By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV on USA Network
Aired live October 30, 2019 from Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
[Hour One] NXT started off with a live performance from YouTube star Poppy with her song “I Disagree”. Clips of last week’s NXT were spliced into the performance…
John’s Thoughts: Don’t think they can do it every week, but nice touch for one of the more anticipated episodes of NXT (given the hype from the Finn Balor heel turn). Wouldn’t mind seeing live performances more often on the show…
Even continuing past the opening performance, Io Shirai made her entrance with Poppy still out there. Poppy performed “Scary Mask” which is the theme they’ve been using for the Io Shirai heel turn vignettes. Io and Poppy posed in the center of the ring. Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary…
1. Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae. LeRae was aggressive early on but she took a Tiger Feint and sick looking twisting tope from Io right after. Candice LeRae came back at Io with her own Tope. LeRae hit Shirai with a knee and neckbreaker from the apron. Shirai tripped LeRae into the second rope which she turned into a chest lungblower. Shirai put the boots to LeRae into the corner followed by a slingshot meteora for a two count. LeRae got up from a cravate. Shirai hit a seated LeRae with a hesitation basement shotgun dropkick. LeRae and Shirai traded standing punches. LeRae went for a sunset flip and a jawbreaker. LeRae hit Shirai with a huracanrana but Shirai landed on her feet.
LeRae got Shirai to the mat with an enzuigiri. LeRae was bleeding from the nose at this point. Shirai blocked a Suplex on the apron. Both women traded strikes. LeRae blocked a German on the apron. Shirai spilled into the ring. LeRae was punched on the top rope. LeRae shoved Shirai off the top rope (for a nasty looking fall). Speaking of nasty looking falls, Shirai shoved LeRae off the top rope to ringside. Mauro did the cliche’ WWE “the show marches on” to send things to the picture-in-picture commercial. [c]
Shirai ate three LeRae forearms and a running dropkick form LeRae. LeRae hit Shirai with a Tornado DDT for a two count. Mauro noted that Shirai looks to have injured her neck from that DDT (we’ll probably see that on NXT’s kayfabe injury report). Shirai shoved LeRae away from a Superplex. LeRae got her knees up to block Shirai’s beautiful moonsault. LeRae got a small package for a two count. Shirai locked LeRae in a Juji Gatame. She turned it into a headscussiors triangle. LeRae got her foot to the bottom rope for the rope break.
Shirai had enough and brought a chair to the ring. Referee Jessika took the chair from Shirai. LeRae hit Shirai with a twisting paydirt. LeRae went for a lionsault but hit nothing but chair because Shirai rolled aside. Shirai picked up the win by pinfall.
Io Shirai defeated Candice LeRae via pinfall in 12:52.
Shirai beat up on LeRae more after. Rhea Ripley ran out for the save by swinging the chair around that Shirai brought to the ring. Shirai escaped unscathed…
Nigel hyped Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish vs. Keith Lee and Matt Riddle for later in the show. Mauro sent things over to a video package recapping the Finn Balor heel turn which included sound bites from Finn Balor last week from the news and from WWE Backstage. Nigel said Finn Balor was coming up next… [c]
John’s Thoughts: The women have been really doing a good job anchoring the opening match in NXT the last few weeks. I prefer last week’s brawling slugfest to this week’s more indie spotfest, but both matches were really good. That and you know me, heel Io can do no wrong for me. The women have benefited the most from the move to two hours because now they can spotlight strong non-Shayna Baszler storylines on the regular.
Highlights from Damien Priest vs. Pete Dunne were shown featuring Priest kicking Dunne in the balls for the victory. Beth Phoenix hyped Pete Dunne vs. Damien Priest for next week…
Finn Balor made his entrance. Interesting note, Balor did do his hand raise thing once, but the lights went dark to hide the crowd responding. Balor turned the side arms into his double shooter finger guns. Mauro noted that the spotlight was now only focused on Balor during Balor’s entrance. Balor got a 50%-50% favorable to boo reaction. This then turned into a mostly favorable “Thank You Finn” chant. Balor talked about how [Bray Wyatt] put on a mask and became the hottest thing in the business after beating Finn, but now Finn took off the mask and is the hottest thing in the business. Finn said that there are alot of opinions floating around from the locker room and twitter. Balor said those in the locker room are coming off like the fans.
