By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV on USA Network
Aired live October 23, 2019 from Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
[Hour One] Highlights from last week’s NXT show aired with the intro theme playing in the background…
Mauro Ranallo checked in from the commentary balcony where he hyped up upcoming segments on the show. Once they cut to the main camera, Mauro joined Nigel McGuinness and Beth Phoenix at the commentary table…
1. Rhea Ripley vs. Bianca Belair. Ripley and Belair had a stalemate during the opening test of strength. Belair and Ripley managed to get the other person to the mat at points but that person would get out quickly. Belair got the first advantage with a football tackle into the corner. Ripley used the double boots to fight out. Belair used a waistlock on Ripley but Ripley escaped and hit Belair with kicks. Another stalemate occurred with both women trading suplex attempts. Ripley won the stalemate with a delayed vertical suplex. Ripley was tossed out but she landed on her feet.
Belair escaped a Superplex attempt and body slammed Ripley back to the mat. Belair locked Ripley in a Full Nelson. Ripley escaped but Belair went right for a suplex for a two count. Belair locked Ripley in an abdominal stretch. Ripley escaped with a hip toss. Ripley womanhandled Belair a bit but Belair used her agility to maintain her own momentum. They sent things over to the picture-in-picture commercial break. [c]
Belair continued her aggression with flailing strikes against Ripley. Belair tried to use her agility again but Ripley timed it correctly and swatted Ripley midair with a big boot. Ripley hit Belair with a Muay Thai knee and a basement dropkick for a two count. Ripley hit Belair with a ripcord lariat and ripcord dropkick. Ripley locked Belair in her signature reverse Texas Cloverleaf, but Belair quickly went for the rope break. Belair went to rest at ringside but Ripley didn’t relent with a cannonball to ringside. Io Shirai came out of nowhere and hit Ripley with a 619 when the ref was distracted. Belair speared Ripley for a really good nearfall two count. Candice LeRae ran out to take Shirai out of the equation. Ripley hit Belair with the Rip Tide for the victory.
Rhea Ripley defeated Bianca Belair via pinfall in 12:38.
Ripley celebrated her win while Candice LeRae clapped at the top of the stage. Io Shirai was sulking on the floor at ringside…
Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, and Nigel McGuinness checked in from commentary. They recapped Kyle O’Reilly’s USB Flash Drive footage of Roderick Strong beating up Velveteen Dream for saying that Strong has a micropenis. This was to set up Strong vs. Dijak vs. Lee in a triple threat for the NA Championship…
Kathy Kelley interviewed Pete Dunne who was strolling with Tyler Bate outside of Full Sail. Dunne said that Priest will get a receipt for what he did last week. Kelley asked Dunne about his attack on Killian Dain before the match. Dunne said he doesn’t care about Dain. Dunne walked away… [c]
John’s Thoughts: A really good and different type of women’s match than we usually see. This was a story of Power and Agility (Belair) vs. Power and Technique (Ripley). A really good styles clash. The interference made sense and forwarded several stories. Ultimately it was good to not see it really factor into the finish. Ripley and Belair are two WWE “developmental” types, but are two of WWE’s best overall women’s wrestlers after that powerhouse performance by both women. Good stuff.
A Tommasso Ciampa vignette aired where Ciampa talked about going through a bout of despair after getting injured. He talked about how it was his time to decide his own destiny. Ciampa talked about how the injury was his test and now he has a goal…
Tyler Bate was shown standing in the crowd with the fans….
John’s Thoughts: Yo! This upcoming match has the potential to be GREAT! Might just be a quick encounter though.
2. Matt Riddle vs. Cameron Grimes. Matt Riddle was wearing purple and gold gear for some reason (not sure if he’s a Laker or Vikings fan, but I’m both so I approve). Nigel noted that both men have had 6 second victories in NXT. Riddle and Grimes quickly went for knockout blows early on but they both missed their moves. Riddle took down Grimes with a waistlock. Mauro noted that Riddle beat Jon Jones before in an MMA match (in high school). Holds and counters ensued. Riddle had the advantage with the submissions.
