Welcome back to the weekly TJRwrestling review of WWE NXT. Last week, they had a good show, although the ending of the main event between Bianca Belair and Charlotte Flair left me scratching my head a little bit. There was a good opening match with Cameron Grimes picking up a surprise victory over Dominik Dijakovic, with the help of Damian Priest and they furthered the storyline between Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. They also teased a feud between Finn Balor and Walter, which if it happens would be fantastic. You can read my in-depth reviews of the NXT shows we cover at the site in the archives here. Let’s continue the road to NXT Takeover: Tampa Bay.
WWE NXT from Full Sail University 3/4/2020
The show opens with the usual recap of what happened last week. It was a cool moment with Charlotte Flair coming back to NXT.
The hype up the two cage matches for tonight, with Tegan Nox taking on Dakota Kai and Roderick Strong going head to head with The Velveteen Dream. Mauro Ranallo puts over how dangerous both matches will be and sends it down to the ring for the first one. Beth Phoenix is not at the booth tonight due to the RKO she received from Randy Orton on Raw.
Steel Cage Match
Tegan Nox vs. Dakota Kai (w/Raquel Gonzales)
The match begins with a staredown before Tegan comes to start talking trash. Kai catches her with some shots before Nox fights back with some of her own. Nox takes her down to the mat, but goes for Shining Wizard but Kai gets out of the way. Kai isn’t on the offensive for long, as Nox takes her down with an elbow, followed by a splash from the top. Nox knocks her back down to the mat and covers her for a two count. Kai fights back and slams Noxs’ head into the top turnbuckle. Kai continues to work her over in the corner and drives the knee into her throat. Kai slams her head into another turnbuckle and covers her for two. Kai with the boot to the throat as Nox is in some pain. Nox slowly makes her way back to her feet and hits Kai with a move and gets a two count. Kai goes into the corner but Nox hits her with some running elbows and a senton into the corner. She goes in to keep the advantage, but Kai scouts it and driver her head into the cage as they go to commercial break.
*Commercial Break* Kai continues to drive the face of Nox into the cage as Gonzales looks on from the outside. She rolls her to the middle and covers her for a two count. Kai picks up Nox and tosses her into the side of the cage. She follows that up with some stomps and a boot to the throat. As Kai goes to walk away, Nox catches her foot and doesn’t let go. Kai kicks her off, and goes to the other side of the ring. Nox follows her over and tries to get some offense, but Kai takes her down again. Kai gets to her feet and starts kicking her in the face. Nox makes it back to her feet and gets some offense in, and slams Kai into the side of the cage as they come back to full screen.
Nox continues throwing Kai all over the ring and she hits all sides of the cage. Nox starts pushing her against the cage as she talks to Gonzales on the outside. Nox hooks the legs and gets a two count. Nox hits a Fallaway Slam with a bridge and gets another two count. Nox gets back to her feet and heads for the door but Kai cuts her off. Kai hits the Chiropractor and gets a near fall. Nox grabs the knee brace and rolls her up for a two count. Both women get up and hit the other and both fall to the mat. Nox starts climbing the cage but Kai meets her at the top. Nox grabs her back the neck and chokeslams her off the top rope. Kai recovers and pulls her off the cage. She continues the assault and hits her with some kicks to the head and both women follow each other into the corners and hit splashes and knees. Nox climbs up the cage again but Gonzales is waiting for her on the outside. She turns around and hits a splash from the top onto Kai in the ring. Big time spot there. Nox slowly climbs to the door but Gonzales slams the door shut before she can get out. Kai goes to kick Nox but misses and kicked the door into the face of Gonzales. Nox hits the Shiniest Wizard but only gets a two count! What a near fall. Nox climbs to the door again and is cut off by Gonzales again. She hits her with a kick that knocks her to the outside and Nox climbs the cage but as she is climbing down Kai catches her at the top. Both women’s trade blows before Nox pushes Kai from the top to the mat. Kai tries to sneak out of the cage but Nox kicks the door into her leg. Gonzales pins Nox against the cage wall and the door as she was coming down and that allows Kai to escape and win. The match went for about 17 minutes.
Match Winner: Dakota Kai
Match Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: That was a very solid match to open the show. This was the blow-off that this feud deserved, although I could see them doing it one more time at Takeover: Tampa Bay. I feel like even with the outside interference by Gonzales, it fit the match really well and led to Kai picking up the win. The crowd was into the match the entire time and the last 5 minutes of the match were exciting. These two are the future of the NXT Women’s division and they showed it here.
