Amin’s WWE NXT Review: Io Shirai & Tegan Nox vs. Dakota Kai & Candice LeRae

Io Shirai (WWE NXT)

Image Credit: WWE


The show opened with “The End” (WWF Armageddon PPV theme) playing in the background highlighting the rivalry between NXT Champion Keith Lee and Karrion Kross.

WWE Photo

Image Credit: WWE


I’m already going to enjoy this week’s episode of NXT as the show opened with a women’s tag team match featuring WWE NXT Women’s Champion my favourite Io Shirai. My favourite Io Shirai came out for her entrance but was attacked on the entrance ramp by Dakota Kai. Tegan Nox came out to make the save for Shirai. Candice LeRae appeared as a brawl broke out and from they’re the match began.  

LeRae took control as she delivered strikes to Nox for a near fall. Kai taunted Shirai who responded by delivering quick strikes and followed with a basement dropkick. Kai caught Shirai with a monkey flipped Shirai and followed with a boot for a near fall. Kai with a snap mare take down for a near fall. Kai delivered a vertical suplex but couldn’t keep Shirai away. Shirai caught Kai coming off the ropes with a flapjack. Shirai placed Kai in a seated head scissors but LeRae broke the hold. A brawl broke out as Kai took control delivering a boot to Nox. LeRae charged but Nox caught her with a head butt. 

My favourite Io Shirai got a hot tag as she delivered a cartwheel dropkick to Nox and followed with a reverse double kick. Shirai delivered a palm strike to LeRae and followed with a beautiful springboard missile dropkick to Kai for a two count. Shirai sent LeRae flying with a German Suplex. Shirai went to climb the turnbuckle but Kai stopped her.They battled for position the turnbuckle as Shirai placed Kai in the tree of woe.

There was an awesome spot as Shirai saluted Kairi Sane and delivered the Marine Spike to Kai for a two count. Shirai delivered a Tiger Feint Kick to LeRae and followed with a beautiful Missile Dropkick. Shirai charged at full speed and delivered her bullet train attack to LeRae and followed with a beautiful tope to Kai on the floor. With the referee distracted, Nox nailed LeRae with the Shiniest Wizard. My favourite Io Shirai climbed the turnbuckle and delivered the most beautiful looking Moonsault Press to LeRae for the 1,2,3.


[Amin’s Analysis: As expected a great tag team featuring four terrific wrestlers to open the show. Kai looked great here showing great intensity building to an eventual showdown with Shirai. LeRae has come into her own since turning heel as it was fun seeing her and Shirai share the same ring again after stealing the show at TakeOver: Toronto last year. Nox is a solid wrestler and is great in the babyface role. All that’s needed is some more character development as it could help her like it did Kai. The highlight of the match was seeing my favourite Io Shirai as her hot tag was simply amazing showing everyone why this is her NXT and why she’s champion. Seeing my favourite Io Shirai makes me happy.]

Highlight package aired between the confrontation between Adam Cole and Pat McAfee on his radio show. This was followed by Cole’s tweet apologizing for his actions. McAfee asked Triple H to appear on NXT so he can clear up the issues with Cole.

[Amin’s Analysis: Let me say both Cole and McAfee were great playing off each other and the angle on the radio show got people buzzing. I want to see how this plays out before giving my thought on this angle.]

Highlight of Bronson Reed winning the Triple Threat NXT North American Championship Qualifying Match last week advancing to TakeOver: XXX. This was followed by the back-and-forth confrontation Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong had on social media.

WWE Photo

Image Credit: WWE


The match began with some chain wrestling as both Gargano and Strong battled for position. Gargano and Strong had a great counter exchange. Gargano took control placing Strong in a seated headlock. Gargano connected with a running head scissors. Gargano went for a slingshot spear but Strong blocked. The battled on the floor as Gargano blocked a uranage and snapped Strong to the floor. 

