KELLER & MARTIN FLAGSHIP (11/28)
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WELLS’S NXT TV REPORT
OCTOBER 30, 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
-There’s a live act – Poppy – out to perform in front of the Tron, which shows the opening credit sequence. A week without “We Are Not Your Kind”! There were also quite a few shots of Finn Balor featured at the opening and closing. They then went into performing Io Shirai’s music to lead her into the ring with the lead singer, under strobe lights. Awesome opening.
(1) CANDICE LERAE vs. IO SHIRAI
Io slapped Candice, who threw a hard right. Io bailed and LeRae chased. Io hung up LeRae near the ropes and then hit a tope, but Candice followed with one of her own, all under a minute. Mauro invoked Bhad Bhabie. Step-up senton back in the ring by Candice for two. Candice went up, but Io hit her with a lungblower from the second rope. Io stomped a mudhole in the corner, then dropped double knees. Cover for two. Chinlock. Candice was escaping so Shirai threw her to the mat. Shirai twisted Candice’s hair, then threw cocky boots and Candice’s head. Candice got up and the two threw hands. Candice rolled up Io for two. Jawbreaker by LeRae. Step-up enzuigiri followed. LeRae’s got a nosebleed.
To the apron. Candice went for a suplex, blocked, and the two jockeyed for position. Io ran Candice’s blood across her cheek with her finger. LeRae blocked a German and tossed Io in the ring. Candice went up, Io followed. Superplex by Io was blocked. Candice threw her to the floor but Io was able to toss Candice to the floor. Commercial. Split screen.
Back after the commercial, both were selling on the floor. They got to their feet and Candice threw forearms and a lariat. Dropkick. Splash in the corner. Candice went up and hit a tornado DDT for two. Candice was still bleeding some. Candice drove Io into the corner and went up with her, but Io threw Candice off the top and then went for a moonsault but hit LeRae’s knees. Back to their feet, Candice threw some forearms and hit a small package for two. Uppercut by Shirai. Headscissors by Io, who then trapped an arm, but Candice dragged herself to the rope to break.
Io sold frustration, then went out and got a chair at the twelve minute mark. She put it up and referee Jessika Carr took it (to boos…sigh) and Candice rolled up Io for two. Candice ended up attempting a quebrada as Io was on the chair, but Io moved and LeRae ate chair, and then ate the pin.
WINNER: Io Shirai at 12:53.
-After the match, Shirai sucker-kicked Candice and then threw feet. She picked up the chair, but Rhea Ripley charged the ring and took the chair. Io ran off.
-Tonight, Matt Riddle and Keith Lee face Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly in the main event.
(Wells’s Analysis: It wasn’t to the level of their TakeOver match – nor should it be – but that was another spirited outing for these two. As said before, it’s going to be hard to keep Io a heel when she’s this cool, but when the inevitable face turn happens, she can be the hottest face on the NXT roster)
-Finn Balor vignette. “It felt good coming back. It felt even better kicking Johnny Gargano in the head.” Media appearances of the week were showing. He said WWE is like Hollywood and everyone hides, and NXT is Broadway and there’s nowhere to hide.
-A recap of Damian Priest’s cheap victory over Pete Dunne played. Next week, they’ll go at it again.
-Finn Balor’s music played to bring him to the ring with a cocky grin. He’s pretty well in Prince Devitt mode. He took the stick. He said it’s funny how things work out. Two months ago he’s “laying down for the hottest thing in the business because he got a new mask.” Now he took off his mask and he’s the hottest thing in the business. Everyone’s got their opinions. Fans, management, boys in the back, Twitter tough guys. The problem is there’s too many fans in the locker room when they should be with the fans. “I don’t watch this business – this business watches me!” He then gets to Johnny Gargano (boos). He said he knows Johnny went to the hospital, and if he has it his way, he’ll put him there again. He won’t be “Johnny Wrestling – he’ll be Johnny Watches Wrestling. The way it’s supposed to be.”
(Wells’s Analysis: That’s the best Finn segment in a very long time. It’s great to see him be a priority. I always groan at lines about “Laying down for someone” or any time the fourth wall is broken – I also didn’t like Chris Jericho’s comments about “We the People” and “creative” either, but certain fans eat up that meta stuff.)
-Quick Kabuki Warriors vignette.
-Tyler Bate vignette after the commercial. Nothing special – just a career retrospective for new fans on USA.
(2) BRONSON REED vs. SHANE THORNE
Should be interesting as I don’t know which is the bigger priority.
