Wednesday, 23 December 2020

WWE SmackDown Christmas Night Show Full Show 25 December 2020 HD

 

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WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction, Highlights from December 25

Sana Ejaz Khan

    Credit: WWE.com

    As families opened gifts, watched holiday classics, and gathered around the table for massive feasts, the Superstars of WWE SmackDown took to the squared circle for a taped episode headlined by a monumental Steel Cage Match for the Universal Championship.

    Did Roman Reigns remain The Head of the Table or was Kevin Owens able to stun his way to the greatest Christmas of his professional life?

    What else went down on the jam-packed Fox broadcast?

    Find out now with this recap of Friday's very special holiday presentation.

Match Card

1 OF 5

    Already announced for the show are:    

    • Steel Cage Match for the Universal Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns
    • Lumberjack Match for the Intercontinental Championship Big E vs. Sami Zayn
    • Triple Threat Match for the Women's Tag Team Championship: Charlotte Flair and Asuka vs. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair vs. Carmella and Bayley
    • Daniel Bryan vs. Jey Uso

        

    Coverage begins at 8:00 PM.

Steel Cage Match for the Universal Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns

2 OF 5

    Credit: WWE.com

    Five days removed from a late Match of the Year candidate that saw Roman Reigns narrowly retain his Universal Championship against Kevin Owens at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, The Head of the Table again defended against The Fighter inside a Steel Cage.

    Owens downed Reigns with a DDT and continued to put the champion on the defensive with a cannonball in the corner as Paul Heyman showed very real concern for the first time. Reigns turned the tides, countering a pop-up powerbomb attempt with a leg drop for a near-fall.

    Owens recovered and delivered a frog splash for two heading into the break.

    Back from the timeout, Owens successfully executed the powerbomb, but scored yet another near-fall as Reigns managed to shoot his shoulder off the mat at two. He fended off a flurry from The Tribal Chief and delivered a fisherman buster for another close two.

    Reigns blocked a stunner and rocked his challenger with a Superman Punch. Building for the momentum for the first time in the match, Reigns stalked after Owens and applied the guillotine in the ropes. Owens, on the defensive, brought The Head of the Table down throat-first across the top rope.

    Reigns sought the stunner but Owens caught him and dropped him with a stunner. Reigns kicked out at two, leaving the challenger wondering what he had to do to win the title.

    After another break, Reigns got his knees up, driving them into the challenger’s back during a swanton bomb attempt. Reigns followed with a spear, but could not keep Owens down. A look of disbelief and doubt painted the champion’s face as he motioned for the door to be opened. The resilient babyface grabbed hold of his leg. The distraction allowed Owens to reach up, grab the cage door and slam it in Reigns’ face.

    Owens came within inches of winning the title but stopped momentarily to dispose of Jey Uso. Reigns slowed his momentum and delivered another Superman Punch. Owens answered with a second stunner. Uso handcuffed Owens to the cage, proving essential to the champion’s retention odds.

    Reigns walked out of the cage, taunting his opponent along the way, before reaching the floor for the win.

        

    Result

    Reigns defeated Owens to retain his title

         

    Grade

    A

        

    Analysis

    That Reigns and Owens wrestled this quality of match some 24-48 hours after their TLC classic is a Christmas miracle.

    This was another dramatic bit of business that left the audience thinking, despite all preconceived notions, Owens may pull out the win. The bumps were great, the near-falls were fantastic and the finish allowed Owens to maintain credibility while further establishing Reigns as a ruthless, relentless but most importantly resourceful, heel champion.

    Uso continues to bail his cousin out, setting the table for some babyface to come along and neutralize him in an attempt to wrest the Universal Championship from Reigns.

Triple Threat Elimination Match for the Women's Tag Team Championships

3 OF 5

    Credit: WWE.com

    Women’s Tag Team Champions Charlotte Flair and Asuka hit the ring to address the WWE Universe, only to be interrupted by Bayley, SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks, Bianca Belair and Carmella in an order that makes no sense all things considered.

    This gave way to the advertised Triple Threat Elimination Match for the tag titles in which Flair and Aska defended against Banks and Belair and Bayley and Carmella. 

