PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
(Search "wade keller" to subscribe in podcast app or CLICK HERE to subscribe in Apple Podcasts.)
WELLS’S NXT TV REPORT
NOVEMBER 20, 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
-Mauro Ranallo returns tonight after being absent from Survivor Series as well as the NXT show following. Given that WWE fabricated a lame cover story before the truth inevitably came out, it’ll be interesting to see how frank Ranallo is about the situation, or if it’s simply scrubbed over with a “nice to be back.” Additionally, there’s a power outage in parts of Orlando right now, so this show may be powered by a generator. On tonight’s PWT Talks NXT podcast, Tom Stoup will let us know how that went down.
-Recap of last week’s celebration and major happenings, closing with Finn Balor’s Pele kick on Adam Cole and the finger guns from the ramp. Mauro Ranallo teed up the show from the platform. No mention made of his absence at all.
-Killian Dain stormed the ring and demanded an opponent, since Damian Priest had injured ribs and couldn’t compete as scheduled. Pete Dunne obliged.
(1) PETE DUNNE vs. KILLIAN DAIN
Punches were thrown. Dain bailed. Back in and Dunne hit a triangle, escaped by Dain. Dain missed a senton. Dunne kicked Dain’s arm out from below him, then twisted up his arm and manipulated joints. Dain escaped and both ran the ropes. Dunne was dumped, and Dain went for a dive but ran into a waiting boot. Back inside, Dain hit a cross-body. Senton by Dain. “Shave your back” chant. Dain draped Dunne over the second rope and kicked up on the rope. Dain hit a chinlock but Dunne powered out. Dunne went up but ran into a slam for two.
Dain transitioned into an armbar on the mat. Dunne powered to his feet but walked into an elbow and went down again. Cover for two. Chinlock and elbows from Dain. Back to their feet, Dunne escaped trouble and hit a thrustkick. Dropkick from the second rope. Dunne hit a forearm to the back of Dain’s head, then hit a German for two. Dain bailed. Dunne went to the top, but Dain caught him. Dunne stomped Dain’s hands on the apron. Dunne missed a moonsault, and Dain hit a tope to lead into a split-screen commercial just shy of seven minutes into the match. The usual slower-paced heel heat sequence commenced throughout the break.
Back to action at the moment Pete Dunne got back in it by hitting a superplex. “Bruiserweight” chant. Dain walked into a kick, and Dunne hit a DDT. Stomp to the fingers, kick to the head, two count. Dain bailed again and made sure to walk around the corner to the ramp for the spot. Moonsault by Dunne to the outside, and it hit beautifully. Dunne looked to capitalize but Dain caught him and drove him into the apron. Cannonball to the stairs spot, called “The Belfast Blitz” by Mauro. Back to the ring where both guys sold a little. Dain with an avalanche in the corner. Vaderbomb, but Dunne caught Dain in a triangle and elbowed his head. Dain tried to roll him up, and then hit a powerbomb instead to break the hold. Another Vaderbomb attempt, but Dunne blocked and went up with Dain. Dunne mounted Dain with their backs to the ring, and Dain threw himself back and landed splayed out atop Dunne for the win. Beth framed it as Dain not even realizing what happened. Nigel said if he was Damian Priest, he’d take as long as possible to recover from those injured ribs.
WINNER: Killian Dain at 14:46.
(Wells’s Analysis: The story here was still the Dain-Priest match that was lost due to injury, so Dunne stepped in as a natural replacement to keep it going. The match didn’t kick up to a high gear, as these NXT openers typically do, but it was fine. We’ll have to wait to see how the dynamic looks in a Dain-Priest match)
-Cathy Kelley caught up with Dakota Kai. Kai said Tegan Nox isn’t worth her time. She said Rhea Ripley wants to play the almighty hero, but tonight, she’ll take her out, just like she did “that hood rat, Mia Yim.”
-TakeOver spot. February 16 in Portland, Oregon. No logo for the show yet, and it wasn’t specifically named TakeOver: Portland yet, so something else might be in mind.
-Undisputed Era made their way to the ring, minus the injured Bobby Fish. Cole: “The Undisputed Era had a November to remember. We took over Raw, we took over SmackDown, we embarrassed them at Survivor Series. The month may be over but the prophecy has just begun. We are the iron men of NXT.” He wondered how they were thanked. Keith Lee pounding him like some kind of rag doll. He says he’s not a rag doll. He’s the champion and deserves your respect. “Keith Lee” chant. “Go bask in his glory” chant. After all those obstacles they overcame, Finn Balor kicked him square in the face. UE needs answers and won’t leave the ring until they get them.
