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WELLS’S NXT TAKEOVER: IN YOUR HOUSE REPORT
JUNE 7, 2020
LIVE IN WINTER PARK, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY KELLY WELLS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Mauro Ranallo, Tom Phillips, Beth Phoenix
Tonight after NXT TakeOver, join Tom Stoup and Nate Lindberg as they take over “Wrestling Night in America” live to break down the show with live callers and mailbag.
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Tonight after the show, I’ll be on Triple H’s conference call. I may join Tom and Nate later on Wrestling Night in America, depending on how long each show goes.
-Todd Pettengill opened the show. Wow. He said he had been honored to be part of the first-ever In Your House event, and now he was proud to be a part of NXT’s reboot. He started running down the card, complete with his voiceover hype and the old music used for his hype segments. Pettengill looked utterly the same despite some age lines and, of course, no mullet anymore.
-Code Orange opened the show with whatever track was the official song of the show. The old set for the early In Your House shows was present behind them on the ramp. An inset photo hyped their album “Underneath.” There were some timing issues during closeups that made it pretty clear this was a lip-synced performance. After the performance, the camera briefly panned across the audience, showing some future NXT stars pounding on the glass and chanting “NXT.”
(1) SHOTZI BLACKHEART & TEGAN NOX & MIA YIM vs. DAKOTA KAI & RAQUEL GONZALEZ & CANDICE LERAE
The above was the order they were introduced (Kai and Gonzalez were introduced together). Beth blurred kayfabe lines by saying “Candice is enjoying this new turn…in her personality.”
Yim and LeRae opened. LeRae annoyed the crowd by tagging Raquel. Collar and elbow. Raquel tossed Yim into her own corner. Yim wanted a waistlock but got tossed away. Yim hit some chops and then jumped into a guillotine, but Raquel tossed her to her own corner again, where Nox tagged herself in. Nox also ran into a Mack truck. Raquel stood on Nox’s arm and tagged Kai, who was supporting newly dyed hair of serveral tones. Both hit rollups for two. They exchanged a couple more rollups, then hit dual headbutts. Kai collapsed in the corner and Nox hit a cannonball there for two. Shotzi tagged in and hit a big boot, then slammed Kai on her face. Kai hit a scorpion kick to get back in it and got a one count. Kai tagged LeRae, who wanted a step-up senton but missed. Roundhouse kick by Shotzi sent her outside. The heels regrouped there and Shotzi hit a tope, but Raquel caught and slammed her. Yim hit a tope on the other heels, and then LeRae hit a springboard plancha. Nox went up and hit a Molly-Go-Round, called as such by Beth, leaving all six women laying on the floor.
Shotzi and Candice hit the ring. Shotzi hit a meteora and a senton against the ropes for two. Shotzi hit a double underhook with a bridge, but Kai ran in and broke it up. As the ref got hung up with Kai, Raquel hit the ring and hit a lariat on Shotzi. Candice covered for two, then tagged Kai. Kai mocked the faces who tried to hype up Shotzi, then leaned on Shotzi in a neutral corner. Tag to Raquel, who stomped a mudhole in the heel corner; Kai yanked Shotzi’s hair from the outside. Kai tagged in and missed a face wash in her corner, and Shotzi hit a step-up enzuigiri, but Kai landed in her own corner and Candice tagged in. Shotzi crawled under Candice’s legs and made the tag to Yim, who lit up Candice with shots and a neckbreaker. Dragon suplex by Yim got two. Yim went for Seoul Food, but Lerae blocked and hit a side suplex.
Both made tags, and Nox and Raquel were legal. Nox went for quick shots, then stomped Raquel’s toes and attempted to cut her legs out from under her. Powerbomb got two by Raquel but Yim broke it up. Yim and LeRae battled up the ramp and…exited the building?
In the ring the four all battled and Kai accidentally hit a face wash on Raquel. Shotzi and Nox cleared out Raquel, and Nox hit the Shiniest Wizard on Kai to finish. The announcers called out Nox getting some revenge with this pin combination.
WINNERS: Nox, Yim and Blackheart at 9:50.
(Wells’s Analysis: Interesting finish, given Nox is ice cold and still lacks direction, and Kai seemingly has more to latch onto right now. Nox seems like a lead character in a movie that’s surrounded by more interesting characters, and is only coming off as a central character because we’re being told so. NXT really has to give her some dimension to justify any imminent push)
-A Lord Alfred Hayes soundalike said “Promotional consideration paid for by the following,” leading to a spot for WWE ice cream bars.
