Amin’s WWE NXT Review: Io Shirai begins her reign as NXT Women’s Champion



The show started with a highlight package recapping last week’s episode. The video transitioned to hyping both the NXT Tag Team Championship and WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship matches. Tom Phillips, Mauro Ranallo and Beth Phoenix called the action on the show. 


Breeze connected with a running crossbody sending Aichner to the floor. With the referee distracted, Aichner and Barthel launched Breeze into the Plexiglas for a two count. Barthel charged but Breeze backdropped him to the floor. Fandango got a hot tag delivered a Tope Con Hilo onto Aichner and Barthel on the floor.

Breeze connected with a floater suplex for a near fall. The heels took control soon after as Aichner delivered a Brainbuster to Breeze but Fandango came for the save. Fandango got a hot tag as he and Breeze connected with a back cracker/flying elbow combo to Barthel but Aichner made the save.

Breeze and Fandango delivered stereo Superkicks to Aichner and Barthel. Fandango connected with the Last Dance to Aichner but Barthel made the save. This is where Indus Sher came out. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan appeared and brawled with Rinku and Saurav. Off all the outside distraction, Aichner delivered a Draping DDT to Breeze for the 1,2,3.


A brawl broke out after the match as the babyface stood tall inside the ring. Malcolm Bivens held Indus Sher back told them to wait for another time. 

(Amin’s Analysis: A solid opening tag match with lots of good action and sequences.The finish was good as it keeps the titles on Imperium but also adds mores teams to the title picture to likely set up a Fatal-4-Way match.) 

Tom Phillips interviewed the Velveteen Dream was shown on his couch. Dexter Lumis appeared from behind and placed a drawing of him and Dream as NXT Tag Team Champions. Dream noted Lumis came to his aid so he returned the favour last week. Dream looked at the drawing but then noted he’s a solo act. 

(Amin’s Analysis: Dexter Lumis continues to be one of the standouts on NXT and has really come into his character. This was simple but good as it’s likely leading to a tag team between Dream and Lumis which is the right move after both lost matches to Cole and the NXT Title and North American Championship pictures as packed with other challengers.) 

Damian Priest was shown arriving to Full Sail University as you can see Cameron Grimes lurking in the background. 


Priest tweaked his back early in the match as he went for a leap frog on a counter exchange. The announcers noted Priest was feeling the effects after taking a nasty bump on the ring steps in his match with Finn Balor at NXT TakeOver: In Your House. Nice attention to detail and giving reason for Priest selling his back early on. 

Dain took control delivering a Woo Dropkick sending Priest into the turnbuckle and then connected with a guillotine leg drop. Dain delivered a pair of Backdrop Drivers and followed with a Wheelbarrow face buster for a two count.

Priest fired up as he connected with strikes and followed with a reverse forearm for a two count. Priest charged but Dain countered with a running crossbody for a two count. Priest made his comeback nailing Dain with a Cyclone Boot and followed with The Reckoning for the 1,2,3.


(Amin’s Analysis: From the selling and Grimes cameo, this could’ve been a way to give Dain a win on NXT TV. With that said, I liked what Priest getting the win here as he’s a featured star on NXT.  With his selling, the babyface turn has begun which I’m fine with because Priest has flashy moves and the personality that can make it work.)

Highlight package aired on NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar


Aliyah came out and helped Stone who was out of it. Aliyah delivered a bridging Northern Lights Suplex but Xia kicked out. Xia made her comeback nailing Aliyah with a jumping enzuigiri.

Xia was in control as Stone appeared on the ring apron and threw up inside the ring. Aliyah applied a rollup but Xia kicked out at two. Aliyah applied another rollup for the 1,2,3.


(Amin’s Analysis: A fine win for Aliyah and the pairing of Stone looks to come together as it has been teased for weeks. Overall, a basic match as I’ve always enjoyed seeing Xia Li wrestle as her striking skills looks cool and makes her stand out in her matches.

Phillips plugged NXT Champion Adam Cole and Bobby Fish will be providing “Undisputed Therapy” to help Roderick Strong get Lumis out of his head.

Highlight package on Timothy Thatcher wrestling training. Thatcher thought his class how to properly apply a Fujiwara Armbar and Double Wristlock. Thatcher noted this was just the beginning as the real work begins soon. 

Undisputed Therapy: Cole and Fish were shown in a limo wondering what to do with Strong who appeared. Cole and Fish tried to get their chant going but Strong wasn’t buying in. Cole told the limo driver to start moving. They took Strong to his home and placed him on the couch. Dr. Lyle Von Thurstenberg lowered his book (it was Kyle O’Reilly spotting a full beard and wearing a hatasked Strong about his trauma. 

