Welcome back to the weekly TJRwrestling review of WWE NXT. Last week, we saw some average matches throughout the night, with a standout main event for the Dusty Trophy between the Broserweights and the Grizzled Young Veterans. Finn Balor also had a nice showing in the opening match of the night so overall it was an above-average show. You can check out my detailed review of last week and every week I have covered NXT here. John’s reactions to the show every week can be found there as well.
WWE NXT 2/5/2020 from Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida
The show opens with a package showing what happened on last week’s show. It also showed Rhea Ripley challenging Charlotte Flair on Raw this past Monday and we will hear her answer tonight.
We are inside the NXT Arena as the BROserweights make their way to the ring. They are riding to the ring in a custom golf cart with the Dusty Trophy in tow. I think the difference in attitude between the two men makes the appeal of the team that much greater. Both men grab a mic and Riddle talks about being the Dusty Tag Team Classic champions and how they haven’t stopped celebrating since. Pete cuts him off and says the last thing he wants to do is be in a team with Riddle. He talks about becoming the new NXT Tag Team Champions at NXT: Portland. They are interrupted by the Undisputed Era who will be their opponents at Takeover. Kyle O’Reilly is all fired up and says they don’t want to wait and want to fight right now. Bobby Fish stops him and says that they have bigger fish to fry. Riddle makes a joke about Bobby Fish saying the word “fish”. He gets the fans in on the chant and they sing along with him. Dunne cuts him off and says the only thing that will matter is winning the Tag Team Titles.
We are joined for the first time tonight by the announce team of Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, and Nigel McGuinness. They talk about the challenge thrown out by Rhea Ripley to Charlotte Flair on Raw and are excited to see Charlotte’s answer later on tonight. They get us ready for the first match of the evening.
Angel Garza vs. Isiah “Swerve” Scott
Garza is fresh off his Raw debut when he took on Rey Mysterio in a nice showing. The match begins with Garza charging but missing Scott in the corner. Both men trade blows in the middle of the ring with Garza kicking Scott in the midsection to get the early advantage. Garza takes Scott to the top but he reverses and hits a springboard Hurricanrana. That was impressive. Scott tosses Garza to the outside and attempts a dive but is met with a kick to the head as we go to picture and picture.
*Commercial Break* Garza remains in the offensive and takes Scott to the top again. He puts Scott in the tree of woe and hits a kick to the face. He works him to the middle of the ring and locks in a submission hold. Garza works on the shoulder and neck area but Scott fights out into an armbar of his own. Garza counters a Scott kick and hits a kick of his own to the back of Scott. Both men recover and start having a slapping battle in the middle of the ring, with Garza coming out on top. He places Scott back in the corner and gets the choke in for the most of a 5 count and they are back to full screen.
Garza continues to hit some more offense, followed by a superkick for a two count. Garza goes for a springboard reverse Suplex, but Scott reverses it and hits the Skyscraper for a two count. Scott continues to kick Garza and goes to the apron. As he tries to come back in with a splash, Garza reverses and hits a huge superkick for a two count. Garza hits some shots, but Scott recovers and hits a big slam out of the corner for another two count. Both men climb to the top again, with Scott pushing Garza off and missing a splash of his own. Scott follows that up with The House Call for a two count. I thought that was it. Scott continues working Garza over to the corner, but Garza kicks Scott off the top rope and hits the Wing Clipper for the win in about 11 minutes.
Winner: Angel Garza
Match Rating: 3.25/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: That was a great back and forth match between two good Cruiserweight wrestlers. Garza has time to shine here and really got a rub from being in a match with Mysterio on Raw. Scott also had a strong showing even in a loss. This is how you build stars. Scott has a lot of athleticism and both men will be in the title hunt moving forward. Great way to start the show.
After the match, Garza grabs a mic and talks about beating Scott, and his match with Rey Mysterio on Monday. He says he wants the NXT Cruiserweight Title back and that he will have his eyes on Jordan Devlin tonight.
