WADE KELLER PODCAST - EARLY PREVIEW OF ROYAL RUMBLE 2020 MEN'S MATCH, PLUS 2019 AND 2010 LOOK-BACK ROUNDTABLES
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KELLER’S NXT ON USA (AND WWE NETWORK) REPORT
SEPTEMBER 19, 2019
WINTER PARK, FLA. AT FULL SAIL
AIRED ON USA NETWORK (HOUR 1) & WWE NETWORK (HOUR 2)
Announcers: Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, Nigel McGuiness
[HOUR ONE – ON USA NETWORK]
-What sucker had their money on Triple H not being in the opening scene of this episode? Yep, they opened with a close-up of Triple H slowly looking up. “There are moments in life when everything changes in the blink of an eye. Tonight, don’t blink.” They cut to fans chanting “NXT” and a video package of high-energy moments with wrestlers. Triple H said they’ll show everyone they aren’t the future, they are the now. “This is passion. This is pride. Ground-breaking. Defiant. Undisputed. And damn sure unapologetic. We are not your kind, we are here, we are live, we are N-X-T!” Then the camera panned to the side as Triple H opened the curtain and he walked out onto the Full Sail venue. It looks a lot smaller room that angle.
-They went to Mauro Ranallo who said Wednesdays will never be the same. He said, “NXT is L-I-V-E on USA.”
(1) IO SHIRAI vs. BIANCA BELAIR vs. MIA YIM vs. CANDICE LERAE – Fatal Four-way for No. 1 Contendership to the NXT Women’s Title
Mauro said Shirai’s descent into darkness has been shocking. The announcers did their best during each of the women’s entrances to describe their key personality traits. The bell rang five minutes into the hour. It quickly settled into Belair vs. LeRae with the other two knocked to the floor. Yim broke up the cover after Belair pressed and dropped LeRae and then landed a handspring elbow. Shirai re-entered with a springboard missile dropkick for a two count. Mauro noted LeRae and Gargano recently celebrated their third wedding anniversary. He called them the “heart and soul of NXT.” Yim dove through the ropes at LeRae and Shirai at ringside and knocked them down, drawing the first “Mama Mia” from Mauro of the night. Yim moonsaulted off the top rope onto two of them on the floor. Mauro said, “This fatal four-way rolls on.” (That answers one of our questions – would NXT start interrupting matches with commercial breaks.) [c]
They returned live for a tower of doom spot with all four out of the corner. Rapid action with all four took place with each hitting spots, and then all four down and not moving much. Belair went for her KOD, but Yim intervened with a Code Blue for a near fall, broken up by Shirai. Belair then hit LeRae with the KOD. Mauro said she’s going to become no. 1 contender, but Yim intervened. Shirai landed a double-knee strike in the corner against LeRae, then climbed for a moonsault. Yim shoved her off onto Belair on the floor. Yim climbed to the top, but LeRae met her up there. Yim went for a powerbomb, but LeRae held on and gave then gave Yim a poison rana followed by a springboard moonsault off the middle rope for the win.
WINNER: LeRae in 7:00 to earn a title match against Shayna Baszler.
(Keller’s Analysis: Interesting choice to open with a ten minute women’s match. Lots of great action there. I get starting with that, but it feels like a long time to wait with potential new viewers before introducing their real top tier players.)
-As LeRae was celebrating on the stage, Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke and taunted her. Baszler stood in her space and held up the NXT Title belt. LeRae held her ground and exchanged some words off-mic with Baszler. Phoenix said they’re a bunch of bullies.
-They went to the announcers in front of an NXT backdrop at the announce desk.
-A brief vignette aired on Adam Cole. Then they cut backstage to Cole with his NXT Title belt as Roderick Strong warmed up. Then they cut to Velveteen Dream in his locker room with his North American Title belt. Mauro said to those who haven’t seen Dream before, it’s an experience you’ll never forget. [c]
[During the break, suddenly an ad aired with Chris Jericho, Cody, MJF, Kenny Omega, Jon Moxley, and others from the roster. “All Elite Wrestling – A New League Rises – October 2 at 7 on TNT,” said the narrator.]
-They showed the exterior of Full Sail Studios.
-A video package aired on Dominic Dijakovic and Keith Lee. They plugged that match would take place next week.
-Clips aired of Killian Dane’s attack on Matt Riddle as they plugged it’d be tonight in their second hour live on WWE Network. (This is going to be confusing for a lot of viewers if they aren’t super-clear about this and repeat themselves.)
(2) CAMERON GRIMES vs. SEAN MALUTA
Maluta was in the ring already. Grimes came out to his full ring entrance. Mauro said he’s a “technical savage” who describes his style as “country power.” Graves caught him with a high knee turned into a chest stomp as Maluta charged at him. He scored the immediate three count. Mauro said Grimes “microwaved Maluta.”
WINNER: Grimes in 0:05.
