By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV on USA Network
Aired live November 27, 2019 from Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
[Hour One] The cold open to this week’s NXT was a rapid fire highlight package of NXT Takeover War Games with the instrumental of NXT’s Slipknot theme in the background
Some random guy, I think it’s NXT producer Josiah Williams, was in the ring rallying the Full Sail Troops of NXT’s victory over Raw and Smackdown at Survivor Series. The guy started rapping as the entire NXT roster ran out to start a mosh pit type of party. Literally a big ass locker room walked out. Even most of the developmental prospects. Just as the party was poppin’ Adam Cole and Undisputed Era walked out. Cole talked down to the roster for thinking they did something this weekend.
Cole said the only reason NXT was successful this weekend, was because of Undisputed Era. Cole said everyone else did absolutely nothing and need to shut up. Cole talked about how everyone is partying and saying “we are NXT”. Cole said no one other than Undisputed Era is NXT. Adam Cole was drowned out by “you suck” chants. Cole talked about dominating in War Games and Survivor Series. Cole said UE is just getting started. Cole said UE are iron men. Cole said some people want a break, but Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish are putting in work by defending their championships.
Tommaso Ciampa said “wow” a few times and shut up Cole’s promo. Ciampa reminded Cole that he’s too confident for a group of boys who just got their asses kicked. Ciampa said Cole is delusional and what happened at War Games is the beginning of the end for UE. Ciampa said the collapse begins tonight when Dijakovic and Keith Lee take the tag titles. Lee got the “Keith Lee” chants. Ciampa said Strong’s day as champ are numbered soon too. Ciampa then drew his attention to his “Goldie” the NXT Championship. Ciampa said he told Goldie to wait due to war, but war was done and daddy won. Ciampa said Adam Cole is about to find out soon what he’s in store for. Ciampa said UE won’t stand in his way now and that’s undisputed, bay bay.
Finn Balor made his entrance with a mic to join the promo party. Balor said he’s standing in Ciampa’s way now. Ciampa noted Balor saying he doesn’t watch the business rather that the business watching Balor. Ciampa said he wants people to watch the Prince now, because the King (Ciampa) is in the ring. Yes chants ensued on a potential matchup between Balor and Ciampa. The crowd then showered the arena with “Ciampa’s gonna kill you” chants. Keith Lee talked about this being a good match for the future but now was time for the tag title match because now is basking season. The NXT theme started playing…
Beth Phoenix, Nigel McGuinness, and Tom Phillips checked in on commentary. Beth noted that Phillips was filling in for Mauro and Mauro should be back next week…
John’s Thoughts: I usually look forward to post-Takeover shows being a one week break on my reviews to turn my brain off. Those days are gone now with jam packed opening segments and Takeover worthy matches. I know it’s great! But sigh for my dead weeks being gone in terms of review. That aside, this was a fun opening segment that treated everything that happened this past weekend like a big deal. It set up upcoming feuds. The best part was the entire locker room clearing to give it an important feel.
1. “Undisputed Era” Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish vs. Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic for the NXT Tag Team Championships. The action ensued with UE dominating Lee and Dijak early on with swarming strikes. Lee then showed off his agility and tossed UE outside of the ring to head into the picture in picture commercial. This ended with Lee tossing Fish on O’Reilly.
After the break, Tom Phillips noted that Roderick Strong was filling in for Bobby Fish via the freebird title defense rule. Strong was wrestling in dress pants. They showed Lee tossing Fish early on before the break and getting injured. Lee overpowered both opponents when they double teamed him. Lee no sold Strong’s chops, but O’Reilly’s back punches manages to catch Lee off guard. Lee and Dijakovic then had a face off to show they still have a bit of bad blood. They then turned and teamed up to take down UE. Lee hit O’Reilly with his signature chest chop. Dijak body slammed O’Reilly on Strong.