Dr. Thurstenberg offered some tests but Strong kept getting freaked out because he say Lumis and the truck he abducted him in. Dr. O’Reilly convinced Strong to face his fears and the truck. Undisputed Era were shown outside as the approached the car of the trunk. Strong looked at the trunk, got freaked out and ran away. Cole told Fish apart from the running, he thought things went well.

(Amin’s Analysis: I enjoyed this and got some laugh out loud moments. Was great to see O’Reilly back on NXT TV as he’s been missed not being with Cole, Fish & Strong. The Undisputed Era rule and are my favourite faction. The chemistry between all members are genuine and clicks.) 

Back at Full Sail University, Cole was shown looking at the hourglass as Keith Lee was shown in the background. Cole told Mitchel McKenzie it’s the same story all the time but noted he will still be champion. Lee appeared, told Cole that he was going to take the NXT Title and not Karrion Kross. Lee smashed the Hourglass. Cole left. Lee smiled and said “Tick Tock.” 


Adam Cole came out and noted he’s been NXT Champion for 381 days. Cole noted he’s doesn’t take being champion for granted and mentioned he was the hardest working person in the business. Cole said it was mind-numbing that people just throw themselves into championship match. He gave the example of Karrion Kross. Cole put over Kross performance against Tommaso Ciampa at TakeOver: In Your House. Cole noted Kross has recently just been here and shouldn’t get a championship match. Cole turned his attention to Lee and noted he got his eyes set on the North American Title. Cole noted he was the first NA Champion and will have it again over his shoulder. Cole called himself “Champ Champ, Bay Bay” as Lee came out. 

Before, Lee said anything, Johnny Gargano came out, reminded Lee he beat him last week 1,2,3. Gargano noted he was the first Triple Crown Champion. Gargano said he and Candice LeRae are going to make history as the first husband/wife NXT Champions. Lee asked Gargano how LeRae was doing after her match. Lee noted he paid more attention to LeRae than he does as Finn Balor’s music played. 

Balor noted if they call stop being marks for themselves, they can be marks for him. Gargano noted he was first. Balor noted he doesn’t wait in and remind Lee of his challenge from last week. Balor noted he held titles all over the world but not the NA Title. Balor noted after he wins the NA Title he’s coming after Cole.

Balor called Cole a nice transitional champion. Cole noted Balor was on top for a while, but then he came and passed him by. This is where NXT General Manager appeared on the screen. Regal announced Lee will defend the NXT North American Title against Finn Balor and Johnny Gargano in a Triple Threat Match next week. The winner will face Adam Cole in a Winner’s Take All Match on July 8th

(Amin’s Analysis: This was very solid segment announcing big championship as NXT continues to throw curveballs to keep everyone guessing. My guess here is Kross costs Lee the North American Title. My prediction is that Finn Balor will win the North American Title and face Cole in a Winner’s Take All Match.) 

Candice LeRae confronted Lee backstage. Mia Yim appeared as a brawl broke out. 

DAKOTA KAI (w/Raquel Gonzalez) vs. KAYDEN CARTER (w/Kacy Catanzaro)

Carter applied a reverse rollup for an early near fall. Kai took control as she delivered a Scorpion Kick for a near fall. Carter made her comeback delivering a back kick for a two count.

Carter planted Kai with a Slingshot Driver as Gonzalez appeared on the ring apron. Catanzaro went to stop her but Gonzalez dropped her on the ring apron. Kai applied the Koji Clutch as Carter tapped.


(Amin’s Analysis: A solid match and nice win for Kai who’s terrific wrestler as she could be next in line for an NXT Women’s Championship match against my favourite Io Shirai. But, with the pairing of Gonzalez, I could see them in contention for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles.) 

The screen turned black and white as Scarlett picked up some of the dust from the smashed hourglass. Karrion Kross boot appeared as he stepped on the glass.

(Amin’s Analysis: There’s the tease for next week’s show as it feels like Kross next big program will be against Lee and not Cole for the NXT Title. Which I’m fine with as you don’t want to rush someone into the top spot. Kross and Scarlett are great as they have the presence of stars and make every onscreen moment worthwhile.) 

Highlight package on Mercedes Martinez aired. This was good, will be nice to see her return as she’s a very solid wrestler. 


Reed crushed Ruff with a running splash in the corner and followed with a back senton. Reed climbed to the top turnbuckle and delivered a Super Splash to Ruff for the 1,2,3.


After the match, Reed noted his name is not to be forgotten. Reed challenged Kross to a match next week. Reed approached Ruff and carried him to the back. This was nice. 

