By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV on USA Network
Aired live November 13, 2019 from Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
[Hour One] Highlights from last week’s NXT aired which featured the arrival of AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson to the show. Instead of the usual stock video, they combined the highlights with the Slipknot intro theme…
Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary…
Alisha Taylor handled the formal ring introductions for the Cruiserweight Title Match…
1. Lio Rush vs. Angel Garza for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Lio’s entire family was in the crowd from his kids, wife, grandparents, in-laws, and others that I didn’t catch up with. Drake Younger was the referee for the match. Garza wanted to start the match with the Code of Honor but Rush saw the slap coming this time. Rush started off the match as usual by running circles around his opponent. Garza mocked Lio and showed his poise by kneeling with a handshake pose. Garza then got out of the ring, walked over the barricade to Lio Rush’s wife, ripped off his tearaway pants and gave it to Rush’s wife. (good stuff)
Rush hit Garza with a suicide dive when he got back in the ring. Rush hit Garza with a Tornado DDT in the ring. Rush went for a suicide dive, but he dove right into Garza’s arms so Garza could hit him with a seamless power slam to the ringside floor. The show then went to picture-in-picture commercial. [c]
Rush nailed Garza with his CQC combo back from the break. Rush then nailed Garza with a handspring back elbow for a two count. Nigel noted that Garza dominated during the break and before that he stripped his pants off in front of Rush’s wife. Garza caught Rush with a high knee. Rush escaped a wing clipper attempt. Rush caught Garza with a bicycle kick. Rush went for his signature springboard stunner but Garza reversed it with a sweet Shotgun Dropkick. Rush hit Garza with his nice looking twisting Unprettier for a two count.
An “NXT” chant ensued. Garza crotched Rush on the top rope. Mauro said Rush’s Huevos must be scrambled. Garza hit Rush with an amazing Moonsault Power Slam (I would have saved that for a win, but that was sweet). Rush grabbed Garza’s feet to prevent a Garza Lionsault. Garza then showed a mean streak by giving Rush furious blows. Rush hit Garza with the Rush Hour (Spanish Fly).
Rush clocked Garza with a Kick followed up by the seated springboard stunner. Rush locked Garza in a cravate and went for a second stunner. Garza hit Rush with the Wing Clipper finisher, but rush kicked out in an epic false finish. Garza dragged Rush up the rope for a Super Wing Clipper (super butterfly Atomic Drop) attempt. Rush and Garza then exchanged headbutts (to the shoulder). Rush won the battle, tossing Garza to the ground. Rush hit Garza with a High Fly Flow style Final Hour. Garza kicked out at two. Rush hit Garza with another High Fly Flow style Final Hour (crossbody instead of frogsplash) for the victory.
Lio Rush defeated Garza Jr. via pinfall in 12:56 to retain the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.
Highlights from the match aired…
The cameras cut to a bunch of WWE officials running around in a panic because Tegan Nox and Rhea Ripley were left lying in the yard area of Full Sail… [c]
John’s Thoughts: An amazing match, and definitely Takeover worthy. My small nitpick is something I brought up a few weeks ago. Sometimes cool and high impact moves should be saved for big victories and not get kicked out the first time they are used. I gave that nitpick for Garza’s Moonsault Power Slam. Other than that, the match was great and I didn’t mind Rush and Garza kicking out of established finishers because this was a championship match and NXT has held back from the indie-false-finish-fests to the point where this one didn’t stand out as cliche or indie. Good stuff.
Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Beth Phoenix checked in on commentary. Mauro recapped the last segment where Tegan Nox and Rhea Ripley were left lying. Beth Phoneix said it might have been Raw, Smackdown, or even Team Baszler so it’s tough to pin down the culprit…
A hype video package aired to hype Shayna Baszler vs. Becky Lynch vs. Bayley at Survivor Series…
Nigel hyped Mia Yim vs. Io Shirai in a ladder match for the advantage…
2. Xia Li vs. Aliyah (w/Vanessa Borne). I mean, Aliyah never wins matches. She has no chance right? That said she’s been WWE since 2015 when she was 19 years old so she’ll get her time someday right? (I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing her in Impact Wrestling to add to their Knockouts Division). Li turned a Schoolgirl into a nice Power Bomb attempt. Aliyah escaped and Li nailed her with rapid strikes. Li missed a bunch of cyclone wushu kicks, but they looked impressive.
