Welcome to the Cool Points.
Tonight, a new chapter in the history of nXt began. The first 2-hour show of the nXt brand, live on the USA Network, aired. Moreover, it aired against the debut of All Elite Wrestling’s first weekly TV wrestling show, Dynamite. Though fans are split on whether there is a need to pick sides, these two brands are going to be compared and criticized on a weekly basis. It will be exciting to see how the competition develops over the coming months.
This edition of the Cool Points recaps the major feuds and stories coming out of tonight’s show and looks at the big picture of why they matter and where they may be going on the road to War Games, in November.
nXt Championship Title Picture
Adam Cole (c) vs. Matt Riddle
2019 Records: Riddle 6-3 in singles, 0-2 in multi-man tag
Cole 5-3 in singles, undefeated as champion, 1-0 in multi-man tag
Past Meetings: May 8: Riddle def. Cole
Mar 20: Cole def. Riddle & 4 others in #1 Contender’s Match
Riddle’s slowly worked his way up to this point, having wrestled admirably and courageously from opening TakeOvers to main eventing weekly TV and even gaining a North American Championship title shot. He belongs in the nXt Championship picture, but it’ll be interesting to see if he can stay in the mix, should he lose.
Cole predicted that the Undisputed Era would be draped in gold in January. That has come true and, not only that, but Cole has beaten Johnny Gargano, the heartbeat of nXt, twice. It would be awfully surprising to see him lose the title on the opening night of nXt on USA, when the Undisputed Era are top dogs in the brand.
A few highlights that caught my eye: Riddle gets Cole up in a torture rack position on the shoulders. As he’s falling, in mid-air, Cole counters it into a backstabber. Amazing.
Riddle’s suplex game was on point tonight.
Near the end of the match, Riddle didn’t get all of that moonsault on Cole and then covered him while counting. That’s not gonna fly against the champ.
Loved seeing Riddle keep going for that armbar after Cole countered into pinfall attempts. Opportunistic and smart fighting.
Cole’s a gutsy wrestler and that’s gotta be affirming to get a win right out of the gates on a big night like this.
Post-match, we get a huge return from Finn Balor. I try not to make any expectations about wrestlers debuting or returning on nXt, and I try hard not to read spoilers. This may have been an instance where there was no spoiler to give, in which case I’m thoroughly impressed. Balor’s return makes him an instant contender to the nXt Championship, so Cole, rightfully, didn’t stick around to find out why Balor came back.
Balor’s return to confront Cole and announce his return to nXt is an enormous win for the brand. Balor’s the longest reigning nXt Champion in nXt history. It would surprise no one for him to jump the queue, as it were, and get a title shot from GM Regal. This would be a very positive booking for TakeOver: WarGames.
Riddle continues to show he has the in-ring chops and the fan support to be a main eventer in nXt. He’s yet to get that TakeOver title shot though. Hard to see Balor not getting the next shot. Meanwhile, Dain may want another shot at Riddle.
At the end of the show, Tommaso Ciampa nonchalantly strolled out to the stage, where Cole was celebrating his brothers’ win, to check on Goldie, his championship belt. Fans were into this and my Twitter feed started jumping to conclusions about a potential triple threat match with Balor and Cole. I’m not certain that’s the next step, but it was thrilling to see Ciampa healthy and seeking his title back. GM Regal will have something to say about all this.
Cool Points Clincher
Placing that Championship match first was a fantastic decision. Crowd was hyped, the match delivered and the atmosphere surrounding that finale and post-match appearance was A+. 5 cool points for everyone involved and I can’t wait to hear what Adam Cole has to say about Balor and Ciampa getting up in his grill.
Other Men’s Division Results
Velveteen Dream challenges nXt North American Champion Roderick Strong for a rematch.
Only question I have: Are we getting this on TV or waiting for WarGames?
Johnny Gargano def. Shane Thorne
Fine wrestling in this one. Thorne held it down on his end, but it was more important for Gargano to be featured on this USA debut.
