WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from October 9
After a resounding defeat in terms of TV ratings in Week 1, NXT promised an emphatic comeback with another jam-packed night of wrestling.
Three huge matches were announced ahead of time. Kushida would get a crack at NXT UK champion Walter. No one had been able to stop The Ring General yet, but the Japanese Superstar is not like anyone else.
Lio Rush continued his rebirth in NXT with a huge NXT Cruiserweight Championship bout against Drew Gulak, hoping to prove the past no longer mattered.
Isaiah "Swerve" Scott had his own message to deliver in a non-title contest against the NXT North American champion Roderick Strong.
That was not all this show had to offer, especially with the returns of Finn Balor and Tommaso Ciampa to make their desire for the NXT Championship known to Adam Cole.
This night had to be huge, and it had all the promise to be just that.
NXT Cruiserweight Champion Drew Gulak vs. Lio Rush
Lio Rush came out fast and aggressive against Drew Gulak, but he took one too many chances and was knocked off the top rope to the floor. The Man of the Hour fought back but was trapped in the Gu-Lock and barely escaped.
The Philadelphia Stretcher planted Rush with the Cyclone Crash, but the challenger got to the ropes to save himself from the three-count. The champion felt in control until he ran into the Come-Up then the Final Hour, sealing the win for Rush.
Afterward, Gulak begrudgingly showed respect to the new champion, handing him the title and shaking his hand.
Rush def. Gulak by pinfall to become the new NXT cruiserweight champion
This was a great opener that had the crowd on their feet. These two worked well together unsurprisingly given their complementary styles. Gulak did his best to slow Rush with technical offense, but the new champion always found his openings.
The one disappointment is that the reign of The Philadelphia Stretcher ended so suddenly. Much like the expected cancellation of 205 Live, it feels like WWE is reshaping the brand quietly and suddenly. Rush should be a great figurehead for the division. He's an absolute star in the Full Sail arena.
Rhea Ripley vs. Aaliyah
Rhea Ripley was not impressed by Aaliyah and made quick work of her. After an impressive dropkick, she locked her opponent in an elevated reverse cloverleaf, forcing a tapout.
Afterward, the Australian called out Shayna Baszler, wanting another shot at the NXT women's champion.
Ripley def. Aaliyah by submission
This match was a complete squash, but it served its purpose. Fans who may not quite know who Ripley is got a clear view of her dominance. Her submission finisher was especially impressive.
She makes perfect sense as Baszler's next challenger, given their last fight ended in a disqualification. She might even be the right woman to dethrone the champ.
Breezango vs. The Forgotten Sons
Tyler Breeze and Fandango prepared for a match with Ever-Rise only for Jaxson Ryker to drag out the tag team, battered and unconscious. Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler arrived and stole the spot in this match.
Breezango did the best they could against this surprise team, but they were no match. The Forgotten Sons isolated Fandango and planted him with a reverse DDT/double foot stomp combination for the win.
Forgotten Sons def. Breezango by pinfall
The Forgotten Sons are always good for a decent match, rarely more, but this was a well-booked segment as a whole. It was an emphatic statement to have Ryker dragging out Ever-Rise, which made it clear the heel team meant business.
Breezango can afford losses, but they might be the best challengers right now to The Undisputed Era. The Fashion Police will need to pick up some big wins to make it to that point.
Cameron Grimes vs. Boa; Killian Dain Promises Destruction
Cameron Grimes made quick work of Boa with a sudden standing foot stomp, but he had to quickly bail.
Killian Dain stormed the ring and attacked Boa, throwing him onto the announce table. He promised this was only the beginning.
Grimes def. Boa by pinfall
Grimes continues to pick up lightning-fast wins, but he was hardly the focus here.
Dain needs to recover from his loss to Matt Riddle. That begins with destroying everyone in his path. Hopefully, he picks more impressive targets soon.
Roderick Strong vs. Isaiah "Swerve" Scott
Isaiah "Swerve" Scott came out swinging to try to pull off the upset. However, Roderick Strong put him down with repeated backbreakers. Scott refused to stay down and fought back.
The Undisputed Era headed down the ramp as Swerve teased a big win. He nearly got the victory with a draping DDT then a slingshot double foot stomp.
The trio of Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly distracted Scott just enough to allow Strong to hit the End of Heartache into the Stronghold for the tapout.
Cole grabbed a microphone to talk up how much better Undisputed Era was than everyone else.
The Velveteen Dream interrupted to announce he would fight Strong in two weeks for the NXT North American Championship and strip him of the title before showing a photoshopped naked picture of the champ.
Tommaso Ciampa then arrived and announced to his old title Goldie that daddy was home.
Strong def. Scott by submission
A lot happened in this segment, but it should not be forgotten how good Swerve looked fighting the NXT North American champion. He and Strong meshed well and told a complete story of an underdog just not quite ready for glory.
Dream and Ciampa then reminded everyone about their title aspirations. Both are fascinating fan favorites, who should bring the best out of the champions when the time comes.
Dakota Kai vs. Bianca Belair
Dakota Kai continued her return tour in NXT by taking on her biggest challenge to date.
Bianca Belair showed full attitude and no remorse in brutalizing her opponent, but cockiness got the best of The EST of NXT as she allowed The Captain of Team Kick to get back into the fight.
Kai fought with a fury, getting a series of near-falls for Belair. The EST just barely managed to catch her opponent with the KOD for the win.
Afterward, Belair grabbed a microphone and called out Rhea Ripley, announcing she should be the next to get a shot at Shayna Baszler, not the former NXT UK women's champion.
Belair def. Kai by pinfall
This was fine but sloppy. Belair and Kai could not quite find the right footing working together, so they just fought through it with sheer attitude. It mostly worked, and it was easy to believe either woman could come out on top in this match.
The EST is obviously considered among the top women in NXT, but it was a shame to see the Aussie Superstar fall so quickly after her return. She has a great story to tell with Baszler that may never come to fruition.
Walter vs. Kushida
Kushida showed an impressive game plan to combat the size and power of Walter, wearing him down and connecting with high-impact offense. He transitioned that repeatedly into the Hoverboard Lock, but the NXT UK champion kept finding his escape.
The Japanese Superstar seemed poised to be the first performer to give The Ring General a loss, but the champion hit a thunderous dropkick into a powerbomb for a near-fall. Kushida could not kick out again after an emphatic ripcord lariat.
Walter def. Kushida by pinfall
This was a fantastic main event as expected. Kushida and Walter gave each other all they could handle. It was a physical and intense war that had the crowd transfixed on the action. It was honestly surprising to see Kushida fall after he gave such a fight to Walter.
Ultimately, it is clear Walter will remain one of NXT's most protected stars for a good reason. He continues to deliver against anyone put in front of him. It's hard to say who will even want to step up to him next.