WWE News

Keith Lee, Multiple NXT Superstars In Dark Matches Prior To SmackDown

SmackDown Logo

WWE SmackDown, emanating from the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK, saw multiple NXT Superstars in action in addition to the recently-returned Keith Lee. Inside the Ropes’ own Sondra Ruth was in attendance for the show and provided updates throughout the night.

First up was a tag team contest of odd pairings featuring Xia Li and Aliyah vs. Dakota Kai and Kacy Catanzaro. NXT viewers will know Xia Li as a member of the Tian Sha faction while Aliyah recently renounced her participation in the Robert Stone Brand to forage her own opportunities. Kacy Catanzaro has been involved in a long-time tag team with Kayden Carter, and Dakota Kai recently turned on NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez and is set to face her former friend for the championship at NXT TakeOver 36 in Las Vegas, NV.

Xia Li pinned the number one contender to the NXT Women’s Championship to gain the victory for her team.

Next up was a match between Ridge Holland and Austin Theory. Holland, a former rugby player, was originally brought into NXT by current SmackDown commentator Pat McAfee before suffering a double leg injury in a so-called ‘freak accident’ in October 2020. Theory has been a long-standing member of the popular faction The Way alongside Johnny Gargano, Candice LeRae, and Indi Hartwell.

Though Tulsa fans cheered the wayward Way member wholeheartedly, Ridge Holland picked up a somewhat surprising victory after a short competitive match. Given Ridge Holland’s long absence and Theory’s constant presence on NXT TV, this came as somewhat of a surprise to faithful NXT viewers.

The final dark match in the BOK saw Keith Lee handily defeat local talent Niles Plonk in a quick squash match, despite Lee being currently contracted to the Raw brand.

Keith Lee recently returned to Monday Night Raw after a health issue kept him off television for several months.