11/4 NXT ON USA TV REPORT: Hustwaite’s “alt-perspective” report on Kushida vs. Cameron Grimes, Toni Storm vs. Shotzi Blackheart, Tommaso Ciampa vs. Velveteen Dream, more

By Matt Hustwaite, PWTorch Contributor


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

NXT ON USA TV REPORT
NOVEMBER 4, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA., AT CAPITOL WRESTLING CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY MATT HUSTWAITE, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Vic Joseph, Beth Phoenix, Wade Barrett

[HOUR ONE]

– The show opened with Ember Moon’s entrance as she made her way to the ring for her match with Dakota Kai.

– After Moon made it to the ring, Vic Joseph threw to a video package covering the highlights of last week’s ‘Haloween Havoc’ edition of NXT.

(1) EMBER MOON vs. DAKOTA KAI (w/ Raquel Gonzalez)

Moon and Kai locked up and Moon took Kai into the corner. Both wrestlers ended up on the mat with Kai on top in a mount position. Moon turned the tide and worked over Kai’s arm, but Kai regained control after a reversal into an arm wrench. Kai trash-talked Moon and hit an arm drag. Moon took Kai down with a head scissors. Moon lifted Kai out of an armbreaker and took her down with a powerbomb. Moon hit an enziguri but Kai soon came back with a series of forearm strikes. Moon landed a springboard kick. The action spilled to the outside and Moon hit a suicide dive to Kai on the floor. Moon went for a second dive, but Kai avoided impact and Moon smashed into the ringside barrier. [c]

Moon took down Kai with a headscissors. Moon hit a spinebuster and covered Kai for a two-count. Kai got a quick roll-up but could only manage a two-count. Moon took to the second turnbuckle and hit Kai with a double knee backbreaker. The two wrestlers went back and forth on the mat with punches. Moon offered up a free shot to Kai but it was a trick, as Moon blocked Kai’s shot and locked in a crossface. Kai broke the hold by rolling into a pin attempt. Both wrestlers exchanged pin attempts until Kai locked in an armbar. Moon broke the hold by getting a foot on the bottom rope. Kai trash-talked Moon who fired up after getting slapped by Kai. Moon unloaded with strikes and hit Kai with a hip toss. Moon splashed Kai in the corner. Moon went to the top rope but Gonzalez caused a distraction. Kai hit the Kairopractor and pinned Moon for the victory.

WINNER: Dakota Kai at 16:20

– Kai and Gonzalez celebrated on the ramp and Kai told the camera that she proved Moon wrong.

– McKenzie Mitchell approached Cameron Grimes backstage, startling him from behind. Grimes claimed that his loss to Dexter Lumis last week doesn’t count because it wasn’t a real match and that the referee was a zombie. A referee walked up to tell Grimes that his match was coming up, but a spooked Grimes ran away. [c]

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: I was surprised to see Moon lose so quickly following her return, but she certainly didn’t look weak in defeat. This was a great outing for Kai and it’s good to see that she isn’t just being used as a stepping stone like she referenced in her interview last week. Moon has mixed up her moveset and she looks to have no ring rust whatsoever.)

– Back from the commercial break, McKenzie Mitchell was with Shotzi Blackheart. She put over Halloween Havoc and announced that William Regal has let her choose her own opponent for tonight. Blackheart chose Toni Storm and welcomed her to the ball pit.

(2) KUSHIDA vs. CAMERON GRIMES

Kushida fronted up to Grimes who was still on edge and easily spooked. Grimes and Kushida exchanged chain wrestling holds, with Kushida getting the upper hand with submissions. Kushida tried to lock in a Juji Gatame but Grimes blocked the hold with clasped hands. Kushida continued the submission wrestling which led to a basement dropkick for a two-count. Grimes landed some blows to Kushida’s kidneys and went for a suplex, but Kushida rolled through for a two-count. Grimes dropped Kushida onto the turnbuckle with snake eyes as the show went to a picture-in-picture commercial. [c]

