NXT HITS & MISSES 4/29: The Newly Bros Show with Riddle and Thatcher, Fantasma vs. Swerve Scott, Dijak calls out Gargano, LaRae’s new look, Damien Priest promo, Lee vs. Priest, Charlotte vs. Yim

By Nate Lindberg, PWTorch contributor

Matt Riddle (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

•NXT Interim Cruiserweight Tournament – Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. El Hijo del Fantasma – HIT : What a way to kick off this week’s episode of NXT. Last week, the cruiserweight matches were the highlight of my night, and this week was no different. Great to have Beth and Mauro on commentary again, seemingly remotely, as Tom Phillips was in the building and would throw to the commentary duo throughout the show. Swerve lost his first match against Akira Tozawa a couple of weeks ago and Fantasma entered the match 1-0. Swerve sold that urgency to win the match, needing to make sure he didn’t leave 0-2. A great story, as Fantasma had a counter for most of Swerve’s impressive offense throughout the match. It played right into the finish where the two men countered each other’s pinfalls until Swerve was able to keep Fantasma on the mat for the three count. After the match, Swerve was interviewed cut an absolutely amazing and heartfelt promo looking right into the camera, the eyes of the audience. He said that he needs this win more than anyone and we’ll all soon see why this is Swerve’s house.

•Dijak Calls Out Johnny Wrestling – HIT : We’ve wanted a bit more out of Dijakovic over the last few months in terms of character development. He didn’t learn more about Dijak, but he did cut what seemed to be a loosely scripted promo calling out Johnny Gargano next week. Might not have been the best promo in the world, but I give it a hit simply for them trying to give him more time to develop his character on screen.

•Fantasma Jumped – HIT: We were shown what happened during the commercial break, when the same masked luchadores to kidnap two other wrestlers attacked Fantasma as he left the ring. This gives some credence to our prediction on PWT Talks NXT that the former King Cuerno was going to play right into this angle.

•Candice LaRae vs. Kacy Catanzaro – HIT : Making her way to the ring with some new, dark entrance music, Candice LaRae and Johnny Gargano walked down the ramp. Johnny grabbed a mic and sang the praises of his wife and “favorite wrestler” as she finished her entrance. Kacy entered next, which certainly got a pop out of me. I’m so glad to see the former American Ninja Warrior back on TV! Beth Phoenix set the match up by saying that these women were former tag partners and had been good friends backstage, but who knows what will happen with Candice’s heelish transformation. Kacy looked great, showcasing her high flying and gymnastic abilities. A much more sinister Candice here, she played into this new character very well, especially after going back to beat on Kacy even more after she had already gotten the win.

•Damian Priest has Arrived – HIT : Priest was shown backstage and cut a promo on Keith Lee, stating that he gets to finish what he started months ago, and that when the night is over Lee will bask in the new NA Champion’s glory. I really liked this promo, as well as Dijak’s. Nothing over the top, but they are different and refreshing. No backstage interviewer, just the performer and a camera. Akin to the old ECW promos that would air at the end of their TV shows.

•The “New” Broserweights Address The TV Audience – 50/50: Timothy Thatcher and Matt Riddle appeared on stage and talked about how NXT has gotten a lot of flak lately for putting random singles wrestlers in tag teams. He called himself and Pete Dunne a real team, and even though they are newly together, so are he and Thatcher. He said tonight, they are going to show why they are they greatest tag team ever, as Riddle exclaimed that they will be the hosts of the Newly Bro Show! In a segment that harkened back to the 60s and 70s TV classic, The Newlywed Game, Byron Saxon actually hosted the segment. Saxon, with his game show announcer voice went over the rules of the gameshow as I completely zoned out. Saxon asked questions of each wrestler, and the other had to guess what the other would say by writing it down on a small whiteboard. The segment was entertaining to a point, but this isn’t NXT. This is RAW or Smackdown level “sports-entertainment”. Thankfully, Imperium also thought the same thing as Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner attacked the Tag Champs from behind. The brawl spilled into the ring as Imperium left Thatcher and Riddle battered and bruised.

•The NXT Champ Speaks – HIT : Adam Cole cut a promo saying that Dream won’t be able to overcome the odds and defeat him next week for the coveted NXT Championship. A short, but very well executed promo. All of them have been really well done this week.