-They went back to the announcers on camera who threw to an introductory video package on Dream and his feud with Strong. Phoenix then said Dream vs. Strong was up next. [c]
-A brief vignette aired on Damien Priest.
(3) VELVETEEN DREAM vs. RODERICK STRONG – NXT North American Title match
Mauro said Strong has come up short in his attempts to be a singles champion, but tonight is another opportunity. Dream made his full signature entrance, of course. No one takes off their jacket like he does, with a mix of Rick Rude and Randy Savage. Mauro said this is the “pulse of professional wrestling.” (Does it have to be an alliteration for Mauro to be authorized to say “professional wrestling” instead of “sports entertainment”?) As they locked up, Mauro noted they are the no. 1 trend on Twitter worldwide. An “Undisputed / Velveteen” dueling chant took place. Dream knocked Strong out of the ring, then kneeled and invited him back into the ring. Strong dropped to the floor and threw a little fit. [c]
Dream was in control after the break. Nigel said Dream grew up in a trailer park in Florida so he’s used to digging deep. Strong took over by knocking Dream off the ropes to the floor. He spun around with his arms extended to mock Dream’s celebration. He hit Dream with a wrecking ball dropkick next. Strong settled into a sleeper in the ring. The announcers plugged that NXT Live continues at the top of the hour on WWE Network. Strong chopped away at Dream. Strong countered a jawbreaker with a backbreaker. Dream sold it well as Strong made the cover. Dream kicked out. Strong put his legs on the bottom rope for another cover, but the ref discovered it. Strong landed a urinage into a backbreaker for a near fall. Dream reversed Strong into a sharpshooter attempt, but Strong kicked him off and through the ropes. Strong went for a wrecking ball dropkick, but Dream moved and then shoved Strong into the ringside steps. They cut to another break. [c]
Shortly after returning live, Dream landed a superkick for a near fall. Dream lifted Strong for a fireman’s carry, but Strong moved. Dream rolled him up for a two count. Dream then landed the DreamDT for a near fall. Fans chanted “NXT! NXT!” Dream climbed to the top rope, but Strong rolled to the floor. They battled on the ring apron. Strong caught Dream with a kick to the chin as he bent over to enter the ring. “This is wrestling!” chanted the fans. Mauro agreed. Dream slapped Strong after blocking a butterfly suplex. Strong landed a knee-strike and then wrapped Dream’s arms in the ropes. Strong ran back and forth with elbows to the chin and then landed a pendulum backbreaker into a powerbomb into a matchbook cover for a two count. Strong pivoted Dream into a Boston Crab mid-ring. Fans stood and cheered. “This is the moment that everything changes!” shouted Nigel. Dream struggled and powered his way toward the bottom rope and reached it. It nearly looked like he was tapping as he crawled over. The rest of Undisputed Era came out to complain, apparently contending that was a tapout. They surrounded the ring as Dream threw a series of punches at Strong. Storm threw Dream into the ref, who went down. Dream gave Strong the Dream Valley Driver. He knocked Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole off the ring apron, but when he turned around, Strong caught him with a jumping knee strike and an End of Heartache for a very believable near fall. “Oh my god!” yelled Mauro. Fans loudly chanted “Vel-ve-teen!” Dream then hit a Dream Valley Driver. Cole superkicked Dream off the top rope as the ref was distracted by Bobby Fish. Strong then landed End of Heartache again for the win. Mauro said Undisputed Era now hold all the gold in NXT (not counting the women’s titles, of course). Phoenix said Dream was robbed and it was not right.
WINNER: Strong in 15:00 to capture the NXT North American Title.
-Mauro said the second hour continues now on WWE Network.
(Keller’s Analysis: Strong first hour. Really good main event. Heavy on in-ring acton and vignettes, with no interviews. Not sure about that choice as interviews are such a big part of what makes pro wrestling great entertainment.)
[HOUR TWO – ON WWE NETWORK]
[It took me a couple minutes to get logged into WWE Network, so the system was likely flooded. That’s a good sign, I suppose, but also another symptom of the inferior “new and upgraded” WWE Network reboot which has proven to be a lot less stable and reliable.]
-They opened with Undisputed Era celebrating at ringside. The announcers recapped the finish as clips aired of the finishing sequence. Then they recapped the finish of the LeRae win. They announced Baszler vs. LeRae would take place Oct. 2 on USA Network.
(4) PETE DUNNE vs. ARTURO RUAS
Nigel said William Regal compared Dunne to a young Fit Finlay, but he said he sees him more as a young Daniel Bryan. Ruas controlled for a while, Dunne made a comeback with kicks and a gut-wrench X-Plex for a two count. Ruas came back with a roundkick to the head and a German suplex into a bridge a couple minutes later for a near fall. “Ruas with more kicks than a baby in a womb,” said Mauro. Dunne maneuvered Ruas into an arm triangle attempt. He shifted into the finger snap. Ruas tapped.
