KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
(Search "wade keller" to subscribe in podcast app)
LINDBERG’S NXT TV REPORT
NOVEMBER 27, 2019
LIVE IN ORLANDO, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY NATE LINDBERG, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Beth Phoenix, Nigel McGuinness, Tom Phillips
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Mauro Ranallo is unfortunately not on the announce team tonight. Rather than speculating and pointing fingers, I will just say this: Mauro, I wish you nothing but the best and a speedy return to your NXT announce booth.)
NXT kicked off with a video package recapping TakeOver: WarGames.
-Josiah Williams kicked off the show proper while standing on the stage to hype the crowd and chant “We Are NXT!” before the entirety of the NXT Roster emptied from the backstage area and into the arena to celebrate their Survivor Series Victory. The entirety of the roster, that is, except for Undisputed Era. They crashed the party when their music hit and they appeared on stage. He cut a promo saying that the only reason that NXT was successful this past weekend because of UE. A loud “You suck!” chant broke out while Cole continued to verbally undress the crowd and the four men standing in the ring, Riddle, Keith Lee, Ciampa and Dijakovic. He said that they will defend all of their titles tonight because they are the best. Ciampa interrupted Cole, “For four boys who had their asses whooped at WarGames, you sure do seem confident!” He said WarGames was the beginning of the end for UE and that their collapse will continue when DIjakovic and Lee take the Tag titles from Fish and O’Reilly. He said that Roddy’s days are numbered and then turned his attention to Cole, cutting a promo on how Goldie may have had to wait until daddy was back from war, but war’s over.
-Balor’s music hit, and he sauntered onto the stage. He stood on the ramp between the Ciampa in the ring, and UE on the stage and said he was standing in Ciampa’s way. Ciampa challenged Balor to a match saying “Prince, you have met your king.” A Yes! Chant broke out throughout the arena, followed by “Ciampa’s Gonna Kill You!”. Lee chimed in, stating that he knows Ciampa will defeat Balor, but called out the Tag Champs to get their Tag Team match underway right then and there!
(Lindberg’s Analysis: This was a bit of a retread of the opening to RAW with the locker rooms emptying to ringside. But, this was much more of a party atmosphere than the sack of sad sally’s at Raw’s opening. Josiah Williams pumped the crowd right up. It’s shaping up to be a great card so far!)
(1) UNDISPUTED ERA (BOBBY FISH & KYLE O’REILLY) vs. KEITH LEE & DOMINICK DIJAKOVIC – NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
–As the bell rang, both members of UE rushed Lee and Dijakovic to get the upperhand. Dijakovic was thrown outside of the ring as Fish and O’Reilly double teamed Lee. Lee managed to reverse a bit of tag team offense before dumping O’Reilly outside of the ring first, followed by a Gorilla Press Slam to Fish to the outside, taking out O’Reilly in the process.
-The show cut to commercial with the match on split screen. Lee and O’Reilly, the legal men, performed a test of strength during the commercial break, with Lee getting out powering O’Reilly at every turn. Dijakovic tagged in, and continued the tests of strength against O’Reilly.
-When we came back from the break, it was deemed that Bobby Fish could no longer compete after taking that Press Slam to the outside. It looked like a knee injury or something to that effect. Roderick Strong was shoehorned in, last minute, to defend the tag titles.
Roddy tagged in and helped O’Reilly take down Lee and quickly tagged O’Reilly back in. Lee overpowered O’Reilly and kept him far away from his partner, Roddy. Roddy entered the ring anyway taking advantage of the ref’s five count and double-teamed Lee. Dijakovic stormed the ring and took O’Reilly out, seemingly in disgust, as Lee was getting attacked. Lee and Dijakovic stared at each other, looking like the partners could come to blows before turning and taking out both members of UE. Dijakovic then delivered a beautiful suplex to his own partner, Lee, who then landed on top of both Roddy and O’Reilly. Dijakovic tags in, but quickly gets overpowered by Strong who began brutally stomping his knees. Roddy went to work on the knee, which Beth called a modified ankle lock. Dijakovic fought back but was sitting prone and was caught with a low dropkick to his face as we went into our second commercial of the match.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: I don’t believe that the injury to Fish was worked, he legitimately looked like he was in pain as the medical staff attended to him ringside. It looked like his head may have hit the mats surrounding the ring but was hard to tell from the replay angle. Hopefully it’s nothing major. I like that they are keeping the Dijakovic and Lee rivalry alive a bit by making it seem like they aren’t quite on the same page.)