Aliyah hit Li with a Northern Lights bridge for a two count. Aliyah botched a kick that got only air. Li hit Aliyah with a few kicks. Li hit Aliyah with a forearm smash and an axe handle strike. Li caught Aliyah with the second of two cyclone wushu kicks to pick up the win.
Xia Li defeated Aliyah via pinfall in 2:05.
Aliyah was knocked out after the match and the commentators sold it as some sort of serious injury by sending a ringside doctor to Aliyah. Nigel noted that Aliyah was bleeding from the nose. They cut to a hype package for Killian Dain vs. Pete Dunne in the future…
Killian Dain was shown taping up his wrist and injured finger backstage… [c]
John’s Thoughts: The developmental match of the night and WWE isn’t afraid to still put on developmental matches on NXT even with the move to USA. This one was a bit rough due to the greenness of the wrestlers. It’s tough for me to call Aliyah green because she’s been in WWE for so long, but there were a lot of rough moments. Li was rough too, but she has similar upside to Arturo Ruas because she integrates an unorthadox martial art in her pro wrestling. Ruas does Capoeira while Li uses Wushu. Interested to see what the post match stuff was about. It might have been legit?
Finn Balor made his entrance to Full Sail. This time, Balor does his side arm thing to shut off the lights on the crowd which he converts to his double shooter finger guns (he did this before, but it’s smart to hide the crowd participating in his former babyface hand motions). Balor cut a promo with the lights off and the spotlight on him. Balor asked “what happened to this place (NXT), what happened to the place I love?”.
Balor said NXT is a joke now. Balor called Gargano a joke. I think they muted a curse word? He said the boys are crying backstage. Balor talked about how he took out Matt Riddle and Riddle hasn’t been seen again. Speak of the devil, Riddle popped up and pummeled Balor. Balor got some shots in too. This was pretty much even. Balor escaped through the crowd. Riddle grabbed the mic, called Balor a “putz” and said “I’m right here”. The Undisputed Era then made their entrance and surrounded the ring to trap Riddle for an attack. Tommaso Ciampa’s entrance theme played as Keith Lee and Ciampa power walked to join Riddle in the ring.
Adam Cole called UE the most powerful force in all of WWE. Lee said he doesn’t give a damn and UE needs to get their asses in the ring. Lee said he understands UE doesn’t want to get in so he’ll acknowledge some things. Lee said Riddle beat Daniel Bryan and didn’t stand down to Seth Rollins, but ultimately will Cole stand up to Lee. Strong ranted and called Lee an idiot. Strong said Cole deserves a night off for having such a strong run in WWE as of late. Roderick Strong then challenged Keith Lee to a match. Lee said he’s not picky.
Lee motioned that he accepts the challenge and is drawing a line in the sand. Referees ran to the ring to calm things down. Strong yelled “they started it!” before UE decided to backtrack. Before Strong could get away, Lee tossed Strong across the ring. Mauro went into break wondering if we are getting Roderick Strong vs. Keith Lee… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Really good seamless transitions and really strong promo work from people who aren’t known for giving strong promos in WWE (Balor, Strong, and Lee). Lee sounded less robotic. Strong showed more confidence than he has in the past and even sounded a bit like chicken bleep heel Chris Jericho. Balor was the best because he brought that awesome frantic promo style that he had when he was leader of Bullet Club in New Japan, just minus a curse word in every sentence (though he might have snuck one on there because the sound did mute for a second while I was doing my recap). Good stuff all across the board to hype Survivor Series and War Games. NXT is doing their best with this weird dual build situation.
3. NXT North American Champion Roderick Strong vs. Keith Lee in a non-title match. The match was joined in-progress. Lee hit Strong with a flapjack slam to send Strong into retreat. Lee dominated Strong at a methodical pace around the ring. Strong tried to chop Lee to no success. Lee sent Strong flying with a left forearm to the chest. Lee sent Strong flying again with a chest slap. Strong then used his quickness to land chops on Lee. Lee came back with his double club chest chops to swat Strong out of the air like a fly. [c]
Lee and Strong had a strong style forearm exchange back from break. The action spilled to the outside. Strong tried for some shortarm punches on Lee, but Lee nosold them and gave Strong shortarm lariats leading to a power toss. Lee then tossed Strong around for a nearfall.
