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NXT ON USA TV REPORT
OCTOBER 21, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA., AT CAPITOL WRESTLING CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY MATT HUSTWAITE, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Beth Phoenix, Wade Barrett
– Vic Joseph welcomed viewers to the show with Kushida already in the ring for the opening match. As Velveteen Dream entered, he was attacked by Tomasso Ciampa.
(1) KUSHIDA vs. TOMASSO CIAMPA vs. VELVETEEN DREAM
The bell rang after the brawl between Ciampa and Dream made its way into the ring. Kushida knocked Dream back to ringside from the apron and all three wrestlers brawled on the floor. Both Kushida and Ciampa focused on Dream. Ciampa sent Dream into the ringside barrier and then slammed Dream on to the announce desk. The action returned to the ring and Ciampa got back-to-back nearfalls on both Dream and Ciampa after hitting a double draping DDT. Ciampa took Kushida to the corner and lit him up with a succession of chops. Kushida Irish whipped Ciampa and landed a flying back elbow. Kushida went for a Hoverboard Lock, but Ciampa grabbed on to the rope to force the break. Ciampa raked Kushida’s eyes. Ciampa fought off Dream and hit a vertical suplex on him. Ciampa went back to working over Kushida, grounding him and targeting the arm. Kushida powered up and scored a quick two-count on Ciampa. Dream returned to the fray and landed a series of strikes on both opponents. Ciampa took over again and got Kushida and Dream in the corner for alternating chops. Kushida blocked a chop and fought back, slapping Ciampa. Dream and Ciampa teamed up to backdrop Kushida. Dream hit the Dream Valley Driver on Kushida but was hit with a high knee from Ciampa as the show went to commercial. [c]
Back from commercial, the crowd were chanting “NXT” and Kushida hit a senton on Dream at ringside and transitioned into a Hoverboard Lock. Ciampa broke up the hold and received a bulldog from Kushida. Kushida brought Ciampa into the ring and applied another Hoverboard Lock. Ciampa managed to block the hold somewhat and Dream broke things up completely with a Purple Rainmaker. Dream made a cover on Kushida but Ciampa broke it up. Ciampa rolled Dream into a pin for a two-count. Dream landed a superkick and Dream Valley Driver on Ciampa, but the pin attempt was broken up by Kushida. Dream posed in front of Ciampa and Kushida, who responded with furious strikes. Kushida sent both Ciampa and Dream to ringside and flew over the top rope with a tope to Dream and then followed up with another dive over the ropes to take out both opponents. Ciampa and Kushida made their way back into the ring and Ciampa hit the Willows Bell. Ciampa covered Kushida but the pin was broken up by Dream. Dream tried to hit a Dream Valley Driver on Kushida but was thrown aside by Ciampa. Dream used his cast to hit Ciampa in the head and Kushida hit a German Suplex into a bridge pin for the victory.
WINNER: Kushida at 15:30
– Undisputed Era cut a promo backstage, with Adam Cole seen on a tablet screen. Cole hyped up Strong and Fish as future tag team champions and O’Reilly talked about Undisputed Era’s “Golden Prophesy”. Strong and Fish said they would bring the tag team championships home and Cole said that was undisputed. [c]
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: A lot to take in with this match, with a frantic pace to open the show. It seems that they’re transitioning to Ciampa vs. Dream, which will need to get heated up more than just with a cast shot considering Dream has been so definitely beaten by Kushida of late. Speaking of Kushida, it will be interesting to see where he goes from here – hopefully into a program that will continue the story of the new, aggressive Kushida.)
– A Halloween Havoc commercial aired, featuring Shotzi Blackheart and the “Spin the Wheel, Make a Deal” gimmick. The Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez match was also hyped for the special.
(2) EMBER MOON vs. JESSIE KAMEA
Moon and Kamea sized each other up before locking up. Moon took down Kamea with an arm drag and talked trash. Jessi came back with a hip toss, followed by a running uppercut for a two-count. Kamea went for a snapmare but Moon blocked it. Moon landed a pair of kicks on Kamea. Moon hit a standing moonsault into a cover for a nearfall. Moon went for a crossface but Kamea reversed it into a pin attempt. Moon locked in a hybrid Boston Crab submission but Kamea crawled to ropes to break to hold. Moon missed a running senton and Kamea landed a palm strike. Kamea hit Moon with a spinning heel kick and followed up with a spinning elbow drop for a two-count. Moon reversed an Irish Whip hit a codebreaker on Kamea. Moon locked in another hybrid submission, this time a variant of the sharpshooter, and made Kamea tap out.