Balor moved his attention to talking about Gargano. He said he heard Gargano got out of the hospital and soon Balor will send Gargano back to the hospital. Balor said he’s going to turn “Johnny Wrestling” into “Johnny Watches Wrestling” when he’s done with Gargano. Balor walked away to his entrance theme…
A Kabuki Warriors video package aired with Kawaii Metal Band Babymetal playing in the background… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Not the longest of promos, but a good start to Finn Balor’s heel run on the mic. They’re establishing small things first, like him dropping the side arms in favor of his Bullet Club finger guns. He also seems a bit more inspired on the mic now as a heel, which was always the case. The reason he turned heel and created Bullet Club in New Japan was because he was so stale and stiff on the mic as a babyface. Hopefully he continues to flush out this character as the weeks go by. They also need to attempt to quell down the favorable reaction from the crowd (I can’t blame the crowd, but there’s better business with Finn as a top tier heel).
A quick vignette aired that showed Tyler Bate highlights…
2. Bronson Reed vs. Shane Thorne. A battle between two Australians who I believe have history with each other. Thorne started off right after the bell with two dropkicks and a cannonball. Reed turned Thorne inside out with a lariat and senton. Thorne and Reed then traded strong style indie chops with each other. Nigel noted that both of these men got this style form Japan. Reed managed to win the momentum battle with chops and a discus forearm. Mauro called Reed NXT’s Thicc Boi. Thorne managed to surprise Reed with a suplex for a two count.
Thorne gave Reed a few roundhouses and PKs. Thorne pummeled Reed with educated feet. Reed blocked a boot and came back with a right hand. Reed slingshot over Shorne and hit him with German Suplex. Reed hit Thorne with a Backpack Pile Driver for a two count. Reed took down the straps and went high risk but ate a step-up roundhouse from Thorne. Thorne then met Reed on the top rope. Reed tossed Thorne off like a basketball and hit Thorne with a big splash for the win.
Bronson Reed defeated Shane Thorne via pinfall in 4:21.
Nigel sent things to Cathy Kelley who was interviewing Team Kick, Dakota Kai and Tegan Nox. Kai brought about bringing the fight to the Kabuki Warriors after both coming back from injuries. Nox said winning the tag titles would be great but it’s greater winning it with her best friend…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A good showcase for Reed with Thorne continuing to show that he has it in him to be more than just an enhancement wrestler if WWE wants to go in a different direction with him, but for now Thorne serves a valuable role getting new acts ready for television. Reed looked good following a series of losses to higher profile wrestlers. Small nitpick, I wouldn’t have had Reed use that backpack pile driver and have Thorne kick out because that move can be saved as an alternate finisher. That aside, Reed looks good as a Bam Bam Bigalow type. Small aside, I’ve been thinking of possible Bad Luck Fale types for Finn Balor to sit on the shoulders of. Reed just put himself on that list (on the top of my list is Killer Kevin Kross, but he has to escape Impact Wrestling somehow. Right behind Kross is Babatunde who can be a good heavy for Finn Balor).
A quick Mia Yim hype vignette aired…
Team Kick came out to Nox’s pop punk instrumental theme. Ugh. The Kabuki Warriors really need better theme music because their rough cut mash up sucks. Asuka’s heel twist is simple, the green slime facepaint. Sane’s heel makeup is really cool. It looks like a Kitsune (nine-tail fox girl), but her cuteness also makes her look like D.Va from Overwatch. Alisha Taylor handled the formal ring introductions for the championship match…
3. “The Kabuki Warriors” Kairi Sane and Asuka vs. Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships. A “Ka Bu Ki” chant ensued followed by a “Team Kick” chant. Team Kick were wearing more Dakota Kai themed gear this time with the Tie Dye. Asuka and Nox started off. Nox went for a handstand evasion but Asuka gave Nox a roundhouse to the gut. Kairi Sane came in gave Nox a loud chop to the chest. Nox and Sane then traded strong style chest chops. Sane dominated with a foot stomp. Sane flapped her hands like wings. Nox and Kai took out their opponents with dropkicks. The fight spilled to ringside heading into commercial.
John’s Thoughts: I know she really tries, but it’s really hard to accept Kairi Sane/Hojo as a heel. She’s just comes off as such a nice person no matter what she tries. That said, I’m not complaining, she still does a great job as the not-heel trying to be a heel too.
[Hour Two] Nox and Kai were trading tags to perform double team moves on Asuka. Kai hit a few deep armdrags on Asuka. Small note, Kai and Nox were wearing visible knee braces. Speaking of that, Asuka hit Kai with a Dragon Screw on the knee brace to the bottom rope. Asuka gave Kai a hip attack to send her to ringside. Beth noted that the twisting motion creates the injury. Asuka hit Kai with some flutter kicks. Asuka locked Kai in a leg lock on the non-injured leg. Mauro said that Asuka is inspired by people like Keiji Mutoh and other Japanese legends. Kai managed to get to her feet. Asuka ducked a enzuigiri.
