Welcome to the WWE NXT review here on TJRWrestling. I’m hoping to write about NXT every Thursday, but sometimes it gets to be time-consuming with everything else I have going on. This will not be as detailed of a play by play format as I usually do. I’ll still cover everything as best as I can.
Since the full two-hour edition of NXT is not shown here in Canada (we get one hour on Friday at 7pmET), I have to download it to watch it on Thursday morning. I’m not going to post the website that I use because then it might get shut down. The WWE Network version gets posted late Thursday night, but that’s too late for me. I’d rather try to get it posted on Thursday like I am this week.
From Full Sail University in Orlando, FL. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s roll.
The show began with highlights of last week’s show. They promoted the two tag team championship matches on this week’s show.
The developmental wrestlers were shown in the crowd ready to go. Sasha Banks and Bayley were shown arriving earlier in the day. The announce team is Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix and Tom Phillips.
NXT Tag Team Championships: Imperium (Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel) vs. Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze)
Breezango did an entrance mocking Imperium to try to get in their head. Imperium was in control for a few minutes early in the match as they worked over Breeze. The champs did a double team move on Breeze sending him into the barricade. Breeze created some space by sending Barthel out of the ring and Fandango got the tag. Fandango with a powerslam on Aichner followed by a tornado DDT. Fandango hit a somersault dive over the top onto both heels leading into a break.
When the match returned, Breeze was the face in peril again as Aichner hit him with a brainbuster. Fandango tagged in and got a nearfall after Aichner tackled Breeze onto Fandango to break up the pin. Fandango avoided a double team move, then Breeze and Fandango each hit superkicks. Fandango hit the Last Dance leg drop off the top for a two count as Barthel broke up the pin attempt. The Indus Sher team showed up with manager Malcolm Bivens, but then Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan showed up to fight them to the back. Shortly after that, Fandango tried to pin Barthel, but he wasn’t legal and Aichner hit a DDT on Fandango for the pinfall win. It went about 13 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Imperium (Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel)
Analysis: ***A good tag team match featuring two teams that have teamed together for a long time. The finish was a bit flat because of all the chaos at ringside. It was classic WWE tag team wrestling with Breeze getting isolated twice and then Fandango nearly won a few times until the champs found a way to retain. Imperium is a classic, old school style tag team that works so well together although personality wise there isn’t much there. I’d like to see Breezango win the titles because they’ve been a team for several years and have yet to win any titles in WWE.
Tom Phillips was at the arena. Mauro and Beth call the show from home while Phillips is at the show. That’s how it has been in this empty arena era.
Velveteen Dream was backstage on his couch and as he was talking, Dexter Lumis handed him a photo of the two of them with the NXT Tag Team Titles. Dream said that the photo means nothing because the Dream is a solo act.
Analysis: They don’t do things like that for no reason. It will likely lead to something in the future and maybe they will win the titles together as a unique tag team.
Damian Priest vs. Killian Dain
Priest was in a heel role for most of his NXT run, but in the last month or so he has been more of a face. When there’s an actual regular crowd that will be more evident. They did a spot early where Priest sold a back injury and Dain worked over the lower back. Priest got in a kick, but Dain punched him repeatedly and hit an impressive leg drop to the back of the head. Dain hit a face first slam that was a bit sloppy. Priest came back with a clothesline and a forearm off the middle ropes. Dain came back with The Divide cross body block for a two count. Priest came back with a spin kick and The Reckoning neckbreaker for the pinfall win after about six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest
Analysis: ** A quality win for Priest over a bigger guy like Dain. Nice story to the match with Priest selling the back before finding a way to come back to win. I would like to see Dain get featured more than he has been because he’s a talented guy that could be doing a lot more than he is doing right now.
A video was shown from during the commercial where Robert Stone looked drunk as he stood against the Plexiglas and Dain punched the glass. That was funny.
