By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV on USA Network
Aired live February 26, 2020 from Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
The show started off as usual with the highlights from the prior week’s show with the Slipknot theme in the background…
Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary. The camera cut to outside where Charlotte Flair was arriving to Full Sail and meeting William Regal outside of Full Sail. The commentary team hyped up Charlotte’s return to the Full Sail ring for a wrestling match…
1. Dominik Dijakovic vs. Cameron Grimes. A dueling “let’s get grimey” and “Feast Your Eyes” chant started off the match. Dijak dominated the early chain wrestling with a side headlock. Mauro noted that Grimes would like to “delete” Dijakovic’s championship aspirations (is that an OMEGA reference?). Grimes escaped a wheelbarrow hold and then got Dijakovic to the mat with a dropkick. Grimes focused his attack on keeping Dijakovic off his feet like he was chopping a tree. Dijakovic got a comeback nearfall after nailing Grimes with a Cyclone Kick. Dijakovic worked on Grimes with precision moves. Dijak then hit Grimes with a springboard twisting fall for the two count.
Nigel noted that Dijakovic is a first generation American with immigrant parents. Grimes hit Dijakovic with a Frankendriver. Dijak caught a flying Grimes. Dijakovic gave Grimes a knee and then a swinging strongman toss to the outside. Grimes recovered and tripped Dijak off the apron with a baseball slide. Grimes then hit Dijakovic with a PK from the ring apron.[c]
The show came back with Grimes holding Dijakovic in a resthold. Both men got to a vertical base and traded blows. Dijak landed a flurry of forearms. He then hit Grimes with a shortarm combination. Dijakovic hit Grimes with the Time To Fly (Release Suplex). Dijak hit Grimes with a superkick and Grimes rebounded into a Dijak lariat. Grimes kicked out at two. Grimes escaped a chokeslam. Lee hit Dijak with a superman forearm, superkick, and deadlift German Suplex with a bridge for a two count. Mauro noted that Grimes even took Johnny Gargano to the limit.
Dijakovic showed off his great agility with a sweet Triangle Moonsault to Grimes on the outside. Suddenly, while Grimes was distracted, Damien Priest did a hit and run attack on the calf of Dijakovic with a tonfa to the calf. Priest quickly ran to hide in the crowd. Dijakovic teased being counted out, but he beat the ten count. Grimes quickly nailed Dijakovic upon ring-entry with the Cave In for the victory.
Cameron Grimes defeated Dominik Dijakovic via pinfall in 12:38.
Trainers and referees checked up on Dijakovic’s calf after the match…
William Regal was interviewed by the new NXT interviewer Jon Quasto. William Regal announced that in the following weeks they’ll be qualifying matches for a Women’s Championship Ladder match at the next takeover show…
Nigel hyped Finn Balor appearing after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A really good match with a really clever cheap finish. I liked this cheap finish because it was different and not the formula interruption you usually see on the regular. Everyone was protected. Dijakovic ate the interference. It develops into a feud with Priest for Dijak. NXT has also done a stellar job at building up Cameron Grimes’s finisher as a knockout blow he can hit on anyone. I was also totally thinking that this was Grimes losing due to Dijakovic being in a program with Keith Lee, but NXT continues to surprise me in how much they protect and push Cameron Grimes. This is also a fear that developed when I watched Trevor Lee treated like a stupid jobber for years in Impact.
They showed a replay of Dominik Dijakovic being helped to the back by the referees and medical staff..
Finn Balor made his entrance to Full Sail. Balor said he’s not a “moves”, “internet”, or “Stooge” guy. But when the bell rings he’s “The guy”. Balor said he builds brands like in Japan, Mexico, intercontinental championship, Universal Championship, NXT Championship, Balor said he did it all. Balor said it’s WrestleMania season and everyone in the business is trying to peak around this season. Balor said he’s been peaking for 20 years. Balor then brought up the next person trying to get that “Finn rub”. Balor said Riddle, Gargano, and even Ilja Dragonov got that rub.
The symphony no. 9 played as Fabien Aichner and Marcel Barthel made their entrance. Marcel Barthel told Balor that Balor has never gone after the NXT UK Championship and that WALTER sends his regards. Balor took down Aichner with a Sling Blade. Barthel blocked Balor’s shotgun dropkick with a jumping uppercut off the steps. Balor was left lying after Barthel slammed his knee into Balor against the steps. The Imperium duo stood tall and made their exit to their theme…
Mauro sent things to an Austin Theory video package. Theory talked about being the future of NXT in this video. He said he has a little rage in him. He said he’s going to prove that Austin Theory can go all day and Tommaso Ciampa won’t make it through the night…[c]
John’s Thoughts: So Balor vs. Walter is the next Balor program. While Balor is continue to act like a pompous douche, he’s not fully heeling it up on the fans. He’s coming off like a cool heel. Against the heel faction Imperium, is he a de facto babyface. Looks like that, but Walter also has a cool factor to him so they can make Walter face by default too. Best part of this, we get more Walter back in NXT US. I wonder if Balor will end up building a faction from this. Either that or he’ll take the divide and conquer approach like he did against Moustashe Mountain recently.
