A new era for NXT begins at Full Sail University tonight as the brand makes its live USA Network debut.
For the first two weeks, the first hour of NXT will air live on USA Network and the second hour will be live on WWE Network. Starting on October 2, the full two hours will be live on USA.
A North American Championship match will headline the USA Network portion of tonight's broadcast, with Velveteen Dream putting his title on the line against Roderick Strong. Strong is the only member of the Undisputed Era who doesn't currently hold a title.
The second hour will feature a street fight between Matt Riddle and Killian Dain.
A number one contender's match is also set for tonight. Mia Yim, Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, and Candice LeRae will face off to determine NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler's next challenger.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Ready or not here we go. Is this history in the making? Time will time. There's a countdown clock on the screen during the closing scene of Law & Order (which was the lead-in on USA), so that's seems important. I haven't seen USA do that for other shows.
Triple H voices over an opening video package introducing a national televison audience to NXT. He was standing at Gorilla, and he pulled back the curtain to reveal he was live at Full Sail.
Mauro Ranallo welcomed viewers to the show, and the live era of NXT televison kicked off with the entrance of Io Shirai. NXT on USA began with a fatal four way match to determine the number one contender to the NXT Women's Championship.
Candice LeRae defeated Mia Yim, Io Shirai and Bianca Belair to become the number one contender for the Women's Championship
LeRae pinned Yim in a fast paced thriller. The champion confronted her after the match. This was a great way to open this new run on USA. Their match was unlike most women's matches on the main roster in a good way. The PWG style has truly arrived on national television. They even beat AEW to it.
The match began with a melee. When the smoke cleared, Biance Belair was press slamming LeRae. Belair got to shine with a handspring into a standing moonsault press. Yim and Shirai got involved. Shirai cleaned house with a Tiger Feint Kick and then a missile dropkick. Yim struck with a tornado DDT.
LeRae was begining to run wild when Belair gave her a fallaway slam on the floor. That led into rapid fire highspots.
Yim went through the ropes with tope suicida. Shirai did a moonsault to the floor before a commercial. They returned from the break doing a Tower of Doom spot. Everybody was down before a cavalcade of spots that led to everybody down again.
Another frantic series of exchanges saw Belair go for her KOD finisher on LeRae. Yim cut her off for a Code Red and a near fall. Belair fired up with a double spear.
Belair executed KOD, but her cover was broken up. Yim caught her with Protect Ya Neck. Shirai was going for a moonsault when Yim shoved her off the turnbuckle.
LeRae was put in an electric chair by Yim, but she countered into a reverse rana. LeRae then springboarded into a quebrada and covered Yim for the pinfall.
LeRae is now the top contender. NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler strolled on stage to confront LeRae. Baszler was flanked by Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke, so LeRae was outnumbered. LeRae still showed no fear as she got face-to-face with Baszler. I already love this feud.
A vignette hyped Dominik Dijakovic -- who will be in action next week on NXT. Another video package focused on hyping Matt Riddle vs. Killian Dain for the second hour on the WWE Network. Damian Priest also got his own vignette during a later commercial break.
Cameron Grimes defeated Sean Maluta
Grimes pinned Maluta after catching him with a double stomp seconds into the match. This was a complete squash, and really put Grimes over strong.
Roderick Strong defeated Velveteen Dream to win the NXT North American Championship
Strong pinned Dream after End of Heartache and outside interference from Undisputed Era. This was a really good match, but had a very WWE finish. Strong is such a workhorse in the ring.
The arena lights went dark and spotlights centered on the ring for the introduction. That was a nice touch. Spotlights aren't used enough any more. Glad to see the spotlight making a comeback.
The match began with grappling. Strong was clotheslined outside the ring. He kicked the ring steps in frustration and paced around ringside before the show cut to commerical. Strong was bumping and feeding for Dream when the show returned from break. That included the Randy Savage ax handle off the top to the outside.
When Dream went back to the top rope, Strong shoved him to the floor. Strong dropped him back first on the barricade. Strong then sailed through the ropes with a wrecking ball dropkick. He went to work on Dream's back.
Dream got a hope spot as he rolled through to reverse a chinlock into a pinning combination -- but to no avail. Strong cut him off and went back to work targeting the back. Strong displayed to the audience why Mauro on commentary called him "The Messiah of the Backbreaker" as Strong went to work.
Dream fought back, and he tried reversing the Stronghold into an Sharpshooter. Strong countered that but came up empty on his second attempt at a wrecking ball. Dream shoved him into the ring steps before a commercial break.
Strong was setting up a superplex when the show returned from break. Dream fought him off to deliver a flying ax handle, and he got a near fall after a superkick. Dream got a few more close two counts, including one with a wicked swinging DDT.
