NXT kicks off 2021 tonight with a special episode.
A rematch of NXT's 2020 Match of the Year headlines New Year's Evil as Finn Balor defends the NXT Championship against Kyle O'Reilly tonight. At TakeOver 31 in October, Balor retained his title against O'Reilly but suffered a broken jaw in the process. Tonight will be Balor's first match since undergoing surgery for that injury.
Karrion Kross vs. Damian Priest, Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez in a Last Woman Standing match, Santos Escobar vs. Gran Metalik for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship, and the return of Xia Li and Boa are also set for tonight.
Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher were originally set to face off in a Fight Pit match on tonight's show, but WWE has announced that the match has been postponed due to Thatcher suffering a minor injury. WWE said Thatcher is expected to return soon and the Fight Pit match will happen as soon as he heals.
New Year's Evil is being hosted by Dexter Lumis and will be presented "with fewer interruptions and more action." Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
The show opened with Dexter Lumis walking into the Capital Wrestling Center soundstage. He is the host, but he said nothing. He turned on the house lights on and off, and then he saw this lever. So he pulled the lever, and the arena was magically filled with lights and a crowd. Lumis was also known wearing a sports coat.
Karrion Kross (with Scarlett) defeated Damian Priest
Kross pinned Priest clean, but Kross fought almost to the very end. The match was commercial free, and they got plenty of time. This a PPV caliber match. Might even fit on a G1 card.
Priest sold his ribs during the match, and Kross worked over them over.
Kross blocked the Razor's Edge and a chokeslam, but Priest came back with a springboard flip dive over the ropes to the floor. Priest delivered South of Heaven, but Krosss kicked out. Kross cut him off going to back to work on the ribs.
The fight went back outside the ring, and Priest was slammed on the ring steps. They squared off again. Priest told Kross he was still standing, so Kross gave him a Saito suplex. Then Kross with a knockout blow to the back of the head, and Kross covered Priest for a pinfall.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic begins next week on NXT.
The Undisputed Era team of Adam Cole & Roderick Strong were interviewed about the tournament. They face Breezango in a first round tag match. Cole put over their accomplishments, and said they fulfilled the golden prophecy. Cole went on to say they would do it again in 2021.
NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar (with Legado del Fantasma) defeated Gran Metalik (with Lince Dorado) to retain his title
Escobar pinned Metalik clean in a fun match. Metalik is so underrated. He was arguably the best flyer in the world when WWE hired him several years ago. He remains great.
Metalik got to show what a great high flyer he still is, and that led to an Asai moonsauklt for a near fall. There was a botched spot before a commercial break. Heat on Metalik through the break.
Escobar applied la tapatia as the show returned from commercial. Metalik made a comeback, and he fleww over the ropes with a tope con giro. Metalik with a springboard into a body press for a two count.
Metalik went for another springboard, and Escobar met him with a knee strike in mid-air. Escobar followed with a tope through the ropes. Metalik still kicked out at two.
Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde went to interfere, and Dorado flew in to make a save. Nevertheless, Metalik was tripped up. Escobar a moment later with the Phantom Driver, and he scored a pinfall.
A vignette hyped Mercedes Martinez. She cut a promo on NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai. Martinez attacked Shirai on a previous episode.
Xia Li defeated Katrina Cortez
Li pinned Cortez in an enhancement match. Li was a new entrance alongside Boa and the mysterious figure that trained them.
Cortez wore a lucha-style mask, but she used a full name. That is odd. Anyway, this was a showcase match for Li.
Li showcased her kicks, and she tried to look like a killer. Li with jumping knee strike, and then a high kick to score the pinfall.
Raquel Gonzalez defeated Rhea Ripley in a Last Women Standing match
They started with slugfest so it at least looked like a grudge match. Gonzalez talked some trash about them never being friends. They could have talked about that detail earlier than last week. They've only been feuding more months.
They brawled on the floor. Handcuffs came into play, and Ripled cuffed Gonzalez to the chainlink fence. Gonzalez ripped the chainlink apart, and she started hitting Ripley with the handcuffs.
