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WWE NXT: Rhea Ripley wins big, Johnny Gargano returns

By
Wade Sheridan

Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Two championship matches were held on the final WWE NXT of 2019 as Shayna Baszler defended her NXT Women's Championship against Rhea Ripley and Adam Cole defended his NXT Championship against Finn Balor.

Cole vs. Balor kicked off the show on Wednesday with a competitive and athletic bout. Balor gained an early advantage but Cole fought his way back into the match after delivering a Super Kick to The Prince's left knee.

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Cole was able to avoid Balor's Coup de Grace and nailed his opponent with a Last Shot, but it wasn't enough.

Balor would eventually land the Coup De Grace and set Cole up for the 1916 DDT which would have surely ended the match until Johnny Gargano returned from injury and started walking down the entrance ramp. Balor had injured Gargano weeks ago and was shocked to see his rival return.

Cole took advantage of the situation and hit Balor below the belt while he and the referee were distracted. A second Last Shot then sealed the deal as Cole retained the NXT Championship.

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Gargano grabbed a steel chair and attacked Balor with it multiple times before he was able to get away.

Baszler vs. Ripley was the main event of the night. Ripley had to fight through Baszler's friends Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke who interfered in the match and deal with a seemingly injured left arm after Baszler viciously stomped on it.

Officials arrived onto the scene to check on Ripley's arm but The Nightmare sent them away, wanting to keep on fighting.

Baszler pulled out all the stops including using a steel chair when the referee was knocked out but Ripley would not give up. The Submission Magician then locked in the Kirifuda Clutch on Ripley and was able to administer the hold for an extended length of time.

Ripley was eventually able to break free and during an exchange on the turnbuckle, was able to deliver an Avalanche Riptide from the second rope to defeat Baszler and become the new NXT Women's Champion. Baszler had held onto the title for an impressive 415 days.

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Members of the NXT locker room and fans rushed the ring after the victory and held up Ripley as she celebrated with her new championship. NXT head Triple H also celebrated with Ripley backstage as well and congratulated her on Twitter.

"An incredible main event and a new champion. One of the most dominant reigns over the @WWENXT Women's division comes to end and another begins. @RheaRipley_WWE will be the one to lead #WWENXT into the new year...Congratulations," Triple H said.

Other moments from WWE NXT included Damian Priest defeated Killian Dain; Cameron Grimes defeated Kushida; Io Shirai defeated Santana Garrett; and Pete Dunne defeated Travis Banks.

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