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WELLS’S NXT TV REPORT
JANUARY 29, 2020
LIVE IN ORLANDO, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY KELLY WELLS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, Beth Phoenix
-Recap of last week’s events along with hype for tonight’s Dusty Classic Finals.
-Mauro Ranallo called out the happenings on Raw, mentioning Randy Orton’s attack on Edge. Beth Phoenix, Edge’s wife, acknowledged with emotion it was a hard time for the family but you still show up to work.
(1) TRENT SEVEN vs. FINN BALOR
This match grew out of Finn Balor attacking Trent Seven earlier today in a WWE.com exclusive. Balor closed Seven’s neck in a cardoor and leaned on it. Nigel said there was no way Seven was 100% tonight.
Seven rolled into the ring to pose, but Finn hit him with a basement dropkick from behind to drop him out of the ring. Once again at the bell, Finn charged Trent in the corner with some kicks. He put Trent on the mat and stomped on him. Snap mare and some more boots down on a grounded Seven. Action spilled out of the ring and Finn beat down Trent against the barricade, the apron, and back again. Back inside and Finn hit a couple more stomps, then applied a chinlock. Double stomp from Balor got two.
A few fans got the “Too Sweet” Bullet Club chant going. Finn dropkicked and covered for two, then continued to stomp Finn. Small package by Seven for a very long two, but Finn took down Seven immediately with a sling blade. Finn leaned on Seven’s neck with a boot and yanked up his arm. Chop to the throat going to a split-screen commercial. It’s rare we don’t get babyface offense in the opening segment.
Finn had Seven in a chinlock upon return from split-screen, but Seven escaped, hit a few chops and a DDT for his first real offense in the eight minutes so far. Seven took Balor to a corner for a few chops, Irish whip, Balor got the legs up but Seven hit a snap suplex and Seven Star Lariat for two. Balor bailed, but Seven hit a tope and rolled Balor back into the ring. Seven went to the top rope to set up a moonsault, but Balor popped up and knocked him to the mat. Dropkick to the corner by Finn, who went up and hit Coup de Grace. 1916 finished.
WINNER: Finn Balor at 10:08.
After the match, Finn looked into the camera and gave a warning to Johnny Gargano.
(Wells’s Analysis: Nice to see Trent stick around for another match. He had no chance given Finn’s position and upcoming match with Gargano, but for a long beatdown, it was still okay given that Trent got a few hope spots in the end)
-Cathy Kelley caught up with the Broserweights. Riddle said that when Pete looks at him, he can see the love in his eyes. Pete says if he has to snap some fingers, so be it. Riddle says after they win, Cathy will see how Pete is the life of the party.
-Quick recap of the Tegan Nox-Dakota Kai brawl at Worlds Collide. They’ll meet tonight.
-A short video seemed to hype the debut of someone next week, as the numbers 5-20-2 appeared (it could also be May 2nd, if they really want to get long term) in flaming circles.
(2) SHOTZI BLACKHEART vs. DEONNA PURRAZZO
These two had a moment in the women’s battle royal a couple of weeks ago, as Shotzi eliminated Deonna and Deonna yanked Shotzi out under the bottom rope and beat her down.
Arm wringer by Purrazzo, who grounded Shotzi and held on. Shotzi flipped backward to escape. Step-up enzuigiri by Shotzi, but Deonna caught her arm again. Purrazzo mimicked kicking dirt on Shotzi, then continued working the arm with her legs and knees. Short-arm clothesline by Purrazzo. A second one got a one count. Another one count.
Jawbreaker by Shotzi, followed by a swinging neckbreaker. Deonna charged the corner but Shotzi escaped and hit a bulldog. Running knee, discus elbow and a thrustkick by Shotzi for two. Bicycle kick by Purrazzo on a charging Shotzi, but Shotzi took her down and went up. Senton by Shotzi finished. Beth predicted great things in 2020 for Shotzi. She exited like she came in, in a mini-tank that she got into and rode up the ramp.
WINNER: Shotzi Blackheart at 3:16.
(Wells’s Analysis: Shotzi looks to be, and should be, a priority. She doesn’t look like anyone else and can work quickly. That said, I don’t know why Deonna Purrazzo repeatedly leaves TV only to come back and immediately start losing again. She has more upside than this)
-Worlds Collide recap. If you skipped it, go back and enjoy the show.