Riddle hit Grimes with a few muay thai roundhouse kicks. Riddle hit Grimes with Superman Forearms and an Exploder. Grimes dodged a few of Riddle’s moves but took the running Senton for a two count. Nigel talked about the pros and cons on Riddle’s barefeet style. Riddle knocked down Grimes with a roundhouse. Grimes kicked out at two. Riddle hit Grimes with the Goldberg Jackhammer for the two count. Mauro noted that the crowd were also chanting “Riddle” in the “Gold Berg” cadence.
Riddle went back at Grimes with PK kicks. Mauro noted that Grimes has more wrestling experience than Riddle but Riddle makes up for that with MMA experience. Grimes continued take PK’s form Riddle. Grimes rolled up Riddle into a Deadlift German for a two count. [c]
Riddle hit Grimes with a Pele Kick and rip cord knee. Riddle hit Grimes with a GTS and German with a bridge for a two count. Riddle hit Grimes with a senton. Riddle continue to keep Grimes on the mat with a PK. Grimes reversed Riddle into an impressive swinging side slam. Grimes went high risk but Riddle met him with a forearm. Riddle hit Grimes with a superplex for a two count. Riddle went for a corkscrew moonsault but Grimes got the knees up. Many counters ensued. Grimes surprised Riddle with a sneak superkick and flip power slam for a two count. Riddle reversed Grimes’s finisher with a power bomb, Final Flash, and Bro Derek for the victory.
Matt Riddle defeated Cameron Grimes via pinfall in 5:20 of TV Time.
Riddle soaked up the Goldberg “Riddle” Chants. Riddle went to fist bump, but Grimes wasn’t responding. Grimes instead gave Tyler Bate the fist bump. Grimes shoved Tyler Bate afterward. After Grimes put on his top hat, Bate surprised Grimes with his Bip and Bop punch. Bate’s theme played. The commentators cut to The Forgotten Sons vs. Breezango match highlights from two weeks ago. Nigel noted it was supposed to be Kushida and Breezango vs. The Forgotten Sons up next but Breezango now need to find a new tag partner.
They showed Dominik Dijakovic shadow boxing. They cut to a picture-in-picture promo of Dijak hyping up his match against Strong and Lee… [c]
John’s Thoughts: A really good match in the TV time given and I wouldn’t mind seeing five more minutes added at a Takeover. This was the best Grimes match I’ve seen in a while on national television. There’s a small part of me that wanted to see them go all in on Grimes given his push recently but I understand that it’s bigger business to protect Riddle. They’re also acknowledging Riddle’s feud with Goldberg. Not sure if that leads to anything?
Mauro cut to a William Regal announcement via YouTube which was the announcement of the Dakota Kai and Tegan Nox vs. Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke and the winner of the match would wrestle Asuka and Kairi Sane next week for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships…
Breezango made their male stripper entrance again, this time it was Airplane Pilot themed. As usual Fandango swang his Dango all over the place. Their mystery partner was Isaiah Swerve Scott, who has new and improved entrance music. Still no Chaka Khan though, but it’s really hard to top Chaka Khan…
3. Isaiah Scott and “Breezango” Tyler Breeze and Fandango vs. “The Forgotten Sons” Jaxson Ryker, Steve Cutler, and Wesley Blake. Breeze and Ryker started off the match. Ryker easily shoved down Breeze a few times. Scott tagged in to start the Army vs. Marine matchup. Ryker easily manhandled Scott too. Dango tagged in and he took of his shirt. Ryker shoulder tackled Dango and tagged in Cutler. Dango reversed Cutler, dangled his Dango, and gave Cutler a lariat over the top rope to head into break. [c]
John’s Thoughts: “Ain’t no body, loves me bet ter, makes me happy. Makes me FEEL THIS WAYYYYYY!” I really miss Scott’s old theme. The guy’s good in the ring, but that was one of the biggest things that made him a big deal on the indies. He did find a way to stand out better in Lucha Underground, but hopefully he finds that mojo he had there in LU season 3.
