The John Report: WWE NXT 08/28/19 Review

TJR Wrestling

Hey yo. I’m back to review the WWE NXT show here on TJRWrestling. Before I begin, I want to thank Kurt Zamora for doing a fantastic job of being our NXT reviewer. I did some checking and found out that he had been our NXT reviewer since August 12, 2015. I was reviewing NXT most of the time up to that point and we also had a guy named Lonestar before me. Kurt has moved on because of work and life commitments becoming too busy for him, which is understandable. He’s a close friend and I appreciate the four years he spent reviewing this show as well as NXT Takeover events. I’m hoping that Kurt can still contribute columns or other content to the site as well.

I don’t know if I’m going to review NXT long term or if we’ll find somebody else. We have a writer search in two weeks, so I’ll see how it goes because I plan on doing WWE Raw, WWE Smackdown and AEW’s show every week, plus at least one retro PPV every week and all the news posts. I don’t know if I’m crazy enough to add NXT to it, but I might be! Anyway, that’s to be determined.

Taped from Full Sail University in Orlando, FL, this is WWE NXT episode #367. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.

The NXT opening video aired. The NXT announce team is Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness and Beth Phoenix.

Io Shirai vs. Cami Fields

Shirai with a running dropkick, a running back elbow and Fields came back with forearms to the chest. Shirai with a running knee attack against the ropes. Fields countered a move, Shirai landed on her feet and hit an uppercut palm strike to the face. Shirai with a double knee attack against the turnbuckle. Shirai went up top and hit a moonsault, but she pulled Fields up at the count of two. Shirai slapped on the Harajuku Clutch submission and Fields tapped out to give Shirai the win at 1:39.

Winner by submission: Io Shirai

Analysis: 1/2* An easy win for Shirai to continue her push as a heel. Fields barely got any offense in, which is fine. This was about showcasing Shirai.

After the match, Shirai grabbed a kendo stick from under the ring. Shirai went back in the ring, but Candice LeRae showed up. LeRae got the kendo stick, hit Shirai two times and Shirai left the ring. They had a staredown.

Analysis: I’m glad that this feud is continuing because they had a great match at Takeover Toronto earlier in the month.

The Undisputed Era’s Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly were shown backstage warming up for their NXT Tag Team Title match later in the show.

A commercial aired for NXT Takeover UK’s Takeover Cardiff show this Saturday on WWE Network.

A video aired showing some highlights of Kushida, who said he’s ready to face everyone in NXT.

Keith Lee made his entrance with the fans giving him a nice ovation. Ranallo talked about how Lee and Dominik Dijakovic had a great match in February that ended in a double countout, there was going to be a rematch, but Dijakovic was on the shelf with a right knee (torn meniscus) injury. Now Dijakovic is back, so here’s the match. Dominik Dijakovic made his entrance. He’s one of the tallest guys in NXT that stands at 6’6” while Lee is about 6’2” and over 300 pounds. Dijakovic is the heel while Lee is the face.

Analysis: These guys had an incredible match in PWG in September 2017 that Dave Meltzer rated five stars. Dijakovic, who made a name for himself in Ring of Honor as Donovan Dijak, made his NXT debut later that same month while Lee arrived in April 2018. Now they get to show what they can do on the WWE NXT stage.

Donovan Dijakovic vs. Keith Lee

Lee took control early on with a running shoulder tackle. The fans love chanting “bask in his glory” for Lee. When Lee ran off the ropes, Dijakovic stopped him with a spinning kick to the face. Dijakovic with forearms to the chest, but he couldn’t lift up Lee for a suplex. Lee with two elbows to the face, Lee went for an attack, Dijakovic sent him to the apron and Lee sent him face first into the turnbuckle. Lee with a slingshot cross body block onto Dijakovic for a two count followed by a running clothesline for two. Dijakovic sold that with a flip bump. Dijakovic was on the apron, Lee followed him there and Lee gave him a spinebuster back first on the edge of the ring apron. That looked brutal. Dijakovic came back with a kick that sent Lee out of the ring and then Dijakovic with a running, twisting dive (a Fosbury Flop) over the top onto Lee on the floor. That’s so impressive for a guy as tall as he is. Back in the ring, Dijakovic tried a flipping attack, but Lee caught him, which was incredible, Dijakovic got out of it and landed on his knees. Dijakovic with a back elbow to the face followed by a suplex into a toss across the ring. Dijakovic went up top with a moonsault and connected with it for a two count. They battled on the top rope with Lee elbowing Dijakovic in the head, then Lee stood on the top rope and jumped off with an Avalanche Spanish Fly (flipping Rock Bottom) off the top! Holy shit! The fans were standing on their feet. Mauro was going crazy as usual. Lee covered for a two count. There were “NXT” chants that followed. McGuinness called it a 600-pound Spanish Fly and that’s why it was so impressive. The fans chanted “fight forever” for them. Lee went to the ropes again, Dijakovic stopped him briefly and then Lee elbowed him down. When Lee stood on the top, Dijakovic kicked the back of the leg. Dijakovic put Lee on his shoulders in the Torture Rack position, flipped him off and kneed him in the face for a move called Feast Your Eyes. That was impressive too. Dijakovic covered for the pinfall victory at 11:14.