-Keith Lee hit the ring with his North American Championship. The crowd seemed to like him. He held up his belt for each side of the ring and they hit the “Go bask in his glory” chant. “Greetings and salutations – I am Keith Lee, your limitless NXT North American Champion.” He said two months ago, he told four men he was just deciding which championship he would take first. Not only is he the moment-maker, the game-changer, but also a prophecy-ender. And next on Keith Lee’s agenda –
Damian Priest’s music played to bring him to the ramp and cut Lee off. He hit the ring to boos. “Keith, I don’t know if you know this about me, but I really, really like taking things.” That could be a group of women or a priceless possession. He gets what he wants, and right now he wants that Championship. “All I need to know is how you’re going to give that to me.”
Dominik Dijakovic’s music played. “Keith, you and I have been through our share of battles, and if anyone deserves that Championship, it’s you. But if anyone is going to be the first to challenge you, it’s not gonna be bootleg Marilyn Manson, it’s gonna be me.”
Keith said it looks like they have a debate to attend to, so they can have fun. Lee went to the ramp and the other two started to fight. Referee D.A. Brewer hit the ring and called for the bell. Hey, why not?
(3) DOMINIK DIJAKOVIC vs. DAMIAN PRIEST
Shirts off and both guys charged. Irish whip and avalanche by Priest. Irish whip and elbow by Dominik. Pendulum backbreaker and a splash by Dijakovic for two. Priest bailed, but Dijakovic followed and put a boot to Priest’s back, but Priest hit a kick of his own and followed with a crucifix bomb on the apron leading into commercial.
Back to TV, Dijakovic hit a huge release suplex on Priest. Priest escaped a chokeslam and hit a number of jabs and then a slam for two. He did the arrow but Dijakovic grabbed his arm, picked him up and gave him a choke bomb for two. Priest has to stop making his arrow so close to the other guy’s hand. Priest bailed and Dijakovic hit an Asai moonsault. “NXT” chant. Back in, Priest caught Dijakovic looking for a springboard splash and chokeslammed him for two. Step-up tope con giro by Priest and back inside. They collided in the ring with stereo boots and both sold on the mat.
Priest got to his feet and went up, but Dijakovic hit a superkick and went up. He lifted Priest in a fireman’s carry but Priest battled out and hit a poison rana from the top for two. Priest went for The Reckoning, but Dijakovic slipped out, hit a knee and hit Feast Your Eyes.
WINNER: Dominik Dijakovic at 8:39.
(Wells’s Analysis: We saw enough of these two in the triple threat with Lee that we know that they work well together (and both work well with Lee) so it was anyone’s match. This was a de facto #1 contender’s match, and given our proximity to TakeOver: Portland, I assume that’s the place)
-Rundown of Grizzled Young Veterans and their road to the Dusty Classic finals. In the back, they did push-ups.
-Cathy Kelley interviewed Tommaso Ciampa in the back. She said tonight, William Regal announces Adam Cole’s opponent for TakeOver: Portland. “At TakeOver, Goldie comes home. Tonight…I make sure of it.” Ciampa smacked a metal pipe he was carrying against a metal shelf and walked off as Kelley looked concerned.
-In the back, an official ran to the back, where Undisputed Era (minus Cole) was laid out. “Daddy’s home” chant. Ciampa popped into the frame and dropped his pipe near the wreckage. He walked to the ring, bringing a table. “Psycho killer” chant. He set up the table, then spray-painted a yellow X on the center of it. On the big screen, still focused on the back, Adam Cole saw what happened to his brothers and he walked out to the ramp. He asked Ciampa who he thinks he is. Ciampa said he’s the guy who never lost the title. He’s Goldie’s daddy. He says tonight, Adam Cole will walk to the ring and Ciampa will whip his ass and powerbomb him through the table – X marks the spot. Then he’ll sign a contract and he’ll take back his championship. In Portland, Goldie comes home.
William Regal hit the ramp and said he was coming out to offer Ciampa the opportunity. He wasn’t happy with what happened in the back. Cole walked to the ring with the contract, and hit Ciampa with his microphone. Ciampa bled immediately. Ciampa powerbombed Cole through the table, and picked up the contract and started to sign it. The crowd chanted “Use the blood.” Ciampa looked out at the crowd, and gave them what he wanted by smearing his hand with the blood and using it to run blood across the paper where his name was meant to go. There’s a very happy accident, right there. Ciampa’s music played, and focus went up to the booth.