We get a package with Finn Balor. He talks about being the one who makes the first move but Walter forced his hand this time. Balor says that Walter won’t like his reaction to this. He says he will see him sooner than he thinks. They go to a commercial break.
Rhea Ripley is in Raymond James Stadium and walks around the place where WrestleMania takes place this year. She talks about her excitement for her match at Wrestlemania against Charlotte Flair and how she has been dreaming of this since she was a child. She talks about how big the match is for her and how she grew up in a small town in Australia and wants to show you can accomplish your goals. She talks about how she has always been compared to Flair but she wants to break that to become the first Rhea Ripley.
Robert Stone comes out and introduces his client Chelsea Green and they make their way down to the ring for the next match.
Number One Contender Ladder Match Qualifier
Chelsea Green (w/Robert Stone) vs. Shotzi Blackheart
The winner of this match will go on to the Ladder Match to determine the Number One Contender for the NXT Women’s Championship at Takeover: Tampa Bay
Blackheart starts the match off quickly by taking Green down to the mat. Both women get back to their feet and trade blows with Blackheart getting Green on the ropes. She goes to hit a knee, but Green moves and hits a backstabber for a two count. Blackheart comes back with some offense of her own and takes Green to the top. Green kicks her away and hits a Missile Dropkick. Green follows that up with the I’m Prettier and picks up the win in about 2 minutes.
Winner: Chelsea Green
Match Rating: DUD
Collective Thoughts: This was just a squash match to get Green over and put her in the ladder match. Blackheart got some offense in, but Green was going to win the whole way. Compared to the opening women’s match, this was a step-down.
Green celebrates the win in the ring as they go to a commercial break.
They come back from break and talk about Dominik Dijakovic. They mention that he is week to week after being attacked by Damian Priest last week.
Keith Lee makes his way down to the ring to talk about what has happened in the last couple of weeks. He gets in the ring and soaks up the fan’s appreciation. He opens by saying that ever since he has become NXT North American Champion, a lot of people have been keeping his name in their mouths. He mentions Dijakovic and Priest and says that he will take all of them on. He is interrupted by the music of Cameron Grimes, who picked up a surprise win against Dijakovic last week. Grimes says he is focusing on the wrong guys, and that he should be focusing on him. He says it took Lee twenty minutes to put Dijakovic away and he did it quicker. Lee says that he made a grave mistake, but Grimes doesn’t let him get anything else out before cutting him off. Grimes starts to talk but the fans boo him out of the building which makes him pause. Grimes says that some say the match at Takeover was a five-star match, but Regal is giving him a shot at the title next week. Lee pushes Grimes out of the ring and says that next week is an equal opportunity ass whopping and they have a staredown over the title.
Collective Thoughts: That will be a good match next week. Grimes is a veteran that hasn’t had much of a chance to shine in NXT as of yet but it seems like he is getting the chance now. They will have a nice back and forth match, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it leads to a fatal 4-way match at Takeover: Tampa Bay.
Austin Theory is being interviewed earlier today and says that he may be one of the greatest in NXT history and he is only 22 years old. He is cut off by Isiah “Swerve” Scott, who challenges him to a match tonight.
The Undisputed Era is backstage pumping up Roderick Strong for his Cage Match tonight as they go to a commercial break.
They come back from break and celebrate The Street Profits winning the Raw Tag Team Titles on Raw before going down to the ring for the next match.
The Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly) vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Birch
This is the second time Lorcan and Birch have been on NXT in the last couple of weeks.
Lorcan and Fish start the match off. They trade kicks and chops in the middle of the ring with Lorcan taking a slight advantage with an uppercut. All four men get in the ring and things break down as Lorcan and Birch hit double team offense and clear the ring. Lorcan hits a Blockbuster off the stairs as they go to a commercial break.
