By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV on USA Network
Aired live February 5, 2020 from Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
[Hour One] Highlights from last week’s NXT aired with the NXT Slipknot theme playing in the background. I noticed that the cryptic circles and numbers from last week’s teaser vignette flashed for a frame during the Balor vs. Seven recap (still hoping my Balor-Kross pairing comes to fruition). They also aired highlights from Rhea Ripley appearing on Raw…
Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary. Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne made their entrance in a golf cart, carrying their Dusty Rhodes Cup. Riddle was happy while Dunne was stonefaced as usual. This was a reference to a promo last week on YouTube where Riddle said they were going to take the cup to Portland, Dunne explaining how big the trophy is, and Riddle going “if there’s a will, there’s a way”.
Riddle cut a promo and pointed out that the Broserweights are the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic winners. Riddle dubbed the golf cart, The Broserweight Mobile. Dunne said the last thing he would ever want to do is be in a tag team with Riddle. Riddle said it was meant to be, bro. Dunne said despite that, they won the trophy and will become the new tag champions at Portland. Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish interrupted Riddle and Dunne’s promo. O’Reilly talked about how he sees the two men in the ring as Matt “Ridell” and Peter “Dune”. O’Reilly and Fish ranted a bit about storming the ring.
Roderick Strong ran out to pull O’Reilly and Fish back. Fish said he’s not storming the ring because the golf cart is in the ring. Fish said there are also bigger fish to fry. Riddle joked about Fish saying the word “fish”. Riddle asked “how many fish can a Bobby Fish fry if a Bobby Fish could fry fish”. Dunne didn’t care about how many fish Fish can fry. Riddle sang his riddle as a song (see I can joke too). Dunne said the Broserweights will smoke Undisputed Era…
Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Beth Phoenix checked in on commentary. Nigel advertised a Finn Balor and Johnny Gargano exclusive interview….
John’s Thoughts: Solid open. A bit too many jokes, but that’s what you should expect from stoner Riddle. Riddle makes it work and his stoner comedy tends to click. I just hope they don’t make it his gimmick. Hopefully we hear more from O’Reilly because that guy’s a good talker as well.
Angel Garza made his entrance as Nigel ran through a recap of Garza making his Raw debut with Zelina Vega. No Zelina Vega tonight on NXT…
1. Angel Garza vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott. Garza and Scott traded counters early on, ending in a stalemate. Garza slapped Scott’s kick out of the air to gain the early advantage. Garza blocked Scott from hitting a tope. Scott came back with a kick. Scott did an ugly flip over the top rope to eat a kick from Garza (the ugliness made it look more dangerous, maybe in a good way?). The show cut to picture in picture commercial.[c]
Mauro noted that Garza destoryed Rey Mysterio on Monday. Garza hit Scott with a wheelbarrow slam. Garza ripped off his tearaway pants and threw it at Scott. Suddenly, the three cryptic circles flashed at the bottom left corner of the screen. Scott hit Garza with a reverse suplex for a moment of respite. Scott caught Garza with a gamengiri. Garza came right back with a jump kick to knock down a flying Scott. Garza was bleeding from the head at this point.
Garza and Scott traded chops from the kneeling position (which was a spot they were doing during the commercial break). Garza hit Scott with a few headbutts. Scott countered a headscissors into an innovative Popup Michinoku Driver looking move. A graphic aired advertising Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, and Rhea Ripley appearing to face off later in the show. Garza threw his pants at Scott again and pled for mercy. Isaiah no sold the pants and hit Garza with the House Call Kick for a nearfall.
Garza blocked a Half Nelson Suplex from Scott. Garza tripped Scott from the top rope. Garza hit Scott with the Wing Clipper for the victory.
Angel Garza defeated Isaiah Scott via pinfall in 10:37.
Garza grabbed a mic after the match. He brought up how he beat Swerve, took out his cousin, and took out Rey Mysterio this week. Garza noted that he didn’t lose his title at Worlds Collide (due to not being pinned). Garza called out Jordan Devlin…
John’s Thoughts: Good opening match cruiserweight action from two of WWE’s more hybrid cruiserweights. That said, we may have saw the latest Angel Garza face turn, which he tends to do on a weekly basis. I’m reaching a bit, but he was clearly acting heelish on Raw, but here he was pretty must honorable, and his promo after the match was intesnse, drawing cheers. At least he didn’t get engaged or talk about how much he loves his family this time. That said, It would help if they do make his character alignment a bit clear because it would help viewers invest in him one way or another as opposed to losing interest.
