By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV on USA Network
Aired live March 11, 2020 from Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
[Hour One] Highlights from last week’s NXT show aired with the Slipknot theme in the background…
This week’s NXT was taking place from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, FL. Mauro Ranallo checked in as usual from the NXT Commentary Crow’s nest. Mauro sent things to the opening match. Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary. Beth was back after one week off due to selling Randy Orton’s RKO. Nigel pointed out the massive amount of boos that Cameron Grimes garners…
Alicia Taylor handled the formal ring introductions for the championship match…
John’s Thoughts: By force of habit, it still gets confusing when reviewing a Keith Lee vs. Trevor Lee match even though his name is Cameron Grimes now. It’s just the force of habit of calling Grimes “Lee”.
1. Keith Lee vs. Cameron Grimes for the NXT North American Championship. Lee grabbed Grimes’s kick early on and sent him back into retreat. Grimes quickly rolled away from Lee’s deadlift German attempt. Lee ended up getting Grimes to crumple with a Grizzly Magnum double chest chop. Grimes ended up catching Lee in the face with a face wash and PK from the apron. Grimes went for a Senton from the apron, but Lee caught Grimes into power bomb position. Grimes escaped and stomped on Lee.
Grimes was caught again during a Suicide Dive attempt. Grime escaped a Spirit Bomb attempt. Lee slammed Grimes’s head on the side turnbuckle, sending the top hat of Grimes to the floor. Mauro jokingly oversold this (on purpose). Grimes ended up escaping the grasp of Lee. Grimes planted Lee to the mat with a crossbody, heading into the picture-in-picture commercial. [c]
Grimes used elbows to escape a fireman carry from Lee. Grimes managed to get Lee off his feet with a deadlift, but not off the floor for the German. Lee escaped and floored Grimes with a crossbody block. Grimes blocked a Pounce with a Yakuza Kick. Both men traded counters. Grimes escaped a Spirit Bomb and hit Lee with a Superman Forarm. Grimes nailed Lee with a sweet looking step-back counter superkick, allowing Lee to be staggered enough for Grimes to hit Lee with a deadlift German. Remember, Lee’s one of those 300+ pound guys.
Grimes countered a Lee side slam with a Tornado DDT. Grimes went for the Cave in but was caught. Grimes ended up kicking Lee. Lee fought back with a Pounce. Keith Lee hit Grimes with a Big Bang Jackhammer Power Slam for the victory.
Keith Lee defeated Cameron Grimes via pinfall in 11:56 to retain the NXT North American Championship.
Mauro noted that Grimes had a great strategy in the match. Damien Priest clubbed Keith Lee in the back with a police baton. Dominik Dijakovic ran in the ring to send Priest into retreat. Dijak grabbed the title belt and was helping Lee up. Lee woke up and gave Dijakovic a Spirit Bomb. The commentators noted that Lee might have thought that Dijakovic executed the blindside attack on him…
The commentators checked in on commentary. Mauro welcomed Beth Phoenix back after Beth missed one week due to Randy Orton’s RKO to her. Beth introduced a graphic for the NXT Women’s Number One Contender’s Ladder Match graphic. Nigel advertised Mia Yim vs. Dakota Kai as the next qualifyer match for the ladder match…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A really great and refreshing match between Lee and Grimes (refreshing for me because I had to review a show earlier in the Day, Impact, with a bunch of bad storytelling). Woe is me right? I kid. Anyway, this was a nice clash of styles. Grimes really hung in there with the much massive Lee. That’s the thing about Grimes after all these years, you can put him in any match, and he’ll deliver at a main event level if you want him to. Here’s hoping he get’s presented as a main eventer somehow because this guy always delivers in the ring (he needs to work out some of the goofball Trevor Lee parts of his act though). Little thing, but I really liked that step back reversal kick he did to Keith Lee at one point. I liked the post match stuff too. It keeps Damien Priest and Dominik Dijakovic in the title picture at different angles.