•Mia Yim vs. Charlotte Flair – HIT : As said numerous times over the past few weeks, Charlotte’s first match in NXT was against Yim. The story of the match being that Charlotte has become arguably the best female competitor in all of WWE while Yim is still in NXT. Yim has a lot to prove here. If she wins, she gains a victory over the most decorated woman in recent memory. I want to make a quick correction, as I stated a few things incorrectly about this angle as part of this column and the PWT Talks NXT Dailycast over the past couple of weeks. Weeks ago during a video package, Charlotte said that Yim would get the first “lottery ticket” to face her in the ring, I interpreted it as Yim would be getting the first title shot, not just the first match against Charlotte on NXT TV. I was confused when this match started and it wasn’t announced for the title. I had to do a little research and found out that I was indeed incorrect all along! A great showing by Mia Yim, but ultimately she wound up staring at the lights. As we all assumed. As Flair was walking up the ramp, Io Shirai’s music hit and she stormed to the ring. She began ranting at Charlotte in Japanese. As the number one contender for Charlotte’s belt, I can assume she was saying something about beating Charlotte when their match comes to fruition. Honestly, I don’t care what she was saying. She came across as this crazed, ruthless fighter who will stop at nothing to claim that NXT Gold.

•Dexter Lumis vs. Shane Thorne – HIT : Candice LaRae wasn’t the only one sporting a new look tonight, Thorne came down to new music, attire and bleach blonde hair. As much as I like Lumis, I am confused as to whether he’s aligned face or heel. Tonight, he felt heel. Last week, he leaned face when helping in the main event. Thorne had a lot of fire tonight, I really like this gimmick tweak. Compared to his prior incarnation, this stands out much more.

•Lee Responds to Priest – HIT : Yet another heartfelt, excellent promo from one of these performers. Lee feels exactly like what you would want in a champion.

•NXT Interium Cruiserweight Tournament – Drake Maverick vs. Tony Nese – HIT : The bizarre saga of Maverick continued as he stepped in the ring against the much larger and more imposing Tony Nese. The announce team talked about how he hasn’t really been a wrestler here in the WWE, and he was best known as the GM of 205 live. I’d argue he was better known as the guy who couldn’t get his wife to consummate the marriage after his 24/7 championship obsession, but that’s just me. Maverick had barely any offense going into the first break. Nese just kept berating Maverick for crying on his Twitter video after finding out he lost his job, in real life. Maverick perservered through all of the bullying and all of the physical punishment. He finally “hulked” up and unleashed a torrent of punches and strikes on Nese, knocking Nese down for the first time in the match. Maverick pulled off a missile dropkick from the top, and went for his Corner Cutter before getting countered by Nese. It was all over for Maverick at this point, right? NOPE! Maverick counters Nese, nails a perfect Corner Cutter and only got a 2 count. He went up top for an elbow but alas, Nese rolled out of the way. As we think Nese is about to hit the 450, Maverick reverses and nails a bulldog from the top rope for the win! What a story! What a match! I loved everything about this match and the subsequent Maverick victory promo. Drake Maverick has made a lifelong fan out of me. If he doesn’t go all the way and win this, or at least retain his job after this stellar performance, I am going to be one disappointed dude.

•NXT North American Championship – Damian Priest vs. Keith Lee – HIT : Will Lee prove why we should bask in his limitless glory, or will Priest be able to bring NXT gold to the next party he goes to. Assuming he would still be champion once we can all actually gather in groups again. The match started with Lee tossing Priest all around the performance center. Literally tossing. Priest is a massive guy himself, that is no easy feat. Tests of strength like that would be a staple from both competitors throughout the match. Essentially trying to answer “Who is the better big man”? At the end of the match, Priest went to attack Lee with his retractable nightstick. Lee caught him, attacked, handed the nightstick to the referee and delivered two spirit bombs, consecutively, for the win. With Priest out of the way, who’s next for Lee and his North American Championship?


RECOMMENDED: 4/29 NXT ON USA REPORT: Wells’s report on Keith Lee vs. Damian Priest, Charlotte vs. Mia Yim, Drake Maverick vs. Tony Nese

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