They cut to Jon Quasto interviewing Bianca Belair outside of Full Sail. Belair talked about how she’s going to give Charlotte what she wants tonight and it’s on site tonight…
2. Xia Li vs. Mia Yim. Xia had some cool looking dragon armor gear going on. Both women shared a Code of Honor handshake with Yim being aggressive during the handshake. Li came back with spin kicks to back Yim into a corner. Yim came back with a dropkick, chop block, and basement dropkick for a two count. Yim caught Li with a Yakuza kick and then stompped on Li in the corner. Li sidestepped a cannonball from Yim. Li hit Yim with some kicks and punches.
Yim swatted a flying Li. Yim hit Li with the Protect Ya Neck. Suddenly, Dakota Kai and Reina Gonzalez made their entrance. Kai cut a promo about Yim taking Kai’s spot at war games. The distraction allowed Li to pick the win up with a schoolgirl.
Xia Li defeated Mia Yim via pinfall in 2:42.
Gonzalez beat up Yim. Li tried to save Yim, but the larger Gonzalez no sold and took down Li. Gonzalez ended up slamming Yim to the mat. Mauro noted that Dakota Kai found someone to fight her battles for her…
They showed Tommaso Ciampa doing resistance band training heading into commercial…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A good angle to set Kai and Gonzalez into the direction of Yim and Li for now. One can assume that a tag match will form from this with the babyfaces putting the heels over. No problem there as it would be smart to start developing the promising heel duo of Kai and Gonzalez. Li also ends up getting a win with Yim being protected. Clever, like the first match.
Velveteen Dream was cutting a promo in front of a mirror in a pink and smokey room. Dream recapped beating Roderick Strong. He said that last week wasn’t enough because UE broke Dream’s back. Dream asked William Regal for a steel cage against Roderick Strong next week for an “experience”…
Nigel hyped up Johnny Gargano appearing on the Corey Grave “After the bell” podcast tomorrow…
3. Austin Theory vs. Tommaso Ciampa. Ciampa dominated the early collar and elbow. Ciampa then went at Theory with punches. Theory took down Ciampa with a shoulder block. Ciampa fended off Theory with a boot. Ciampa then followed up with a spinning elbow. Ciampa took down Theory into a side headlock. Theory got up and missed a dropkick. Ciampa dumped Theory outside. Theory avoided the Willow’s bell. Theory avoided being tossed into the crowd. Theory tossed Ciampa back in the ring.
Theory went back at Ciampa with punches. Theory nailed Ciampa with a high dropkick. Theory worked on Ciampa for a sequence. Ciampa countered and gave Theory a neckbreaker onto the top rope. Ciampa then tossed Theory into the ringpost. Ciampa did his signature back pat heading into the commercial. [c]
Theory was putting the boots to Ciampa back from the break. Theory gave Ciampa a standing moonsault for a two count. Ciampa made a comeback with a lariat. Ciampa then hit a flurry of lariats followed by a release German Suplex. After hitting Theory with a knee, Theory escaped a Fairy Tale ending attempt. Ciampa caught a rolling Theory with a Claymore-like knee for a two count. Ciampa and Theory brawled to the top rope.
[Hour Two] Theory escaped a Super Air Raid Crash. Theory and Ciampa traded fatigued blows. Theory caught Ciampa with a blockbuster, buckle bomb, and Ushigoroshi. Theory got a two count. Ciampa and Theory traded strikes. Austin escaped another Fairy Tale attempt. Theory hit Ciampa with a deadlift twisting Flatliner for a two count. Ciampa and Theory brawled to ringside. Theory tossed Ciampa into the barricades. Ciampa caught Theory with a punt and Willow’s Bell. Ciampa hit Theory with a Fairy Tale ending for a three count.
Tommaso Ciampa defeated Austin Theory via pinfall in 9:21 of on-air TV time.
