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NXT ON USA TV REPORT
NOVEMBER 25, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA., AT CAPITOL WRESTLING CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
REPORT BY MATT HUSTWAITE, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Beth Phoenix, Kevin Owens
– Highlights of last week’s show aired before the announcers’ check-in to the broadcast, including Kevin Owens who is filling in for Wade Barrett.
(1) EMBER MOON vs. CANDICE LERAE (w/ Indi Hartwell)
LeRae stalled at the start of the match, leaning against the ropes and conferring with Hartwell. Moon grew tired of the stalling and attacked to send both LeRae and Hartwell to ringside. Moon chased LeRae at ringside and Hartwell tried to hit Moon with a clothesline. Moon avoided the move and slammed LeRae into the announce desk. Moon took out Hartwell at ringside and the action returned to the ring. Moon caught a diving LeRae and dropped her with a fallaway slam. LeRae tried to take a powder, but Moon followed and brought her back into the ring.
Candice surprised Ember with a running senton for a two-count. LeRae applied a cravate before going back and forth with pin attempts with Moon. Moon kicked LeRae and covered her for a two-count. LeRae hit Moon with a clothesline for a two-count. LeRae slammed Moon’s head into the mat in frustration and covered her for another two-count. Moon launched LeRae with a big backdrop and followed it up with a running roundhouse for a two-count. The show went to picture-in-picture commercial as Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez came to ringside. [c]
LeRae had Moon in another cravate as the show returned to full-screen. Moon managed to escape and hit a quick hurricanrana followed by an armdrag. LeRae hit a La Mistica and transitioned into the GargaNo Escape. Moon countered the hold into a pin attempt but LeRae kicked out while keeping hold of Moon and transitioned into a sleeper hold. Moon hit an atomic drop slam to escape and went after LeRae with kick combination. Moon hit a pair of suplexes and went up top for the Eclipse. However, Gonzalez and Kai caused a distraction which allowed Hartwell to sacrifice herself and take the Eclipse to save LeRae. LeRae hit Moon with the Wicked Stepsister for the victory.
WINNER: Candice LeRae at 13:00
– The heels surrounded Moon, who slid to ringside. Toni Storm came to ringside and appeared to be backing up Moon, but instead turned on her and threw Moon back into the ring while laughing wildly. The heels beatdown Moon as Storm looked on.
– Undisputed Era were shown arriving at the arena. [c]
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: Even though Storn has worked heel before, it was surprising to see her turn so soon after her return. It adds more intrigue to the women’s match at WarGames, but it feels rushed nonetheless.)
– In a cinematic vignette, Legado del Fantasma were having a meeting. They bragged about the year they have had so far and flagged Curt Stallion as a future target.
– Undisputed Era came to the ring and footage from the Pat McAfee Show hyping up Pete Dunne aired. Adam Cole said that many have tried to take out Undisputed Era and all have failed. Cole called McAfee a coward and recalled punting McAfee last week. Cole said he is taking McAfee to the match that Undisputed Era made famous – WarGames – and hyped up the ladder match with the WarGames advantage on the line. Kyle O’Reilly was fired up and insisted on facing Pete Dunne in the ladder match. Cole said he likes this from O’Reilly and vowed to take McAfee and his crew to hell at WarGames.
– Backstage, McKenzie Mitchell asked Dakota Kai, Candice LeRae and Raquel Gonzalez about Toni Storm turning on Ember Moon. LeRae announced that Storm was now on her WarGames team.
– A group of Timothy Thatcher’s students were backstage watching a screen ahead of Thatcher’s match vs Kushida after the commercial break. [c]
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: Undisputed Era were typically good in their promo segment, but O’Reilly was the standout with his more serious tone which gives the Pete Dunne match the credence it deserves.)
(2) KUSHIDA vs. TIMOTHY THATCHER
Tommaso Ciampa came to ringside to watch the match. Thatcher and Kushida went back-and-forth with grapple holds before Thatcher gained the advantage with a belly-to-belly suplex. After some more back-and-forth Kushida applied a Muta Lock, which Thatcher managed to escape to lock in a cravate. Both wrestlers exchanged blows mid-ring. Kushida hit an armdrag followed by a cartwheel dropkick. Thatcher regained control and applied a half-crab using the ring ropes illegally to intensify the move. [c]
Kushida unloaded with a quick combo of strikes but Thatcher turned the tide with some heavy hits. Kushida attempted a Kimura Lock but Thatcher avoided the hold. Both wrestlers went back-and-forth on the mat, exchanging counters. As both wrestlers returned to their feet, Kushida landed a big haymaker. Kushida tried for the Hoverboard Lock but Thatcher grasped his hands to block the hold. Thatcher locked in a double wrist lock which Kushida countered into a Juji Gatame. After more back-and-forth on the mat, Kushida got a two-count on a jackknife pin attempt. Thatcher applied rear-naked choke and tried to add the body scissors. Kushida managed to send Thatcher to the floor, where he was distracted by Ciampa. Kushida capitalised on the distraction and targetted Thatcher’s arm using the ringpost and floor. Thatcher hit a suplex but was again distracted by Ciampa. Kushida took advantage again and applied the Hoverboard Lock for the tap-out victory.