WINNER: Ember Moon at 4:00
– After Moon had her hand raised, Dakota Kai blindsided Moon and tripped her up. Kai laid out Moon with a big boot and talked trash.
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: A good showing for Moon in her return singles match. It is nice to see her mixing things up with some changes to her look with a nod to Mad Max and also incorporating more submissions into her repertoire. A program with Dakota Kai should yield some good matches, although it will likely just be a stepping stone towards a title match for Moon. Kamea looked good here too, although the women’s division is so stacked it will be hard for her to find much opportunity to build.)
– Vic Joseph threw to a camera backstage where Bobby Fish was being helped by O’Reilly and Strong. Fish said that someone attacked him from behind and that he couldn’t put any weight on his ankle. [c]
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: One would assume that O’Reilly will take the place of Fish in the championship match, but will we also get the reveal of who the attacker is? I’ve been wondering if it would be Strong and Fish to be the ones to break away from Undisputed Era, but perhaps we will see O’Reilly get a big head and eventually be revealed as the one behind the attacks.)
– Back from commercial and Austin Theory was already in the ring. Bronson Reed made his entrance for a match between the two.
(3) BRONSON REED vs. AUSTIN THEORY
Bronson Reed dominated from the outset as McKenzie Mitchell chimed in from backstage with an update on Bobby Fish. Mitchell says that Fish is on the way to the hospital and that O’Reilly has been cleared to take the place of Fish in the NXT Tag Team Championship match. Reed continued to assert himself over Theory until Theory bounced back with a dropkick. Theory took Reed into the corner and worked him over. Reed fought his way out but Theory took him down and applied a chinlock. Reed managed to power out of the hold and dropped Theory with a powerslam. Reed hit Theory with a senton and climbed to the top rope. However, Theory cut him off and tried to hit a superplex. Reed shoved Theory off and sent him back to the mat. Reed eventually hit the Tsunami Splash for the victory.
WINNER: Bronson Reed at 3:30
– Theory took a microphone and demanded another match with Reed, saying that Theory is the future of the WWE and that he has done more than Reed has in his whole career.
(4) BRONSON REED vs. AUSTIN THEORY
Reed returned to the ring and quickly took out Theory with a Samoan Drop. Reed covered Theory for the quick win.
WINNER: Bronson Reed at 0:15
– McKenzie Mitchell was backstage with Xia Li and Kacy Catanzaro. Li was grateful for Catanzaro facing her in a match later tonight. Catanzaro said that despite their differences recently, she was happy to help a friend. Li emphasised how important this match is to her, saying it’s the most important match of her career. [c]
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: After many weeks of Theory hanging with top talent in competitive matches, the pressure of the losing streak is finally getting to him. The announcers put over Theory as talented and I am sure we are now moving towards Theory linking up with Johnny Gargano. Will the Gargano Way solve Theory’s problems?)
– Theory was shown in the parking lot getting into his car. He said that he quits, as he drove away.
(5) ISAIAH “SWERVE” SCOTT & JAKE ATLAS & ASHANTE THE ADONIS vs. LEGADO DEL FANTASMA (Santos Escobar & Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza)
Scott dove over the top rope on to Escobar and the two brawled at ringside to start the match while the other wrestlers went at it in the ring. Once things settled down, Atlas had the upper hand on Wilde with ground and pound. Adonis tagged in and hit a flatliner on Wilde. Atlas tagged back in and hit the Three Amigos. Atlas took out Escobar with a kick and took down Wilde and Mendoza. Adonis teased diving on to the regrouping Legado del Fantasma at ringside, and Scott followed through with a corkscrew from the top rope as the show went to commercial. [c]
The heels were in control back from commercial, isolating Adonis with quick tags. Mendoza hit a springboard moonsault but the pin was broken up by Scott. The heels taunted Adonis as they worked him over until Adonis hit a big dropkick out of nowhere and made the hot tag to Atlas. Atlas ran wild on Wilde and Mendoza. Atlas hit Escobar with a German suplex. Escobar turned the tables with a leg lariat but Atlas was able to tag Scott. Scott hit a Rolling Thunder Paydirt for a two-count. Mendoza tagged in but was backdropped by Scott. Scott went to the top rope but was dragged down by Mendoza to the apron. Wilde hit the ropes and Atlas took him over the top rope with a Spanish Fly on to the other wrestlers on the floor.