The commentators talked about how good Ciampa looked as well as how impressive Theory was. Replays aired. Johnny Gargano was wearing a suit and tried to attack Ciampa. Ciampa saw it coming and fended off Gargano. Both men brawled around in the ring. Theory tired to get involved, but was tossed aside by Ciampa. This slight distraction allowed Gargano to dominate Ciampa with a superkick and then a running knee. Gargano sat on the apron beside a prone Ciampa. Gargano led the crowd in a slow golf clap…
The commentators hyped up Bianca Belair vs. Charlotte Flair as the main event of this show…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Another good showing for Theory despite taking another loss. I’m pretty sure the reason Theory looks generic and has jobber music is because they’re waiting for the right time to give him a push once he develops a bit more. But I don’t think it’s bad to have Theory look so competitive against NXT’s big names to show that he’s going to be a big name in the future. The post match beatdown was solid, but hopefully Gargano ends up showing more emotion and starts cutting promos. He was a bit robotic, which is fine initially, but it would help him to not come off as a stock bad-guy.
The show cut to an NWO-style Undisputed Era promo. Strong talked about going to beat Velveteen Dream. O’Reilly and Fish complained about Peter Dune and Matt Riddle. O’Reilly said UE are like angry sharks. Cole claimed that after Strong takes care of Dream, he’ll get back the North American Champion. Cole said UE will be whole again once O’Reilly and Fish get their titles back. Cole and crew struck their pose to close the segment…
4. Bronson Reed vs. Killian Dain. Dain and Reed brawled early on. Reed caught Dain with a jump kick. Reed followed up outside with a suicide dive. Dain caught Reed with a kick combination and a guillotine leg drop for a two count. Dain worked on Reed a bit with power moves. Reed and Bronson ended up taking each other out with stereo crossbodies. Reed and Dain had a strong style exchange. Both men traded headbutts. Reed hit Dain with a lariat and body slam. Reed hit Dain with a back suplex. Reed hit Dain with a hip attack in the corner. Dain countered Reed with a Samoan Drop.
Reed used the knees to block a Vader Bomb. Reed hit Dain with a top rope diving DDT. Reed planted Dain with a Death Valley Driver. Dain kicked out at two . Dain and Reed brawled to the top rope with Dain getting the upper hand with a Superplex. Dain hit Reed with three running sentons and a Vader Bomb. This gave Dain the victory.
Killian Dain defeated Bronson Reed via pinfall in 6:14.
John’s Thoughts: A nice match between two big men who have agility. Dain was the right guy to go over. Even though both guys are enhancement big men, Dain’s more of a gatekeeper, while it’s just not Reed’s time for a push yet.
They cut to the Jaxson Ryker promo from last week where Ryker talked about America being the land of the free and home of the brave. This is the set up for Forgotten Sons vs. Grizzled Young Veterans for after the break…[c]
A BroSerweights video package aired…
The Grizzled Young Veterans made their entrance. Zack Gibson heeled on the NXT fans and America. He got the crowd to start chanting “USA”. Gibson called the Forgotten Sons red necks and blue collar. The Forgotten Sons cut off their promo with their entrance. The sons now have red, white, and blue in their video wall. Mauro noted that Ryker and Cutler are military veterans…
5. “The Grizzled Young Veterans” Zack Gibson and James Drake vs. “The Forgotten Sons” Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake. Cutler is now sporting a buzzcut. Blake managed to take down both GYVs with dropkicks. Gibson fought Cutler to the corner. Nigel made fun of Beth for watching kid shows with her child. Beth asked if that was a bad thing. Nigel replied “I guess not”. Drake tagged in and dominated Cutler with methodical offense. The GYVs cut the ring in half on Cutler. Blake tagged in and hit Drake with a power slam.
Drake walked right into the intimidating Ryker. Drake was tossed back in the ring. Blake caught Drake with a dropkick and Gibson with a huracanrana. The sons hit both opponents with hip tossed. They tossed Drake into Gibson at ringside. [c]
Gibson worked on Blake with a side headlock. Blake escaped and gave Gibson a jumping neckbreaker. Drake tagged in and kept Blake away from the face corner. Blake used a back body drop to tag in Cutler for the hot tag sequence. Nigel noted that Cutler were showing American fury. Beth said the red, white and blue was flowing through the veins of Cutler. Drake escaped Cutler’s Boston Crab. Cutler hit Drake with a buckle bomb and Michinoku Driver. Gibson put Drake’s leg on the bottom rope to prevent a pin.
Cutler chased Gibson around at ringside. Nigel said it’s typical American to go three on two. Drake hit Ryker with a suicide dive. Madness ensued at ringside with bodies everywhere. Gibson prevented Cutler from hitting the sons finisher. Drake hit Cutler with a poetry in motion dropkick to spill him to outside. Blake fought off both GYVs. Blake missed a moonsault. The GYV hit Blake with Ticket to Mayhem for the victory with Gibson picking up the pin.
