SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT ON USA
OCTOBER 21, 2020, 8PM EST
LIVE IN ORLANDO, FLA., AT CAPITOL WRESTLING CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY KELLY WELLS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, Beth Phoenix
Join the “PWT Talks NXT” Dailycast with Nate Lindberg & Tom Stoup to break down the episode:
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NOTE: Blogtalk has been finicky this week, and the show may not go live as planned. If you can’t get a hold of the show, then the problems with Blogtalk are still going on and we’ll have to do a non-live show.
-NXT dispensed with the recap from last week’s show and joined the opener.
(1) KUSHIDA vs. TOMMASO CIAMPA vs. VELVETEEN DREAM
Kushida was being introduced as the show opened. Dream was introduced second, and Ciampa immediately ran to the ramp and started destroying him. Once the three hit the ring, the ref called for the bell.
Quickly, the action spilled outside and Ciampa went hard after Dream, while getting in a few licks on Kushida to keep him at bay. He tossed Dream into the Plexiglass. Dream had his left wrist in a cast. Back into the ring, Kushida rolled up Ciampa after a splash on Dream in the corner for two. Dream bailed and Ciampa did a draping DDT on Kushida while Dream held onto Kushida from the apron and Dream too was hit with the DDT. Ciampa covered dream, then Kushida, for two on each. Ciampa worked Dream’s bad wrist as Dream writhed in agony. He stomped down on it, then walked over to Kushida. Kushida whipped Ciampa to a corner and went for an armbar, but Ciampa yanked on the ropes to fight it off. He put his thumb to Kushida’s eye since there are no DQs in a triple threat.
Ciampa maintained control and worked Kushida’s left arm. Kushida hit a sunset flip on Ciampa for two. They went to a corner and Dream threw forearms on each as the crowd booed and then chanted “you suck.” Dream posed to mock the crowd, and Ciampa recovered and chopped him a few times. Ciampa stacked the other two in the corner and alternated chops on them. Kushida caught a chop attempt and threw chops, then a kick. Rope run and Kushida flipped through a double back bodydrop. Dream hit Dream Valley Driver on Kushida and Ciampa hit a superkick on Dream to send him flying from the ring. The match went to commercial with no split-screen.
The show returned to Kushida and Ciampa in the ring and an “NXT” chant as a result of something we didn’t see. Kushida went to the outside and hit the Hoverboard Lock on Dream, who tapped immediately, but it didn’t count because they were outside (why? If the rope can’t break a finisher in a triple threat, why can’t a tap happen elsewhere? Oh well). Action headed back into the ring and Kushida worked a Hoverboard Lock on Ciampa. Dream came off the top with a Purple Rainmaker on Kushida for a long two. A dueling chant for Ciampa and Kushida started, with Kushida winning heavily. Dream and Ciampa paired off and Dream hit a DVD on Ciampa for two, broken up by Kushida. Dream posed to more boos, then sold his aching wrist.
Dream mocked both guys, who got to their feet and took turns taking shots at Dream. Kushida cleared both from the ring, then hit Dream with a tope from one side, then hit both with springboard sentons. Ciampa hit Willow’s Bell on Kushida, broken up by Dream. Dream once again was shoved from the ring after a crucifix attempt, and he swung his cast at Ciampa when he started charging. Kushida hit a German with a bridge, and Ciampa sold the cast shot like he was out cold.
WINNER: Kushida at 15:32.
(Wells’s Analysis: A decent spotfest that continued Kushida’s roll as well as the Ciampa-Dream feud, which will likely shift away from Kushida now. I’m not sure what’s next for Kushida, but hopefully they keep their foot on the gas so he doesn’t stagnate as an upper-midcarder with no feuds for a third time)
-Undisputed Era appeared backstage. Cole joined via Zoom call, still rehabbing. He put over the Golden Prophecy and both Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish said they’d be taking the tag team championships tonight. Cole hit the catchphrase and they all did the UE symbol.
-Halloween Havoc spot. Shotzi Blackheart put over the Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal concept and the top matches were run down: LeRae vs. Shirai, Gargano vs. Priest, Ripley vs. Gonzalez and Grimes vs. Lumis in what was called onscreen a “Haunted House of Terror” match.