Winner by pinfall: Donovan Dijakovic

Analysis: ****1/4 This was an awesome match that was like what we get on Takeover shows. If they got a few more minutes they could have gone to another level, but it was still awesome for a match that got just under 12 minutes. It was a back and forth match wrestled at a fast pace. It’s not like they grabbed rest holds. It was a hard-hitting fight with Lee coming close to winning a few times, but Dijakovic was able to get the victory. The Spanish Fly was amazing. The finish was well done with Lee going for a big move, but Dijakovic stopped him and Lee going for that move was why he lost. These two guys are future main eventers in NXT or the main roster because of how skilled they are in the ring and being bigger guys will help them a lot. Shoutout to my pal Kurt Zamora for being one of the first people to tell me about how good Keith Lee was long before anybody was talking about the guy. Keith is awesome.

After the match was over, they got a standing ovation from the fans while the announcers put this over as a classic match. Dijakovic had his hand raised as the winner with Dijakovic looking like he was shocked that he won.

Analysis: I think we’ll see this match again when WWE is on USA Network on September 18. Perhaps they’ll save it for October 2. I’m not sure if it can wait until Takeover in November. These guys are awesome together and when you have that kind of chemistry with somebody, fans are going to want to see more matches between them.

There was a video package about the NXT career of Johnny Gargano aka Johnny Wrestling. They showed when he won the NXT Tag Team Titles with Johnny Gargano in November 2016. I was there in Toronto for that. It also covered his epic 2018 rivalry with Tommaso Ciampa. Earlier this year at NXT Takeover New York, he became the NXT Champion for the first time. Gargano is the prototypical babyface wrestler (even though he had a brief heel run) that was living his dream. Gargano is one of the leaders of NXT that has wrestled in more Takeover events than anybody else.

The announcers wondered what the future holds for Johnny Wrestling. They were interrupted by Shane Thorne, who said that Johnny is the past. Thorne said they should talk about his win streak. Ranallo said they had to take a break.

Analysis: Thorne has been getting a bit of a push, so perhaps he’ll start a feud with Gargano. I did not read the spoilers for future shows.

A clip aired from last week with Shayna Baszler wanted Mia Yim to join her group, but Yim refused and got beat up by Baszler and friends.

There was a video of Yim asking William Regal for another shot at Baszler. Regal said she had her opportunity at Takeover and she attacked two of them, so what did she expect? Yim was frustrated.

Let’s Hear from Shayna Baszler

Shayna Baszler, the NXT Women’s Champion, made her entrance with Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir for a promo. When Baszler was about to speak, she was interrupted by the music of Rhea Ripley.

Rhea Ripley got a big ovation from the crowd. She is a former NXT UK Women’s Champion that is a very talented wrestler. The fans popped big for her and gave her “Rhea” chants.

Ripley took the microphone from Baszler. Ripley said she knows Baszler will say she’s beaten everybody here and Ripley told her “you haven’t beaten me, bitch.” Ripley’s music played again as Baszler backed away with her group.

Analysis: Ripley is a new rival for Baszler. I like it and the fans obviously love it by the way they reacted to it. Ripley has a lot of talent and a bright future. What I like about NXT is they don’t have long talking segments that often. They keep it simple. They didn’t need to say a lot of words. What they did was effective enough.

There was a video package about Pete Dunne talking about what he’s done at just 25 years of age. Dunne said he goes where he wants whenever he wants. Dunne said he has got everybody on notice. Dunne noted that the North American Title was almost his, but Velveteen Dream stopped that referee’s count. Dunne said if anybody wants to step top him, he’ll break their fingers, he’ll break their spirit…just watch.

Analysis: Dunne is awesome. I hope he’s featured more on regular NXT. I know he’s been a part of NXT UK too, but they need to utilize him on the regular NXT brand.

The Street Profits were backstage getting ready for their NXT Tag Team Title match. Their match is next.

A commercial aired for WWE Clash of Champions on Sunday, September 15. A commercial aired for the WWE 2K20 video game that comes out in October.

Next week on NXT: North American Champion Velveteen Dream vs. Kona Reeves in a non-title match and Adam Cole defends the NXT Championship against Jordan Myles. Great matches on tap as usual for NXT. I’m especially excited about Cole vs. Myles.

The Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish made their entrance as the challengers. The story is that the Street Profits pinned the non-legal man at Takeover Toronto, so that’s why Undisputed Era get another title shot. The Street Profits made their entrance as the champions and the fans cheered them as one of the most popular acts in NXT.