-Short hype video for the next match.
(2) FINN BALOR vs. DAMIAN PRIEST
Priest was introduced first. Finn primarily got cheers, and given the audience is entirely made up of NXT personnel, it seems he’s less tweener and more babyface at this point (or perhaps they’re cheering because he’s up against a clear heel).
Balor interrupted his own pre-match routine to dropkick Priest from the ring. Priest angrily jawed from outside and hit the ring, where both threw shots. Action spilled outside and Finn hit a running forearm. Priest reversed Balor into the steps. Priest had new ring gear – long white pants with several fishnet segments. They’re…different. Priest set up the steps away from the ring. Balor charged him but got caught, and from the steps, Priest slammed him on the apron.
Both reentered the ring. Priest stomped a grounded Balor and mocked him. Balor got up but got shoved into a corner. Balor ran right into a jumping flatliner. Priest mounted Finn for a couple of shots and a big jumping elbow to a rope-running Balor. Cover for one. Priest trapped one arm and held onto a headlock while the crowd tried to clap Finn back into it. Finn got to his feet briefly but Priest grounded him again. Balor broke it with a jawbreaker, but Priest kicked Finn into a corner. Balor hit a big boot and then a flying forearm, finally staggering Priest. Balor countered a suplex with a very nice-looking one of his own. Balor dropkicked Priest from the apron to the floor, then went at Priest near the barricade. Balor wanted a tope but Priest popped back into the ring and clotheslined him down.
Priest wanted Razor’s Edge, which was blocked, but he hit a Broken Arrow. Balor took down Priest and hit a double stomp, and both guys sold on the mat. Priest threw knees and the two exchanged shots in the middle of the ring. Balor hit a Pele kick for a long two. The crowd rallied for Balor and Mauro invoked the white-hot crowd back at the must-see In Your House: Canadian Stampede in 1997.
Action spilled outside, and Priest hit Razor’s Edge on the apron, then rolled him inside for two. Priest shot his arrow and hit a huge back elbow in the corner, and then another. Finn cut off a third with a sling blade, but he ran into a roundhouse kick. Another roundhouse, but Balor reversed and slammed down Priest. Shotgun dropkick by Balor sent Priest into a corner and to the mat. Balor went up, but Priest popped up and followed, and he chokslammed Balor to the mat for a long two. Both guys sold as the ref counted until they each hit different ropes.
Priest hit his feet first,and he referred outside the ring to the steps that were still there, because Chekhov’s law always applies. Action went to the apron, where Priest wanted a Razor’s Edge on the steps, but Finn wriggled free and pushed back Priest from the apron. Priest took a gutsy bump by falling back on the stairs without looking. Insane impact on his back. Priest hit the ring but Balor hit the Coup de Grace on Priest. He hit one more for good measure. Mauro pointed out that Finn Balor has the record for TakeOver victories with eleven.
WINNER: Finn Balor at 13:07.
(Wells’s Analysis: Excellent, hard-hitting match between these two; Priest no-sold or little-sold some impact moves to really drive home how unbeatable he his. Balor’s matches sometimes seem samey, but this one seemed to avoid that problem. Before the match I figured this to be the usual TakeOver unofficial #1 Contender’s match, so it’ll be interesting to see if that’s the case. The Kross-Ciampa match could be that as well)
-Adam Cole did Bret Hart’s old ICOPRO spot, along with the Canadian pronunciation of “about.”
(3) KEITH LEE (c) vs. JOHNNY GARGANO – NXT North American Championship match
A video ran down the strong build toward this match, involving both Mia Yim and Candice LeRae, who clearly continued their feud tonight as they disappeared from the six-woman opener.
Champ entered second, and he glared hard into the ring at Gargano rather than do the usual jolly routine. He had “Black Lives Matter” prominently displayed on the back of his vest. “Go bask in his glory” chant.
Johnny danced around and Lee stood firm. Johnny reached in and got thrown across the ring by his hand. Gargano hit a headlock but Lee toss him off. Looks like Gargano may have unintentionally caught Lee in the eye; Lee has a cornea tear right now as well. Gargano charged and Lee effortlessly blocked him down. Gargano bailed, then drew Lee out. He went for a tope and got caught. Lee wanted a powerslam on the steps, but Gargano grabbed a rope, escaped, and hit a superkick. Lee wanted a Spirit Bomb but Gargano went after the eye. Lee stared him down and yanked him back out as he tried to escape. Gargano tried to escape through the door on the house on the ramp, and we got a Ring Doorbell POV as Gargano pounded on the door. Lee came up behind him, smashed him into the door and kicked him down the ramp.
