4/15 NXT ON USA REPORT: Wells’s report on Riddle & mystery partner vs. Fish & Strong, Cruiserweight championship league beginning

By Kelly Wells, PWTorch contributor


APRIL 15, 2020

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton


Tonight after NXT, join me live with cohosts Nate Lindberg and Tom Stoup to break down the show with live callers and mailbag.

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•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: pwtorchnxt@gmail.com


-Last week, the women had a ladder match and the old DIY had a war.

(1) FINN BALOR vs. FABIAN AICHNER (w/Marcel Barthel)

Balor with a headlock takedown to open. Aichner wriggled out and wrenched the arm, then dropped a knee on it. He transitioned to a headlock and Finn threw some body shots to get out of it. Waistlock by Aichner, who then tossed Finn across the ring. Small distraction by Barthel led to Aichner getting some cheap shots in. Sunset flip, Finn rolled through and hit a basement dropkick. To the corner, Irish whip, rope run, and Aichner caught Finn in a fireman’s carry but Finn shifted and dropped an elbow on Aichner. Mudhole stomp by Finn at the ropes. Aichner bailed and Finn hit a basement dropkick, sending Aichner into the barricade. Finn made finger guns to the camera heading into commercial.

We returned to Finn holding an armbar and throwing Aichner around. Barthel went for another distraction and this time it didn’t work. Rope run and Aichner hit a backbreaker. Aichner did the Walter pose and then stomped a mudhole in the corner. Irish whip by Aichner and Finn hit the corner hard. Aichner jawed at a grounded Finn and kicked at his head. Another hard Irish whip. Aichner dragged up Finn and hit a big chop. Balor hit a snap mare and kicked Aichner hard in the back. A kick to the front was blocked and Aichner hit a big chop and took down Balor for two. Powerbomb attempt, Finn rolled through and hit a double stomp. Finn hit the sling blade. Barthel took yet another shot and Aichner rolled up Balor for two. Aichner picked up Finn for a high uranage. Drake tended to Finn and Barthel dragged him out. Aichner tossed Finn to the steps but Finn recovered, hit sling blade on Barthel, and then sent him through a barricade. Aichner hit a slam, then put Finn into the ring. Finn took control and hit Coup de Grace. 1916 was good to finish.

WINNER: Finn Balor at 11:47, counting commercial. I don’t know for sure whether this is live or taped, but they haven’t said it’s live and it seems Drake Maverick filmed his matches for the Cruiserweight tournament before he was one of the many cuts today, so if any of his matches are aired that’ll tell me for sure.

(Wells’s Analysis: Good stuff here, and Barthel being present put a tiny bit of doubt on the outcome. With no date in sight for Finn-Walter, this feud could go on for a while)

-After the match, Finn made a warning into the camera to Walter as he went up the ramp.

-Later, Adam Cole and Velveteen Dream meet face to face. Dream was shown lounging and the announcers said Cole had yet to arrive.

-Charlotte, in a backstage segment, said Rhea Ripley was a challenge and she’s the future, but she wouldn’t apologize for her own greatness. She said she’s going to dominate three different eras: past, present and future. She ran down a list of past, present and future stars she’s beaten. Many highlights were shown of Charlotte beating…well, everyone. She said now she’s going to beat the next generation, and she came to NXT to dominate the best division in the business. She said she was most interested in Mia Yim, who was Charlotte’s first opponent in NXT. She said after she beats Mia, she’ll run through everyone. Excellently produced segment.


Earlier today, Aliyah tweeted about how proud she was of her beatdown of Xia Li. Li charged the ring and tossed Aliyah to the outside. Aliyah hid behind the referee (Aja Smith) long enough to get some cheap shots in the corner. Lou Thesz press by Aliyah for two. Chinlock by Aliyah. Li powered out and hit a snap mare. Rollup for two. Li blocked a body slam but got Irish whipped into the corner. Aliyah missed a charge and Li hit some shots. Thrustkicks by Li. Flying forearm and a dropkick by Li. She hit her finisher to win.

