8/12 NXT ON USA TV REPORT: Hustwaite’s “alt-perspective” report on the mystery partner reveal in main event, Bronson vs. Priest, Kross vs. Priest, Breeze vs. Escobar

By Matt Hustwaite, PWTorch contributor


AUGUST 12, 2020

Announcers: Vic Joseph, Beth Phoenix, Mauro Ranallo


– A highlights package of last week’s NXT show featured the Adam Cole and Pat McAfee confrontation and Karrion Kross threatening Keith Lee and General Manager William Regal.

– Vic Joseph joined the commentary team this week, broadcasting from Full Sail. Beth Phoenix and Mauro Ranallo joined the broadcast from their homes.

(1) DANNY BURCH vs. KARRION KROSS (w/ Scarlett)

Burch got the jump on Kross and held the advantage for a few moments with quick strikes. Kross regained control after being taken to the floor, asserting his dominance before returning Burch to the ring. Kross hit Burch with an Exploder Suplex. However, Burch made a comeback with a missile dropkick, which elicited a “Danny” chant from the crowd. Burch hit a German suplex and a clothesline for a near-fall. Burch applied a crossface which Kross powered out of, leading to a Doomsday Saito. After another hitting another Saito, Kross applied the Kross Jacket and Burch passed out.

WINNER: Karrion Kross in 3:59

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: Burch got more from this match than I would’ve expected. It was a well laid-out match. Kross sold enough to make Burch look strong without diminishing his dominating aura.)

– After the match, Keith Lee entered with a folder in hand. Lee called Kross a “bitch” and said he begged and pleaded with NXT General Manager William Regal to make an NXT Title match happen. Lee had a signed contract for Kross to sign and tossed it to ringside. Cross signed the contract and Scarlett returned it to Lee. As Lee opened the contract to look at Kross’ signature, a fireball blew up in Lee’s face. Lee screamed in pain on the mat as referees and medical staff ran to his aid.

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: I’m not one for fireball angles, as they tend to be a bit hokey. However, this was well executed with Scarlett seemingly slipping in the flashpaper as the contract was passed between Kross and Lee. The gimmick also makes sense, considering Kross’ demonic character.)

– Drake Maverick and Killian Dain made their respective entrances as Keith Lee was seen in split screen.


Maverick threw ineffective strikes and the show went straight to a picture-in-picture commercial break. [c]

While in the picture-in-picture commercial break, a bandaged Lee was ushered in to an ambulance with Mia Lim by his side. Undisputed Era entered nearby, and Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Roderick Strong made their way into Full Sail.
Maverick dove over the top rope to hit Dain and continued the high-flying offense back in the ring with another dive from the top turnbuckle. Undisputed Era hit the ring and attack both Maverick and Dain.

WINNER: Drake Maverick (via DQ) in 5:06

-Cole superkicks Dain and takes the mic. Cole addresses Pat McAfee and tells him to shut his “stupid mouth” and listen. After running down McAfee, Cole challenges him to a face-to-face confrontation next week on NXT. Cole wants to look McAfee in the eye and tell him that he will whoop his ass at Takeover XXX. The Undisputed Era music plays to end the segment as they stand tall in the ring.

– A video recapping Legado del Fantasma’s attack on Breezango from last week is shown before going to commercial. [c]

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: There was a lot to take in here, with the Keith Lee fallout and Undisputed Era wreaking havoc on top of an unusual match-up between Dain and Maverick. Their pairing didn’t seem to make sense, but it really was just a means of getting to the Adam Cole promo.)

– Kushida cut a promo in Japanese (with subtitles) to hype tonight’s Triple Threat qualifier for the Ladder Match at Takeover XXX. He say’s it’s time for Kushida to taste gold.


Fandango did not accompany Breeze to the ring. Escobar entered the arena with the other members of Legado del Fantasma, but sent them back to the locker room. Escobar controlled the early stages of the match, beating Breeze down with kicks and stomps. Escobar hit a high drop kick and taunted Breeze. The crowd rallied behind Breeze and he landed a kick to stun Escobar, who rolled out of the ring for a breather. Breeze followed but was cut off by Escobar with a clothesline and snake eyes on the apron. The show went to commercial as Escobar taunted Breeze. [c]

Breeze tried to mount some offence, but Escobar dropped him with knee strikes. Escobar went for the Phantom Driver which was blocked by Breeze, sending Escobar outside of the ring. Breeze hit a flurry of forearms after Escobar re-entered the ring. After Breeze hit a Supermodel Kick, Mendoza and Wilde returned to ringside and distracted Breeze which allowed Escobar to hit a Phantom Driver for the pinfall.

WINNER: Santos Escobar at 7:53.

– Fandango appeared with his arm in a sling and a broken mop as a weapon. Legado del Fantasma quickly take advantage until Isaiah Scott ran in to make the save.

