WWE Worlds Collide 2020 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction, Highlights
A battle for brand supremacy between NXT and its UK counterpart culminated Saturday in a blockbuster pay-per-view, live from Houston's Toyota Arena, headlined by two explosive main events.
Two weeks after attacking Imperium on its home turf at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II, Undisputed Era sought to put an exclamation point on the rivalry in a massive Eight-Man Tag Team match. Would Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O'Reilly and Roderick Strong pick up a win and continue their dominance over all things NXT, or would Walter, Fabian Aichner, Marcel Barthel and Alexander Wolfe lay claim to superiority?
NXT women's champion Rhea Ripley battled longtime rival Toni Storm in the second marquee bout, looking to reverse recent fortunes against the 2018 Mae Young Classic winner.
Those two matches headlined a crossover event that set the bar for Royal Rumble weekend.
A bar that may prove too high for the main roster to eclipse.
Kickoff Show: Mia Yim vs. Kay Lee Ray
NXT UK women's champion Kay Lee Ray kicked off the evening's in-ring action as she battled Mia Yim in a singles match.
Yim started quickly, catching the Scot off guard and dropping her for consecutive near-falls. A tornado DDT by Ray turned the tide in her favor, and a submission halted Yim's momentum. Ray tried for a senton moments later, but she crashed and burned, allowing her opponent a breather and the opportunity to fight her way back into the match.
A big DDT by Yim earned her a near-fall, but the resilient NXT UK competitor shot her shoulder off the mat, robbing the HBIC a monumental victory. Yim avoided a powerbomb, dropping Ray with a back body drop and following with a tope to the floor. Ray created separation and delivered a plancha from the top rope that wiped out Yim in response.
Yim countered a Gory Bomb by Ray with Code Blue but still only managed to keep her opponent down for two.
Ray delivered Eat Defeat in a sign of disrespect, hoping to use her opponent's own maneuver against her. Yim fought back and delivered a destroyer piledriver, but Ray kicked out to the shock of the babyface.
A desperate Ray scored a roll-up and held the ropes for a cheap win.
Ray defeated Yim
As a kickoff show match, this was a really strong effort from both women.
Yim starred, looking really strong as she took the fight to the best NXT UK had to offer. Ray bumped around to make her opponent look like a star, though her cheating to win the match felt a bit unnecessary unless the plan is for there to be a sustained rivalry between the two. Given their homes are on different brands, that would seem unlikely.
Disappointing finish aside, the crowd was into the action, the performers were on and the result was a hot start to what has the potential to be an event that steals the weekend out from underneath the much-heralded Royal Rumble.
Ilja Dragunov vs. Finn Balor
The main portion of the broadcast kicked off with Finn Balor seeking to snuff out the rising star that is NXT UK's Ilja Dragunov.
Balor answered an early show of disrespect with a slap of his own to Dragunov and then followed with a baseball slide that rocked his opponent as chants of "too sweet" poured from the stands. Dragunov recovered and delivered a springboard crossbody on Balor after an awkward exchange. He tried for a double ax handle, but The Prince moved and the Russian crashed and burned on the floor. An aggressive, unforgiving Balor punished his opponent with strikes before returning the action to the squared circle.
Balor dominated the action, grounding his opponent and cutting off any opportunity at a potential comeback. A flurry of stomps about the body of Dragunov drew cheers from fans who were familiar with and appreciative of the Irishman despite his role as the clear heel.
Dragunov dropped Balor with a big suplex and built momentum with a knee strike in the corner. A knee drop from the middle rope earned the NXT UK export a two-count and left Balor clutching at his throat. Balor recovered and dropped Dragunov, but the resilient Russian fought back. He delivered a dive outside the ring, wiping out the heel.
Balor, though, recovered, delivered a shotgun dropkick into the corner and finished Dragunov with a Coup de Grace, followed by 1916 for a pinfall victory.
Balor defeated Dragunov
It is almost disappointing this did not take place in the UK because the crowd would have been red-hot for Dragunov and the result would have been an even better atmosphere. As it was, the match was a perfect representation of how over Balor remains despite poor booking at times from the WWE Creative team. Back in NXT, he has rediscovered his passion and aggression and is a favorite to dethrone Adam Cole for the brand's world title.
He brings credibility with him as the first universal champion, and the result is an opportunity to redefine NXT as a legitimate, top-notch brand in WWE rather than the stepchild of Raw and SmackDown.
This was a damn fun match with some great physicality that would have been even better without a few early hiccups.
A great way to start the show.
Fatal 4-Way Match for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship
The NXT Cruiserweight Championship was up for grabs next as Angel Garza defended his gold against Isaiah "Swerve" Scott, "The Irish Ace" Jordan Devlin and "The Kiwi Buzzsaw" Travis Banks in a Fatal 4-Way match.
Garza stopped to remove his pants early, but his three opponents dropped him with stereo kicks. The action broke down from there as Scott and Devlin each took turns shining. Scott delivered a modified Attitude Adjustment to Devlin on the floor, and Banks exploded from out of nowhere with a double stomp to the chest of Garza.