2. Dakota Kai (w/Raquel Gonzalez) vs. Mia Yim in a qualifying match for the Number One Contender’s Match at NXT Takeover: Tampa. Yim went for some early rollups early on. Kai gave Yim a face slap. Yim responded with a flurry of chops and slaps. Yim gave Kai some Muay Thai clinch knees. Yim continued to woman handle Kai. Yim got a two count after a chop block dropkick on Kai. Yim gave Kai a Yakuza Kick in the corner. Yim tried to PK Gonzalez while the referee was checking on Kai. Gonzalez tripped up Yim and slammed her on the apron with a Snake Eyes slam. Cut to regular commercial. [c]
Kai was dominating Yim back from break. Kai missed an axe kick on Yim. Yim hit Kai with a neckbreaker and shotgun dropkick. Yim hit Kai with an imploding cannonball. Kai slammed Yim’s throat into the ropes. Kai ended up hitting Yim with the Code Red Backbreaker leading to a two count. Yim ended up slamming Kai for a nearfall. Gonzalez ended up distracting the referee. Kai tried to roll up Yim with a hand full of tights, but the referee was still distracted at Gonzalez. Yim escaped and hit a distracted Kai with a Protect Ya Neck for the victory.
Mia Yim defeated Dakota Kai via pinfall in 6:09 of on-air TV time to advance to the Contender’s ladder match at Takeover.
After the match, Gonzalez beat up Yim, ending the beatdown with a leg trap Uranage slam. Gonzalez helped up Kai to the back…
Tommaso Ciampa was shown approaching the Performance Center. McKenzie Mitchell talked to Ciampa and asked Ciampa for his thoughts on Johnny Gargano appearing later in the show. Ciampa responded by saying “his way” in regards to Gargano’s words last week. Ciampa walked away from the interview…
Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish were shown sparring in preparation for their match later in the show…[c]
John’s Thoughts: I’m okay with the finish of this match. Yim needs some momentum after being somewhat of a gatekeeper for a while. Kai is protected because it was her cheating backfiring in a logical way that cost her the match. It keeps the referee from looking like a total cliche.
The random tick-tock and doomsday graphics aired. This may or may not be for Kevin Kross (and of course, in every company Kross has been in, this has been his signature vignette. Dude likes clocks and nihilist imagery).
3. Kushida vs. Raul Mendoza. Kushida was wearing his usual pre-match Marty McFly gear before the match. Kushida and Mendoza traded blows early on. Mendoza went for a huracanrana but Kushida countered with a handstand. Mendoza got Kushida to the mat with a dropkick. Mauro noted that Raul’s win-loss record is below the Mendoza line (nice pun). Kushida sent Mendoza outside and hit Mendoza with a Tope Con Hilo. Mauro noted that Kushida has learned Lucha Libre from mexico. Mendoza slammed Kushida with a Final Cut and followed up with a lionsault for a two count.
Kushida escaped a back suplex. Kushida caught Mendoza with a handstand elbow. Mendoza countered Kushida’s rolling thunder. Kushida hit Mendoza with a basement dropkick combination. Mendoza caught Kushida on the top rope with a spinning roundhouse. Both men brawled to the top rope. Kushida hit Mendoza with a seamless Spanish Fly right into a Juji Gatame for a submission victory.
Kushida defeated Raul Mendoza via submission in 4:00.
Beth Phoenix hyped up Rhea Ripley appearing later on this show…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A good win to get Kushida a win on TV. I think it’s also good to get Mendoza back on TV too, to set him up as a enhancement wrestler to the stars to be the tune-up guy for guys who need a tune up on tv. Kushida is a guy they have in their back pocket when they want to really boost up that upper midcard or main event scene. Hopefully we get more video packages or promos from the guy. It did wonders for him when they aired that documentary of the guy playing at the playground with his daughter.
Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Beth Phoenix checked in on commentary. Mauro sent things to McKenzie Mitchell who interviewed Tyler Breeze about the Performance Center. Breeze talked about being built by the PC. Austin Theory interrupted and talked about how he watched Tyler on Breaking Ground while Austin was in High School. Theory was being condescending in saying how Breeze never ended up like a star as some would have hoped. Tyler Breeze took a picture of Theory and said that Theory looks really good “for a flash in the pan”. Breeze left…
[Hour Two] NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley made her entrance to the WWE PC arena for a promo segment. Rhea talked about Charlotte Flair having to come up with a better game plan in psyching Rhea out. Rhea said she does feel the pressure of the biggest match of her career. Rhea said knocking the queen on her royal ass gets her through this pressure. Charlotte’s entrance cut off Rhea as Charlotte made her entrance at the top of the ramp. Mauro and Beth hyped up Charlotte returning to the Performance Center.
