COOL POINTS: nXtember December (Ripley vs. Baszler, Cole vs. Balor)
Welcome to the Cool Points. This week’s episode has been heavily promoted for featuring both Men’s and Women’s nXt Champions defending their titles. It’s going to be a good night for wrestling fans. Nominees for nXt Year End awards were also shared today. You can check them out here: 2019 nXt Year End Awards Info.
Votes are done via Twitter. On to the show!
nXt Men’s Division
2019 Records: Cole 7-3
Balor 3-0 (nXt), 14-10 (RAW + SD Live) in singles matches
Since Finn Balor’s return to nXt in October, he’s had his eyes fixed on becoming nXt Champion. He’s gotten involved with all of the top guys in the division: Gargano, Riddle, Ciampa, Lee and, most recently, Cole. He even injured Gargano and halted his consecutive TakeOver appearances record.
The last three weeks, Balor has been successful in defeating Ciampa and Lee to become #1 contender. If he wins tonight, he’ll join rival Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura as a 2-time nXt Champion.
Meanwhile, Adam Cole has had mixed results coming out of TakeOver: WarGames and Survivor Series. The Undisputed Era was unsuccessful in WarGames. Ciampa actually slammed Cole from the top of the cage. Cole, though, was able to recover enough to defend his title against Pete Dunne at Survivor Series.
Two weeks ago, he interfered with Balor vs. Ciampa, which helped Balor get the victory. The seeds were planted in this feud when the Undisputed Era interrupted his promo on November 13th. It was clear then that Cole felt threatened by Balor and would not allow him any freedom in winning.
Beauty shin kick from Cole to Balor on the apron to halt Balor’s progress early on in the match.
Coming out of Cole’s submission work, Balor bridges up for a 2 count.
Backstabber by Cole for a close 2 count. Heavy superkick, shortly thereafter, by Cole to take the lead against Balor.
Balor gets his way and nails him with a flying dropkick and Coup de Grace.
It takes Cole two Last Shot knees to the head to defeat Balor. After Cole’s pin on Balor, Johnny Gargano wanders down to ringside, grabs a chair and slides in to a vulnerable Balor. Balor receives the punishing chair shots to the back over and over again. He scrambles from the broken barricade where Cole and Balor went through to the backstage area as the fans shout and cheer.
Cole gets a clean win over Balor on nXt TV? That’s a big deal. Seeing Gargano return post-match indicates that the first TakeOver of 2020 should feature a match between those two. That leaves Cole open for a match against a new #1 contender. Possibly Damian Priest, but more likely, Tommaso Ciampa, to follow up on their battle in the WarGames match.
Cool Points Clincher
2 cool points for Cole for gutting out another victory. Didn’t need any help from the Undisputed Era, which lends him some credibility as a champ. Timely execution of his Last Shot finishing strikes, too.
1 point for Balor. He wrestled a fine match with plenty of offense, but there wasn’t ever a moment where it felt like he was going to beat Cole. As a #1 contender, you’ve got to make it believable that you can win. For all the talk and chatter by Balor in the previous weeks, he simply didn’t deliver tonight.
nXt Worlds Collide Preview
Pete Dunne vs. Travis Banks
2019 Records: Dunne 8-7 in singles (nXt and nXt UK)
Banks 8-5-2 in singles (nXt and nXt UK)
Crowd are on their feet with a standing ovation for these guys. 2 cool points for Dunne and Banks. The agility, flexibility and suplex variability were highlights in this one. Dunne wins after hitting Banks with a fancy release superplex and then a Bitter End.
Dunne only recently had a feature match at Survivor Series against Adam Cole for the nXt Championship. So, it’s unlikely he’ll be back there soon. Maybe his focus switches to the North American title again.
For Banks, he’s a featured star in nXt UK. This loss doesn’t hurt him. On the live event tour, he’s undefeated, so expect to see him a few more times leading into the next Worlds Collide event on Royal Rumble weekend.
