KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (11/14)
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WELLS’S NXT TV REPORT
OCTOBER 16, 2019
LIVE IN ORLANDO, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY KELLY WELLS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, Beth Phoenix
-A word on the tope.
WWE has, as of at least a few weeks ago when I noticed, removed “suicida” from the tope suicida. I’ve been mentioning that in my reports, and from here on out, I’ll just remove it as well to get in the habit of doing so. Further, the move I also always believed to be called the “tope con hilo” is pronounced “hero” and spelled “giro.” That…may be a harder habit to get into. I’ll try. Maybe they’ll lay off the dives and I’ll get lucky.
-Mauro said we continue to barrel toward WarGames, so maybe some announcements are forthcoming.
(1) TOMMASO CIAMPA vs. ANGEL GARZA
Foregone conclusions don’t usually open, but a Ciampa return is a pretty big deal, so this is an exception. He enters first, and Garza swaggers out after. He allows a fan to kiss his cheek on the way to the ring.
“Ciampa’s gonna kill you” chant. Shoulter tackle by Ciampa. Garza moved quickly but couldn’t catch Ciampa. Garza hit a step-up enzuigiri after feigning a handshake. Action spills outside and Ciampa takes Garza into the wall, then the stairs. He posed on the apron, then headed back in with Garza. Garza blocked Fairytale Ending and took Ciampa to the corner and dropkicked him. Tope by Garza. One-foot missile dropkick by Garza back in the ring, then he did his pants-removing spot. Ciampa stomped the mudhole in the corner, then hit a knee. Ciampa did a spot where he hit a knee on Garza’s Mexican flag (correction: it was Garza’s recently ripped-off pants, which have the Mexican flag on them. Given that the flag is front and center, it only slightly changes how I feel about it. I still run into weirdos online who are angry about Kevin Owens stepping on the United States championship, because “it’s the American flag”) in the corner. Huh. Ciampa then hit his finisher draping DDT, Willow’s Bell, and it was good to finish.
WINNER: Tommaso Ciampa at 3:18.
-“Welcome back” chant. “Shock the System” played to bring all four members of Undisputed Era to the ramp. Ciampa sat on a chair holding his camouflage crutch, waiting in the ring. Kyle O’Reilly went to the announcers and said “You might want to take a look at this” and threw a flash drive at Mauro. Undisputed Era waved at Ciampa and that was that.
-Nigel hyped “a message from Finn Balor” later tonight.
-Backstage, Keith Lee sat listening to his headphones in preparation for his (main event?) match.
(Wells’s Analysis: Ciampa looked good and Garza continued to look like a star in the making. The contents of the flash drive were framed as a major reason to stay with the show.)
-Upon return, Mauro threw to the contents of the video. It was the Undisputed Era saying they had to make an example. They had The Velveteen Dream draped over a broken box in back in a garage, and said this is what happens to you if you go up against the Undisputed Era. Nigel wondered what William Regal’s response would be.
(2) ONEY LORCAN & DANNY BURCH vs. IMPERIUM (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel) w/ALEXANDER WOLFE
No Walter yet.
Aichner and Burch to open. Aichner with a headlock, reversed, but he lifts and tosses Burch. Burch shoulderblocks Aighner and tags Lorcan. Tandem tackle. Chop. Tag to Burch, but Aichner takes control and tags Barthel. Barthel hits a couple of boots but jumps into a headbutt by Burch. Step-up enzuigiri, missile dropkick by Burch. Heels tag and Barthel hits a basement dropkick. Commercial.
Back to action (there was no split-screen). Barthel has control but Burch makes the tag shortly after. Aichner in but he walks into a European Uppercut. Pescado by Lorcan. Tope con giro. Burch in and the two hit a tandem jackknife for two. Burch tags Lorcan and a Magic Killer, maybe, is broken up by Barthel. Lorcan and Aichner exchange chops. Lorcan with a running elbow, but misses. European Uppercut by Barthel. Brainbuster by Aichner. Tope to Burch. Springboard moonsault by Aichner gets a very convincing two on Lorcan (other than Lorcan looking closely at the count). Lorcan back up with chops to Aichner. Blind tag, but Lorcan chops the hell out of both anyway until the numbers catch up, and Imperium hit a European Bomb from the turnbuckle and finish.
