Following on from Asuka's farewell from NXT last week, expectations were high for this week's show, headlined by Pete Dunne vs Wolfgang for the WWE United Kingdom Championship.
While the match delivered, and the post-match shenanigans hinted at something truly mouth-watering down the line, there was not a whole lot else to write home about on this week's show.
There was no Drew McIntyre, SAnitY or development when it comes to the NXT Women's Championship now vacated by The Empress of Tomorrow. However, what we did get was a fun showcase of an exciting tag team prospect, Nikki Cross being Nikki Cross, a great main event and a show-closing assault which is noteworthy for all the right reasons
Crazy is as Cross-y does
This week's NXT broadcast opened with a match between Ruby Riot and Peyton Royce/Billy Kay, as was set up on last week's show.
Despite William Regal insisting on Ruby Riot finding a tag-team partner for the match last week, it becomes clear that Ruby wasn't able, or wasn't willing, to find one, hence why she took The Iconic Duo on two-on-one.
Kay and Royce worked over Riot much of the match, until Nikki Cross of sAnity fame made her presence felt. She would tag herself in off Riot much to the confusion of her impromptu partner. She went about taking out Royce and Kay with cross bodies and Lou Thesz Presses. With Kay prone, she tagged Riot back in before leaving the ringside area, leaving Riot to finish the match with a top rope senton for the pin.
The story emerging from this match is the brief cameo of Nikki Cross. Riot's reaction indicates that it wasn't her idea and that Cross just showed up because she wanted to, which is quite appropriate given the nature of her character which she plays oh-so-well.
The Street Profits impress
The tandem of Angelo Dawkins and Montes Ford went up against The Ealy Brothers. The Street Profits overcame their opponents in rather short order after a Pop-Up Spinebuster by Dawkins and a Frog Splash off the top rope from Ford.
What is more notable, and promising, is just how over the tag team of Dawkins and Ford are with the NXT crowd. The audience booed when one of The Ealy Brothers took the headbands of Dawkins, while they went nuts when the two men entered the crowd to celebrate after they won.
Their connection with the audience comes across as very organic and they are embracing their gimmicks and position within NXT. Considering how stacked the NXT Tag Team Division is right now, it may take some time before The Street Profits find themselves as contenders. However, if they continue to grow in popularity with the NXT audience, they will get there eventually.
Pete Dunne and Wolfgang bring the pain
In the main event, Pete Dunne put his WWE United Kingdom Championship on the line against Wolfgang.
As is to be expected from any match featuring Pete Dunne, it was great with Wolfgang utilising his greater size and strength while The Bruiserweight zeroed in on his opponents left hand and fingers by applying numerous submission holds on that very body part.
Some of the highlights from this match includes Wolfgang hitting a superplex and a pop-up powerslam on Dunne, while Dunne beautifully countered a swanton from Wolfgang into a cross arm breaker, followed by a triangle choke.
The match ended when Dunne hit his Bitter End finisher on Wolfgang for the 1-2-3. While the post-match antics will cause more of a stir, this match between Dunne and Wolfgang was every bit as good as one would expect and a worthy main event. And speaking of the post-match antics.....
The Undisputed Era has arrived
Following Dunne's victory over Wolfgang, the champion was attacked by the trio of Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O'Reilly. The group, now believed to be called either The Undisputed Era (per PWInsider) or The Undisputed, beat Dunne down before turning their attention to Wolfgang, who was the subject of another beating.
Dunne would leave the ring and leave Wolfgang high and dry to be hit by a shining wizard from Cole. The group of ROH Alumni left the ring and jumped the barricade before Trent Seven and Tyler Bate hit the ring.
The show closed with Adam Cole saying to the three men in the ring: "This is our era!"
This segment seems to be a way to set up the first match for The Undisputed (Era), with it looking likely that it will be Cole, Fish, and O'Reilly vs Wolfgang, Trent Seven and Tyler Bate at NXT Takeover: Houston.
What is also interesting is how Cole/Fish/O'Reilly are being booked to behave in a similar way to The Shield when they debuted on WWE TV in 2012, with seemingly random gang attacks on unsuspecting victims. It turned out well for Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns so it may turn out well for these three as well.
- Thanks to a backstage segment, we now know that it will be No Way José vs Lars Sullivan next week on NXT. It will probably be nothing to write home about and will be an extended squash to put Lars over as the monster heel NXT would like him to be.
- I feel as if WWE missed a massive opportunity with Johnny Gargano vs Riddick Moss. While the match was fine and the story of Gargano questioning himself when he can't put Moss away with the Gargano Escape was worth exploring, a win for Moss thanks to Sabbatelli distraction would have done more to service that very story as Gargano would have been able to question whether or not he is able to get the job done on his own.
- Following on from last week's farewell, a video package detailing Asuka's rise in NXT. It was terrifically put together by the production team. It contained interviews from Ember Moon, Corey Graves, Charlotte, Bayley, Carmella and more. It featured clips from her NXT Women's Title reign, as well as footage from her farewell from NXT last week. It did a great job of putting over just how important Asuka was to NXT and the history that she achieved with the developmental brand and put her over as the star that sge proved herself to be. Her future on RAW is still uncertain but her effect on NXT should not be underestimated.
- Nikki Cross & Ruby Riot def. Peyton Royce & Billy Kay
- Johnny Gargano def. Riddick Moss
- The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montes Ford) def. The Ealy Brothers
- Pete Dunne def. Wolfgang to retain the WWE UK championship
What did you think of NXT? Who do you want to see The Undisputed (Era) face first? Sound off in the comments below!