They come back from break with Fish working over Lorcan with some shots to the head. Lorcan hulks you and hits some chops, but Fish cuts him off with some knee strikes. Fish hits a senton and makes the tag into O’Reilly. Lorcan makes his way to the corner and makes the tag to Birch. He trades strikes with O’Reilly in the ring and takes out Fish as well. He continues working on both men but the numbers game is too much and The Undisputed Era takes control. They trade tags and continue working over Birch with some double team offense. O’Reilly hits him with some fast strikes and tags Fish back in. He hits a rib shot on Birch and hits a high knee to the midsection. Another tag to O’Reilly and he comes in with some palm strikes and a shoulder to the midsection. They keep him in the corner and tags Fish back in. Fish locks him in a chin lock in the middle of the ring but Birch makes his way back to his feet before Fish takes him down again. He tags O’Reilly back in and he trades shots with Birch. Birch tries to get to his feet to make a tag but O’Reilly cuts him off and takes him down. The Undisputed Era trade tags again, and O’Reilly goes for a move but Birch reverses it and takes him down. He makes the hot tag to Lorcan and he is a house of fire. He hits a Blockbuster and goes to the outside with a dive into Fish. He takes out both members in the corner, but as he charges back in he is met with a high low by Fish and O’Reilly and they pick up the win in about 10 minutes.
Winner(s): Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly
Match Rating: 3/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: Above average tag team match with The Undisputed Era looking to get another shot at the titles. Lorcan and Birch have gotten a lot of tv matches lately and they are a solid tag team that got some offense in here. Fish and O’Reilly isolated Birch to their side of the ring for most of the match and it was textbook tag team wrestling.
O’Reilly grabs a mic after the match and he says that he really loves winning. They call out the BROserweights and says that Cole and Strong are taking care of their business and they will too. Riddle and Dunne make their way out and Riddle says that they want the match to happen, and everyone in the arena wants to see it too. Riddle says that Regal even wants to see the match, but just as he says that they are taken out by The Grizzled Young Veterans. Zack Gibson picks up the mic and says he couldn’t care less about their rematch and says they aren’t going to wait for Regal to chime in. They said it’s out with the old and in with the new and that they will soon be recognized as the greatest tag team in the world.
Collective Thoughts: The Grizzled Young Veterans have been on a roll lately, and it looks like they will be getting an NXT Tag Team Title shot in the near future. The Undisputed Era has had an impressive run at the top of the Tag Team division, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a fresh matchup for the Broserweights.
They show a package hyping up the match between Isiah “Swerve” Scott and Austin Theory which is next and they go to a commercial break.
They come back and show The Velveteen Dream getting ready for his match tonight.
Isiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Austin Theory
This should be a good match between two up and coming NXT stars. Theory faced off against Tommaso Ciampa last week and has had some nice showings as of late.
Both men circle the ring and lock up in the middle of the ring. Scott gets an early armbar in and turns that into a side headlock. Theory reverses into one of his own. Scott throws him into the ropes but Theory takes up down with a shoulder block. Scott throws him into the corner and hits a head scissors takeover. He follows that up with a dropkick to the head. Scott goes to follow up in the corner but Theory catches him and Scott hits a kick to the head to escape. Theory falls to the mat and Scott looks on as they go to a commercial break.
They are back from break and both men are reading blows in the middle of the ring. They show Theory hitting a Gutwrench Powerbomb during the break. He hits Scott with a dropkick and covers him for a two count. Theory continues to hit Scott with some stiff offense and takes him to the corner. He hits him with a punch to the head takes him out to the middle. Scott recovers and both men exchange punches with Scott coming out on top. He hits an elbow from the second rope and gets a two count. He hits a series of kicks to the chest of Theory and slams him down for another near fall. Scott tries to lock in a half Nelson but Theory fights out and hits a Buckle Bomb to the corner. Theory hits the RP1 but only gets a two count. Theory gets back to his feet and hits an elbow to the head of Scott. Scott comes back with one of his own that knocks Theory to the apron. Theory comes back in and Scott locks him in an armbar. Scott lets up and snaps the shoulder of Theory. Theory rolls to the apron and Scott follows him by climbing on the second rope, but Theory pulls his legs out from under him and he hits the mat. Theory follows that up with the ATL and picks up the win in about 11 minutes.
Winner: Austin Theory
Match Rating: 2.75/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: The match had some nice back and forth action between two young stars in NXT. Austin Theory looks like a million bucks and I can see them pushing him to the top of NXT eventually. Isiah Scott had a nice match as well and showed a lot of athleticism throughout. Theory was the right pick to get the win and his stock has continued to rise in recent weeks.
Post-match, Theory climbs the ropes to celebrate the win while selling the intensity of the match. They talk about the upcoming sit-down interview between Mauro Ranallo and Johnny Gargano before going to the commercial break.