    Bayley and Carmella gained an early upper-hand, unprejudiced with their attack. First, they targeted Asuka before Carmella delivered a cheap shot to Banks, knocking her off the apron. The artist formerly known as The Princess of Staten Island’s arrogance backfired as Banks and Belair teed off on her.

    Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan watched from backstage as Flair and Belair paired off. A blind charge felled The EST just in time for the action to break down. Back in the ring, Bayley delivered a Bayley-to-Belly to Asuka for near-fall heading into the break. 

    After the commercial, Bayley and Carmella became the first team to be eliminated following a frog splash from The Boss to the Role Model.

    Asuka nearly eliminated Belair with an O’Connor roll off a distraction from Bayley. Belair delivered a powerbomb for a near-fall but without Banks there to support her after an attack by Bayley, she fell prey to Flair’s Natural Selection as the champions successfully defended.

        

    Result

    Flair and Asuka retained over Carmella and Bayley, and Banks and Belair

        

    Grade

    B

        

    Analysis

    The sequences here were much better than the overall product, but still managed to result in a damn fun match. Belair looked great, Bayley was the consummate antagonist and the champions picked up a quality win.

    Energetic and fun, it was the second match of the night to deliver on a jam-packed show.

    This was star-studded, yes, but it did beg the question: why were Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan left to watch from backstage after winning consecutive matches in consecutive weeks while two makeshift teams received championship opportunities?

    In terms of capturing the attention of a new audience, this was the right call. From a continuity and logic perspective, there were probably better options to showcase the new champions.

Daniel Bryan vs. Jey Uso

4 OF 5

    Credit: WWE.com

    Jey Uso’s sneak attack on Daniel Bryan prior to their scheduled match left said contest in question. The double-tough Bryan shook it off and demanded the match started, only to fall prey to a big dive by Uso that allowed him to take control.

    A running hip attack in the corner continued Jey’s onslaught until a tweaked left ankle allowed Bryan to deliver a tope suicida out of desperation on the floor. Back in the ring, a side superplex brought Uso crashing to the mat as Bryan looked to build momentum. 

    Bryan continued his onslaught after the timeout, delivering a running dropkick in the corner. Uso dodged a running knee and scored a top-rope splash that would have earned him the win had it not been for his injured lower leg.

    Uso tried for another splash but Bryan got the knees up and applied the LeBell Lock. Uso fought free so Bryan transitioned into a half-crab. Uso made it to the ropes to force the break. 

    Tensions boiled over and the combatants exchanged a flurry of strikes. Uso got the best of it, laying Bryan out. He tried for a superkick but Bryan ducked and delivered the running knee for the win.

        

    Result

    Bryan defeated Uso

        

    Grade

    B

        

    Analysis

    Bryan winning was the right call, especially if the plan is to program him with Reigns in the near future.

    He showed guts in demanding the match start, then fighting through the bumps and bruises of the assault dealt him by Uso prior to the bell. Uso was a focused killer, calculatingly taking the fight to his opponent until the ankle injury that unfurled his plan.

    It was a smartly wrestled match, something you come to expect out of Bryan. Uso continued his phenomenal 2020 and even in defeat, proved he will remain a key member of SmackDown and the main event scene as long as management will have him.

    Just a good pro wrestling match between two in-ring veterans more than capable of delivering.

Lumberjack Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Big E vs. Sami Zayn

5 OF 5

    Credit: WWE.com

    The SmackDown roster surrounded the squared circle as Big E challenged Sami Zayn for the Intercontinental Championship in a Lumberjack Match, the main event of Friday’s show.

    The champion benefited early from cheap shots dealt by the heel lumberjacks, then worked over the powerhouse challenger. Big E recovered and applied the stretch muffler submission, turning the tide in his favor.

    All hell broke loose, with the heels involving themselves once more, as the show headed to the final break of the evening.

    Zayn controlled coming out of the break but Big E sent him flying with a suplex. A uranage downed the champ for two as the challenger built momentum. After a scuffle with lumberjacks, Zayn nearly scored a cheap win with a rake of the eyes and a schoolboy rollup.