Action went back into the ring and Gargano hit a headlock and threw frequent shots to try to keep Lee grounded. Gargano attacked Lee’s fingers but Lee tossed him away again. Lee hit a big left, but sold the pain from his also-injured hand. Gargano hit a dropkick as Lee tried to recover, then held a headlock and threw punches in a corner until the ref broke it. Gargano stepped on Lee’s left hand and worked the eye again to boos. Gargano hit a chop in the corner and raked the eye, the threw forearms. Lee tossed Gargano away but he quickly recovered with a boot, then leaned on Lee’s head on the second turnbuckle as the ringside goons laid on the boos.
Gargano took Lee’s hand and wrapped it backwards around the chain holding the ropes to the buckles, then reminded the crowd they’re lucky they get to watch him perform. Back in the ring, Gargano hit a headlock and leaned hard into it on the mat as Lee sold agony. Lee started to fight to his feet but Johnny dropped an elbow to put a stop to it. Springboard knees and a float-over for two. Gargano continued to throw lefts at Lee’s head, near his eye, as he was on his knees. The crowd went UK on us and started chanting “Johnny sucks” to the tune of the Imperial March.
Lee finally hit his feet and took Gargano down with a couple of shots. Gargano hit a step-up enzuigiri but missed a neckbreaker and Lee hit a backbreaker for a quick two. Lee had Gargano down but Gargano went through his legs. Lee hit a big forearm. The two exchanged shots and Lee hit less frequently, but with much more impact. Gargano ran the ropes and jumped up into an armbar, but Lee lifted Gargano. Gargano wrenched Lee’s joints to drop back into it. Johnny broke the hold and went for some clotheslines, which didn’t ground Lee. Lee took down Gargano with a lariat and covered for two.
Lee slowly stalked Gargano as he crawled around. Lee put up Gargano for a powerbomb, but Gargano rolled over into a sunset flip for a near-fall. The audience did “Gargano sucks” to John Cena’s music. They’re getting goofy. Gargano threw feet with both grounded, and the two hit their feet and hit frequent reversals. Superkick by Gargano. Headbutt by Gargano. Lee wanted Big Bang Catastrophe but Gargano rolled through for another near-fall. Pop-up slam by Lee and Gargano rolled a few feet and out of the ring. Gargano sold on the floor while Lee did the same on the mat.
Lee recovered and tossed Gargano back into the ring. He put up his hand on a rope to pull himself up, and Gargano kicked it, then threw himself through the ropes and hit a DDT on the floor. Gargano attempted to lift up Lee to get him in the ring to win the title, and the referee got to eight and Gargano charged the ref to break it up. Gargano went back outside and Lee hit his Pounce and threw Gargano threw a plexiglass barricade just away from the crowd. Lee followed Gargano out to where he was laying and dragged him around the barricade by one arm. Lee carried Gargano like a sack of potatoes back to the ring, but just before he entered, Candice LeRae showed up. Mia Yim showed up right behind her, and the women brawled in and then out of the ring.
As the ref handled the women, Gargano reached into his trunks and used his keys on Lee’s eye. One Final Beat for a near-fall. Superkick for another. Another superkick couldn’t quite finish. Lee got on his hands and knees and Gargano stomped a hand. Lee wrapped his other hand around Gargano’s neck and got up and hit the Spirit Bomb. He stared with disgust at Gargano and stalked him once more. He pumped himself up for another Spirit Bomb, then hit Big Bang Catastrophe to retain.
WINNER: Keith Lee at 20:35.
(Wells’s Analysis: These two could easily have had the usual high-octane affair, and while the match had some of those elements, the psychology made it a much stronger all-around match. Lee’s various injuries made it seem like he was being protected in a championship loss, and Gargano continued to shine in a heel role. While Balor holds the record for TakeOver wins, Gargano holds the record for losses. Mauro didn’t bring that one up, of course)
-A commercial hyped “Ric Flair: Final Farewell” after the show.
-Another “promotional consideration” commercial promoted Good Humor Cookie Sandwiches. Tegan Nox, Shotzi Blackheart and Bronson Reed enjoyed some big bites.
-A hype package for the Backlot Brawl started, so apparently they’ll show this before finishing with Ciampa-Kross and the women.