[Hour Two] Strong gave Lee strikes on the top rope to try to soften him up for a Superplex. After a high knee, Strong softened Lee enough to plant him with a Superplex. Lee kicked out at two. Strong and Lee then took each other out with strikes. Undisputed Era ran out on cue, but Riddle and Ciampa also ran out as equalizers. Riddle planted Fish with a superman forearm.
Balor came out of nowhere with a sling blade, double stomp, and shotgun dropkick on Riddle. Balor left right after this surprise assault. All great looking moves. Lee was distracted. Strong hit Lee with a high knee and Angle Slam for a nearfall. Lee hit Strong with a Jackhammer for a pinfall win.
Keith Lee defeated Roderick Strong via pinfall in about 16:00 of on-air TV Time.
The rest of UE put the boots to Lee after the match. Ciampa also ate some boots. The giant Dominik Dijakovic ran out for the save. He gave Redragon a double choke slam. Dijakovic gave Cole the Feast Your Eyes (Burning Hammer GTS). Dijakovic confronted Ciampa saying off mic “so you’re going to war? I’m in”. Dijakovic and Ciampa shook hands. Dijak was about to leave but had a intense face-to-face with Keith Lee. The crowd wanted a hug, but Lee gave the more logical and respectful handshake. Mauro Ranallo assumed this means that Dijakovic is the fourth member of Ciampa’s war games team… [c]
John’s Thoughts: I was distracted by an outside issue so my report on that match wasn’t as detailed as usual and I may have missed some things. From what I saw though, that was a good match. Roderick strong is a really good storyteller and is up there with AJ Styles as one of WWE’s best storytellers. I liked the moments where he was softening up Lee for his high impact moves. Good match. They also do a good job in NXT tying this into all their storylines. Good job in adding Dominik Dijakovic to the babyface team at War Games and nice touch to bring up the tension between Lee and Dijakovic as a factor in this match. Another props goes to Finn Balor, who’s coming off as an uncontrollable wild card factor in NXT and not aligned as of now with UE. Those three moves he hit looked better than he usually executes them.
The commentators were trying to go over recaps, but they cut to the Full Sail yard where Jessamyn Duke and Candice LeRae were left lying. Scarlett Bordeaux made a cameo appearance and was talking with Triple H about what was happening around here. Scarlett has red hair now…
John’s Thoughts: So Raw or Smackdown? A nice mini-whodunit for this episode to build towards Survivor Series and keep viewers hooked for a payoff. Keep on the lookout for Scarlett Bordeaux. Scarlett is going to be a future star in WWE’s women’s scene of executed correctly. Just sayin?
Isaiah Swerve Scott made his entrance to his “not as good as Chaka Khan” entrance theme…
4. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Bronson Reed. Reed and Scott fist bumped out of respect to start off the match. Reed hit Scott with a shoulder block but Scott kept his poise with a kip up. Scott hit Reed with a missile dropkick but didn’t get Reed off his feet. Reed used the momentum to bounce off the rope and run into Scott. Reed hit Scott with a headbutt. Reed then slowed down Scott with a headlock. Scott tried to use his agility, but Reed did the smooth move of slowly sitting on Scott. Scott was dumped outside by Reed. heading into commercial. [c]
Scott escaped a back bear hug with elbows. Scott flipped over Reed and hit him with a Rolling Sobat. Scott hit Reed with a Northern Forearm. Reed came back with a chop. Scott hit Reed with a rolling paydirt for a two count. Reed nosold Scott’s forearms and came back with a strong lariat and senton. Scott superkicked Reed when Reed went high risk. Reed recovered and teased a Super Pile Driver. WOW. Scott escaped and hit Reed with a DDT.
John’s Thoughts: The fact that we don’t see Pile Drivers, let alone Super Pile Drivers, made that tease have impact.
Scott focused his attack on Reed’s left arm. Scott hit Reed with a back elbow. Reed reversed a paydirt into a smooth sitout spinebuster. Reed hit Scott with a backpack pile driver for a two count. Scott used the top rope as fulcrum to yank at Reed’s injured arm. Scott then locked Reed’s arm in a triangle. Scott hit Reed with good TKD kicks. Reed missed a Banzai Drop. Scott caught Reed in the back of the neck with a Killshot Piston Kick for the victory.