    The fight headed up top, where Zayn delivered a sunset flip bomb for another near-fall. Big E answered with a spear that drove Zayn off the apron and to the floor. The lumberjacks ignited a brawl that ended with Apollo Crews chasing down Zayn and returning him to the ring, where the challenger delivered a belly-to-belly, followed by a splash.

    The Big Ending followed and Big E won the Intercontinental Championship to wrap up a stellar episode of SmackDown.

        

    Result

    Big E defeated Zayn to win the Intercontinental Championship

        

    Grade

    B

        

    Analysis

    While it was not up to the quality of the other matches on the show, this was a great bit of storytelling to earn the grade. 

    For so long, Zayn found ways to escape and evade en route to retaining his title. After months of cheating, sneaking and escaping, he finally got his comeuppance as Big E picked up the win and second run with the IC title.

    Zayn has been (and will continue to be) an outstanding heel for the SmackDown brand and now, has the opportunity to plead his case for a rematch. Ranting, complaining Zayn who tries to find loopholes to get what he wants could be a hell of a watch on the blue brand.

    Big E needed this win, though.

    He broke away from The New Day to be a singles star and while it remains to be seen if he will be the choice to dethrone Roman Reigns, he is ending 2020 with momentum on his side and a hell of an opportunity to do for the IC title what he was not allowed to back in 2013. 

    A great, fan-friendly ending to a wonderful holiday episode of SmackDown.

AEW Dynamite Full Show Live Streaming 23 December 2020

 

AEW Dynamite Live 12/23/20



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AEW Dynamite Holiday Bash Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Sana Ejaz Khan

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    AEW delivered a special Holiday Bash episode of Dynamite on Wednesday night after NBA action. Tag team action and a special interview featuring "The Icon" Sting headlined the show and sought to continue the momentous run the company had been on to end 2020.

    Was it successful?

    What storyline developments, character advancements and match outcomes will help shape the company entering the new year?

    Find out with this recap of the December 23 TNT broadcast.

Match Card

1 OF 8

    Announced for this week's show:

    • AEW Tag Team Championship match: The Young Bucks vs. The Acclaimed
    • Top Flight vs. Chris Jericho and MJF
    • Pac vs. Butcher
    • Dustin Rhodes vs. Evil Uno
    • Jurassic Express vs. Colt Cabana, Pres10 Vance and Alan Angels
    • Hikaru Shida in action
    • Tony Schiavone interviews Sting
    • Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford announce their wedding date

Top Flight vs. Inner Circle

2 OF 8

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    AEW wasted little time trotting out the big guns to kick off Wednesday's show as "Le Champion" Chris Jericho partnered with Inner Circle teammate MJF to battle the team of Dante and Darius Martin, Top Flight.

    The up-and-coming babyface tandem dominated early, frustrating the heels until MJF and Jericho downed Dante and worked him over, all while taunting his brother.

    Darius tagged in, unleashing a flurry of offense on the heels that had MJF reeling. Dante scored a near-fall off a roll-up, but The Salt of the Earth delivered a powerbomb, followed by a Lionsault from Jericho, for a close two-count.

    Darius dropped his opponents with a double DDT and appeared to be rolling after sending Jericho into the timekeeper's position, only to be brought down face-first into the ring apron. MJF capitalized, delivering the Heatseeker piledriver for the pinfall victory.

    Jake Hager grabbed a microphone after the match, taking exception to Wardlow's absence of late. He said every member of The Inner Circle has done his job except for him. After getting it cleared with Tony Khan, Hager revealed he will battle Wardlow on next week's show.

        

    Result

    Jericho and MJF defeated Top Flight

        

    Grade

    C+

       

    Analysis

    The action here was fast, furious and never gave the audience a chance to become disinterested. Jericho and MJF worked well together, but it was Top Flight that rose to the occasion and really shined in this opening contest.

    Everyone worked hard, the booking was solid and the result was another hard-fought win for an Inner Circle that is still in flux following the addition of MJF.

    Hager's challenge to Wardlow sets up further dissension. It will be interesting to see if this is indeed where Sammy Guevara strikes out against Jericho and Co. for their acceptance of young Maxwell Jacob Friedman against his better judgment.