They cut a camera to the Undisputed Era backstage. Cole and crew were throwing around backstage workers, looking for Ciampa. Strong saw one wrestler getting a haircut. Roderick took the clippers and messed up the guy’s haircut. UE continued to the parking lot to search for Ciampa…[c]
A quick Mercedes Martinez introductory vignette aired…
The camera cut to Sgt. Slaughter sitting in the front row of Full Sail attending the NXT show…
They aired a video of Killian Dain confronting Dominik Dijakovic at the performance center “earlier today”. They talked about being in each other’s way…
2. Dominik Dijakovic vs. Killian Dain. Dain had the early power advantage with a shoulder tackle to the corner. Dain quickly turned the tables and had a even brawl with Dain. Dain gave Dijakovic a lariat over the top rope. The crowd chanted “Shave Your Back” to Dain. Dijak got on the apron and gave Dain a cannonball from the apron. In the ring, Dain gave Dijakovic a running crossbody heading into regular commercial. [c]
Mauro plugged Miz and Mrs. Back to the action, Dijakovic hit the large Dain with the Time to Fly. Dain punched Dijakovic on the top rope. Dain hit Dijakovic with a Super Kinniku Buster. Dijakovic and Dain quickly got to their feet and traded big boots. Dijak got the upper hand and a two count. Dijakovic crash and burned on a moonsault attempt. Dain hit Dijakovic with a Shotgun Dropkick. Dijakovic held on Dain’s leg to prevent the Vader Bomb. Dijakovic put Dain in the Torture Rack and hit him with Feast Your Eyes (Burning Hammer GTS) for the win.
Dominik Dijakovic defeated Killian Dain via pinfall in 4:43.
Mauro asked, what more does Dijakovic have to do to earn a match against his rival Keith Lee? Mauro then announced that William Regal has just announced Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic for the North American Championship next Sunday at Takeover. Keith Lee confronted Dijak at the top of the ramp for a respectful staredown with his Takeover opponent. Dijakovic and Lee shook hands out of respect and friendship…
Mauro advertised a Balor and Gargano sitdown interview after the break…
Nigel cut to the Undisputed Era continuing to look for Ciampa. The UE beat up Kushida. Adam Cole gave Kushida a Death Valley Driver into a laundry basket. Bronson Reed confronted UE. The UE cowered a bit at Reed but one of them blindsided Reed with a kick and they left him lying as they continued to march around backstage looking for Ciampa…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Somewhere in the back, Matt Bloom is sheding a tear at the Full Sail Crowd chanting “Shave Your Back”. Moving along, Another good fast-paced big man match as we’ve grown to expect from the big men in NXT who also have the ability to Lucha Libre and whatnot. Something is standing out a bit with Dijakovic and it’s his no-selling of Super high impact spots. Last week it was the Super Poison Rana and this week he no-sold a Super Kinniku Buster. Small nitpick, but I hope someone backstage is coaching him on how to make that move mean more with some sort of sell (not just as a transition). That said, Lee vs. Dijak is going to be great. We’ve seen it so many times and we know that these two relish in making their various encounters unique and fun.
Johnny Gargano and Finn Balor were interviewed via split screen. Balor pointed out that this upcoming match was supposed to happen at War Games, but Gargano wasn’t cleared. Gargano said he’s been counting since three months for this match. Balor said he’s been counting for years to prove that Gargano is not the next Finn Balor. Gargano talked about how he’s trying to prove he’s the face of the brand. Balor joked about Gargano looking for a match of the year. Balor said that he doesn’t work by the hour and doesn’t care if the match last 20 minutes or 20 seconds. Gargano joked about how “Raw” Balor lost like 17 weeks in a row to Bobby Lashley. Balor said Gargano wishes he were facing that Raw Balor. Gargano talked about having heart. Balor said Balor has no heart…
John’s Thoughts: A mile a minute in terms of recapping, but it made it seem a bit more organic. The best parts are Gargano jabbing at Finn Balor’s disappointing main roster run, with his bad booking.