Isaiah Scott defeated Bronson Reed via pinfall in 8:37 of on-air TV Time.
Reed looked disappointed but then out of respected shared a handshake with Scott…
Cathy Kelley gave an update that the women’s locker room is worried because of all the attack, but it must be Raw and Smackdown. Cathy Kelley announced Matt Riddle vs. Finn Balor for Takeover: War Games. Kelley also announced that Riddle is taken out of War Games and replaced by Dijakovic (so there’s only three guys again)…
Pete Dunne was shown doing push ups to prepare for his upcoming match against Killian Dain… [c]
John’s Thoughts: A bit surprising because it looked like they were on the verge of starting a Reed push and Scott can take some loses to build sympathy. That said, Scott is hitting his stride finally in NXT. I wouldn’t mind seeing Reed end up being Finn Balor’s new Bad Luck Fale? (though Killer Kross is the dream scenario). Anyway, Matt Riddle is now filling the old Roderick Strong role of being Paul Levesque’s “in case of emergency, break glass” guy, this time filling in for Johnny Gargano. I kinda hope they get some sort of big name to be the forth name on team on Team Ciampa. Could John Morrison be an option? I wouldn’t mind seeing my fellow Hollywood Homeboy be in NXT to help boast the brand. Will they call him Johnny NXT if that happened (but isn’t Johnny Gargano a Johnny NXT, now I created an issue, and now this is probably not happening).
An ad aired for the Forgotten Sons. They don’t want to be Forgotten (even though they easily are).
Dunne made his entrance first. Dain made his entrance next. Damien Priest ran in and knocked down Dain from behind. A brawl ensued between Dunne and Priest. Dain joined the brawl. The independent wrestling security detail ran out to break things up. Priest beat up a few guards. Priest gave one guard a Razor’s Edge on the other guards and Dain, and Dunne. Dunne and Dain continued to brawl. Priest hit Dain and Dunne with a springboard Tope Con Hilo to leave everyone lying. Damien Priest left as the only man standing tall.
Mia Yim was interviewed by Cathy Kelly about the recent attacks. Yim said she know she’s has to keep eyes at the back of her head. Yim said she’s ready and now that she’s in War Games, she’s going to get War Games advantage. Dakota Kai walked in to say “no hard feelings”. Kai said she has Yim’s back tonight to make sure she supports her friends.
John’s Thoughts: You had to know that Damien Preist was running out to make this a no-contest. Simple and effective brawl to leave Priest looking strong and booking their triple threat match. The Dakota Kai and Mia Yim segment was expected too, but I really like it also adding to the mystery case. Maybe Dakota Kai is behind all of the attacks and not Raw or Smackdown? I’m liking this mini-whodunit!
Back from the break, Beth Phoenix reiterated that Matt Riddle is out of War Games an now in a match against Finn Balor. Nigel noted that Ciampa now needs to find a new team member. Mauro announced Dominik Dijakovic vs. Adam Cole in a ladder match next week for man advantage…
Mia Yim made her entrance first. Mauro said it’s a good thing she didn’t walk under the ladder for bad luck. Io Shirai made what I personally think is the best entrance in pro wrestling. Fite me! (I also do like hanging out in clubs so that might have something to do with it). There was an NXT Briefcase hanging in the center of the ring…
5. Mia Yim vs. Io Shirai in a Ladder Match for advantage in the War Games match. Shirai got Yim outside and hit her with a suicide dive. The two women brawled, also bringing ladders into play. Yim hit Shirai with a nasty looking facebuster on the ladder on the outside. Shirai tossed Yim outside to get control of the ladder in the ring. Yim pulled Shirai and the ladder to send Shirai’s throat into the second rope. Shirai ducked a whip into the Ladder and then she kicked the ladder into the face of Yim.