Dijakovic then used Lee as a consenting weapon by tossing him with the Time To Fly on o both lying UE members. Dijak dominated UE for a bit before Strong hit Dijakovic with a chop block, leading to Strong having the advantage. Strong worked on the chop blocked leg with a squatting ankle twist. Dijakovic escaped and hit Strong with a superkick. Strong got back to work and went back to working on Dijakovic’s leg. [c]
John’s Thoughts: Hope Fish is okay. The guy has had it tough during his NXT run with several bigger injuries. As for Strong, this guy really is Paul Levesque’s “in case of emergency break glass” guy. The guy is wrestling in dress slacks this time, and doing well. He is so much in dress slacks, that his Calvin Klein red boxer briefs are now exposed.
Strong worked on Dijak’s leg to prevent the hot tag. Dijakovic used his height to reach Lee for the hot tag who took down O’Reilly and Strong with double lariats. Phillips noted that William Regal booked Finn Balor vs. Tommaso Ciampa for tonight. O’Reilly escaped a Spirit Bomb attempt. Lee ended up hitting both UE members with a one man single hip toss. UE retreated to ringside. This inspired Lee to go for a Tope. UE got out of the way. Strong gave Lee a chop block on the apron and worked on him at ringside.
Strong missed a splash in the ring. And O’Reilly hit a standing lee with a diving headbutt. A shambling Lee shambled to Dijakovic who punched around Strong. Dijakovic hit Strong with a facebreaker on the knee followed by a discus lariat. Strong kicked Dijakovic on the injured leg. O’Reilly tagged in. Dijakovic tried to power bomb O’Reilly but O’Reilly turned it into a triangle. Dijakovic managed to power up to a vertical base while also choking Strong. Dijakovic hit O’Reilly with a Power Bomb and Strong with a chokebomb all in one motion.
O’Reilly used a rollup to help Strong escape a Feast Your Eyes attempt. Lee gave Strong a lariat outside of the ring, but O’Reilly ducked it. Strong hit Lee with a chop block. Dijakovic hit UE with an impressive step up Moonsault to the outside. Dijakovic hit both UE members with a chokeslam. Adam Cole tried to interfere, but Keith Lee goes on and launches Adam Cole like 10 feet into the crowd with a Monty Brown Pounce (maybe hyperbolic statement, but it was close). That was a sick pounce. This pounce was so sick that it distracted Dijakovic, enough for Strong and O’Reilly to hit Dijakovic with Total Elimination for the victory.
Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong defeated Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic via pinfall in 16:32 of on-air TV time to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.
The commentators discussed events surrounding Dakota Kai’s heel turn at Takeover, including Mia Yim being taken out by a mystery person backstage…
John’s Thoughts: Again, hope Fish is ok, but Strong and O’Reilly managed to put together a good match in his stead. The end of the match was quirky, but I actually liked it. I froze a bit due to Keith Lee turning Adam Cole into a human volley ball so I don’t fault Dijakovic for being just as frozen. That was a damn sick Pounce.
They showed a Tegan Nox tweet talking about how hurt she was about her friend’s betrayal. They cut to Cathy Kelley who tried to interview Candice LeRae about Dakota Kai. Candice talked about how she sees Tegan Nox as a sister and she had to watch a sister get destroyed. LeRae said Kai was supposed to be a friend and she didn’t expect this. LeRae said Kai isn’t going against Tegan Nox’s friend tonight, she’s going against Tegan Nox’s angry sister… [c]
Tom Phillips recaped Lio Rush vs. Angel Garza for the NXT cruiserweight championship from two weeks ago which included Garza throwing his pants at Lio’s wife. They showed footage from last week where Lio Rush attacked Angel Garza at the Gorilla Position. Steve Corino and Terry Taylor separated Rush from Lee. They showed Rush and Akira Tozawa this week getting ready for a match later in this show…
Shane Thorne made his entrance. He now has a beard as thick as the fir on his vest. His opponent is one of his real life friends Mansoor (a.k.a. Manny Faberino). They showed clips of Mansoor’s successes in Saudi Arabia where he won a battle royal and beating Cesaro…
2. Shane Thorne vs. Mansoor. Mansoor turned a snapmare into a side headlock. Mansoor and Thorne traded chops. Mansoor got a two count after a victory roll followed by a standing moonsault. Mansoor went for a suicide dive but he was caught by Thorne into a Saito Suplex for a two count. Thorne gave Manny a PK to the back. Thorne hit Mansoor with another Saito Suplex for another two count. Mansoor caught Thorne with an enzuigiri and roundhouse. Mansoor hit Thorne with a suicide dive. In the ring, Mansoor hit Thorne with a slingshot neckbreaker for the victory.
