WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 9
NXT went to war, and not everyone made it out in one piece. The December 9 edition of the black-and-gold brand promised a look back at Sunday's WarGames while also looking toward NXT New Year's Evil on Jan. 6.
Finn Balor has been absent for months due to his injury, but that looked to change. The NXT champion had a plan and wanted to face the best of the best from WarGames.
Raquel Gonzalez pinned NXT women's champion Io Shirai at WarGames, but some were still overlooking her. She wanted to make a statement by destroying Ember Moon in the main event.
Cameron Grimes and Tommaso Ciampa went through the wars on Sunday, but they weren't done. The Technical Savage stepped into the ring with The Blackheart, hoping to rewrite his path right back toward the moon.
This week's NXT was coming off the back of one of the best wrestling events of the year. It needed to make an impact, but only time would tell if it could.
Finn Balor Meets His Future Challengers
Pete Dunne barely let Finn Balor finish his challenge before heading to the ring.
The Bruiserweight was glad to finally face the Irishman, who had been out of action since Oct. 4 due to a broken jaw. But Kyle O'Reilly wasn't going to stand for Dunne going for the title after losing at WarGames.
O'Reilly tried to goad Balor into a match. Damian Priest arrived to make his own statement, but the NXT champion was not standing around waiting. He made clear he would defend at NXT New Year's Evil, but he would let general manager William Regal decide on his challenger.
Scarlett arrived to remind The Prince that Karrion Kross was coming back soon. Balor was glad to accept that challenge when the former NXT champion was ready.
Priest taunted Scarlett, telling her man to pick his own fights.
This segment did not accomplish much. It showed there are a variety of challengers for the NXT Championship, though others were awkwardly left in the back. The back-and-forth banter did not sell Dunne, O'Reilly or Priest beyond them being title contenders.
Scarlett stating Kross is on his way back made more of an impact. Balor vs. Kross has serious potential. Hopefully, that match will be kept for a major NXT TakeOver.
Isaiah 'Swerve' Scott vs. Jake Atlas
Isaiah "Swerve" Scott looked like a new man after time away, and he brought an extra level of aggression to this fight with Jake Atlas.
However, that aggression did not pay off as Swerve had the advantage only until Atlas caught him with a surprise pinning combination.
Swerve glared at Atlas and then walked out without shaking his former ally's hand.
Atlas def. Swerve by pinfall.
This was a fine short match, but these two can do so much more. Too much of this contest was the feeling-out process, potentially because they were saving it for a rematch down the line.
Swerve as a heel can certainly work, but he will need to do more than just glare. It is going to take time and story. A true rivalry with Atlas should do wonders as Atlas is so likable. The pairing could keep the cruiserweight division relevant beyond Legado del Fantasma.
The Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Imperium vs. Ever-Rise
Ever-Rise wanted to get some revenge against the two teams that attacked them recently: The Grizzled Young Veterans and Imperium.
It took some time for Matt Martel and Chase Parker to take control, but it did not last long.
Fabian Aichner managed to save a near-victory for Ever-Rise on James Drake, and Marcel Bartel got involved to almost give Imperium the win.
Zack Gibson slipped in and set up Ticket to Mayhem on Parker for the victory.
Grizzled Young Veterans def. Ever-Rise and Imperium by pinfall.
These tag teams have a unique dynamic that is difficult to pin down. However, even without a clear face, this fun and energetic contest worked wonders. All three teams fought with everything to get this win, setting them up for a title opportunity soon enough.
Ever-Rise in particular brought everything to look on the same level as two of NXT's best teams. It should be fun to see what comes next for the stacked tag team division. The Grizzled Young Veterans deserve a serious run with the NXT Tag Team Championships.
WarGames Retrospective; Toni Storm and Io Shirai Brawl
A retrospective video package talked about the two brutal WarGames matches. Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai and Bobby Fish were all seriously injured, yet even the injured gloated over their teams' wins.
Io Shirai attacked Toni Storm during an interview. Ember Moon helped as well as the two laid out the Antipodean. The Genius of the Sky landed her signature moonsault.
The video package for WarGames was a great way to showcase the event. The retrospective did not just recap the moments, though; talent got to speak on their victories or defeats, setting up the future for everyone involved.
Storm vs. Shirai is a money match for NXT, and the brand would be smart to sell it for a major moment. It seems likely the first battle will be at New Year's Evil, but that should not be the last. The two already have proved their chemistry.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Cameron Grimes
Tommaso Ciampa explained in a backstage promo he went after Timothy Thatcher to make sure he still had it, and he was going after Cameron Grimes because The Technical Savage would not stop talking.