WINNER: Xia Li at 3:10.

(Wells’s Analysis: Not a whole lot different from their previous two matches, other than there being a bit of sizzle on it because of the previous issues between the two. Li has consistently beaten entry-level competition but has hit her head on the ceiling pretty regularly. Hopefully there’s something for her to do soon)

-The announcers ran down the field for the Cruiserweight tournament. Drake Maverick was still part of it, so his three matches must already be taped, or he’ll be replaced before his first match.

-Matt Riddle was on the phone with an unseen Pete Dunne. Apparently, Riddle himself didn’t know who his partner tonight would be.

(3) ISAIAH “SWERVE” SCOTT vs. AKIRA TOZAWA (Group B cruiserweight tournament match)

Tozawa threw a kick and Swerve backed off. Swerve took down Tozawa and leaned down for a one count. Huracanrana by Swerve. Snap mare and Tozawa backed into the corner. Chop exchange. Hard right by Tozawa. Swerve chased down Tozawa and hit an uppercut, and then the two ran the ropes and Tozawa hit a pump kick that sent Swerve out of the ring. Tozawa stood on the apron and stomped on a kneeling Swerve. Swerve went up to the apron but got tossed. Swerve dropkicked Tozawa, who fell to the floor going into commercial.

Swerve had Tozawa in a headlock, but Tozawa punched his way out. Tozawa dumped Swerve. Swerve ran from a tope, but Tozawa put on the brakes, then ran the apron and hit a senton that was supposed to go through the barricade. The barricade didn’t break and Tozawa landed on his head. Oy. In the ring, missile dropkick by Tozawa got two. Tozawa put up Swerve in a fireman’s carry but Swerve got out of it. Rope run, and Tozawa hit the octopus. Swerve attempted to get out but Tozawa modified into a dragon sleeper, then a guillotine. Swerve picked up Tozawa and hit a brainbuster to break the hold.

Swerve wanted a sleeper but Tozawa hit an okana roll for two. Swerve hit a few kicks, then House Call got two. To the corner, Tozawa whipped Swerve into the buckle. Tozawa went up and hit a senton, then covered for the win.

WINNER: Akira Tozawa at 11:34.

(Wells’s Analysis: One match, one surprise. Swerve can still win the block if he wins both matches and Tozawa loses both his others, but Swerve is behind the eight ball here. Good, hard-hitting match)

-Tozawa spoke after his victory. He said he had to keep fighting, but he would be Cruiserweight Champion again. It was mentioned that next week, there will be more matches for the tournament. With two four-man blocks and one final match, thirteen matches will happen. I’m still expecting a few of them to be on 205 Live, but I’m not sure if that’s the plan.


-A video promo for El Hijo del Fantasma aired. He was in a skyway, wearing a suit (and, of course, his mask). He said he was introduced to lucha libre at a very young age by his father (El Fantasma, obviously).

(4) TEGAN NOX vs. RAQUEL GONZALEZ (w/Dakota Kai)

Raquel has a simple heavy metal riff as her music. It works. Gonzalez is out with injury now, so this was taped a good bit ago.

Raquel opened up with some power moves. She hit a backbreaker and Kai mocked Nox from the outside. Gonzalez clubbed the back of Nox’s head and then ripped Nox’s head back with a fishhook. Nox wanted an Okana roll but Gonzalez blocked it and clubbed Nox again. Hard Irish whip by Gonzalez. Raquel moved in but Nox hit some quick forearms. Gonzalez hit another couple of Irish whips. Nox tried to bail, but Gonzalez caught her. Kai interfered, but Shotzi Blackheart stormed the ring and beat Kai down with her helmet. Gonzalez tried to take a swipe at Blackheart but she got rolled up for a pin, after which Nox bailed quickly and celebrated on the ramp with Shotzi.

WINNER: Tegan Nox at 3:15.

