8/15 NXT TV Taping Report in Winter Park, Fla. (Spoilers): Gargano addresses his future, Breakout Tournament follow-up, titles on the line

Johnny Gargano (photo credit Tom Stoup)


AUGUST 15, 2019

Simone Johnson and Daniel Vidot could be spotted by the food trucks. The usual top star items were featured at the merchandise truck, including the Johnny Gargano “Rebel Heart” shirt in what is an unusually quick turnaround for a new shirt, as well as multiple Adam Cole and Undisputed Era shirts. Fan buzz outside the studio primarily surrounded Io Shirai, who is also now depicted on the August-September Florida live event schedule postcards. Inside, fans passed around red Solo cups they’d brought in anticipation of the Street Profits.

An abridged version of the Breakout Tournament recap video focusing on winner Jordan Myles and finalist Cameron Grimes was shown.

Alicia Taylor welcomed the crowd and hyped the presence of Velveteen Dream, Johnny Gargano, and Pete Dunne, in that order. Beth Phoenix’ music played after Taylor introduced the commentary team of Nigel McGuinness, Mauro Ranallo, and then Phoenix herself.

(A) Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan defeated The Outliers (Dorian Mak, f/k/a Dan Matha, & Riddick Moss, with Robert Stone, f/k/a Robbie E) via pinfall in a dark match. Official: Eddie Orengo. Stone cut a pre-match promo to “present” his team and call himself a “the top agent in the game.” The Outliers isolated Lorcan with the help of a nasty-looking backbreaker from Mak, and posed for hard cam. Following a hot tag, Burch tapped out Moss with a crossface but the official was distracted by Stone. Mak obliterated Lorcan with a boot but Burch broke up the pin. The babyfaces scored their team finish on Moss, and as Burch made the cover Lorcan dove out onto Mak to ensure the win.

Alicia Taylor tossed to a TakeOver: Toronto recap video package. The finish of the Cole/Gargano main event received the hottest reaction.

The Undisputed Era made their entrance together. Adam Cole said he did everything he said he would, and the fans loudly chanted his name. He said he is on the NXT Mount Rushmore, not Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Shinsuke Nakamura, nor Finn Bálor. Roderick Strong started in and said he, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly got screwed at TakeOver. Strong said he still has a claim to the North American Championship because Velveteen Dream didn’t pin him in their triple threat – he pinned Pete Dunne. Fish and O’Reilly showed the footage of the tag that rendered the finish of their own match inconclusive. Fish called William Regal a “silly brat” and demanded Regal make things right. Cole recited the faction’s prophecy and said what would make things right is the Undisputed Era being “draped in gold.” As the Era made their way up the ramp, Jordan Myles interrupted them and fans chanted his name. Cole said Myles must be joking if he plans to cash in his Breakout Tournament win to challenge for the NXT Championship. Cole laughed and said Myles should challenge NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler. He then recommended challenging for the Cruiserweight Championship or the NXT UK Championship. Myles stood strong and silent, and Cole said he would make Myles’ career an “undisputed failure.” Myles offered a handshake, then backed away grinning.

(1) Damien Priest pinned Mansoor. Official: Drake Wuertz. Both wrestlers were quite warmly received. Priest postured, earning a shove from his smaller upstart opponent. Mansoor fought from beneath, scoring on a number of openings despite Priest looking as though he could end things any time he wanted. Priest hit a Razor’s Edge as a set-up for his spinning neckbreaker finish.

(2) Mia Yim pinned Vanessa Borne (with Aliyah). Official: Jessika Carr. Borne took control from the onset, briefly staggered by a throat chop from Yim. Borne put a sticker reading “lower” on Yim’s rear. Yim fired up with chops and a cannonball, then put Borne away with Seoul Food.

After the bell, Shayna Baszler took the stage to address Yim, drawing enthusiastic battle chants. She called Yim “badass.” She said at TakeOver Yim took her places no one else has been able to. As Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir emerged and encircled Yim in the ring, Baszler invited Yim to join them. She coaxed, “It’s nice and warm under the dragon’s wing.” Yim attacked Duke but was taken down by Baszler and Shafir. As Baszler pounded on Yim, referees swarmed in to break up the beatdown.

An immediate replay of the Baszler/Yim beatdown was shown as Mauro Ranallo could be seen pitching to the next video package about Dominik Dijakovic and Keith Lee’s suspended rivalry. The package included new interview footage from both men as well as footage from prior independent matches between them.