(Wells’s Analysis: I don’t normally make a point to promote non-match segments, but if you didn’t see this, it’s worth it for Ciampa signing the contract in blood. No idea how management will react, but it was a special moment that should be used in every video package that promotes TakeOver between now and the 16th)
-Mauro promoted the Gargano-Balor match at TakeOver, and Beth followed with Ripley-Belair, leading to a short video package. Next week, Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair meet face-to-face in the ring. That’s a hook, but not using Belair on this show the week after her career-defining Royal Rumble performance is a bummer.
-Last Saturday, Jordan Devlin won the Cruiserweight Championship. Next week, Devlin will be live here on USA.
(4) TEGAN NOX vs. DAKOTA KAI
Nox was introduced first, and the usual smile on her face was gone. She paced the ring and watched the ramp. The video of Dakota Kai pulverizing her at WarGames played with audio and everything to bring Dakota Kai to the ring.
Knee by Nox. Both threw fists. Nox took Kai to the corner and hit some knees. Reversal and a face wash by Kai to boos. Kai went to the opposite corner but Nox charged with a senton. Kai bailed and suckered in Nox for a dropkick. The action spilled to the concrete, and Nox took Kai all over. The official got up to seven and Nox broke the count. I genuinely thought the countout was happening there.
Kai took down Nox and grabbed a chair, but Nox blocked and charged Kai into a ringpost outside. Nox grabbed the chair and referee Darryl Sharma shut that down. Kai took Nox’s knee brace to attack with it but Nox cut her off with a knee. Kai took control and went for the chair again, but Candice LeRae showed up behind Kai and took it from her. Nox rolled back in and while Sharma talked to LeRae, who was holding the chair, Nox swung the brace at Kai’s face. Shiniest Wizard finished. Beth said Dakota Kai got what was coming to her.
WINNER: Tegan Nox at 3:13.
-Rundown of what brought Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne to the finals in the Dusty tournament. Last week I predicted Broserweights win tonight, but Grizzled Young Veterans talk themselves into a triple threat match at TakeOver maybe next week since they beat UE in the tournament.
(Wells’s Analysis: A match like Nox-Kai shouldn’t go long given the blood feud nature, and this being the first meeting. That said, the focus transitioned away from the match almost immediately after it was over, which really downplayed the importance of the feud. I doubt it’s all over, but I have no idea what Dakota Kai is supposed to do after her extremely brief Rumble appearance followed by a quick loss in a feud match the following Wednesday)
(5) KAYDEN CARTER vs. CHELSEA GREEN
Mauro called out Chelsea’s twelve-second Royal Rumble appearance. Quick dropkick by Carter, but Green snapped Carter back on the ropes, then leaned on her. Big dropkick by Green. Matchbook cover got two. Irish whip and Green put boots to Carter. Outside the ring, Robert Stone fiddled with his tie, then clapped relentlessly right near Carter’s head as Green beat her down. That’s a great dick move.
Headlock by Green. Green threw Carter backward to the mat, then looked for an Impaler. Carter rolled up Green for two. Okana roll for a one count. Superkick by Carter. Thrustkick for two. Carter got in Green’s face but charged into a big boot. Green taunted the crowd as Stone cheered her on outside. Small package by Carter and…oh. Wow.
WINNER: Kayden Carter at 3:08.
Robert Stone ran into the ring to protest. He looked hilarious with highwater slacks and no socks. Green yelled out at Carter, who celebrated on the ramp to cheers.
(Wells’s Analysis: So far, the hype for Green hasn’t borne any fruit for her. I can’t tell if this is a de-emphasis or just a way to get Green really ticked off. The match itself was a decent three-minute affair with Green dominating high-impact offense and Carter snatching a win out of nowhere. I suspect a rematch will be as soon as next week)
(6) THE BROSERWEIGHTS (Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne) vs. GRIZZLED YOUNG VETERANS (Zack Gibson & James Drake) – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament Finals
Riddle & Dunne entered first. Both teams admired the huge trophy at the head of the ramp. Riddle and Dunne were ready to go but the referee (Drake Wuertz) held them back. Alicia Taylor handled formal introductions for the match, which started at 37 after the hour.
