COOL POINTS: Welcome Cruiserweights & International Main Event
Welcome to the Cool Points.
It’s week 2 for the 2-hour nXt show. I’m not counting those 2 transition weeks with the 1 hour show. Last week featured a trio of title matches. Tonight, just one. Still, contenders for titles are jockeying for position and title matches will be announced.
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 Men’s Division Feature Matchup
Non-Title: Kushida vs. WALTER (UKc)
2019 Records: Kushida 6-0 in singles, 1-0 in multi-man tag matches
WALTER 11-0 in singles, 1-0 in multi-man tag matches
Past Meetings: N/A
A four week build brings us to this international battle of newly-arrived stars to the nXt world. For both WALTER and Kushida, nXt is a new land of opportunity. WALTER continues to wrestle in independent promotions, all while holding the nXt UK Championship and, until recently, the PROGRESS Unified World Championship. He is the leader of a new faction called Imperium, which features Fabian Aichner, Marcel Barthel and Alexander Wolfe, all of whom are European. They beat up Kushida’s would-be opponent on September 18 and then cut a promo announcing who they were to a Full Sail crowd, who popped hard for WALTER’s arrival.
Kushida is a highly-touted prospect, receiving plenty of hype time on TV, and even a ceremonial contract signing over the TakeOver: New York weekend. Since then, he has built an undefeated streak by beating veterans like Kassius Ohno, Drew Gulak and Apollo Crews. Alongside Breezango, Kushida defeated Imperium in a 6-man tag but WALTER attacked him post-match, and that leads us to tonight’s contest. Standard wrestling beef. You beat my friends, I beat you!
A few highlights to mention: Beauty moment where WALTER was having his way with major clubs to Kushida’s chest. The crowd was chanting “WALTER’s gonna kill you” and then Kushida countered a powerbomb into a tornado DDT. Shut that chant up right quick!
Quite the submission contest nearing the end of the match. Kushida’s also got an array of roll-up and pinning moves that did well to catch Walter off guard.
Kushida’s hoverboard lock FROM the top rope to the mat was mighty impressive. He had that cinched in for a good 45 seconds until WALTER could extend his left leg for a rope break. Crowd loved that spot too.
For the conclusion of the match, although Kushida kicks out of the powerbomb, he loses too much energy and gets crumpled up by a right arm lariat. Coming from WALTER, that’s a finisher.
This was a neat and tidy month-long build. Based on the success of the match, it wouldn’t be a stretch to have Kushida continue to battle Imperium and this be the first chapter of that story. Kushida would then continue to knock off other Imperium members until getting a second chance at defeating WALTER, possibly in the new year.
Since WALTER is also featured on nXt UK, he likely won’t be hanging out in North America very often. Perhaps he heads back across the Atlantic and this feud dissolves, at least for the time being. He may well defend his title before year’s end, maybe at TakeOver: WarGames?
Cool Points Clincher
This match had a TakeOver feel to it and I think it was the best main event match of the past month in nXt. 3 cool points for both men and this one is worth tracking down beyond the highlights. Much respect for WALTER’s strong style and Kushida’s all-around ability to cut his opponent down, whether it’s by submission, grappling or striking.
Cruiserweight Championship Scene
Drew Gulak (c) vs. Lio Rush (#1c)
2019 Records: Gulak 11-7 in singles matches, 109 days as champion
Rush 2-3 in singles matches, awarded #1 contendership opportunity after 5 month hiatus
Past Meetings: N/A
By virtue of a #1 contender being named, Drew Gulak is obligated to defend the Cruiserweight Championship tonight against Lio Rush. Rush won this opportunity September 18th, defeating Oney Lorcan on nXt TV. This is part of a push by WWE to bring the Cruiserweight Championship under the nXt banner.
The last time Rush was featured was on the road to Wrestlemania alongside Bobby Lashley. He and WWE seem to have patched up a fractured relationship that may or may not have included Rush not being paid and going broke for a spell. He worked on his music but clearly wanted to be back in the ring. Getting a spot on the show that switched nXt to cable TV is a strong vote of confidence for the new #1 contender.
A big burst energy started this match and got the fans into it, chanting for both men. Gulak doesn’t want that pace and he slows things down with submissions and chops.
Awesome how much Gulak had to work for that cyclone crash, just for Rush to lift his leg on to the bottom rope for a rope break.
Rush used his top rope moves effectively to finish this match off, including a sky high frog splash. Big win for Rush!
Classy move with nXt General Manager William Regal being in the ring to present Rush with the belt, putting it around his waist.
Gulak even shows some class in acknowledging Rush as the winner and shaking his hand.
For Rush, this is the highlight of the year. He hasn’t seen much time with 205 Live this year, but I guess his matchlist from last year provided enough of a resume to deem him a fitting contender. Moving forward, it’s likely he’ll face wrestlers he fought to get to the top: Oney Lorcan, Akira Tozawa, Humberto Carrillo and Lince Dorado.
Aside from a potential rematch, Gulak returns to the Cruiserweight Division mix, having earned some credibility for a 4 month title reign. He’d do well to build a feud with someone for TV time. Otherwise, we may not see much of him for a while.
Cool Points Clincher
2 cool points each for Rush and Gulak. Another hot opener for nXt TV. Seems a routine is being set here and I like it. Going right into a title match to start the show demands the viewer’s attention. Fine blend of wrestling styles and Rush’s win completes the feel good story.