Gargano hit a leaping enzuigiri, called for the One Final Beat DDT but Strong countered with a backbreaker for a near fall. They exchanged strikes against the corner as Gargano leaped off the turnbuckle and connected with a Tornado Flatliner but Strong kicked out. Gargano got the better of a counter exchange as he applied the Gargano Escape but Strong countered into a rollup for a near fall. 

Gargano with a leaping kick but Strong responded with a back elbow. Strong went for a gut buster but Gargano countered with a Hurricanrana and followed with a Superkick. Gargano delivered a head scissors sending Strong into the barricade. Gargano rammed Strong into the Plexiglas and followed with the One Final Beat DDT for the 1,2,3.


[Amin’s Analysis: Two great pro wrestlers showcasing some great counters, exchanges and sequences leading to a strong finish in a solid match. That summed up this very good match which could’ve been better if it got more time. Strong win for Gargano who just like LeRae has come into his own since turning heel. Great match but another loss for Strong as right now they are playing the story of the Undisputed Era on a losing streak.]

Backstage, Dakota Kai told McKenzie Mitchell she’s not a team number and is done going through a series of matches to become the number one contender. Kai noted she wants a match against Shirai. Kai was about to leave as Rhea Ripley appeared spotting a new look. Ripley mentioned she’s glad that Kai is not a team playing but claimed she’s next to have a match against Io. Kai said she’s going to speak to William Regal about this matter. 

Backstage, Thatcher told Mitchell two men will get schooled in Thatch-as-Thatch can. Thatcher noted the only push will be happening is his shoulder into Balor’s knee cap. Thatcher noted Lumis’s isn’t a tortured artist until he steps into the ring with him. Lumis was watching on in the background. 

Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong are shown arguing amongst each other as Kyle O’Reilly retuned to NXT TV. O’Reilly noted they have run this place from the second they stepped foot into an NXT ring. O’Reilly noted they are back in business and it’s time to change the freaking business. 

[Amin’s Analysis: Great to see Kyle O’Reilly back on NXT as he’s the glue who keeps the Undisputed Era together as a firm unit. Looking forward to seeing where this leads as it could lead to more dissension between the group or Undisputed Era getting back on track on the winning way which I would like to see as they have been the MVP of NXT men’s division.]

WWE Photo

Image Credit: WWE


The match began with Shotzi delivering strikes to Martinez. Stone caused a distraction as Martinez dropped Shotzi on the ring arpon. Martinez followed by delivering some ground and pound. Martinez called for her Fisherman’s Buster but Shotzi countered with an inside cradle for a near fall.

Shotzi made her comeback connecting with a leaping enzuigiri and then sent Martinez crashing into the corner with a Woo Dropkick. Shotzi connected with a Sunset Bomb but Martinez kicked out. Shotzi planted Martinez with a reverse Slingblade and then nailed her with a Switchblade Kick. Shotzi hit a running seton but Martinez kicked out.

Shotzi charged but Martinez countered with a Spinebuster for a two count. Shotzi called for Sliced Bread but Martinez blocked. Martinez delivered strikes to Shotzi and then placed her on the turnbuckle. Martinez launched Shotzi with a Spider German Suplex and then connected with an Air Raid Crash to Shotzi for the 1,2,3.


[Amin’s Analysis: Shotzi is not only just a great wrestler which she got to show in this match, but has such an awesome/unique character that makes her standout in the NXT Women’s Division next to my favourite Io Shirai. A great showing here by Martinez who has looked impressive since retuning to NXT. Again let’s see where this goes with the Robert Stone Brand but Martinez as the no nonsense leader of the group could work.]

Highlight package aired on Ridge Holland. We are back and Ridge Holland says growing up in Yorkshire, you get out or go to jail.  They said I was too violent.  Ask anyone he has been on the field with or in the ring with.  NXT, this is your warning.  Ridge Holland is coming for the North American Championship.

[Amin’s Analysis: This was a nice surprise as I look forward to seeing Ridge Holland compete next week on NXT as I’ve enjoyed watching him wrestle and develop his character on NXT UK.]

