The debut of KUSHIDA took center stage this week on NXT as the Japanese star made his debut against Kassius Ohno. Elsewhere, things heated up in the women’s division between Bianca BelAir and Mia Yim while the Velveteen Dream set his eyes on a new challenger to his NXT North American championship.
Even before the show’s intro package featuring all the NXT superstars, KUSHIDA’s debut was hyped up with a video package showcasing his journey and the efforts of William Regal and Triple H to make this signing possible.
NXT kicked off this week with six-man tag-team featuring the Forgotten Sons against the Brit-American alliance of Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan and Mexican luchador Humberto Carrillo.
Carrillo’s involvement comes after he was decimated last week by Jaxson Ryker before Burch and Lorcan made the save. Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake are more or less afterthoughts by now with the NXT management clearly having big plans for Ryker.
The faces cleaned house early on before the heels managed to get a hold of Carrillo and worked him over. A blunder by Wesley Blake allowed Carrillo to make the tag to Danny Burch who took everyone out.
This match told an interesting story as a miscommunication led to Carrillo inadvertently taking out Oney Lorcan with a suicide dive. Carrillo then gets taken out before Burch is left alone against all three members of the Forgotten Sons. The numbers were too much as the Forgotten Sons eventually took out each member of the opposition one-by-one with tag-team maneuvers, picking up the win.
Cathy Kelley interviewed Shayna Baszler as she walked into the arena with Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir. Kelley asked the champ about her strategy against Io Shirai, given that she holds a pinfall victory over her. An enraged Baszler knocked the mic out of her hand before storming off with Duke and Shafir.
A video package from the Performance Centre showed a verbal altercation between Mia Yim and Bianca BelAir. The two will square off in singles competition next week.
The intimidating Dominik Dijakovic took on Saudi talent Mansoor this week. Mansoor also appeared on NXT UK TV this week.
Dijakovic looked to finish this one early well, as was the case in his last NXT match, but Mansoor avoided the cyclone kick attempt. Dijakovic rag dolled Mansoor during the match, including viciously and crudely throwing him outside the ring at one point. Mansoor’s left leg twisted in an unnatural way and it was good to see him get back to his feet quickly after that.
Mansoor got a few fierce kicks in, including one where he used Dijakovic’s own knee as a stepping stone to deliver an enziguri. In the end, Dijakovic was too big of a mountain for the young upstart to climb as he finished Mansoor off with his inside-out GTS move.
The Dream was what the Dream wants. And this week, the Velveteen Dream decided to show up after Dominik Dijakovic’s match on a sofa flanked by two ladies.
The Dream said he had a few words for Dominik and went on to give the Full Sail crowd his best rendition of the national anthem with a few twists. He mocked Matt Riddle’s flip flops and Buddy Murphy’s red hair as well as the usual narcissistic gloating about himself. When he was done, he laid back down on the sofa and was taken to the back by the ladies that accompanied him out.
Strong and Cole
Things seemed to have cooled down among the Undisputed Era as all four members gave a backstage interview. They talked as a team about Adam Cole’s match with Matt Riddle next week but things took a twist when Cole made a badly-timed joke about Roderick Strong dropping the ball last week with Johnny Gargano.
This led to Strong storming off and Bobby Fish remonstrating with Cole about the timing of his joke.
KUSHIDA came out to a very cool-sounding theme, clad in his signature basketball shorts, time-travel glasses and orange jacket. Mauro Ranallo and Nigel McGuinness a little surprisingly mentioned everything about KUSHIDA’s past from his time in Japan with even the Super Juniors’ cup getting a mention.
The match itself was fairly good but, disappointingly, nothing special. Ohno played the role of the bigger opponent and conscience-less heel to perfection. In comparison, it was a shorter match than the six-man tag-team match that kicked off the show.
KUSHIDA showed off plenty of his signature offence but there was a lot still left in the locker, you’d assume for bigger, TakeOver events. The crowd kept chanting ‘KUSHIDA’ while Ohno shouted “you don’t belong here” at the debutant. KUSHIDA picked up his debut win against the gatekeeper of NXT after hitting a penalty kick before locking in his hoverboard submission move and got a quick tap from Ohno.
With a lot at stake in the Women’s division, Mia Yim and Bianca BelAir will collide next week while Matt Riddle finally gets his hands on Adam Cole in the main event.