Other Men’s Division Results
Damian Priest def. Killian Dain
2 cool points for Priest for his relentless approach to trying to win this match. He couldn’t get the power bomb but he was able to win with the Reckoning. It was only a month ago that these guys were wrestling for the #1 contendership. Priest’s rise to fame may lead him to a title shot in early 2020.
Cameron Grimes def. Kushida
2 cool points for Grimes. Heck of a finish with that big air caveman stomp and a huge victory. Grimes and Kushida were very evenly matched in this one. Grimes kept up with Kushida’s speed and the two wrestlers collided in mid-air a few times, trying to upset the other with crossbody splashes.
Kushida’s highlight was hitting a beauty senton on Grimes from the top turnbuckle to the outside, which left both men hurting for a spell.
nXt Women’s Division
Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Rhea Ripley
2019 Records: Baszler 11-0 in singles
Ripley 9-5-1 in singles (nXt and nXt UK)
On August 28th, Rhea Ripley made her surprise debut at Full Sail, interrupting nXt Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler and her Horsewomen friends, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir. Since that moment, battle lines have been drawn and these two women have been constantly confronting one another, be it in word or action.
The first Women’s WarGames match featured Ripley and Baszler as captains of opposing teams. Ripley and LeRae won that one, despite being shorthanded by 2 ladies. Two weeks ago, Ripley was attacked by Baszler, Duke & Shafir.
Baszler defended her title successfully over Candice LeRae. She also defeated Bayley and Becky Lynch, the Smackdown and Raw women’s champions, at Survivor Series. Can she get another big win tonight against an opponent who is not intimidated, in the least, by her?
Baszler tries for some digit manipulation early on. Ripley stops her the first time but doesn’t quite do it the second time. This leads to an advantage for Baszler who begins striking her with clubs, punches and kicks.
Duke and Shafir get involved, as expected, and dish out as good as they take punishment from Ripley. Thankfully, the referee throws them out during the break, so it’s back to being a one-on-one affair.
Baszler laces into Ripley’s chest with some strong kicks. Ripley’s visibly in pain but fights through it and gets back to her feet. Big dropkick into the referee. Riptide and cover, but the referee’s out and no pinfall can be counted.
Baszler DDT’s Ripley on to the chair, just before the referee wakes up, but still only gets a 2 count!
Impressive endurance by Ripley in Baszler’s Kirifuda Clutch. Fans chant “Rhea” almost all the way through that submission.
Riptide from the top rope seals it for Ripley and breaks the gargantuan title reign of Shayna Baszler.
There must be a rematch between these two. After the match they just had, it’d be foolish not to see them again. I mean, I can’t see Baszler accepting this without going to GM Regal for a rematch.
Cool Points Clincher
2 cool points for Ripley, mostly for enduring the Kirifuda Clutch as long as she did and for that dramatic clutching of the referee’s shirt to indicate her decision not to give up. She showed plenty of courage tonight against one of the best wrestlers nXt has ever seen.
2 cool points for Baszler. She wasn’t dominant in this match, wrestling against a formidable foe in Ripley, but she still brought the fight and fought cleverly. She used the referee injury to her advantage, but, unfortunately, Ripley wasn’t letting even a DDT to a chair bring her down tonight.
Other Women’s Division Results
Io Shirai def. Santana Garrett
1 cool point for Shirai. Expected win here, but Garrett gets a bit of a shine holding that bridge submission for as long as she did. So, 1 cool point for her, too. Shirai is very over with the fans and has been such a force ever since she turned on LeRae this past summer. With a new Women’s Champion, that freshens up the title picture for everyone, including Shirai, to get another title shot.
Tag Team Division
No matches tonight.
Thanks for reading tonight’s column. Good to be back after a few weeks away and it was a great show for wrestling fans. Barely any promo time. Long and engaging matches. Meaningful feuds and a big push being given to newer faces on the roster. It’s a good look for nXt going into 2020.
How did you like this week’s show, featuring two major championship matches? What were your cool points? Join the conversation below or on Twitter.
Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy the holiday season and blessings to you and your families.