Pete Dunne def. Danny Burch. Post-match, Damien Priest attacks Dunne.
I like Lorcan & Burch; they are so good at supporting a card in whatever role needed. Both men fought capably, but this match’s purpose was to set up the Priest attack. Looks like it could be Priest’s first feature feud.
nXt Women’s Championship Scene
Io Shirai def. Mia Yim
2019 Records: Shirai: 3-5 in singles, 3-0-1 in multi-woman tag matches
Yim: 5-4 in singles
Last 2 Meetings: Sept 18: Both lost in a Fatal-Four Way #1 Contender’s Match
Dec 26, 2018: Both lost in a Fatal Four-Way #1 Contender’s Match
Since turning to the dark side, Shirai’s new character and attitude has stood out, getting much praise from nXt fans. It is highly unlikely she’ll get another nXt Women’s Championship title shot while Baszler is the champ. Still, Shirai can make herself the next most dangerous woman in nXt to prepare for a babyface champ.
Yim started getting major promo time in the spring and following a 2 out of 3 against Belair, she called out Baszler on July 3. After losing at TakeOver: Toronto, Yim needs to find her place again in the division. Fighting Shirai is somewhat of an unofficial #1 Contender’s match.
Shirai’s victory puts her at 4-1, which includes a DQ win, since June 26th. No other woman in nXt has been as productive as she. With some fans saying her TakeOver: Toronto match with Candice LeRae was better than the championship match, Shirai has become a major draw in the division.
I don’t think Shirai will enter into a long-term feud with Yim, and, another TakeOver match is unlikely. A feud with Bianca Belair would be intriguing.
For Yim, there’s no clear direction for her. Perhaps the odd TV match over the coming weeks where she can support the show and keep her in focus for the fans.
Cool Points Clincher
Io Shirai defeats Mia Yim, the latter continues to fall, following her loss at TakeOver: Toronto to Shayna Baszler (c). 2 cool points for Shirai and 1 for Yim in a match that got a lot of TV time, but perhaps that length would’ve mattered more if there was a proper feud.
Title Defense: Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Candice LeRae
2019 Records: Baszler 8-0 in singles, 0-1 in multi-person tag
LeRae: 3-1 in singles, 1-0 in multi-person tag
No prior meetings.
Kudos on the nXt bookers for keeping these two women apart for so long. While Baszler is been the leader of the women’s division for 2 years now, LeRae has maintained significant attention through her role in accompanying Johnny Gargano during his feud with Tommaso Ciampa.
LeRae hasn’t wrestled nearly as much as Baszler, but when she has, she has demonstrated the chops she showed in PWG. She’s well-loved by the Full Sail faithful and is the biggest babyface Baszler hasn’t beaten yet.
Surprised to see this match on TV and not at TakeOver though…
Baszler broke out the submission strategy early. When she kicked LeRae’s hand against the steel steps, that was a clear turning point for the match.
Enjoyed seeing LeRae’s high-flying offense, watching her fly into Baszler on the outside TWICE.
Again, a number of commercial breaks which was distracting and an unfortunate concession of going to cable for more exposure.
Diving swinging neckbreaker from the turnbuckle by LeRae was pretty cool. Earned her a 2 count.
Kirifuda Clutch became too much for LeRae to overcome and she had to tap out.
The match was so good that it could extend into a TakeOver: WarGames title shot. Baszler could also get challenged by Ripley again, since they only fought to a DQ a few weeks ago.
For LeRae, I still think this is the money feud in the division, so I hope she continues to go after Baszler. Hard to think she’d be satisfied with this result. Otherwise, why bother?