Mansoor defeated Shane Thorne via pinfall in 3:01.
Beth Phoenix hyped up Candice LeRae vs. Dakota Kai after the break… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Always happy to see Bay Area Favorite Manny Faberino get TV Time on NXT. It’s odd to see him forcing the “hometown Saudi hero” thing since I’ve seen him a lot around here and he’s a bit more fun a quirky. He’s kinda reminding me of when Kofi Kingston acted Jamaican. Anyway, the guy has a great gig where he gets these huge pushes and presumed paydays when WWE goes to Saudi Arabia. As for Thorne. The guy’s really good. But unfortunately he’s the designated undercard enhancement heel. Hopefully he gets his day one day because the guy is good in the ring and he has a strong personality. I’m surprised that WWE continues to present developmental matches on their USA show, but I’m happy they aren’t hot shotting. That’s a good thing.
Southern California Fan Favorite Candice LeRae made her entrance (despite living in NorCal now, I will always be a So Cal kid. For life!). Her opponent was Dakota Kai who now has a rock based heel theme. It actually was a bit badass. She came out with her black gear and hair that makes her look like she’s from the 80s (I watched Impact’s 80s show last night so that’s on the mind). She carried Tegan Nox’s ripped off knee brace to the ring while also acting a bit stoic.
3. Candice LeRae vs. Dakota Kai. LeRae dominated early on with a dropkick and ground and pound. Kai retreated to ringside for a moment of respite. LeRae dodged a kick and gave Kai a baseball slide. LeRae (barely) hit Kai with a suicide dive (thank God Kai caught her properly). KeRae hit Kai with a senton for a two count. Kai regained control and tripped up LeRae. Kai then spun LeRae into the ringpost. Kai trapped LeRae in crucifix position on the bottom rope facing out. Kai hit LeRae with a big boot to the face to a trapped LeRae. Kai trapped LeRae back in the bottom rope crucifix for another big boot. [c]
[Hour Two] Kai went for a Helluva Kick but missed and LeRae made a comeback. Kai countered back with a power bomb and got a two count. LeRae hit Kai with a vicious Belly to Back Suplex on the apron. LeRae hit her rapid fire chops and slaps on Kai in the ring, her signature ones. LeRae hit Kai with a top rope Tornado DDT for a two count. Kai caught a running LeRae with a headbutt followed by an Helluva Kick in the corner. LeRae blocked a second kick with a step up roundhouse. Kai and LeRae brawled to the top rope.
Kai blocked a Sunset Bomb attempt. Kai found the knee brace on the top of the buckle. Kai lost the brace and LeRae hit Kai with a power bomb for a two count. LeRae missed a Lionsault. Kai hit her old finisher on LeRae, the Code Red Lungblower. LeRae kicked out at two. Kai hit her flutter kicks on LeRae. LeRae rolled up Kai for a two count. LeRae hit La Mistica into the GargaNo Escape on Kai. After a bit of dragging around, Kai escaped to ringside. LeRae went for a suicide dive, but Kai got the brace and smacked LeRae during the dive attempt, prompting the DQ.
Candice LeRae defeated Dakota Kai via DQ in 8:52 of on-air TV Time.
Kai tossed around LeRae against the steel steps. Kai then shoved an innocent NXT crew member to take his chair (This caused Alicia Taylor to laugh). Rhea Ripley ran out for the save and booted Kai’s chair.