Keith Lee’s music played instead to bring him to the ramp with his own mic. Kyle said “Check it out, guys – it’s the moment-maker himself, Keith Momentari-Lee.” He said despite those moments, they were the ones holding the gold. He said Lee was the belle of the ball, and even went toe to toe with Roman Reigns, and loooooost…because he’s a loser. Keith said he’s not just a moment-maker but a game changer. He says what he has to show for it is turning the champion in one of the most viral GIFs on the internet. He said he’s just deciding which of their championships to take first. Cole said okay – how about we make a moment right here, right now? With that, the UE attempted to triple-team Lee, but he cleared the ring. Cole jawed at Lee from the ramp, and backed right into an attack from Tommaso Ciampa. Ciampa tossed Cole back to Lee, who wanted a powerbomb but Roddy and Kyle intercepted Cole to drag him to safety. Lee and Ciampa shared a look in the ring, right above “goldie,” which Cole had left in the ring when he bailed.
-Xia Li said this week, she shows Shayna how she fights. “Shayna, get ready to fight the warrior!” It’s up next.
(Wells’s Analysis: Good move to capitalize on Keith Lee’s momentum. This should muddy up the title picture nicely as Lee continues to trend upward despite a very obvious plan to move Tommaso Ciampa into a championship match. A couple of weeks ago I was glad to say I could see Lee at the level of North American Champion, but given what’s happened since, he can clearly go higher than that.)
-Kushida spot. Two months ago, in his biggest match against Walter, he broke his wrist. Two months is a long time, he said, to be out. Many shots of Kushida with his daughter. He said he wants a better life for his wife and his daughter. He doesn’t fight for himself – he fights for them. Tonight, Kushida returns to the ring.
(2) XIA LI vs. SHAYNA BASZLER
Non-title. Xia was out first to an okay reaction. Flashing red lights accompanied the ceremony she debuted during her last match. Shayna entered and Xia stared from the ring. Shayna gave some dismissive looks.
The two circled for a bit. Xia threw some kicks and Shayna returned fire. Xia got the better of a surprised Shayna. Ground and pound by Shayna, escaped by Xia. Xia backed Shayna to the corner with kicks. Tornado kick and Baszler bailed, and dropped Xia’s neck on the rope. Baszler returned to the ring and worked the left arm. Stomp spot. One count. Shayna threw some kicks to Xia’s back and then returned to the arm. Shayna grabbed a leg but got kicked away. Thrustkick by Xia. Xia hit some strikes and another kick to the corner. The ref tried to get between them and it benefited Shayna, who threw strikes and set up Xia on the top turnbuckle. Gut wrench attempt, blocked. Li hit a powerbomb instead for two. Xia missed a tornado kick and Shayna took hold of the Kirifuda Clutch for a quick tap.
WINNER: Shayna Baszler at 4:06.
(Wells’s Analysis: Decent underdog match, given about as much time as you’d expect. Xia is very good at the offense she uses, but it could use some variance. I imagine we’ll get some of that when Xia is ready for a feud and some matches that go 8-10 minutes)
-Kassius Ohno spot. He promoted the upcoming Worlds Collide event which pits NXT:UK stars against NXT:US. He asked who better to represent the UK than himself, the best British wrestler there is?
(3) LEON RUFF & ADRIAN ALANIS vs. THE FORGOTTEN SONS
Ruff and Alanis are from EVOLVE. Ruff and Blake to start. Quick start by Blake, who tags for a tandem move over the bottom rope. Bucklebomb on Ruff to his own corner, where he flew over and out. Alanis came in and hit a couple of moves before getting destroyed for the win. After the match, Jaxson Ryker chokeslammed Ruff on the apron, from the inside, at a standing position.
WINNERS: The Forgotten Sons at 1:17.
(Wells’s Analysis: Cool chokeslam spot. Ruff took a couple of really good bumps in a small amount of time. The tag team situation has to be strengthened in NXT, and it’s probably the right time for the Sons to be re-established with a dominating performance like this. A match like this at the beginning of the stable’s run probably would have done a lot of good. The question, as always, is where the Sons go from here, particularly with heel tag champs)
(4) RHEA RIPLEY vs. DAKOTA KAI
Dakota’s music was interspersed with shots of her pulverizing Tegan Nox. Like last week, she had Nox’s knee brace. She watched herself proudly on the big screen. Ripley got a typically strong reaction.