A “you don’t go here” chant ensued from the crowd. Charlotte said she “made here”. Charlotte tried to cut a promo, but the fans kept overwhelming her, telling her to “go back to Raw”. Charlotte hyped up WrestleMania and how the crowd at Mania is going to be all behind Ripley. Ripley said “this” (Charlotte) is too much for Ripley to handle. Charlotte entered the ring. Charlotte said she’s taking Ripley to deep waters and about to drown the fastest rising star in WWE. Charlotte tried to enter the ring, but Rhea went right to the attack. A brawl ensued. Charlotte ended up standing tall after a big boot. Ripley escaped a Figure Four attempt by kicking Flair into the turnbuckle.
Charlotte pulled Ripley’s leg to the mat and slammed her knee on the ringpost. Flair then locked Ripley with the Figure Four against the ringpost. Referees ran out to pull the women apart. Charlotte Flair posed with the NXT Women’s Championship. Flair also posed with her foot on top of Ripley while Ripley was writhing in pain. Mauro continued to hype up Ripley vs. Flair at WrestleMania…
Mauro sent things over to a Walter video package. Walter spoke in his native language. He talked about being the UK Champion. They aired sound bytes of Finn Balor crediting Walter’s ability. Balor said something feels a bit familiar in regards to Walter. Balor was holding a passport, saying “Lies travel faster than Truth”.
John’s Thoughts: Though Charlotte did feel a bit scripted at times, she delivered her scripted lines with good energy. That was a standard and solid segment to keep heat on the WrestleMania match. Charlotte with a new and fresh opponent is turning Charlotte fresh in terms of her character work. As for the Balor stuff. I liked the cliffhanger over whatever the hell Balor was talking about in regards to that Passport.
Mauro hyped up the WWE Performance Center as they showed clips of WWE wrestlers training at the PC…
Mia Yim was shown in a parking lot. She was super excited. Suddenly, she was almost run over by an SUV. Raul Mendoza was shown about to leave the PC Parking Lot. He was suddenly Kidnapped, yes Kidnapped, by two guys in Luchador Masks. The Luchadores got out of the SUV, kidnapped Raul, and tossed him in the trunk. My god!
John’s Thoughts: Oh my God! It’s the return of the TNA Samoa Joe Kidnapper Ninjas! NINJAS! ON TV! NINJAS! I mean, last time Jeremy Borash was in the parking lot when Joe got kidnapped. Is Borash the secret lord of the TNA Ninjas? This also vindicates Kenta’s claim that WWE needs better Parking Lot security.
4. Tegan Nox vs. Deonna Purrazzo in a Qualifying Match for the Women’s Championship Number One Contender’s Match at Takeover Tampa. Purrazzo dominated the early part of the match with strikes and suplexes. Nox came back with a European Uppercut and imploding Cannonball, but Purrazzo blocked the cannonball with knees. Burrazzo got a two count. Purrazzo locked Nox in her finisher, the Fujiwara Armbar. Nox rolled into a rollup. Nox got to her feet and hit Purrazzo with the Shiniest Wizard for the win.
Tegan Nox defeated Deonna Purrazzo via pinfall in 2:27 to qualify for the Takeover: Tampa ladder match.
The BroSerweight were shown getting ready for their match…[c]
John’s Thoughts: I had no clue that was a qualifying match for the Takeover show. On one hand, Poor Deonna. On the other, why does Deonna get a chance to wrestle in any sort of qualifyer? I can’t ever remember her winning any match in WWE. Besides, I’m also more distracted at Jeremy Borash’s Lucha Ninjas that just kidnapped Raul Mendoza. I wonder if he’ll come back with a giant ass Rambo knife like Joe did when he escaped the clutch of the Ninjas. Seriously, Ninjas! Lucha Ninjas!