WINNER: Kushida at 12:30
– Ciampa spoke into the camera and suggested that Thatcher might have a problem with him now.
– A Rhea Ripley/ Io Shirai highlight package aired and Ripley was promoted for later on in the show. [c]
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: I’m still astonished that Thatcher continues to lose against higher-profile opponents. This was a rock and a hard place situation though, as Kushida needs to continue notching up wins as his evolution continues. At least the loss forms part of the feud between Thatcher and Ciampa. An unsurprisingly good match here, with the back-and-forth mat work very well done.)
– McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Pat McAfee’s crew, minus McAfee. They hyped the main event ladder match and bragged about how they were going to win.
– Kevin Owens hosted the KO Show and said he would come to NXT anytime he gets invited. He introduced Leon Ruff and gave him the floor to tell his story. Ruff spoke about how he’s always wanted to be a WWE superstar and how, despite only signing seven weeks ago, is now a champion. Ruff was embarrassed by the footage of him fumbling the belt, but Owens reassured him and they shared a laugh at Owen’s fumbling the belt in his day. Owens riled Ruff up and led him to bragging about being Johnny Gargano. who then promptly appeared. A hot Gargano asked if he was being ‘Punk’d” and said that Ruff probably wouldn’t even know what that show was. Gargano threw a chair out of the ring in a fit and ranted about Damien Priest. Like Gargano earlier in the segment, Priest appeared right as his name was mentioned. Priest put over Ruff as being better than Gargano. Gargano started to rough up Ruff and William Regal made his entrance. Regal booked Ruff vs. Gargano vs. Priest in a triple threat match for the NXT North American Championship at WarGames. In a nod to Owens quipping about Teddy Long earlier in the segment, Regal closed out with a “playa!”, which make Owen laugh.
– Finn Balor cut a promo in a smoky room. He seemed to indicate that he was ready to go, he warned that the cat was back and that others should stay out of his kitty litter. [c]
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: Owens had been a little bit off on commentary tonight, but he picked this up with the KO Show. I got a kick out of his playing into the tropes of wrestling segments with conveniently timed entrances to interrupt promos. Balor’s promo was odd but effective. I’m not in love with his chess and kitty litter comparisons, but it was effective nonetheless.)
– A commercial for WarGames aired which featured Shotzi Blackheart.
– Jake Atlas was already in the ring as his opponent, Cameron Grimes, made his entrance.
(3) JAKE ATLAS vs. CAMERON GRIMES
Grimes took down Atlas with a shoulder after they locked up. Atlas leapfrogged Grimes and hit an armdrag. Grimes came back with a German suplex for a two-count. before exchanging punches with Atlas. Grimes hit a running knee and worked over Atlas in the corner. Atlas put together some offense with a German suplex and a big kick leading to successive two-counts. Grimes fired back with the Spanish Fly and hit the Cave-In Stomp for the victory.
WINNER: Cameron Grimes at 2:50
– After the match, Grimes gloated in the ring until Dexter Lumis appeared on the ring apron, scaring Grimes to the floor. A video package of Grimes actions over the last few weeks played. Lumis took a strap out of a bag, challenging Grimes to a Strap Match. Grimes knew what Lumis was indicating but he walked off before accepting the challenge.
– Rhea Ripley was shown backstage making her way to the ring. [c]
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: They are squeezing as much as they can out of Grimes vs. Lumis. This was disappointing for Atlas too, as such a quick loss is a momentum killer after the run he had as part of the Legado del Fantasma program.)
– William Regal found Cameron Grimes backstage and made the Strap Match official for WarGames. Grimes asked Regal why he didn’t like him, to which Regal responded “I think it’s your personality”.