Rhea took the mic at the top of the ramp. “The way that you set us up at WarGames was very clever, Dakota. But the funny thing about those setups is…right now.” Mia Yim’s music played, and Mia stormed the ring. Mia stormed the ring and attacked Kai and beat her around the ring. Seemed like the crowd was a little deflated by losing the match (we’re two for two on promoted matches not happening). The ref tried half-heartedly to break it up as the action spilled outside the ring. Kai got control for a moment with a kick against the steps, but Yim took control back and battered Kai into the barricades at the foot of the ramp. Action went to the concrete production area. Rhea smiled at ringside until Shayna Baszler’s music played to bring Shayna and the Horsewomen to the ramp. Ripley fought off Duke and Shafir, but Shayna gave her trouble. Shayna put on the Kirifuda Clutch. Rhea broke it, but the numbers game caught up and Shayna put it on again. Triple-team and Shayna knocked Rhea out cold with the Clutch to boos. “Not so tough now, are ya, nightmare? You talk big talk when there’s nothing on the line, don’t ya?” She said Ripley wants a title match? So does she, and she’ll get it on December 18th.
(Wells’s Analysis: That was awfully specific. The Ripley-Shayna match, announced for live NXT TV in two weeks, likely made good after the lost match. Good segment that removed a match that really couldn’t go off given current booking, and transitioned to two feuds and set up matches to come. I say this a lot, but this really could be where the Shayna story ends and she moves on to Raw or SmackDown)
-Tonight’s main event pits Keith Lee, Tommaso Ciampa and Dominik Dijakovic against the Undisputed Era. “You guys ready to go back to war?” Dijakovic asked as he popped in frame. I get a nagging heel turn feel out of this, as if the face run was solely for WarGames convenience.
-Isaiah “Swerve” Scott hype video. Basic cool babyface stuff that worked well enough.
(4) MATT RIDDLE vs. KASSIUS OHNO
This is Ohno’s first match on NXT TV since TakeOver: Phoenix in January, also against Riddle.
Waistlock by Riddle, escaped temporarily. Ohno grabbed a leg but Riddle kicked him away. “Let’s go bro” chant. Armbar by Ohno. Riddle went behind and wanted a delayed German, but Ohno escaped. Reset. Ohno threw knees to the chest and leaned on Riddle, who tried to power out. Riddle finally hit a German to escape trouble. Kicks in the corner. Flying forearm. Ohno bailed. PK from the apron by Riddle. Commercial. Given the brevity of all matches other than the opener, this was the first commercial during a match without split screen tonight.
Back to action, Riddle was throwing kicks to Ohno’s chest. Ohno threw a punch to the neck with ref Wuertz’s back turned, then laid out Riddle with a boot. Forearm in the corner. Riddle jumped into a bodyscissors as Ohnoleaned on him, but Ohno hit a spinebuster for two. Straitjacket hold by Ohno. Riddle leaned back and rolled out, then hit a Bro-ton. PK misses and Ohno grabbed Riddle’s toes, but Riddle hit a knee. Bro to Sleep. Powerbomb. Final Flash knee. Floating Bro only got two. Had me fooled after that flurry.
Both to their feet. Hard right by Ohno, then a cravat suplex. Ohno set up a Gotch-style piledriver but Riddle broke from it. Ripcord knee and then Bro Derek finished. The announcers called out Riddle leading Ohno four to zero.
WINNER: Matt Riddle in about 12:22; streaming issues tonight on and off.
-The announcers plugged “Wrestlemania: Legendary Moments” tonight on USA. Kushida’s up next.
(Wells’s Analysis: Decent action, though I don’t remember it covering any new ground that their previous matches didn’t cover. I’m not sure what the point is here, with Ohno typically getting a couple of garbage wins before losing a semi-important match like this. It seems he’s mostly here just to remind us that Worlds Collide is coming. Fans who only jumped on in the USA era may not know much about Ohno, so at least we got the brief segment earlier)
-NXT Year-End award voting opens tonight.
-Hype for the Women’s Championship match in two weeks where Rhea Ripley challenges Shayna Baszler.
(5) KUSHIDA vs. RAUL MENDOZA
Looks like it’s a reset for Raul – never mind. Cameron Grimes jumped Mendoza and his music played. “Kushida…you’re fightin’ ME now, boy!”
(5) KUSHIDA vs. CAMERON GRIMES
Jockeying for position. Headlock by Grimes, who then ran the ropes and blocked Kushida. Overhead kick by Kushida. Grimes bailed and Kushida hit a beautiful plancha. Back in, and Kushida chopped Kushida a few times. Grimes couldn’t catch Kushida but he was able to avoid the octopus…twice, but not the third time. Kushida added some joint manipulation but Grimes was able to reach out and grab the ropes to break. Kushida wanted a DDT, but it was blocked. Kushida handspringed right into a German with a bridge for two. Sliding knee by Grimes. Grimes leaned on Kushida with a boot until the ref broke it up at the ropes. Grimes stomped Kushida’s hand, then worked the previously injured wrist. Kushida got back into it with a snap mare and a basement dropkick. Grimes wanted a German, but Kushida rolled through into a trap pin for the victory.
