The WWE NXT Reaction review is back again. I’m watching on WWE Network on Friday morning since the full broadcast of NXT is not shown in Canada on TV. As a reminder, this is not a play by play review of the show. Instead, it’s more of a reaction that will include my star ratings for the matches as well as my analysis. I usually go play by play for the main event matches. You can check out the review by Lance Augustine as well.
Live from Full Sail University in Orlando, FL. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s roll.
The show began with a recap of last week’s NXT episode that included Adam Cole and Tommaso Ciampa signing their Takeover Portland contract and the Broserweights winning the Dusty Classic tournament. They also showed a clip from Raw showing that Charlotte Flair will be on NXT this week.
Let’s Hear from The Broserweights
The Broserweights duo of Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne drove into the arena in a golf cart with the Dusty Classic trophy on the back of it. Riddle was excited while Dunne had no expression on his face as usual. They get to challenge Undisputed Era for the NXT Tag Team Titles at Takeover Portland.
Riddle said that they have been celebrating since they won the Dusty Classic and said that the “Broserweight Mobile” is a thing now. Dunne said that the last thing he ever thought he would do was be in a tag team with Riddle. Dunne said that they have that trophy and next they’ll become the NXT Tag Team Champions.
The Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish entered with their Tag Team Titles. O’Reilly intentionally said their names wrong, then said that they were disrespecting the Dusty Classic trophy. Roderick Strong calmed his buddies down while Fish said there were bigger fish to fry. That led to Riddle pointing out that Bobby Fish just said fish. Riddle: “How much fish could Bobby Fish fry if Bobby Fish could fry fish?” Well said. Riddle said it repeatedly with the fans clapping along with him. Dunne said that at Takeover, all that matters is The Broserweights are going to “smoke” the Undisputed Era.
Analysis: It was a basic opening promo without a brawl that you might expect there. I think the point here was to get over Riddle’s quirky personality with the Bobby Fish taunting that he did while also making the usual marijuana reference (Riddle likes the stuff) by Dunne at the end there. It only took five minutes, so that’s fine.
The NXT announce team of Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix and Nigel McGuinness welcomed us to the show.
Angel Garza defeated Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
They are both in the cruiserweight division with Garza as the former NXT Cruiserweight Champion. They did a cool spot early on with Scott hitting a springboard hurricanrana to take Garza off the top rope. When Scott tried a dive to the floor, Garza kicked him in the head and they went to a break. Garza did his take off the pants spot to get a pop (it got no reaction on Raw on Monday) and he hit a superkick for two. Scott with a German Suplex and flatliner for a two count. Scott went for a springboard attack off the ropes, but Garza stopped his momentum with a superkick. The referee put on the black gloves because there was blood. Scott got a great nearfall with an inverted powerbomb for a two count. Garza threw his pants at Scott while Scott jumped off the top, so Scott kicked him in the head with the House Call kick for another two count. Scott went up top, Garza tripped him up and Garza hit the Wing Clipper for the victory after 11 minutes.
Match Analysis: ***1/4 Good match with Garza getting a big win to get him back in Cruiserweight Title contention. I like how Scott came close to winning a few times, so it was booked in an even way. Scott is skilled in the ring and he has a bright future, but the fans don’t react to him that much as a big deal. They respond to Garza a lot more. They need to work on character development for Scott.
After the match, Garza bragged about beating up Scott while adding that on Raw, he took out his cousin Humberto Carrillo and Rey Mysterio. Garza said he didn’t lose his title, so he wants his NXT Cruiserweight Championship back and he issued a warning to new champion Jordan Devlin. Nice promo work from Garza.
The Undisputed Era foursome were shown backstage asking if they had seen Tommaso Ciampa. A guy was getting a haircut, so Roderick Strong grabbed the clippers and shaved some of the guy’s head.
They showed Sgt. Slaughter in the crowd watching the show.
Dominik Dijakovic defeated Killian Dain
Dijakovic hit an impressive somersault off the steel steps onto Dain on the floor. Dain came back with a running cross body block when they went into the ring and that led to a break. Dijakovic showed off his power with a suplex into a slam and a sitout Chokeslam for a two count. Dain came back with a superplex. They also exchanged hard kicks to the face. Dijakovic missed a moonsault, so Dain hit a dropkick into the turnbuckle and a senton splash. Dijakovic stopped a Vader Bomb attempt, which led to Dijakovic hitting the Feast Your Eyes knee to the face for the pinfall victory after about eight minutes.