Asuka continued to pummel Kai in a perpendicular corner away from Nox. Sane tagged in to continue heel isolation on Kai. Sane hit Kai with a basement lariat. Sane then locked Kai with a Stretch Muffler on the non-injured leg. Sane then turned it into a reverse Figure Four. Asuka tagged in and continued to attack Kai’s good knee. Beth noted that the Warriors are trying to take away Kai’s foundation by attacking the good knee. Mauro said this offense from the Warriors reminds him of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew. Kai got a window of opportunity but Asuka pulled Kai back to her corner.
Kai and Sane then had a strong style exchange with Sane dominating with a forearm. The crowd gave Kairi a standing ovation. Sane locked Kai in a headscissors submission. Kai escaped but ate an Axe kick from Sane. Asuka tagged in for tandem offense from the heels. Mauro said he sees ruthless aggression from the Kabuki Warriors. Asuka gave Kai a few roundhouse kicks to the upper back of Kai. By the way, there’s this one LA Parka dressed guy in the front rowthat’s distracting me a bit. I get distracted easily. Beth Phoenix said she doesn’t like how Asuka is playing to the crowd at points. [c]
The heels were dominating back from the break. Kai continues to sell. The Warriors hit Kai with a Codebreaker and Blockbuster combo. Kai kicked out of Sane’s Jackknife after two. Kai managed to send Sane outside for a window of opportunity. Sane got in the way. Kai knocked out Sane with a handstand Scorpion Kick. Nox made the hot tag and cleaned house after Asuka tagged in. Nox hit Sane with a chokeslam. Nox then ran at both opponents in both corners. Nox hit Asuka with an enzuigiri and crossbody for a two count.
Asuka blocked the Shiniest Wizard into a kneebar. Nigel noted that this is made worse because both of Nox’s legs have braces and are coming off of injury. Nox got to her feet and locked in the Crossarmbreaker. Sane broke it up with an axe kick. Kai hit Asuka with a German Suplex and Nox hit Asuka with a German Suplex. All four women were left lying after all the offense that just ensued. Nox was hobbling on one leg so she tagged in Kai. Nigel noted that Kai took most of the offense. Kai hit Asuka with a Helluva Kick. The referee was distracted by Sane which allowed Asuka to hit Kai with the Green Mist. Asuka kicked Kai. Sane tagged in and hit Kai with the InSane Elbow for the victory.
The Kabuki Warriors defeated Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai via pinfall in 17:06 of TV Time to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship.
Nigel noted that the referee can’t overturn the decision after making the decision despite him possibly wanting to right now. The referee and Nox went over to clean off Kai’s face. Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir walked to ringside. The MMA Horsewomen got up on the apron. Nox punched out Baszler but Duke and Shafir gave the Horsewomen the numbers advantage. Baszler clocked Nox with a stepup enzuigiri. Baszler was about to break stomp Nox’s arm the same way she did to Kai a long time ago, but she stopped in her tracks when Rhea Ripley made her entrance and slowly walked to the ring.
Io Shirai blindsided Ripley and a brawl ensued. Bianca Belair ran out to beat up on Ripley too. LeRae ran out to save Ripley. A bunch of the women took each other out with Baszler and Ripley being the last two to face off standing tall. Ripley got the takedown on Baszler but Belair and Shirai attacked Ripley from behind. All the women then ran in the ring and madness ensued. NXT Security ran out to separate the women. William Regal then showed up from the commentary balcony/crow’s nest. Regal said he has a simple solution to this, “War Games!”. Beth Phoenix said we’re getting the first women’s War Games match. The crowd chanted “War Games” to close the segment… [c]
John’s Thoughts: The women’s tag title match was really good, but not as good as I expected given the talent in the ring. I think Dakota Kai sold a bit too much, about one commercial break two long. That match almost went about 30 minutes or so when you add the commercial time into it. That said it was solid. It’s also noticeable that Kairi Sane is just such a good babyface especially since she’s Kitsune Sane now. I personally like the Kitsune over the Pirates of the Caribbean/One Piece thing. We see a lot of pro wrestling brawls, but I think this brawl was well thought out and came together a bit more naturally than a lot of wrestling brawls given how they’ve built up these feuds over weeks. It looked like they were building towards the War Games match and they finally delivered on booking the women’s war games match.