WINNERS: Imperium at 8:37.
(Wells’s Analysis: Nice to see that the Imperium henchmen aren’t only here to enhance for Walter. The match was awesome, of course, in the waning minutes. Half the match, of course, was the commercial break.
-Johnny Gargano segment. #DIY highlights and lowlights. Solo highlights. We then go to the back, where Cathy Kelley interviews him. He says he won’t know how he feels about Tommaso Ciampa until he sees him face to face.
-Elsewhere, Dominik Dijakovic hypes himself up for his match with Keith Lee.
(3) KAYDEN CARTER vs. IO SHIRAI
Carter gets full intro (after Shirai, even!). Both get good pops. Io’s so good it’s going to be hard to get people to boo.
Carter takes down Shirai. Shirai blocks Carter but gets rolled up for a quick two. Okana roll for two. Dropkick by Carter and Shirai bailed. Shirai blocks a PK and drives Carter into the apron. Back in, springboard dropkick by Shirai for two. Carter couldn’t complete a sunset flip and had a move from a stomp. Tejara by Carter, cover for two. Shirai with a beautiful release German suplex. Shirai goes up and hits a quick, violent moonsault to finish.
WINNER: Io Shirai at 2:37.
(Wells’s Analysis: Moonsaults have never looked so good. I never loved them because they have kind of a slow impact, but Shirai’s looks incredible)
-Shirai grabs the stick. “Not Rhea. Not Bianca. Shayna. It’s meeeee!”
-Rhea Ripley is out to answer the call. She steps up to Shirai. What a great, tangled mess the women’s division is right now. “Last week Bianca decided to run her mouth, and next week I get to put her back in her place….Io, if you ever spit my name out of your mouth, I have no problem shutting you up too.” Shirai yelled in Japanese while circling Rhea, then left up the ramp. Rhea’s music played as Shirai was booed.
-Shots from last week as Cameron Grimes got his quick win over Boa, and Killian Dain followed up with the utter destruction of Boa. Backstage now, Boa got psyched and spoke in Chinese. Oh, good, a “what” chant.
-William Regal said to Cathy Kelley that Velveteen Dream wouldn’t be able to appear next week, or anytime soon, so the Dijakovic-Lee match will be a #1 Contender’s match for the North American Title. And…it’s up next.
(4) KEITH LEE vs. DOMINIK DIJAKOVIC – #1 Contender’s match for North American Championship
Lee first, then Dijakovic. Nigel invokes Ivan Drago.
“Go bask in his glory” chant. Taunting to open. Dijakovic drew a line with his finger and dared Lee to cross. They continue to size one another up and finally meet with a shared tackle 40 seconds in. More tackles and nobody goes down. Lee with a knuckle lock; he lifted and let down Dijakovic after a moment. Lee with a successful tackle, and then he splashed Dijakovic’s left arm for a one count. Wristlock by Lee as the announcers sell that Lee doesn’t want to be lifted by Dijakovic so he’s targeting the arm. Dijakovic gets back into it with his right arm and we go to commercial just under three minutes in, and five to the hour.
Back to the match, Lee is getting a second wind after a heat segment. He threw punches to the face and body. He growled to a pop and hit a corner splash. He tossed Dijakovic to the corner and hit a headbutt, then a pounce for two. Lee picked up Dijakovic from the ear into a powerbomb, then redirected into a slam but Dijakovic reversed into a crush bomb for two. “This is awesome” chant. Dijakovic lifted Lee to the top buckle, then chopped him a couple of times. He followed Lee up and looked around him. Lee blocked a superplex and chopped with both hands to knock down Dijakovic, and then he did a frog splash onto the left arm again. Massive powerbomb by Lee but Dijakovic bailed.
Lee rolled Dijakovic back in and lifted him into a fireman’s carry. Dijakovic elbowed out but Lee hit a forearm in the corner, but then ran into a cyclone kick for a long two. “Both these guys” chant. Both got to their knees and threw shots. To their feet. Big forearms from both. Dijakovic hit some kicks and a back elbow, but Lee reversed and picked up Dijakovic for a (very) delayed suplex that succeeded on try #3. Cover for two. Lee was slow to get up but he made it to the top. Dijakovic hit a superkick but couldn’t get a grip with his bad arm. He put up Lee in the electric chair instead but Lee reversed into a poison rana for a convincing near-fall. “NXT” chant.