-As we came back from commercial break, O’Reilly was in the ring continuing to work Dijakovic’s knee. Dijakovic eventually fought free and Lee got the hot tag. He irish whipped both members of UE to opposite turnbuckles and gave each of them two running splashes before attempting to powerbomb one onto the other. UE was able to escape and roll outside. The crowd erupted for Keith Lee as he went for the suicide dive, but UE ran out of the way before Lee was airborne. Lee left the ring and the three men fought outside for a bit before rolling Lee back into the ring. O’Reilly went for a “flying nothing” and was met with a headbutt from Lee. Lee tagged in Dijakovic who brought some brutal strikes to Roddy before flattening him with a Lariat that JBL could be proud of.
-Roddy was able to tag O’Reilly in, who was immediately met with a chokeslam attempt from Dijakovic. O’Reilly locked in a triangle hold on Dijak’s arm. Roddy came in for the save, but Dijakovic used his other hand to catch Roddy in a chokeslam, while simultaneously powerbombing O’Reilly for a two count. Strong and O’Reilly rolled out of the ring to catch their breath and were met with a double clothesline from Lee. As they got to their feet, Dijakovic nailed them with a tope con hilo, taking them out. Dijakovic double chokeslammed both members of UE when they made it back into the ring. Cole ran out from the back. Lee ran to Cole and hip-checked him into the crowd! Well… a bunch of plants in the crowd. That distraction was enough for Dijakovic to get hit by a “High Low” from Roddy and O’Reilly, to which Roddy covered for the win.
WINNERS: RODERICK STRONG & KYLE O’REILLY
-The camera cut to the announce team who recapped Dakota Kai’s heel turn at WarGames. They said that Regal fined Kai for attacking Teagan Nox at TakeOver and read a Twitter statement from Nox.
-Cathy Kelly interviewed Candice LaRae about her teams wins at TakeOver and Survivor Series. When Cathy mentioned Kai, LaRae cut a promo on Kai saying that Nox was like her own flesh and blood. She said that Kai will pay because she’s not dealing with just a friend of Nox. She’s dealing with her “Big Sister” as we cut to commercial.
-Back from the break, a recap of Lio Rush vs Angel Garza from two weeks ago when Garza did his “pants spot” in front of Rush’s family. Then they cut to TakeOver when Rush attacked Garza backstage.
(2) SHANE THORNE vs. MANSOOR
–Beth Phoenix called Shane Thorne a “scruffy nerfherder” during his entrance.
-Mansoor entered to a polite pop from the Full Sail crowd. A recap of Mansoor’s victory at Blood Money.. err.. Crown Jewel earlier this year was played during most of his entrance.
-Thorne and Mansoor traded offense to start the match, before Thorne backed Mansoor into the corner. They traded some hearty chops before Mansoor landed a dropkick to Thorne, knocking him to the outside. Mansoor went for a suicide dive, but was caught by Thorne who used Mansoor’s momentum to deliver a side suplex to the floor. Thorne threw Mansoor back into the ring and attempted to cover, but only managed a two count. Thorne kept working Mansoor and attempted to lock in what looked like a camel clutch. Mansoor was able to free an arm and fight back to escape. Mansoor returned the offense and landed a beautiful enziguri to Thorne, knocking Thorne to the outside. He followed it up with a suicide dive that actualy connected this time. He threw Thorne into the ring and landed a lovely neckbreaker for the victory.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: This was clearly a showcase match for Mansoor. If they want to build him as a star in Saudi Arabia, it does make business sense to build him up in the United States. That said, the match itself was so-so and seemed like a “performance center” matchup. Very cookie cutter. At least it was wrestled very cleanly. Its tough to say if Mansoor will become a star over here in the States. This is the first time we have seen him on NXT TV since Crown Jewel. This may not even be a push at all, it may just be a “Hey, remember this guy?!”)
(3) CANDICE LaRAE vs. DAKOTA KAI
-LaRae made her way to the ring as the announce team speculated if she was 100% after this brutal weekend at TakeOver and Survivor series.