Tony Schiavone Interviewed Sting

3 OF 8

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Sting joined Tony Schiavone for an interview the company has seemingly been advertising for three weeks now.

    Sting recalled his introduction to the main event scene after a chance encounter with Dusty Rhodes and how seeing his son, Cody, made him want to be a part of AEW.

    Team Taz interrupted the promo.

    Taz said he was tired of the nostalgia of Schiavone's "It's STIIIIIING" call, while Ricky Starks threatened The Icon would be hurt if he kept sticking his nose in their business. The faction threatened to hit the ring when the arena darkened.

    When the lights came back on, Darby Allin stood side-by-side with Sting.

    Team Taz "took the high road" and left as vigilantes both old and young exchanged a look of understanding.

         

    Grade

    A

        

    Analysis

    Sting absolutely should be utilized to help legitimize Darby Allin as this generation's face-painted icon.

    Allin has already broken out, and though he has already shared the ring with Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley and Cody Rhodes, he most certainly could use the boost in credibility and legitimacy that appearing in a high-profile program with one of the greatest stars in wrestling history provides.

    Taz and his team continue to be a solid heel act, and every second Starks gets to prove himself as a personality is best for the long-term future of the company.

    A solid segment that never overstayed its welcome. It will be imperative for things to move forward next week because the promo segments that keep things status quo can only continue for so long before they become repetitive.

Jurassic Express vs. The Dark Order

4 OF 8

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Jurassic Express' Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt battled The Dark Order's Colt Cabana, Alan "5" Angels and Pres10 Vance in a big Six-Man Tag Team match.

    The babyfaces started red-hot, outwrestling the opposition with their unique offense. Cabana ran interference to halt the opposition's momentum, allowing Vance to deliver a slingshot release German suplex to Jungle Boy and seize control for his team.

    Luchasaurus tagged into the match, unleashing an onslaught on the opposition slowed only by a perfectly timed bit of interference that prevented a pinfall. At ringside, Cabana sent Luchasaurus into the ring post and the heels appeared on their way to victory.

    Stunt sent Angels into his partners, knocking Vance and Cabana off the apron. Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy put Angels down with an assisted powerbomb for the win.

    A post-match promo was interrupted by Tully Blanchard and FTR. The Hall of Famer issued a challenge for January 6. "We're on a quest to get those championships back and we're not going to allow dinosaurs to hold us back," Blanchard warned. He ended by threatening a flashback to the '80s if Stunt interfered.

        

    Result

    Jurassic Express defeated The Dark Order

        

    Grade

    C+

        

    Analysis

    Like most tag team matches in AEW, this was super energetic and allowed all involved to get their stuff in. The babyfaces starred as they prepare for their showdown with FTR in the new year, while the commentary did a fine enough job of putting Cabana, Vance and Angels over.

    It is disappointing, though, to see Dark Order in its current state given how hot it was with Mr. Brodie Lee leading it just a few months ago. Yes, his unfortunate ankle injury halted the group's momentum, but AEW has done little to nothing to keep it a dangerous threat to the roster since.

    No matter how many times it tries to recruit Dustin Rhodes or Hangman Page.

Pac vs. The Butcher

5 OF 8

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Alex Marvez caught up with Kenny Omega and Don Callis at an undisclosed location. The AEW World champion criticized Rey Fenix for his injury history and threatened to send him back to Impact Wrestling or AAA. "You get injured, I get titles."

    The promo gave way to Fenix's Death Triangle teammate, "The Bastard" Pac, battling The Butcher in singles competition. The Blade and The Bunny supported Butcher from ringside, while Penta El Zero M backed up Pac. Eddie Kingston joined Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross and Excalibur on commentary.

    The big man overpowered Pac and worked him over, somewhat surprisingly dominating the action. Butcher grounded Pac, scoring a picture-perfect gut-wrench suplex during a commercial timeout. A beautiful powerbomb earned Butcher a two-count, igniting frustration within the bassist that threatened to take his focus off his opponent.