The Grizzled Young Veterans defeated the Forgotten Sons via pinfall in 8:50 of on-air TV Time.
Nigel yelled that it’s score one for the UK. Nigel went into national pride mode…
Tegan Nox was interviewed by an unnamed female interviewer on next week’s cage match against Dakota Kai. Nox said she scouted Kai last time, but didn’t expect Gonzalez. Nox said Gonzalez will not be a factor and she’s going to take her aggression out on Kai. Nox noted that Kai started this feud in a cage and Nox is going to end this feud in a cage…
Charlotte Flair was shown getting ready for her match in the main event…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Welp. They were really laying it on really thick with the patriotism there in favor for the Forgotten Sons. While that would come off as cheap for most teams, I’m fine with this for the Sons because they were a dead act to begin with. Why not invoke the innate Pavlovian response in American’s to be patriotic? The sons needed it. Plus the Sons do have patriotic legitimacy with them. Cutler is a military vet along with Ryker, who was a military “gunner” get it?
Some random “doomsday” graphics aired on screen…
John’s Thoughts: Kevin Kross? Is that you?
John Quasto interviewed Damien Priest who was outside with two random women (One woman was former Impact Knockout Brandi Lauren). Priest said he takes what he wants and Dijakovic now knows what Preist wants…
Entrances for the main event took place with about ten minutes left at the top of the hour…
6. Charlotte Flair vs. Bianca Belair. Mauro noted that Charlotte beat Natalya with Ric Flair at ringside to win the vacant NXT Women’s Championship. Charlotte soaked in “you don’t go here” chants. Charlotte powered Belair to the mat in the corner. Flair pantomimed drawing a line in the sand. Charlotte then took down Belair with a headlock. Belair came back with her own headlock. Flair and Belair traded quick pin attempts. Flair took down Belair into a side headlock. Belair showed off her agility and hit Charlotte with a dropkick.
Belair mocked Flair with her signature booty slap. Belair held Flair while doing squats. Flair escaped and cornered Belair with the Ric Flair chops. Flair caught a seated Belair with a running boot heading into the picture-in-picture commercial. [c]
[Overrun] Mauro noted this is the tenth anniversary edition of NXT. Belair got a two count after a small package. Flair locked Belair in a Dragon Sleeper. Belair escaped the corner. Belair planted Flair with a facebuster. Belair hit Flair with a Glam Slam for a two count. Flair caught Belair with a roundhouse to the gut. Flair locked Belair in an abdominal stretch. Flair used the hair of Belair to keep a hold of the stretch. Belair managed to squirm herself into her own abdominal stretch on Flair. Flair pulled Belair’s hair to escape.
Belair hit Flair with a handspring moonsault for a two count. Flair escaped Snake Eyes. Flair hit Belair with a compact flatliner into the second buckle. Belair got her feet up on a Flair moonsault attempt, but Flair landed on her feet and put Belair into the Boston Crab. Flair got a two count after a jackknife. Flair locked Belair in a Stretch Muffler. Flair converted the move into a power bomb for a two count. Belair dodged a Face Wash from Flair. Belair dropkicked Flair through the ropes. Belair put Flair back in the ring. Belair gave Flair a spear. Flair came back with her own Natural Selection for the victory.
Charlotte Flair defeated Bianca Belair via submission in 12:03.
Flair brought a chair in the ring. Rhea Ripley’s theme played. Flair didn’t freeze up though and used the chair to wedge on Belair’s leg. Ripley actually did her entrance routine for some reason, allowing Flair to lock the Figure 8 on Belair. Ripley finally chased Flair out of the ring to close the show.
John’s Thoughts: A nice treat to long term NXT viewers as well as viewers who are used to seeing Flair on the other two WWE big shows. In addition to being a nice Charlotte throwback, it was fun to see Flair have a fresh opponent in Belair. Belair held up her end of the bargain well too. This was a good match and if given more time and no commercial, it would have worked at a Takeover level. The post-match stuff seemed a bit rushed though. What I did like about the closing segment was Flair not getting “frozen in fear” like so many wrestlers when an entrance music plays. It actually made Ripley look a bit dumb for doing her full scripted entrance routine.
Overall, this was one of the best NXT episodes in weeks. Every match was unique and pushed forwards some storyline thread. I’ll be by tomorrow with my member’s exclusive audio review. Jason Powell will also be by with his hit list when he gets to watching the show.
The Best of The Boom features Tony Schiavone joining Jason Powell in this May 30, 2018 discussion in which he looks back on when he went to Ric Flair's house for his first pro wrestling assignment, his year with WWE, his one appearance for TNA Impact Wrestling, and more...