The random tick tock and doomsday graphics flash on the screen again. For about a split second, you could see a blonde haired woman that looked very familiar…
John’s Thoughts: Scarlett Bordeaux? Are they really going with the boyfriend-girlfriend duo? Maybe I’m completely wrong on this. Let’s see.
Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, and Roderick Strong made their entrance for O’Reilly and Fish’s next match. Suddenly, Velveteen Dream’s entrance music played. Dream was standing at the NXT Commentary Crows Nest. He talked about four little men in the PC ring. Dream said he has all three of his eyes focused on Adam Cole. He said it’s all about the NXT Championship. Dream said he doesn’t care about Roderick Strong’s family. He said he just wrote faces on tights. Dream said Strong is dumber than he looks. Dream was hyping Cole vs. Dream as a Takeover match.
Cole interrupted and said that Dream didn’t earn anything, and in fact lost last week. Cole said Cole is the greatest champion of all time in NXT. Cole said there’s going to be a celebration next week because Cole is about to become the longest reigning NXT Champion of all time. Cole was about to go after Dream with Roddy, but Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle made their entrance…
5. “The BroSerweights” Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne vs. “Undisputed Era” Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish (w/Adam Cole, Roderick Strong) for the NXT Tag Team Championships. O’Reilly and Dunne had a stalemate during the opening chain wrestling. Riddle and Fish tagged in. Riddle dominated the ground exchange with a waist takedown. The BroSerweights hit both of their opponents with stereo gutwrench suplexes. The UE retreated to ringside to recover heading into regular commercial. [c]
Riddle got a two count on O’Reilly back from the break. O’Reilly blocked Riddle’s Muay Thai roundhouses and the two men traded forearms. O’Reilly booted off Riddle from the apron with a big boot. First beat up Riddle around ringside. UE kept Riddle pressured with the Muay Thai and quick tags. UE continued to cut the ring in half on Riddle. Riddle got the window of opportunity after a Pele Kick on Fish. Dunne got the hot tag and cleaned house.
Dunne hit O’Reilly with a Missile Chop Block dropkick. Dunne locked O’Reilly in a headscissors head triangle. UE pulled O’Reilly outside. Riddle hit all of UE with a Poetry In Motion Tope Con Hilo. Cole and Strong were in the ring and Dunne flopped on the ground. This act caused the referee to eject Strong and Cole despite them not doing anything and Dunne and Riddle claiming that Cole superkicked Dunne. Dunne and Riddle did their signature shrug poses as UE was being ejected. The show cut to PiP commercial.[c]
Dunne and O’Reilly had a strong style strike exchange with O’Reilly dominating with the kick combination. Dunne blocked Fish’s slingshot senton with his knees. Dunne managed to fight off O’Reilly and get the hot tag to Riddle. Riddle cleaned house with knees and forearms. Riddle hit Fish and O’Reilly with Exploder Suplexes and running Sentons. Riddle hit O’Reilly with a Fisherman Buster for a two count. O’Reilly escaped a Riddle-End attempt. Riddle and Dunne countered suplexes and hit UE with roundhouses. Dunne hit O’Reilly with a Tiger Driver for a two count.
Dunne hit O’Reilly with his shortarm curbstomps. O’Reilly hit Dunne inside-out with the Nigel McGuinness rebound suplex. Riddle and Fish tagged in. Fish blocked a GTS from Riddle. Riddle hit Fish with a V-Trigger. O’Reilly held on Fish’s hands to block a German. The ref said this counted as a tag. Fish took the german, but Riddle took double knees to the gut from O’Reilly for a nearfall in favor of UE. O’Reilly caught Dunne at ringside with a diving knee. UE hit Riddle with Chasing the Dragon for a nearfall for O’Reilly.
Riddle used Roundhouses to fend off UE. Riddle ducked in between Total Elimination and then hit UE with a double spear. Zack Gibson and James Drake then got on the apron to distract the Bros. Gibson poked Riddle in the eyes and Fish got a nearfall. Riddle backdropped Fish on GYV. The Bros hit O’Reilly with the Riddle-End to give Dunne the pinfall win.
The BroSerweights defeated Undisputed Era via pinfall in 16:28 of on-air TV Time to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.