Scott and Mendoza made their way back to the ring where Mendoza countered a JML Driver into an armdrag. Scott slammed Mendoza to the mat and covered him, but the pin was broken up by Wilde. Scott tossed Wilde to the floor and Adonis tagged in to double team Mendoza with Scott. Mendoza countered the double team. Scott ended up at ringside and Escobar hit a huge suicide dive onto Scott. Atlas hit Escobar with a Rainbow DDT and taunted him. Back in the ring, Wilde and Mendoza hit a double team kick and legsweep combo on Adonis for the victory.
WINNERS: Legado del Fantasma at 14:55
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: A busy match that was entertaining to watch regardless. It looks like we will see more from these two trios. Atlas was positioned closely with Escobar, and the teamwork of Adonis and Scott was put over by the announcers, perhaps indicating a series with Mendoza and Wilde.)
– Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae were shown at the Gargano Residence practicing on a “training wheel” ahead of the Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal gimmick at Halloween Havoc. Gargano got frustrated when the wheel kept landing on matches that infer death, like a casket match and a buried alive match. Gargano told LeRae to get rid of the wheel as he stormed off.
– Drake Maverick and Killian Dain were shown heading to the ring for a match. [c]
– Ever Rise were already in the ring coming back from commercial. Maverick and Dain made their entrance to the happy music Maverick chose. Dain quickly demanded the music be cut off and threw Maverick into the ring to start the match.
(6) DRAKE MAVERICK & KILLIAN DAIN vs. EVER RISE
Chad Parker quickly isolated Maverick in the corner and tagged in-and-out with Matt Martel to keep control over Maverick. Ever Rise hit a series of double teams on Maverick while taunting him. Parker hoisted Maverick up, who was able to reach Dain for the tag. Dain ran wild on both members of Ever Rise, including a big running splash on Parker. Ever Rise were able to take Dain down with chop blocks. Parker locked in a single-leg crab on Dain while Martel taunted Maverick at ringside, saying that Dain is Maverick’s only friend. Maverick fired up and attacked Martel, sending him into the barricade. Maverick grabbed a chair and took out both members of Ever Rise in a rage as the referee called for the disqualification.
WINNERS: Ever Rise at 2:50
– Maverick’s face dropped as it dawned on him that he cost his team the match. Dain looked as if he was going to knock Maverick out again but, instead, he excitedly praised Maverick for showing some fire. Dain said it was the “best thing he’s ever seen” and asked where this version of Maverick had been this whole time. The happy music played and Dain looked as if he was going to demand it be cut off, but he let it go. Dain still couldn’t handle the dancing though and left a Maverick to celebrate by himself.
– The camera cut backstage where Roderick Strong was shown laid out in a door. [c]
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: More fun from the odd-couple of Maverick and Dain, although I thought Dain was a little too over-the-top with his excitement after the match, recapping to Maverick what he literally just did to Ever Rise. Maverick can pull off the over-the-top goofiness far better than Dain, so hopefully Dain stays a bit more gruff and reserved.)
– Kyle O’Reilly, Breezango and Lorcan & Burch were backstage with William Regal. Regal demanded on knowing who attacked Strong, but no-one knew. Lorcan & Burch offered one of themselves up as a replacement partner for O’Reilly, but O’Reilly declined and offered the match with Breezango to them instead. Regal match the match official and Breezango shook hands with Lorcan & Burch.
(7) KACY CATANZARO (w/Kayden Carter) vs. XIA LI
Catanzaro hit an early dropkick and made the cover for a two-count. Li came back with a backdrop and chops to the chest. Li hit a knee combo and a roundhouse kick for a two-count. After a series of pin attempts by Li, Catanzaro fired back with chops and a gut shot. Catanzaro stomped away at Li in the corner and landed a big kick. Catanzaro tangled with Li and rolled her up for the win.
WINNER: Kacy Catanzaro at 2:20
– A frustrated Li attacked Catanzaro and Carter until Raquel Gonzalez came out and destroyed all three women. Gonzalez grabbed a microphone and warned Rhea Ripley that this is what is awaiting her at Halloween Havoc.
