SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT TV TAPING
MAY 1, 2019
WINTER PARK, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
REPORT BY TOM STOUP, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Alicia Taylor welcomed the crowd and hyped the presence of Velveteen Dream, Undisputed Era, and Johnny Gargano. She introduced Nigel McGuinness, Mauro Ranallo, and new NXT commentator WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix.
(A) Trevor Lee pinned Shane Strickland in a dark match. Both new signees received enthusiastic pops upon entering, and they set still another high bar for tapings opening dark matches with Lee the animalistic heel and Strickland blasting through a section of his arsenal that got him over everywhere he went on the indies. Lee won with a schoolboy and a fistful of trunks.
NXT Tag Team Champions The Viking Raiders entered to a mostly positive reaction with scattered boos, and were introduced as Erik and Ivar. The horns that have begun preceding their entrance theme played them in, and they asked for William Regal to come out an address the state of the tag team championships since the champs have been “raiding” Monday Night Raw. The Raiders drew heavy boos as they told Regal they know they can’t be beaten, so they want to relinquish the titles. As Regal began to respond the Street Profits interrupted to a great pop. Montez Ford said he learned something when recently wrestling the Raiders. He said, “You on Raw? Awww. You know deep down the Street Profits can beat the Viking Raiders.” Angelo Dawkins added, “If that is your real name.” Erik demanded Regal make the match, and Regal made it official for the same night of television. Regal politely declined the Profits’ encouragement to dance with them after the segment.
(1) Keith Lee pinned Cezar Bononi. Bononi tried to calm the crowd as they loudly chanted and sang for Lee. Lee manhandled Bononi, withstanding a quick stint on defense. He won with a sit-out powerbomb. Lee briefly waved off official D.A. Brewer’s signals to end the segment as he gave the adoring crowd appreciative gestures.
(2) Kushida submitted Kona Reeves. Reeves lip-synched to his theme in the face of official Jessika Carr. The crowd’s enthusiasm for booing (and in some cases cheering) Reeves seemed to slightly outweigh the general enthusiasm for Kushida. As Kushida was dominating, Drew Gulak walked on to the stage to observe. Kushida signaled to Gulak that he can break him. Reeves flipped and flopped all over Full Sail for his opponent, who won with the Hoverboard Lock. Kushida pointed to Gulak, who calmly departed.
The first of many Bugenhagen chants got started between matches. Again, this chant – though sometimes sounding like earnest hope Eric Bugenhagen is up next – has recently become Full Sail’s version of the “CM Punk” chant, and has picked up steam taping after taping since Bugenhagen’s TV debut.
(3) Vanessa Borne (with Aliyah) pinned Jessie Elaban. Elaban couldn’t get out of the gates, and suffered a slap from Aliyah behind official Drake Wuertz’ back. Borne rubbed her rear in Elaban’s face, and won with what appeared to be a new finisher where she runs at her bent over opponent from the side, and slings them to the mat with an underhook across their face.
(4) The Viking Raiders defeated the Street Profits via disqualification to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships. The Profits almost scored a quick victory when Angelo Dawkins deftly thwarted an attempt at The Viking Experience (as in the renamed Thor’s Hammer). Dawkins mirrored Ivar’s cartwheel, then hit Ivar with a big powerbomb. Montez Ford hit a frog splash for a near fall. The Forgotten Sons ran in and attacked the Raiders for the DQ, and Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan followed closely. A brawl ensued, capitalized by the Profits hitting a team move on Erik and performing their own three count. After the Profits left with their heads held high, the Raiders cleared the ring of the remaining run-in fodder. The Raiders bowed to the hard cam and to the crowd as fans chanted “Thank you Raiders” and “War.” The championship belts were left in the ring as the Raiders left.
(5) Xia Li pinned Rachael Evers. Evers exhibited a bit of a mean streak after Li controlled the match’s opening phases. After their heats the wrestlers found themselves at a stalemate with simultaneous boots. Li fired up with a bevy of dropkicks. She dodged another boot then hit a blustery spinning heel kick for the win.
Undisputed Era entered as a quartet, and said they are all on the same page. Adam Cole issued a statement that Undisputed Era owns everyone in the locker room and they will not stop taking what they want when they want. He reissued the pledge to be draped in gold, and said Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly will regain the tag titles at TakeOver. He also said he would beat Johnny Gargano for the NXT title. Gargano interrupted and said Cole can have the TakeOver match he wants. He said deep down, Cole knows he can never beat Gargano on his own. Cole reminded Gargano of the first fall in their two-out-of-three falls match. Gargano asked if Cole understands math, and said “You sure didn’t shock the school system.” Cole retorted with “Shut up, Johnny!” Matt Riddle ran in and attacked all four Undisputed Era members from behind, starting with Fish. Gargano joined in and after they cleared the ring (with Cole and Roderick Strong being ousted last) a swarm of officials ran in to hold them back. Gargano shouted “Gargan-bro” to the crowd as the segment ended.
(6) Mansoor pinned Sean Maluta. Mansoor hit a springboard neckbreaker and a rolling cutter for the win.