Cathy Kelley interviewed Tommaso Cimapa on his upcoming match against Finn Balor. Ciampa said Balor can call himself a Prince or Demon, but he knows Balor as the longest reigning NXT Champion. Ciampa said that Ciampa is the person that put NXT on the map and the person that made Goldie. Ciampa hyped up his match with Balor…[c]
John’s Thoughts: I’m really digging heel Kai from what I see so far. The Bayley comparisons will continue to keep coming, but I see Kai having higher upside as a heel than Bayley did. I really liked her aggressive style here. The DQ finish was fine. It keeps LeRae from taking a loss and it boosts Kai as a heel. The added sympathy from using Nox’s knee brace adds to the story. It keeps it in the minds of viewers, Nox’s two career-threatening injures and attaches Kai to that as an antagonist. I still can’t get the image of Kai’s rapid fire door closure shots out of my head.
A cinematic Cameron Grimes documentary-like vignette aired (It looked like it may have been a Jeremy Borash production given how Borash produces his videos on WWE PC’s YouTube page). Grimes talked about how it was his lifelong dream to be in and be the best in WWE. Grimes talked about setting out on his journey to become an NXT Star the moment he got out of high school. Grimes said he scratched and clawed his way here. Grimes said he even said a few things he shouldn’t have said. Grimes then went back on that statement and said he wouldn’t mind saying a few more of those things. Grimes said that even though he isn’t a bay bay or a bro, he’s 220 pounds, six foot, 26 years old, and been doing this business his whole entire life “man!”. Grimes ended the promo by saying he was born to cave in the competition in NXT.
John’s Thoughts: Hot damn! I’ve been missing these Jeremy Borash productions and this one was a welcome return to those (I’m just guessing that it’s a Borash production given how many years I have covered his work in reviewing Impact). That was a good one and Cameron Grimes came off well there. His promo was strong. A part of me smiles on the inside after seeing this guy trapped in TNA comedy jobber hell for the past four years only to finally get a chance to show that he has Daniel Bryan like main event potential (They seriously made him a stupid Southern stereotype for about three of those years). Is it too early to predict Grimes as a future NXT world champion? I see that upside. Seriously, I’m really happy for Trevor Lee and super stoked that WWE is confident in giving him a big push out the gate.
A Rhea Ripley hype package aired. Beth said a star was born this past weekend…
Alicia Taylor handled the formal ring introductions for the Cruiserweight Championship. In an interesting moment, the crowd booed Tozawa during the introductions while giving Rush a lot of cheers. That’s so odd to see given their 205 Live runs…
4. Lio Rush vs. Akira Tozawa for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Lio and Akira started the match off in a stalemate. Tozawa landed a shoulder block on Rush. Rush no sold with a kip up. Philips said we’re seeing a bit of the old cocky Lio. Rush did his signature stopping on a dime running around Tozawa. Rush missed a standing Final Hour to lead to another stalemate. Rush and Akira teased handshakes but both tried to kick each other at the same time to no success. Rush and Tozawa brawled to the corner.
Tozawa surprised Rush with his signature fakeout punch. Rush and Tozawa brawled to the apron. Tozawa blocked being Suplexed to the ringside. He also blocked a bomb. Tozawa escaped and hit Rush with a standing Senton, sending Rush’s back into the apron joint. [c]
Rush had Tozawa trapped in a ground submission. Tozawa got to his feet and put Rush in fireman carry. Tozawa hit Rush with a Front Suplex. Rush then teased one of his sick suicide dives but Rush moved aside. Tozawa adjusted and hit Rush with a running cannonball from the apron. Tozawa hit Rush with a missile dropkick for a two count. Rush hit Tozawa with his signature CQC combo. Both men kept running under each other’s legs. Then they took each other out with stereo big boots.
Rush and Tozawa made their way to the apron. Tozawa hit Rush with a pump kick and gamengiri. Tozawa then turned Rush inside out and ten feet away with a release German Suplex from the apron to the ramp. This sparked a Holy Shit chant. Both men beat the ten count. Rush blocked a power bomb with a victory rollup. Rush kicked the mouthguard out of Tozawa’s mouth. Rush went for his springboard stunner but Tozawa fell on the ground to prevent the move.