(4) VELVETEEN DREAM vs. ADAM COLE (c) – Backlot Brawl for the NXT Championship
Previously filmed. Dream showed up second in a fancy car (I’d tell you what it is, but I don’t know cars), dressed as Negan from The Walking Dead. Referee Drake Wuertz announced he was there only to count the finish, and anything goes. He said William Regal told them to enjoy the spotlight. The match began in a ring set up outside, surrounded by cars with their lights on, clearly shot later at night than it is now.
There was no bell, but Dream rolled up Cole for a couple of near-falls and hit an Oklahoma Roll for another. Cole hit a big boot to stop the flurry. The video quality was strong, but some of the lights from the cars were so bright, they were distracting. Cole attempted to leave in a car, and Dream took “Lucille” (Negan’s baseball bat) and started laying waste to the car to draw Cole out. the two exchanged shots near the car. A vehicle drove up next to them and the driver asked if someone called for an Uber. The briefly fought in and out of the van and Wuertz said “You may want to leave, ma’am” and she did.
Cole attempted to go into a building somewhere back on the lot and Dream stopped him. Dream attempted to smash a garbage can on Cole, who moved. Cole drew Dream in and yanked him back into a parking meter. Cole tried to find an escape but no doors were unlocked. Dream stalked Cole and wondered where he’d gone. He found an unlocked door and went through, but the second he stepped in, Cole sprayed him with a fire extinguisher. Cole battered Dream and ripped his shirt (Dream wore a plain purple shirt and black jeans). Cole battered Dream around the concrete environment right by all the trucks parked around the ring.
Dream recovered and drove Cole’s head into a ringpost, then posed on the apron and dropped a double ax-handle and the match went inside, but Cole rolled frantically to the other side to avoid a cover. Cole tried to call for a time out. Dream went to the top turnbuckle and jumped down to the concrete outside, where Cole hit a superkick. Cole went to the apron and jumped down right into a superkick by Dream. Mostly-unseen wrestlers chanted “Velveteen.”
Dream slammed Cole onto the hood of the same car he attacked with the baseball bat earlier, and then he found a ladder offscreen and brought it over. He set it near the car and mounted Cole on the hood and threw a few forearms. Dream set up the ladder right by the hood of the car and jawed as he went up. An arriving car turned on its brights and leaned on the horn to distract Dream. It was, of course, the rest of Undisputed Era (still minus Kyle O’Reilly). Dream was still able to put Cole back through the car’s windshield, drawing significant blood from Cole’s arm. Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong took Dream down and then threw a ton of chairs into the ring from the back of the truck that Adam Cole had arrived in. Strong reached under the ring, but backed up when Dexter Lumis appeared from under the ring with a chair. Lumis destroyed the UE riffraff with chairshots and punches, then stuffed them in the trunk of an Impala. “Is this life imitating art?” Beth asked, after Lumis predicted Wednesday that this is what he’d do during this match.
Lumis drove off with the car, and the camera went back to Cole, who was crawling toward the ring and into it, where Dream, Wuertz, and about twenty chairs waited. Cole went to the second turnbuckle, and he wanted Panama Sunrise, but Dream caught him and hit Dream Valley Driver for two (he avoided the chairs, which made it clear it wasn’t the finish). Cole sat on a chair and Dream went up and hit a Purple Rainmaker through the chair for a long two.
Cole tried to crawl away and Dream stalked him. Dream jawed and hit the “Dream Over” catchphrase, but Cole hit a low blow, then hit Panama Sunrise into the pile of steel chairs to retain. “372 days and counting for NXT Champion Adam Cole,” Mauro said. Cole posed as there were boos and honks all around him.
WINNER: Adam Cole at about 14:55; no opening bell.
(Wells’s Analysis: I’m genuinely surprised by this finish, to the point where I’d say Dream almost has to be going up to Raw or SmackDown, since this was promoted as Dream’s final shot at the NXT Championship. I would have thought Cole and Lumis would feud away from the title, but it appears Lumis may actually have an opportunity to be in a main event program for the Championship)
-Todd Pettengill promoted WWEshop.com, particularly the NXT store, with his usual dad joke bit. He showed “some of our staff” backstage, which was Triple H, Road Dogg and Shawn Michaels arguing while trying to get a computer (maybe an Apple IIe) working.
-Hype for Kross-Ciampa.
(5) TOMMASO CIAMPA vs. KARRION KROSS (w/Scarlett)
Kross’s great entrance was first. Ciampa was intense as he slowly walked to the ring second while Mauro put over his NXT accomplishments.