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: The slow build for Escobar vs. Scott continues. The match was similar to the previous match, in that it was a means to an end to further a feud. This is a good use of Breezango though, with the experienced wrestler role far better than the stripper gimmick.)

– Vic Joseph threw to a video package for the Dakota Kai vs. Io Shirai match for the NXT Women’s Championship at Takeover XXX. The promo focuses on Kai, who claimed to have figured out how to beat Shirai and will become the new champion. [c]

– A vignette for Ridge Holland aired. Holland said that the hype surrounding his debut is real.

– Indi Hartwell was already in the ring waiting for Mia Yim. The camera cut to McKenzie Mitchell backstage as Yim returned from the hospital. A frazzled Yim said there was no serious damage and that she needs to focus on her match.


Hartwell and Yim exchanged grappling holds until Yim shot Hartwell into the ropes. Hartwell came back with a takedown. Hartwell and Yim criss-crossed off the ropes and Yim hit a chop block. Yim built momentum with a low dropkick followed by a big boot and cannonball in the corner. Hartwell turned the tables with kicks to Yim and posed, which allowed Yim to regain control with chops. Hartwell regained control again with a sidewalk slam and a sleeper hold. After a pin attempt by Hartwell, Yim came back with dropkicks, a neckbreaker and a German suplex. Hartwell attempted to counter a small package pin, but Yim rolled into an arm submission for the win.

WINNER: Mia Yim in 5:05

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: The story of the match was Yim being distracted by Keith Lee’s injury, and the announcers made sure to reinforce this throughout the match. Hartwell is improving with every performance and is showing more personality in the ring.)

– A typically well-produced Finn Balor video package aired, where he told the competitors in the triple threat match that anyone of them would be easy pickings for the future North American champion – Finn Balor.


– After a brief video package on Adam Cole and Pat McAfee, a tweet from McAfee was shown. McAfee accepted Cole’s challenge and will be at NXT next week.


Reed and Priest traded wristlocks, with Priest landing a kip-up to take control and lock in a cravate. After some back and forth, Priest landed a series of strikes on Reed. Reed came back with a shoulder block but was caught with a flying elbow from Priest. Reed took the upper hand with a DDT that led to Priest rolling to ringside. [c]

Coming back from the break, Priest had Reed in a chinlock while a replay of Priest slamming reed into the ring steps during the commercial break was shown. Priest released the chinlock and ran at Reed, but was caught with a sitout spinebuster. Reed hit a Samoan drop and running senton, but his momentum was cut-off by a Priest raised flatliner. Priest hit Reed with a triangle springboard cannonball and a combo of knee strikes. Priest hit Reed with a Broken Arrow for a nearfall and Reed responded with a suplex. After both wrestlers sold the effects of the match, Priest avoided a top rope splash from Reed. Priest tried to hit the Reckoning, but Reed countered into a jackknife pin for the victory.

WINNER: Bronson Reed at 7:51.

– A shocked Priest looked on as Reed stood tall in the ring.

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: Nothing was too surprising about this match until the finish. It is nice to see Reed get a big win, especially with a clean pin. It would have been easy to book a copout finish to protect both wrestlers ahead of the ladder match at Takeover, but Priest loses less than what Reed gains from this outcome.)

– Another subtitled promo aired, this time for Io Shirai. Shirai says that all she sees when she looks at Dakota Kai is a little girl who was terrified of Shayna Baszler. Shirai says that Kai has “pissed her off” and that Kai will also be terrified of her at Takeover. [c]

– A Cameron Grimes promo aired, where he claimed he would take the North American Championship to the moon.

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: As if Grimes didn’t have enough to overcome with the auto-generated NXT name he was given, he is now starting to deliver promos with a wacky cadence.)

– Robert Stone tried to recruit Katy Catanzaro, putting over her Ninja Warrior credentials while calling Kayden Carter a “loser”. Catanzaro responded by stomping on Stone’s injured foot.


Catanzaro and Carter teamed up on Aliyah, with hitting a slingshot senton for the nearfall. Catanzaro and Carter continued to double team Aliyah with superkicks and a pinfall attempt. Martinez tagged herself in and hit Carter with a facebuster. Ranallo enthusiastically chimed in on commentary saying “this match is en fuego!” as the show went to a commercial break. [c]

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: Quips like that from Ranallo make me poner los ojos en blanco.)

Aliyah had tagged in during the commercial break was firmly in control of Carter. Aliyah and Martinez tagged in and out, isolating Carter from her corner. Carter eventually made the hot tag to Catanzaro who landed a Kappou kick on Martinez. However, Martinez came back and landed an Air Raid Crash for the pinfall on Catanzaro.