WINNER: Dunne in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really nice mix of styles on display.)
-Lio Rush and Oney Lorcan battle later for a future shot at the Cruiserweight Championship. [c]
-Phoenix hyped that Dakota Kai returns next week.
(5) XAI LI vs. ALIYAH (w/Vanessa Borne)
Mauro noted Li the first Chinese woman to compete in a WWE ring. Mauro said NXT fans find Aliyah and Bourne as obnoxious as robocalls. Li ended it with a tornado kick a couple minutes after mostly dominating. Mauro touted that #WWENXT was still the no. 1 trend worldwide.
WINNER: Li in 2:00.
-Mauro plugged that Kushida was up next. [c]
-When Denzell Dejournette made his ring entrance to face Kushida, out came Fabian Aichner, Alexander Wolfe, and Marcel Barthel from NXT UK’s Imperium. They attacked Dejournette. Fans chanted, “Where is Walter?!” They beat up Dejournette, then struck their pose mid-ring. Walter then walked out and joined them as Mauro asked, “What does this mean for NXT?” Walter declared, “We are Imperium and this mat is sacred. We are here to restore the honor and tradition of our sport.” He was interrupted by Kushida’s entrance next. They called him to the ring. Kushida said, “This is my time.” As he stepped onto the ring apron, Nigel said, “This isn’t a good idea.” Wolfe charged. Then Barthel. Then Aichner. He knocked them down, but Walter yanked him into the ring. Kushida landed a leaping sidekick, then retreated to the floor. Fans chanted “Ku-shi-da!” Mauro wondered if they just heard Kushida challenge Walter to a match.
(Keller’s Analysis: Nice angle that adds a big act to the NXT on USA mix.) [c]
(6) ONEY LORCAN vs. LIO RUSH – Cruiserweight No. 1 Contendership
Lorcan aggressively attacked Rush out of the gate and scored a near fall after a blockbuster 15 seconds into the match. Rush dove through the ropes three times and hit all three tackles on the floor. Nigel noted momentum had switched 180 degrees. Back in the ring Rush remained on offense with forearms. Fans chanted, “Let’s Go Lio! / Oney Lorcan!” Lorcan came back with a dragon screw leg whip. Nigel wondered if Rush was winded after being out of action six months. Mauro noted he used to be the mouthpiece for Bobby Lashley. Mauro noted that Lorcan was trained by Lance Storm out of “Calgary – pregnant pause – Alberta, Canada.” Lorcan applied a half crab. He stood and torqued the knee back. Rush upkicked to escape. Rush hit a Stunner out of nowhere after springboarding off the lower rope for a near fall.
Rush climbed to the top and leaped, but Lorcan moved. Rush sold a knee injury after a hard landing. Rush blocked a powerbomb, but then ate two kicks and a powerbomb into the single-leg crab. Oney shifted Rush into a modified STF. Rush began to fade. His eyes closed, but then showed signs of life. Lorcan cinched it on tighter. The crowd was really into this, which helped take the match to another level. Lorcan signaled for a big right handed slap. He watched Rush struggle to stand. He grabbed his chin and wound up. Rush ducked. Rush then fired back with a barrage of strikes including a slap. Lorcan hulked up after that and slapped away at Rush’s chin. He played to the crowd. Rush countered his charge with a Spanish Fly. He then climbed to the top rope and landed a frog splash for the 1-2-3. Rush sold a leg knee injury afterward.
WINNER: Rush in 11:00 to became the no. 1 contender for the Cruiserweight Title.
-They plugged Riddle vs. Killian Dane was up next. [c]
(7) MATT RIDDLE vs. KILLIAN DANE – Street Fight
Fans chanted “Bro! Bro! Bro!” as Riddle made his ring entrance. Dane attacked at the start. Riddle fought back. They ended up at ringside where Dane hit Riddle with a cane. They brawled to the backstage area and then the parking garage where Imperium attacked Riddle. Suddenly other NXT wrestlers joined in including Dunne, Forgotten Sons, and others. The camerawork here was was too herky-jerky. Riddle and Dane brawled back to the ring. The rest of the wrestlers followed. Fans excitedly chanted “NXT! NXT!” Security entered the ring and separated Dane and Riddle. Mauro said, “It’s a street fight. Let them wrestle!” Riddle suplexed a security guy. Mauro said everyone knows the importance of this night and knows there are higher stakes and they want to make their mark. Mauro called it “the mother of all brawls.” Phoenix said there was no end in sight. “What a ruckus, what a melee, what a night!” Mauro shouted. Dane stood alone in the ring, then dove through the ropes onto a crowd brawling on the floor. “Holy bleep! What a night! NXT live!” Mauro shouted.
WINNER: No contest?
-In WWE.com exclusive footage released shortly after this show ended on the Network, the brawl continued until G.M. William Regal came out. He was pissed. He said this match would take place again next week on USA Network, and the winner would face Adam Cole for the NXT Title.