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WELLS’S NXT TV REPORT
APRIL 29, 2020
LIVE IN ORLANDO, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY KELLY WELLS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, Tom Phillips
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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-Recaps of last week focused entirely on the Cruiserweight Championship tournament, with nearly everyone getting a soundbyte. Tom Phillips teed up the show and introduced announcers Mauro Ranallo and Beth Phoenix
(1) ISAIAH “SWERVE” SCOTT vs. EL HIJO DEL FANTASMA – Group B Cruiserweight Championship tournament match
Fantasma and his generic music were introduced second; I still assume the music is a placeholder because he’ll be turning heel at the end of all this.
Collar and elbow. Quick rollup by Fantasma for one, and he told Swerve he almost had him. Waistlock takedown and la majistral cradle for two by Fantasma, and he taunted Swerve again. Quick reversals and a headscissor takedown by Swerve. Dropkick sent Fantasma outside. Swerve gave chase but Fantasma blocked a kick and hit a step-up enzuigiri. Back inside and Fantasma threw chops. Swerve crotched a charging Fantasma on the ropes, then went and jumped up from the second rope for a Frankensteiner for two. Ground and pound by Swerve. Rope run, headscissor by Fantasma. Back outside and Swerve laid out Fantasma with a pump kick from the apron leading to commercial.
Swerve had Fantasma grounded with an armbar upon return, and wrapped up Fantasma’s head with his leg as well. Fantasma tried to wrest Swerve away from him, but Swerve went up for a sunset flip from the top, but Fantasma rolled through and hit a dropkick. Double knees in the corner from Fantasma. Fantasma went up and hit a Frankensteiner from the top, then went up and hit a frog splash for a long two. Swerve got to his feet and the two exchanged chops and forearms. Headbutt from Swerve took down Fantasma. Deadlift German by Swerve and Fantasma bailed. Swerve missed a flip and Fantasma hurried in, then hit a tope. Back in and both guys went for their finishers and got blocked. Swerve rolled up Fantasma in a crucifix and it was good to finish.
WINNER: Isaiah “Swerve” Scott at 11:19.
Swerve said after the match that he knew he was taking this one. He gave Fantasma all his respect but with the game on the line, he’s the one who should get the ball. He said this will be Swerve’s house.
(Wells’s Analysis: Swerve gets on the board and can still win his group, and I think he might, actually. Fine action with a finish that shouldn’t damage Fantasma, though new talents losing due to the necessity of round robins like this is why we don’t see much of this type of tournament in the states. Jack Gallagher likely goes over Tozawa in their match, because if he doesn’t, Swerve is eliminated before his final match)
-Dominik Dijakovic gave a walking interview outside. He said Johnny Gargano was a victim. He said he was brought up to respect people, and Johnny has none of that. He said last week, Johnny went on and on but didn’t say anything about how he’d back it up in the ring. He challenged Gargano to a match next week.
-During the break, Fantasma was giving an interview in Spanish when he was jumped by the two masked luchadors by the barricade. he fought them off and went up the ramp.
(2) KACY CATANZARO vs. CANDICE LERAE
Candice had new music that sounded like European metal. Her new tron video called her the “Poison Pixie.” Johnny Gargano talked her to the ring and said she was the best wrestler in the world.
Candice backed Kacy into the ring. Clean break and Kacy jumped away. Candice asked why she was scared. Test of strength. Candice put Kacy to the mat, but Kacy kipped up and hit a waistlock. Headscissor takedown by Kacy, but LeRae came back with a snap mare and a Mr. Perfect neckbreaker. Senton atomico by Kacy got two. Drop toehold by Kacy, but a splash hit LeRae’s knees for a one count.
Side slam by Candice by two. Candice transitioned into a facelock, then shoved Kacy to the mat and rolled her up for two. She got a little frustrated and shrugged at Johnny, who was sitting outside. Wheelbarrow slam by Candice. Candice wanted Gargano Escape but Kacy rolled her up for two. Candice got angry and said “You’re going to embarrass me in front of my husband?” and lit up Kacy in the corner. Candice hit a stomp called The Wicked Stepsister to finish.
WINNER: Candice LeRae at 4:01.
