championship rematch against Undisputed Era.
Dakota Kai def. Taynara Conti via pinfall: Kai made her return to the ring after spending the last year rehabbing a torn ACL. She got a great ovation from the crowd and quickly dispatched Conti with a GTK for the 1-2-3. Kai looked rusty, and the match did not provide much to sink one’s teeth into. Grade: D
Matt Riddle def. Killian Dain via submission in a Street Fight to become No. 1 contender for the NXT Championship: The long rivalry finally came to an end in a match restarted from last week’s all-out brawl to end the first live edition of NXT. Riddle and Dain did not waste long to bring street fight elements to the bout with Dain driving Riddle through a wall with a flying crossbody. Riddle got a measure of revenge soon thereafter hitting Dain with a Bro-Ton through a table. Back in the ring, a chair shot to the back, powerbomb and knee strike through a chair nearly gave Riddle the win, but Dain kicked out at 2.8. Dain then placed a chair atop a prone Riddle and smashed it with a Kendo stick. Riddle turned the tables and did the same, breaking the stick.
Dain refused to be pinned, however, and it was only with a Fujiwara armbar that Riddle picked up the win. NXT champion Adam Cole came to the ring and immediately trash talked Riddle, screaming that he was not in his league and would never be champion. Riddle grabbed his arm and placed Cole in a Fujiwara armbar, immediately getting the champion to tap out. Top-notch work from Riddle and Dain in a match that provided a fitting end to their extended rivalry and made Riddle look great ahead of his title match. Grade: A
Rhea Ripley def. Kayden Carter via pinfall: Formerly known as Lacey Lane, it was Carter who impressed the inaugural NXT UK women’s champion with a couple of huricanranas. Ripley quickly got fed up with Carter’s aerial maneuvers, overpowering her with her Rip Tide pump-handle powerbomb for the 1-2-3. Grade: C
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch def. Ever-Rise via pinfall: Nothing special in this one, rather just typical tag team action putting Lorcan & Burch over as a reestablished tag team against Canadian veterans Chase Parker & Matt Martel. An elevated assisted DDT got the win for the duo. Grade: C-
Deonna Purrazzo & Chelsea Green are ringside: These two appear to be forming a women’s tag team in NXT and were shown hanging out together in the first row after the match. Green was injured back in April and appears to be on the verge of returning to TV.
Cameron Grimes def. Raul Mendoza via pinfall: Right off the bat, Mendoza ducked Grimes’ flying double knee that he used to take out Sean Maluta in 7 seconds last week. Grimes dominated the early action until Mendoza hit a awesome flying hip toss later followed by a step-up enzuigiri that stunned his opponent. Another enzuigiri with Grimes on the top rope, followed by an avalanche Frankensteiner, nearly resulted in an upset. But once Grimes got to his feet, he quickly hit a charging Mendoza with his flying double stomp finisher to pick up the hard-fought win. Grade: B-
Kushida & Breezango def. Imperium via pinfall: After Tyler Breeze was isolated for a bit, Fandango took the hot tag and went nuts, hitting a variety of maneuvers before taking out all of Imperium with a tope con hilo. A handspring double heel kick by Kushida bounced Fabian Aichner and Alexander Wolfe from the ring apron, leaving Kushida alone in the ring with Marcel Barthel, who he quickly folded in half for a sudden pinfall. Kushida immediately ran out of the ring to avoid the rest of Impuerium attacking him, but as he was celebrating, WALTER blindsided him with a huge kick to the face and stood over him in silence as the show went off the air. There was good action in this one, but it was tough to truly get invested because action did not pick up until the final 2 minutes. Grade: C+