Banks fired off a flurry of kicks to the bodies of Scott and Garza and wiped out Devlin with a tope through the middle and bottom ropes. He delivered a corner cannonball to Garza and Scott, and then he tossed Devlin into them with an overhead suplex.
Devlin recovered and dropped his frequent rival with a tornado DDT, Garza removed his pants to a big pop and Scott delivered a leg drop off the top rope in a tower of doom spot as the action intensified.
Garza and Scott exchanged a series of chops, and Swerve planted Garza with a knee to the face. Devlin interrupted the House Call, and Banks delivered a destroyer piledriver to the Irish Ace, an exchange that left all four competitors on their backs.
Devlin delivered a double exploder suplex to Scott and Garza from the top rope, and Banks delivered the Kiwi Crusher for a very close near-fall.
Late, Garza delivered the Wing Clipper to Scott, but Devlin broke up the pin. He delivered his backdrop driver to win the match and title.
A triumphant Devlin cut a braggadocios promo after the match.
Devlin defeated Scott, Garza and Banks to win the cruiserweight title
This was nonstop action from start to finish. The spots were creative, the pace furious and the outcome a bit of a surprise given the fact that the cruiserweight title will now reside on an NXT UK competitor for the first time ever.
Banks was the star of the match and involved in every memorable spot, really leaving a lasting impression on audiences. He looked like a star but did not factor into the finish, which was surprising given the amount of offense he got in during the height of the bout.
Devlin is a phenomenal worker and has been for quite some time. His work with Walter and indy star David Starr in Europe was almost cinematic in its artistry, and his match with Tyler Bate at TakeOver: Blackpool II stole the show. He rode the momentum into the event and paid it off with a title win.
DIY vs. Mustache Mountain
Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa reunited as DIY up next, battling Mustache Mountain's Tyler Bate and Trent Seven in a dream match between two of the best tag teams in the illustrious history of NXT.
Gargano and Bate sparred early, neither gaining the upper hand. Seven and Ciampa tagged in and engaged in posedowns and mustache-twirling. They shook hands as a sign of respect, but Bate tagged back in and brought Ciampa to his knees in a test of strength.
After another fun back-and-forth, Bate tried for the Bop, but Ciampa blasted him with a hard right hand. DIY followed up with a tandem assault that left fans chanting their names in appreciation for both Gargano and Ciampa, as well as their reunion.
The Blackheart and Johnny Wrestling downed Bate and cut the ring off from his partner, working over the smaller of the two opponents. The inaugural NXT UK champion fought back and made the tag to Seven, who exploded into the match, taking the fight to Ciampa with a powerbomb and lariat for a near-fall.
Bate re-entered the ring and ate a big slingshot spear from Gargano for another two-count. A big tope by Gargano downed the Big Strong Boi on the floor as DIY re-established control of the bout.
Gargano missed a dive at ringside, and Bate delivered an enzuigiri to Ciampa. He downed the former world champion with a rebound lariat and then added Tyler Driver 97 for a shocking near-fall. A series of close twos unfolded, leaving both teams exhausted and an appreciative audience chanting "NXT!"
Bate delivered an exploder to Gargano, but a running shooting star press was met with knees to the face. The action continued to break down as Bate accidentally struck his own partner with a lariat. Mustache Mountain stopped DIY's finisher with Bop and Bang and then followed up with a big burning hammer/knee drop combination for the strongest near-fall of the bout.
Ciampa pulled Seven in the way of a twisting splash from Bate and nearly put the latter away for the win. Chants of "this is awesome" rained from the stands.
DIY caught Bate in midair with a dropkick and put away Seven with Meet in the Middle for the win.
DIY defeated Mustache Mountain
Good old-fashioned fun.
That is the best way to describe the match between DIY and Mustache Mountain, which was creative artistry from two extraordinary tag teams made up of legitimate best friends. The near-falls were dramatic, the crowd bought into every single one of them and the result was just a fantastic match that served as a reminder of how cathartic an experience wrestling can be at its best.
It was a bit concerning to see Ciampa favor his neck as much as he did late in the match and immediately after, particularly since that was not part of the story of the bout. Perhaps he was simply selling the effects of Mustache Mountain's onslaught, but even Gargano clearly made a point to ask him about it.
The question now is whether Triple H and NXT management can resist the urge to make DIY a part of the show when Ciampa and Gargano still have lots to accomplish as singles competitors.
Finally, Bate and Seven may be two of the very best babyfaces in all of wrestling. It is somewhat surprising they are not utilized more than they are as staples of the UK brand.
NXT Women's Championship Match: Rhea Ripley vs. Toni Storm
The rivalry between Toni Storm and NXT women's champion Rhea Ripley wrote its latest chapter Saturday night with the title up for grabs.
Ripley overwhelmed her opponent early with her strength advantage, but Storm turned the tide in her favor by targeting the previously injured neck of The Nightmare. Storm wore her down with submission holds until Ripley fought back into the match and slammed the 2018 Mae Young Classic winner to the mat.