After the match, Candice hit the ring again and put Kacy in the Gargano Escape as Johnny slid into the ring and stared on lovingly.
(Wells’s Analysis: Candice was rolled up on the Gargano Escape attempt as a result of her looking out for Johnny’s approval, or just to share a taunt. Candice’s heel act is working very well already.)
-Backstage, Damian Priest said his moment had arrived. He tells Keith Lee he knows after last week, it must be hard to take a deep breath. He finally gets to finish what he started months ago. He says Keith will bask in the glory of the new North American champion.
-The tag team champions, Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher, hit the ramp. Riddle, holding both belts, said that a lot of people complain about teams that get put together by NXT, but he and Pete Dunne are a real team, and so are he and Thatcher. He said he’ll prove they’re a real team on…The NewlyBros Show! Byron Saxton hit the ring in an open-topped suit and asked Timothy Thatcher if it was true that he had taken a man’s eye out of his eye socket. Thatcher said yes, and there was a laugh track.
Saxton asked Riddle what he had for breakfast, and he wrote it down. Saxton asked Thatcher and he said he had no idea. Riddle showed his white board, which said “no idea bro” so they got a point. Riddle said he doesn’t remember because “he typically wakes…and the wife bakes.” It was established on the next question that Thatcher didn’t own a TV, so Saxton asked if he was never able to Netflix and Chill. Thatcher said he doesn’t need Netflix to Chill.
Thatcher was asked where was the weirdest place he had “done it” and he said he had a triple threat in a laundromat. Riddle had written down “Threesome on a washer” so they got a point. Saxton said the speed round was next, but before it could go off, Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel charged the ramp and laid out the champs for a moment, but Thatcher got the better of them, using his rangy arms to batter them until the double-team was too much. After they laid out Thatcher, Imperium’s music played and they held up the tag team belts, then draped them over the fallen Thatcher.
(Wells’s Analysis: This show has long leaned away from what the main roster does, but that segment would look right at home on Raw. There were some okay bits, but Thatcher isn’t built for comedy, even as a straight man in a comedy scene, so it didn’t all land like it could have. If they got away with this, it’s probably because it was kept brief)
-Tom Phillips made mention of the Make-a-Wish foundation, celebrating the fortieth anniversary of their first wish. A video showed several wishes granted by WWE over the last number of years and mentioned you can donate at at wish.org/wwe.
-Adam Cole said that apparently, next week we’re going to get Cole vs. Velveteen Dream for the championship on NXT. He said Dream doesn’t really deserve it, but he’s going to do his business anyway, and the Dream will be over. A graphic promoted the match, which I think a lot of people thought might be delayed due to the…interesting…Dream news of late.
(3) MIA YIM vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR
Non-title. Champ entered second.
The two circled around a bit. Charlotte backed Mia into a corner. Headlock by Charlotte, and Mia couldn’t break free. “Come on, Mia,” Charlotte taunted. Chops by Charlotte took Mia down. Irish whip, Flair flip, but Charlotte drove a shoulder into Mia and got two. Big boot by Charlotte missed, and Mia lit up Charlotte with some shots. Cannonball in the corner, tornado DDT by Mia for two. Mia wanted a suplex but Flair elbowed out. Flair ran Mia to the ropes, and she stopped and did a taunt. Flair bailed, Mia charged and Charlotte cut it off with a forearm as the show went to commercial.
Charlotte dumped Mia through the top two ropes, then stomped her as she got back in. Charlotte bridged Mia over the top rope to stretch her out, then threw a big chop. In the corner, Charlotte leaned on Mia with a boot, and Mauro called out that it was Charlotte taunting with her own version of Seoul Food. Rope run, Mia got backdropped but rolled through. Mia hit the tarantula until the four count, then wanted a side suplex but Flair yanked Mia’s hair and then elbowed Mia to the mat and told her to bow down. Charlotte put the boots to Mia. Mia got up and threw forearms, then hit Seoul Food. Mia charged the corner but Charlotte caught her with a blade runner into the turnbuckle. Mia caught Charlotte in a rollup for two, then threw hard kicks to a kneeling Charlotte. Charlotte caught a charging Mia and put her in a high Boston Crab. Mia reversed and rolled her up for two. Charlotte with a big boot for two. Charlotte wanted a figure four but Mia hit a small package for two. Mia wanted Protect Ya Neck but Charlotte reversed to the Figure Eight to finish.