-Hype segment for Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez. Ripley’s accomplishments were briefly run through, and Gonzalez said she was the real giant of the division. Ripley said next week, Gonzalez’s nightmare becomes reality.
(2) EMBER MOON vs. JESSIE KAMEA
Moon returned in a tag match, so this is her first singles match since her return. Moon took down Kamea and patted her head. Kamea hit an armdrag and then tripped Moon and hit a running uppercut for one. She did the same mocking head pat and Phoenix put her over for not taking it sitting down. Moon ran the ropes and hit a dropkick. Back kick and a running stomp, then a standing moonsault got two for Moon. Moon worked a crossface and locked one of Kamea’s arms, but Kamea rooled up Moon to break. Moon threw vicious kicks on the grounded Kamea, then worked an anklelock/Boston Crab hybrid, which Kamea sells nicely because she’s so flexible.
Moon missed a senton and Kamea hit a flying forearm in the corner. Spinning heel kick and a springboard elbow by Kamea got a long two. Kamea put Moon in a corner, but Moon hit a lungblower and then hit a camel clutch with a trapped leg for a tap.
WINNER: Ember Moon at 3:57.
After the match, Moon celebrated, but Dakota Kai jumped her and laid her out on the apron. She said if Moon thinks she can leapfrog her, she should think again.
(Wells’s Analysis: Interesting to see Moon work a different style and go for taps rather than the high-impact Eclipse. It’ll serve her matches well to have two very different ways to finish opponents. She adapted very well to this style. Kamea, for her part, looked great in defeat and will fight for a seat at the table in the stacked NXT Women’s division)
-Backstage, someone had attacked Bobby Fish and he sold injury. Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly helped him hobble as he said he didn’t see who it was.
(3) BRONSON REED vs. AUSTIN THEORY
Reed’s new video made him look like an absolute giant. Very cool stuff. It doesn’t seem like Theory’s losing streak ends here.
Theory worked a headlock and Reed slammed him to the mat. McKenzie Mitchell, via phone, announced that Kyle O’Reilly would replace Roderick Strong in the main event tag team championship match, so let the UE implosion speculation run wild. Theory threw some kicks and lefts in the corner, then put Reed’s head in another. Reed fought him off with a hard elbow, but Theory chopped him down via the back of the knee and hit a chinlock. Reed got a couple of hope spots as Theory held on. Rope run and a scoop slam by Reed, then a senton. Reed went up for his frog splash finisher but Theory popped up and chased Reed to the top. Reed tossed Theory off once, then a second time. Tsunami finished.
WINNER: Bronson Reed at 3:28.
After the match, Theory grabbed the mic and said “Stop right there. No no no. I am the future of NXT. The future of WWE. I’m 23 and I’ve done more than you during your entire 15 year career. Come in here because I’m not going anywhere until I beat you.”
(4) BRONSON REED vs. AUSTIN THEORY
Reed caught Theory in a quick Samoan Drop.
WINNER: Bronson Reed at 0:15.
(Wells’s Analysis: Oh my. Theory went 10-15 minutes with almost every other opponent during this losing streak, but Reed really flattened him quickly…and twice. Reed’s entrance suggested another move up the card for him. Theory is excellent but can only get steamrolled for so long, so hopefully whatever he’s got brewing with Johnny Gargano from last week is about to get going)
-Backstage, McKenzie talked with Xia Li and Kacy Catanzaro. Kacy said they had their differences but they’ve been friends in the past so she’s looking forward to it. Xia stressed multiple times that she absolutely has to win tonight.
-During the break, an unnamed announcer caught up with Austin Theory, who was loading up his Cherokee. “That’s it. I’m done. I quit,” Theory said, and then drove away.