A quick vignette aired to advertise what Kacy Catanzaro is all about…
3. Mercedes Martinez vs. Kacy Catanzaro. Martinez hit Catanzaro early on with a power bomb for a two count. Nigel noted that there might be resentment here because it took Martinez many decades to get to WWE while Kacy took only only took a few months. Martinez hit Kacy with a delayed vertical Suplex. Kacy hit Mercedes with a huracanrana into a pin attempt. Martinez knocked Catanzaro off the apron. Martinez tossed Catanzaro into the ringpost at ringside. Mercedes hit Catanzaro with her finisher for the victory in the ring.
Mercedes Martinez defeated Kacy Catanzaro via pinfall in 3:08.
Cathy Kelley interviewed Rhea Ripley about Charlotte Flair appearing on NXT later on. Rhea said right now she’s more focused on Bianca Belair, but it’s nice that Charlotte wants to show up…[c]
[Hour Two] Beth Phoenix advertised Tegan Nox vs. Dakota Kai in a Street Fight for Takeover. They cut back to the Undisputed Era continuing to march around backstage looking for Ciampa. Ciampa blindsided them and knocked out Strong, O’Reilly, and Fish by tossing them into the semi truck. Cole and Ciampa then brawled inside of Full Sail to the commentary booth. Ciampa slammed Cole’s head several times into the announce table.
Ciampa did his signature pat on his own back. UE recovered as all four men swarmed Ciampa in the ring. Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne ran out to even up the odds a bit. Referees and Security ran out to break up the brawl. William Regal walked out and booked a “fight” between both teams which tells me there is some sort of tag team match that’s going to happen. After Regal went to the back, the brawl continued. Eventually, Drake Younger and crew got everyone to the back calmly…
Teddy Long’s Thoughts: You know it’s the Mac-Millitant! Ready to get it on! Uh Uh Uh!
NXT Cruiserweight Champion Jordan Devlin made his entrance for an upcoming match. Devlin attacked Tyler Breeze during Breeze’s entrance into the ring…[c]
4. NXT Cruiserweight Champion Jordan Devlin vs. Tyler Breeze in a non-title match. They cut to the match in-progress. Breeze ended Devlin’s momentum with two thrust kicks to the head of Devlin. Devlin turned the tables back around with a few strikes. The 5, 2, 20 in circles flashed at the bottom right of the screen again.
Devlin turned the tide again and slammed Devlin’s left leg into the ringpost twice. Mauro Ranallo advertised Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Pete Dunne, and Matt Riddle for later in the show. Devlin hit Breeze with an elevated Backbreaker for a two count. Breeze came back at Devlin with strong style chops. Breeze followed up with a leg drop. Breeze locked Devlin in a chin lock. Nigel noted that Breeze has been racking up wins on 205 Live and just lost recently to Angel Garza.
Breeze managed to back drop Devlin to the outside. Devlin caught Breeze outside with a PK. Devlin then hit Breeze with a Triangle Moonsault. Breeze and Devlin both beat the ten count at nine. Mauro noted that Tyler Breeze was trained by Lance Storm (isn’t everyone? I joke). Breeze unloaded on Devlin with gut punches. Devlin came back with a Uranage and moonsault. The show cut to regular commercial. [c]
Devlin hyperextended the arm of Breeze. Breeze blocked a Devl-Inside attempt from Devlin. Breeze hit a few punches and kicks on Devlin. Breeze got a two count after a lariat. Mauro noted that Breeze had been in WWE for over a decade. Devlin hit Breeze in the gut. Breeze reversed a crossbody into a nearfall. Breeze blocked a Devlin moonsault with double boots. Breeze then locked Devlin in a Lance Storm single crab. Devlin escaped with a small package.
Breeze hit Devlin with a super kick for a nearfall. Breeze caught Devlin with a knee. Devlin hit Breeze with a slingshot cutter. Devlin and Breeze traded strong stule punches and headbutts in the center of the ring. Devlin caught Breeze with the Devl-Inside for the victory.
