2/23 NXT in St. Paul, Minn..: Ciampa, Dream & Broserweights vs. Undisputed Era, Keith Lee vs. Finn Balor, Ciampa celebrates Tenth Anniversary of NXT singing Happy Birthday

Tomasso Ciampa (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)


FEBRUARY 23, 2020

If you attend a live event, please send results with details on the matches, crowd reactions, and attendance to pwtorch@pwtorch.com. Thanks!

Estimated Attendance: 1,500 (venue holds around 4,000).

Tonight I caught the NXT show at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul. I was fortunate enough to sit ringside, so check out some shots I took on twitter @spookymilk.

(1) Dominik Dijakovic defeated Damian Priest in 8:00. The match started with Dijakovic dominating with headlocks for a few minutes. One fan yelled “boring” and Dijakovic yelled back “you’re boring.” Priest repeatedly said “Ow” and “let go” when he was in a headlock. Dijakovic won after Feast Your Eyes. Good reception for both guys.

-Before the next match, a Rik Bugez vignette played on the tron. It was a local spot, shot outdoors. Bugez said he was comfortable in the cold, as a midwestern boy himself. The camera panned down as he reached for a snowball, and he wasn’t wearing pants; he was wearing black briefs.

(2) Bianca Belair defeated Kayden Carter in 7:00. Strong face reaction for Bianca, who played with the crowd well. Largely a squash, other than a couple of brief hope spots for Kayden, and Bianca showed out with her power throughout the match.

(3) Dexter Lumis defeated Rik Bugez in 6:00. Lumis continues to play the dead-eyed creep he was portraying during the Breakout Tournament. Lumis rolled up Bugez with a handful of tights to win in six minutes. After the match, Bugez went to the ring and called ring announcer Alicia Taylor to the ring. She hesitated, but joined him and they both did air guitar. Bugez convinced referee Drake Wuertz to do the same, and they made a little air band in the ring to a good reaction (Wuertz transitioned to air drums after a moment.)

(4) Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez defeated Mia Yim & Tegan Nox in 11:00. Very good action – best of the night to this point – with Kai pinning Yim after outside interference from Gonzalez in about eleven minutes. Kai jawed with the crowd a lot, responding to someone demanding she use the tag ropes with “no, you guys, it’s fine.” Spirited work by all four.

(5) Finn Balor defeated NXT North American Champion Keith Lee by DQ in 13:00. Biggest pops to this point, of course, were for these two (though Bianca’s was also strong). There was a ref bump and Finn hit Lee with a low blow. Dominik Dijakovic hit the ring and laid out Balor to a mixed reaction. The ref saw the attack and awarded Finn the match by DQ in about thirteen minutes. After Finn cleared out, Dijakovic got the North American Championship and slowly held it out to Lee. Lee looked long at Dominik before taking it. They fist-bumped and the show went to intermission. The featured merch items on the show were autographed photos of Finn Balor, Matt Riddle and Undisputed Era. Upon return from intermission, she handed one signed photo each to fans at ringside who were wearing the corresponding talents’ shirt.


(6) Kushida defeated Cameron Grimes via tapout in 7:00. Kushida and Grimes naturally spent a long portion of the match exchanging counters. Kushida wore Grimes’s hat for part of the match, spurring a “put the hat on” chant after he took it off, which a fan responded to with “focus on winning.” Kushida got Grimes to tapout with his Hoverboard.

(7) NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley defeated Chelsea Green (w/Robert Stone) in 6:00. Stone got some mic time on the way to the ring, to solid heat. A fan near me baited in Stone by claiming while Rhea dominated that the ref was crooked. Stone leaned in and said “I like where your head’s at. Let’s talk” and gave him a business card, which sent our section into laughter. Green stayed in it via Stone shenanigans, but after the ref tossed Stone it was just moments before Rhea hit Riptide for the win.

(8) Tommaso Ciampa & Velveteen Dream & The Broserweights defeated The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish & Roderick Strong) in 19:00. Match of the night. Ciampa finished Fish to win as the other UE members were held at bay by the rest of the faces. Big reactions for all participants. No single person had to spend a ton of time in the ring, though Pete Dunne ended up playing face in peril for a heat segment before a hot tag to Riddle.

-After the match, Tommaso Ciampa mentioned that this was the exact ten year anniversary of NXT, a fact that wasn’t promoted at all and was news to us in the crowd. Ciampa led the crowd in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” to NXT so the video could be sent to Triple H. Ciampa also called out a cousin of his in the front row and had the fans cheer her name before heading out to talk with her and her friends. Ciampa, Riddle, and Dunne stayed for a good while at ringside, posing for selfies and bumping fists (a fistbump from a fired-up Pete Dunne will stay with you for a while). Ciampa spent a long time talking with a young kid who said he was his favorite wrestler. Every time I see Ciampa at a live event, it verifies why he’s so trusted at the top of NXT. I’ve been to four NXT shows at this venue, and this one was by far the best top to bottom.

If you attend a live event, please send results with details on the matches, crowd reactions, and attendance to pwtorch@pwtorch.com. Thanks!

RECOMMENDED: NXT HITS & MISSES 2/19: Velveteen Dream vs. Roderick Strong, Carter vs. Green, Theory-Ciampa, Rush vs. Devlin for Cruiserweight Title

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