(5) ISAIAH “SWERVE” SCOTT & JAKE ATLAS & ASHANTE THEE ADONIS vs. LEGADO DEL FANTASMA (Santos Escobar & Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza)
LdF got full entrance; the babyfaces were already in the ring. Upon the bell, Legado skinned out and mocked the faces, then looked to surround the ring. Swerve flipped over the ring to take shots at Escobar as the other four brawled in the ring. Swerve put Escobar in the steps and the legal men appeared to be Atlas and Wilde. Atlas hit a snap mare and kicked Wilde in the back, then did a little ground & pound. Adonis tagged in and hit a big flatliner on Wilde for a one count. He kept working the back and battered Wilde to the face corner and tagged Atlas, who kept up the beating. Suplex by Atlas, who held on for Three Amigos. He covered for two. Atlas slapped down at Wilde and mocked the other members of Fantasma. He hit a snap mare that sent Wilde rolling back to get crotched on the post. Atlas went old school and jumped an attack from a running Escobar, then laid out the cronies. LdF headed outside and Adonis feigned a tope, leaving them open to a corner splash from Swerve as the show went to split-screen commercial.
Full-screen returned as Wilde worked over Adonis. Tag to Escobar, then Mendoza and the two hit a tandem back-elbow, then splashed Wilde on top of Adonis. Mendoza covered but Swerve broke it up. Mendoza put the boots to Adonis and put him back in the heel corner and tagged Wilde again. Back elbow by Wilde, who trash-talked Atlas on the outside. Once again to the heel corner and a tag to Escobar, who hit running double knees in the corner. Escobar stepped on Adonis and posed, then tagged Mendoza, who cut off a tag and mockingly held out Adonis’s arm. The audience stomped and tried to get Adonis into it. Mendoza gave Adonis a rising knee and tagged Wilde, who hit a snap mare and a knee to the back of Adonis. Adonis hit a desperation dropkick and made the hot tag to Atlas. Escobar tagged in but took a cross-body. Atlas beat down all three heels and got hit with a leg lariat, but he’d tagged Swerve, who hit a rolling thunder flatliner for two. Wilde made a tag during a rope run to save Escobar. Swerve cleared out Escobar from the apron then went high, but Mendoza brought Swerve to the apron, where they exchanged shots. Action spilled outside. Wilde ran the ropes and Atlas caught him for Spanish Fly over the top rope and smashed down on the other two, with no margin for error as they were right in front of the announce table.
Inside, Swerve and Mendoza were legal. Wilde broke up a pin attempt and Adonis tagged in. Mendoza hit a rana to put Adonis into Swerve, and Escobar hit a wild tope on Swerve into the announce table. Atlas showed up out of nowhere and hit a cartwheel DDT. Atlas jawed at Escobar and said he was the next Cruiserweight champion, and inside the ring, Wilde and Mendoza double-teamed Adonis to finish.
WINNERS: Legado del Fantasma at 14:54.
(Wells’s Analysis: A fun, spirited mess that keeps the actual faction strong while also getting a new challenger for Escobar. The announce team called out the strong tag team work of Swerve and Adonis, so that division may be in their near future)
-Dinner with the Garganos! They had a mini wheel set up to see what was the worst that could happen. “Buried Alive” was spun and Gargano complained and said the odds must have been one in a million. LeRae spun for herself and got Street Fight, and was happy because she’s never lost one. Gargano spun again and got a Casket Match, and threatened to attack the wheel. He stormed off and went upstairs.
(Wells’s Analysis: One of the options on the wheel was “Coal Miner’s Glove on a Pole,” a nod to the unfortunate history in Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal. Another said “Shotzi’s Stupid Choice.”)
(6) DRAKE MAVERICK & KILLIAN DAIN vs. EVER-RISE (Matt Martel & Chase Parker)
Again, Dain cut off the happy music that Maverick had chosen. Maverick and Parker opened, and Parker took Maverick to the heel corner and made a tag for a tandem running knee. Martel tagged back out and Parker worked on Maverick, putting a forearm shot in his lower back. Martel tagged in again and whipped Drake from one corner to another. He tagged Parker and the two hit a couple more double-team shots. Parker mocked Dain, then went for an atomic drop, and Maverick tagged Dain on the comedown. Dain destroyed both members and had Martel up in a fireman’s carry, but Parker blocked him in the back of the knee. Repeat with the opposite guys. Parker hit a half-crab and Martel mocked Maverick and said “Take a look! That’s your only friend!” Maverick found a chair and put it in Martel’s breadbasket, then entered the rig and blasted Parker with it. Dain walked menacingly toward Maverick, put up a fist, then slapped Maverick on the chest. “That was awesome! That was so awesome! Where’s that guy been?” Dain decided not to cut off the music, but wouldn’t dance with Maverick…yet.