(3) Shane Thorne pinned Bronson Reed. Official: Eddie Orengo. Fans chanted for Reed, while many female voices could be heard howling in admiration of Thorne. Thorne tried to control the pace, but Reed sat on him to hold him down. Reed caught a leap from Thorne and impressively converted it into a sit-out powerbomb. Thorne chop-blocked Reed’s left knee to take charge of the proceedings. He scored a near fall off an incredible leaping cannonball from the middle of the ring. Reed rallied with his signature senton but Thorne rolled away before he could be pinned. Thorne hit his swift knee strike finish with a sickening thud to find the victory.

Velveteen Dream was wheeled out on his purple couch, and referenced Billy Crudup’s Mastercard commercials by saying his shirt is $30, his chains are $10, but his TakeOver victory was “priceless.” He said he came out on top because “The Dream likes it best on top.” He said the spotlight is now on Roderick Strong, but it won’t take too long before “Dream over.”

The Io Shirai/Poppy video package was shown.

(4) Killian Dain pinned Matt Riddle. Official: D.A. Brewer. Dain entered with new music and new tron graphics (featuring grungy visuals previously teased by the 8mm film reels he’s been shown brooding over). Furious and sporting rib tape, Riddle jumped Dain before the bell as his own new tron graphics cycled (featuring video of Riddle smiling and multiple Riddle logos including the new “Stallion Batallion”). The official established order and Dain established control. Eventually Riddle reversed a suplex and went on a run of offense culminating in a two count off a penalty kick. The official had to drag Riddle off as Riddle pounded away on Dain. Dain found a near fall off a running missile dropkick and a devastating cannonball. Riddle caught Dain in the Bromission, but Dain stood up and bucked him. Riddle kneed Dain in the face for a near fall. Riddle went for a corkscrew moonsault but Dain got his knees up. On the outside Dain reversed a powerbomb attempt, sending Riddle’s face awkwardly into the stairs. He hit a senton on Riddle on the stairs, then an elbow to the floor from the apron. He then rolled Riddle in the ring and splashed him three times from the second turnbuckle for the win.

After the bell Riddle attacked Dain from behind and the two fought to the outside loading area. The brawl was shown on screen and was done live, judging from the state of Riddle’s welts and hanging rib tape. After ramming Riddle into various metal barriers, Dain dropped a ladder on Riddle and finished the fight with a senton onto it. While tending to the situation referee Drake Wuertz had urged, “You don’t have to do this,” to which Dain adamantly responded, “Yes I do.”

Video packages hyping TakeOver: Cardiff and King of the Ring were shown.

(5) Io Shirai submitted Cami Fields. Official: Jessika Carr. Shirai entered to a fantastic reaction. She looked incredible and vicious with a great verve between the lines of her moves, and she soon hit her moonsault only to lift Fields’ head at two so she could sink in the Koji clutch.

After the bell Shirai went for a kendo stick to use on the felled day player, but Candice LeRae ran in, took the stick and swung away at Shirai’s head. Shirai narrowly evaded and fled up the ramp as fast as she could. She maniacally laughed at LeRae and walked away. LeRae checked on Fields and protectively led her to the back.

(6) Dominik Dijakovic pinned Keith Lee. Official: Drake Wuertz. The returning Dijakovic entered to a new theme that sounds like if a ‘90s alt rock band made a song inspired by Ivan Drago. Dijakovic shouted that Lee would be nothing without him, but Lee shushed the crowd to sink a chop into Dijakovic’s chest. Lee tried to ram Dijakovic’s head into the turnbuckle. Dijakovic resisted and screamed “no,” which made the crowd laugh loudly. Lee slammed Dijakovic on the apron. The two glared at one another, and even over the crowd’s reactions Mauro Ranallo’s boisterous commentary could be heard. Dijakovic leapt out of the ring onto Lee, drawing “NXT” chants. He came off the top turnbuckle but Lee caught him into a powerbomb attempt that Dijakovic just barely flipped out of. Dijakovic hit a moonsault from the top turnbuckle for a near fall. The two big men fought back to the top to somehow hit a Spanish Fly off which Lee scored a near fall. The crowd went wild, and it looked as though Lee may have taken the worst of the maneuver when the top of his head spiked down on the canvas. Lee went to the top yet again but Dijakovic recovered and plucked him into the Feast Your Eyes for the win. Dojakovic could barely stand as he celebrated. The crowd awarded the match with a standing ovation.

Shane Thorne could be seen storming the commentary desk to cut a promo.

Shayna Baszler entered with Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir for a promo, but was immediately interrupted by Rhea Ripley who received a thunderous reaction and snatched the mic from the champ. Ripley said, “I know what you’re gonna say. You’re gonna say you’ve beat everyone here. But you haven’t beaten me, b-tch!” Baszler and her cronies backed off.

A video promoting upcoming Florida live events was shown.