[Hour Two] Ryker was totally destroying Tyler Breeze back from break. Blake tagged in for tandem Sons offense. Ryker hit Breeze with a slingshot suplex to give Blake a two count. Blake went to the methodical chinlocks. Ryker tagged in for more power offense and another nearfall. Ryker continued to toss around Breeze. Ryker got a two count after a stiff axe handle strike. Breeze managed to dodge several sons to get a window of opportunity. Blake tagged in to prevent the tag but Breeze jumped to tag in Dango for the hot tag.
Dango hit a series of chops on Blake followed by many strikes. Dango hit Blake with a power slam. Cutler tagged in with a blind tag and hit Dango with a suplex. Scott tagged in and hit Cutler with a crossbody. Cutler hit Scott with a Tiger Driver into th eknee. Blake hit Scott with a Frankensteiner into a cool double diving headbutt from Cutler and Ryker. Dango shoved the pile of people into the pinfall to break it up.
Scott and Blake were left in the ring. Scott surprised Blake with a Paydirt. Ryker tagged in and was tripped off the apron by a Scott Baseball Slide. Ryker and Scott brawled to the top rope. Scott used strikes to fight off Ryker to the apron. Scott then used Ryker’s chiseled chest as a springboard to hit the other two Sons with an Asai Moonsault. Dango tagged in. Breezango hit Ryker with Stereo Superkicks for a nearfall broke up by the other two Sons. Dango lit up Ryker with strikes. Dango and Ryker took each other out outside.
Cutler turned Scott inside out with a lariat. Cutler threw Scott outside on Ryker and Dango and threw Scott back in the ring. The sons went for their finisher on Scott but Breeze tripped Blake off the top rope. Scott hit Cutler with the Killshot kick for the victory, though it looked like Cutler kicked out at three?
Isaiah Scott and Breezango defeated The Forgotten Sons via pinfall in 9:16 of TV Time.
Isaiah Scott joined Breezango in a dance celebration after the match…
Roderick Strong was doing resistance bands with his fellow Unidsputed Era members. They gave Strong a similar PIP promo as Dijak did where he hyped up his potential win in the NA Championship match…
NXT Cruiserweight Champion, Lio Rush, made his entrance wearing a sweater and jeans. Mauro noted that Rush was joining the commentary table for the upcoming Cruiserweight match… [c]
John’s Thoughts: A good tag team match with everyone other than Ryker needing some tweaks to their act to make them really work. Breezango is fun midcard comedy, but their solid in-ring and Dango’s character range shows that they are very limited with the goofball role. Scott is starting to catch on but I can tell that WWE is not confident in having Scott give his very poor (TJP like) “Swerve” promos. He’s better when he’s a bit more humble, but they are starting to have him get over by telling good stories in the ring. The Sons? Ryker’s great! The other two, eh?
They cut to a promo of Killian Dain standing over a dumpster fire. Dain said Dunne tried to break his fingers and he’s going to break Dunne…
They cut to the commentary table where Mauro asked Rush if he was going to drop some rap lyrics. Rush said not tonight and he’s here to watch good cruiserweight action…
4. Angel Garza vs. Gentleman Jack Gallagher. Jack Gallagher wore a bath robe as pre-match attire. Garza faked out a handshake during the code of honor moment. Gallagher showed off his unique chain wrestling early on. Rollups ensued. Both men alligator rolled on the ground with rollups. Garza called for his time out but Gallagher didn’t bite. Gallagher ripped off Garza’s pants accidentily and this allowed Garza to get the advantage. Garza hit Gallagher with a inverted rebound suplex. Rush was oddly very generic on commentary.
Gallagher gave Garza clubbing blows on the back. Gallagher hit Garza with an impressive ten second delayed vertical suplex. Garza monkey flipped Gallagher to the outside. Garza then hit Gallagher with a unique baseball slide into a slap. Gallagher hit Garza with a headbutt. Garza slammed Gallagher to the mat. Garza then hit Gallagher with his beautiful looking lionsault for the victory.
Angel Garza defeated Gentleman Jack Gallagher via pinfall in 4:02.