She followed with a standing cloverleaf, looking to force a tapout from Storm and put an end to her losing ways against the New Zealand-born competitor. Storm fought through the pain and broke the hold. She sought a German suplex, but Ripley elbowed her way out. The champion tried for the Riptide, but Storm reversed her momentum and scored a near-fall.
Storm finally landed the German suplex, but Ripley escaped the pin at two. She scaled the ropes and tried for a frog splash, but Ripley rolled out of the way. The Riptide followed as the champion successfully retained her title.
After the match, the camera caught No. 1 contender Bianca Belair applauding at ringside, clearly pleased that she now has the opportunity to dethrone the Aussie at TakeOver: Portland in two weeks.
Ripley defeated Storm
This felt like a match that had time cut from it, perhaps because of other bouts on the card running long. It was a sprint in comparison and never had the chance to build into the great match they are capable of, as evidenced by their bouts in the UK.
With that said, it was still a smartly wrestled match that saw Storm's injured midsection factor into the finish. A high-risk maneuver failed to pay off, and Ripley quickly capitalized to retain her title.
A strong if unspectacular match set up Ripley to defend against Belair in Portland while leaving fans to wonder what is next for Storm, whose use on the main NXT brand has been questionable, to say the least.
Undisputed Era vs. Imperium
The war for brand supremacy concluded with a battle between the two most dominant factions in NXT as Undisputed Era faced Imperium in a hotly anticipated tag team match.
Kyle O'Reilly took Fabian Aichner to the mat with a leg bar from the start, but the former rugby player escaped. They exchanged strikes until a big powerslam by Aichner put the submission specialist down.
Undisputed Era controlled the bout early until a scary moment in which Alexander Wolfe caught a kick to the face and went limp. The medical staff helped Wolfe out of the ring while Cole and Walter, champions of their respective brands and leaders of their factions, paired off for the first time in the bout. When Strong tagged in for UE, he ate a big boot from the Ring General and found himself isolated from his partners.
Strong recovered, tagged Cole in and UE seized control, working over Marcel Barthel. Strong mocked Imperium, clearly confident in his team's chances with a four-on-three numbers advantage. Barthel finally made it across the ring and tagged Walter into the match. The UK champion chopped any and all in front of him, drawing a big pop. He obliterated O'Reilly with a chop to the chest, but the tag team champion countered into a guillotine. The raw power of Walter allowed him to deliver a double German suplex to both O'Reilly and Strong. A jumping DDT by Barthel earned Imperium a two-count.
Walter delivered a big seated senton on O'Reilly as the European contingent took over control of the match. A wicked chop to the chest drove the air out of O'Reilly for another near-fall.
Strong tagged in and went chop-for-chop, punch-for-punch with Walter, reddening the chest of the Ring General to the delight of the fans. A big clothesline by Walter cut him off, but a running knee and kick by Strong gave way to the Strong Hold.
Later, looking to continue dividing and conquering, Undisputed Era cleared off the announce table. After some back-and-forth, Strong put Walter through it with an Angle Slam to a thunderous ovation. Chants of "mama mia" poured from the stands.
Back inside the squared circle, Aichner and Barthel fended off Undisputed Era until a series of superkicks from Cole downed them. A big neckbreaker from the NXT champion nearly put away Barthel.
With Walter out of action, the resilient Aichner and Barthel kept Imperium's chances of victory alive, including a big moonsault by the former to O'Reilly that broke up a submission attempt. The Ring General finally returned to the ring and exploded into the match off a hot tag, unloading on all opponents with a wicked array of chops. Cole caught him with a superkick but ate another chop.
Walter dropped Strong with a chop, delivered a powerbomb and followed with a splash. Cole delivered the Last Shot, and Aichner broke up a pin attempt in a wonderful sequence.
O'Reilly and Fish dropped Walter with No Man's Land but failed to follow up. Barthel dropped Cole at ringside and then did the same to O'Reilly. Strong soared through the air and wiped out the competition on the floor. Aichner followed with a dive of his own.
Back in the ring, Fish missed a moonsault before Walter delivered a big dropkick and finished him off with a powerbomb to secure the victory.
Imperium defeated Undisputed Era
The unfortunate injury to Wolfe had an unforeseen effect on the match: It made Walter and Imperium into the sympathetic babyface tandem. The team, down to three competitors against Undisputed Era's four, proved a resilient, iron-willed unit capable of absorbing any punishment and fighting back.
Walter was made to look like a combination of Godzilla and King Kong, the proverbial unstoppable force and immovable object as he overcame the table spot to win the match for his team, the fans in Houston cheering his every move.
The storytelling was phenomenal, Undisputed Era's ability to eat those chops from Walter and not fold up like little children was a testament to their toughness, and the crowd's involvement helped make for an unforgettable environment.
A match that was hyped from the moment Worlds Collide was announced, it more than lived up to its billing and provided the first real Match of the Year contender for WWE in 2020.