To the corner, up top again. Dijakovic went for a huracanrana but couldn’t turn Lee. As Lee set up Dijakovic, Roderick Strong rushed the ring to attack both with the belt. Naturally, William Regal laid down the law and made next week’s match a triple threat.
WINNER: Double Disqualification at 15:20.
(Wells’s Analysis: A couple of old standbys were used here: the heel who interferes after 15 minutes where either guy could have long since won, and a heel champion acting surprised at this call despite it always being the call. Oh well. The match, naturally, was another stellar outing for the two – perhaps their best. They both look incredibly dominant and that won’t change in the triple threat; the dynamic should be fun to watch next week, and a triple threat allows Strong to do the usual heel things to retain)
-During the break, Undisputed Era raged about Regal’s decision.
(5) MATT RIDDLE vs. BRONSON REED
Reed gets full entrance, though he wasn’t announced as the other guy (it was “Matt Riddle in action”).
Fist bump of respect to start. Both hit strikes immediately after. Riddle hit a couple of knees. Running forearm. Another. Exploder suplex. PK for two. Bro-ton blocked by Reed’s knees. Slam and senton by Reed. Riddle blocked a strike and threw quick hands, then a Bro to Sleep. Powerbomb. Final Flash kick for two. Riddle went up for Floating Bro but he landed in a pinning combination for two by Reed. Reed pulled down his straps, but Riddle reversed into a sleeper. Reed escaped but ran and got caught. Mauro called the move “Bro Derek” because it was a perfect 10. Wow. Whatever it’s called, it was good for the win.
WINNER: Matt Riddle at 3:02.
Another fist bump after.
(Wells’s Analysis: That’s about as good as one can look in a three-minute loss. Reed’s time will come, and given how polished he is already, it may not be long from now. A fun diversion)
-Bianca Belair hype. She said her match with Rhea was going to be fun, but for Rhea, it would be a nightmare.
-Kushida has a hairline fracture. He’ll be out for a month.
(6) TEGAN NOX vs. TAYNARA
Taynara has new gear every time she’s out there. Nice pop for Nox, who smiles broadly as she heads to the ring. She fires up the crowd as Taynara looks on, unimpressed.
Collar and elbow. Rollup by Nox. Armdrag by Nox, who then dropped Taynara. Single-leg dropkick for two. Running kick by Taynara to toss her from the ring; I did not like watching Nox fall to the floor. Back in and Taynara covers for two. Judo toss by Taynara, and another. To the turnbuckle; double knees by Taynara, who floated over for a one count. Headbutt got Nox back into it. Leaping European uppercut. Running elbow. Nox went up and hit a flying cross-body. Shining Wizard finished.
WINNER: Tegan Nox at 2:52.
(Wells’s Analysis: That was another great enhancement outing for Taynara, so I hope she can escape TV for a minute to come back a little bit further up the card. Nox didn’t look rusty.)
-Cathy Kelley attempted to interview Tegan Nox, who was joined by Dakota Kai. Before Nox could form a sentence, the Horsewomen strode to the ring. Shayna took the stick. “Let me guess. You wanna throw your name into the hat, huh? Let’s ask your friend Dakota Kai what it’s like to be in the ring with me. You’re running out of limbs to rehab.” Baszler and friends left ringside. The women’s WarGames match continues to take shape. (Don’t @me if I turn out to be wrong).
-Backstage, Damian Priest is flanked by a couple of women. This is the first time the Dunne-Priest match has been mentioned all night for some reason. Finn Balor is up next after the break.
-Finn pre-taped segment. He talked about retracing his steps to find himself. Next week, his future will be his past.
(7) BOA vs. KILLIAN DAIN
This is tie a bow on what happened last week. I like it when even the enhancement matches have some kind of purpose. It can’t happen every time, but I love a little of this.
Boa hit some kicks and forearms. Dropkick. Thrustkick and Dain bailed. Boa went out around the corner but ran into a cross-body in his taped ribs. Dain threw Boa into the ring and dropped an elbow on him. Another. A third. Kicks in the corner. Irish whip and Dain covered for two. Knees to the midsection and a snap suplex by Dain. Cover for two. Chinlock by Dain, but Boa got to his feet and threw punches, but ran into a lariat. Senton by Dain. Vaderbomb. Onemore. Dain stepped on Boa to do a third. Sitting abdominal stretch was good for the submission, though Dain held on for a couple of seconds.