Garza and Lio Rush jawed at each other from a distance after the match. Beth Phoenix hyped the Women’s Tag Team Championship Number One Contenders Match… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Solid 205 Live fare. Nothing too special. What did stand out was Lio Rush’s pretty subdued commentary. He sounded like he was really trying to hold back in terms of not sounding like a conceited douche (which he’s good at) and instead he’s holding his tongue. He did have some lines that got a chuckle out of me, but that was because of how generic he sounded. Hopefully he finds is voice in his new humble role-model role. I think the guy has the ability to do so if he practices a bit more. He does have the gift of gab.
Dakota Kai and Tegan Nox came out together to Nox’s Pop Punk theme. They had their own combined video wall. The MMA Horsewomen came out to Baszler’s theme…
5. Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai vs. Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke (w/Shayna Baszler) for a shot at the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. Duke clocked Kai with a big boot early on. Duke and Shafir quickly isolated Kai in their corner with gut punches. Nigel noted that Shafir was using Sambo moves on Kai. Shafir hit Kai with a judo toss for a two count. Duke tagged in. Both women hit Kai with gut busters for a two count by Duke on Kai. Heel isolation offense ensued. Tegan Nox got the hot tag and cleaned house. She hit Duke with a roundhouse and an imploding cannonball.
Nox hit Duke with a crossbody for a nearfall that Shafir broke up. Duke tried to rollup with a hand full of tights to no avail. Nox surprised Duke with the Shiniest Wizard for the quick victory.
Tegan Nox and Dakota kai defeated Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke via pinfall in 3:19.
Asuka and Kairi Sane were shown on the big screen. They were speaking in Japanese and their manerisms showed that they were mocking the babyfaces in the ring. Asuka said that Nox and Kai have no chance…
Keith Lee got the Picture-in-Picture treatment next where he used his deep speaking rhetoric to hype his case to become new NA Champion… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Shafir and Duke are getting better and this is the best they’ve looked in WWE so far, but they are still limiting their offense and that was probably the reason behind the short match. Not much shown from Kai and Nox, but because both are talented women I have no fear that they will look good against seasoned opponents. Speaking of seasoned, that should be a killer match against the Kabuki Warriors. It’ll be good to see Asuka and Kairi back on NXT where they aren’t limited by the bad booking of the main roster. It’ll also be interesting to see how Kairi Sane works as a heel in NXT.
Cathy Kelley advertised matches for next week…
Alisha Taylor handled the formal ring introductions for the championship main event…
6. Roderick Strong vs. Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic for the NXT North American Championship. Mauro noted that Strong is the 5th champion in the Championship’s short history. Strong quickly ran away to ringside and was trapped by both Lee and Dijakovic. Strong managed to put the boots to Dijak but Lee swatted Strong midair with a Monty Brown pounce. This allowed Lee and Dijak to get back to business that they were doing last week. Lee hit Dijakovic with an impressive Uranage heading into the Picture-in-picture break. [c]
Strong was tossed aside again to allow Lee and Dijakovic to get back to their super heavyweight brawling. Lee and Dijakovic fought to the top rope. Strong shoved Lee to ringside. This allowed Strong to hit Dijakovic with a superplex. Dijakovic kicked out at two. Dijakovic hit Strong with a three hit back elbow combo. Strong escaped with a knee from Strong. Strong gave Lee a knee. Dijak gave Strong a gutbuster and strongman toss. Dijakovic suplexed the giant Lee onto Strong to pickup a nearfall on Strong. Dijakovic wanted to hit Strong with a moonsault but Strong rolled away. Dijak noticed it so he went for a cannonball on Lee. Lee caught Dijak midair.
Strong helped Dijak escape with a wrecking ball dropkick. Dijakovic then hit Strong with a chop as the two men brawled their way into the ring. Dijakovic put Strong on the top rope. Strong and Dijakovic went to the top rope. Keith Lee snuck in and hit both men with a Tower of Doom Spirit Bomb heading into commercial [c]
All three were on the mat back from the break. Beth noted how impressive it was to lift not only Strong, but Dijak at the same time. Strong caught Dijakovic with a backbreaker. Strong hit Lee with his rapid fire elbows. Strong then planted Lee with an Angle Slam to top off an amazing superman sequence. Lee got up and hit Strong with his signature double chest slap. Strong ducked to send Lee outside. Lee and Dijak caught Strong from the wrecking ball. Strong fought out. Lee threw Strong into Dijakovic who hit Strong with the Feast Your Eyes followed by Lee hitting Strong with the Monty Brown Pounce.