Aliyah vs. Xia Li
Aliyah saw Rob Stone sitting in the crowd and picked him up and put him in her corner at ringside. They were both aggressive to start. Aliyah hit a nice Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Xia Li came back with a forearm and dropkick when Stone went on the apron looking drunk. Li was distracted as Stone puked into the ring and Aliyah got a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for two, the referee stopped counting and Aliyah continued the pin for the pinfall win after about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Aliyah
Analysis: * Good to see my fellow Canadian Aliyah getting a win. Bad finish where they messed up the initial rollup for some reason. Both women are young with bright futures, so I look forward to seeing them continue to grow.
After the match, Stone did a comedic fall off the apron to the floor while Aliyah helped Stone to the back. I guess that Stone is her new manager.
Timothy Thatcher was shown training wrestlers the submission style wrestling that he loves. Thatcher was shown applying an armbar as an unknown wrestler screamed in pain. Thatcher gave another wrestler a wrist lock causing more pain. Thatcher said next time, the real work begins.
Analysis: It’s a clever way to get over Thatcher’s unique submission style of wrestling.
There was a video from “earlier today” showing Adam Cole and Bobby Fish trying to help their Undisputed Era buddy Roderick Strong. Cole said that Strong has gone through a traumatic experience because of Dexter Lumis, but they’ve got a guy to help him. Strong was shown on a couch with his eyes closed and it was Kyle O’Reilly dressed up as a psychiatrist. Strong complained about Lumis always staring at him. The doctor said that this is a safe space. They showed Strong some pictures of ink blots on paper and Strong was haunted by Dexter Lumis. The doctor told Strong to face his fears and face the trunk because Lumis put him in a trunk at Takeover In Your House. Strong said fine, let’s go do it. They were shown outside and Strong said he couldn’t face his fears of being in a trunk and then Roderick ran away. Cole said that besides the fact that Strong ran away, he thought that went pretty good.
Analysis: This was funny. It was good to see O’Reilly, who hasn’t been working in this empty arena due to health reasons. Strong freaking out about Lumis and the trunk is a way to put over Lumis as a threat to him.
Adam Cole was interviewed backstage saying that he’ll always be the NXT Champion and that led to Keith Lee walking up with the North American Champion. Lee let Cole know that his time with that championship is limited, but it won’t be Killer Kross that takes the championship – it will be Keith Lee. That led to Lee breaking an hourglass that was there as well.
Let’s Hear from Adam Cole
It was the top of hour two. The NXT Champion Adam Cole was in the ring for a promo. Cole noted he was NXT Champion for 381 days and not one of those days has he taken it for granted. Cole said that he is the greatest champion in this business. Cole put over Karrion Kross for an impressive performance at Takeover In Your House and Cole noted he has beaten Tommaso Ciampa too. Cole said he has his eyes on Keith Lee’s NXT North American Champion because he was the first man to hold that title as well. Cole said maybe he wants two championships and after he beats Lee, they can refer to him as “Champ…Champ…bay bay.”
Keith Lee entered with his NXT North American Championship. Before he could say a word, Johnny Gargano joined the party.
Gargano said he cares about results and he reminded Lee that he pinned him last week. Gargano said he’s coming after that North American Championship, but why stop there? Gargano said that his wife Candice and him are going to be champions at the same time. Lee asked how Candice is doing, Johnny said she’s fine and Lee said he was more concerned than Johnny was.
Finn Balor was the next man to join the promo festivities. Balor told them to stop being marks for themselves and be marks for him. Balor said he’s held titles all over the world, but he’s never held the North American Title. Johnny told Finn his name is Johnny, not Mark. Balor said that he doesn’t wait in lines, he cuts to the front. Balor warned Lee that he’s going to take that title and when he does, he’s coming for Cole. Balor called Cole a transitional champion and Cole said that he broke Finn’s record as champion. Cole said that he has passed Balor by.