Kushida took control as the show returned to full screen, hitting a handspring back elbow. Kushida hit the cartwheel dropkick and soon after sent Grimes off the apron with double handspring boots. Kushida went to the top rope but Grimes slid back into the ring. Kushida shifted position and flew off the top rope anyway, hitting Grimes with a crossbody. Kushida covered Grimes for a two-count. Kushida stomped away at Grimes, who managed to grab a leg and roll Kushida up for a two-count. Grimes managed another two-count after hitting Kushida with a powerbomb. Kushida went to the top rope and Grimes followed. After exchanging strikes, Kushida crotched Grimes on the top rope. Kushida slammed Grimes off the top rope with a shoulder slam. The referee went down after Grimes shoved Kushida into the referee and then accidentally landed a knee. With the referee down, Kushida locked in the Hoverboard Lock and Grimes tapped to no avail due to the ref bump. Grimes escaped the hold and hit the Spanish Fly Powerslam. Another referee ran out and Grimes was spooked, as it was the same referee who was a “zombie” last week. Kushida locked in the Hoverboard Lock and Grimes tapped out.

WINNER: Kushida at 14:05

– A video package hyping Toni Storm’s match with Shotzi Blackheart aired. [c]

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: While this wasn’t a bad match, it felt a little inconsequential. It wasn’t clean enough of a win to strongly continue Kushida’s evolution and the silliness of Grimes vs. the zombies doesn’t have a clear path to take. The Halloween schtick was fun, but it should’ve been contained to the Halloween Havoc special. Grime’s acting as he was spooked by the “zombie ref” was horrendously lame. All that said, the match itself was very good. I just look forward to the day where these two have clear, serious paths forward.)

– Io Shirai was featured in a vignette where she said she has one more challenge in NXT – Rhea Ripley. Shirai said she isn’t afraid of nightmares and wants to put the NXT Women’s Championship on the line in a one-on-one match with Ripley.

– Drake Maverick and Killian Dain made their entrance. Dain still didn’t like the entrance music and called for it to be cut off.

(3) DRAKE MAVERICK & KILLIAN DAIN vs. EVER RISE

Ever Rise talked trashed as the two sides faced off before the bell. Once the action began, Maverick and Dain worked in-sync, with Vic Joseph praising their teamwork on commentary. Dain picked up Maverick and bodyslammed him on to Parker for a two-count. Parker tagged out to Martel who got the upper hand on Maverick. Parker tagged back in again but was quickly dumped over the top rope by Maverick. The show went to split-screen as a vehicle pulled up at the arena. Pat McAfee, Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch hopped out and commandeered a video camera. Lorcan and Burch hammed it up for the camera. They came to ringside and McAfee filmed as Dunne, Lorcan and Burch attacked Maverick and Dain.

No Contest at 4:00

– Dain tried to fight back, but the numbers game was too strong. Dunne, Lorcan and Burch hit Dain with a draping DDT as Maverick was laid out on the mat. McAfee shot a selfie with his crew as the show went to commercial. [c]

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: I really like what is developing with McAfee and his crew. However, I also really like what is developing with Maverick and Dain, so it was disappointing to see them essentially fed to the new heel faction. It could be fun to revisit this down the line when Maverick and Dain are more established, as I think McAfee’s Crew vs. Maverick and Dain could make for an entertaining program.)

[HOUR TWO]

– McAfee and his crew were still in the ring as the show came back from commercial. McAfee brashly boasted that he and his crew were the best foursome in the history of the business. He said that they are men of class, unlike the other scumbags in NXT, and that they are the Kings of NXT. McAfee talked about Undisputed Era and claimed that were only over with the stupid fans. McAfee handed the microphone to Pete Dunne. Dunne said that he returned the favor to Roderick Strong, after Strong betrayed Dunne in the past. McAfee took the microphone back and claimed that Undisputed Era took away opportunities from other hard-working people in the locker room, like Lorcan and Burch. McAfee talked more about assembling his crew before declaring that it was time to symbolically raise the Undisputed Era banner to the rafters. He got agreement from his crew and then ended up throwing it in a trash can and setting it on fire. McAfee told the fans that they suck as he and his crew left the ring.