This got a standing ovation for the singular brawl between Dijakovic and Lee. Lee and Dijak made their way to the second rope. Dijak did a backflip and hit Lee with a superkick and cyclone boot. Dijakovic climbed to the second rope and hit Lee with a Super Chokebomb for a great nearfall. Dijakovic then decided to become a maniac by hitting Strong with a Fosbury Flop. The flop was meant for Lee but Lee rolled in the ring. Lee then became a maniac by hitting Dijakovic with a Tope Con Hilo. “Holy Shit” chants ensued. They are two minutes into the overrun at this point. Lee treated Dijakovic like he was Majin Buu by hitting him with a Super Spirit Bomb. Roderick Strong came out of Nowhere with a Busaiku Kick to the head of Lee to pick up the clean win over Lee.
Roderick Strong defeated Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic via pinfall in 14:43 of TV Time to retain the NXT North American Championship.
The Undisputed Era put the boots to Lee after the match and cleared him from the ring. The Undisputed Era all held up their titles. Suddenly Tommaso Ciampa made his entrance holding his signature crutch weapon. Mauro noted that the four champions in the ring have the numbers advantage. A “daddy’s home” chant ensued when Ciampa faced off with the Undisputed Era. Johnny Gargano then made his entrance to the ring. Johnny Gargano then faced off as “DIY” chants ensued from the crowd. Ciampa and Gargano then turned to face off against Undisputed Era. Next Finn Balor made his entrance. He was in his black jacket and slacks.
Mauro noted all the star power in the ring. WTF? In a surprise move, Finn Balor flipped backwards and gave Johnny Gargano a surprise Pele Kick. The Undisputed Era put the boots to Ciampa. Then Fish and O’Reilly held Ciampa in place while Cole hit Ciampa with the Last Shot Shining Wizard. Before the Wizard, Cole’s face sold confusion at Balor’s actions. Before leaving, Finn Balor gave Johnny Gargano a shotgun dropkick sending him into the barricade and knocking down what I assume are planted fans. Finn Balor then gave Johnny Gargano a Bloody Sunday on the entrance ramp. The Undisputed Era stood in unity in the ring with their UE hand signs while Finn Balor struck his double shooter fingers at Gargano before walking away in mystery to close out NXT with ten minutes into the overrun before Temptation Island started…
John’s Thoughts: Yo! That was a very hot ending to NXT and a lot to absorb. I’ll recap the end first. Man. That was surprising! I totally expected this to go the cliche WWE route and I thought they were just setting up an Undisputed Era vs. Gargano, Ciampa, Balor, and Dream War Games match. I thought Balor going to NXT meant they were going to delay his heel turn. Man, this is going to be great. Balor has been stale as a babyface for a long time so this heel turn is definitely going to be a treat. If WWE wants to make a shock in the Wednesday Night Wars, they need to PR the hell out of this big moment. Bonus points to Adam Cole in all this who can tell a thousand words with a simple facial expression. Cole’s confusion after Balor’s heel turn was good at adding another intriguing layer to be paid off in the future.
Let’s not forget, before the shocking heel turn, NXT had a good AF main event going on. It worked out in WWE’s favor that injuries and creative changes caused them to hold off on this amazing Dijakovic vs. Lee series. Lee and Dijakovic can do no wrong and if you want a good main event, put these guys in the ring. As expected, Strong used Lee and Dijakovic beating the hell out of each other to sneak out a win, but he didn’t look weak because Strong manages to really stand out as a smaller man who wrestles like a big man. While Lee and Dijak are big men that wrestle like they are little. Nice dichotomy. One can argue that this is the best episode of NXT in the USA era, but NXT has been putting out strong shows week after week. The Balor heel turn might put that accolade over the top for this episode though. Lots of more thoughts coming. I’ll be by tomorrow with my member’s exclusive audio review and Jason Powell will be by later with his hit list.