WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights for September 11
The September 11 episode of NXT, the last pretaped broadcast to air on WWE Network, featured a much-anticipated showdown between women's champion Shayna Baszler and Rhea Ripley.
Would the Aussie badass be able to defeat The Queen of Spades and stake her claim to a championship opportunity, or would Baszler thwart another would-be challenger in the night's main event?
In-ring action from Angel Garza, Cameron Grimes and former WWE United Kingdom champion Pete Dunne, and an announcement from Johnny Gargano regarding his NXT future, rounded out another strong episode of NXT TV.
Boa vs. Damian Priest
Beijing's Boa returned to the squared circle this week, though he had the unenviable task of battling the seemingly unbeatable Damian Priest. Unfazed by the dominance of Priest, he ordered the former Punishment Martinez into the ropes, but the big man answered with an uppercut that grounded the relative rookie.
Priest downed Boa and taunted him, toying with his outmatched opponent. Boa seized an opening and fired off a few kicks to the upper body and a running dropkick in the corner. Priest answered with a discus kick and finished him off with the Reckoning.
Priest defeated Boa
This was another squash win for a Priest character that has become rather stagnant, with no real sign of any upward momentum.
He is far too talented to be wasted on these squash matches, as evidenced by his recent bout with Keith Lee.
Hopefully, when NXT hits the USA Network and has two hours to play with, the former Ring of Honor breakout star can shine in a more significant role.
Johnny Gargano Addresses NXT Future
Johnny Gargano returned to Full Sail University to address his status with NXT going forward.
Gargano expressed his love and gratitude for NXT and admitted that he had seen many come and go. Before he could continue, though, Shane Thorne interrupted the proceedings.
Thorne arrogantly said NXT will be better with Gargano gone and him at the forefront.
Gargano revealed he isn't going anywhere and blasted the Aussie with a superkick. He motioned "NXT for life" to close out the segment.
This was exactly what it needed to be.
Gargano has been the face of NXT for two years now, providing it with some of the most unforgettable matches in recent memory. He has been a superb ambassador for the brand and should continue to be an integral part of bringing attention to the Yellow and Black over on USA Network.
Involving Thorne and letting him benefit from sharing the screen with the former champion only elevates his stock and sets up a potential match with Gargano in the near future.
Pete Dunne vs. Angel Garza
Former United Kingdom champion Pete Dunne entered the NXT Arena to a thunderous ovation, ready to square off with Breakout Tournament participant Angel Garza.
Dunne dominated early, partaking in some joint manipulation that targeted the fingers and arm of his opponent. The arrogant Garza created an opening and flung his pants to the floor, but he paid for it immediately, as Dunne blasted him.
The Bruiserweight was unable to secure firm control of the bout, though, as Garza caught him with a big dropkick that left both men reeling. Dunne unloaded a series of kicks to the chest, but Garza pinned him for a quick two-count.
Dunne countered a roll-up, grabbed hold of Garza's hands and stomped away at him. Another brutal kick left Garza stunned. He recovered and tried for a quebrada, but Dunne caught him in a triangle and snapped the fingers for the submission win.
Dunne defeated Garza
Dunne and Garza put forth a really strong effort. They maximized their minutes and provided a hard-hitting, competitive match that left fans wanting more.
The time constraints prevented them from delivering the show-stealer they are likely capable of, but it was still a powerful performance for Garza and another example of Dunne's brutal, cringe-worthy offense.
Like Priest in the first match of the night, the move to USA will do wonders for both men, giving them opportunities to compete in more focused, longer-term stories than the current one-hour format allows for.
Cameron Grimes vs. Raul Mendoza
Cameron Grimes made his first appearance since losing in the finals of the NXT Breakout Tournament, squaring off with the underutilized Raul Mendoza in singles competition.
Mendoza scored an early near-fall with a magistral cradle and then continued to keep Grimes off guard with his athleticism. He walked the ropes and delivered a big dropkick that downed his opponent. A shooting star press earned Mendoza another close two-count.
He took one risk too many, though, missing a top-rope dive and falling prey to Grimes' jumping double stomp for the pinfall victory.
Grimes defeated Mendoza
If the purpose here was to put Grimes over, this failed.
If it was to have a competitive match that showcased Mendoza, it succeeded.
It seems a bit weird that perennial enhancement character Mendoza was allowed to look as strong as he did, with Grimes coming from out of nowhere to win the match despite very little offense of his own.
Yes, he is new to the brand, but Grimes appears set to be one of the more prominent stars of NXT's future. Having him get lucky enough to hit his finisher and bail himself out from an otherwise unimpressive performance is hardly the way to get him over with audiences.
Non-Title Match: Rhea Ripley vs. Shayna Baszler
Two weeks after appearing and issuing a challenge for a women's title match, Rhea Ripley sought to prove herself worthy as she battled champion Shayna Baszler in a non-title main event.
The Queen of Spades would not make it easy, targeting the knee of her larger opponent and working a cravat. Ripley, though, powered out and delivered a big back body drop. A missed dropkick allowed Baszler to lock in a rear-naked choke. Backing into the ropes, she pulled Ripley off the mat in a hanging clutch.
A big dropkick from the Aussie sent Baszler crashing from the top rope to the floor. There, Ripley hoisted Baszler on her shoulders and dropped the champion face-first into the steel stairs.
Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir hit the ring, making the save for Baszler. The champion capitalized and kicked Ripley's leg out from underneath her.
Baszler grabbed a chair and tried to hit her rival with it, but Ripley overpowered her and blasted the champion with it, drawing the disqualification.
Ripley ended the show sitting in the ring, taunting Baszler and daring her to come back. The champion stood atop the ramp, not at all interested in revisiting that encounter.
Baszler defeated Ripley via disqualification
The match, rarely pretty, felt like a badass, hard-hitting bout between two women whose disdain for each other was only intensifying with every passing minute. It felt more like the appetizer than the main course, though, probably because Ripley and Baszler knew full well their issues will be settled in a higher-profile TakeOver match sometime in the near future.
How we get there, though, when Ripley lost this via DQ, remains to be seen.
For now, we can be happy that Ripley presents Baszler with a bigger, more dominant force than any the champion has faced to this point. From a storytelling perspective, that is a more-than-welcome change.