WINNER: Charlotte Flair at 10:51.
After the match, Io Shirai’s music played, bringing her to the ramp. Io stormed down the ramp, yelling in Japanese, but she ended with “Next week…you are mine!”
-A short vignette hyped that Karrion Kross and Scarlett would appear on NXT next week.
(Wells’s Analysis: Very good match here, right up there with Mia’s best. Next week’s show is getting loaded nicely – Charlotte-Io, Johnny-Dominik, Dream-Cole and the first in-ring appearance of Karrion Kross, Scarlett or both. I wouldn’t be overly surprised if Riddle and Thatcher face Imperium as well)
-Backstage, a trainer was checking on Kacy Catanzaro as Kayden Carter hung around for support. Gargano and LeRae passed by and said “From now on, this is the new NXT. Get used to it.”
-Tom Phillips said there’s still no word on who attacked Finn Balor last week, but next week, Finn will be on NXT and he’s furious.
(4) DEXTER LUMIS vs. SHANE THORNE
It’s been a while since we saw Thorne, who looked to be settling nicely into a Kassius Ohno role. This match is a pretty clear continuation of the idea that Lumis did indeed turn face last week and there should be no doubt.
Thorne tried to intimidate Lumis, who wasn’t impressed. Thorne threw a chop, which seemed to both intrigue and enrage Lumis. Rope run, Thesz press by Lumis. Big uppercut by Lumis. Hard rights in the corner, but Thorne slipped out and threw kicks to Lumis. Thorne wanted a tornado DDT but Lumis launched Thorne halfway across the ring. Thorne raked the eyes of Lumis, and from Lumis’s response I think he really got him. Dropkick by Thorne, and more in the corner. Thorne measured Lumis but charged right into a huge spinebuster. Lumis hit a uranage and held on for a triangle, and Thorne passed out and the ref called for the bell.
WINNER: Dexter Lumis at 3:29.
Lumis held Thorne’s head in his lap and rubbed his head after the match. He’s a gentle serial killer.
(Wells’s Analysis: Thorne was doing some fun gatekeeper heel work a handful of months back – right after the Breakout tournament – so it’s nice to see him on TV even for a couple of minutes. Lumis seems like he’d be hot right now, but it’ll be tough to tell until the audience returns)
-In a wwe.com exclusive last week, Jake Atlas told Drake Maverick (outside, after their match) that he believed in him, and thought he was great. A dejected Maverick said “Thanks, mate” as Atlas headed off.
-Keith Lee, backstage, put on his best low gutteral voice to sell the shot to the larynx from Damian Priest last week. He said Damian wants to live forever? So will the beating he gives him.
(5) DRAKE MAVERICK vs. TONY NESE – Group A Cruiserweight Championship tournament match
Nese doesn’t care about Drake’s story. He smirked as Maverick as he went to the ring.
Nese shoved back Drake and posed. Drake charged but got hit with a hard right, and Nese chuckled and said Drake would have to do better. Drake charged in but Nese lifted him, ran him to the corner and stomped a mudhole. He rolled Drake into the center of the ring and gave him a hard kick to the back. He taunted Drake, “I thought you were fighting for your life here!” Nese hit a body slam and kicked down at Drake’s head. He picked Drake up and Drake threw shots, but Nese hung Drake over the top rope leading to commercial.
Nese had Drake in a headlock on the mat. Snap mare and another kick to the spine by Nese. Nese mocked Drake and asked if he was going to cry, because people love to see it. Drake seethed with rage. Nese tossed Maverick to the corner, but Drake no-sold the shot and lost his mind and went at Nese in the corner. Basement dropkick in the corner. To the top, Drake kicked Nese away and hit a missile dropkick. Corner cutter was blocked and Nese hit a German suplex into the bottom of the turnbuckle. Nese exposed his knee and leaned on Drake, then charged and missed. Corner cutter got a long two for Drake. Drake went up and missed a diving elbow. Nese went up for a 450 but Drake crotched him on top and followed. Big bulldog from the top rope finished!
WINNER: Drake Maverick at 10:01.