-Kai made her way to the ring with a new, more sinister look, new entrance music and Teagan Nox’s knee brace in hand.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Kelly picked a bad night to miss NXT.)
-As the bell rang, Kai went for the first move but was immediately thwarted by a fired-up LaRae. Kai rolled outside the ring and LaRae followed with a suicide dive. LaRae threw her back into the ring, nailed a senton to the back of Kai and covered for two. LaRae continued to take it to Kai with a front facelock but was backed into the corner by Kai. Kai ran for what looked to be a running splash to LaRae, who flung Kai to the outside. Kai landed on her feet and tripped LaRae. With LaRae on the mat, Kai stayed outside and delivered a big boot to LaRae’s face. Kai set LaRae back up on the mat, underneath the bottom rope and delivered yet another big boot to the face of Mrs. Wrestling as we moved to commercial break.
-Back from the break, Kai and LaRae are were trading blows in the corner of the ring. LaRae got the upper hand for a little bit, but was eventually met with a powerbomb from Kai for a two count off of a hurricanrana reversal. Kai tried throwing LaRae out of the ring, but she managed to land on the apron. Kai followed her to the apron and delivered a german suplex to Kai… on the apron! Kai looked like she took a header to the mat outside the ring, but the ref allowed the match to continue.
-The two competitors rolled back into the ring at the ref’s 8-count. LaRae fired off some incredible offense, including a tornado DDT from the top rope for a near fall. Kai made it back to her feet and delivered a headbutt to LaRae followed by a big boot in the corner. Kai went for another boot, but was met by a brutal knee to the neck, taking Kai down. The two women caught their breath for a bit before LaRae climbed to the top. Kai followed, and the two traded blows. LaRae rolled over Kai and attempted to powerbomb her, but Kai countered. LaRae eventually managed to land the powerbomb for a two count. LaRae picked Kai up and was countered into a powerbomb from Kai for another near fall. LaRae managed to make it back to her feet and landed her husband’s finish, the Gargano Escape, on Kai, locking it in tight. Kai almost made it to the rope, but LaRae pulled her away. Kai managed to escape and rolled to the outside to grab the knee brace she stole from Nox. She clocked LaRae over the head with it and was disqualified.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: What a match! Kai seemed to take to her heel turn much better than Bayley, that’s for sure. For the past few weeks we’ve seen a determined yet overlooked Kai. She showed the entire locker room tonight that she is not somebody to be overlooked ever again.)
WINNER: CANDICE LARAE BY DISQUALIFICATION
-Kai continued to brutally attack LaRae after the decision. The Ref managed to wrestle the knee brace away from Kai who then grabbed a nearby chair. She went to attack LaRae with it, when Ripley came out of nowhere and ran Kai off.
-Cathy Kelly and Ciampa were shown backstage. Ciampa said he issued the challenge to Balor because he wanted it. He knows what Balor’s NXT history is, but Ciampa is NXT. He said that Balor stepping in the ring with him is “Balor’s biggest mistake” as we cut to commercial.
-We came back from break to a video package for Cameron Grimes, framing him as a southern boy who likes to fight. “I might not be a baybay or a bro. But I’ve been doing this my entire life, man!”
-The announce team then cut to a video package showcasing Rhea Ripley and her impact in both WarGames and Survivor Series this past weekend.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Rhea Ripley is clearly being positioned as one of the top women in the company, and I could not be happier.)
(4) AKIRA TOZAWA vs. LIO RUSH FOR THE NXT CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
–Both men made their ways to the ring as the announce team talked about their matches over this past weekend.
-A loud “Lio!” chant broke out as Drake Muertz signaled for the bell. Both men squared off in fighting stances before attempting a test of strength. Lio went for a single leg take down but was thwarted by Tozawa who threw him off the ropes and shoulder blocked him. The two men went back and forth in a sequence full of strikes, kicks and headscissors takedowns. Rush made it to the top rope and was met with chops by Tozawa. Lio wouldn’t budge from the top so Tozawa slapped him, hard, in the face. Lio fell off the top rope and tried to roll to the outside. Tozawa caught him on the apron and they traded blows. Rush looked for a powerbomb off the apron to the floor but Tozawa countered with a kick to the face and a senton to Rush who was leaning on the apron. We cut to commercial as Tozawa leered at Rush, writhing in pain on the floor.