Analysis: **3/4 They are two big men that can move well, so it’s no surprise that they had an entertaining match. It’s impressive watching how easily they can move around the ring. The finish looked great. It was Dijakovic beating Damian Priest last week and this week he beat Killian Dain, so it’s clear that he is next in line for the NXT North American Title shot.
When Dijakovic was on the stage, it was now official that he will challenge Keith Lee for the NXT North American Title at Takeover Portland on February 16. Lee showed up for a staredown.
Analysis: They have had many awesome matches together in WWE and before WWE. I think the match at Takeover Portland may be even better than what we have seen them do before. I’m excited about that.
The Undisputed Era foursome asked Kushida where Tommaso Ciampa was, he didn’t have the answer, so Cole slammed Kushida into a trash can bin. Big man Bronson Reed showed up, so Roderick Strong gave him a rising knee to the face to knock him down.
Interview with Finn Balor and Johnny Gargano
There was a split screen interview between Balor and Gargano. Balor said that this was going to happen at WarGames in November while Gargano said he has been waiting for three months. Balor said he has been waiting for four years to get his hands on Gargano because all he’s been hearing is how good Johnny is and now he has to prove it. Gargano said he’s the first triple crown champion in NXT history and most Takeover main events than anybody in history. Gargano said he knows he has to beat the longest reigning NXT Champion ever and that’s Balor. Gargano said he needs to face NXT Finn Balor, not Raw or Smackdown Balor that lost to Bobby Lashley like 17 weeks in a row. Balor said that guy died long ago. Balor said that he’s not here to have the match of the year, he’s here to have the match of your life. Gargano said he’s going to drive the NXT flag straight through your heart. Gargano left and Balor said he didn’t have a heart.
Analysis: That was great. I liked Gargano’s line about Balor losing to Lashley a lot, which pissed off Balor and made this feel even more personal. Balor’s line about wanting to have Johnny’s last match was also clever as well as the ending line about having no heart.
Mercedes Martinez defeated Kacy Catanzaro
Martinez went for a delayed suplex, Catanzaro got out of it and hit a headscissors. Catanzaro hit a hurricanrana for a two count. Martinez hit Catanzaro with a forearm to knock her out of the ring and a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Martinez whipped Catanzaro into the barricade to weaken her smaller opponent. Martinez hit a Fisherman’s Buster for the pinfall win after about three minutes.
Analysis: * It was an easy win for Martinez as NXT tries to build her up as a new threat in the women’s division. I think Martinez can do well as a heel and I think she’ll be in the title picture within a few months. Catanzaro is a natural underdog babyface that still has a long way to improve in the ring.
The NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley was interviewed and said that her focus is Bianca Belair.
Analysis: A few weeks ago, WWE stopped called it the “Women’s Title” but now on screen it said Women’s Title again. I think it’s easier this way.
It was announced that Tegan Nox will face Dakota Kai in a Street Fight at NXT Takeover Portland on February 16.
The Undisputed Era foursome were shown walking backstage. Tommaso Ciampa went up to them and beat up three of them while focusing his attack on NXT Champion Adam Cole. The fight spilled out to the arena. Ciampa whipped Cole’s head into the top of the announce table repeatedly. That’s when Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly showed up to attack. All four members of Undisputed Era went after Ciampa in the ring. Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle went into the ring to go after Undisputed Era, security spilled out to the ring and the trio of Ciampa, Dunne and Riddle cleared the ring. That led to NXT GM William Regal setting up a six-man tag team match for the main event later in the show.