WINNERS: Ever-Rise by disqualification at 2:52.
(Wells’s Analysis: It was clear that Dain was going to love this side of Maverick, but it was still a lot of fun to see play out)
-Backstage, Roderick Strong was laid out in a doorway and Kyle O’Reilly checked on him, having apparently lost a second tag team partner already tonight. Upon return, Kyle O’Reilly elected to give the tag team championship match to Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch.
(7) KACY CATANZARO (w/Kayden Carter) vs. XIA LI
The bell rang just as we exited the tag team scene. Li took the early advantage and hit a snap mare, then a number of knees and a back kick. She covered for one. She covered again for two. Kacy ran the ropes and hit some shots as Xia backed away from her. Kacy hit a Miz corner clothesline and slammed Xia, then rolled Xia up for the win.
After the result, Li attacked Catanzaro, then fought off Kayden Carter when she tried to help. Out of nowhere, Raquel Gonzalez hit the ring and press-slammed Li, then tossed Catanzaro into Carter before laying out Carter again with a slam. She took the mic and made a threat to Rhea Ripley that this is what awaits her. She said next week, she’d be La Diabla of Ripley’s nightmare.
WINNER: Kacy Catanzaro at 2:23.
(Wells’s Analysis: It kind of continued Li’s story, and the message she was given by Boa was brought up, but it seems like we spun our wheels here as Gonzalez took over the segment. I guess that’s fine, but it doesn’t do Li’s turn any favors)
-Backstage, Mitchell tried to get words with a chatty Cameron Grimes, who was apparently hearing for the first time that next week’s match was a “Haunted House of Terror” match. Grimes got creeped out and went into a different vocal cadence. Behind them, through a window, Dexter Lumis stared at Grimes, though neither Grimes nor Mitchell noticed him.
-Io Shirai vignette. She ran through every option for the Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal match, saying after each option, “I beat Candice,” finishing with “At Halloween Havoc…I…beat…Candice.” The male announcers (Beth is still working remotely) promoted the match.
-For the first time, “Thatch as Thatch Can” was live. He asked his student his name, and he said Anthony. “So tonight, Andrew and I will demonstrate. So, Alex…” and he worked Anthony into a front chancery and showed how to add more pain. He asked Anthony to shoot for his leg, and he reversed quickly and spoke to the camera calmly about what he was doing. He kept talking as Anthony continued to tap. He got up and Anthony got close behind him, getting ticked off. The audience chanted “Andrew” for him. Thatcher told Anthony to take his wrist. Instead, Anthony caught him with a front chancery. Thatcher broke it and said oh, you wanna be a big man. He called a ref into the ring and asked for a bell.
(8) ANTHONY vs. TIMOTHY THATCHER
Anthony is recent signee Anthony Greene, nicknamed “Retro” in EVOLVE. Thatcher took Anthony to the corner and beat him down. Big European uppercut in the center of the ring. Thatcher threw kicks and got a tap from a single-leg crab.
WINNER: Timothy Thatcher at 0:57.
Thatcher kicked Anthony from the ring and sneered into the camera.
(Wells’s Analysis: This is what Thatch as Thatch Can should’ve been all along. Thatcher was unexpectedly at home with subtly mocking Anthony’s name by saying the wrong one. Anthony Greene was good in this role as well.)
(9) BREEZANGO (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) (c) vs. DANNY BURCH & ONEY LORCAN – NXT Tag Team Championship match
Nine matches on one episode might be a record. We took a strange set of paths to get to this main event, with a team that never really wins getting a #1 contender’s match for some reason, then losing again, and getting the match anyway. Alicia Taylor handled low-light formal introductions.
