Photo Credit: World Wrestling Entertainment

WWE Worlds Collide Recap and Review

Hello AW Universe,

The stars of NXT and NXT UK clashed in Houston, TX putting on a fantastic show.

Here is a recap and reactions to the event.

Fast-Count Results

Kay Lee Ray d. Mia Yim (Pre-show)

Finn Balor d. Ilja Dragunov

Jordan Devlin d. Angel Garza, Isiah “Swerve” Scott, and Travis Banks for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship

#DIY d. Moustache Mountain

Rhea Ripley d. Toni Storm to retain the NXT Women’s Championship

Imperium d. The Undisputed Era


Kay Lee Ray d. Mia Yim 

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The match started with an aggressive pace, as Yim went right after the NXT UK Women’s champion with some furious punches. But the athletic spots were mostly courtesy of Ray, with some nice head-scissors and a diving Senton to the outside.

Yim had some of the most terribly timed punches I’ve ever seen, stomping the mat about half a second before she extended her fist. She quickly tried made up for it with a Tope Suicida that was executed as half-speed, and hit her Code Blue but started to act shocked by the kick-out before Kay Lee Ray even moved. Ray won, using the ropes as leverage during a wheelbarrow pin, ending a less-than-fine match.

The truth is that Kay Lee Ray is alright, but Mia Yim is not good. She hit a decent Sit-Down Powerbomb, and admittedly a tough-looking Canadian Destroyer. But I’ve yet to see a match in which she isn’t sloppy or poorly timed, so I fail to see what Triple H and the NXT bookers see in her. I get that it’s still technically a developmental brand, but there doesn’t seem to be much progressive development in the last six months or so.

Finn Balor d. Ilja Dragunov

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Excellent mat-based grappling to start off, before it shifted to some stiff strikes and action on the outside. This match was well paced, with strikes and momentum shifting back and forth giving it a “it’s anybody’s match” sort of feel. There weren’t a tonne of high spots, but more solid grappling and strikes that kept the match at a steady pace throughout.

Dragunov is by no means flawless in the ring, looking a little janky during some sequences, but he executed a beautiful looking Roman Deadlift Northern Lights Suplex, and never looked outmatched by the incredible Balor.

After Balor’s win, Tom Philips delivered an iteration of the best line from the best character on The Wire, Omar Little: “if you come at the prince, you best not miss.”

Cathy Kelly interviews The Bro-serweights and Grizzled Young Veterans at ringside

All four men in the final of the Dusty Rhodes Classic get time on the mic, and cut some pretty decent promos on one another, as we find out that the winners will get a shot at Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly for the NXT Tag Team Championship at TakeOver: Portland. 

NXT Cruiserweight Championship

Jordan Devlin d. Angel Garza, Isiah “Swerve” Scott, and Travis Banks

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Swerve got some of the early spots, before the action quickly moved to the outside. Banks then grabbed all the momentum, cracking some stiff kicks on Garza and Swerve in the ring, then hitting Devlin with a Tope. Some of the other notable spots included Devlin with a beautiful Tilt-a-Whirl Tornado DDT onto Swerve; Garza holding Banks in a Fall-Away position, with Devlin on top in a powerbomb position with Swerve hitting a Doomsday Device on Devlin. But it was the finishing sequence that was the nicest, with Swerve working with Garza to put Banks up in another Doomsday Device, which Banks then reversed into a poison-rana; Garza then hit the Wing Clipper on Swerve, only to have Devlin knock Garza out with a hard headbutt, then pin Swerve for the shocking win.

This match didn’t tear the house down, with some lulls in the action as the wrestlers seem to be gassed earlier than expected. I certainly was surprised by the finish, assuming that Garza would have a relatively long reign. But after the incredible match between Devlin and Tyler Bate at TakeOver: Blackpool II, it wouldn’t be a shock to hear that Triple H opted to reward him with his first NXT title. This also now gives the growing NXT UK a secondary championship.

#DIY d. Moustache Mountain

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Watch the hell out of this match.

Gargano and Bate started off the match with a very methodical pace, leaning into the mutual respect the two teams have for one another, sharing a handshake and politely tagging in their partners. Ciampa and Seven would play up the crowd themselves, each doing some No Mercy 64-style taunts before Bate was tagged back in and the action picked up again after a Feat of Strength between Ciampa and Bate.

This was the type of match that’s refreshing to see sometimes, with Ciampa and Gargano putting aside the intensity that their singles feuds are rife with and clearly just having fun, showed off their effortless natural chemistry together. Trent Seven was always destined to eat the pin in this match, as the other three wrestlers just have to be protected and remain strong.

I’m not even going to do a rundown of the spots in this one, because it’s just worth watching to see how good these four all worked together, capping it all off with a handshake and raising each others arms. AEW gets a lot of credit for their tag team division, but I’d watch a match with this slow-build pace and mat-based storytelling over a Spotfest cranked to 11 any day.

Tyler Bate needs to wear some goddamn knee pads, though.

NXT Women’s Championship

Rhea Ripley d. Toni Storm

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There really isn’t much to say about this match; there was never any believability to Storm taking the belt off of Ripley. Which is fine, a match can still work even if the finish is pretty well telegraphed. But even as Storm mounted some early offence, there was just never a feel that there was even a small chance for an upset. The match itself was barely over 10 minutes, and there’s nothing that happened in it that’s worth noting.

Not to mention that Bianca Belair was sitting ringside, reminding everyone that she and Ripley have a title match at TakeOver: Portland in two weeks.

Imperium d. The Undisputed Era

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This match ended with so many near-falls and high spots, that you just have to watch it.

Alexander Wolfe was legitimately injured early in the match after a kick from Bobby Fish, which took some rhythm out of the early going. But even with Wolfe out, turning the match into a 4-on-3, Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel had great chemistry together, executing tandem moves like Barthel tossing O’Reilly to Aichner to dead-lift him into a brainbuster.

WALTER, of course, had some of the best spots, double-German Suplexing Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly, chopping the shit out of O’Reilly, and almost taking Strong’s head off with a stiff clothesline. This match was clearly a vehicle to put the Austrian Ring General over, no doubt. He had the strong man spots, regularly taking down three members of the Undisputed Era and getting the resurrection angle, coming back after being driven by Strong through the announce table with an Olympic Slam and eventually scoring the pinfall with a powerbomb on Bobby Fish, after the Undisputed Era member had missed a moonsault.

After this clearly being a push for WALTER, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him and Cole go head-to-head at TakeOver: Portland in a Title for Title match, or even see him as one of the three remaining surprise entrants in the Royal Rumble match, having a long run with a handful of eliminations.

NXT is soon going to be WALTER’s world, keeping that mat sacred.