The January 8, 2020 episode of WWE NXT aired live from Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University. Here are 6 takeaways from this week’s show:
WWE opened the show with several stars coming out to the ring looking for a fight. It started with NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley cutting a promo before being challenged to a title match by Toni Storm at Worlds Collide. Eventually, a six-woman tag team match was booked.
It was Ripley, Candice LeRae, and Toni Storm battling Bianca Belair, Io Shiri, and NXT UK Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray. The babyfaces went over.
Obviously, this match and segment was done to promote the NXT UK Blackpool II event this Sunday afternoon where Ray will defend the title against Storm.
It was also a preview of what to expect at the Worlds Collide show that goes down on Saturday, January 25, 2020 in Houston, Texas at the Toyota Center over Royal Rumble weekend.
A fun match but a perfect yet simple opening segment with microphone work.
Imperium Goes Over
Imperium (Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner) beat The Forgotten Sons (Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler) in a first-round match of the Dusty Rhodes Classic tag team tournament as one of the hyped bouts featured on the show.
They were the expected winners in this contest and rightfully so. For months now, WWE has been booking The Forgotten Sons on television and for the majority of their matches, they go over.
I still don’t understand why because they don’t have over the top charisma and do not put on classic matches.
When this match was first announced, the impression by many fans was that Imperium was going to go over in this contest.
With that said, it was a fine match but not one that you must go out of your way of seeing unless you are a fan of Imperium.
Austin Theory Shines
Austin Theory continues to impress fans who are watching at home and in attendance.
Theory took on Joaquin Wilde in a singles match and it was a fun match that saw both stars put together a nice match. Make no mistake about it though, this was a showcase for the former EVOLVE Champion.
Theory went over in the contest and rightfully so. Wilde is a talented wrestler and he had his gimmick down in TNA Wrestling as DJ Z. That isn’t the case in NXT as he seems to be still seeking what his character is supposed to be. That is evident by his ring attire.
Theory is someone to keep an eye on as he is a great wrestler but also a look of a WWE star and a ton of upside. He was the top star in EVOLVE and time will tell whether he becomes a player in NXT.
Undisputed Era Victorious
Undisputed Era vs. Gallus in a first-round match of the Dusty Rhodes Classic tag team tournament took place and the obvious team went over in the way of Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly.
This match felt more like a preview of what’s to come at the Worlds Collide show that goes down on Saturday, January 25, 2020 in Houston, Texas at the Toyota Center over Royal Rumble weekend.
Out of the two matches in this tournament that took place on this show, it was the better of the two.
I expect to see this type of match at the Worlds Collide show considering the main event, which will be The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) vs. Imperium (WALTER, Alexander Wolfe, Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner).
Undisputed Era had to win this match whether or not they win the whole tournament considering they’re the NXT Tag Team Champions.
Chelsea Green & Robert Stone Arrive
Chelsea Green and Robert Stone have made their NXT TV debut.
Mia Yim defeated Kayden Carter in a singles match. Post-match, Green attacked them. Stone walked out and said that he had signed the hottest free agent in Green to his brand that will take off in 2020.
This was a nice introduction for Green and to have Stone as her mouthpiece is a nice pair especially for fans of Impact Wrestling.
Before she signed with WWE in October 2018, Green established her name while competing under the Impact Wrestling banner as Laurel Van Ness where she was a Knockouts Champion.
Stone departed Impact Wrestling in the summer of 2017. He had a tryout with WWE in June 2018 later was a contestant on The Rock’s Titan Games show this year.
Stone, who portrayed Robbie E, signed with Impact back in 2010 where he would later find success. During his tenure with the promotion, he held the TV Title, X-Division Title, and Tag Team Title twice.
Keith Lee Is New #1 Contender
Keith Lee beat Cameron Grimes, Donavan Dijakovic, and Damian Priest in a Fatal 4-Way Match to determine a new #1 contender for the NXT North American Championship.
As expected, this was the highlight of the show as it had all of the components to be great with such different styles from all starts involved.
Lee was someone that many fans thought should be the top star in NXT as NXT Champion. WWE officials, which are high on Lee, had different plans as he wasn’t chosen as the NXT Champion.
In pro wrestling, when a talent has momentum behind them with a connection to vocal fans, the promoter must push that talent at the right time and it appears that NXT is doing just that.
Time will tell whether Lee gets the strap by beating Roderick Strong for the NXT North American Championship when the time comes.