Lorcan and Fandango started the match. Fandango hit a side headlock and Lorcan couldn’t break with a rope run attempt. Lorcan ran the ropes and Fandango caught him with the same headlock. Rope run and Fandango hit a shoulderblock. He chopped Lorcan to a corner. Irish whip, reverse, and Lorcan wanted a half-crab and got it. Fandango quickly reached a rope to break. Uppercuts by Fandango. Lorcan made the tag and the two wrenched Fandango’s arms and hit tandem chops. Burch wrenched Fandango’s arm over his shoulder. Fandango hit a backslide for two, then tagged Breeze. Breeze hit a snap suplex for a one count. Rear kneeling chinlock by Breeze. Burch fought to his knees and Breeze put him down with a forearm. Blocks in the champs’ corner by Breeze. He stomped a mudhole and referee Drake Wuertz broke it up. Interesting to see Breezango work heel for the purposes of the match.
Action spilled outside and Burch hit an uppercut, then tossed Breeze into the barricade. The count reached seven and both got to the ring. Breeze pulled Burch to a corner and wrapped his leg around a post heading to split-screen commercial.
For the second time this week, the show returned to an “NXT” chant. Lorcan and Burch had Fandango dominated, but Fandango evaded a double-team and cleared both from the ring. Fandango went outside after them and chopped both, and Breeze got involves as the announcers talked about the two UE members being mysteriously laid out. Lorcan wanted a tope but (kind of) ran into a Tyler Breeze superkick. Burch and Fandango were legal, and Fandango hit a falcon arrow and went up and hit a legdrop for a long two; he’s occasionally finished with that, so they kind of had me there. The audience stomped as Breeze tagged in. Things broke down as Lorcan and Burch worked a double submission, but Wuertz counted toward five for the illegal double-team. Fandango broke it up and when the smoke cleared, Breeze and Burch were selling on the mat.
Burch slapped at his knee to wake it up, but Breeze went to work on it immediately thereafter with elbow drops. Breeze went up the turnbuckle but got crotched by Burch, who dropped Breezango with a bulldog. He covered for two, but Fandango tackled Lorcan into the pile to break it up. All four sold on the mat. Breezango hit tandem superkicks on both guys. Fandango went up, but a hooded, masked person shoved Fandango from the top. Burch hit a low blow on Breeze away from Wuertz’s view, and Burch and Lorcan hit a…magic killer?…on Breeze to finish. The masked man gave hugs to Burch and Lorcan, then entered the ring and raised their arms. He unmasked to reveal himself as Pat McAfee. He announced Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan as the new champions and said this was “Undisputed” as the show went off the air.
WINNERS: Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan at 12:51.
(Wells’s Analysis: Kyle O’Reilly was an effective red herring leading to Pat McAfee returning to TV and apparently heading up his own three-man heel faction. UE has looked to be splitting for a while now, but this may just be a clean face turn for the whole group; it’s hard to say whether that was a change or the plan all along. Small tag divisions can’t survive long title reigns, so it’s not all that surprising that the belts are off Breezango already. The match itself was a red herring as well, with Breezango subtly working heel to garner babyface sympathy for the challengers so the finish could have the most possible impact. Pat McAfee had a strong match with Adam Cole at TakeOver, but we’ll see if that was a one-trick pony soon enough in a storyline that should get people talking…whether positively or negatively)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This has been a very busy show of late, and perhaps never more than this week, with (a record?) nine matches and still some time for other segments, plus a title change to a team that wasn’t even in the main event at the outset of the show. It’s dangerously close to the “Crash TV” days of the Attitude Era, where segments were short and moved so quickly that there wasn’t much time to think about whether it was good or not. Dakota Kai’s attack on Ember Moon? Kushida’s win in the opener? I’d almost completely forgotten these by the end of the show.
That said, although there were weeks worth of content tonight, most of it delivered. It didn’t end up being a huge go-home show for Halloween Havoc, as the show simply reminded us of the four matches booked there, and didn’t make any new ones so not to saturate it. Meanwhile, Finn Balor was conspicuous by his total absence, even by the commentators this week, as I’m sure the championship situation is still somewhat up in the air.
Hopefully, Blogtalk is all good to go tonight for a live episode of PWT Talks NXT. If not, we’ll be recording offline and will post the show later tonight. Cheers.