    Kingston rose from the commentary position and was greeted by Lance Archer, providing a distraction that allowed Pac to recover and rock Butcher with a kick. The Black Arrow followed and Pac scored the win. Archer engaged in a tense staredown with Pac to end the segment.

        

    Result

    Pac defeated Butcher

        

    Grade

    C+

        

    Analysis

    The Butcher might be the single most improved wrestler of the last year. He is more confident and faster than he was when he first arrived in the company.

    His work is crisp, his power-based arsenal grows with every passing match. With The Blade, he has established an upward trajectory that should have fans of tag team wrestling excited about their future.

    Pac winning was the right call as he remains a star in the upper echelon of AEW, and the staredown with Archer continued to tease a loose alliance as they confront an eventual war with Kingston and company.

Kip Sabian, Penelope Ford and Miro Announce the Wedding Date

6 OF 8

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Tony Schiavone joined Miro, Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford for the announcement of the latter's wedding date.

    After teasing an appearance by Best Friends, Miro threw to footage from out behind the arena, where an ambulance took a clearly injured Trent away.

    Afterward, the heels revealed the wedding will take place February 3 at Beach Break.

        

    Grade

    C+

        

    Analysis

    This was a short, sweet segment that added a layer to the rivalry between Miro, Sabian and Best Friends by taking Trent out of the equation with an injury while setting up a grand wrestling wedding for the big Beach Break show.

    It accomplished what it set out to, and for something as short as it was, one could not ask for more.

Hikaru Shida vs. Alex Gracia

7 OF 8

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    AEW Women's champion Hikaru Shida shook off a cheap shot and attempted attack by Abadon in time to battle Alex Gracia in non-title action.

    Shida dominated the action before becoming distracted by her top contender. She attacked Abadon, dragging her over the guardrail and pummeling her. She returned to the ring in time to defeat Gracia before returning her attention to Abadon on the floor.

    The dangerous potential challenger rose from unconsciousness and attacked Shida, culminating with a sickening bite that broke skin on the champion's neck.

        

    Result

    Shida defeated Gracia

        

    Grade

    B

        

    Analysis

    The match itself was largely a glorified squash but still featured flashes from Gracia that suggest, with a bit more seasoning, she could very well be a key cog in the future of AEW's women's division.

    This was all about Abadon terrorizing Shida and being presented as a genuine threat to the title. In that regard, it worked extremely well.

    Abadon appears impervious to pain and has clearly struck a nerve with Shida, genuinely threatening her. Throw in the bite, a mark of the demon if you will, and you have a mental hurdle the champion will have to overcome if she wishes to remain that way.

AEW World Tag Team Championship Match: The Young Bucks vs. The Acclaimed

8 OF 8

    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    The brash, arrogant, cocky and supremely talented young duo of Anthony Bowens and Max Caster challenged AEW Tag Team champions The Young Bucks in the night's main event.

    Early on, they looked like a largely inexperienced team struggling to find their footing as Matt and Nick Jackson outclassed and outwrestled them. The Acclaimed finally wrested control of the bout away from its opponents, dropping Nick back-first on the ring apron to do so.

    Back from the commercial break, the challengers continued their success, working over Nick. The dynamic brother fought from underneath and made the hot tag to Matt, who exploded into the match and dropped the challengers with a double DDT.

    The Bucks dominated late until Caster sent Matt over the barricade and into the stands. A superplex into a crossbody by Bowens led to a near-fall broken up with no time to spare by Matt.

    A ref bump occurred and Bowens rocked Nick with a boom box to the face. A second referee arrived and counted two before Nick kicked out. Matt powerbombed Bowens through a table, and back inside, the champs delivered the BTE Trigger for the win.

        

    Result

    The Young Bucks defeated The Acclaimed

        

    Grade

    B

        

    Analysis

    It cannot be understated how much Matt and Nick Jackson took their young opponents and dragged them up to their level.

    While The Acclaimed has shown flashes of potential, it was clear last week against SCU that Bowens and Caster were not at the level of Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian, and they definitely are not at the level of the Bucks.

    Still, despite some timing weaknesses and a general understanding of what to work in when, they are clearly learning on the job. There is no better team to be shown them the ropes than The Young Bucks.