WINNER: Kushida at 4:15.
(Wells’s Analysis: Very good action, of course, from these two; it’s probably match of the night so far despite the short length. Kushida certainly didn’t show any rust and Grimes’s act continues to shine. It was a great win for Kushida, but after Grimes’s hype video last week that seemed to reintroduce him as an important guy in the hierarchy, it looks like he’s still waiting his turn for the moment.)
-Hype for the upcoming Lio Rush-Angel Garza match. That one is next week, as well as Mia Yim vs. Dakota Kai.
(6) TOMMASO CIAMPA & KEITH LEE & DOMINIK DIJAKOVIC vs. ADAM COLE & RODERICK STRONG & KYLE O’REILLY
The Undisputed Era was out first. Faces were introduced one by one: Lee, Dijakovic, Ciampa.
Roddy and Lee to start. Lee powered Roddy into the face corner and tagged Ciampa, who stomped a mudhole. Ciampa yanked Roddy from the corner to slam him on his back. Dominik in. Roddy hit a knee to escape and tag O’Reilly, who threw kicks and hit a guillotine, but Dijakovic launched O’Reilly over. To the corner for elbows and chops. Pendulum backbreaker by Dijakovic for two. Hard right, then a forarm by Dijakovic. Kyle hit a knee and blind-tagged Roddy. Dijakovic used O’Reilly as a battering ram to clear out O’Reilly and knock Cole from the apron. Split-screen commercial.
Roddy had Dijakovic in an abdominal stretch upon return. Dijakovic powered out but ate a dropkick. “Feast your eyes, you dork!” Roddy yelled. “Is that the best Roderick Strong has?” Beth asked. Dijakovic hit a dropkick. O’Reilly tagged in and held back O’Reilly from a tag, and then UE created a three-man train to pull Dijakovic back. O’Reilly went at the faces in the corner but Ciampa tagged in and cleaned house. Belly to belly for Kyle. Knees for everyone. Draping DDT for Cole. Kyle (who was still legal) hit some kicks but Ciampa hit Project Ciampa for a long two. Double-underhook but Kyle rolled through and blind-tagged Roddy. Roddy and Kyle hit high-low but Dijakovic slipped in for the save. Roddy and Kyle hit stereo knees on Dijakovic to clear him out. Roddy hit a lungblower on Ciampa but Ciampa returned with a dropkick. Audience wanted Keith Lee and got him.
Lee cleaned house. Cole tagged in and got turned inside out by a lariat. The UE went outside the ring and Lee wanted a tope, but they scattered. Lee ran around the corner to launch them instead, and then Dijakovic hit a corkscrew plancha on UE. “NXT” chant. Dijakovic and Kyle went to a turnbuckle. Chaos was everywhere. Out of sight of the ref, Finn Balor hit a dropkick on Adam Cole. Balor hit 1916 on Ciampa. Balor set up for a big move but Keith Lee was behind him lurking. Spirit Bomb by Lee on Balor. Superkick on Lee by Cole, but Lee recovered and hit a jackhammer for the pin on Cole.
WINNERS: Ciampa & Lee & Dijakovic at 11:46.
After the match, William Regal took to the ramp. He’s decided that on December 18th, Adam Cole will defend his championship. Next week, a match will determine his opponent: Finn Balor…versus Tommaso Ciampa…versus Keith Lee.
(Wells’s Analysis: This was kind of a breather of a show compared to last week’s hot episode, but that last segment was a lot of fun on all fronts. The company is doing a great job of capitalizing on the groundswell for Keith Lee, and given his pin here, I have to assume he’s going to be the one to win that match. The match here was a mess, and it was a good and entertaining mess.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: After checking around, it seems the feed from USA was the issue, and not my internet. This could very well be due to the power issues in Orlando. I also thought I detected a different quality of camera for parts of the show – we sort of got the “soap opera” effect at times – and that may also have been tied to those issues. Beyond that, the show was okay, though a step down from last week. That said, it set a lot of things in motion, particularly to start loading up the December 18th show. The booking for Keith Lee has been absolutely perfect, and I hope Vince McMahon isn’t married to his bizarre idea of using Lee as a monster heel, because this is one of the strongest, most organic builds we’ve seen toward a potential babyface top star in a good while. I suspect, though, that he won’t win his (likely) match with Cole, and this could be a last NXT hurrah for Lee given Vince’s interest in (mis?)using him. Check out the PWT Talks NXT podcast late tonight or tomorrow morning to hear Tom Stoup, Nate Lindberg and I drone on about the many moving parts of tonight’s show. Follow me on social media @spookymilk, and I’ll see you in seven.