The Street Profits Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford were shown outside Full Sail cutting a house show-esque promo for the live crowd, saying they had a rematch with Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly later in the evening.

(7) Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) defeated Matt Martel (f/k/a Matt Lee) & Chase Parker (f/k/a Jeff Parker). Official: D.A. Brewer. Breezango came out to an entirely new Fashion Police-themed entrance. The theme sounds like a budget ‘80s cop show (in a good way). Fandango fought out of a takedown by gyrating to regain his balance. The heels isolated Breeze, but Parker took his eye off the ball to allow the hot tag. Fandango hit an assisted slingshot elbow drop for the win over Parker.

(8) Bianca Belair pinned Taynara Conti. Official: Drake Wuertz. Her constitution ever hazy, Conti interacted with the crowd like a babyface during her entrance. The fans warmly received both wrestlers, and chanted “EST” for Belair. Naturally, Belair dominated to begin with, her power and athleticism shining through. Conti found advantage, and drilled a boot and several high knees into Belair’s face. She hung Belair’s arm over the rope in an armbar. She then leapt from the apron but Belair caught her in a fallaway slam on the outside. Belair flattened Conti’s face against the mat then hit a standing moonsault. She soon set up the KOD for the win.

(9) Adam Cole pinned Jordan Myles to retain the NXT Championship. Official: Eddie Orengo. A fair handful of fans said “Super” along with Myles’ hard cam routine. During his own entrance Cole gave a smarmy smirk to Myles and mockingly wiped his boots on the apron. He encouraged Myles to give his “very best.” Cole worked a headlock and continued to smirk and jaw, saying things like “all day,” and “out of my league.” Myles went for a penalty kick from the apron but Cole yanked his leg, sending him to the floor in a splat. Cole whipped Myles into the corner, and Myles spasmed like a spider being sprayed with repellant. Cole stood over the reeling challenger and said, “You don’t deserve it, you hear me?” Myles fought back, and at last broke out his famous plank plancha to the outside. He shot himself over the ropes and onto Cole again for two, then followed up with a German suplex pin for another two. Cole plastered a boot into Myles’ face for a near fall. Cole found an enziguri that comically dazed Myles, then hit a backstabber for two. He locked Myles in a figure four but Myles eventually found the rope. Cole couldn’t believe he didn’t end the match after hitting his shoulder breaker. Myles rallied with his apron penalty kick and a suicide dive. He hit a frog splash for a near fall. He went for his 450 but Cole rolled away. He set up for it again with a kick to Cole’s head, but Cole got his knees up. Cole whiffed with the Last Shot and kicked out of a subsequent roll-up, then hit a two big kicks and a successful Last Shot for the win. As Cole left he could be seen saying “forever” as Myles sat up in the ring. Myles left to “Jordan” chants that tapered off quickly.

Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly were shown cutting a house show-esque promo to hype their rematch with the Street Profits. O’Reilly said Undisputed Era would win, “and that, though redundant, is undisputed.”

(10) Damien Priest pinned Boa. Official: D.A. Brewer. Boa fought furiously with Jiu-Jitsu kicks, but was no match for Priest who won with his spinning neckbreaker.

Johnny Gargano entered in street clothes and his new shirt, calmly hi-fiving fans in the front row as if pensive about his forthcoming promo. He was met with “Johnny Wrestling” chants, which he allowed himself to enjoy for a quite a while. He finally said, “Guys, I told them I wasn’t gonna be very long when I came out here!” He said he wanted to address the fans (specifically pointing out one particularly recognizable fan in the front row) because he’s “heard the rumors and read the reports” about what his future holds. He lauded the fans, and said he loves every single thing about NXT and that it is “the absolute best pro wrestling show.” He went on to say NXT wrestlers have a choice in their future, and he has made his choice. He said, “I am officially–” and then Shane Thorne interrupted him. To a chorus of boos, Thorne asked Gargano if all of this was necessary. He said Gargano could “just take a little selfie, put a little tweet out, but no, no, no.” Thorne said Gargano is NXT, but NXT will be just fine without “Johnny TakeOver,” and that it would be “even better” with “the right person in the spotlight.” He invited Gargano to “take a bow, and take a walk.” Gargano teased leaving then said, “You know Shane, you’re right. I am NXT. And I’m not going anywhere.” He superkicked Shane, then stood over him and wrote “NXT” in the air with a finger a la Bret Hart famously doing the same with “WCW.”

(11) Velveteen Dream pinned Kona Reeves. Official: Jessika Carr. Reeves got a great reaction after not being seen for several tapings. Carr looked like she couldn’t believe the personalities she had to keep in order. Reeves slapped Dream down and dared him to blow a kiss. He dragged Dream by the arm and said, “walk him like a dog!” As Dream tried to mount a comeback, Reeves grabbed the ropes for a leverage pin but the official caught the trick. Dream beckoned Reeves into the Dream Valley Driver for the win, then admired the reflection of his fallen opponent in the North American Championship belt.