WWE Photo

Image Credit: WWE 

NXT Champion Keith Lee came out next. Lee noted Dijakovic wanted it and will be just fine. Lee noted Kross thinks the sound of the sand is the sound of a clock. Lee got serious as he claimed Kross did some extra bulls*it to get his attention. Lee noted it meant nothing because Kross can’t come to face-to-face with him. Lee looked into the corner and called Kross out. Instead, Cameron Grimes came out he was upset at Lee for giving up the NXT North American Title.

Grimes noted he’s going to take the NXT Title and go straight to the top. Grimes continues to taunt Lee who yanked him into the ring and splashed him in the corner. The lights went dim as Scarlett appeared on the entrance ramp. Grimes charged but Lee planted him with a Spirt Bomb. Kross appeared on the screen, questioned how Lee can watch what happened to Dijakovic. Kross told Lee he had two choices. Give him an NXT Title shot or watch everyone suffer. Lee told Kross to pick the place for the title match.

[Amin’s Analysis: This was a nice welcoming change and it came close to an old school WWF Attitude Era promo you will see on NXT TV. Lee was tremendous and his change of tone added the seriousness it needed following last week’s angle. The addition of Grimes was interesting as I can see this leading to a non-title match will Lee next week. Kross’s promo was simple but effective and straight to the point. I will continue to make this point and say Scarlett has an amazing presence as she adds so much to Kross’ character.]

Highlight package aired hyping up the Triple Threat Match between Finn Balor, Dexter Lumis and Timothy Thatcher to qualify for the NXT North American Champion Ladder Match at TakeOver: XXX.

WWE Photo

Image Credit: WWE 


Ever-Rise got some shine early as Parker delivered a Slingshot Elbow to Bartel. Aichner caught Parker and dropped him onto Martel’s back Aichner and Barthel took control as they connected with a combo sliding double dropkick to Parker in their corner.

Aicher and Barthel showed off some more of their combination moves delivering a Spinebuster/PK combo to Parker. Aicher and Barthel followed by planting Parker with the European Bomb for the 1,2,3.


The big angle came after the match as Bartel was about to cut a promo as The Undisputed Era came out and attacked Imperium. Cole and Strong nailed Barthel with a Superkick/leaping knee combo. Fish & O’Reilly delivered Total Elimination to Aichner. 

[Amin’s Analysis: Simple showcase match for Aichner & Barthel who are two good wrestlers and work well as a collective unit. Nice to see the NXT Tag Team Division get some more focus on the show. This should lead to a title match and let’s see if Fish & O’Reilly can get the Undisputed Era back on the winning ways. Speaking of Imperium it will be interesting to see if WALTER returns as well which would be nice to see.]

Highlight package aired on Bronson Reed who noted the street art reminded him of his home town. He spoke about being passionate about wrestling and spoke about how his wife helped him begin his journey to NXT. Reed spoke about being the underdog last week and had something to prove. Reed mentioned nothing is going to stop him in the ladder match and mentioned no one else has 320 pounds of fury. Reed noted the Thicc Boy Dream comes true at Takeover.

[Amin’s Analysis: A good followup after Reed’s getting his biggest win on NXT last week. Nice to see Reed speak about his passion for wrestling as we got more depth into his character as this is something NXT does really well for most part especially when someone’s heading into a big match.]

Finn Balor was shown warming up backstage. Balor left his locker room as Lumis was shown lurking in the background.

William Regal noted he will not be bullied into giving championship match as he mentioned to both Keith Lee and Karrion Kross that it had to be earned.

WWE Photo

Image Credit: WWE


Scott took control early hitting a handstand head scissors. Atlas got a better of a counter exchange delivering a dropkick to Scott. Scott countered a leg lariat into an Oklahoma Roll for a near fall. Scott nailed Atlas with a leaping kick in the corner. Atlas made his comeback delivering a Springboard Blockbuster for a two count.

