NXT New Year’s Evil took place this week in the weekly Wednesday night slot. The show was hosted by Dexter Lumis, with commentary from Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett at ringside with Beth Phoenix joining in remotely.
Damian Priest vs. Karrion Kross
The first match of the night saw Damian Priest take on Karrion Kross and was as hard hitting as you’d expect. Right from the start they locked up and fell to the outside, slamming each other into the pexiglass around ringside.
They carry on inside the ring, tading huge clotheslines and kicks with each other until Kross is knocked outside and Priest launches himself over the top rope to take him down.
Back inside the ring once more Priest carried on his offence with a spinning heel kick from the top but Kross then took charge hitting a huge powerbomb and a slam onto the steel steps.
A kick to Priest’s head, followed by a Saito Suplex left him dazed and open for Kross to nail him with a massive forearm and put Damien down for the pin.
NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Santos Escobar vs. Gran Metalik
Metalik came into the match fighting and rocked Escobar with early offence including sending him to the outside from a Hurricanrana. A few minutes later and Escobar again is on the outside and is met with a Moonsault from Metalik.
Back in the ring Escobar goes to work on Metalik. First he drops him on to the turnbuckles then hits him with a clothesline for a close two count. With Lince Dorado fighting off the other members of the Legado del Fantasma on the outside, Escobar hits his Phantom Driver to get the pin and retain the Cruiserweight belt.
Xia Li vs. Katrina Cortez
Sporting a new look and new style, Xia Li came to the ring with Boa and the mysterious figure from their recent vignettes and put on a very impressive display against Cortez. The rejuvinated star took her opponent down in quick fashion with hard knee strikes and put her out for the three count with a spinning kick.
Last Woman Standing Match: Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez
This was always going to be brutal. The on-going rivalry finally came to a head and both superstars gave it everything they’ve got. Opening the match with Ripley hitting a dropkick, Gonzalez came back with a fierce clothesline and a succession of fallaway slams.
Kendo sticks, chairs and the plexiglass around the ring are all used as weapons before Gonzalez finds herself handcuffed to the caged area at ringside. Blocking a kendo stick shot, Raquel rips the handcuffs from the cage and attacks Ripley with the metal loops that came away with the cuffs.
Everything around the ring is brought into this match, the announce desk, ring bell, the lot. Eventually finding their way backstage Ripley slams Gonzalez through a glass door, shattering it in the process.
Dakota Kai arrives attacking Rhea with a Kendo stick and is thrust into a locker by the Australian for her troubles.
Smashing each other in and around the stage area the referee counted both women down but at the count of nine Gonzalez made her way up the stage, leaving Ripley to be counted out for the ten.
This was an outstanding and physical match between two women destined for true stardom in WWE.
Shotzi Blackheart and KUSHIDA vs. Candice LeRae and Johnny Gargano
An impromptu Mixed Tag Team Match was made by host Dexter Lumis and Shotzi came out firing. Literally.
LeRae and Blackheart started out the match with Shotzi getting a close two count after a quick enziguri. After a little bit of back and forth Gargano and KUSHIDA go at it and a few minutes later. the former Timesplitter gets a surprising pin on Gargano, shocking the NXT North American Champion.
NXT Title Match: Kyle O’Reilly vs. Finn Balor
The main event of the night saw O’Reilly attempt to take the belt from Balor and Balor try to gain revenge for his previously broken jaw. Both superstars gave it their all in this match including O’Reilly kicking Balor so hard he knocked HIMSELF out of the ring and then forcing a rope break using his mouth.
Knees, kicks and forearm strikes were given out and taken by both men and eventually Balor ended up busted open after a vicious kick to the head. Balor struggles to get an abdominal stretch locked on then knocks O’Reilly to the mat, still keeping the submission applied. Balor pulls back on O’Reilly’s jaw and the referee stops the match, giving the win to Balor.
This was an outstanding, show that was a TakeOver in all but name. The highlights were numerous but the two men in the main event as well as the participants in the Last Woman Standing match can be particularly proud of themselves.
We are a week in to January and already we have had four outstanding, wildly varied wrestling shows.
What a time to be alive!