As Dream celebrated, Roderick Strong appeared on screen, outside, with smoke billowing around him. He asked if he has Dream’s attention, and the camera pulled back to reveal Dream’s purple sofa on fire. Dream fumed, and looked as though he was going to try to find Strong.

(12) Pete Dunne submitted Angel Garza. Official: D.A. Brewer. The crowd still hot, both wrestlers received excellent reactions. Garza teased tearing off his pants, but Dunne put him in a toe hold. Dunne locked his fingers with Garza’s and worked the arm with fluid transitions. Dunne tried to stomp on Garza’s hand but Garza begged off, dumped Dunne through the ropes, and tore off his pants. Dunne viciously chopped Garza’s chest over and over, then double-stomped both of Garza’s hands. He reeled from Garza’s dropkick, but then hit a sit-out powerbomb for two. After a desperate leverage pin attempt Garza again dropkicked Dunne, this time off the turnbuckle for two. Dunne stomped away at Garza’a head, then kicked his head and abdomen. Garza went for a springboard moonsault, but Dunne caught him in an armbar and snapped his fingers for the tap out. Dunne casually shrugged to hard cam, then to Garza.

(13) Cameron Grimes pinned Raul Mendoza. Official: Eddie Orengo. Grimes wore a brown leather vest and a black derby hat to the ring. When Mendoza went for a springboard, Grimes dropkicked him out of the ring. Grimes controlled the action until Mendoza’s comeback, then put things away with his double-stomp. A match so A-to-B that the prior sentence was written before any of it actually happened, and it wound up being exactly correct.

(14) Shayna Baszler defeated Rhea Ripley via disqualification. Official: Jessika Carr. The fans chanted Ripley’s name at the bell. Ripley tried to stomp on Baszler, but Baszler scurried away. Baszler went for a headlock but Ripley shrieked, slipped out, and slammed her. Baszler evaded a big boot and took Ripley’s left leg out from under her. Ripley fought out of a facelock, then Baszler hung her from the turnbuckle in a chokehold. Ripley got out and kicked Baszler to the floor. Ripley lifted Baszler on her shoulders and dropped her face-first on the stairs. Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir ran in, but Ripley booted Shafir away and Duke backed off. Duke threw a chair in the ring, but Ripley used it on Baszler to draw the DQ. The Horsewomen left, but reemerged for a posedown with them at the top of the ramp and Ripley sitting in the chair egging Baszler on. They hung on this for a bit longer than felt natural, likely for post-production coverage. Baszler held up her title (which, to be clear, had not been on the line) and the fans chanted “Rhea.”

(15) Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly defeated Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) via pinfall to become the NXT Tag Team Champions. Official: Drake Wuertz. The Profits danced through the crowd, surrounded by red Solo cups. The fans sang, “We want the smoke.” After the early phases, Ford worked an armlock on Fish and shouted, “Wrestling” before flicking his tongue rapidly and suggestively. He kicked O’Reilly away, hit a springboard crossbody on Fish, grabbed the hold again and once more shouted, “Wrestling!” O’Reilly tagged in and got to work on Ford’s left leg. Fish tagged in and tried to keep Ford soft before Ford found a tag. Dawkins hit corkscrew splashes on both of his opponents, barreled Fish into O’Reilly to dump the latter from the ring, then speared Fish. O’Reilly slipped back in and chop-blocked Dawkins’ right leg. O’Reilly worked a leg lock but Ford shoved Fish onto him to break it up. A battle chant broke out. Fish and O’Reilly tactfully targeted both of their opponent’s legs, then O’Reilly reversed Dawkons’ powerbomb attempt into an armbar. Ford frog-splashed O’Reilly but Fish pulled his partner from the pin. Ford set up to repeat the maneuver, but as Dawkins went for his ring-clearing spear Fish kneed him in the face. O’Reilly dodged Ford’s splash, and Ford suffered the High-Low and took the fall to a big pop. Adam Cole and Roderick Strong came out and gleefully embraced their partners at the top of the ramp.

After the Undisputed Era finished posing for the camera, a “thank you Profits” chant started up. The Profits continued selling, but motioned in heartfelt thanks to the crowd. Ford raised a cup at the top of the ramp as the team’s final bow.

RECOMMENDED: 6/13 NXT TV Taping Report in Winter Park, Fla. (Spoilers): Night Two of tapings including more wrestlers return from main roster, Takeover Toronto matches announced, Breakout Tournament semi-finals

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