Yim slammed Io’s digits into the Ladder like a sandwich. The women brawled at ringside again with 10 minutes left at the top of the hour. Back into the ring, Yim and Shirai brawled. Yim hit Shirai with a suplex onto the ladder to head into the picture-in-picture commercial. [c]
Yim and Shirai were trading punches back from break. Shirai used the rope for leverage to choke out Yim. Shirai hit Yim with a Tiger Feint Kick. Shirai planted Yim with a flapjack. Yim backdroped Shirai but Shirai landed on her feet. Yim launched Shirai into the ladder for an awkward landing, I agree with Nigel on that one. Beth noted that Shirai hit the spine of the ladder against her spine. Yim made a play for the briefcase.
[Overrun] Shirai pulled Yim down. Yim came at Shirai with roundhouse kicks. Yim went for an arm trap but Shirai shoved Yim into the ladder. Shirai then sandwiched Yim in the ladder and jammed the ladder up and down into the spine of Yim. Shirai then dragged a new ladder into play. Beth assumed it was because Shirai broke the last ladder, which Shirai kicked away because she couldn’t safely climb it. Yim caught Shirai with an Eat Defeat out of nowhere. Shirai gave Yim a slingshot shotgun dropkick to send the ladder right into Yim’s face, breaking up Yim’s face hardway. Ouch! Oooof, and they showed two more replays. Nigel noted it was hard to watch.
Mauro called this a “blood and guts battle”. Shirai set up the ladder to climb as the crowd was left silent. Mauro noted that Yim getting medical attention will give Shirai an advantage here. Yim recovered and pulled off Shirai from the ladder. Shirai then gave yim a German Suplex off the ladder. Shirai then started ranting. She gave Yim a meteora in the corner. Yim yanked Shirai off the top rope. The crowd chanted “Mia” who had a bloody face. Shirai headbutted Yim to send her to ringside. Dakota Kai walked out to check on Yim. Shirai gave Yim and Kai a moonsault at ringside.
Shirai tried to climb up the ladder, but Kai ran in the ring and gave Shirai a power bomb to prevent Shirai from winning. NXT Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray ran out and slammed Kai into the steel steps. Yim was at the top of the ladder. Kay Lee Ray then shoved the ladder sending Yim from the second story to the ringside floor on top of a ladder that cracked in half (it looked gimmicked). NASTY! Kay Lee Ray then helped Shirai up and Shirai retreived the briefcase to pick up the win.
Io Shirai defeated Mia Yim in a Ladder Match in 20:00 to earn Shayna Baszler’s team the advantage at War Games.
Shirai was sitting at the top of the ladder why Ray and Bianca Belair celebrated near the feet of the ladder. Shayna Baszler tried to make her entrance but was hit in the back at the top of the ramp by Bayley. The rest of Team Baszler ran up the ramp as Bayley bolted. The show closed abruptly ten minutes after the top of the hour.
John’s Thoughts: Wow! What was that? That was one of the most hardcore things I’ve seen in WWE in recent memory and I’m not sure what was real and what wasn’t. I hope that a lot of the stuff wasn’t, but I’m pretty sure Mia Yim did bust herself open hardway because thing did get awkward betwen Shirai, the referees, and Yim at that point. That said, it did a good job building up sympathy for Yim and does honestly build up her legend as a badass hero. I expected that Dakota Kai might have been a red herring, but she did act like a heel in favor of the babyfaces so there might be a heel turn down the road, but Kay Lee Ray showing up was a nice surprise. Bayley showing up was a nice surprise too (but still too little too late in terms of making her feel important in Shayna and Becky’s match). This was some intense stuff, and I hope that nobody got seriously hurt. Prayers out.
This was a really good episode of NXT that carried two big storylines through very smoothly. There was the women’s whodunit with the random attacks outside leading to Kay Lee Ray and Bayley showing up. We still didn’t find the culprit, but we did get a payoff wiht Kay Lee Ray now being on Team Baszler. The men’s stuff was forwarded very well to with NXT even pivoting Matt Riddle to fill in for the injured Johnny Gargano. I joked about John Hennigan being the last member on Team Ciampa, I don’t think that’s happening, but I’m curious as to what will be announced next week. Good hook. I hope it isn’t Trent Seven! Tyler Bate would be ok? Even Cameron Grimes, but I’d go for a bigger name. I’ll have more thoughts on the many events on this show in my member’s exclusive audio review tomorrow. Jason Powell will be by with a NXT Hit List once he sees the show…