The December 18 2019 edition of WWE NXT, out of the Full Sail Arena in Winter Park, Florida, just wrapped up. We’ve got the match results, as well as our overall thoughts on the show, for you to check out below. Let us know what you thought about episode #538 of WWE NXT by tweeting us, @TheRumbleRamble.
Adam Cole (c) vs. Finn Bálor
NXT Championship Match
In the first championship match of the evening, Finn Bálor challenged Adam Cole for his NXT Championship, having won the match by defeating Tommaso Ciampa and Keith Lee in last week’s triple threat.
After the inevitable opening stalemate, as Bálor and Cole are extremely familiar with the other, thanks to their shared time in a certain Club, Bálor took the upper hand with a dropkick.
Bálor held control of the match until Cole connected with a superkick before sending Bálor flying into the barricade, knocking it over and taking out a handful of “fans” in the front row. Cole continued the assault with a neckbreaker, but it wasn’t enough to put Bálor away.
After blocking an attack in the corner, Bálor briefly fought his way back into the match with a slingblade but Adam was soon hitting a backstabber that kicked off a series of attacks. Finn and Adam traded blows until both were laid out, incapacitated.
Both struggling to their feet but determined as ever to come out on top, Cole and Bálor collided once more. Bálor blocked a Panama Sunrise, but Cole blocked his 1916 immediately after, connecting with an ushigoroshi and gaining a near fall.
Finn took Adam down, climbing the ropes for a Coup de Grâce, but the champ caught up with him, slamming him with a superkick that sent Bálor crashing to the floor. Bent on proving that he was the better man, Cole refused to win via countout, sliding out of the ring for a Panama Sunrise.
Bálor dodged, dropkicking Cole into the barricade. Back in the ring, Bálor went for another Coup de Grâce, but Cole rolled out of the way at the very last second, firing off a Last Shot that wasn’t quite enough to put Bálor away.
Adam Cole charged toward Bálor in another Last Shot, but Bálor caught him with a clothesline, following up with a dropkick and a Coup de Grâce in quick succession. Finn Bálor prepared for the victory, positioning Cole for a 1916, but suddenly became distracted by someone or something on the stage.
The camera eventually panned around to reveal a returning Johnny Gargano. Adam Cole took advantage of the distraction and delivered a low blow to Bálor, then hit Last Shot to win the match and retain.
And the pain didn’t end for Bálor there, as Johnny didn’t just come to cost him the match. Johnny wrenched a chair from beneath one of the “fans” laid out by the earlier barricade bump, beating Bálor down with it in until Bálor escaped into the crowd.
Winner: Adam Cole
Damian Priest vs. Killian Dain
Having built up a healthy animosity toward each other at this point, Damian Priest and Killian Dain wasted no time whatsoever in going after each other in this match, jockeying for control.
Killian Dain had a slight advantage due to Priest’s taped ribs, which he used to its full extent, focusing his offense on Priest’s midsection and even ripping pieces of the KT tape from Priest’s body.
Damian Priest tried to make a comeback, but his injured ribs prevented him from attacking. This gave Dain the opportunity to beat Priest down even more, taking complete control for a solid portion of the match.
Damian finally connected with a flatliner, following up with an elbow and a lariat, and he managed to power through the pain to throw Dain in a suplex. In an effort to capitalize on his momentum, Priest hit his South of Heaven finisher, but Dain powered out of the pin.
Dain came back with a vengeance, wearing Priest down with a series of maneuvers that led up to a Vader Bomb, but Priest blocked it with his knees, leveling Dain with The Reckoning and winning the match.
Winner: Damian Priest
Cameron Grimes vs. Kushida
To cap off his stellar new look, Kushida came down to the ring wearing the hat he stole from Cameron Grimes after costing him his match last week.
Kushida prevented Cameron’s usual early Cave In strike with a submission, holding Grimes to the mat as long as possible.
When Cameron eventually broke free, he zeroed in on Kushida’s back, wearing him down until Kushida responded with an elbow strike. Kushida nearly won the match with another submission, but Cameron got his foot on the ropes in time to break the hold.
Before Kushida could pick up momentum once again, Grimes flung him to the mat with a slam before gaining a near fall with a suplex. From here, he tried to finish off his opponent with his Cave In, but Kushida blocked the attack by sending Grimes to the floor before moonsaulting onto him.
Back in the ring, Cameron ascended the ropes, but Kushida caught him, throwing him down to the mat for another near fall. After a bit more back and forth, Cameron Grimes caught Kushida with a double stomp to take the win, placing his precious hat back on his head and leaving Kushida laid out in the middle of the ring.
Winner: Cameron Grimes
Io Shirai vs. Santana Garrett
Io Shirai went into this match a touch too confident, allowing Santana Garrett to take the upper hand and even take her down with a head scissors in the opening moments.