    An energetic, fun match that Matt and Nick very likely could have worked in their sleep, it was a suitable main event to a show that was just that: fun and energetic.

WWE NXT Full Show Live Streaming 23 December 2020 WWE NXT Highlights 23 December 2020

 


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WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 23

Sana Ejaz Khan

    Credit: WWE.com

    With TakeOver: WarGames now firmly in the rearview mirror, the men and women of NXT are looking to make the last couple of shows in 2020 as memorable as possible.

    This week's show had a packed lineup with segments in and out of the ring, including a very special Gargano Christmas with Indi Hartwell and Austin Theory.

    We also saw the odd couple of Killian Dain and Drake Maverick take on Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch in a Street Fight for the NXT tag titles.

    Isaiah "Swerve" Scott looked to get some payback against Jake Atlas, Bronson Reed was in action and we got to see Kyle O'Reilly and Fin relive their showdown for the NXT Championship.

    Let's take a look at everything that happened on this week's episode of NXT. 

Burch and Lorcan vs. Dain and Maverick (NXT Tag Team Title Street Fight)

1 OF 6

    As Lorcan and Burch made their way to the ring, Maverick and Dain attacked them from behind to get an early advantage in this Street Fight for the NXT tag titles.

    Dain set up some tables at ringside while Maverick wedged some chairs in the corner of the ring. Burch and Lorcan recovered and took control. They worked together against Dain after taking out Maverick at ringside 

    Apparently, both teams decided to obey tags after a little while for some reason. Dain backdropped Lorcan onto two chairs before he brought in Maverick to hit a few double-team combos. Dain ended up putting himself through a table as he was trying to hit Lorcan before the commercial. 

    We returned to see Lorcan using Maverick's own belt against him. Dain eventually tagged himself back in and took over. Lorcan and Burch tried to put him through two tables at ringside but he ended up bouncing off and landing on the ground. 

    After Maverick tried to rally, Lorcan and Burch hit him with their finisher for the win. 

                                  

    Grade: B-

                             

    Analysis

    Starting off with a few minutes of chaos before having both teams recent to using tags was a strange way to begin a Street Fight. It was even weirder that either team was using tags at all since there are no disqualifications. This type of bout should always have Tornado tag rules with it.

    They accidentally broke a table before they were supposed to at one point but they still had Dain go through it to break it into several pieces. A few minutes later, two tables Dain was supposed to go through refused to break and he landed on the floor in an awkward way. 

    The rest of the match was good, especially the moments when Maverick was fighting an uphill battle. He is the quintessential underdog and it's always fun to watch him make a comeback. 

    The odd couple dynamic of Dain and Maverick is great and they have grown into an entertaining duo in their short time together. This wasn't their night but they will find success down the road. 

Isaiah Scott vs. Jake Atlas

2 OF 6

    They kept things clean as they locked up and wrestled for control on the mat. Atlas shoved Scott before they locked up again. Atlas slapped him and Scott angrily backed him to the corner for several strikes.

    Atlas popped up and hit a few kicks that didn't do anything except make Swerve even angrier. Atlas took him down with a dragon screw before he hit a kick to knock Swerve off the apron. 

    Atlas hit an impressive pinning combination for a two-count right when we returned from a break. Scott was able to hit an impressive suplex for a near-fall. He put Atlas on the top turnbuckle but it allowed Atlas to counter and hit a reverse hurricanrana.

    Scott landed on his feet and they started trading kicks to the head. Scott ended up getting the pin after hitting the Confidence Boost. 

                             

    Grade: B

                                 

    Analysis

    Both men appeared to be more aggressive than usual in this bout but it was hard to tell if WWE actually wants to turn one of them heel or just build up a rivalry between two tweener characters.

    Regardless, this was a fun and physical matchup that highlighted the skills of both competitors. Neither man stood out above the other because both looked impressive.

    This is a feud that will likely end with one of them getting a shot at the Cruiserweight Championship in the future. 

Dakota Kai vs. Rhea Ripley

3 OF 6

    Ripley wasted no time asserting her dominance by picking Kai up and swinging her around several times before dropping her on the mat. Kai countered her on the apron and stomped on her arm.