Ripley tried to use the hammer used to the ring bell, but Gonzalez blocked her. Ripley was backdropped on the announce desk, and she took an ugly bump. The table broke, and Gonzalez piled chairs and other debris on top of Ripley so she could not beat the ten count. Nonetheless, Ripley crawled out from underneath the debris to break the count.
The match went through a commercial break. Snoop Dogg was in a beer commercial during the break, and he tonight was a featured attraction on that other wrestling show.
Ripley was booted off the stage after a commercial break. Gonzalez berated her, and Ripley fought back. They went through a glass door that shattered.
Ripley did a swanton bomb to put Gonzalez througha table. Suddenly, Dakota Kai ran in out of nowhere to attack Ripley with a kendo stick. Ripley fired up, and she beat up Kai. Ripley then shoved Kai into a locker, and she put a rolling case in front of the locker. Kai was trapped there.
Ripley applied her inverted scorpion while on the stage. Gonzalez countered to sent Ripley crashing into a video board on the stage. Ripley and Gonzalez seemingly tried to recreated the infamous bump with Shane McMahon and Kurt Angle, and Gonzalez suplexed Ripley into the video board.
They concluded with a stunt. Gonzalez chokeslammed Ripley through a gimmicked section of the stage. Gonzalez was able to break the count, but Ripley was unable to answer the ten count. Gonzalez was awarded the match. Ripley did a stretcher job.
The Way had a police excort the building in a motorcade.
NXT North Amercian Champion Johnny Gargano was celebrating the breaking of his curse. He was joined by his wife, Candice LeRae, and their cohorts, Austin Theory and Indi Hartwell.
LeRae gave Gargano a plaque. Theory and Hartwell has a present too. They unveiled a picture they supposedly drew of the stable. Gargano announced he and Theory would be a team in the Dusty Classic.
Shotzi Blackheart in her tank interrupted their celebration. Theory went out to confront, but he was shot in the groin by a the tank. Blackheart then went to attack LeRae and Hartwell. Blackheart cleared the ring, and Kushida came out to watch her back.
Dexter Lumis rang the bell, implying this is now an impromptu tag match. Teddy Long had far better announcements. At least he spoke. Lumis never said a word.
Shotzi Blackheart & Kushida defeated Candice LeRae & Johnny Gargano
Kushida pinned the North American Champion, so maybe we get a title match between the two soon.
LeRae & Gargano were in street clothes. Kushida was mostly in street clothes, but that is his gear now. Blackheart was dressed in her wrestling gear.
The match went through a commercial break, and LeRae got heat on Blackheart. Kushida in off a hot tag, and he ran wild.
They traded submission holds, and all four did some combo spots.
Kushida knocked Gargano off the apron, and he held the ropes open so Blackheart could do dive to the outside on LeRae.
Theory interfered by tripped up Kushida, amd Theory paid for it. Kushida went on to pin Gargano.
The bext TakeOver was announced for February 14th, which is also Valentine's Day.
Also announced is the Women's Dusty Classic that is coming soon.
NXT Champion Finn Balor defeated Kyle O'Reilly to retain his title
Balor submitted O'Reilly in a really great match. Maybe not better than their match a few months ago, but it was still good.
They started with grappling and mat work. They traded moves and holds. They built up to exchanging strikes. From there the pace began to quicken.
The intensity began to pick up. There was a double down after O'Reilly landed a PK, but he skidded outside the ring after hitting the kick.
O'Reilly worked an arm, and Balor worked a jaw and the face of O'Reilly.
O'Reilly with leglock submissions tried to tie up Balor, but Balor escaped by nailing O'Reilly in the jaw.
Balor with a reverse DDT, and he transitioned into applying a crossface on the injured face. O'Reilly escaped the hold.
O'Reilly was trying to rally, and Balor stoppe the momemtum with a sling blade. Balor followed with a double stomp and a shotgun dropkick. Balor went to the top rope for the Coup de Grace, but O'Reilly tripped him up.
Balor took a superplex and a brainbuster, and then O'Reilly caught him in an armbar. Balor managed to get a rope break. Balor was somehow cut open on his face, and he bled.
Balor hit O'Reilly with a kick to his liver. O'Reilly sold big, and then Balor trapped him in a cobra twist. O'Reilly soon tapped out.