Dunne and Drake to start. Dunne grabbed the arm and wrenched the digits, then stomped down. Riddle tagged in, and the faces did a stereo stomp on Drake’s biceps. “Riddle’s gonna smoke you” chant. Drake used his speed to strike a couple of times and tagged Gibson. Gibson took Riddle to a neutral corner and stomped, but Riddle reversed and threw repeated kicks to the chest. Gut wrench suplex by Riddle. Dunne tagged in. Tandem suplex and Drake ran the ropes but ran into Dunne’s axhandle. Dunne attacked Gibson in the corner and hit a moonsault to the outside, but as the ref got hung up with Riddle, GYV got together and spiked Dunne on the outside. Drake rolled Dunne into the ring for two.
Dunne shook off the cobwebs and threw palm strikes at Dunne, but Drake tossed Dunne into the ringpost and sent him out, leading to commercial.
Back from commercial, Drake was tagging Gibson and Gibson cut off the tag, but Dunne slipped through. Riddle hit the ring, took down Gibson with kicks and hit a German suplex for two. Spear by Riddle. Bro-hammer. Tag to Dunne. Double knee, and Dunne bombed Drake into a waiting Riddle knee for two.
Gibson and Drake double-teamed Riddle and spiked him for a Gibson cover for two. Gibson suplexed for two. Gibson went for a suplex, blocked, but Drake made a blind tag and GYV hit some team kicks and a step-up enzuigiri, but Dunne got involved and the faces cleared out GYV. Riddle hit Final Flash on Drake for two and everyone sold on the mat. Illegal guys cleared out. Fisherman buster by Riddle on Drake for two. Bro-ton by Riddle. DDT by Drake and both guys made tags. Gibson and Dunne lit each other up in the center of the ring to cheers. Snap German by Gibson. Dunne stomped the digits and hit an anklelock. Drake tried to get involved but Riddle got involved and hit one of his own. The groups collided to break things up and the match went to split-screen commercial.
Back to action, Dunne rolled up Gibson from the electric chair for two. Dunne went up but Drake knocked him off from the outside. Gibson launched Drake onto Riddle on the outside, then went up the corner and hit Ticket to Ride on Dunne for two. Gibson hit Shankly Gates, looking for a tap, but James Drake yanked back the rope. Riddle wanted to make the save but Drake jumped on his back. Riddle was still able to spear Gibson with Drake on his back, and once again all four were on the mat.
After some four-way chaos, Riddle and Dunne hit a team move Nigel called “The Riddle End” for two. The faces set up Ticket to Mayhem but Gibson broke it up. Gibson put Dunne on his shoulders outside on the floor, and Drake hit a tope on Dunne and flipped him off of Gibson’s shoulders. Good Lord. More tandem often on Riddle and Gibson splashed him for two. Tag to Drake. Dunne recovered and both guys hit slams on the heels. Moonsaults by each face on GYV. Tag to Dunne. The two hit a stereo kick-knee on Drake to finish.
After the match, confetti dropped and the Broserweights posed in the ring. The Cup was brought into the ring, as well as a couple of those sparkler pyro things. William Regal cheered them on as they celebrated. Interestingly, there was no overrun as the match finished just before the hour.
WINNERS: Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne at 21:11.
(Wells’s Analysis: Good match, though I would have taken a lot less four-man action and more of a well-wrestled classic tag match. That aside, all four men of course brought a lot to the table and the electric chair spot on Dunne on the outside was something to behold (though he recovered from it far too quickly). As I stated above, I still think there’s a good chance GYV goes to management and weasels their way into TakeOver by virtue of beating O’Reilly and Fish in the tournament. If not, then I’ll just thank GYV by helping make it such an enjoyable tournament while they were around)
FINAL THOUGHTS: A lot of pieces moved toward TakeOver: Portland, where we’ll get Ciampa-Cole, Gargano-Balor, Ripley-Belair, Broserweights-Undisputed Era (for now) and probably Lee-Dijakovic. I also would not be surprised to see more out of the Nox-Kai feud. Nox did deserve a huge measure of revenge, but if Kai doesn’t strike back quickly her character will be dead in the water. Chelsea Green’s spot is baffling as well and may hurt Robert Stone as a manager more than it hurts her, but we’ll wait to see the next step there as well.
In a post-Shayna era (probably), the division was left very strong; there were three women’s matches tonight, though the minutes were brief. Oh, and…seriously, see Ciampa signing a contract in blood.
Tonight I’ll record PWT Talks NXT with Tom Stoup and Nate Lindberg. We appreciate every email, but as I type we have the most we’ve ever had, so I guess we’ll settle in for a long night. Follow me all over social media @spookymilk.