Tozawa escaped Rush’s twisting Unprettier attempt and hit hi with another Suplex. Tozawa hit Rush with a bridged German Suplex for a two count. Rush went for his top rope senton finisher but he landed on Rush’s knees. Rush hit Tozawa in the back with the Final Hour. Rush then hit Tozawa in the front with the Final Hour. Rush picked up the win.
Lio Rush defeated Akira Tozawa via pinfall in 9:36 of on-air TV Time to retain the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.
Rush stood tall with his purple title after the match. Highlights aired…
Cathy Kelley interviewed Finn Balor about his match against Ciampa. Balor said Ciampa thinks he’s the baddest man in the world, but now he’s living in Balor’s world. Balor talked about putting Gargano and Riddle in the hospital once. Balor said it was now time for Ciampa to meet the prince…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A good TV match that got really good in the end. This was your Lucha Libre-athletic style with a bit of Japanese striking sprinkled in. That German from the apron to the ramp was sick. Another good touch was Rush hitting Tozawa in the front and the back. Good stuff. The only negative I see is it was hard to take Tozawa as a serious contender because everyone else is looking past him and onto Angel Garza given all the video packages and commentary focused on Rush’s feud with Garza.
They showed a tweet from Shawn Michaels congratulating Adam Cole and Pete Dunne for a great match at Survivor Series..
Xia Li made her entrance next…
5. Xia Li vs. Vanessa Borne. No Aliyah this time, who had her nose busted by Li’s kick last time. They showed a picture of how Aliyah’s face got messed up after the match and said that Aliyah is out indefinitely. Beth said she relates because she had a nose injury too. Borne then pummeled Li in the corner with clubbing blows. Nigel kept hating on Li. Beth called Nigel Biased. Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke walked out. Li gave Borne a kick and pinned her for the win. All while keeping focused on Baszler and crew.
Xia Li defeated Vanessa Borne in 1:09.
The horsewomen ran to the ring and the numbers game took advantage of Li. Li managed to actually fight off all three at a point. Duke and Shafir held Li on her knees. Baszler kicked Li with a punt to her throat. Baszler then took the mic and talked about how no one had a bigger woman than Baszler. The bragged about beating Becky and Bayley at Survivor Series at the same time. Rhea Ripley chants drowned out Baszler’s promo. Baszler bragged about having the title for over a year in her second reign. Rhea Ripley then made her entrance.
Ripley slowly paced to the ring while her music played. Baszler and the Horsewomen teased a confrontation, but Baszler and the Horsewomen retreated to the ramp when Ripley entered the ring. Ripley said she came out here to tell Baszler something face-to-face. After that statement, Baszler got up to the apron to confront Rhea. Ripley said she’s congratulating Baszler for beating Becky and Bayley. Rhea said, “but when you went face to face with me, I beat you”. Rhea said she’ll do it again, but this time for the NXT Women’s Championship.
Ripley and Baszler faced off in the ring. Baszler said she heard this song and dance before. Baszler said while Rhea is the nightmare, Baszler is the reality. Baszler said Ripley will be tapping out like the rest of them. Ripley said “how about now?”. Baszler backtracked up the ramp. Ripley said when Baszler steps in the ring next, she’ll drop her…
Tom Phillips hyped up Ciampa vs. Balor next…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Rhea Ripley continues to shine no matter what spot they put her in. This was a good promo exchange. I like her bringing up actual logic to counter Baszler’s bragging heel logic. This is building up to a good match down the road, and it looks like Rhea might be the heir apparent. The fact that we’ve all pegged a ton of other people as Baszler’s heir apparent does a good job casting doubt with Baszler’s “song and dance” line. This time it seems like WWE is strapping a rocket to Rhea’s back though, but she’s not letting WWE down there. This is how you do a Roman Reigns push properly, and they even used a badass heel run to get Rhea there!