Thorne hits a dropkick, then a cannonball in the corner right at the bell. He then runs straight into a huge lariat and Reed hits a big lariat of his own. “Bronson” chant. Chops traded. Reed no-sold the chops as Thorne is slightly rocked. The threw at least 15 chops each and were good and red after. Reed threw a discus forearm to take Thorne down, but walked into a thrustkick. Side suplex by Thorne for two. Kicks to the chest and back by Thorne to a grounded Reed. Reed got jacked up, blocked a kick, and took down Thorne with one punch. Release German. Huge Gory driver by Reed for a believable near-fall. Reed went up top but Thorne hit an enzuigiri. Thorne went up to join Reed and chopped his temple. Thorne went for a huracanrana but got thrown to the floor. Reed hit the deadly frog splash for the win.
WINNER: Bronson Reed at 4:22.
(Wells’s Analysis: Good call. Reed is too good, and too popular, to be an eater of pins for much longer. His stock has risen a lot over the last couple of weeks and the sky’s the limit. Thorne continues to thrive to do well in a gatekeeper role)
-Cathy Kelley caught up with Dakota Kai and Tegan Nox. Nox can’t think of a better way to win them than with her best friend. Crowd went “awwwwwww.”
-Back after commercial there was a quick Mia Yim vignette. Under 30 seconds, just like most tonight.
(3) DAKOTA KAI and TEGAN NOX vs. THE KABUKI WARRIORS (c) – Women’s Tag Team Championship Match
Challengers out first to a good reaction. Big pop for Sane and Asuka as well, obviously, in their old stomping grounds. I don’t watch Raw or SmackDown so I don’t know if their getups are new, but they look cool. The theme music mashup doesn’t really work, though. “Welcome Back” chant.
Formal introductions. The announcer and ref were in darkness so it was just the four in the pin spots. I like the look.
Asuka and Nox to start. “Asuka’s gonna kill you” chant. Collar and elbow. Headlock by Asuka. Rope run, and Asuka hit Nox with a kick to the solarplexus. Tag to Sane, who heated up her hand and hit a hard right chop. Then she licked her hand and did it again. “Hit me!” she yelled and Nox returned fire and they exchanged chops. This is a VERY Stardom match so far. Dropkick by Nox and Sane bailed. All got involved on the outside heading into commercial, with no split screen.
Back to action, Asuka and Nox were in again, but Kai was tagged in for apparently the first time. Tandem offense in the corner; Nox with a cannonball before exiting. Two count. Armdrags by Kai.
Dragon screw leg whip over the second rope by Asuka, and then a hip attack by Asuka sent Kai to the floor. Ranallo and Phoenix invoked Kai’s previous leg issues. Asuka went out to meet Kai and rolled her inside. Asuka stomped Kai and then threw kicks to the underarm as Kai covered her face. Asuka wrenched a leg and she and Kai threw kicks at each other’s faces. Kai couldn’t reach the rope so she charged her own corner instead, but Asuka cut it off with a kick and took her to a neutral corner. Tag to Sane, who worked Kai in the corner. Sane marched to the Nox corner and hit a sliding dropkick and then sat on Kai for a two cover. Sane horsecollared Kai’s knee over the back of her neck and then did a sort of Sharpshooter with her arms. Sane dragged Kai to her corner and tagged Asuka. Kai crawled toward her corner but couldn’t make headway.
Asuka with a chinlock. Kai rolled up Asuka for a near-fall and then reached for a tag but Asuka just barely cut it off, and dragged her to the corner for yet another tag. Sane begged for harder shots from Kai, who obliged. Snap mare by Sane after some trading of shots. Headscissors, and Kai bridged into a two-count to break. The Kabukis tagged again and Asuka threw cocky boots at the grounded Kai, then stomped her a bit. Snap mare by Asuka. Back kick. Another. Two count. Asuka grabbed the hair and raked the back of Kai. Knees to the temple. Asuka worked the legs in another submission move and the match went to another commercial at over fifteen minutes in.
Back from commercial (no split screen either time), it was still a heat sequence on Kai. Asuka was working the other knee. She worked the leg in a sort of crab and made the tag to Sane. Lungblower by Asuka. Neckbreaker by Sane. Two count. Kai didn’t know where she was and went to the wrong corner. She threw fists, then was able to dump Sane to the outside, but Sane got in her way. Kai threw a kick to take down Sane, who went for her own tag. Sane reached Asuka and finally Kai made the hot tag and the Kabuki Warriors fed Nox. Nox hit elbows in the corner on each and a step-up enzuigiri on Asuka. High cross-body for two. Nox went for the Shiniest Wizard but Asuka baited her in for a kneebar. Nox got to her feet and reversed into a cross-armbreaker, broken up by Sane, who walked into a superkick by Kai. Asuka hit Kai with a German and then got superkicked by Nox. All four sold on the mat.