-We returned from the break, and Rush had a shoulderlock locked in on Tozawa who fought and escaped. Tozawa whipped Rush off the ropes and caught him in a fireman’s carry. Rush tried escaping but was slammed to the mat. Rush rolled out of the ring and Tozawa caught him with a running senton off the apron. The two men got back to their feet and int the ring. Tozawa went up top and landed a missile dropkick and covered. Rush got his hand on the lower rope to break the pin. Tozawa picked Rush up, who then fired rapid strikes and kicks at Rush. The two threw strikes at each other, dodging each others blows, until they each had the same idea: kick opponent in face. They each went down.
-Tozawa continued his offense on Rush until the action spilled back to the apron. Tozawa grabbed Rush around the waist and propelled him towards the entrance ramp with a devastating german suplex. Both men made it back into the ring at the ref’s 9 count. Tozawa made his way to his feet first but was rolled up by Rush for two. Rush for a Come Up, but came up (heh) short. He picked Tozawa up and fired off strikes and kicks once again. Rush went for the Come Up once again, countered into a German by Tozawa for a two count. Tozawa, not satisfied with that two count, went to the top and lept into the air for a massive senton but was countered by Rush. Rush made it to the top and landed two consecutive “Final Hour’s” to put Tozawa away for the two count.
WINNER: LIO RUSH
(Lindberg’s Analysis: Going into the match, I knew we were in for a treat. Rush has continued to impress during this NXT run and Tozawa is an underrated talent. This was a fast-paced match that really allowed both men’s talents to shine.)
-Cathy Kelly and Finn Balor were backstage. Balor said that Ciampa is living in Balor’s world. He put Gargano in the hospital, he put Riddle away, and tonight it’s Ciampa’s turn.
-Back from the break, a recap of Cole vs. Dunne at Survivor Series.
(5) XIA LI VS. VANESSA BORNE
–Nigel McGuinness was very excited to see Vanessa make her way to the ring. During Borne’s entrance, they showed Aliyah’s broken nose from her match with Li a couple weeks ago, prompting Borne to challenge for this match.
-As the bell rang, Borne came at Li with intense strikes to back Li into the corner. Borne went for a spear into the corner on Li, but Li dodged sending Borne shoulder first into the post. Li then powerbombed Borne and stood over her as Shayna and the Horsewomen were shown entering the ring. Li, not to be distracted, quickly dropkicked and covered Borne for the win.
WINNER: XIA LI
-After the win, Shayna and the Horsewomen charged the ring. Duke and Shaffir were taken out by Li, but Li was ultimately taken out by Bazsler. She directed her cronies to hold Li in place as she delivered a brutal running kick to the Li’s midsection. Shayna grabbed a mic and cut a promo saying that nobody had a weekend like she did. “I beat Smackdown’s Women’s champion, Bayley. I beat RAW’s Women’s champion, Becky… and I did it at the same time!” A loud Rhea Ripley chant broke out as Shayna continued to tell the crowd about her achievements when Ripley’s music hit and garnered a massive pop from the crowd.
Ripley confronted the three Horsewomen in the ring, who ducked out of the ring and walked up the stage. Ripley grabbed a mic, “Hey! Where do you think you’re going? I came out here to tell you something face to face!” Shayna marched back down to the ring. Rhea stood nose to nose and said “Shayna, I just wanted to say congratulations for beating Bayley and Becky. But when you went face to face with me… I beat you!” A loud chant broke out for Rhea. “And you know what? I’ll do it again, but next time it’ll be for the NXT Women’s Championship”. “Rhea’s Gonna Kill You!” broke out throught the arena. Shayna retorted “You may be the nightmare, but I’m the reality. And the reality is, you’ll either be tappin’ or nappin’ like the rest of them. Ripley challenged her for a title match on the spot. Shayna walked out of the ring and up the stage.
(Lindberg’s Analysis: We don’t know when we’ll see Rhea and Shayna face off. But when we do, it’s going to be a money match. Rhea is getting herself over as a massive star and, as far as I’m concerned, is the first opponent for Shayna to look this credible in quite some time.