(Amin’s Analysis: Ruff is great in his role putting over the stars in a great way. Would like to see him moved into the NXT Cruiserweight Division as he could have some nice matches. Solid win for Reed and effective post-match promo. Kross vs. Reed should be fun to watch next week.) 

Damian Priest was shown outside as someone slashed the tires of his car. Grimes appeared in a car and asked Priest if he should call an Uber for him. Grimes left as Priest was irate. 

NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar came out with Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza by his side. Santon spoke about the world sees when a Luchador wears a mask and explained that was him for 22 years. Santos noted once he got signed with NXT and on the worldwide state, El Hijo Del Fantasma would be no more. Santos noted he would make Mendoza and Wilde leaders. Santon noted he’s a leader of leaders and they would leave a legacy. 

Drake Maverick came out and noted Santos had everyone fooled. Maverick stormed the ring and delivered a tope to Santos. Mendoza and Wilde came to Santon aid who draped Maverick on the barricade. Santos attacked Maverick with a monitor and then delivered the Phantom Driver sending him crashing through a table. 

(Amin’s Analysis: Santos was good here giving his explanation behind removing the mask as he presents himself as a star. Overall, a very good segment as the NXT Cruiserweight Division looks great and feels like a key part to the show.)

Matches announced for next week’s episode of NXT 

  • Triple Threat Match for the NXT North American Championship: Keith Lee vs. Finn Balor vs. Johnny Gargano
  • Karrion Kross vs. Bronson Reed
  • Damian Priest vs. Cameron Grimes 


Shotzi delivered a reverse Slingblade to Banks and followed with a Question Mark Kick. Shotzi delivered a Backdrop Driver but Banks kicked out. Banks avoided a wrecking ball dropkick and delivered a flying Meteora to Shotzi on the floor for a two count. Shotzi avoided a double knees as she delivered a head scissors sending Bayley into the turnbuckle.

Nox and Shotzi delivered stereo cannonball to Bayley and Banks in opposite corners. Shotzi delivered a Chokeslam from the ring apron to Banks onto Bayley on the floor. Shotzi followed with an assisted flying crossbody to Banks and Bayley. Nox and Shotzi delivered an assisted Sliced Bread to Bayley but Banks made the save.

Shotzi delivered a missle dropkick to Banks for a near fall. Banks applied a reverse crucifix and then transitioned into the Bank Statement. Shotzi countered into a reverse double wrist lock. Shotzi looked to have the match won but Bayley entered the ring with a chair and handed into Nox. With the referee’s attention to Nox, Bayley switched the momentum over as Banks reapplied the Bank Statement as Shotzi tapped. 


(Amin’s Analysis: A very enjoyable action-packed main event match as everyone looked great and worked very hard. Shotzi & Nox looked terrific in the loss as they were presented as stars and had a great showing. Banks & Bayley have been the stars of SmackDown and just make for an awesome team as they always put on great matches.) 

Banks and Bayley celebrated their victory. This is where my favourite NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai appeared as she nailed Bayley with a beautiful Springboard Dropkick. Shirai sent Banks flying with a release German Suplex. Shirai delivered double knees to both Banks and Bayley. Shirai teased a Springboard Moonsault but stopped as Banks and Bayley headed up the ramp. My favourite Io Shirai posed in the ring with her NXT Championship saying “This is my N-X-T.” Banks and Bayley stared as my favourite Io Shirai posed on the turnbuckle with her NXT Women’s Title as the show came to a close. 

(Amin’s Analysis: Last week’s episode they aired an awesome video package on Shirai winning the NXT Women’s Title at NXT TakeOver: In Your House but didn’t make an appearance on the show. This week, Shirai appears in the main event angle, as she’s given the superstar spotlight as she shows off her amazing athleticism taking out both Banks & Banks. I’m curious to see where this leads. Maybe a Women’s Title match against Banks on NXT TV or Champion vs. Champion match with Bayley. Maybe, Shirai will reunite with Kairi Sane for one night and challenge for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles? This was the highlight of the show for me as I loved seeing my favourite Io Shirai presented as the top star.)

OVERALL THOUGHTS: A very enjoyable episode of NXT as the show opened and closed with very solid tag team matches. The balance of the show is very solid with wrestling and building up big programs. The NXT Cruiserweight Division has major focus which is a great thing to see. The announcement of the next week’s North American Title match followed with the Winner’s Take All match will be of great interest. Looking very forward to seeing who will be the first challenger for my favourite Io Shirai’s NXT Women’s Championship. Overall, a thumbs up show. 

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