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MCLENDON’S NXT ON USA ALT-PERSPECTIVE REPORT
JANUARY 29, 2020
WINTER PARK, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
REPORT BY JAMES MCLENDON, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
A video package reviewing last week’s NXT and promoting the Dusty Classic Final Match tonight.
During the commentary open, Beth Phoenix acknowledges the attack on Edge by Randy Orton. She was very emotional in doing so.
(1) FINN BALOR vs. TRENT SEVEN
Balor kicked Seven out of the ring while he was doing his signature roll underneath the rope. Balor was very physical and aggressive from the start with several kicks and stomps inside and outside of the ring. Finn connected with a double stomp for a two count.
Seven started to get some offense in, but Finn stopped him with a sling blade. Finn again regained the upper hand with chops and boots to the neck of Seven. Seven started to really get legitimate offense on Balor with a DDT. Then with a suplex and the Seven Star Lariat. Balor retreated but Seven came back with a dive to the outside. Seven went to the top, but Balor knocked him back into the ring. Finn hit the Coup de Grace and finished Seven off with 1916 for the win.
(McLendon Analysis: It was shocking to see Seven get very little offense in. They have done a great job making Finn look like a monster. All of his matches that haven’t been against top of the roster talent, have been impressive and overpowering. I love the touch of him talking to Johnny into the camera. However, if they want people to boo him against Johnny Wrestling, I’m not really sure that is going to happen. Finn isn’t trying to be a cool heel, but he’s oozing cool and people feel that.)
Cathy Kelley interviewed the Broserweights backstage. Riddle and Dunne are truly the tag team I didn’t know I needed in my life. Dunne’s facials to Riddle’s comments are great. They truly play off each other so well. I need them to stay a team a little longer. It’s adding some color to Dunne’s character that does not sacrifice the ass – kicker in him.
It looks like they are hyping the arrival of someone. The numbers are 5-20-2. There are three circles with those numbers inside them. The 20 is for the year, not sure if it’s February 5th or May 2nd. I’d assume February. If anything, the three circles resemble the glasses of Velveteen Dream, but I am not sure of the seriousness of his injury
(2) SHOTZI BLACKHEART vs. DEONNA PURRAZO
Shotzi came out to a big pop and came down the ramp in a tank. The commentary team spent a lot of time pointing out Purrazzo’s technical wrestling ability. As the women spent the beginning sequence exchanging holds on the mat. As Purrazzo gained the upper hand, the crowd was really behind Shotzi strong here. Purrazzo hit a forearm and bicycle kick combo on Shotzi, but she countered with a code breaker. Shotzi hit a Senton Splash from the top rope for the win.
(McLendon Analysis: They need to begin building their second unit of women’s wrestlers on the roster. It appears to be that Shotzi is at the front of the list. She has definitely earned the respect of the NXT audience. I would like to see more enhancement matches like this since they have the depth to do so. They typically use the same 7 or 8 women that are great, but I have a feeling they will start losing those women sooner than later.
-Keith Lee Promo: Lee comes out to a great ovation like usual. He took time to soak in the chants. He said he’s a moment maker, a game – changer, and a prophecy ender. He was interrupted by Damien Priest. He said he likes taking things, things that are important to him or a group of women. He said he wants that title. Dominik Dijakovic came out and tells Lee, no one deserves the title more than he does. But that the first person to get the shot isn’t going to be “Bootleg Marilyn Manson” but it was going to be him. Dijakovic and Priest get into a shoving a match and Regal sends a referee down to the ring.
(3) DAMIEN PRIEST vs. DOMINIK DIJAKOVIC
Dijakovic and Priest traded heavy forearms back and forth. The men made their way to the outside and Priest slammed Dijakovic with a Crucifix Bomb on the apron. After they returned from the break, Dijakovic held Priest up for a suplex and threw him across the room. Priest returned with a Bell Clap and a Flatliner. Dijakovic stopped Priest with a Choke Bomb for a two count.
Priest rolled to the outside and Dijakovic hit an Asai Moonsault to the floor. Dijakovic went back to the top and Priest countered with a Chokeslam into the ring. Priest hit Dijakovic with a poisionrana off the top roe, but Diajkovic kicks out at two. Dijakovic pushed priest to the corner. He came from behind with a Torture Rack to set up Feast Your Eyes for the win.
-Video package showing the Grizzled Young Veterans path to the Dusty Cup Finals
-Cathy Kelley Interviews Tomaso Ciampa. He said at Takeover, Goldie is coming home. Tonight, he makes sure of it. As he hits the wall with a lead pipe.
(McLendon Analysis: It was a truly awesome match. The athletic ability of these big men is maj. It has been a while since we’ve seen both of these men on TV. It felt like the first month of NXT TV was full of matches between these two men and Keith Lee. However, there is a little bit of me that is taken out of the match when athletes that big are doing flips the entire match. But, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it was a great athletic contest. It appeared to be a number one contender’s match for the Takeover. So Lee and Dijakovic one more time, but definitely with higher stakes than usual.)
As they returned from back, the camera shoes all three members of UE laid out in the back. Ciampa came out of the shadows clearly as the person responsible. He came out to the ring and pulled a table out. Adam Cole observed the damage and came out to the ring.