William Regal, the NXT GM, appeared on the video screen. Regal said they gave him an idea where everybody wins. Next week, Keith Lee defends the NXT North American Championship against Johnny Gargano and Finn Balor in a triple threat match. Whoever wins the North American Championship will face Adam Cole on July 8 in a Champion vs. Champion, Winner Takes All match. The segment ended there.
Analysis: There were some interesting promos here from all four guys as they made their points well. That’s a huge announcement to set up a major title match next week and then two weeks after that on July 8. It’s not that surprising considering AEW Fyter Fest is on July 8 (also July 1) where they will have some big title matches, so it’s going to be a big night for fans of the Wednesday Night Wrestling scene. If it were up to me, Finn Balor would win the North American Title next week and then beat Cole for the NXT Title two weeks after that. I’m ready for Balor as a double champion. Why not? It would be a cool story to see. If it’s Lee that ends up as the holder of both titles then that is fine with me too.
Keith Lee was interviewed backstage, but then Candice LeRae got in his face. Mia Yim, who is Keith’s girlfriend, showed up and got into a brawl with LeRae. There were referees that broke it up.
Kayden Carter (w/Kacy Catanzaro) vs. Dakota Kai (w/Raquel Gonzalez)
Carter showed off her athleticism early with an impressive dropkick off the ropes. After a distraction from Gonzalez, Kai took control with a scorpion kick to the head. Carter with a dropkick and superkick for two. Carter hit an impressive move off the apron almost like a Pedigree where she sent Kai face first into the mat. Catanzaro jumped on Gonzalez, who slammed Kacy into the apron and Kai got a rollup for two. Kai slapped on her submission on the head/arms and Carter gave up to end the match after around three minutes.
Winner by submission: Dakota Kai
Analysis: *1/2 A short match to put over Kai along with her alliance with Gonzalez, who was a big factor at ringside.
There was a backstage scene with Scarlett and Karrion Kross checking out the broken hourglass on the floor. We didn’t see their faces, but it was them.
A video package aired about Mercedes Martinez noting she was coming soon.
Bronson Reed vs. Leon Ruff
There are a lot of Australians in NXT and Reed is another one. Reed is one of the biggest guys in NXT. Reed with a running body attack and senton splash. Reed went up top and hit a Superfly Splash for the pinfall win after about 30 seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Bronson Reed
Analysis: 1/2* A quick match to put over the 330-pounder Reed.
Post match, Reed saying he is not one to forget and he’s going to do what no one else has – he called out Karrion Kross for a match next week. That’s because Kross attacked Reed a few weeks earlier. Reed picked up Ruff and carried him to the back to show some sportsmanship.
There was a video from “moments ago” with Damian Priest noticing his car tires were flat. Cameron Grimes drove by laughing about it. That will probably set up a match.
Santos Escobar is the name of the Cruiserweight Champion with Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde as his allies. Escobar unmasked last week. Escobar said when you wear a mask, that’s all the world sees – a luchador in a mask. Escobar said for 20 years, that was him and he earned the opportunity to be in NXT. Escobar said he knew that El Hijo del Fantasma was over and his dad told him he’ll be a leader, not just a luchador. Escobar said he’ll make Mendoza and Wilde leaders because he is a leader of leaders. Drake Maverick showed up with an attack as he went after Escobar, but Wilde and Mendoza were too much. Escobar sent Maverick into the barricade and then hit him in the back with a monitor. Escobar gave Maverick a Phantom Driver through a table. That was huge as Ranallo was screaming about it with good reason. That was a big spot that looked impressive.
Analysis: Good segment. I like Escobar with his group because we haven’t really seen many stables in NXT involving the cruiserweight division. It makes Escobar look like a badass not only as a champion, but also as the leader of a strong group. I think Maverick has been very impressive as a wrestler in the last couple of months and I’m glad he’s in the position he is in. That table bump was pretty huge.
