NXT Recap: Ricochet & Pete Dunne Put on a Dream Match

I tuned into NXT last night expecting to see the usual: an entertaining, hour-long show with a few high-quality matches and a hint of drama mixed in.

What I got was very different from that. Instead, I sat down and watched what felt like a New Japan Pro Wrestling main event, and I honestly never thought I’d say that about a WWE product ever in my life.

Before I get to the main event allow me to briefly touch on the women’s tag match that opened the show. It was Dakota Kai & Deonna Purrazzo vs. Aliyah and Lacy Evans. There was nothing overly spectacular about this match, but it did a nice job of showcasing NXT’s young, up-and-coming women’s division. Purrazzo and Aliyah are fairly new and look to be coming into their own as of late. It’s encouraging to see Purrazzo getting time on NXT while she’s still competing in the Mae Young Classic. Clearly, WWE is pretty high on her and she backs up the hype in the ring. Evans & Aliyah won the match despite Dakota Kai’s best effort to help her tag team partner. Kai’s massive babyface run continues with a hard-luck loss, and it’s becoming clear that she will likely become the top babyface of the NXT women’s division sooner rather than later.

We also got to see Jaxson Ryker in singles action this week against a youngster named Humberto Carillo. This was a squash match from the very beginning, but Ryker and Carillo actually had a pretty decent match. I’m unfamiliar with Ryker because I didn’t watch him when he went by the name, “Gunner” in Impact, but he looks like a promising heel character. His in-ring brutality reminds me of early-days Dave Bautista in that he’s a physically imposing force who hasn’t refined his craft just yet. There’s a lot that remains to be seen when it comes to Ryker and The Forgotten Sons, but so far they have me intrigued at the very least.

Okay, now on to the main event. Ricochet vs. Pete Dunne in a champion vs. champion match with both the North American and UK Championships on the line at the same time. On paper, this looked like a dream match, and these two absolutely delivered.

The match was constructed exactly like one would expect: Ricochet was going to lean on his high-flying moves and speed to counteract Dunne’s slower, methodical, bruising technique. For a majority of the match, it was Dunne who had the upper hand with his strategy, holding Ricochet down on the ground and working him over with some gruesome joint manipulation that would have made the likes of Marty Scurll and Zack Sabre Jr. very happy to see.

However, Ricochet did not stay down forever, and once he found his feet again he turned on the afterburners and used his speed to overwhelm The Bruiserweight. It’s unlikely that Dunne has ever faced an opponent as fast and mobile as Ricochet, and these two did a great job of showing that in this match.

Ultimately, we would be left without a definitive winner due to interference from The Undisputed Era, which made the crowd extremely unhappy.

I actually really liked that ending, and I’ll tell you why: the only logical conclusion to such a closely contested match between two champions like that is either a draw or a no contest. The interference keeps it up in the air as to who would ultimately win a match between those two, which means we will likely get another match-up in the future. Also, it keeps The Undisputed Era relevant as the top heel faction in the company right now. Oh, you guys are having a great time watching this match? Too bad. We’re the best faction here, and we run NXT, not you.

Hats off to Ricochet and Pete Dunne, they may very well have put on the match of the Summer last night, and I can’t wait to see the next one.

Jason Kelly Written by:

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