WINNER: Killian Dain at 3:37.
(Wells’s Analysis: at 3:37, this is the longer than four other matches this week, so it’s a far cry from what we saw two weeks ago or even last week. A lot of work continues to be done to rebuild Dain and elevate new talent, now that NXT has gotten week one out of the way and has room to breathe)
-Lio Rush segment. It’s kept short, and exists basically to keep the Cruiserweight Championship in the forefront of our minds.
(8) PETE DUNNE vs. DAMIAN PRIEST
Killian Dain got in Dunne’s face on Dunne’s way to the ring, and I temporarily thought they hadn’t promoted the match because it wasn’t happening. Instead, Dunne snapped the fingers and Dain was dragged off. Commercial as Dunne posed in the ring.
Next week, Ripley vs. Belair. Also, a Triple Threat for the North American Championship.
Dunne’s music was still playing after about four minutes. The lights went out to introduce Damian Priest. Mauro said Priest would’ve been a staple at Studio 54 – he loves popping bottles and dating models. Serious shift for Priest that started last week that I think will serve him well.
Collar and elbow. Wristlock by Priest, reversed into a headlock, but Priest hit a flying elbow then shrugged cockily. Kicks by Priest. Both ran the ropes and Dunne hit a lariat but Priest stayed upright. Dunne wrapped up the arm and did the stomp spot. Action went outside and Dunne kept working the arm. Up to the apron, where Priest dropkicked Dunne. Back inside and a hard right from Priest. Commercial.
Back to action and both guys were up top. Dunne hit a double-underhook suplex from the top. Dunne threw kicks to Priest’s legs. Strikes from both. Priest missed a splash. Dunne hit a step-up enzuigiri and a dropkick to the knee. Snap German and stomp (to the fingers, of course) by Dunne. Priest bails and Dunne hits a moonsault to the outside. Back into the ring. Dunne strikes Priest’s hands and Dunne hits a sit-out powerbomb for two. “NXT” chant (not the first of the match). Mauro again refers to Priest as undefeated. Dunne stomps the face but Priest returns fire from below. Priest walks into an MMA hold but rolls up Dunne and tries to use the ropes for leverage and gets two. Priest tosses Dunne to the post, then hits a Razor’s Edge for two. Dunne bails. Priest shot an arrow, then ran the ring, hopped off the second rope and hit a senton to Dunne on the outside. Back in.
Priest stalked Dunne and throws a suplex, but Dunne landed on his feet and hits a PK to the rear. Dunne went up but Priest hit a cyclone kick. Frankensteiner by Priest. Slice of Heaven for two. Dunne, on his knees, hit a chop. Priest hit forearms. Dunne got to his feet and threw forearms and chops. Chaos as both guys unloaded. Huge right by Dunne. Bigger lariat by Priest. The Reckoning was countered. Bitter End – countered. Enzuigiri by Dunne, and a flying forearm from Priest failed as Dunne hit his own. Both guys laid on the mat. The crowd was hot. “Fight forever” chant.
Dunne went up and a moonsault hit Priest’s knees. Priest jumped to his feet and went for The Reckoning again, but Dunne was able to grab the fingers. The guys fought to the corner and dragged referee Jessika Carr to the corner. As Carr escaped out one side, Priest kicked low (Mauro said he found the “balls-eye”) and finally, Priest was able to hit The Reckoning for the win.
WINNER: Damian Priest in 14:30. Estimated since my internet had a blip.
No frills after the match. Fade out.
(Wells’s Analysis: Very good action, and although it seemed like Priest was the priority here, there was some doubt. The character shift for Priest is a great idea and it already looks like it’s paying off. The question remains: what is Pete Dunne’s purpose in NXT:US? Is it simply to put some guys over?)
FINAL THOUGHTS: The show had almost exactly the same amount of ring time as last week, though it was heavily skewed toward three matches while five were enhancement affairs. There was some good-to-great fare peppered in, though this was clearly NXT continuing to slow down and establish the talent as they roll toward WarGames.
Follow me all over social media @spookymilk and catch the PWT Talks NXT podcast tomorrow, as I am once again joined by Tom Stoup and Nate Lindberg!