Drake said tonight’s win was sweet, and he said he loved this, he lives for this, and he’s not leaving without becoming the NXT Cruiserweight Champion.
(Wells’s Analysis: Now that last week’s discomfort is in the rear-view mirror, and it’s fairly evident Drake will be staying around after all, it doesn’t quite have the emotion of last week but this still worked. Nese did his part, laying the heel act on thick, so Drake really had a bastard to overcome. Good action, though it was mostly a heat sequence with a short flurry for Drake to finish)
-A video package hyped the North American Championship match coming up in our main event.
-Graphics hyped next week’s big matches: Io-Charlotte, Dijakovic-Gargano and Cole-Dream.
(6) KEITH LEE (c) vs. DOMINIK DIJAKOVIC – North American Championship match
Champ entered second, looking intense. He glared into Priest as Priest smirked out at him. Alicia Taylor handled formal introductions. The match started at 16 to the hour.
Priest hit a back elbow but Lee hit a cross-body just after. Priest went for a springboard and ate fist. Big clothesline by Lee sent Priest to the outside. Lee beat Priest over the barricade, and Priest took a breather as referee Darryl Sharma invited them back. Lee put up Priest in a gorilla press and, from behind the barricade, threw Priest to the apron. Lee wanted a powerslam, but Priest broke away and slipped out of the way as Lee charged through the barricades heading to commercial.
Priest was in control with a headlock. He shot the arrow and hit a splash in the corner, and wanted a suplex but Lee put the knees to Priest and hit a deadlift. Priest changed trajectory to hit a hangman’s neckbreaker, then went for another suplex that Lee blocked. Lee created space and pounced, and Priest went charging back-first into the buckles. Both guys fought to their feet and went at it, with Lee getting the better of Priest with shots and a big chokeslam. Priest bailed, corkscrew pescado by Lee, because of course he can do that too.
Back in and Lee covered for two. Massive lariat by Lee for a long two. Mauro said somewhere, Stan Hansen was smiling. Priest blocked a Spirit Bomb and a chokeslam, then hit a big boot. He clubbed Lee over and over, though Lee blocked as many as landed. Broken Arrow by Priest and Lee bailed. Priest sailed over the corner to clear out Lee. Back inside and Priest went up and hit a spinning back kick for two. To the corner, Lee walked both of them up and hit a deadlift suplex. Cover for two. Priest blocked a shot, then hit a pump kick and a chokeslam for two. Priest sold frustration, and went out for his nightstick. He distracted the ref with the belt, then tried to put the nightstick to Lee, who casually caught it. Grizzly Magnum. Lee calmly handed the nightstick to the ref without looking. Spirit Bomb. Lee held on and hit one more Spirit Bomb.
WINNER: Keith Lee at 14:31.
(Wells’s Analysis: No surprise that these two guys came together and did some good work. I wouldn’t have been overly shocked to see a title change here, freeing up Lee for a run at the top title or maybe move on to the main roster, but that’ll continue to be the question for a while.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This didn’t have the sizzle of last week, but it did provide step two in a few areas: the second extended Candice LeRae heel segment, the second step in Fantasma-luchadors, the second step in Drake Maverick’s redemption and the second step in Dexter Lumis’s apparent face run. The NewlyBros segment is sure to polarize at best and annoy at worst, but I felt it was short enough to be mostly inoffensive. As always with the Riddle-partner segments, they can be cute at times, but there’s always a risk of overexposure. The Cruiserweight championship tournament continued with a couple of nice matches, and with half the field having worked two matches, nobody yet is 2-0, so the tournament is likely to find a built-in first challenger because the winner will likely have lost to someone in Group play.
The main event was the typical match that these guys and Dominik Dijakovic provide: great feats of strength with some convincing near-falls, tempered dramatically by the fact that there’s no crowd to react to the match they’re putting together.
Next week is a big show, and I’m interested to see what happens after that, as it seems NXT is running with a pretty light roster from week to week at the moment. A decent show, though it’s likely to come off as filler between two very good weeks in the end. Follow me on social media @spookymilk, and use the link at the top to join me, Tom Stoup and Nate Lindberg for some banter about tonight’s show live on PWT Talks NXT.