-Coming back from the break, we were shown a video package of Dunne vs Dain vs Priest where he apparently broke some ribs. Broken ribs and all, he’ll be in action next week.
(6) TOMMASSO CIAMPA vs. FINN BALOR
–Both men made their way to the ring as the announcers talked about their respective victories this past weekend.
-The bell rang and the two locked up in the corner, trying to jockey for position. They traded slaps to the face and Balor used a headlock to take Ciampa down. Ciampa made it to his feet and ran the ropes into a shoulder tackle, but was reversed into another headlock takedown from Balor. Ciampa fought back and got the upper hand. He suplexed Balor for a two count. Balor kicked out and the two traded offense before Ciampa went for a sunset flip which was reversed by Balor into a dropkick to his face. Balor threw Ciampa outside and climbed to the apron. He went to kick Balor in the face, but Balor caught his leg and tripped him. Ciampa rebounded and ran Balor, face first, into the ring post as we went to a split screen commercial break.
-During the break, Balor sold on the outside for a bit while Ciampa stood in the ring. Ciampa went outside and clotheslined Balor before throwing him back in the ring. Ciampa was stepping through the ropes and Balor kicked the middle rope, sending it right into Ciampa’s nether regions to obtain the upper hand. The rest of the commercial break was spent with the two trading working holds
-Back from the break, the two were trading clotheslines off the ropes. Ciampa delivered a few knee strikes to the head and covered, but couldn’t put Balor down. Ciampa fired a few chops to Balor in the corner, massive brutal chops. He then stomped Balor’s knee bringing Balor down to a sitting position in the corner. Ciampa lowered his knee pad and went to begin running, but Balor quickly stood up and delivered a Slingblade. Ciampa was clotheslined over the top and Balor pursued and delivered a dropkick to the barricade (sending the barricade into an unsuspecting fan on their cell phone).
-Balor fought back and tried going for a 1916 to the ramp, but Ciampa reversed into an Air Raid Crash to the floor mat. Ciampa made it back into the ring by the ref’s 5 count, Balor by 9. Ciampa met Balor with a kick to the face into an absolutely brutal looking Project Ciampa for a near fall. Ciampa went for another but was blocked by Balor and taken down. Balor delivered a double stomp to the chest and then went up looking for the Coup de Gras. Ciampa made it to the top before Balor could get airborne and delivered another Air Raid Crash, this time from the top rope. He covered and Balor kicked at two.
-Ciampa fired up, “THIS IS FOR JOHNNY BOY!” and went to try and put Balor away when Cole ran down and made the distraction. Balor rolled Ciampa up for a near fall. Cole’s title belt was laying on the mat and Balor went to use it as a weapon. The ref tried snatching it away and played tug-of-war (circa 2015 Brock and Roman) with the title belt before Ciampa rolled Balor up for two. Balor pulled off a slingblade which caused Ciampa to come crashing down, unintentionally (kayfabe) on the NXT Title belt. He covered Ciampa, who kicked out. With Balor distracting the ref, Cole clocked Ciampa. Balor was able to land the 1916 and cover for the win.
WINNER: FINN BALOR
-After the match, Cole joined Balor in the ring with Ciampa laid out on the mat. The two stood over Ciampa as Balor gave Ciampa finger guns. It looked like Balor was joining UE until he Pele kicked Cole and ducked out of the ring to close the show.
(Lindberg’s analysis: This love-triangle for the NXT Title is a bit intriguing, though I think I would prefer a singles feud after the plethora of multi-man matches we’ve had between TakeOver and Survivor Series. Regardless, this is what we are getting. It may not be what I’d prefer, but it’s certainly entertaining. Each week we’re left wondering what Balor’s motives are and I know that I, for one, am anxious to find out. Where Ciampa lost, the story would seemingly dictate that Ciampa is out of the title scene. But, we can’t expect that Ciampa will leave “Goldie” be. My guess is that this will lead to some sort of three way feud for the NXT title, perhaps at the Royal Rumble or Worlds Collide. But, only time will tell where this angle leads.)
Need more to satiate your NXT appetite? Be sure to tune into the PWTorch Dailycast’s PWT Talks NXT, recorded immediately following tonight’s NXT Broadcast. I may not be in the co-host’s seat for this episode, but the boys have something special lined up.