Highlights and stills from Dain vs. Dunne vs. Priest were shown. They showed a doctor informing Priest that he may have cracked ribs. The commentators hyped Killian Dain vs. Damien Priest for next week…
6. Finn Balor vs. Tommaso Ciampa. Philips noted that this was Finn Balor’s first match on NXT TV in four years. Balor and Ciampa traded position in the corner. Jessika Carr was the referee for the match. Balor took down Ciampa with a side headlock. Balor kept Ciampa under control with headlocks. Ciampa escaped and took down Balor with a back elbow. Balor went for a sunset flip but Balor countered with a front dropkick. Balor went back to the side headlocks. Balor sent Ciampa outside and hit him with a wrecking ball kick. Ciampa blocked Balor’s PK attempt. Balor blocked an Air Raid Crash attempt. Ciampa catapulted Balor into the ringpost and did his signature shoulder pat himself on the back heading into the picture in picture break at the top of the hour. [c]
[Overrun] Balor had Ciampa under control with a headlock. Ciampa got to his feet and rallied against Balor. Ciampa hit Balor with a lariat on the apron. Ciampa hit Balor with a knee to send Balor to ringside. Ciampa hit Balor with his signature DIY knee for a two count. Ciampa beat down Balor with precision strikes. Ciampa took down the knee pad. Balor dodged the strike and hit Ciampa with Sling Blade. Balor dropkicked Ciampa into the ringside barricade, just like he did to Gargano. Balor then teased Bloody Sunday on the ramp, but Ciampa escaped and hit Balor with an Air Raid Crash on the ramp.
Finn Balor beat the ten count at nine but ran right into a font kick from Ciampa. Tommaso Ciampa hit Finn Balro with a Project Ciampa for a two count. Balor used a double leg takedown to escape the Fairytale Ending. Balor hit Ciampa with a double stomp and Shotgun Dropkick. Both men brawled to the top rope. Ciampa hit Balor with a Super Air Raid Crash for a two count. Ciampa let out a war cry and said “This is for Johnny Boy!!!”. Ciampa went for Fairytale Ending. Adam Cole ran to the apron but was knocked off.
Balor tried to get a belt shot in, but the referee took the NXT Championship away from balor. The belt was on the ground. Balor hit Ciampa with a shortarm elbow drop to drop him into the title for a good nearfall. The referee was distracted, which allowed Cole to superkick Ciampa from ringside. This allowed Balor to hit Ciampa with Bloody Sunday for the victory.
Finn Balor defeated Tommaso Ciampa via pinfall in 11:33.
Afterwards, Balor and Cole stood side by side over the fallen Ciampa. Cole struck his UE hand sign. Balor stepped in front of Cole over Ciampa and did his double shooter finger guns. The reason Balor stepped further was so he could nail Adam Cole with a Pele Kick. The show closed with the crowd chanting for “Finn”…
John’s Thoughts: A good television main event, and I liked this match for than the Finn Balor vs. Matt Riddle match from Takeover. I actually like Balor going for so many headlocks because he shouldn’t be trying to awe the crowd. Good work there. Ciampa is usually really good in the ring. The false finishes made sense here. Ciampa is a main eventer and Balor is a former world champion for both NXT and the main roster. Nice touch in the end with the Adam Cole stuff. Finn Balor may have the best surprise Pele Kick in the business (though this one was more expected).
Ugh. This was a great show, but there is a part of me that misses the comedown clip show weeks that NXT used to do before they got in a ratings war. But I get it, ratings war. No breaks. Again, this is only a complaint that someone like me that reviews shows would have. Anyway, yeah, jam packed and very efficient. The MOs of NXT. It’s good that everything is back to reality with Survivor Series and the weird brand supremacy stuff out of the way. Hopefully now NXT doesn’t ever have to book to two PPVs on the same weekend ever again (But NXT did a damn good job making the best of the situation). By the way, I will have an audio review out for you guys tomorrow. Jason Powell will also be by with a hit list when he watches the show. Have a nice week, and Happy Thanksgiving dot net readers!
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ProWrestling.net staffer John Moore returning for an in-depth discussion on NXT, AEW, Impact Wrestling, MLW, and the NWA, and more...