A replay of William Regal’s “War Games!” announcement aired…
Tyler Bate came out to his imitation Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer theme. His opponent is the artist formerly known as Trevor Lee…
4. Tyler Bate vs. Cameron Grimes. Nigel noted that Bate needs to look out for Grimes’s knockout double stomp. Both men had a stalemate at the initial chain wrestling sequence. Grimes locked Bate in an armbar after an armdrag. Bate used his foot to reverse the armbar into his own Fujiwara Armbar. Bate locked Grimes in a wristlock after an armdrag. Bate continued to dominate Grimes with armdrags and locks. Grimes escaped with a headscissors on Bate. Bate escaped with a kip up. Bate and Grimes then showed lucha agility with Bate hitting Grimes with a dropkick. Bate hit Grimes with an airplane spin and dropkick. Grimes caught a running Bate with a side slam for a two count. [c]
Grimes hit Bate with a sweet looking backflip into a German Suplex after Bate showed a bit of sweet evasion. Grimes washed the back of Bate’s head with a few diving knees. Grimes locked Bate in joint manipulation which Mauro noted is a move Bate’s tag partner Pete Dunne would use. Mauro noted that Bate has only been wrestling for five years. Bate surprised Grimes with a thrust kick to the face. Bate hit Grimes with a top rope Shoryuken. Bate hit Grimes with an European Uppercut and Exploder Suplex. A “big strong boy” chant ensued. Bate hit Grimes with a standing Shooting Star for a two count.
Bate reversed an Electric Chair into a nice looking Frankendriver for a two count. Bate went for Bop and Bang but Grimes fought through with a Superman Forearm. Grimes hit Bate with his cool looking Spanish Fly Power Slam for the two count. Bate hit Grimes with his signature Rebound Lariat for the two count. Grimes tried to escape the ring but Bate deadlifted Grimes to his feet. Bate clotheslined Grimes to ringside. Bate hit Grimes with a Koppu Kick. Bate then hit Grimes with a Top Rope Clearing Suicide Dive. Suddenly Killian Dain made his way to ringside to catch the eye of Bate. This distraction allowed Grimes to nail Bate with the cave-in standing double stomp for the victory.
Cameron Grimes defeated Tyler Bate via pinfall in 9:36 of TV Time.
After the match, Grimes left while Dain beat up Bate. Dain hit Bate with a running senton. Dain then hit Bate with a cannonball into the steel steps. Dain got up in the face of Bate and told Bate that he was coming after Pete Dunne for what Dunne did to him a few weeks ago…
Matt Riddle and Keith Lee were shown getting ready backstage… [c]
John’s Thoughts: A good match that didn’t give away everything these two guys are capable of. It’s good to see these NXT matches that show alot yet not have to try to be a “Match of the Year” candidate every single match. The ending was screwy but I like the intriguing storylines coming from it. On one hand, it made sense for Dain to want to get at Pete Dunne. On the other hand, is there some sort of alliance between Dain and Grimes? There can be if they want to go that route. Dain has come out twice during Grimes matches and it led to a Grimes win. Either that, or they can turn this into a Grimes vs. Dain feud if they want to go that direction. A good binary option NXT has on their hands.
An Angel Garza documentary video package aired where Garza talked about his family heritage. The video focused on Garza’s love for his uncle Hector Garza. He said he wanted to make the Garza dynasty proud…
John’s Thoughts: Garza did a similar video package in Impact Wrestling and he came off well there as well (I wouldn’t be surprised if Jeremy Borash produced both documentary video packages). The guy plays the cocky heel well, but when given a chance to speak he is really humble and endearing. Garza is a breakout main eventer if they handle him right. He has the look, legacy, in-ring, and talking ability.
Cathy Kelley said you can go to CBS Sports to see interviews of the War Games team captains, Shayna Baszler and Rhea Ripley…
5. NXT Tag Team Champions “Undisputed Era” Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish vs. Matt Riddle and Keith Lee in a non-title match. Kyle got his baby back, his title belt air guitar. Fish and O’Reilly went at their opponents early on. O’Reilly and Fish used kicks to overpower Lee. Lee tossed O’Reilly into Fish. Lee then took out both opponents with a running crossbody. Fish and O’Reilly tried to send Lee to ringside but Lee hit the brakes and punched out both opponents. O’Reilly and Fish tried to recover but Riddle attacked them at ringside. Riddle tagged in to work on Fish. Riddle hit Fish with a chest chop. Lee hit Fish with the double hand chop. O’Reilly ate a double chop too and sold it well. Riddle hit Fish with the Goldberg Jackhammer for a two count. The show went to the picture-in-picture. [c]
An ad aired saying that there was an NXT encore after NXT. Riddle hit Fish with a Gutwrench. O’Reilly got hit by one too (which he did one of his fun animated sells for). Redragon recovered and trapped Riddle in the corner for isolation offense. Fish hit Riddle with a kick-punch combo. Mauro noted that Fish and O’Reilly share martial techniques with each other. O’Reilly hit Riddle with rapid fire gut knees. Fish tagged in and hit Riddle with Muay Thai knees and a back suplex. Mauro noted that this is impressive given that Redragon’s opponent is a former UFC fighter. Riddle managed to get a Sleeper on Fish, but Fish quickly escaped. O’Reilly tagged in and accidentally gave Fish a Face Wash Yakuza kick . O’Reilly locked Riddle in a submission but Riddle put the boots to O’Reilly.