(Wells’s Analysis: That’s about right. Nox doesn’t seem like she’s safe enough to take the loss here, and Gonzalez got all the offense and lost nothing in this schmoz. The match was kind of okay…Gonzalez isn’t totally fluid yet.)

-Outside somewhere, earlier, Keith Lee ran down his road to wrestling. He was kicked out of his house because his family didn’t approve of him sacrificing everything for wrestling. He drove five hours to work a show with Mick Foley. For thirteen years, he was told he was too big, too different, didn’t work the right way. Now, guess who stands out? He could have gone two directions: one, give up. Two, grind. That’s what it means to be…limitless.

(Wells’s Analysis: Good promo, and for once a catchphrase was properly motivated)


Miles got a full intro and had a hip-hop/EDM fusion theme.

Miles asked if Lumis could hear him, and if anyone was in there. Lumis threw a forearm that took down Miles. Clubbing forearm on a grounded Miles. Lumis went for another but Miles blocked. Two dropkicks by Miles, but he couldn’t ground Lumis. Rope run and Lumis hit a spinebuster. Lumis slithered toward Miles, crawling with his fists. Uranage into an an anaconda vice, and that’s that.

WINNER: Dexter Lumis at 1:44.

(Wells’s Analysis: Early signs are that this will work, but things will be very different when Lumis starts getting into feuds with established stars. It’ll be sink or swim for this gimmick when that happens)

-Velveteen Dream continued to wait on his purple couch in his purple room, getting frustrated as he continued to wait for Adam Cole. Seriously, though, why not whip out his phone and play some stupid app games to pass the time?

-Adam Cole spoke from home. He said Velveteen didn’t think he’d be there live, did he? He said Dream still doesn’t deserve a match with him. He said the reality of our world is that nobody deserves a shot at his championship. He said there’s more important things to focus on – like Fish & Strong winning the tag team championships tonight. “And that, boys and girls…well, you know the rest.”

-Dream hit the ramp and stood at a podium. Typical – Adam Cole wasn’t here. He said he was more concerned with his video games than being champion. He said that Cole is the last champion of Undisputed Era…the VERY last. He said Cole might be the best NXT Champion of all time, but only two words need be remembered: Dream…over.

Behind Dream, Finn Balor appeared. He said he doesn’t know him, he doesn’t like him. He said Dream better not make ignorant comments like anyone besides Finn being the greatest NXT Champion of all time. Finn started walking off, and Dream stopped him and said they should meet next Wednesday night.

-Malcolm Bivens stood in front Indus Sher. He said congratulations to whoever walks away with the championships tonight, because they’ll be going from their shoulders to his men’s waists. Rinku and Saurav spoke briefly in their native tongues and the three hit a pose. Short, strong, and to the point.

-Next week, all six other men in the Cruiserweight Championship tournament have their first matches: El Hijo del Fantasma vs. Jack Gallagher, Kushida vs. Tony Nese and Drake Maverick vs. Jake Atlas. Also next week, Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox face Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez.

(6) MATT RIDDLE & ???????????? (c) vs. RODERICK STRONG & BOBBY FISH – NXT Tag Team Championship match

Matt Riddle entered alone, and Pete Dunne showed up on the tron. He said he wishes he could be there, but he went out and found another true stallion: Timothy Thatcher. Oh my! Thatcher wouldn’t fist bump Riddle – he wanted to rush the ring and get to business. Riddle hit his pose and Thatcher paced behind him, keeping his eyes on UE.

Riddle started with Fish. The two danced around a bit and Riddle hit a waistlock takedown. Riddle wrapped Fish up in various submission attempts, but Fish got to a rope. Reset, Strong interfered and Fish took down Riddle. The two continued to jockey for position on the mat. Riddle rolled Fish into a cover for two, then hit a suplex and Fish bailed, leading into commercial. No Thatcher yet.