Jordan Devlin defeated Tyler Breeze
This was not for Devlin’s NXT Cruiserweight Championship. It’s cool to see how much of a pop Breeze gets for his matches. He is so popular with the NXT crowd, yet they never seem to consistently push him. Devlin quickly established himself as the heel by attacking Breeze before he got in the ring. Breeze took control by grounded Devlin and ramming his left knee into the ring post repeatedly. Devlin got some momentum going with an elevated backbreaker. Breeze came back with a dropkick, a back body drop and a clothesline to the floor. Devlin showed off his athleticism with a kick to the chest and a moonsault off the middle ropes onto Breeze on the floor. Devlin got a standing moonsault in the ring leading to another commercial. Breeze got some momentum going again with a clothesline that Devlin sold really well. Devlin hit a cross body block that Breeze turned into a nearfall for himself and Devlin got a standing Spanish Fly slam for a two count. Breeze blocked the moonsault off the top and slapped on the single leg crab submission. Breeze hit the Supermodel Kick that he has used as a finisher many times in his career, but Devlin kicked out at two. Breeze with a rising knee to the face and Devlin jumped over the top with a Cutter for a two count for another amazing nearfall in this match. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them and it was well deserved. Breeze with a kick to the head, Devlin hit a headbutt followed by a Devlin backdrop driver got the pinfall win after about 16 minutes.
Analysis: ***1/2 This was an awesome match as Devlin continues to impress me in every match he has. This felt like a back and forth match without either man in control for that long, so that made it enjoyable because you didn’t know who was going to win. It was nice to see them have such a long match at 16 minutes because it is Devlin’s first match in regular NXT, so you can tell WWE really wants to showcase him. Breeze was the perfect kind of opponent for this match since he’s a veteran that has good matches whenever he’s given the chance. Devlin will probably face Angel Garza for the title next, but if they went back to Devlin vs. Breeze for the title that wouldn’t be a bad idea.
A car was shown driving up to the arena and Charlotte Flair got out of the back seat.
Let’s Hear from Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair and Charlotte Flair
Bianca Belair talked about how she’ll be heading to NXT Takeover Portland to become the NXT Women’s Champion, but apparently Rhea Ripley forgot about all of that because she got in Charlotte Flair’s face. Belair wanted Ripley to come out here face to face, but here comes Flair.
Charlotte Flair was looking good in a black top and pink pants as fans greeted her with “WOO” chants. Flair is already taller than most women and she’s in high heels to make her look even bigger. Flair was a former NXT Women’s Champion that also won the 2020 Royal Rumble a few weeks ago. The fans greeted her with “welcome home” chants.
Flair sucked up to the fans saying she liked an NXT “woo.” Flair told Belair she respects her, she’s an amazing athlete, but she is not Flair and Charlotte said that Rhea overlooked Belair. That brought out the NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley.
Ripley was in the ring with her NXT Women’s Title, Flair put her hand in Belair’s face and Ripley told Flair if she has a purpose then she should spit it out. Belair said to Flair “you standing here, but you don’t even go here” and Belair told Ripley she won’t run over her at NXT Takeover Portland while Belair told Flair that she’ll face her at WrestleMania. Flair told Belair to stand over there and fix her braid because this is a conversation for champions. Ripley told Flair not to disrespect them. Ripley said that Bianca and her will tear eachother apart at Takeover Portland, but they have a saying there: “We Are NXT.”
Bianca hit Flair with a forearm. Bianca and Ripley put Flair on their shoulders and slammed her to the mat. The fans chanted “NXT” for that as Ripley and Belair trash talked eachother. Flair stumbled her way to the back while Ripley stood tall in the ring.
Analysis: That was cool. Big bump by Flair going off the shoulders of both women like that. The fans really liked the unity of the NXT women even though they are facing off at the next Takeover event later this month.
The Undisputed Era made their entrance, but they were attacked their opponents on the ramp. Pete Dunne gave Fish a suplex onto the apron and Ciampa hit a running knee on O’Reilly. The trio of Riddle, Dunne and Ciampa beat up Roderick Strong together and tossed Strong into the barricade. Ciampa tossed Cole into the ring to begin the match.
Tommaso Ciampa, Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle defeated Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish by disqualification
It’s the main event, so I’ll go play by play format for this. O’Reilly sent Ciampa into the turnbuckle and Ciampa came back with a clothesline. Fish battled Riddle while going for a forearm, Riddle fought it off, Cole tagged in and Dunne hit Cole with a dropkick. Dunne with a rising kick to the head. Cole sent Dunne to the apron, Dunne hit a moonsault on Fish and Strong showed up at ringside with a full nelson slam onto the edge of the ring apron that the referee never saw. Dunne fought out of double team attacks with a missile dropkick and Riddle tagged in. Riddle hit a Pele Kick on O’Reilly, an exploder suplex for Fish and O’Reilly followed by Broton splashes for both guys. Riddle with a bridging German Suplex on Fish for a two count. The heels regrouped on the floor leading to a break.
