9/23 NXT ON USA PRIMER: Gauntlet Elimination with Kushida, O’Reilly, Grimes, Thatcher, Reed, plus women’s battle royal, Atlas vs. Ciampa

By Amin Ajani, PWTorch contributor



Finn Balor’s next challenger for the NXT Championship will be determined tonight as five wrestlers will compete in a first-ever Gauntlet Eliminator Match. But that’s not all as a Battle Royal will also take place tonight to determine who will challenge Io Shirai for the NXT Championship at NXT Takeover. Let’s take a look at what’s currently advertised for tonight’s show.

  • First-ever Gauntlet Eliminator Match to determine Finn Balor’s first challenger
  • Battle Royal to determine No.1 Contender to Io Shirai’s NXT Women’s Championship
  • Jake Atlas looks for payback in rematch against Tommaso Ciampa


First-ever Gauntlet Eliminator Match to determine Finn Balor’s first challenger

For the first-time ever Kushida, Kyle O’Reilly, Bronson Reed, Timothy Thatcher, and Cameron Grimes will compete in a Gauntlet Eliminator Match and the winner will challenge Finn Balor for the NXT Championship. The rules of the matches are two wrestlers will start, every four minutes a new wrestler will enter the match, the only way to be eliminated is by pinfall or submission. The question is which one of these five wrestlers will run the gauntlet and challenge Balor for the NXT Championship?


(Amin’s Analysis: This should be very fun to see how they work this match which should be great featuring five very talented wrestlers. It will be very interesting to see who challenges Balor for the NXT Title. My preferences are Kushida and Kyle O’Reilly are two wrestlers who I would see getting a single’s run. But with teases of programs with both Ciampa and Velveteen Dream don’t think either of those will win. With the three remaining wrestlers, Bronson Reed would be my choice as he’s been putting on solid matches and has been positioned to have a run.)

Battle Royal to determine No.1 Contender to Io Shirai’s NXT Women’s Championship

A No.1 Contender’s Battle Royal is set for tonight to determine who will challenge my favourite Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver. Notable entries in the match are Rhea Ripley who would like to get another shot at the title. Dakota Kai, Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox would love another shot at the NXT Women’s Title after coming up short against Shirai. Candice LeRae is another notable wrestler who will compete in the Battle Royal as she and Shirai had one of the best matches last year at TakeOver: Toronto. The question is who will come out on top and challenge Shirai for the NXT Women’s Title?


(Amin’s Analysis: Looking really forward to seeing how this match plays out as I would like to see Candice LeRae win but they should take their time in building up an NXT Women’s Title’s match with Shirai. After last week’s performance, my guess is both Blackheart and Ripley will eliminate each other and this will lead to a Triple Threat Match with Shirai for the NXT Women’s Title at TakeOver:)

Jake Atlas looks for payback in rematch against Tommaso Ciampa

Jake Atlas didn’t fare so well in his first outing as he was first defeated and then viciously taken out of action by his opponent Tommaso Ciampa during a post-match attack. Well, Atlas returned to NXT last week as he sent a message to Ciampa warning how dangerous he can be. Well, Ciampa didn’t take kindly to Atlas’s words as he was attacked once again. Things took a surprising turn as Atlas got some help in the form of Kyle O’Reilly. The question is what will happen when Atlas faces Ciampa tonight on NXT?


(Amin’s Analysis: The first outing for more a showcase to establish Ciampa as a top heel who just returned after losing to Karrion Kross at TakeOver: In Your House. Atlas is a talented wrestler and this should be good if it gets time. Will be interesting to see if O’Reilly plays a factor in this match or does Ciampa cost him his match in the Gauntlet Eliminator?)

The Big Takeaway From Last Week’s Show

Damian Priest defeated Timothy Thatcher to successfully retain his NXT North American Title. My favourite Io Shirai defeated Shotzi Blackheart in an excellent non-title match. Kyle O’Reilly came to the aid of Jake Atlas as he confronted Tommaso Ciampa teasing a potential babyface turn.

Overall Thoughts

Looking forward to seeing how the Women’s Battle Royal plays out as it could lead to more than one contender for the NXT Women’s Title. Also look forward to seeing more development from both Kushida and Kyle O’Reilly who will be part of the Eliminator Battle Royal as they seem to be poised for possible big single runs on NXT. Overall, this should be a very solid episode of NXT as the wrestling should be great and we should get a direction to the next title matches for Takeover.

RECOMMENDED: 9/16 NXT ON USA TV REPORT: Hustwaite’s “alt-perspective” report on Priest vs. Thatcher for the NXT North American Championship and two “major announcements” from William Regal

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