The roving camera followed the heels back out to their vehicle where McAfee was attacked by Killian Dain. Dain quickly fell victim to the numbers game and Dunne kicked the car door into Dain’s head, to the shock of McAfee. The heels drove off and Dain was left lying in a pool of blood. [c]

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: Well, it looks like I didn’t have to worry about Maverick and Dain, as it appears they’ll be somewhat of a bridge program before McAfee’s Crew face-off with Undisputed Era. That should be fun. McAfee’s promo was brilliant, albeit a little too long. His delivery has now gotten into a much more natural groove and his reactions to the words and actions of his allies are priceless, like his response to Dunne kicking the car door. Was the reference to “Kings of NXT” a nod to their group name?)

– Johnny Gargano was at the Gargano Residence and told the camera that he actually likes wheels. The camera zoomed out to reveal that he was playing the ‘Game of Life’ board game. Gargano’s phone rang and a creepy voice said “I’m in your house”. Gargano said that he knew because he was there with him, as the camera revealed the mystery person in the ‘Scream’ mask at the table with him.  Gargano eventually “won” the game and celebrated.

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: Why is the mystery person still in the Halloween costume? I feel the same about this as I did with Grimes and his carryover from the Halloween Havoc episode – it was fun for one week, but really hard to try and play out in the regular NXT environment.)

(4) SHOTZI BLACKHEART vs. TONI STORM

Blackheart didn’t enter in her mini tank and seemed to be blaming Storm for it going missing. Blackheart botched a slingshot and Storm took advantage. Storm hit a hip attack and got a two-count. Blackheart and Storm went back and forth with pin attempts. Storm applied a Cranium Crunch. Storm rolled up Blackheart for a two-count and then hit a suplex for another pin attempt. [C]

Vic Joseph provided an update on Killian Dain, saying that he has been taken to a local hospital. Blackheart hit a reverse cannonball and covered Storm for a two-count. Storm came back with a German suplex and reversed a Blackheart Sliced Bread attempt into another German suplex. Storm went for another German, but Blackheart countered it into a Saito Suplex. Storm landed a big headbutt and covered Blackheart for another two-count. Blackheart fired back with a series of strikes. Blackheart botched a DDT on the apron, not making full connection with Storm. With both wrestlers laid out on the floor, the referee started the ten count. Blackheart made it back into the ring first and Candice LeRae appeared on the tron with Shotzi’s mini tank. Storm hit the distracted Blackheart with a hurricanrana for the win.

WINNER: Toni Storm at 13:50

– LeRae was still on the tron and ran over Blackheart’s mini tank with a truck. LeRae said that now she and Blackheart are even. Blackheart was distraught in the ring and Storm tried to comfort her. [c]

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: LeRae is now the #1 heel in my eyes after destroying the tank. Seriously though, I do like that gimmick and hopefully, it returns sometime. Blackheart was a little off in this match, with a couple of blown spots. Storm seems to just be simmering at the moment, which is somewhat unavoidable considering how loaded the women’s division is. It’s worth noting that a Scream mask person was in the truck with LeRae.)

– Back from commercial, Legado del Fantasma were interviewed outside of the arena. Escobar talked trash about Jake Atlas and Atlas appeared in an SUV. Escobar watched on smirking as Atlas attacked Mendoza with a weapon (baseball bat?) and escaped before Wilde could get to him.

– ‘Thatch as Thatch can’ was live in the ring again this week. Timothy Thatcher gave a lesson on reversals with a student called Akeem. Thatcher had Akeem apply a guillotine choke and explained how to turn it into a pin. Thatcher applied a double wrist lock and Akeem tapped out. Thatcher continued to apply the hold after Akeem tapped. Thatcher asked Akeem to apply a forearm crossface, but surprised him with a counter into an ankle lock. “Austin Gray”, most recently known on TV as Anthony Greene from a previous Thatch as Thatch can, ran in and cleared Thatcher from the ring.

– McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Xia Li about the letters she has been receiving from Boa. Li said they were letters from her family and that it was none of Mitchell’s business. William Regal appeared and gave Li another letter. Li requested a match with Raquel Gonzalez and Regal agreed.

– A video package hyping Tommasso Ciampa vs. Velveteen Dream aired. [c]

– Rhea Ripley gave a backstage promo accepting the challenge from Io Shirai. Ripley said that she would end 2020 as she ended 2019 – by winning the NXT Women’s Championship.

(5) TOMMASO CIAMPA vs. VELVETEEN DREAM

Ciampa was in complete control from the outset of the match, leading to a frustrated Dream rolling to the outside and hitting the announce table, hurting his injured hand in the process. Ciampa left the ring to meet Dream at ringside and was tossed into the plexiglass. Ciampa quickly came back and drove Dream through the announce table with a suplex. Ciampa went for a knee strike, but changed his mind and instead went after the injured hand of Dream. Both wrestlers ended up back in the ring and Dream managed to ground Ciampa with shots to the midsection. Ciampa fired back and sent Dream over the top rope and back to ringside. Dream returned to the ring and countered a Fairytale Ending. Ciampa still managed to drive Dream to the mat and again targetted the injured hand. Ciampa sent Dream face-first into the turnbuckle and stomped away at Dream in the corner. [c]

Ciampa unloaded with chops to Dream in the corner. Dream managed to escape after raking Ciampa’s eyes. Dream began to mount some offense with a series of punches and a spinebuster. Dream used his cast to add pressure to a Camel Clutch. Ciampa escaped the move and reversed an atomic drop with tackle and a series of clotheslines. Ciampa took Dream to the corner and positioned him on the top rope for a superplex. The move was caught on a really great camera angle, from the back of the arena behind the turnbuckle. Ciampa covered Dream for a nearfall. Ciampa went for the Fairytale Ending but Dream countered with a roll-up for a two-count. Dream got Ciampa up for a Dream Valley Driver, which Ciampa blocked by grabbing the top rope. Dream sent Ciampa to ringside and dove on to him on the floor. Dream brought Ciampa back into the ring, but they quickly ended up on the outside again after Dream suplexed Ciampa over the top rope to the floor. Dream grabbed a chair from ringside and the referee quickly took it away from him. Dream tried to capitalize on the distracted referee with a cast shot from the top rope, but Ciampa caught Dream with a knee to the face. Ciampa hit the Willow’s Bell and the Fairytale Ending for the victory.

WINNER: Tommaso Ciampa at 13:30

– Ciampa stood tall as the crowd cheered to end the show.

(Hustwaite’s Analysis: If there was any doubt about where Ciampa sat on the face/ heel chart, this match completely established Ciampa as a face. The crowd was hot for him, but the piped-in cheering made the intentions very clear. The match was a good showcase of Ciampa and Dream played his part well. I still don’t get what is going on with Dream, he continues to get destroyed yet still pops back up week after week. He could really do with some time away to reset. Overall, a good match and one that was played pretty straight without any real silliness.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Anything was going to be a stark contrast from last week’s ‘Halloween Havoc’ special, and this show certainly was just that – to the point where it almost felt like a bit of a step back. NXT is still balancing a fine line between keeping its point of difference which made it stand out and becoming infiltrated with “sports entertainment style” that we are used to seeing elsewhere. There is still plenty to like though, especially with Pat McAfee, and the exceptional women’s division. For all the speculation about what led NXT to beating out AEW in the ratings last week, I genuinely feel that the women’s division was a large part of it. Rather than becoming more of the same in WWE, NXT would do well to utilize the women as their overt point of difference as they battle AEW on Wednesdays.

Make sure to check out Kelly Wells’ report for his perspective on this show and make sure to check out the PWT Talks NXT podcast in the Audio section. You can find me on Twitter at @mattyhuss. 

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