Kai tagged in and threw fists on Asuka, then a hard knee to Asuka’s chest. Face wash in the corner. Fireman’s Carry, but Sane distracted the ref and Asuka used the green mist. Insane Elbow finished, as Sane covered Kai’s face so the ref couldn’t see. Sane mockingly stroked Kai’s face after the pin.
WINNERS: Kabuki Warriors at 24:06.
(Wells’s Analysis: Wow, this got a great amount of time. It wasn’t a nonstop spotfest – instead it was a refreshing, excellent old school tag match with the heels controlling and cutting off the ring. Kairi Sane’s heel schtick is FIRE.)
-After the match, as Nox tended to Kai in the ring, all three Horsewomen skulked to the ring. The numbers took over and Nox couldn’t fight them all off. Baszler kicked Kai from the ring so she and her cronies could work on Nox. They set her up for the broken arm spot and Rhea Ripley’s music played (again) to send the cronies running, but as Shayna awaited, Rhea was jumped by Io Shirai. Bianca Belair joined in and attacked Rhea, but Candice LeRae got involved as well. When it was all said and done, Rhea and Shayna were the only two standing, and they faced off in the ring. Rhea took Shayna down but soon enough it was a big schmoz with everyone again. William Regal got on the stick as the crowd got ahead of him. “I’ve got a very simple solution for this…WarGames!”
(Wells’s Analysis: Okay, it’s Rhea-LeRae-Kai-Nox vs. Shayna-Shirai-Bianca-??, or maybe Duke and Shafir are in there, and it’s five on five, and Mia Yim joins the fray? Anyway, I’ve been predicting this for a good while now, mostly with this personnel, and I can’t wait to see it come to fruition.)
(4) TYLER BATE vs. CAMERON GRIMES
Wristlock by Bate. A few quick takedowns and reversals before a reset. Grimes used Bate’s hair to take him down in an armbar. He wrenched the arm and Bate rolled through and reversed to his own Fujiwara Armbar. To the corner, armdrag by Bate, who worked the wrist until Grimes grabbed the face to escape, but Bate hit another armdrag. Grimes yelped in pain and the audience mocked him after every yelp. Grimes hit a headscissors, escaped, and hit a dropkick after some rope running. Airplane spin, standing dropkick by Bate to throw Grimes from the ring, but Grimes recovered and drove Bate into the mat for two. Commercial – no split screen.
Back after commercial, Grimes hit a German after flipping backward over Bate and held on for two. The timing and athleticism necessary are wild. Running knees to the back of the head by Grimes. Cover for two. Grimes leaned on Bate with his knee and manipulated the joints. Bate got to his feet but an armbar took him back down. Bate drove Grimes to the corner, then kicked up at Grimes’s face to get back in it. Kneelift, then a diving European uppercut by Bate. More uppercuts. Irish Whip and another European uppercut. Exploder. Bate kipped up and then hit a running shooting star press for two. Grimes bailed.
Back in, Grimes picked up Bate in the electric chair but Bate whipped around in air and hit a huracanrana into a pin attempt for two. Sick. Bate went for the Tyler Driver but Grimes powered out and hit a forearm. Forearm by Bate. Grimes reversed a slam for two. Grimes sold frustration. Okana roll by Bate got two. Huge rebound lariat for two. Grimes looked to bail again but Bate grabbed his legs. Bate attempted a deadlift German, but Grimes elbowed out. Grimes bailed and then walked into an overhead kick, and then a tope. Killian Dain appeared and distracted Bate for a second, and Bate ran into the ring and got hit with Grimes’s finisher.
WINNER: Cameron Grimes at 13:08
-After Grimes ran off, Dain hit a senton on Bate. Bate rolled out and Dain hit him with a cannonball on the stairs. He told Bate to tell his friend Pete Dunne he wasn’t finished with him.
(Wells’s Analysis: Good stuff all around. The match was exceptional, with some reversals that absolutely have to be seen. Grimes continued gaining momentum while Bate loses little or nothing in this cheap defeat, all to set up a match between Killian Dain and Pete Dunne. Very efficient use of talent)
-Backstage, Keith Lee, Matt Riddle and Undisputed Era got ready for their match. In separate locations, of course.
-Angel Garza vignette. It was kind of babyface, so they may be leaning that way.
-Breaking News: Shayna Baszler and Rhea Ripley named team captains at WarGames.