    Ripley was shoved into the ring post as the show cut to a break. Kai had the former NXT women's champion in an armbar when we returned. Ripley lifted her up and slammed her down to break the hold. 

    As she started to build up a head of steam, Ripley used her good arm to dish out some punishment. Captain Kota tripped her into the turnbuckle but Ripley applied a standing cloverleaf. Ripley saw Gonzalez standing on the stage and dared her to come down. Kai grabbed the ropes to force a break. 

    Kai hit a rolling backstabber for a close two-count. She countered the Riptide but Ripley hit it a moment later for the win. Gonzalez got in the ring and had a staredown with Ripley before they started swinging. It took a ring full of officials to break them up. 

                            

    Grade: B

                          

    Analysis

    These two have been working together on and off for a couple of years and they continue to get better with each encounter.

    Their styles aren't too similar but they blended together well enough to make it feel competitive. Kai never really felt like an underdog despite being the smaller competitor.

    The post-match confrontation with Gonzalez and Ripley was a great next step toward their eventual grudge match. These two powerhouses are going to tear each other apart in glorious fashion. 

Bronson Reed vs. Ahante "Thee" Adonis

4 OF 6

    The Thicc Boy returned for the first time in weeks for a match against a young man known as Ashante "Thee" Adonis. 

    Reed immediately took control and hit a big splash from the top rope for the win. After the match, Io Shirai marched to the ring, sat in a chair and called out Toni Storm. Mercedes Martinez ended up attacking the NXT women's champion from behind when Storm didn't show up. 

                                    

    Grade: Incomplete

                              

    Analysis

    It's not really fair to offer a traditional grade for this kind of squash match because there isn't enough from bell to bell to form any kind of judgment.

    Reed looked dominant, so the goal was accomplished. In that sense, this bout was a success but nobody will be talking about it as a standout performance. 

    The attack by Martinez was surprising but she looked good dishing out some pain to the champ. It will be interesting to see if she is aligned with Storm or if this sets up a triple threat situation. 

Leon Ruff vs. Timothy Thatcher

5 OF 6

    Timothy Thatcher was looking to take out his anger on Leon Ruff in the next match. The submission specialist was quick to ground the former North American champion and applied a seated chinlock. 

    Ruff put him in a headlock but Thatcher drilled him with a huge elbow before throwing him across the ring. At this point, Thatcher started playing with his opponent. He put out a chair and called for Tommaso Ciampa to watch the match. 

    The underdog tried to mount some offense but ended up on the receiving end of some painful strikes. Ruff rolled him up with an inside cradle for the upset victory. Ciampa ran down and spiked Thatcher with a DDT and told him he would see him in the fight pit. 

                               

    Grade: C+

                              

    Analysis

    This match was kind of short and didn't have any memorable moments outside of the finish, but the post-match attack from Ciampa set up a rematch, so there was an upside.

    If they had five more minutes, Ruff and Thatcher probably could have stolen the show but since they had to rush to get to the spot with Ciampa, they didn't have time to work their usual styles. 

Tyler Rust vs. Ariya Daivari

6 OF 6

    Malcolm Bivens accompanied Tyler Rust to the ring for his match against Ariya Daivari. The manager gave a promo earlier in the night explaining why he and Rust formed an alliance.

    Rust took control of the match but Daivari didn't let him lock in an abdominal stretch. Bivens bugged the announcers to talk about his client as Rust swung Daivari around on his back. 

    Daivari broke an armbar by getting his foot on the bottom rope. The 205 Live regular made a comeback and hit some punched to the face before Rust put him in a triangle choke. Daivari had to use the ropes to break the hold again. The newcomer hit a series of kicks before he tied Daivari up in a submission for the win. 

                           

    Grade: B-

                          

    Analysis

    This was a great second showing for Rust after his match against Ciampa last week. He showed off his striking and technical ability with only a short time to work.

    Daivari did a good job making Rust look good, too. He is an underrated talent from the cruiserweight division who could also use someone like Bivens as his mouthpiece. 

    The future looks bright for Rust if he can continue impressing the WWE Universe with his arsenal of submissions. 

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