They come back from the break with Mauro Ranallo putting over how nice of a guy Johnny Gargano once was, but seems like a different person now. Ranallo says he got a chance to sit down with Johnny Wrestling and they go to the interview.
Ranallo starts the interview off by saying Gargano requested this interview and that he should explain his actions from two weeks ago at Takeover: Portland when he cost Tommaso Ciampa the NXT Championship. Gargano starts by saying everyone has been asking him why he did what he did. He asks Mauro if he remembers that Gargano was the only one to come to his red carpet event for his documentary. Gargano says that Ranallo has an important job, in that he tells the stories of the NXT Universe. He talks about all the complimentary things he has said about him and says that he is Johnny Wrestling. Mauro says he likes to think he knows Gargano but people have been asking why has he been making all the sneak attacks recently. Gargano fires back by saying he looked Ciampa in the eyes and saw all he needed to see and did what he had to do. He asks if Ranallo thought last week was a sneak attack because he had on a blue sports coat. Mauro says he appreciates Johnny’s anger and knows everything that he and Ciampa have been through. Gargano gets defensive and tells Mauro he doesn’t have a clue what he has been through. Mauro says that again, the reason for the interview is to find out why he turned his back on Ciampa. Gargano says Mauro knows exactly why. He gets in Mayor’s face and says that their friendship didn’t stop Mauro from calling him Johnny Turncoat on the air. That didn’t stop him from saying Daddy’s Home in reference to Tommaso coming back to action. He starts poking Mauro in the chest and says that he knows why he did what he did but says if Mauro admits it, he would be a liar. He calls Mauro a liar repeatedly before Mauro has enough and leaves the interview. Gargano grabs the camera and says that next week, they are going to play by his rules, The Johnny Wrestling rules, before storming out.
Collective Thoughts: That was a good, intense promo by Johnny Gargano. He made things personal between him and Mauro, and that led to an uncomfortable vibe throughout the entire interview. I thought both men played it off well, with Mauro becoming so uncomfortable he ended up leaving the interview early. There was a real sense of realism to the whole thing and as overplayed as Gargano and Ciampa can feel sometimes, it was a good way to keep the fire going.
They hype up the main event coming up next. They show a package showcasing the history between Roderick Strong and The Velveteen Dream and just how personal this rivalry has gotten. The package ends and they are setting up the cage and go to a commercial break.
They come back from the break and announce that next week NXT will emanate from the Performance Center and will feature an NXT North American Title match between Keith Lee and Cameron Grimes. It’s time for the main event.
Steel Cage Match
Roderick Strong vs. The Velveteen Dream
Dream is our first and taunts Strong as he makes his way out. Strong gets in the cage and the two men start fighting immediately. They trade punch back and first and go down to the mat. Dream attempts to throw Strong into the cage but he blocks it and hits an elbow. Strong throws Dream into the cage but he leaps up and starts climbing the cage instead. Strong tries to pull him down but Dream kicks him off and hits a splash and gets a near fall. He works Strong into the corner and continues hitting him with some shots. Dream picks him up on his shoulders but Strong fights out with some elbows to the face. He continues hitting Dream with some punches and forearms, but Dream catches him and hits a punch of his own. He charges in but Strong moves out of the way and sends Dream flying into the side of the cage. Strong takes Dream down to the mat for some Ground and Pound before moving him to the corner and hitting some chops. Dream tries time fight out, but Strong takes him down with a shot to the head and a belly to back suplex. Strong takes his shirt off and throws it in Dream’s face. He picks him up and chops him against the ropes and tells that “he did this”. Strong comes off the ropes with a series of elbows but Dream reverses the last one and tosses Strong into the cage. He hits a back body drop that sends Strong crashing into the cage again. Strong’s wife Marina comes down to the ring and slides a Kendo Stick into the ring before walking to the back. Strong grabs the stick and both men rise to their feet as they go to the split-screen commercial break.
*Commercial Break* Strong goes to hit Dream with the Kendo Stick but he ducks and both men exchange punches. Dream grabs the Kendo Stick and hits Strong in the arm with it. He hits Strong with it a few more times and goes in for one more but Strong kicks him in the midsection. Strong makes his way back to his feet and takes Dream out with some punches that takes them all over the ring. Strong pins Dream up against the cage and hits him with some punches before slamming his head against the cage. He picks Dream up and puts him on the top rope and pushes his face through an opening in the cage. He pulls Dream down in the Tree of Woe and starts to climb the cage to escape. Dream sits up and grabs Strong as they come back to full screen.