Upon return, Riddle backed Strong to the face corner and tagged. Thatcher hit a suplex and started manipulating joins immediately. Strong wanted the Stronghold but Thatcher reversed and yanked Strong from the ropes and put him in a broken arrow, then leaned for a two count. Strong took advantage of a ref opening and got a shot in, then tagged. Senton bomb by Fish, who then stomped a leg. The two reversed on the mat for some time. Strong tagged in. Thatcher hit a big uppercut and tagged Riddle. Tandem offense, butterfly suplex by Thatcher and a running PK by Riddle for two. Gut-wrench suplex and another. Thatcher cut off interference by Fish and he and Riddle did gut-wrenches at the same time. Riddle covered for two. Outside the ring, Fish sucker-punched Thatcher and Strong took control in the ring. Tag to Fish.

Fish hit a suplex and covered for two. Tag again and the two double-teamed Riddle in the corner. Backbreaker by Strong for two. Strong dumped Riddle and tagged. UE put Riddle in the steps. Strong and Fish looked to the corner and said “Who’s that?” Off in a corner of the room, Dexter Lumis was under a pin spot and staring coldly at the action. In the ring, Riddle tried to fight off both of UE but Strong hit an Olympic Slam for a long two.

Riddle and Fish were legal. Riddle threw forearms but Fish took him down with a leg kick. Snap suplex by Fish, followed by some ground and pound. Clubbing forearm by Fish. Fish continued leaning on Riddle and hit a snap suplex. He held on and did another, but Riddle reversed the third and hit a fisherman suplex. He fought off a now-legal Strong to make the hot tag (is it still a hot tag with no crowd?). Side slams for everyone. Uppercuts and body shots by Thatcher. The ref backed up Thatcher and Strong got in a shot, but Thatcher hit an enzuigiri. Fujiwara armbar by Thatcher, but Strong reached the rope. Strong got in a few shots but one big chop from the much bigger Thatcher put him down. Thatcher fought off an interfering Bobby Fish, but Strong got a shot in and tagged. Running knee by Fish for two. Tag to Strong. Another knee by Fish and Strong covered for two. UE wanted a double-team but Matt Riddle broke them up and dumped Fish. Thatcher put the Fujiwara armbar on Strong for the immediate tap.

WINNERS: Matt Riddle & Timothy Thatcher at 22:07, including commercials.

Riddle tried to get Thatcher to dance, but he wasn’t about it.

(Wells’s Analysis: Thatcher is a good partner for Riddle in much the same way as Pete Dunne. He’s a no-nonsense technical wizard, but still accepts Riddle as a running mate and is good-natured about it. Depending on how long this thing drags on, I’m thinking the champs stay champs until Dunne returns)

-Tommaso Ciampa, backstage, was set to acknowledge that Johnny Gargano was the better man. My app acted up and cut the feed right there, so Tom Stoup sent me what happened:

“In so many words, with a tone of “well the people saw what really happened so what the f*&k,” he said Johnny was the better man and he’s now DONE with Johnny and Candice. Then, unidentifiable in the moment, Killer Kross snatched him from behind and the camera tipped over… the beatdown sound effects were gnarly. Then Scarlett Bordeaux’s platform heel stepped into frame. Then the heel on a platform crawled over to Ciampa’s face and said “tick tock” then snarled into the camera”

(Wells’s Analysis: I wish I could have seen that. Well, I will eventually)

FINAL THOUGHTS: After a day of massive cuts by WWE, you’d never know it to see this show, which was affected far less than the other two brands. However, that’ll all change when we see the Drake Maverick matches, starting next week. Tozawa and Swerve had a good, mean match and the main event was very good as well, with the welcome and genuine surprise addition of Timothy Thatcher into a featured role right off the bat. The insight into Keith Lee was very good as well. Whether or not WWE should be running shows at all is a great question, but this particular show was enjoyable.


2 Comments on 4/15 NXT ON USA REPORT: Wells’s report on Riddle & mystery partner vs. Fish & Strong, Cruiserweight championship league beginning

  1. “Seriously, though, why not whip out his phone and play some stupid app games to pass the time?”

    They established that Velveteen accidentally left his phone on Brandi Lauren’s nightstand on Bring The Elite this week.

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