They go backstage where the Undisputed Era are looking for Tommaso Ciampa. They are asking producers if they have seen them and run into a kid getting a haircut. Roderick Strong grabs the clippers and shaves part of the kid’s hair off. They continue looking for Ciampa as they go to commercial break.
They come back from break with a showcase of Mercedes Martinez. She also had a few matches in AEW in the past year. Sgt. Slaughter is also shown ringside as they go to the ring for the next match.
Dominik Dijakovic vs. Killian Dain
Before the match, they show a clip of a confrontation the two men had at the Performance Center to set this match up. The match begins with both men exchanging blows in the corner. Dain eventually gets the advantage and knocks Dijakovic to the outside. He throws him into the stairs, but as he charges in he is hit with a splash from Dijavokic. They roll back in the ring and Dijakovic goes for a discus clothesline but Dain hits a splash for a two count as they go to a commercial break.
They are back from commercial with Dijakovic hitting some shots, but Dain eventually fights back and goes for a belly to back suplex. He doesn’t have the advantage for long with Dijakovic recovering and hitting a Chokeslam Bomb for a two count. He climbs to the top, but Dain meets him there and hits a Superplex off the top rope. He charges in but is met with a Dijakovic boot. Dain follows that up with a kick of his own and is hit with a kick again for a two count. Dijakovic goes to the top for a moonsault but comes up empty. Dain goes for a Vader Bomb but Dijakovic cuts him off and picks him up for the Feast Your Eyes and picks up the win in about 9 minutes.
Winner: Dominik Dijakovic
Match Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: What a hell of a slugfest between these two men. Dijakovic has some serious athleticism for a big man and hits a lot of moves from the top. He also has some power moves in his arsenal and it makes him a complete player. Dain held his own here but Dijakovic getting the win here was the right move to keep his momentum moving forward.
As Dijakovic celebrates, he is met at the top of the ramp by Keith Lee and the two have a staredown. Their match for the NXT North American Championship at Takeover: Portland is now official. That’ll be a war for sure.
Backstage, The Undisputed Era are still looking for Ciampa and they run into Kushida and Adam Cole ends up putting him in a trash can. They come across Bronson Reed and don’t want any piece of him. Kyle O’Reilly then hits a knee out of nowhere that takes him out. They walk down the hallway as they go commercial break.
As they come back from the break they are having an interview with Finn Balor and Johnny Gargano. These two will do battle at Takeover: Portland. Just as Mauro goes to ask a question, Balor cuts him off and says this match should have taken place at War Games. Gargano fires back and talks about being Johnny Takeover. Balor says he doesn’t care anything about that and it doesn’t matter if the match is 20 minutes or 20 seconds. Gargano talks about this being the Balor he wants, and not the main roster Balor losing time Bobby Lashley every week. The two continue going back and forth before Gargano walks off and we are ready for the next match of the night.
Collective Thoughts: That was a nice back and forth segment that put more fuel on the fire for their showdown at Takeover: Portland. Gargano taking shots at Balor’s main roster run was a good way to dig into the skin. Balor had some nice comebacks of his own, and this match is being built like a main event level match.
Mercedes Martinez vs. Kacy Catanzaro
This is Kacy’s first match back in an NXT ring in a long time. They show a quick package about her to catch fans up who might have missed her before.
Both women circle the ring and lock up in the middle. Martinez hits a spine buster for a two count. She works Catanzaro into the corner and hits some chops. She picks her up for a delayed suplex but Catanzaro fights out and hits her with some offense of her own. She goes for a cover but only gets a two count. Catanzaro goes to the apron and tries a springboard into the ring but is met with an elbow by Martinez. Martinez continues to punish her on the outside and throws her into the guardrail. She tosses her in the ring and hits the Fisherman Buster and gets the win in about 3 minutes.
Winner: Mercedes Martinez
Match Rating: 1/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: This wasn’t much of a match with Martinez controlling most of it and picking up the win. Catanzaro has been away for a while so it was nice to see her back here. She got some offense in, but Martinez is getting the push up the ranks. She should be a force in the women’s division moving forward.
Backstage, Rhea Ripley is being interviewed. She is asked about Charlotte Flair coming to NXT tonight and said that her focus is on her match with Bianca Belair tonight, but will be ready for Charlotte as well. They go to a commercial break.