Cool Points Clincher
2 cool points for each woman. Baszler was ruthless on the outside, using the steel steps effectively to hurt LeRae. Her submission game was attacked tonight, but not overwhelmed. LeRae continues to have the fan support behind her and excelled in her first feature-length singles match on nXt TV. This feud should continue.
nXt Tag Team Championship Scene
Undisputed Era (c) vs. Street Profits
2019 Records: Undisputed Era: 2-5, 1-0 in multi-man tag matches
Street Profits: 7-3-1
Last 3 meetings: Aug 28: Undisputed Era def. Street Profits on nXt TV
Aug 10: Street Profits def. Undisputed Era at TakeOver: Toronto II
Jun 1: Street Profits def. Undisputed Era, Forgotten Sons & Burch & Lorcan in TakeOver: XXV Ladder Match
It would seem that tonight’s match should be the final installment of the feud. The Street Profits are owed a rematch as former champs. If the UEra win, it will be time for new opponents to challenge them. If the Street Profits win, it will have to be a special match to warrant the feud continuing, lest it begin to be monotonous.
Match placement is always important on a wrestling show. For the Tag Team Championships to get the main event placement is tremendous. Often a critique of pro wrestling is that tag wrestling isn’t given the same treatment as singles. For all of the good work nXt has done the past few years to build up their tag team division, Undisputed Era and Street Profits main eventing the USA debut must be included as a part of that continued progress.
The above noted, this match was plagued with commercial breaks. Thank God they went split screen so the match could still be followed. But the main event deserves better. Hoping this is improved next week. Just air the commercials between matches! It also overran the 10:00 hour, demonstrating that USA is giving some leeway, like it has done for RAW in the past.
Fish really shone tonight on offense, mixing up a little bit of high-flying with suplexes and striking.
Dawkins gave a gutsy performance tonight, enduring some submission work by O’Reilly. His apron spinebuster near the end of the match was clutch, but, unfortunately, didn’t lead them to regain the titles.
The nXt Tag Team Division has been sparsely used the past three months. Gaining an extra half hour, or thereabouts, should provide more opportunities for other teams like Burch & Lorcan, Breezango and others. The division needs time to build up again so that credible opponents can be found for the champs.
Undisputed Era will likely take a few weeks off before their next match. They’d do well to wrestle against a team of popular single stars or maybe Breezango could get their attention. Another possibility is a 3rd War Games match, since they have been a part of it since it began.
As for the Street Profits, they’ve been splitting their time between nXt and RAW. They’ve had a steady segment there for over a month, promoting matches, events and generally being their entertaining selves. Has all of that been an internship to a full-time gig? With the draft coming up, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them go, and, yet, in a WWE.COM exclusive, Gargano said he and the Street Profits are nXt. Could that suggest that they’re sticking around? Who would they wrestle next? Their future is quite unclear.
Cool Points Clincher
2 points for both teams in their third match, in 2 months. They’ve developed a pretty good in-ring chemistry, but Fish & O’Reilly seem to have this sixth sense about where each other are and what their next steps should be to get the win. Also, having the submission skills in their offense gives them an edge to wear down the competition, whereas Street Profits depend more on high-risk manoeuvres. A fine finish to an historic night for nXt though!
Ranallo’s Line of the Night: (Shane) Thorne is as annoying as autocorrect!
Thanks for reading the new nXt Cool Points column. As is the case with any new venture, there may be some tweaks and adjustments over the next few months, but I hope you’ve found the above recap and analysis helpful and entertaining. Thanks to Imp for the fresh new logo. Definitely give him a listen, Thursday nights, on LOPRadio. He’s also got the weekly wrestling wrap-up on Saturday, where he’ll cover the best from Raw, nXt, AEW Dynamite and Friday Night Smackdown.
Join the conversation below or on Twitter, and we’ll see you next week!
Previous & Related Links: nXt Cool Points: Best TV Matches of 2018-19
Imp’s Wrestling Adventure – The Fiend Guaranteed To Win At Hell In A Cell? (RAW, SD Live & NXT, Sep 27th 2019)
nXt Results- September 4, 2019 (Cole vs. Myles)