Thatcher sat on the stage to watch Ciampa work. After a fist fight with The Blackheart went awry, Grimes tricked Ciampa, taking advantage of his lingering injuries. Ciampa survived a few close calls and began to fight back.
After attempted interference from Tyler Rust was avoided, Ciampa planted Grimes with Willow's Bell for the victory. Thatcher stared down Ciampa afterward, and Grimes then got in his face and got flipped on his own face.
Ciampa def. Grimes by pinfall.
The battle between Ciampa and Grimes was solid but lacked a clear story. The Technical Savage is better in contests with build. Here, he was the generic heel beating down The Blackheart until he made his expected comeback for the win.
Ciampa vs. Thatcher has serious potential, but it is important that the latter does not lose out anymore. He needs to be able to show he can match up to one of the NXT elite. He has lost too many big matches lately.
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae Gloat in Celebration Ceremony
A video was shown of the brutal training Boa and Xia Li were going through at the hands of their ruthless teacher.
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae came out with smiles on their faces, flanked by Austin Theory and Indi Hartwell. The Rebel Heart showed off his lip stitches while The Poison Pixie smiled bright even with her left arm in a cast.
Gargano gave his wife a trophy for her WarGames victory, and he then stated he and Theory would defeat Damian Priest and Leon Ruff again in a tag team match next week.
The Archer of Infamy mocked Gargano only to be viciously attacked by Karrion Kross.
The Gargano family are a delightful group. Theory is the odd man out right now, and it works. Gargano and LeRae are fun together, but they need people to work off with their overconfidence. Theory and Hartwell are the perfect young apprentices to heighten their arrogance.
Priest needs to move away from The Rebel Heart, so Kross is the perfect man to help with that. Priest-Kross could be a fun rivalry for months to come. Both are near title contention and can elevate each other.
Pete Dunne vs. Killian Dain
Malcolm Bivens found Tyler Rust during an interview, walking away with him to talk about an opportunity. Killian Dain and Pete Dunne got into a fight backstage, leading to this match.
The Bruiserweight brutalized The Beast of Belfast with kicks and punches, but Dain fought through. He sent Dunne flying with a release German suplex, only for Dunne to bounce back up and suplex his opponent.
Dain kept fighting, but he was badly banged up. Each powerbomb and suplex just seemed to aggravate The Bruiserweight. Dunne wanted this win as much as Dain needed revenge.
Drake Maverick stopped Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch from interfering for a moment, but he got laid out. Dain made the save. However, the distraction cost The Beast of Belfast, who walked into a big kick and the Bitter End.
Dunne def. Dain by pinfall.
This was the best match Dain has had in years. He and Dunne clicked in a way few have with The Beast of Belfast. It helped that The Beast looked way better working as a face underneath rather than as a dominant heel.
It made sense for The Bruiserweight to win, even in such an important revenge match for Dain. He got to hang with a future world title contender and got a serious rub in this physical match.
Raquel Gonzalez vs. Ember Moon
Leon Ruff was asked about what he would do next week with Damian Priest injured. Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory made fun of Ruff, but Kushida agreed to back him up.
Raquel Gonzalez was not afraid to do serious damage to Ember Moon early, choking her out and throwing her around the ring. Every time The War Goddess attempted to rally, she was planted on the mat by the sheer power of her physical opponent.
Finally, Moon connected on a suplex and a cartwheel clothesline followed by a DDT that barely got a two count but certainly affected Gonzalez. Moon had a dangerous idea, climbing the stage, but Gonzalez caught her and blasted her head first into the steel post.
The War Goddess held on through all the pain. Gonzalez caught the Eclipse then planted her with a clothesline. A single-arm powerbomb sealed the win for the bruiser.
Afterward, Toni Storm tried to attack Moon with Gonzalez's help, but Rhea Ripley made the save. Ripley and Gonzalez stared each other down to end the night.
Gonzalez def. Moon by pinfall.
This was a great showcase match for Gonzalez. She has found her role as the brutalizer of the NXT women's division. Her size and strength are a unique pairing in the women's division, and she has improved immensely in utilizing what she does best.
She and Moon are a great pairing, and there's plenty of time to develop a future match between them. This was a worthy physical main event. It established that Gonzalez should be next in line for the NXT Women's Championship. It will be between her and Storm.