Since NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, NXT has been on somewhat of a roll when it comes to its weekly programming. Unfortunately, this week's episode was somewhat mundane when compared to what came before.
While there were positives, such as Kassius Ohno taking on Fabian Aichner and the revelation of what the future holds for the NXT Women's Championship, there were also some negatives.
The entire episode promoted the in-ring debut of Adam Cole against Eric Young of SAnitY, and that is where the biggest disappointment came from, as it was a rather underwhelming for the indie-alumni.
But hey, at least we get Drew McIntyre vs Roderick Strong next week.
NXT Women's Championship given spotlight
Since Asuka was forced to relinquish her NXT Women's Title following TakeOver: Brooklyn 3, the question of how the next NXT Women's Champion would be crowned has been a prominent one. This week on NXT, we finally got a sign.
Before the title sequence for NXT could commence, Regal popped up on the screen to inform the viewing audience that the new women's champion would be crowned in a fatal-four-way match at TakeOver: Houston, with three female competitors joining Kairi Sane, the winner of the Mae Young Classic, in the match.
While there is still plenty of time before TakeOver: Houston takes place on November 18th, it is nice to see WWE finally revealing a plan for the NXT Women's Title. Due to Asuka's dominant reign as champion, the championship is the most prestigious title in NXT right now, and it deserves a big match at TakeOver to find its new champion.
It's still early, but it is reasonable to assume that we will see a series of qualifying matches to determine who will join Kairi Sane at TakeOver. Whatever they do, it is sure to be an interesting few weeks ahead.
Johnny Wrestling gets his rematch
Later in the evening, following Heavy Machinery's win over Patrick Scott and Demitrius Bronson, a pre-taped segment involving William Regal talking to the "media" was aired, with the Brit discussing TakeOver: Houston. Before he could give too much away, Johnny Gargano was seen leaving the building directly behind Regal, at which point Regal called him aside to talk.
During the conversation, Regal informed Gargano that he would get his desired rematch against Andrade 'Cien' Almas in two weeks time.
As anybody caught up would know, Johnny Wrestling lost to Almas after Zelina Vega threw a #DIY shirt at Gargano, distracting him long enough for Almas to get the win.
Now that Gargano's mini-feud with Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss has been wrapped up, a rematch with Almas seemed inevitable. Now that it is finally happening, fans can expect another fun outing from the two and a chance at redemption for Johnny Gargano.
Aichner impresses against Ohno
Fabian Aichner made his NXT debut this week in a losing effort against Kassius Ohno. However, despite the defeat, Aichner looked mightily impressive. The former Cruiserweight Classic competitor was treated like a big deal right off the bat with a video package before the match to hype his debut.
From there, Aichner went about making a name for himself, dominating his larger and more experienced foe. Some highlights include a smooth springboard dive, a delayed vertical suplex, and Aichner catching Ohno in mid-air before hitting him with a powerslam.
Aichner dished out a lot of punishment on Ohno, zipping around the ring with energy and pace and utilizing effective power moves and European uppercuts to put Ohno on the verge of defeat.
Unfortunately, he came up short when, after missing a double springboard moonsault, Aichner was on the receiving end of Kassius' comeback, before being nailed by a kick for the 1-2-3.
Fortunately for the loser, Aichner came out of the match looking like a real asset to NXT. While his immediate future is not clear, he is sure to have a big future in the promotion.
Adam Cole debut falls flat.....Bay-Bay?!
The night's main event featured the eagerly anticipated in-ring NXT debut of Adam Cole when he took on the leader of SAnitY: Eric Young. Unfortunately, considering the talent involved, it was quite an underwhelming debut.
Before the match got started, and before Young could make his entrance, Cole stood in the middle of the ring, flanked by his Undisputed brethren Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly, and cut an in-ring promo. He spoke about how he wondered how NXT survived without him, before saying of his group: "we are untouchable, we are unstoppable, we are undisputed. And this is our era!"
From there, Young and Cole would have an underwhelming and rushed match. It started well, with Cole attempting to goad Young into lunging at him, only to be taken down by Young and hit with a ground-and-pound. Cole would escape his clutches, attempt his "Adam Cole! BAY-BAY!" catchphrase, only for Young to attack him before he could finish.
Cole would eventually gain control when Young was distracted by Fish and O'Reilly on the outside. Cole would stomp on him in the corner before kicking him to the outside with a leaping roundhouse kick. Cole maintained control with a headlock inside the ring before Young dropped him with a back suplex and mounting a comeback. Young would eventually go to the top rope but, instead of jumping on Cole, jumped to the outside onto the brawling SAnitY and Undisputed. Back inside the ring, Cole hit Young with a flying knee for the pin and the win.
On the one hand, it is promising that the Undisputed Era have won both matches that their members have been involved in, and that they looked like a dominant force as a result. On the other hand, it is disappointing that Cole's debut under a WWE umbrella was as disappointing as it was.
It is merely the beginning of his time in NXT, and his eventual match with Drew McIntyre is still mouth-watering, but it is still disheartening how rushed this match felt and the lack of chemistry between the pair.
- Lars Sullivan's monster push continued this week when he beat Oney Lorcan in another average outing for the big man. Oney Lorcan got a fair bit of offence in, including an entertaining chop sequence towards the end. However, I cannot help but think, much like his match against No Way José last week, Lars should have dominated Lorcan much more than he did to make him look like more of a monster. The story emerging from the end of the match saw Danny Burch pull Lorcan out of the ring to prevent a further beat down by Lars. This will probably go one of two ways: either Burch fights Lars in the next few weeks and gets squashed or Lorcan and Burch form a tag-team. Now that I think of it, it will probably end up being both.
- At one point during the show, a recap video package of the confrontation between Aleister Black and The Velveteen Dream is aired, before Black is asked about the confrontation while sparring in the Performance Center. His promo was good, as he says that he won't pay attention to a "child that holds his breath to get what he wants", dismissing The Dream entirely. I said in my last recap how much I enjoyed their first confrontation but I really can't wait to see what they do with this feud, as well as the inevitable match between the two. The two gimmicks clash so very well and they managed to play off of each other very effectively last week.
- Considering how big a deal Adam Cole and Undisputed are in NXT at the moment, you would have thought that they would have been given music that is a bit less generic than what they have. Maybe it is just my own personal opinion, but I find the music that Adam Cole came out to for the night's main event to be very mundane and didn't make him stand out.
- Lars Sullivan def. Oney Lorcan
- Heavy Machinery def. Patrick Scott and Demitrius Bronson
- Liv Morgan def. Vanessa Borne
- Kassius Ohno def. Fabian Aichner
- Adam Cole (w/ Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly) def. Eric Young (w/ SAnitY)
What did you think of Adam Cole (Bay-Bay!) in his debut? Let us know in the comments below!