Altas planted Scott with a Headlock DDT for a two count. Scott made a comeback applying a rollup, transitioned into a German Suplex. Scott hit a leaping flatliner for a two count. Scott called for the JML Driver but Atlas blocked.

They battled for the position on the turnbuckle as Atlas hit an awesome looking Super Murphy’s Law but Scott kicked out for a close two count. Scott blocked a Rainbow DDT as he nailed Atlas with a Superkick. Scott delivered House Call on the floor, then followed with the JML Driver to Atlas for the 1,2,3.


[Amin’s Analysis: This was really fun to watch as there were some cool inovative spots and sequences leading to the finish. Atlas is a great wrestler as I always liked seeing him perform as he works hard. Strong win and showing from Scott who’s also another great wrestler. Nice to see focus being shown in the NXT Cruiserweight Division. Looks like Scott is the next challenge to face Santos Escobar as he did beat him in the tournament. Side note, would like to see KUSHIDA get back into the mix soon as he’s my favourite star in the division.] 

Backstage, Damian Priest told McKenzie his thoughts haven’t changed after knowing his opponents. Priest noted he will walk out of TakeOver as champion. Priest mentioned Oney is tough and Ridge looks tough but there won’t be any upset next week. 

Matches announced for NXT next week

  • NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Imperium vs. Undisputed Era
  • Triple Threat NXT North American Championship Qualifying Match: Damian Priest vs. Ridge Holland vs. Oney Lorcan
  • Number One Contender’s Match: Dakota Kai vs. Rhea Ripley
WWE Photo

Image Credit: WWE


Lumis watched in the corner as both Balor and Thatcher battled for both position. Balor and Thatcher moved out of the way as Lumis delivered a Slingshot Tope Con Hilo but landed on his feet on the landing. Lumis delivered a backdrop driver to Balor for a near fall.

Balor delivered chops and strikes to Lumis in the corner. Thatcher returned delivering a running uppercut sending Balor into Lumis in the corner. Thatcher connected with a belly-to-belly suplex but Lumis kicked out. Balor called for the Coup De Grace but Thatcher knocked him off the turnbuckle. Thatcher delivered sliding knees to Balor and followed with a scoop elbow.

Balor and Thatcher had an intense strike exchange. Lumis returned delivering a running bulldog to Thatcher. Balor caught Lumis with a Pele Kick. Balor delivered the Final Cut to Thatcher and followed with a Slingblade to Lumis.Balor called for the Woo Dropkick but Thatcher yanked on his ankle. Lumis planted Thatcher with a Spinebuster.

Thatcher delivered a leaping kick to Lumis and followed with a dragon screw to Balor in-between the ropes. Lumis placed Thatcher in Silence. Balor broke the hold by delivering the Coup De Grace to Lumis. Balor look to have the match won but Thatcher broke the count and placed him in an ankle lock. Lumis appeared from behind, applied Silence as Thatcher passed out.


[Amin’s Analysis: A very solid match here featuring three great wrestlers as everyone worked really hard. Lots of good spots and the finish was very creative. Nice to see Lumis getting the next spot into the NXT North American Title match as he worked hard and has totally come into his own with his character. Interesting to see where this leads both Thatcher and especially Balor as he should be on the TakeOver: XXX card. I wonder if there will be a second chance qualifying match and that’s where Balor qualifies to get into the Ladder Match.]

[OVERALL THOUGHTS] I enjoyed this week’s episode of NXT as the wrestling was solid throughout. Was great to see the Undisputed Era together again and more focused being placed in the tag team division. The use of fresh stars in the NXT North American Championship match is nice but I’m also interested to see where this leads both Balor and Gargano. Kai and Ripley should be very good as we will likely find out the next contender for the NXT Women’s Title. Yes, I’m biased but I love seeing Io Shirai perform as she will always be my favourite. Overall, a solid thumbs up episode of NXT

Image Credits: WWE


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