Velveteen Dream said he is in high demand, and everyone wants to feel him, touch him, and hold him, but he’s too big to hold. Tyler Breeze quickly interrupted to a massive pop and “welcome home” chants. He said, “Prince Pretty is home.” He went on to say NXT feels dull since he left, and there are now wannabe impersonators and cheap knock-offs of him. He said he’s flattered but there can only be one, and he took a selfie. Dream welcomed Breeze home to “The Dream’s NXT.” The crowd heckled Dream, and he got a little thrown off and told the fans to shut up while he’s talking. He said NXT doesn’t want a boy who plays cops and robbers, and that Breeze shouldn’t get to demand a spotlight because he couldn’t cut it on Mondays or Tuesdays. Breeze corrected Dream and drew polite applause by saying he’s actually in NXT because the North American Championship inspires him. Breeze said it is he who is too big to hold. Dream said Breeze has been in catering too long, that the line for the title starts outside. He condescendingly offered a “selfie with the champ.” Breeze accepted, and on selfie cam said, “When you write your phone number on your trunks and no one calls, it’s because no one’s interested.” He attacked Dream and made his way out.
(7) Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel defeated Team 3.0 (Matt Lee & Jeff Parker) via pinfall. The “European Union” isolated Lee to start, and shut down Parker’s attempt at a comeback. Barthel hung Parker upside down in the ropes, and he and Aichner double dropkicked him. Lee encouraged the crowd to chant “Defense!” Parker hit an assisted elbow drop on Aichner. Barthel shouted “Nein” as he was tagged in, and the heels started in with their signature team maneuvers. From the top turnbuckle Barthel uppercutted Lee in to a powerbomb from Aichner for the win.
Alicia Taylor announced the new tag champs will be decided at TakeOver in a four-way tag match between Street Profits, Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan, Forgotten Sons, and Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly of the Undisputed Era.
(8) Candice LeRae pinned Reina Gonzalez. Gonzalez played Goliath to LeRae’s David to start, and found two on a tilt-a-whirl slam. LeRae leveraged Gonzalez through the ropes and to the floor. She was caught in a subsequent midair attack, but shoved Gonzalez in to the steps. She nailed a head scissors takedown, a top turnbuckle missile dropkick, then a lionsault for the victory. Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir attacked LeRae after the bell, but Io Shirai chased them with a kendo stick. Shirai broke the stick in the process of going absolutely maniacal on the three Horsewomen with wild swings that all painfully connected.
(9) Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly defeated Johnny Gargano & Matt Riddle via pinfall. Riddle wore kinesio tape on his ribs but said he’ll be okay when Gargano pointed it out. Gargano insisted on starting against O’Reilly due to Riddle’s ribs. Official Drake Wuertz instructed Fish to hold the tag rope, to which Fish whined, “I know the rules!” O’Reilly conferred with Fish after a feeling out process with Gargano. Gargano tried for the Gargano Escape early. He made the save after Fish and O’Reilly ganged up on Riddle at ringside. Riddle asked to be tagged in, and began chopping away at a restrained Fish. Fish and O’Reilly flopped and flailed as Riddle went to work with kicks and gutwrenches. Finally the former ReDRagon isolated the wounded Riddle in their corner. O’Reilly clubbed at the taped ribs. Riddle got the hot tag and flattened his opponents, finding a near fall on Fish. The heels’ tenacity was too much for the champion, and Riddle had to come in for the save. Wuertz looked shocked by Riddle’a resilience. Riddle got two on a corkscrew moonsault. Gargano lawn-darted O’Reilly in to a high knee from Riddle. Cole and Strong ran in separately, allowing their team to win off a high-low to Riddle. Undisputed Era beat down the babyfaces with no miscommunications to speak of.
(10) Mia Yim pinned Bianca Belair. Fans whirled miniature Belair heads with braids attached. There was no love lost between the competitive rivals, who showed aggression from the get-go and maintained it throughout the back-and-forth affair. In the later phases Yim hit a sunset flip powerbomb for the nearest two, then Belair rolled out of the ring after Seoul Food. Belair tried to leave but Yim caught her. Belair slammed Yim’s head in to the apron, but Yim beat the ten count. Belair threw Yim around the ring, but Yim caught her by the braid and hit her newer modified Seoul Food for the cathartic win.
(11) Kushida pinned Drew Gulak. The lights accidentally came up early during Kushida’s entrance and the wrestler humorously gestured to acknowledge the production gaffe. So far the NXT newcomer has divided the audience in to preexisting fans who cheer him, and others who seem disinterested. The wrestlers traded holds for the entire match. At one point Kushida rolled out of one of Gulak’s holds, and kept rolling around the ring after Gulak had backed off. Finally Kushida leveraged Gulak’s shoulders to the mat with his legs as submission holds were only resulting in stalemates. Gulak got in Kushida’s face after the bell, then stormed out.
(12) Forgotten Sons defeated Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch via disqualification. The loudest Bugenhagen chants of the night bookended the match, beginning at the entrance of the Sons. Following a sequence or two of hard hitting between the teams, official Eddie Orengo threw out Jaxson Ryker after Ryker grabbed Lorcan’s foot. Ryker was attacked on the stage by the Street Profits. The Profits ran in the ring to attack the Sons, drawing the DQ. Fans chanted “Thank you, Profits.” The Sons brought out the chairs and attacked their adversaries with them. Undisputed Era ran in and attacked everyone, then rammed Ryker with a ladder from beneath the ring. They crushed Ryker with the ladder on the ramp and set it up on the stage for Cole to climb up. Cole pointed to the fruits of his faction’s dirty work and said, “Gargano! Riddle! At TakeOver, that is Undisputed!” After the others left, Ryker sat up from the stage like Michael Myers to reveal a gash in his forehead.
Alicia Taylor thanked the fans for coming and was met with resounding boos by fans dissatisfied with the anticlimactic main event.