By: Frank Hyden
NXT was last night and featured a couple of #1 contenders matches. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD- Candice LeRae wins a battle royal to become #1 contender
LeRae and Rhea Ripley were the only ones who got entrances, everyone else was already in the ring. They did show Tegan Nox in the back, holding her knee after having been hit with a steel pipe by LeRae. This was a pretty good battle royal, Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez dominated early before eliminating each other towards the end. Kacy Catanzaro showed off her athleticism by avoiding elimination a few times. She was on the barrier and another time landed on her butt and got back in the ring without her feet touching the floor. It came down to Shotzi Blackheart and LeRae and they battled on the ringsteps. LeRae ended up flipping Blackheart to the floor, with Shotzi taking a big flatback bump to the outside. LeRae celebrated her win and will now face NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai TakeOver 31.
GOOD- Tommaso Ciampa beats Jake Atlas
Atlas had more offense than I thought he might, but in the end Ciampa pinned him to get the win.
GOOD/BAD- Danny Burch and Roderick Strong beat Raul Mendoza and Fabian Aichner
The match was fairly good, but the concept is just too weird. 1 member of each team tags with another versus the other two, with the winners reuniting with their teams in a #1 contenders match? Why not just have 2 separate tag matches, with the winners of those matches facing each other the next week? Anyway, Burch pinned Mendoza so Burch and Oney Lorcan will face the Undisputed Era to decide the #1 contenders to the NXT Tag Titles.
GOOD- Damian Priest beats Austin Theory
This was a pretty good match, Theory took a Razor’s Edge on the ring apron then the Reckoning so Priest picked up the win. After the match, Johnny Gargano attacked Priest to try to build some hype for their match at TakeOver 31.
GOOD- Ridge Holland squashes Antonio De Luca
This match was a fine squash, an effective way of getting over Holland’s power and strength and all that. I want to talk about something else, though. Holland comes to the ring wearing a long coat. He shouldn’t do that, and this goes for all wrestlers who wear the tighty-whitey style of trunks. When you wear the short trunks and you wear a coat or even your wrestling shirt you look like you’re either wearing a dress if the coat is closed or nothing at all if you’re wearing your shirt, especially if the shirt comes down to the end of your trunks. An open coat isn’t too bad, which is what Holland had on, but it’s still not a great look. I think the boxer brief style trunks are the way to go, they just look better. Coat/shirt or not, guys shouldn’t really be wearing the tighty-whitey trunks. Those should have gone the way of the short shorts in the NBA.
GOOD- Kyle O’Reilly wins the Gauntlet Eliminator match to become #1 contender
It started with O’Reilly and Kushida, then Bronson Reed joined in. Before the next guy could come in, Kushida got eliminated after interference by Velveteen Dream and a top rope splash from Reed. Timothy Thatcher entered next, Cameron Grimes after that. O’Reilly beat both Reed and Thatcher before making Grimes submit to become the #1 contender and the man who will face Finn Balor at TakeOver 31. This was a pretty good show overall., with some new blood injected into the NXT Title scene with O’Reilly getting a title shot.
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