Shirai struck back with a flapjack, using this as a springboard for a series of strikes that kept Garrett at bay. Garrett dodged a knee strike in the corner, responding with an SOS, but it wasn’t enough to put Shirai away.
After suffering another near fall via a back elbow and nearly being forced to tap from a bridge submission, Shirai sent Santana flying into the ropes before hitting a double knee strike. To ensure she had beaten Garrett down sufficiently, Io climbed the ropes for a moonsault before pinning her opponent and taking the victory.
Winner: Io Shirai
Pete Dunne vs. Travis Banks
In the second match dubbed a Worlds Collide Preview (the first being Travis Banks vs. Jaxson Ryker last week), Travis Banks set his sights on the history-making former NXT UK Champion, Pete Dunne.
Knowing Travis had escaped Jaxson’s clutches with a win, Pete Dunne charged at him early, taking him to the mat, but Banks broke free before Pete could snap any of his fingers.
Banks flew around the ring until Dunne leveled him with a barrage of chops, only stopping when he was forced to do so by the referee. Looking to create some breathing room for himself, Travis tried to roll away, but Dunne caught him, suplexing him onto the apron.
From there, The Bruiserweight took over, but after laying in a few attacks, got too confident, allowing Travis to get back into the fight, sending Dunne crashing into the turnbuckle. The Kiwi Buzzsaw gained a near fall with a double stomp, but Dunne refused to accept defeat.
Pete Dunne scored a near fall of his own with a X-Plex, trying for a Bitter End when this failed to win him the match, but Banks escaped. Travis went for his Slice of Heaven finisher, which Dunne dodged.
Banks managed to avoid another Bitter End, responding with his Kiwi Crusher for a near fall. Dunne and Banks fought their way up the ropes, Banks trying to get the win with a superplex, but Dunne threw him to the mat with an avalanche x-plex instead, instantly hitting the Bitter End upon landing for the win.
Winner: Pete Dunne
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Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Rhea Ripley
NXT Women’s Championship Match
This match was pure insanity. Rhea Ripley challenged Shayna Baszler for her NXT Women’s Championship in the main event of what was already an excellent episode of NXT.
Putting her usual tactics to use, Shayna Baszler took Rhea down in the opening moments of the match, attempting her elbow stomp, but Rhea overpowered her, blocking the attack before kicking Shayna in the face.
Shayna tried to take control from here with an eye rake, but Rhea once again used her strength to fight the champ off, ultimately gaining a near fall with a superplex.
Rhea had an answer for everything Shayna could throw, drawing Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke to the ring, but Rhea took them down as well with kicks to the face. Despite Rhea overcoming the distraction, Shayna still tried to take advantage, attacking her from behind, but Rhea threw her to the floor.
The challenger launched herself from the ring in a dive onto all three horsewomen, but only caught Jessamyn and Marina, allowing Shayna to strike back with a knee before successfully stomping Ripley’s elbow on the steel steps.
During a commercial break, Marina and Jessamyn attacked a second time, throwing Rhea into a ring post, which earned them an ejection from ringside. After throwing off the medical personnel, Rhea got back into the ring, only to catch another elbow stomp from Shayna.
The champ rained down kicks on Ripley until Rhea eventually caught one of them, standing up and dropkicking Baszler, accidentally taking the referee down with her. Rhea hit a Riptide, which would have won her the match three times over, had the referee not been knocked unconscious.
Knowing she needed the referee to win the match, Rhea abandoned Shayna to rouse him, allowing Shayna to escape to ringside. With enough time to gather herself, Shayna was able to dodge a senton and snatch Rhea in her Kirafuda Clutch. Rhea broke free, so a frustrated Shayna grabbed a steel chair, hitting Ripley with a DDT directly onto it just as the referee was regaining consciousness.
This only gained her a near fall, but she was unfazed, locking in another Kirafuda Clutch that looked like it might win her the match. In a very convincing false finish, Rhea Ripley appeared to be losing consciousness, so the referee raised her arm to check, and Rhea held it in the air for a moment before grabbing the referee by the shirt, stopping him from calling the match.
Miraculously, Ripley powered out of the Clutch, smashed her boot into the back of Shayna’s head, then trapped the champ in a submission. Shayna escaped and, after hitting a knee strike, the two climbed the ropes. The champ and challenger struggled at the top for a moment or two, but it was Rhea Ripley who wrecked Shayna with a headbutt before hitting an incredible avalanche Riptide and becoming the new NXT Women’s Champion!
Winner: Rhea Ripley
NXT Results (December 18 2019)
Check out the fan votes on the December 18 2019 edition of NXT on Twitter:
What letter grade would you give tonight’s show? #WWENXT— Rumble Ramble (@TheRumbleRamble) December 19, 2019