They come back from break, and we are shown a graphic for the Street Fight (at NXT Takeover Portland) between Dakota Kai and Tegan Nox to finish the rivalry off once and for all.
The Undisputed Era finally finds Ciampa in the backstage area but Ciampa clears out all of the members and takes Adam Cole into the arena. He punishes Cole by slamming his head into the announce table. The rest of The Undisputed Era catch back up and start beating on Ciampa on a 4 on 1 beatdown. The BROserweights come down to the ring to even the odds and give Ciampa a helping hand. A brawl breaks out, and the Undisputed Era retreat up the ramp. William Regal makes his way out and makes a match between the two teams official for tonight. The two teams continue to brawl all over the arena before security finally gets control and takes everyone to the back.
“The Irish Ace” Jordan Devlin vs. Tyler Breeze
Devlin is the current NXT Cruiserweight champion but this is a non-title match. It’s nice to see Breeze getting some more TV time here.
Breeze goes to get in the ring but is met with a dropkick that knocks him into the guardrail. He gets out of the ring and starts hitting Breeze with some shots before getting back in the ring and posing with the Cruiserweight Championship and they go to commercial break.
They come back from break with Devlin continuing to work over Breeze with some kicks in the middle of the ring. He works him into the corner and works him over some more with some punches. He whips Breeze into the other corner, but Breeze counters with a leap over Devlin. Breeze hits a superkick and tries to mount some offense, but Devlin cuts him off and regains the advantage. He doesn’t last long, with Breeze recovering and working over the knee of Devlin. He wraps it around the ring post on the outside a few times before getting back in the ring and slapping on a leg lock in the middle of the ring. Breeze tries to hit a slam, but Devlin reserves it into an elevator backbreaker for a two count. Devlin continues to trash talk and slap Breeze in the face. Breeze hits a slap of his own followed by a dropkick for a two count. Breeze hits some shots to the face before locking in a neck hold on Devlin. Devlin makes his way back to his feet and hits a chop. He throws Breeze into the ropes, but Breeze reverses it and hits a chop of his own before tossing him to the outside. Breeze goes to capitalize, but Devlin cuts him off with a kick to the head. He follows that up with a beautiful moonsault to the outside onto Breeze. Both men just barely beat the nine-count and get back into the ring. Devlin continues the offense on the inside of the ring and just as Breeze goes to mount a comeback, Devlin hits him with a slam for a two count. They go to another commercial break.
They come back from break with Devlin hanging on the ropes and Breeze on the mat. He stomps on the arm of Breeze. Devlin goes for the side suplex but Breeze reverses and hits a flurry of offense. Breeze charges into the corner and hits a splash, followed by a clothesline for a two count. Breeze lifts him to the top rope, but Devlin fights back. Devlin leaps from the top rope but quickly makes his way back way and hits a splash, but the cover is reversed and Breeze gets a two count. Devlin regains the advantage and hits a Spanish Fly for a two count. He goes up to the top and attempts a moonsault but Breeze gets the knees up. He locks Devlin in the single leg crab, but Devlin reverses it into a cradle for a two count. Breeze is the first one up and hits a superkick for a very close two count. Great near fall. Breeze tosses Devlin to the apron, but Devlin comes back over with a cutter of his own for a two count. Devlin continues working on Breeze and hits a headbutt and the Devlin Side Suplex for the win in about 15 minutes.
Winner: Jordan Devlin
Match Rating: 3.25/5 stars
Collective Thoughts: Devlin came out of this match looking really strong. He won the Cruiserweight Title at World’s Collide and since then has had a lot of momentum moving forward. Picking up a win over a veteran like Breeze will only help build him up and his eventual rematch with Angel Garza will be another good outing. Breeze wasn’t too shabby himself and showed he can still hang with the NXT up and coming stars. Hopefully, they have more for him coming in the future. If I had a nitpick with the match it would be the fact that it went through two commercial breaks. It’s not a terrible thing, but it sometimes kills the momentum of a match. It didn’t so much here, but it still felt a tad long.
