Thanks to rajah.com reader Steve Diamond for sending this in:
Sold outcrowd In Durham Armory for NXT’s first show ever in this arena!
Matt Riddle over Adam Cole (Bay Bay!) w/a vicious powerbomb. Huge pops and crowd engagement for both. Awesome opener.
Lacey Evans & Aliyah (not much reaction for either) vs Xia Li (good pop) and Kairi Sane (huge reaction). Li and Sane over with a Sane flying elbow on Aliyah. As Lacey is on her way to WWE, Sane and Li broke character brought her back into the ring for a sendoff. All 3 hugged and were crying. Nice moment. Announcer mentioned it was her final NXT appearance.
Dominic Dijakovic (not much reaction) vs. Keith Lee. (Way over- huge pop). Crickets throughout early part of the match. Lots of tie ups and rest holds to start. Crowd got into it when Lee body blocked Dominic across the ring and chopped him. Lee tried again, Dominic hit him with a spinning heel kick. Back and forth until Keith hit a moonsault. Dom hit a series of power moves and both went back and forth. “this is awesome” chant broke out. Dom tried to flip off the top lee, who caught him mid air, reversed into a powerslam and got the pin. Crowd was into it at the end and both fistbumped to show mutual respect.
Kona Reeves was out next. Lots of laughter and Boos. Fans either didn’t like him or didn’t care. Announcer reintroduced him at his request, and he took the mic to lots of boos and taunts to insult the crowd and “Dur-ham” and “North Carolina” and work his gimmick. “this is awful” chant broke put until Brennan Williams’ (from Boston by way of nearby Chapel Hill, NC) music hit. Good reaction for Williams he came out with a Lenny Kravitz/rock N roll inspired gimmick. A lot of posing for boos and cheers to start and delay this one. Reeves said his hair is better than Ric Flair’s and Williams hit him with a kick to the face and got the quick pin. Waste of time match. Almost seemed like it was just for the two to work their gimmick in front of a crowd.
6man tag: Undisputed Era (huge pop) vs War Raiders and EC3 with face paint (HUGE reaction for all 3). All 6 were brawling to start. Crowd was way into it. EC3 and War Raiders over with an announced sendoff for EC3. Great match.
Shane Thorn (formerly of The Mighty) vs Ricochet (huge pop) for NA Championship. Heel tactics from Shane. Awesome stuff from Ricochet. Crowd really into it. Shane (now solo wrestler) played a good heel. Awesome match. Ricochet with a reverse Frankensteiner and a modified Michinoku driver for the win. Crowd loved it. Shane may be able to run in a singles role.
Bianca BelAir (nice pop and crowd singalong with music) vs Rhea Ripley (big pop). Crowd got behind Bianca more than Rhea during match. Great back and forth with Bianca getting the win with a flying kick to the chest in the non-title match. Crowd appreciated it. Much better wrestling than the earlier ladies tag match.
Main Event was Johnny Gargano (mixed reaction) and Tomasso Ciampa (huge heel
pop) vs Aleister Black (mega pop) and Velveteen Dream (huge pop and lots of chants). Great match. Lots of back and forth. Good heat for Ciampa throughout, great comedy spots from the Dream. Dream
Imitating Black caused some discord between their team and the heels took over but still showing a lack of distrust throughout the match. Dream took a beating for a while as the heels swapped in and out until the hot tag to Black reversed things. All 4 traded superkicks, front kicks, and knee strikes until all competitors were laid out on their backs to loud “NXT” and “This is Awesome” chants. A few minutes later, another kickfest broke out and Gargano accidentally kicked Ciampa twice. Dream and Black got the win and the crowd went nuts. Ciampa and Johnny took out Dream and attached Black. Ricochet cleared the ring and was attacked by the Undisputed Era. EC3 came to help and was followed by War Raiders and Matt Riddle. All the faces surrounded Adam Cole and took turns beating him down. Ricochet hit a rock bottom and teased the Peoples Elbow but instead hit a standing somersault. Riddle put cole in the figure 4 and Dream hit the Hogan leg drop. All the faces hit simultaneous superkicks and knocked Cole out of the ring.
The faces then took pics together and celebrated. Fans all chanted “This Was Awesome!” Ricochet took the mic, congratulated EC3 and the crowd. Dream then got on the mic and put over each face to great crowd response. EC3 then got on the stick, put everyone over, was super humble and appreciative of everyone.
Overall a great show. First time in Durham and hopefully they come back soon.