Jordan Devlin defeated Tyler Breeze via pinfall in 12:12 of on-air TV Time.
Nigel advertised Bianca Belair and Rhea Ripley facing off after the break. The camera cut to the parking lot where Charlotte Flair emerged from a SUV (not even the daughter of Ric Flair can get a limo in WWE)…[c]
John’s Thoughts: While this was an amazing match with main event level workrate, I didn’t think it was the right approach to take with Devlin’s NXT US debut as champion. They could have probably got more out of Devlin’s really fun Powerpoint slideshow promos (not to be confused with Drew Gulak’s cheesy powerpoints) in about 3 minutes as opposed to this long match. I would have been more fine with this match, but it would have made more sense with a set up angle and maybe three weeks from now. That said, I liked the match in terms of content and I liked that it was more grounded than your usual Light Heavyweight match. I just felt that a match that took up about 20 minutes of TV time when you include commercials made this portion of NXT a bit missable.
Bianca Belair made her entrance as Mauro recapped her strong Royal Rumble run. Belair said she’s heading to Takeover Portland in a week to become the next NXT Women’s Champion. Belair called out Rhea for going to Raw and getting all up in Charlotte’s business. Belair said she doesn’t care bout no queen. Belair’s promo was cut off by Charlotte Flair’s entrance. Charlotte came out wearing casual clothes, looking like she was wearing clothes she would wear at home (a contrast to what she wears on Raw, with the robes and whatnot).
Flair soaked in the cheers and woos. A “welcome home” chant ensued for Flair. Flair said she likes NXT woos. She did one of her eh woos. Flair said she has respect for Belair and thinks Belair is an amazing athlete. Flair said Belair is not Flair. Flair talked about everyone being fired up to face the queen. Belair pointed out that Rhea is looking past Belair. Rhea Ripley’s entrance cut off Flair’s promo. Belair got in between Ripley and Flair before they could speak. Flair stuck her palm out and shoved Belair out of the way, causing Belair to make fun sarcastic mannerisms.
Belair got in between the faceoff and pointed out that Charlotte doesn’t even go here (a line she said to Toni Storm a few weeks ago). Belair said that Charlotte is going to face Bianca at Mania and Flair can’t whoop Belair. Flair told Belair to step aside and fix her braid while the champions talk. Ripley called out Flair for disrespecting NXT wrestlers. Ripley said she and Belair will tear each other up at Takeover, but there’s a saying in NXT “We Are NXT”. Belair blindsided Flair with a punch. Belair and Ripley teamed up and gave Flair a double team electric chair slam to leave her lying. Ripley stood tall in the ring with her title belt held high as her theme played. Flair and Belair went to the back…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Not the most perfect of promo segments. Flair and Ripley still have their moments of awkwardness on the mic. I think the overall spectacle overcame the awkward moments and I thought that Bianca Belair really stood out in a good way with her mannerisms. I could do without the scripted “you don’t even go here” catchphrase line, but everything else from Belair was solid. A strong main event women’s title picture in NXT now. I don’t think they put Belair over, given the main roster TV time invested in Belair, but they did make things interesting here leading up to Takeover and Mania.
Mauro Ranallo thanked Poppy for providing the song “Anything Like Me” for NXT Takeover Portland…
Undisputed Era made their entrance with about 13 minutes left at the top of the hour. Riddle, Dunne, and Ciampa stormed the stage to start a brawl before the match. The Babyfaces hit their signature moves on Fish, O’Reilly, and Cole. The face team triple teamed Roderick Strong and tossed him to the side of the ramp.
5. “Undisputed Era” Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly (w/Roderick Strong) vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Pete Dunne, and Matt Riddle. The match started off when O’Reilly recovered, blindsided Ciampa, and agreed for the bell to ring. Ciampa regained control and tossed O’Reilly around the ring. O’Reilly caught a Riddle roundhouse to allow himself to tag in Fish. Fish hit a few Muay Thai knees on Riddle. Riddle rolled up Fish for a two count. Cole and Dunne tagged in. Dunne flipped Riddle on Cole, who was kicked to the ground. Cole escaped Dunne’s Bitter End attempt.