They go backstage, where Charlotte Flair is arriving at the arena. They go to a commercial break.
They come back from the commercial break and it’s time for the face to face between Bianca Belair and Rhea Ripley. The two will go toe to toe at Takeover: Portland for the NXT Championship. Bianca is out and takes the mic when she gets in the ring. Bianca brings up Rhea forgetting that they have a match at Takeover because she is too busy going to Raw. Bianca said she doesn’t care why she was on Raw and wants a piece of her right now. Instead of Rhea coming out, Charlotte makes her way to the ring. Charlotte says she respects Bianca and thinks she’s a great athlete, but she isn’t Charlotte Flair. Bianca says she’s glad everyone is talking about her but she has been overlooked. Rhea interrupts and makes her way down to the ring. Bianca steps in front of Charlotte and gets in the face of Rhea. Charlotte puts her hand in the face of Bianca and steps up to Rhea. Rhea says she has no problem dropping the queen at Wrestlemania. Bianca takes offense to Rhea thinking she is just going to beat her at Takeover and says it will be her and Charlotte at Wrestlemania instead. Charlotte says this is a conversation between champions and she should step aside. Rhea says her and Bianca will tear each other apart at Takeover but adds that “We Are NXT”. Bianca hits Charlotte from behind and the two double team her with an Electric Chair Facebuster. Rhea and Bianca get to their feet and have a face-off in the middle of the ring as they hype up the main event and go to the commercial break.
Collective Thoughts: That was a great way to build up both the match between Ripley and Belair at Takeover and the potential Wrestlemania match with Charlotte Flair. Flair brought a lot of star power just being on the show, and it was cool to see her back in an NXT ring. Belair and Ripley stood toe to toe with her like stars, and this whole thing came off really well. I am looking forward to both matches. Rhea standing up for Bianca while acknowledging her as a threat and having NXT pride was also a cool thing to throw in there. This was a money segment.
They come back from break with the Undisputed Era music playing and we are ready for the main event.
The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole and Bobby Fish)(w/Roderick Strong) vs. The BROserweights (Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne) and Tommaso Ciampa
As the Undisputed Era are making their way to the ring, they are attacked by their opponents on the top of the ramp. All 7 men fight down to the ringside area. Dunne chops and punches Fish who is up against the apron of the ring. He bends Fish’s fibers back, but Fish gets an elbow in. Dunne follows that up with a kick to the midsection. Dunne hits a suplex on Fish onto the ring apron, but is taken out by a flying knee by O’Reilly. Just as O’Reilly lands, he is taken out by a flying knee by Ciampa. All the members of the Undisputed Era are laid out as Riddle, Dunne and Ciampa stand tall. They corner Roderick Strong and stalk him up the ramp. Strong goes to attack the three men but is taken out quickly. Ciampa tosses Strong off the side of the ramp. Ciampa rolls Cole in the ring, but he rolls out of the other side. O’Reilly comes up behind Ciampa and takes him out in the ring and the match is officially underway.