Dream hits Strong with some shots to the kidneys and an elbow to the ribs. Strong falls off the top as Dream climbs to the top. He comes off with a splash with Strong getting the foot up, but Dream catches it and puts him in The Stronghold. Strong gets to the ropes but Dream doesn’t break the hold. Strong fights out and grabs the legs of Dream and puts him in a Stronghold of his own. Dream almost taps out but eventually rolls Strong up and gets a two count. Dream picks him up on his shoulders and dumps him into the side of the cage. Dream hits a series of dropkicks that sends Strong into the cage and he follows that up with a Superkick to the face. Strong recovers and pulls Dream face-first into the cage. He grabs the Kendo Stick and goes to hit him but Dream gets the foot up and kicks him in the midsection. Dream goes to hit Strong with the stick but he clocks hit and Strong hits a modified Backbreaker with the Kendo Stick. Strong makes his way up the cage, but Dream catches him and pulls down his pants and exposes his backside. Dream climbs up beside Strong and both men exchange blows. Dream attempts to climb out but Strong catches him and hits an Olympic Slam from the top of the cage. Strong falls on top of him and gets a two count. Strong climbs for the door, but Dream grabs his leg and jumps over him and tries to escape. Both men try to escape through the door but are cut off by the other. Strong hits some elbows, but Dream recovers and hits two Dream Valley Drivers in a row but doesn’t go for the cover. Dream climbs to the top of the cage but the rest of The Undisputed Era make their way down to the ring. Dream thinks about his next move before he jumps down to the ring and fights off the UE with the Kendo Stick. Adam Cole gets in the ring but Dream throws him off the top rope and he goes down to the mat. Strong starts climbing to the door but Dream grabs him before he gets there. Dream looks at Strong and looks at Cole in the other corner before pushing Strong out of the ring and giving him the win in about 13 minutes.
Winner: Roderick Strong
Match Rating: 3.25/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: Both men fought hard and they had an above-average main event match. Marina coming to the aid of her husband is a good way to tie her in after Dream had been playing mind games for a few weeks now. The Kendo Stick played a role in the match but wasn’t overdone, which was nice. Both men had spots where it felt like they could win, but I feel like Strong winning was the right move, even if the Dream was the reason why. The ending of the match was more to build the feud between Adam Cole and The Velveteen Dream so the outcome doesn’t matter as much.
After the match, Velveteen Dream shuts the cage door so it’s only him and Adam Cole in the ring. Both men start to go after each other before Dream tosses Cole into the side of the cage as the other members of UE try and get in the ring. Dream takes our Fish and O’Reilly but Strong makes his way to the top. Dream grabs the Kendo Stick and takes out Cole with it and hits Strong repeatedly at the top of the cage. Dream slingshots Cole into Strong he was on the top rope and Strong is hanging by his leg in the corner. Dream grabs a chair throws it down to the mat before hitting Cole with a Dream Valley Driver on top of it. Dream grabs the NXT Championship and poses over Cole with it. He climbs to the top of the cage and poses some more with the title as they show replays. They come back to Dream posing some more with the title as the show goes off the air.
Collective Thoughts: That was a good way to end the show with the match between Adam Cole and The Velveteen Dream being teased as the next feud for both. That would be a big match going into Takeover: Tampa Bay and I could see Dream finally capturing the title at that show. We will see how they start building the story from here.
Overall Show Rating: 7.5 out of 10
The show was very good and was bookended by two Steel Cage Matches. I actually preferred the opening match over the main event, but both were standouts on the night. Nox and Kai opened the show and really had the crowd into everything they did. The ending was cool and the match didn’t really slow down much at all. Finn Balor had a good promo calling out Walter and the build to that feud is in full throttle. The Grizzled Young Veterans made an impact by attacking the Broserweights which will build to a match between the two for the NXT Tag Team Titles. The interview with Gargano was well done and built some more heat between him and Ciampa. The main event delivered and set up the match between Adam Cole and The Velveteen Dream for the NXT Championship down the line. Overall the show was strong and I expect it to keep trending this way on the road to NXT Takeover: Tampa Bay.
What did you think of WWE NXT this week? Loved It? Hated it? Watched Jake Roberts cut a promo on Dynamite? Either way, follow me over @collectiveheel on Twitter and let me know your thoughts. Support the site. Support each other. I’ll be back soon enough with some more Collective Thoughts.