– Rhea Ripley came to the ring. She said that the hug between her and Io Shirai after their match last week was just a show of respect, not a sendoff from NXT. Candice LeRae and Toni Storm came out and mocked Ripley for losing, saying that Shirai needed help to beat LeRae, whereas Shirai didn’t need help to beat Ripley. LeRae said that she can talk the talk and walk the walk. Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez dragged an unconscious Io Shirai on to the entrance set. Ripley raced to make the save but was outnumbered four-to-one by the heels. They brought Ripley back to the ring and beat her down. Gonzalez womanhandled Ripley and the heels stood tall over Io Shirai as the show went to commercial. [c]
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: A very strong segment to build to the WarGames match, which has a whole lot more heat to it after this show, with Storm’s turn and this beatdown of Ripley. Despite what Ripley says, all signs still point to an elevation to the main roster in the near future.)
– A very disheveled Boa and Xia Li were taken in the back of a black car to a mystery location where they met their Master. They were taken inside and found themselves in front of a hooded figure. Boa and Li begged for forgiveness and promised that they would win next time. The hooded figure gestured to the Master, who drew more Chinese characters on Boa and Li’s hands.
– Ever Rise were in the ring for a match, but were jumped by the returning Grizzled Young Vets, James Drake and Zack Gibson. After GYV beat down Ever Rise, Gibson took a mic declared that they were back to be number one.
– McKenzie Mitchell caught up with the Garganos as they were leaving to take Indi Hartwell to hospital. LeRae talked up her team for WarGames and threatened anyone “stupid enough” to partner with Shotzi Blackheart and her team. Gargano said he would win at WarGames, before they drove off. Another mystery person in a Scream mask could be seen in the car.
– Entrances for the main event took place with O’Reilly and Dunne brawling before the bell could ring as the show went to commercial. [c]
(4) KYLE O’REILLY vs. PETE DUNNE in a ladder match to determine which team has the WarGames advantage
Back from commercial, O’Reilly grabbed a ladder after driving Dunne into the barricade. O’Reilly started to climb the ladder in the ring but Dunne rushed back in and dumped O’Reilly to the floor. O’Reilly escaped from under a ladder that Dunne positioned on him and pulled Dunne’s knee through the ladder to hit a Dragon Screw. O’Reilly locked in a kneebar and Dunne screamed in pain. Dunne managed to get back to his fit and sent O’Reilly into a ladder with a powerbomb. O’Reilly came back and continued to target Dunne’s leg. O’Reilly draped Dunne’s knee on the ropes and went for a kick. However, Dunne blocked it and hit a suplex on O’Reilly through a ladder positioned at ringside before the show went to a picture-in-picture commercial. [c]
During the break, both wrestlers slowly made their way back into the ring. Once inside, Dunne stomped on O’Reilly’s hand with a ladder repeatedly. Dunne went and grabbed a chair but was met with a kick to the face from O’Reilly upon returning to the ring. Dunne attempted the Bitter End but O’Reilly countered with a guillotine. O’Reilly landed a running knee to the jaw of the fallen Dunne. O’Reilly dumped Dunne on a ladder with a brainbuster. Dunne countered an ankle lock by shoving O’Reilly into a ladder. With a ladder between them, both wrestlers yanked each other into the steel by pulling each other’s arms. Dunne launched the ladder at O’Reilly, who caught it and threw it back in the face of Dunne.
O’Reilly and Dunne unloaded on each other with strikes and O’Reilly drilled Dunne with a huge clotheline, turning Dunne inside out. O’Reilly climbed the ladder and Dunne followed. O’Reilly sent Dunne flying off the ladder into another ladder setup in the corner. As O’Reilly continued to climb, a masked man interfered and knocked him off the ladder. Dunne climbed the ladder and unhooked the briefcase for the victory.
WINNER: Pete Dunne in approx 20:00 to secure the WarGames advantage for Team McAfee
– The show closed with McAfee’s crew celebrating on the ramp.
(Hustwaite’s Analysis: A very strong main event, which wouldn’t have been out of place on a Takeover show. It was a hard-hitting, violent match which left me wanting to see more from O’Reilly and Dunne in singles action. I’m glad it seems that O’Reilly as a singles wrestler in NXT wasn’t just a one-off, short program. Presumably, the masked man was McAfee, but that he didn’t unveil himself makes me wonder if there is another member joining the crew.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Even though this was still a pacey show, it didn’t feel as chaotic as NXT has felt of late – and that’s a good thing. Everything was digestible with time to settle and the show had significant moments en route to WarGames. The build to the women’s WarGames match has me excited and the main event was a typically stellar outing for an NXT feature match. Kevin Owens was fine on commentary, but Barrett will be a welcome return nonetheless.