(5) KEITH LEE and MATT RIDDLE vs. BOBBY FISH & KYLE O’REILLY
Non-title. Lee is out first, then Riddle. Fish & O’Reilly enter without Cole and Strong. Bell is at eight to the hour.
Schmoz to start. Riddle got dumped and UE teamed up on Lee, who then leaped over both as they charged and hit a double cross-body to a big pop (Riddle on the outside got into the excitement). Lee and Fish are legal. Fish and O’Reilly tried to yank down the ropes to dump Lee but he stopped and they looked up at him stupidly. Great bit. Lee dumped them and they ran away – into Riddle. Lee and Fish went back in. Tag to Riddle, who took turns with Lee to chop Fish, then a charging O’Reilly. Spear on O’Reilly. Jackhammer by Riddle on Fish for two. Great first two minutes leading to commercial. We get split-screen, and I’d have to look, but I think it was only the first and last match that got it last week, too.
Back to action, Fish had control of Riddle. Tag to O’Reilly, who threw knees and fists. Running boot. Fish tagged back in and threw fists in the corner as well. Tag for O’Reilly. Tandem suplex for two. Fish with a suplex for two. Body scissors into a chinlock/sleeper. Riddle stood up with Fish on his back but Fish took a knee to Riddle’s back. Riddle fought back with strikes, then hit a sleeper, but Fish backed him to a neutral corner and tagged. Miscommunication led to O’Reilly superkicking Fish, but O’Reilly still cut off the tag to Riddle. Riddle fought back with heel strikes, then a dropkick, and almost reached Lee but Fish kicked him off the apron.
Riddle ran into a flying boot from O’Reilly, who then tagged Fish. Riddle with knees for both guys, then both at once, but they hit him with a tandem brainbuster and covered – Lee made the save. O’Reilly leaned back in a guillotine, and Riddle got to his feet again. Fish attempted to punch Lee in the corner, no-sold, and Riddle made the hot tag. Beth got jacked (she’s making a point to be much more present this week, and it’s refreshing to have another voice in there). Lee laid waste to both guys and hit a back bodydrop on both at once. Mauro said it was like a handicap match except the Undisputed Era was handicapped. Lee with a pop-up slam on Fish. Lee went up, and had to fight off O’Reilly just long enough for Fish to avoid disaster. Fish with a Samoan drop and the tag for a two count. O’Reilly with a cross armbreaker, but Lee lifted him up with the one arm for a powerbomb. Both guys tagged and Riddle threw kicks on both UE guys. Exploder for Fish. Running fist for Kyle. Exploder for Kyle. Bro-tons for both. PK for Kyle. Delayed German on Fish.
Cole and Strong got into it, and distracted Riddle, but he still took control. All four UE guys were outside and Riddle hit an Asai moonsault on all of them. Fish back in. Knee for Fish. Outside, Lee hit Cole with a Pounce, but inside, O’Reilly hit Riddle’s blind side and the two hit High-Low to finish.
WINNERS: Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly at 14:19.
-Big beatdown after. Tommaso Ciampa’s music started to bring him out to destroy UE with his camouflage crutch. He tossed O’Reilly to Riddle for Final Flash. Lee picked up Kyle and walked him to the ropes, where he tossed him at the rest of the UE. “NXT” chant as the three babyfaces stood in the ring and Ciampa grabbed the stick, and then Cole’s belt. “Goldie” chant.
“Goldie…you’re gonna have to wait. Daddy’s goin’ to war.”
(Wells’s Analysis: There it is…there will be no championship matches at WarGames, barring changes, given that all champions are in the two WarGames matches. The match was, of course, a good one, and though the faces got all their signatures in, the champs cheated to win as I’d hope, even in a non-title affair. This one stood at three-on-four at the end, and Dominik Dijakovic is likely the fourth man that’ll be joining the squad, given that Johnny Gargano vs. Finn Balor can safely be penciled in for WarGames as well)
FINAL THOUGHTS: With just five matches, most of them getting a good amount of time, this one felt a lot like the opening show on USA, and a bit of a TakeOver-lite. The opening segment with Poppy was a ton of fun, all matches on the night delivered, and we set up two WarGames matches and likely have Balor-Gargano on that show as well (and maybe Dunne-Dain, now that I think about it). There are still a few weeks left to go, so we’ll see what we get between now and then.
Tomorrow after Crown Jewel, I’ll be joining Wade Keller on a live post-show and we’ll take calls on that event, but also the state of the wrestling landscape today. Check out the PWT Talks NXT podcast when it drops tomorrow/late tonight as well. Follow me all over social media @spookymilk. Cheers!