O’Reilly continues his assault on Ciampa with knees and punches. O’Reilly comes off the ropes but is met with an elbow from Ciampa. He follows that up with some elbows and strikes as he takes O’Reilly into the corner. Ciampa whips him into the opposite corner but O’Reilly reverses but is quickly hit with a clothesline from Ciampa. Ciampa makes a tag to Riddle, who comes in and hits some kicks to the chest of O’Reilly. O’Reilly blocks the last kick and hits a low blow on Riddle (right in front of the referee), and makes a tag to Fish. Fish and Riddle trade blows in the middle of the ring with Riddle trying to get an armbar locked in. Fish fights it off and rolls up Riddle for a two count. Both men get to their feet, but Fish hits a knee and makes a tag to Cole. Cole charges in and is hit with a kick to the chest by Riddle. Riddle makes a tag to Dunne who comes in and they hit a double team corkscrew, followed by a kick by Dunne. Dunne charges in the corner but eats an elbow from Cole. Cole goes for a clothesline but Dunne ducks underneath and climbs up the rope and hits a backflip with Cole going into the corner and Dunne hitting an Enziguri. That was a cool sequence. Dunne goes for the Bitter End but Cole fights out and tosses Dunne on the apron. Cole and Dunne exchange blows before Fish comes in and grabs the legs of Dunne. Dunne fights him off and hits a moonsault onto Fish on the outside. Cole distracts the referee which gives Strong the opportunity to slam Dunne on the apron of the ring. They roll Dunne in the ring and Cole continues to work on Dunne with a series of shots in the middle of the ring. He drags him over to their corner and makes the tag to Fish. Fish comes in and hits a snapmare, followed by a senton from the apron. O’Reilly and Fish exchange a series of tags and take turns working on Dunne in the corner. They toss Dunne into the corner, but O’Reilly catches an elbow coming in and Fish is tossed over the top rope. Dunne climbs to the top and hits a dropkick to the knee of O’Reilly. Dunne goes to make a tag to Riddle but is cut off by Fish and O’Reilly. He takes both of them out and makes the hot tag into Riddle. Riddle is in and he hits a series of kicks and punches on both Fish and O’Reilly. He hits a pelee kick on O’Reilly. He hits both men with elbows and an exploder suplex. Riddle is on fire. He hits a senton to both men, before hitting a bridging German suplex for a two count. The Undisputed Era roll out of the ring to regroup as they go to a split-screen commercial break.
*Commercial Break* The Undisputed Era continues to stand on the outside of the ring. Fish is the first one back in the ring and he exchanges blows with Riddle. Riddle takes the advantage with a Gutwrench Slam. He rolls through to hit another one, but Cole is in and gets back body dropped by Riddle. He hits Fish with another one but O’Reilly comes in and takes out Riddle’s knees. Somehow, Riddle catches him and goes to give him the slam, but Fish comes in with a clothesline. He continues to work on Riddle and makes a tag to Cole. He comes in with some kicks followed by a neckbreaker. Cole goes for the cover but only gets a two count. He takes Riddle back into their corner and slams Riddle’s head into the boot of Fish. Cole makes the tag into O’Reilly and he continues working on Riddle with a series of shots in the corner. He comes off the ropes with a boot to the face and makes another tag to Fish. Fish continues to take Riddle out with some shots to the face. He hits an elbow to the back of the head as they go back to full screen.
Fish has Riddle locked in a chinlock. Riddle gets to his feet and tries to make a comeback by exchanging shots with Fish. Riddle knocks Fish to the mat but he grabs his foot and makes the tag back to Cole. He hits Riddle with some knees to the back, followed by another chinlock. Riddle tries to make another comeback but is snuffed out and Cole and O’Reilly hit a double team neck breaker. O’Reilly goes for a cover but only gets a two count. He locks Riddle in a third chinlock as Riddle is stuck on that side of the ring. Riddle gets to his feet and finally to mount some offense as he exchanges chops with O’Reilly. He tries to get a tag to his corner, but O’Reilly locks in a guillotine. Riddle fights out of it and goes for the ripcord knee but O’Reilly blocks hit and hits a German Suplex. Riddle isn’t fazed and gets back to his feet and hits a German of his own. O’Reilly hits an elbow, but Riddle comes back with a knee to the face and both men are down. Riddle goes to make the tag but Strong distracts Ciampa and Fish pulls Dunne off the apron. Riddle and O’Reilly exchange kicks that knock both men down but right by their corners. Riddle makes the tag to Dunne and O’Reilly makes a tag to Cole. Dunne is in and takes Fish and O’Reilly off the apron. He hits Cole with a German Suplex, followed by a kick to the back of the head. O’Reilly charges in but gets suplexed on top of Cole. Dunne kicks Cole in the back of the head again and gets a near fall. Dunne goes for a moonsault but Cole moves and hits a high knee to the head. Cole goes for the Panama Sunrise but Dunne counters with a slap to the face. Cole recovers and hits a shoulder-breaker for a two count. Cole makes a tag to Fish, who tags in O’Reilly immediately, and both men come in to double team, Dunne. He rolls out of the way and makes the long-awaited tag to Ciampa, who is a house of fire. He tosses Fish out of the ring and hits a belly to belly suplex on O’Reilly. He hits Project Ciampa on O’Reilly for a two count. Riddle comes in and takes down Fish with a spear. Ciampa holds the leg of O’Reilly but lets it go so he can make the tag to Cole. Both men exchange blows with Cole hitting an enziguri and Ciampa hitting an elbow. Ciampa goes to hit a move on Cole but Strong runs in and hits an elbow which results in a disqualification. The actual match went about 15 minutes.