Riddle went for the tag but Fish tripped Lee off the apron. O’Reilly took down Riddle with a front kick. Riddle hit Redragon with double knees but they came back with a double pop up roundhouse. Redragon hit Riddle with Chasing The Dragon for the two count. Riddle got to his feet from a O’Reilly Guillotine. Fish tried to punch Lee off the apron but Lee no sold it. Riddle managed to get the hot tag as Lee cleaned house. Lee nosold a double roundhouse and hit O’Reilly and Fish with a series of double lariats.
O’Reilly and Fish managed to take down Lee with a modified High Low combination. Lee came back at Fish with a Uranage. Lee shoved O’Reilly off the top rope. Lee went for a moonsault but missed a sault on O’Reilly. O’Reilly hit Lee with Axe and Smash and a Samoan Drop for a two count. Lee stood up during O’Reilly’s armbar. Mauro noted that Lee was doing bicep curls with O’Reilly which he turned into a Power Bomb. Riddle tagged in and hit O’Reilly with a Pele Kick. Riddle cleaned house. He hit both opponents with running sentons. He hit Fish with a PK and German Suplex. Adam Cole and Roderick Strong ran out to distract riddle. Riddle fought them off the apron.
Riddle got all of the UE to ringside. Riddle hit all UE members with an Asai Moonsault. Riddle hit Fish with a Final Flash. Lee pounced Cole into Roderick Strong. Fish escaped the Go To Sleep. O’Reilly and Fish hit Matt Riddle with Total Elimination for the victory while Lee was distracted by Cole and Strong.
Undisputed Era defeated Matt Riddle and Keith Lee via pinfall in 14:20.
The UE put the boots to both Riddle and Lee. Cue Tommaso Ciampa’s entrance theme who ran out with his crutch to attack UE. He took down Strong, Fish, and O’Reilly with stick strikes. He teased attacking Cole but Cole scurried away. Ciampa threw the stick at O’Reilly and gave O’Reilly. Riddle and Lee recovered. Riddle gave O’Reilly a Final Flash Knee. Lee Military Pressed O’Reilly onto the rest of UE at ringside. Ciampa took a mic and then walked to the NXT Championship that he saw sitting on the apron. Ciampa said “Goldie, you’re gonna have to wait, Daddy’s Going to War!”. Cole ran and took the title back as Ciampa’s entrance theme played to close the show 10 minutes into the overrun…
John’s Thoughts: A fun tag team match where Kyle O’Reilly continues to be the glue that keeps all of these Undisputed Era tag team matches coming together. O’Reilly’s great! The other three are great in their own different ways too. I almost thought they weren’t going with two War Games matches given the women’s announcement, but this war games makes sense. I’m assuming that the forth man for team Ciampa is going to be Velveteen Dream, just as I expected before Finn Balor came in with the heel turn swerve. I’m assuming it’s Ciampa, Lee, Riddle, and Dream vs. Undisputed Era in War Games which should be a really good match.
Not as hot as last week, but you can’t have a slick looking surprise Finn Balor Pele Kick every week, can you? This episode was NXT’s usual efficient usage of time and all the two hour has done is given NXT more time for more women’s feuds and consistent video packages. NXT continues to find the right mix of in-ring, enhancement match, character development, and vignette. That really solid Garza Jr. documentary package was in there too and may have gotten forgotten if you weren’t paying attention. The goal of this show was to follow up on the Balor turn, which it did a little bit, but they didn’t blow their load leaving you looking for more next week. The other goal was setting up War Games matches which were logically set up with the various feuds across the show. I’ll have more thoughts for Dot Net Members in our member’s exclusive NXT Audio Review and Jason Powell will be by later with his NXT hit list…
“They also need to attempt to quell down the favorable reaction from the crowd (I can’t blame the crowd, but there’s better business with Finn as a top tier heel).”
Why can’t you blame the crowd? Wrestling shows are better, and heels and feuds more successful and memorable, when the crowds boo them. The best feud NXT as ever had was Gargano vs. Ciampa, and why? Because listen to the crowd’s reaction to Ciampa. For once, NXT crowds went with the storyline, and it produced a masterpiece.