– Cameron Grimes was interviewed by McKenzie Mitchell backstage. Mitchell announced that Grimes’ match with Dexter Lumis would be a “Haunted House of Terror Match”. Grimes was freaked out by this stipulation and Lumis could be seen staring at Grimes from behind a door. [c]
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: I’m not sure where this is leading with Xia Li, as I was expecting to see Boa post-match to push the story along. Instead, Li’s story, along with Catanzaro and Carter, were just used as props to hype the Gonzalez vs. Ripley match. This is fine, considering the build that has gone into Gonzalez vs. Ripley, but I don’t see why it had to be at the expense of this other story.)
– Back from commercial and Timothy Thatcher was in the ring for “Thatch as Thatch Can”. This week’s theme is “success” and Thatcher had a student called Anthony with him. Thatcher demonstrated a guillotine choke and then took Anthony down into a wrist lock. Thatcher explained the move while locking a tapping Anthony in for longer than he needed to. Thatcher asked Anthony to try take him down again and Anthony actually managed to get the upper hand. Thatcher demanded a match.
(8) ANTHONY vs. TIMOTHY THATCHER
Thatcher laid into Anthony with kicks and punches and quickly locked in a single leg crab for the submission victory.
WINNER: Timothy Thatcher at 0:55
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: As well-produced as the pre-recorded Thatch as Thatch Can segments are, I quite liked this live version. I’m still waiting for Thatcher to notch up some wins over more notable opponents though.)
– Damian Priest was shown at a tattoo parlor getting some fresh ink. He focussed on Johnny Gargano, saying that Gargano is good but that Priest is here now. Priest asked Gargano if he could take the pain. [c]
– The lighting effects took place as Alicia Taylor introduced the NXT Tag Team Championship Match
(9) BREEZANGO (c) vs. DANNY BURCH & ONEY LORCAN – NXT Tag Team Championship match
Fandango started the match with Lorcan and took control early with a side headlock and chops into the corner. Lorcan turned the tide and was able to lock in a single leg crab on Fandango. Fandango reached to the ropes to force the break. Lorcan tagged out and Burch hit a series of uppercuts on Fandango. Fandango surprised Burch with a backslide pin, but Burch kicked out at two. Fandango tagged in Breeze, who got Burch up for a quick suplex. Breeze locked in a chinlock which Burch tried to fight out of before Breeze took him down with a forearm. Breeze took Burch to the corner and stomped away as the referee tried to break it up. Breeze and Burch spilled to ringside and Burch threw Breeze into the barrier. Breeze regained control by driving Burch’s leg into the ringpost as the show went to commercial. [c]
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: Breezango are working more heelish here than they usually do, which wasn’t seed planted in the backstage segment. It seemed like they were trying to build Burch and Lorcan up as part of the Ridge Holland angle, so maybe this is Plan B for continuing their build.)
Both teams were at ringside going back and forth with chops. Lorcan dove at Breeze but ate an enziguri instead. Burch launched Breeze over the barrier with a back body drop. Back in the ring, Fandango hit Burch with a Falcon Arrow. Fandango went to the top rope and hit the Last Dance for a two-count. Fandango tagged in Breeze as Lorcan came in and sent Fandango to the floor. Lorcan and Burch applied a double team submission on Breeze, which was broken up by Fandango. Breeze targetted Burch’s knee with forearm drops. Breeze took to the top but Burch cut him off and hit the Tower of London. Burch covered Breeze but Fandango made the save.
Breezango hit stereo superkicks on Burch & Lorcan. Fandango climbed to the top rope but a masked man appeared and pushed him off. With the referee distracted, Burch lowblowed Breeze as Lorcan entered the ring to double team Breeze for the win.
WINNERS: Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan at 12:50
– The masked man entered the ring and unveiled himself as Pat McAfee. McAfee announces Burch and Lorcan as the new champions and says that it’s “undisputed”.
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: A solid match and the finish/ post-match angle with McAfee made sense as to why Breezango played heel. That red herring made the surprise alignment with McAfee for Burch and Lorcan all the more surprising. It would seem that Undisputed Era aren’t breaking up just yet, and that the trio of McAfee, Burch and Lorcan will provide a cornerstone feud for Undisputed Era going forward.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: So much happened on this show. It wasn’t quite an Attitude Era rollercoaster ride, but the straight-forward solid show structure we’re used to with NXT does seem to going by the wayside of late. That said, it was still an entertaining show and the return of Pat McAfee will provide some fresh content over the coming weeks. I don’t envy the booking team who are having to constantly pivot due to injuries but, should things stay steady now, the core storylines that have been set up should prove to be very entertaining. The key will be pacing things out nicely and not continuing to overload the shows.