Ciampa told Cole that he was going to come down to the ring, walk up the steps, and get his ass kicked. Cole started repeating what Ciampa said, but when he charges, Cole hits him in the head with the Microphone. Cole tried to hit Ciampa with the title, but he countered and power bombed Cole through the table. Ciampa signs the contract and acquiesces to the crowd, by putting his blood on the contract.
(McLendon Analysis: This was probably one of the best segments of NXT TV since they’ve been on USA. The sense of reality that Ciampa brings to this is what makes it great. This match has been inevitably hanging over our head since the fall. This segment made it worth the wait. I just hope they don’t cut out the scene of him with the blood, they could do the black and gray screen, but the visual of that needs to be seen.)
(4) TEGAN NOX vs. DAKOTA KAI
Dakota Kai’s entrance is video on a loop of her attack on Nox. Both women went back and forth with fists. The women brawled outside for a long time and it appeared they were going to go for a count out finish?
Dakota Kai brought a chair into the fold, but the referee took it away from her. Kai went to attack Nox with the brace but was cut off. Kai went for the chair again, but Candace LaRae pulled the chair away. Nox hit Dakota Kai with the brace which led to the finish for her win
Rundown of what brought Riddle and Dunne to the finals.
(McLendon Analysis: I love the frantic pace and the urgency of the match. I know LaRae is the consummate babyface, but I don’t understand her getting in the middle of everything. I felt like they rushed this a little bit. I felt it was a good secondary story for the women’s division that could have culminated at Takeover. That could be my bias for Dakota Kai and wanting to see more of her. She needs to come back with even more physicality or cost her something important (the title) to come back from this. The short match with a lot of physicality did the job though.)
(5) CHELSEA GREEN (w/Robert Stone) vs. KAYDEN CARTER
Carter hit Green with a dropkick out of the gate. Green recovered and threw Carter off the rope. Green landed a big dropkick and went for a pin that she kicked out at two. Green was very aggressive and controlled most of the match. Green started strutting around the ring. She made her way back to Carter and she was rolled up for the three count in a surprising win.
(McLendon’s Analysis: Interesting that her two most recent outings were lackluster. I’d assume it is building to something. Maybe an opportunity for her to have a serious mean streak. But, I’m questionable about the approach with the loss here.)
(6) MATT RIDDLE & PETE DUNNE vs. GRIZZELED YOUNG VETERANS (Zack Gibson & James Drake)
Drake and Dunne start the match with Dunne doing some finger and joint manipulations. Dunne brought Riddle in for a tandem stomp on the biceps of Drake. Drake is able to tag in Gibson and het moved Riddle away from their corner and picked up the offense. But, Riddle cuts him off with kicks and a slam. Dunne and Riddle with great teamwork of quick tags and tandem moves. Dunne hit a moonsault to the outside but was then slammed on the outside by the Veterans.
Dunne escapes the attack from the Veterans and is able to tag Riddle in. Riddle has a flurry of attacks with the spear and bro-hammer. Then Dunne and Riddle come back with some nice tandem offense with the knees for a two count. Gibson and Drake return the favor with tandem offense of their own. There were several quick tags in and out very fast paced. Lots of 4 man action that made it feel a little difficult to keep up with. Very much so felt, AEW – adjace as far as their style of tag match goes.
Dunne reversed an electric chair drop for a two count on Gibson. Gibson threw his teammate into Riddle on the outside. Gibson tried to make Dunne submit and in an innovate move Drake pulled the rope so Dunne couldn’t grab it. Riddle went for the save but Drake jumped on his back. Riddle got up from the mat with him on his back and speared Gibson to save Dunne.
Dunne and Riddle were setting up Ticket to Mayhem but Gibson stopped it. In the craziest spot of the match, Drake dove to the outside with Dunne on Gibson’s shoulders. Dunne eventually recovers and he a riddle hit stereo moonsaults and knees for the win.
(McLendon’s Analysis: This match was great. High Speed but with selling and very good wrestling. Truthfully, with it being the finals I would have liked to see a more traditional tag match with less brawling that had all four men in the ring. I’d assume the pace of the title match at Takeover will be much slower. This is the second straight year a random tag team has won the tournament and Third overall. Just because they wanted to focuses on building the tag division, it is a little surprising to me. Nonetheless, great effort by both teams. The Grizzled Young Veterans have a new fan in me. Gibson is great on the microphone and they are a hell of a team. I hope there is spotlight put on them on American TV.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Another good episode, I didn’t see a lot of maintenance on the established feuds for Takeover, but the tag match and the NXT championship were introduced. These are both matches I’d rather see for the mania Takeover, but I am glad to have them nonetheless. There is obviously a lot to do in two weeks, but it seemed like a little bit of a placeholder episode to me overall.
I am wanting to guess that the vignette was for the Velveteen Dream. The flaming circles just reminded me of his trademark glasses. It was a rare episode where the women’s division didn’t seem as if it was more highlighted than the men. I really am bummed by the outing by Green because I am excited for her character and the presentation of her and Stone. I really hope this means she’s going to come back with a mean streak. Solid episode with the Cole/Ciampa segment being the highlight.