Femme Fatale Four-Way
– The Ember Moon-Liv Morgan match was set up last week as a friendly competition to see who’d “unofficially” face the NXT Women’s Champion coming out of NXT TakeOver: San Antonio. Moon was still undefeated, yet Morgan was the one to challenge her. The story was there at least. They exchanged some chain wrestling and rolled around in package pin attempts for a good 25 seconds. Morgan seemed to have improved a bit as she hit a huracanrana. Moon applied a crossface, though Morgan fought out of it with a pin attempt that took Moon’s momentum back. Morgan laid on a guillotine, but was taken and dumped over the top rope by Moon. A minute later, Moon Eclipsed Morgan to take the win. It’s obvious how Moon’s in a holding pattern until TO:SA, but it also helped Morgan here. She could use more of a gimmick than “tough Jersey girl.” It was enough to make us want more, but what we got was good. They shared sportsmanship after the bell to keep the friendship going.
Land Down Under
– The Revival-Riddick Moss/Tino Sabbatelli match was interesting (yet awkward) for heel-heel interactions alone, but we’ll leave it at that. Being that this was the Melbourne, Australia portion of NXT’s December global tour, this was a house show-esque effort. We guess it makes for filler television when needed, but that’s not always good. The Steel Cage match for the NXT Championship between Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe headlined the episode, though they showed it a few weeks back. Check out our review of that match here. Luckily, anything with Revival written on it will generate fan response and the Australians were eager to chant for them. Moss/Sabbatelli have light momentum charisma-wise, but still need to hone their in-ring skills to get anywhere. A little strange when Commentator Corey Graves actually compared Moss/Sabbatelli to WWE Raw Tag Team Champions Cesaro/Sheamus. Not much action besides for Revival’s usual “isolate and destroy” style on display. Moss pulled off a few decent spots, namely where he caught Scott Dawson on a high crossbody attempt and countered with a fallaway slam. Nevertheless, the fans showed no interest for Moss and a “Revival” chant actually broke out. Revival’s classic rule bending also garnered a pop in select moments, where Dawson raked Moss’ eyes and they both worked him over in the corner. The crowd booed Sabbatelli’s hot tag sequence, which only meant the Shatter Machine was imminent. Couldn’t come at a better time. Revival win and keep momentum for their rematch next week on NXT when they face NXT Tag Team Champions #DIY for the belts. Yes.
Four To Play
– The opening video recapped last week’s big rematch for the NXT Championship in Osaka, Japan between Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe. “The King Of Strong Style” had a loyal home country following and after a grueling contest, he got back his gold with a Kinshasa for the history books. We saw the hype that went down, as Joe immediately sought his rematch clause, so much so, that five days later in Melbourne, Australia, we’d see them duke it out again for the Title in a Steel Cage match. We assumed this would be the main event.
A Shot At Vengeance
– The Liv Morgan-Peyton Royce match was the latest installment in the chronicles of the NXT undercard, which you can gladly call its Women’s Division. Forever a “work in progress,” there has been an attempt to build things with the “Aussie Mean Girls” pair of Billie Kay/Royce, coupled with Liv Morgan – a blonde tomboy Jersey Girl – and Ember Moon – a Mortal Kombat-esque athlete who racks up wins. While Moon has been built on her own, we’ve seen Morgan entangled in a feud lately with the AMG. Where we last left off, we saw Morgan cost Kay a match, as Aliyah upset her. The aggressive start made sense given the feud’s context. Royce delivered a nice tarantula-like submission in the ropes, even though we were entirely distracted with her ring attire that screamed “The Riddler.” The memories stopped there until the finish, when we saw Kay physically assault Morgan before she could make Royce submit. The crowd chanted for Aliyah, who came out and it looked like the heels would enjoy another beatdown. This set the stage for Moon to come down and make the ultimate difference, as she single-handedly took down the AMG before her and Morgan hit stereo dropkicks. We like the idea of Moon to physically get her hands dirty with the rest of the division, but we had enjoyed her solo push and wished they kept her separate from this storyline.
More Than Good Hands
– We can only assume the window of time for The Revival on NXT is closing up, but that said, they’ve solidly convinced us that they’re primed and ready to potentially be the first two-time NXT Tag Team Champions. A lot of this show’s focus was on The Revival and their mission to get back what they felt was theirs, yet also pushed other teams on the rise. The opening in-ring segment between Revival and Johnny Gargano/Tommaso Ciampa was solid mic work from all involved. Gargano/Ciampa looked tough in the way they directly confronted the heels and didn’t back down, while Revival came off as overconfident. Surprisingly, the voices who stood out here were Dash Wilder (almost Kevin Owens-like in his delivery) and Ciampa, who we never hear from often. This obviously set the stage for the two to battle later in the show, but we had assumed this would be a way to give Revival a hard-fought win headed into TakeOver: The End and give Gargano/Ciampa a good performance to put under their name. Revival also had some bold insults towards the NXT Tag Team Champions American Alpha when they called them “little amateurs” and it’d be cool to see if AA would follow them up on that.
The Day The Music Died
– This show had purpose from the first second, as the opening video hyped Finn Balor’s first appearance since he lost his NXT Championship to Champion Samoa Joe at a live event in Lowell, Massachusetts. Oh snap.
The Kinshasa Swan Song
– We were warned about the NXT Women’s Champion Asuka-Eva Marie match from last week, so no surprises here. What should’ve been a quick, two-minute squash was instead dragged out to make Eva look “on par” with Asuka, which is completely unbelievable. An odd matchup to begin with, with little chemistry early on and the only thing that kept our interest was the crowd’s growing disdain for Eva and Corey Graves’ entertaining commentary that fanboyed all over Eva. It appeared that the bigger story was planting the seeds of an Asuka-Nia Jax feud by the way she stood by Eva’s side past the midway portion of the bout. This lasted longer than it had any business being, but seeing Eva get kicked out cold might’ve been a lukewarm consolation prize. The post-match interaction between Jax and Asuka was a bit woody, but established that Jax wouldn’t be scared of Asuka’s techniques.
Killing For Gold
– With some decent hype, we actually looked forward to seeing what NXT Tag Team Champions American Alpha could do in the ring against NXT’s most popular team in Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady. The Enzo/Cass pre-match promo did their usual thing (over as always) and didn’t insult their opponents, but rather built them up for the occasion. Some pretty mat work by Chad Gable early on, while Enzo’s left shoulder remained a prominent target. Most of the match’s action was billed on it being “respectful competition” and as it progressed, it got better. We liked how the finish showed Cassady “taking the bullet” for Enzo and driven out of the match, only for Enzo to get caught in Grand Amplitude and left solo. Also liked the little touch of Jason Jordan pulling his straps down to pull them up and back down again to get a better crowd reaction. AA win and their first match as Champions had them on a continued winning streak.