Winner(s) by DQ: Tommaso Ciampa, Matt Riddle, and Pete Dunne
Match Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: There is a lot to unpack in all of that. The brawl earlier in the night, that continued here was really well done. All the men in this match are stars and it really came through here. The Undisputed Era isolating Riddle for the second half of the match was textbook tag team wrestling. All four members of the Undisputed Era have such great chemistry and I think they are one of the best stables in wrestling. Ciampa got the hot tag toward the end of the match and sold the knee throughout the entire thing. When he locked up with Cole the place lit up, and I for one am definitely ready for their match at Takeover: Portland. Like the Breeze/Devlin match, this one went through two separate commercial breaks and if I could nitpick something from this it would be that the match would a touch long. Overall, the match was very good, but it seemed longer than the 15 minutes it actually was.
After the match, the Undisputed Era takes out all the members of team Ciampa. Fish and O’Reilly hit the High Low on the outside on Dunne. In the ring, Roderick Strong hits a backbreaker on Ciampa. All four members circle Ciampa as Strong goes out of the ring and gets a can of yellow spray paint. He hands the paint to Cole and he paints a yellow X on Ciampa’s back like the one Ciampa painted last week on the table. All four members continue to stomp on Ciampa, as Cole says that his climb to the title is over and that he is finished. Cole pulls down his knee pad but just as he does the lights in the arena go down. The “2.5.20” circles come back up on the screen and soon after the face of the Velveteen Dream is revealed. He is back! Dream is perched on the top rope and takes out all the members of the Undisputed Era. He hits Cole with a superkick and hits Dream Valley Driver on Strong. He pulls his tights off to reveal a pair underneath and continues to beat on Strong. Strong rolls out of the ring as the crowd welcome back Dream and the show goes off the air.
Collective Thoughts: The Velveteen Dream has been on the sideline for a little bit now due to injury and his return here is such a sight for sore eyes. He is going to be a major player coming back and I could see him challenging both Cole or Ciampa for the NXT Championship sooner rather than later. The crowd was into everything he did here, and he showed some nice fire in the return. His showdown with Strong to end the show was a throwback to their feud last year, and I could see them picking right up with that. Welcome back!
Overall Show Grade: 8 out of 10
That was a pretty outstanding show from top to bottom. I graded three of the five matches 3.25 Stars and above for good reason. The opening match was really fast-paced with a lot of back and forth action. Both Garza and Scott has a nice showing, but Garza is coming out on top is the right move. He will be facing off with Delvin again for the NXT Cruiserweight Title sooner rather than later. Devlin had a showing himself against Tyler Breeze, although the match went through two commercial breaks. It didn’t take the match down much for me, but it seemed a tad long in the tooth. The main event was above average, and the return of the Velveteen Dream will be an interesting point moving forward. That match also went through two commercial breaks, although one was a picture-in-picture. To me, that’s still a commercial. Dijakovic and Dain had a great hoss match, and Mercedes Martinez looked strong going over a returning Katy Catanzaro. Overall, it was the type of show we have come to expect from this brand and was a really strong outing.
The NXT Takeover Portland lineup on February 16th looks like this.
* NXT Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa
* NXT Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Bianca Belair
* Finn Balor vs. Johnny Gargano
* NXT North American Championship: Keith Lee (c) vs. Dominik Dijakovic
* NXT Tag Team Championships: The Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly) (c) vs. The Broserweights (Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne)
* Street Fight: Tegan Nox vs. Dakota Kai
What did you think of NXT this week? Loved it? Hated it? Watched AEW 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.