Other Men’s Division Results
Cameron Grimes def. Boa in seconds. Killian Dain scares Grimes off and beats up on Boa with Vader Bombs before throwing him on to the nXt announce table. Dain says it’s only the beginning.
Dain’s the new terror sweeping through nXt. He’s probably pissed that Balor and Ciampa are back because they’re likely preventing him from a title shot.
nXt North American Champion Roderick Strong def. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott in a non-title match. Post-match, Undisputed Era members talk up their faction in the ring. Velveteen Dream interrupts to challenge Strong for his title rematch in 2 weeks.
After that, Tommaso Ciampa arrives on stage, carrying his crutch. He grabs a chair and the UEra
Busy segment here, following a fine match between Strong and Scott. Great TV time for Scott coming out of the Breakout Tournament. Aside from getting to know his character more, he fit right into this part of the Men’s Division.
Dream exposed Strong in his promo, saying he just doesn’t measure up, as he showed a picture of Roderick Strong naked on the big screen. So that feud is alive and well for another two weeks.
Slow build on Ciampa targeting Cole but his intentions are very clear after tonight’s show: Daddy’s home. Ciampa’s coming back for what he had to give up 8 months ago: the nXt Championship.
nXt Women’s Championship Scene
Dakota Kai vs. Bianca Belair
2019 Records: Kai 1-0
Belair 5-5 with 2 no contests
Last Meeting: June 16, 2018: Belair def. Kai
Not much to this one. Kai recently returned to nXt and wants to get back in the title hunt. She’s benefitting from TV promo time and positive talk from the commentary team.
Belair is a fan favourite and, arguably, the strongest, pound for pound, female wrestler in the division. She’s gained confidence from two TakeOver title opportunities and is easily situated at #2 or #3 contender.
Kai shows a willingness to run this match at a quick pace. She utilizes her kicks well, especially one near match’s end, on the ring apron. Shortly thereafter, Kai hits a high kick to Belair’s head in the corner for a near fall.
Ultimately, Belair’s power game is too much for Kai to overcome. With a particularly nasty looking KOD, she gets the win.
Post-match, Belair seizes the mic and calls out Rhea Ripley. She says if Ripley wants Baszler, she has to go through her.
It’s gratifying as a fan when a clear direction is given for the characters in whom you’ve invested. Belair calls out her next opponent and GM Regal is consistent in following up on wrestler requests like this. Not only that, this is a logical step for both Belair and Ripley.
Ripley is new to the division but acting like she is the next big thing. Belair is the EST of nXt and wrestles with a similar style and personality. These two should matchup quite well.
As for Kai, it’s early for a loss, but if an underdog story is being built for her, it’s nothing to worry about. She works well having to overcome something or someone. No title shot in the picture, but a match against someone like Xia Li or Mia Yim, could be the showcase she needs to get that second win.
Cool Points Clincher
1 cool point for each woman, but extra kudos for Belair’s post-match promo. I’m a fan of wrestlers making the most of their TV time. If you’re out there for a match, you’ve already got the audience’s attention so say your piece and tell them who you are.
I’m excited for Belair/Ripley, but I hope they wrestle a slower paced match to make each power move more lasting.
Other Women’s Division Results
Rhea Ripley def. Aliyah. Post-match, she calls out Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler and says she’s coming for her.
This is the right call. Ripley is ready, capable and has fan support to challenge Baszler. Give her a #1 contender’s match to win and she’ll win over anyone who’s still doubting this woman.
nXt Tag Team Championship Scene
Breezango vs. Forgotten Sons
2019 Records: Breezango: 2-0, 1-0 in multi-man tag matches.
Forgotten Sons: 4-4, Dusty Rhodes Classic 2019 Finalists
Last 3 meetings: N/A
The original opponents for Breezango were to be Ever-Rise, but Jaxson Ryker walks out on stage dragging the two teammates. So, they won’t be fighting. Blake & Cutler will be instead.
Quick, tandem offense from Forgotten Sons at the beginning of this match. Continuous double-team power moves until Fandango can get the hot tag. Not enough to stop the Forgotten Sons though and they win this match, giving Breezango their first loss since their return.
There’s real potential for this to become a feud for the next month or two. The Tag Team division needs some life and having an off-title feud would keep fans engaged and potentially build up one or both of these teams into a possible contender.
If not, Breezango’s momentum shifts them into full-on entertainment mode. Call them out when we need a laugh. Forgotten Sons get trashed by a lot of people online, but they’re honestly not a terrible team. They are fairly unlikable as characters though…which is the point. That is their function in the division, as the only true villains at present.
Cool Points Clincher
1 cool point for Breezango’s construction worker-themed entrance. 1 cool point for Forgotten Sons because they got the win and that keeps them competitive. In fact, they’re probably #2 contenders in the division. I want to see more tag team wrestling on nXt! Other shows are making it happen and doing it up big. nXt is missing out and needs to build up some new teams.
Ranallo’s Line of the Night: Beth asks what he had to say about squats during the Kai/Belair match. Mauro says, “Drop it like it’s squat!” How punderful.
Thanks for reading the new nXt Cool Points column. Another plus to tonight’s show was how many matches they previewed for next week: 3 matches. Lee vs. Dijakovic, Dunne vs. Priest, and Ciampa vs. Garza. Would be nice to see the Women’s Division represented in the preview, too. It would also be nice to hear from you! Join the conversation below or on Twitter, and we’ll see you next week!
Past Cool Points Reviews:
nXt Cool Points- October 2, 2019 (Full Debut on USA)
nXt Cool Points: Best TV Matches of 2018-19