Top 3 Performers of NXT (May 8, 2019)
NXT bounced back from an admittedly weaker episode last week with a cracking episode this week, with the main event set between Matt Riddle and Adam Cole. Mia Yim opened the episode, as her match against Bianca Belair kicked off the episode. This program was built on a confrontation between the two at the performance center shown in last week's episode. Yim and Belair traded counters back and forth as the fight got warmed up.
Yim got the early advantage though, hitting Belair with a series of strikes. Belair turned the tide of the battle after avoiding a Cannonball Senton in the corner, sending Yim crashing into the turnbuckle. Bianca Belair would get the pinfall victory after rolling up Mia Yim and wrapping her braid around the rope to gain additional leverage. Following the match, security footage showed the Forgotten Sons ambushing the Viking Raiders.
Another video package showing Io Shirai attacking Shayna Baszler and the Horsewomen while the latter was training at the Performance Center. Back in the ring though, Raul Mendoza faced off against Riddick Moss who was returning from a long lay off from injury. Despite Moss being the one coming back from a long lay off, it was Mendoza that looked much more exciting, though his luchador style did make him almost fall short when he went for a springboard crossbody. Mendoza got the impressive victory after hitting a Springboard Corkscrew Plancha for the pin.
Finally, the main event of the episode saw Matt Riddle take on Undisputed Era's Adam Cole. Riddle had attacked the Undisputed Era as they looked to interrupt Roderick Strong's match against Johnny Gargano. Riddle managed to take out Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish before he was taken out by Adam Cole. Riddle tried to end the fight early looking for the Bro-mission, but Cole managed to escape and roll out of the ring.
While Riddle has used a predominantly strike based offense since joining NXT, the former MMA fighter threw Cole around the ring with a series of Gut Wrench Suplexes. The fight eventually broke down with the two exchanging a series of strikes which finished with Cole hitting Riddle with an Enziguiri only for Riddle to fire back with a German Suplex.
Cole seemed to have the match one after landing the Last Shot, only for Riddle to become the second person to kick out. Roderick Strong would then come out to help Adam Cole, but after catching a superkick in the face Riddle managed to lock in the Bro-Mision forcing Adam Cole to tap. Once again NXT ended with the Undisputed Era arguing continuing the long tease of their break up.
#3 Raul Mendoza
Like his former Tag Team partner, Humberto Carrillo, Raul Mendoza looks to be turning his NXT career around. Carrillo impressed towards the end of last year with his fight against Jaxson Ryker, while Mendoza defeated the returning Riddick Moss. Mendoza played the smaller man against the much bigger Moss. However, unlike his tag team partner, Mendoza managed to pick up the victory.
While Mendoza did have a few missteps in the match, his fast pace offense certainly made the match more exciting in comparison to Moss' slow powerhouse moves. The victory, capped off by a Springboard Corkscrew Plancha, was Mendoza's first of NXT TV since his debut for the brand almost 2 years ago. Mendoza was signed a year after competing in the inaugural Cruiserweight Classic where he lost in the first round to The Brian Kendrick.
Mendoza did recently appear alongside Carrillo at NXT UK in a losing effort to Gallus, but hopefully, this eye-catching effort will see Mendoza follow Carrillo onto bigger and better things like a spot on the 205-Live roster.