WINNERS: Aliyah & Mercedes Martinez in 7:44

– Rhea Ripley hit the ring, running off Aliyah and Stone. Martinez stood her ground but was taken down by a Ripley kick. Aliyah returned to the ring to double team Ripley, but Shotzi Blackheart appeared and ran wild to make the save.

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: This was ultimately a showcase match for Martinez, as she heads into her match with Ripley, but there were some nice sequences from both teams. The dynamic between the members of the Robert Stone Brand continues to be fun.)

– A Johnny Gargano vignette shot at the Gargano residence aired. Alongside her French Bulldog, Candice LeRae targeted Tegan Nox and said that Nox needs to mind her own business. Gargano was shown perched on a ladder and spoke of the change in NXT, with hungry new talent who aren’t on his level. Gargano said William Regal did the right thing by booking him in a second chance match against Ridge Holland. [c]

– After a plug for the new album of Triple H entrance themes, the latest episode of “Thatch as Thatch Can” aired. Timothy Thatcher taught a lesson on “adaption”, as he demonstrated a half crab and ankle lock on one of his students.

– The announce team promoted next week’s show, with Adam Cole going face-to-face with Pat McAfee, Legado Del Fantasma vs. Breezango and Isaiah Scott, as well as two second chance matches. Vic Joseph checked in from ringside, noting that that WWE.com has updates on Keith Lee.

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: Joseph has done a fine job with this telecast. Hopefully, for his sake, he can have a longer stint in NXT before getting moved again.)

– After Kushida and Grimes made their entrances, the mystery opponent was revealed to be a returning Velveteen Dream. Dream entered on his couch and had a moment with the North American Championship on his way to the ring.

(7) CAMERON GRIMES vs. KUSHIDA vs. VELVETEEN DREAM – Winner qualifies for the NXT North American Championship ladder match at Takeover XXX

Kushida and Dream took out Grimes early, who then pulled Dream to the outside for a brawl. Dream got the upper hand and returned to the ring with a double axe handle to Kushida for a two count. Dream appeared to botch a dive and fell to ringside, leading to Kushida hitting Dream with a Tornado DDT on the floor. Kushida went to the top rope but was crotched by Grimes as the show went to a picture-in-picture commercial break. [c]

While in the picture-in-picture commercial break, Grimes took control over Kushida with standard offence, until Kushida came back with strikes. Dream joined in as all three wrestlers traded strikes. Kushida missed an enzuigiri on Dream and hit Grimes instead. Dream hit a superkick on Grimes and all three wrestlers were left lying, sparking a “this is awesome” chant from the crowd. Dream sent Grimes to the floor with a clothesline and followed him with an axe handle dive over the top rope.
Dream returned Grimes to the ring and fought off both competitors. After hitting a Dream Valley Driver on Kushida, Dream was tossed to the floor by Grimes. Dream broke up Grimes’ attempt at stealing the pin. Dream and Grimes went back and forth on the floor until Kushida took out Dream with a top rope dive that Grimes avoided. Kushida and Grimes returned to the ring where Kushida drove Grimes to the mat into a Juji Gatame. Dream returned and tried for a Purple Rainmaker, but Kushida caught Dream in another Juji Gatame. Dream and Kushida traded holds until Grimes hit a Cave In on Kushida. Grimes pushed Dream to the floor and pinned Kushida to earn a spot in the ladder match at Takeover

WINNER: Cameron Grimes in 8:52

– Grimes stood tall after the match as Ranallo confirmed that Dream will face Finn Balor next week in a Second Chance Qualifier for Takeover. After Grimes left the ring, Dream returned and attacked a prone Kushida as the crowd booed. Finn Balor came to the ring and faced off with Dream as the show closed.

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: As entertaining as a match as it was, it was hard to not think about the unresolved allegations made against Dream – allegations which have seen him off TV until now. That he returned in such a high-profile match, seemingly turned heel and has been set up with Finn Balor would indicate that WWE are comfortable. However, some sort of public acknowledgement prior to his return wouldn’t have gone astray. As for the match, they fit a lot into their time, and it was good to see Grimes’ finisher continue to be protected.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: While this wasn’t the greatest NXT episode, it was very solid from top to bottom and everything served a clear purpose. The video packages across the board continue to be well done, and it is good to see the continued development of talents such as Bronson Reed and even Indi Hartwell from week to week. While I am still not sold on gimmicks like the fireball, at least it was well-executed and made sense with the characters involved.

RECOMMENDED: NXT HITS & MISSES 8/12: Undisputed Era call out McAfee, Priest vs. Bronson Reed, Kushida vs. Grimes vs. Mystery Wrestler, Dinner with the Garganos, more

8/12 NXT ON USA REPORT: Stoup’s report on Grimes vs. Kushida vs. mystery opponent, Priest vs. Reed, Burch vs. Kross, more

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