They showed Drake Maverick getting loaded into an ambulance for a trip to the local medical facility since can’t say hospital in WWE.
Next week on NXT:
* Karrion Kross vs. Bronson Reed
* Damian Priest vs. Cameron Grimes
* NXT North American Championship: Keith Lee vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Finn Balor. The winner gets the title and also gets to challenge Adam Cole for the NXT Title on July 8.
It was time for the women’s tag team main event match. The Women’s Tag Team Titles main evented Smackdown two weeks ago and now they main event NXT. That’s pretty cool to see.
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart
Nox and Blackheart worked well together against Banks early in the match. When Bayley tagged in, Blackheart nearly beat her with an inside cradle until Bayley took over with a knee to the face that led to a break.
The match continued with Bayley working over Nox a bit. Nox managed to break free with a headbutt, then Blackheart tagged in against Banks and Blackheart hit an impressive flurry of moves with a splash and a bulldog. Blackheart with some cool strikes followed by a belly to back suplex that got a two count. Banks hit an impressive running meteora (double knees) off the apron onto Blackheart on the floor. When Bayley tagged in, Blackheart sent her into the turnbuckle and Nox tagged in for a double cannonball attack for the faces. Nox gave Banks a Chokeslam off the apron onto Bayley on the floor. That was a unique spot. Blackheart followed that up with a cross body block off the top to the floor. When Blackheart nearly got the win, Banks sent Nox into Blackheart to break up the pin. Blackheart managed to get a nearfall after a missile dropkick off the top rope. When Banks went for the Bank Statement, Blackheart got out of it went for a submission. Bayley brought in a chair, Nox grabbed it, the referee made Nox get rid of it and Bayley helped Banks leading to Banks slapping on the Bank Statement submission on Blackheart for the submission win after 12 minutes.
Winners by submission: Sasha Banks and Bayley
Analysis: ***1/2 This was a great title match with a lot of action and the champs looking impressive as usual while the challengers came close to winning several times. The last few minutes were very fast paced full of excitement and ending that put over the heels Banks and Bayley as being crafty veterans that figured out a way to win. Every time I see Nox I am impressed more and more each time. She continues to get better and I think she’s going to be a foundation piece WWE can build around in the future. I like Blackheart too, especially because she has a unique look. They’re both future champions.
Sasha Banks and Bayley celebrated with the titles. Io Shirai, the NXT Women’s Champion showed up with a missile drop on Bayley and German Suplex on Banks. Shirai with double knees on both champions. Shirai teased a dive onto the floor, but then she jumped back into the ring. Shirai celebrated with her NXT Women’s Title.
Analysis: A match between Shirai against Banks or Bayley would be awesome. I’m not sure if that’s the direction, but I think that would be cool to see. Shirai is one of my favorite women in the company. Banks and Bayley have been consistently great for a long time too.
The announcers plugged the three matches advertised for next week including Keith Lee defending the NXT Championship against Finn Balor and Johnny Gargano. Shirai continued her celebration to end the show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Sasha Banks/Bayley
- Tegan Nox/Shotzi Blackheart
I give this show a 7.25 out of 10.
Good show with a lot of women featured throughout the show, including the main event. Bayley and Sasha Banks continue to have consistently fun matches on every show they are on with Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart impressing as a team. The men’s tag team title match was solid too, but I didn’t love the finish.
Some of the biggest male wrestlers in NXT weren’t in matches, but they set up huge title matches next week for the North American Title (Lee vs. Balor vs. Gargano) and two weeks later for the NXT Title. Somebody is going to be a double champion on July 8. I’m intrigued by that. We also saw a huge spot when Santos Escobar drove Drake Maverick through a table. That was a really big bump that made me care more about their Cruiserweight Title feud. They furthered a lot of stories on this show.
This review was 1500 words less than my regular reviews for two hour shows because I’m not doing play by play format. That’s a good thing for me because it can be a lot of writing in a week.
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