NXT Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) vs. The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish)

Fish took down Ford with a headlock followed by knees to the ribs. O’Reilly tagged in with headlock, Dawkins tagged in with a shoulder tackle followed by a slam. Fish got the tag, so Dawkins slammed him down as well with an amateur wrestling style slam. Ford with a dropkick on Fish, a double flapjack on O’Reilly and Dawkins slammed Ford onto both opponents for a two count on Fish. Ford with a kick to the face of Fish, then a kick on O’Reilly while on the apron and a slingshot cross body block on Fish for a two count. Ford with a deep armdrag on Fish, then O’Reilly with a cheap knee to the back while the referee wasn’t looking and the heels took control. The heels took control with O’Reilly kicking the left leg of Ford and driving the leg into the mat. Fish jumped right onto the left knee of Ford. When O’Reilly tagged in, Ford came back with some punches, but O’Reilly wrenched on the left knee again. Fish with a slingshot senton splash on Ford for two. Ford broke free with a leap across the ring and Dawkins got the hot tag.

Dawkins with punches followed by a double clothesline on both heels. Dawkins with an exploder suplex on Fish, a sky high slam on O’Reilly, corkscrew splashes on both guys against the turnbuckles and Dawkins shoved Fish into O’Reilly. Dawkins with a Spear on Fish for a two count. O’Reilly tagged in, Dawkins with a German Suplex on Fish and O’Reilly hit a chop block on Dawkins. O’Reilly with a brainbuster while Fish hit a kick to the back and that got a two count. O’Reilly slapped on a leg lock submission, so Ford shoved Fish onto the other guys to break the hold. All four guys were down with some fans chanting for both teams, but it wasn’t most of the fans. Ford was taken down with a leg whip. Dawkins with a spinebuster on Fish, Dawkins punched O’Reilly and O’Reilly blocked a suplex attempt into a triangle choke submission. Dawkins powered out of it with a Buckle Bomb into the corner. Ford tagged in with a uranage slam on O’Reilly. Dawkins went up and hit a Frog Splash on O’Reilly, Ford covered, but Fish pulled O’Reilly out of the ring to save his partner. Ford with a somersault dive over the top where he barely grazed both guys because he jumped too far. Dawkins with a Spear on O’Reilly. Fish crushed Dawkins with a stiff knee to the face. Ford went for a Frog Splash, O’Reilly moved and O’Reilly/Fish capitalized with a double team High Low kick combo and O’Reilly pinned Ford to win the match at 11:26. New NXT Tag Team Champions!

Winners by pinfall and New NXT Tag Team Champions: The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish)

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good tag team match, but not as good as their match at the last Takeover. The crowd wasn’t into the match as much as you might think. They did a nice job of building up to Dawkins getting the hot tag, he was impressive and then it was an even match at that point. I thought the finish was booked well with Ford missing the big move, Fish took out Dawkins with the knee and the High Low kick combo was a strong way to end it. I think it would have been better with some more false finishes.

That win makes the Undisputed Era the first-ever three-time NXT Tag Team Champions. One of those reigns was O’Reilly and Roderick Strong and this is the second time for O’Reilly and Fish. The NXT Tag Team Title reign of The Street Profits lasted 75 days.

Analysis: When this was taped a few weeks ago, the immediate reaction from fans was that the Street Profits lost because are going to be on the main roster since they are on Raw doing back promos every week. However, the reports are that they are going to continue in NXT. It makes sense to move them to the main roster since there are a lack of natural babyface tag teams, but now that NXT is on USA Network the “move to main roster” means less than it used to. They have a bright future no matter what show they are on.

The Undisputed Era’s O’Reilly and Fish celebrated with the NXT Tag Team Titles. The announcers tried hard to put this over as a great match. It was good, but not that special. Replays aired of the finish.

When O’Reilly and Fish were on the stage with their titles, they were joined by NXT Champion Adam Cole and Roderick Strong, so it showed how dominant the Undisputed Era was.

Analysis: It’s a good strategy to have a dominant heel group like The Undisputed Era holding the NXT Championship and NXT Tag Team Titles too. Roderick Strong may end up winning the North American Title as well, but I like Velveteen Dream as the champion. Anyway, this is the best group in NXT history and I look forward to their future as champions.

This show had a run time of 54:32 on WWE Network.


Final Thoughts

This was an excellent show with the outstanding match between Dijakovic and Lee. The main event was pretty solid as well with NXT Tag Team Title change. You don’t see many title changes on NXT TV because they like to save those for Takeover events. I liked the introduction of Rhea Ripley as a challenger for Shayna Baszler too.

Since the next Takeover show is in November, they have a lot of time to set up rivalries for that show. Plus, we know NXT is moving to USA Network on September 18 and that’s going to be a big night for them as well as October 2 when they are head to head against AEW. It’s an exciting time for WWE’s NXT brand.

Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton


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