Nigel did Gibson’s “Soon to be” catchphrase to hype up a potential matchup between the Bros and GYV. Mauro Ranallo advertised the Adam Cole Championship celebration for next week. Beth advertised Candice LeRae vs. Mercedes Martinez in a ladder match qualifyer for next week. Nigel advertised Finn Balor appearing on tomorrow’s NXT UK Show…
Tommaso Ciampa made his entrance for a promo after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: When NXT has some great tag teams up and running in their division, great matches ensue. That was fun and entertaining. The commercial breaks did keep it from being Takeover level, but it was still fun. I really liked the creative flop job that Pete Dunne did. It was different than your usual Eddie Guerrero flop and I liked it being similar to flops in the NBA. Strategic.
Tommaso Ciampa was soaking in “Daddy’s home” chants. Ciampa said he knows that Johnny Gargano is in the back and it’s time for Gargano to deliver on his promise. Gargano appeared on the big screen. He was sitting at the head of a board room table. Gargano brought up Ciampa being the worst person in NXT history. Ciampa brought up how Ciampa was a terrible person before returning. Ciampa then marched to the location where Gargano was and the two men started brawling.
An office building brawl ensued. Ciampa hit Gargano with one of the WWE PPV portraits. They brawled to the medical area. Ciampa hit Gargano with a walking crutch. Ciampa chased Gargano to the Gym. Gargano got one slam in, but Ciampa continued to dominate. Gargano sprayed an aerosol can in Ciampa’s face. Gargano then tossed Ciampa through a (presumably sugar) glass window. Gargano started gloating, with a few words censored from Ciampa.
Gargano was then toying with Ciampa who was writhing in pain. Drake Wuertz and crew tried to separate the two to no success. Gargano tried to hit Ciampa with a 40 pound-ish weight. Ciampa got control of the weight and hit Gargano in the gut. Ciampa then tossed a 15 pound weight and tossed it in the direction of Gargano, breaking the glass mirror in the gym. Gargano and Ciampa brawled to the bleachers of the arena area where the matches were being held.
[Overrun] Ciampa used a knee and a chair to tackle Gargano through the barricade, to a level below, where there were some WWE trainees (presumably) to break the fall. Johnny Gargano escaped a power bomb through the table attempt by Ciampa. Gargano ran away to the top of the commentary Crow’s Nest. The commentary team cleared when it looked like Gargano was about to be tossed over the balcony. Gargano regained control and cleared the barricade from the crow’s nest. Ciampa escaped Gargano’s hold.
Gargano managed to lock Ciampa in the GargaNo Escape. Drake Wuertz struggled and managed to break the hold. Gargano punched Drake to the mat. Gargano then hit Ciampa with a punch, knocking him off. Gargano said he wanted everyone to see this because it’s a teachable moment. Ciampa recovered and jumped off the Crow’s nest, sending Gargano through the commentary table with an Air Raid Crash. William Regal ran out to check on Gargano and Ciampa. The show closed six minutes after the top of the hour.
John’s Thoughts: I was about to say that the WWE Performance Center setting was about to come off as underwhelming, but they really got the most out of this different setting, all in the final segment. That was pretty damn sweet. The weak point of doing it at the PC is the place did come off as a gym or warehouse. That said, the final segment leaned right into that gruff setting and they were allowed to do some things you aren’t allowed to do at standard arenas, or universities. That brawl gave me flashbacks of Lucha Underground. Not the cinematic, but the gritty brawls that LU would have at their Los Angeles “Temple” location, a warehouse in the Downtown LA warehouse district. This must have also been a treat for the fans in attendance who got to get a different feel than they usually get with NXT. Good show closing brawl.
While I still think that NXT would have benefited from holding the show in a larger arena or university arena, the final segment really took advantage of this cheaper alternative. The matches on the show were solid. The in-ring stuff was as solid as last week and last week was good. On top of that they had a great environment brawl and ninjas on this show. On top of that, you can watch John Wick 2 after. This was a good show. I’ll be by tomorrow with more thoughts in my Member’s Exclusive Dot Net NXT Audio Review. Jason Powell will be by with his hit list when he watches the show.
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...