Kross stared dead-eyed at Ciampa. Ciampa threw punches and Kross no-sold. Kross tossed Ciampa to a corner and hit a big boot. Kross hit a Saito suplex and smirked as Ciampa bailed. Kross chased him out but Ciampa put Kross’s head into the steps. Ciampa wanted Willow’s Bell but it was blocked. Kross hit a big kick on Ciampa and chokeslammed Ciampa out of the ring, then slammed him back on the edge of the apron and kept up the creepy smile. Ciampa sold as Kross kept it up.
Back to the ring. Kross threw knees in the corner, then ran across the ring while holding Ciampa and suplexed him to the middle of the ring. One more suplex from Kross as Ciampa sold complete decimation. Kross threw knees at Ciampa in the corner, then stood back and begged Ciampa to hit him. He suckered him in and hit a huge lariat. Shot exchange in the middle of the ring, and Ciampa finally got the upper hand with a step-up enzuigiri. Big knee at the ropes. Willow’s Bell got two. Ciampa hit a running knee. Another. He wanted Fairytale Ending, blocked, and Kross hit a massive F5. Kross Jacket was enough to knock out Ciampa, and the ref called it.
WINNER: Karrion Kross at 6:13.
(Wells’s Analysis: On PWT Talks NXT as well as the Blake and Sal show, I predicted (and promoted) a relatively quick win for Kross to give Ciampa something to fight for and come back from. This is going to end up being a huge step forward for both guys. The main roster has often blown these big-show debuts by having them go too long, but this is going to lead to some interesting places for both. The big question is how to keep a monster like Kross away from the NXT Championship for long, and whether a character like Kross should even be driven by gold)
-Code Orange was behind the plexiglass, watching the action. Elsewhere, a drunk(?) and disheveled Robert Stone was…kind of lazily caressing the NXT logo. Renee Young promoted herself interviewing Triple H on Facebook Live after the show.
-A video package ran down the strong build for the main event triple threat. This is only the second time the women have main evented TakeOver, with the Bayley-Sasha Banks Ironman match (TakeOver: Respect in October 2015) being the only other.
(6) RHEA RIPLEY vs. IO SHIRAI vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR (c) – triple threat match for the NXT Women’s Championship
Ripley was introduced first to a big pop from the wrestler-fans. Shirai was second and the champ entered last. Tom Phillips provided a stat on Championship matches by each: Io with 4, Rhea with 8 and Charlotte with 66.
Kelly Wells had a power outage, so the following is Wade Keller’s report on the main event…
Charlotte got the first sustained advantage. Ripley made a comeback. Shirai then took over on Charlotte and scored a two count. Ripley returned a couple minutes later and the pace picked up with rapid-fire three-way action. Shirai applied a sublission mid-ring, but Ripley kicked her. Charlotte stood up and gave her a boot to the face for a quick two count. Charlotte and Shirai exchanged near falls. Charlotte applied a Figure-Eight, but Ripley yanked Charlotte out of the ring by her arms just as she was bridging. Shirai dove through the ropes with a crossbody on Ripley at ringside. Charlotte threw Shirai through the window of the In Your House set. Ripley threw a planter full of dirt at Charlotte. Charlotte tackled Ripley. They rolled around and punched away at each other. Shirai climbed onto the top of the roof of house set onto both Charlotte and Ripley who were standing under her in perfect position to catch her. All three went down hard and were slow to get up.
Back in the ring, Shirai set up a moonsault for the top rope, but Ripley stopped her. Then she side-stepped a charging Charlotte who went shoulder-first into the corner. Ripley went for a superplex on Shirai, but Shirai slipped under her and then set up her own move from the top rope. She went for a Frankensteiner, but Ripley held on and then Charlotte kicked Shirai, who collapsed to the mat. Shirai got the better of Charlotte on the top rope and landed a Rip Ride off the second rope for a near fall. Mauro declared Ripley on her way to becoming champion, but Shirai broke up the cover just before three. Shirai and Ripley battled next. Ripley applied the Prism Trap. Charlotte broke it up with a cane. Phillips said it’s a triple threat match, so there are no disqualifications (which is a STUPID, STUPID RULE). Charlotte speared Ripley and put her in a figure-four. Then she bridged into the Figure-Eight, but Ripley landed a to rope moonsault onto Ripley. That broke the Figure-Eight, and Shirai scored a three count. Mauro channeled Rock and said, “Finally, Io Shirai is the NXT Champion!” Phoenix said it was a brilliant performance.
WINNER: Shirai in 19:00 to capture the NXT Title.