The match returned with the heels in full control as Fish and Cole grounded Riddle with chinlocks followed by Cole slamming Riddle onto the knee of Cole. O’Reilly and Riddle each hit German Suplexes followed by Riddle hitting a clothesline on O’Reilly. Dunne got the tag with a German Suplex on Cole, he stomped on Cole’s hands and Dunne slammed O’Reilly on Cole followed by a Dunne kick for a two count. Cole avoided a moonsault followed by a running knee to the face. Cole jumped off the ropes, Dunne blocked that and Cole hit the Ushigoroshi slam into the knee for a two count. Dunne broke free as Ciampa got the tag with clotheslines, a knee on Fish and a belly to belly suplex on O’Reilly. Ciampa with a knee on O’Reilly, then a DDT on Strong, who wasn’t even in the match. Ciampa hit the Project Ciampa double knees to the back of O’Reilly as Fish made the save for his partner. Riddle with a Spear on Fish. Ciampa let Cole tag in so that Ciampa could face off with his Takeover Portland opponent. Cole with a jumping kick on Ciampa, Dunne hit a jumping kick on Dunne. Cole with two superkicks on each of the Broserweights. Ciampa looked like he was going to finish off Cole after a clothesline, but Strong hit a knee to the face of Ciampa for the DQ finish at around 14 minutes.
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a great main event tag team match by six guys that can really put on a show in a match like this. The DQ finish didn’t bother me that much because it made sense with Strong hovering around ringside throughout the match. The booking in NXT is such where they don’t have their champions lose non-title matches very often, so clearly WWE wanted to keep the champs strong while not booking the faces to lose either. Dunne and Riddle continue to impress as a team while Ciampa's offense always looks brutal.
After the match was over, O’Reilly and Fish hit their double team move on Dunne called Chasing the Dragon (brainbuster into a knee) and then they did the high/low kick combo on Riddle on the floor. Strong hit a suplex into a knee on Ciampa. Cole had yellow spray paint and he sprayed an “X” on Ciampa’s back because Ciampa did it to Cole last week when he put the “X” on their contract. Cole called Ciampa a joke and a nobody.
The lights went out in the arena, it had today’s date on the screen and Velveteen Dream showed up in the ring.
Dream jumped off the top rope with a double axe on all four UE guys. Dream worked over the UE guys with punches as fans chanted “Velveteen” for him. Dream hit Cole with a superkick, a Dream Valley Driver on Strong and Dream took off his pants to reveal tights that had Strong’s family’s face on them. Dream had “Call Me Marina” on the back of his pants since she is Strong’s wife. The fans chanted “welcome back” for Dream. Velveteen Dream celebrated in the ring to end the show.
Analysis: Welcome back to Velveteen Dream, who has missed several months with a back injury. The story was that Roderick Strong took him out, so Dream was back for revenge. The fans loved seeing him and I did too. I wonder if they will add Dream vs. Strong to the Takeover Portland card since they already have six matches, but I wouldn’t mind seeing that match either.
Three Stars of the Show
- Pete Dunne/Matt Riddle/Tommaso Ciampa
- Undisputed Era
- Jordan Devlin/Tyler Breeze
I give this show a 7.75 out of 10.
This was a great show as they continue the build to NXT Takeover Portland with strong non-wrestling segments and the matches were pretty good too. Now that Takeover is just over a week away, they are more focused on the booking, which has led to better shows. Bringing Charlotte Flair into the mix with Ripley and Belair made that segment very interesting too.
There were several quality matches like we get every week. I don’t think there was a standout individual in the main event match, but they all worked so well together. The Devlin/Breeze match was impressive too.
The lineup for NXT Takeover Portland on Sunday, February 16 looks like this:
* NXT Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa
* NXT Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Bianca Belair
* Finn Balor vs. Johnny Gargano
* NXT North American Championship: Keith Lee (c) vs. Dominik Dijakovic
* NXT Tag Team Championships: The Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly) (c) vs. The Broserweights (Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne)
* Street Fight: Tegan Nox vs. Dakota Kai
NXT Takeover: Portland streams live, Sunday, Feb. 16, at 7 ET/4 PT on the award-winning WWE Network!