Fish tried to distract Dunne but Dunne hit Fish with a moonsault. Strong came out of nowhere and gave Dunne a backbreaker on the apron while the referee was distracted. Mauro noted that Strong betrayed Dunne before during the Dusty Rhodes classic, meaning the two have history. UE then slowed down the action and cut the ring in half on Dunne. Dunne got a window of opportunity after hitting O’Reilly in the knee with a dropkick. Riddle got the hot tag. He hit O’Reilly with a Pele Kick and hit Fish with an Exploder.
Riddle hit O’Reilly and Fish with running sentons. He hit Fish with a German bridge for a two count. The show then “rolls on” right into the picture-in-picture commercial.[c]
Fish had Riddle in a Muay Thai clinch back from the break. Cole tagged in and Mauro noted that Cole is a huge video gamer (dude beat all three Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro!). The heels traded quick tags and worked on the legs of Riddle. Riddle and O’Reilly had a chop and slap battle. O’Reilly locked Riddle in a Guillotine Choke. O’Reilly and Riddle no sold each other’s German Suplexes. O’Reilly gave Riddle a forearm and Riddle gave O’Reilly a Pele. Riddle and O’Reilly hit each other with roundhouses. Dunne and Cole tagged in.
[Overrun] Dunne hit Cole with a roundhouse. He X Plexed O’Reilly on Cole’s prone body to get a two count on Cole. Cole hit Dunne with a Shining Wizard. Dunne used a right hand to block a Canadian Destroyer attempt. Cole hit Dunne with an Ushigoroshi for a two count. Ciampa tagged in and hit Redragon with lariats. Ciampa hit KO with a Belly to Belly. Ciampa saw Strong on the apron and gave him a draping DDT. Ciampa hit O’Reilly with Project Ciampa. Fish broke up the following pin.
Riddle hit Fish with a Goldberg Spear. Ciampa raised his hands and asked for Cole to tag in. Cole and Ciampa brawled with punches. Cole caught Ciampa with an enzuigiri. Cole took out the Broserweights with superkicks. Ciampa hit Cole with a lariat. Strong ran in and punched Ciampa for the DQ when Ciampa went for a Fairy Tale Ending.
Tommaso Ciampa, Matt Riddle, and Pete Dunne defeated Undisputed Era via apparent DQ in 13:40.
O’Reilly and Fish hit Dunne at ringside with Chasing the Dragon. They followed up by hitting Riddle with Total Elimination. Strong hit Ciampa in the ring with End of Heartache. The UE posed over Ciampa for a bit. Fish brought a yellow spray paint can to the ring. O’Reilly, Strong, and Fish held Ciampa in place. Cole drew a yellow X on the back of Ciampa. Cole told Ciampa that Ciampa is a joke, a nobody, and his story with the championship will be over. Cole was about to go for the Last Shot.
The three flaming circles then appeared on the titantron with the lights going off. The three circles moved to form the Prince Third Eye glasses. Velveteen Dream made his return as he dove at UE from the top rope. Dream cleaned house. He hit Strong with a Dream Valley Driver. Dream cleared Strong from the ring. I couldn’t catch what he had written on his spray painted tights. Dream posed to close the show.
John’s Thoughts: As much as most people have grown numb to the main roster’s booking of “Teddy Long classic” tag team matches on Raw and Smackdown, NXT spreads them out well enough to not make them weekly and a victim of diminishing returns. I thought this was a fun preview type of match. I liked the after-match stuff with UE all hitting their finishers and standing tall. A bigger fun surprise appeared in the form of Velveteen Dream (I joked/wished it was Kross, but Dream made more sense given the symbology of the Prince Third Eye glasses). It’ll be interesting to see where Dream fits into NXT. I expect him to slide into the main event scene, but he can also enter the North American land of agile giants. Lots of good possibilities.
A strong episode of NXT as usual. The only missable part of the show I thought was the Jordan Devlin vs. Tyler Breeze match. The match was good, but I felt like it was random, missable, and a bit too long given the nature of debuting Devlin to the NXT audience. Aside from that, everything else was noteworthy. NXT also did a solid job advertising upcoming matches during the show as teasers. Jason Powell should be by tomorrow with his NXT Hit List. I’ll be by for the member with my NXT Audio Review tomorrow morning.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...