They were fighting on the apron when Dream got rocked with a kick. The crowd chanted "this is wrestling" and they were not wrong. Strong tied up Dream's arms in the ropes doing a heel spot I haven't seen in quite some time. He pummeled a defenseless Dream, and then he applied the Stronghold. They built the drama until Dream finally got a rope break.
The rest of the Undisputed Era stable stormed to ringside to help Strong. Dream was running wild on a comeback when Kyle O'Reilly and Adam Cole caused a distraction. That allowed Strong to waylay Dream with a jumping knee strike. Strong dropped Dream into End of Heartache for a tremendous false finish. The crowd was electric at this point.
Dream executed a Dream Valley Driver and climbed the turnbuckles. Cole interfered to superkick Dream, and Dream tumbled into the ring. Strong delivered another End of Heartache, and he covered Dream for the pinfall to win the title.
That was one helluva first hour. Now the show shifts from USA to WWE Network in the second hour.
Pete Dunne defeated Arturo Ruas
Dunne submitted Ruas with a finger break spot. This was a cool blend of styles. Dunne early on went for joint manipulation as he targeted Ruas' hand. Ruas would counter and fire up on Dunne with his Capoeira attacks.
Dunne trapped Ruas' leg on an attempted kick, and Dunne grabbed his toes trying to break them. Dunne then got a near fall after a series of kicks. Dunne dropped Ruas into a release suplex. He stomped on Ruas and went for a triangle.
Ruas escaped the triangle and gave Dunne a German suplex. Ruas was on the offensive when Dunne cut him off.
Dunne again went for a triangle, and Ruas tried to counter. Dunne transitioned into the finger break and Ruas tapped out.
Xia Li defeated Aliyah
Li pinned Aliyah after a windmill kick in a short match. This was a showcase for Li. Aliyah took most of the quick match -- until Li made a comeback. She hit a spinning back kick and then delivered the windmill for the pinfall.
Denzel Dejournette came out for his entrance ahead of his scheduled match with Kushida. Suddenly the Imperium faction from NXT UK surrounded the ring. The ganged up on Dejournette and administered a beatdown. The crowd chanted for Walter as his henchmen -- Marcel Barthel, Fabian Aichner and Alexander Wolfe -- stomped mudholes.
And then he arrived...Walter entered Full Sail with his NXT UK Championship draped over his shoulder.
Walter cut a calm but threatening promo. Kushida interrupted him to say this was his time, and he challenged Walter to a match. Imperium henchmen tried to rush Kushida, but he fought them off. Walter then snatched up Kushida and seemingly looked to squash him. Kushida escaped his clutches, landed a kick, and fled to safety.
The Imperium stable glared at him as Kushida lived to fight another day. Walter vs. Kushida looks to be a direction in the near future. OMFG, that can only be awesome.
Lio Rush defeated Oney Lorcan to become number one contender for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Rush pinned Lorcan with a frogsplash to end a great match. They really played up Rush being on the comeback trail trying to redeem himself.
Mauro on commentary said Rush had "more issues than a magazine" but he is getting better. Mauro as a mental healt advocate also credited Rush for not staying silent about his struggles.
Loran rushed in to attack Rush at the bell. Lorcan with a blockbuster got an early near fall seconds into the match.
Rush soon fired up with a tope suicida trifecta. Rush kept his fire and kept up the pace as he flew around. However, Lorcan soon cut him off and struck him down. Rush teased getting counted out.
Lorcan with a dealift gutwrench into a powerbomb netted him a two count. Moments later Lorcan locked in a Lance Storm half crab. Rush fought free only to get chopped down. Lorcan then gave him a scoop slam that actually made a believable near fall.
Just as I was wondering what year it was after that scoop slam spot, Rush springboarded into a cutter. It is still 2019. Rush then missed a frogsplash and sold his knee. Lorcan powerbombed him and again applied the half crab.
Rush escaped the crab, but Lorcan locked it in once again. He then transitioned into a modified STF. Rush struggled to escape, and he was eventually able to get a foot on the ropes to break the hold.
Rush fired up as they traded chops. Lorcan charged towards Rush only to take a running Spanish Fly. Rush then leapt off the top rope with a frogsplash for the pinfall.
Matt Riddle vs. Killian Dain in street fight end in a no-contest
The match had no finish as the show ended with a gigantic brawl like this was an old school ECW show. Dain ambushed Riddle at the bell, but Riddle threw him around him with a couple suplexes. Dain blocked a bro-ton, and the fight spilled outside. They hit each other with a kendo stick.
They fought into the crowd and out of the building. As they were fighting by a production truck, Walter appeared out of the darkness.
Walter attcked Riddle, and the Street Profits made the save. The Forgotten Sons joined the fray at some point. Everybody fought back inside the building, and they brawled their way to the ring.
The scene turned into a Gordon Solie Pier Sixer with chaos everywhere. Officials poured out for a huge pull-apart. Dain closed the show with a tope suicida. Everybody was down selling as the show ended.