By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Taped earlier in the day in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Aired May 13, 2020 on USA Network
Highlights from last week’s NXT show aired…
Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, and Byron Saxton were on commentary this week…
1. Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher vs. “Imperium” Marcel Barthel and Fabien Aichner for the NXT Tag Team Championships. Thatcher and Barthel started off the match. Thatcher managed to drag Barthel to the mat with a hammerlock. Barthel managed to reverse the submission into a headscissors submission. Barthel countered into a bow and arrow. Both men continued to trade ground submissions and ground and pound. Barthel went for the rope break when Thatcher locked in the Juji Gatame. Aichner tagged in and worked on Thatcher’s arm. Riddle and Barthel brawled at ringside a bit.
Riddle tagged himself in and got a headlock on Aichner. Riddle got a sleeper followed by a Gutwrench suplex on Aichner. Barthel tagged in and got attacked by Riddle a bit. Riddle missed a senton. Aichner and Barthel had the advantage going into the commercial. [c]
Barthel and Aichner cut the ring in half on Riddle and were isolating him back from the break. Riddle managed to knock down Barthel with a roundhouse kick. Riddle monkey flipped Barthel, but that ended up knocking Thatcher off the apron. The camera showed Timothy Thatcher upset. Timothy Thatcher walked up the ramp and refused to tag Riddle, much to Riddle’s shock. Riddle escaped a doomsday device from Imperium. He hit Aichner with a GTS. Aichner recovered and got Riddle under control. Imperium hit Riddle with the European Bomb for the victory.
Imperium defeated Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher via pinfall to become the new NXT Tag Team Champions.
Byron Saxton hyped up some NXT Cruiserweight Tournament matches for later in the show. Beth Phoenix advertised an update on the NXT Women’s Title Picture later in the show…
John’s Thoughts: I’m okay with this as both a way to boost Imperium a bit while giving Riddle a new feud in Timothy Thatcher. Hopefully Imperium doesn’t get treated like other fluky undercard champions on the other rosters where they lose a majority of their matches, only to win title defenses. Aichner and Barthel need some credibility after being pegged as Walter’s henchmen. On the other side, I’m curious. Timothy Thatcher was a part of Imperium (then called Ring Kampf) in WxW. I wonder if Thatcher ends up joining Imperium both as a slight to Riddle and as a reference to being former tag partners with Walter and Marcel.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Timothy Thatcher about betraying Riddle. Thatcher said he wanted to tap out people but Riddle dragged him into stupid things like game show segments. Thatcher said Riddle is a hot mess. Riddle interrupted the interview and brawled with Thatcher. Steve Corino and the referees ran in to break the brawl apart…
2. Tegan Nox vs. Indi Hartwell. Mauro noted Hartwell is from Australia and how there are a lot of NXT/WWE wrestlers who come from Australia in recent years. Hartwell blocked an armdrag from Nox and then toyed with Tegan a bit. Hartwell got a two count on Nox. Hartwell put the boots to Nox in the corner. Hartwell no sold Nox’s strikes and then hit Nox with a sidewalk slam. Hartwell went for a dive, but she fell right into Nox’s Lady Kane Chokeslam. Nox caught Hartwell with a uppercut. Nox followed up with an imploding cannonball and crossbody. Nox hit Hartwell with the Shiniest Wizard for the win.
Tegan Nox defeated Indi Hartwell via pinfall in 3:18.
John’s Thoughts: Good showcase for Nox, but I was also very impressed from the little we saw from Indi Harwell. She’s a blank state right now and I had no idea who she was before now, but she has a good look and her in ring was solid with some power offense. Based on what we saw there, I would say that NXT should consider repackaging Hartwell with an actual character and utilize her as soon as possible.
Rhea Ripley was backstage and talked about how Wrestlemania didn’t go her way. Ripley said Io Shirai had a chance but didn’t get the job done. Ripley said she’s going to beat Shirai and go after Charlotte. Ripley ended the promo by saying that the title around Charlotte’s waist belongs to Rhea Ripley…[c]
Riddle was chatting with William Regal over facetime and was happy with what he was told. McKenzie asked Riddle about what Regal said. Riddle said that he was granted a match with Thatcher later in the show. Timothy Thatcher ran in and attacked Riddle. He left Riddle lying after hitting him in the back with a monitor…
Tony Nese made his entrance. Beth Phoenix noted that Tony Nese is mathematically eliminated from the Tournament and is only playing spoiler. Byron Saxton interviewed Jake Atlas and told Atlas that he needs to win in order to stay alive in the tournament. Atlas said he has to beat Nese to stay alive but he’s also the biggest Drake Maverick fan and he hope Drake beats Kushida somehow.
3. Tony Nese (Record 0-1) vs. Jake Atlas (Record 1-1) in a Group A match of the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament. Atlas and Nese avoided each other strikes. Atlas did a bow, which allowed Nese to poke Atlas in the eyes and then pummel Atlas with strikes. Nese hit Atlas with a suplex and got a two count. Nese hit Atlast with a knee to keep Atlas under control. Atlas came back with a forearm and elbow. Atlas took down Nese with a pump kick, suplex, and enzuigiri for a two count.
Nese slid under Atlas. Atlas escaped a pumphandle suplex from Nese and hit Nese with a neckbreaker. Nese staggered Atlas on the top rope with rapid fire chops. Nese gave Atlas the boots while Atlas was dangling off the top rope. Atlas gave Nese clubbing blows and a kick to trip Nese off the top rope. Atlas hit Nese with the Rainbow DDT (Cartwheel Tightrope DDT) for the win.
Jake Atlas defeated Tony Nese via pinfall in 5:01 to win a match in Group A.
Adam Cole and Kyle O Reilly were shown having a Skype/Zoom chat with each other. They were bro-ing it up. Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish joined them. They bragged about taking care of Velveteen Dream and complained about Dexter Lumis. They all agreed that Roderick Strong should break Dexter’s back. UE ended the promo as they usually do with their pose and Cole’s “Undisputed” line… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Well, that kinda looked like a lite version of the Chris Jericho Bubbly Bunch videos. It’s not bad, It’s just I couldn’t help but think of the more entertaining zoom conversation. I do commend the guys for trying their best to pump out content. I also liked how the Cruiserwight Tournament is finally getting numbers involved in the tournament, by acknowledging how people could get mathematically eliminated or how they can play spoiler.
A Scarlett bordeaux and Karrion Kross vignette. Scarlett said something in a foreign language while Kross said a rhetorical quote. He said they aren’t here to shock the system or save you from black hearts. Kross said it’s time to wake up from the dream before you are asleep forever. Kross said Ciampa is the first, but not the last. Kross ended the promo by saying “Fall and pray, tick tock”…
Finn Balor and Cameron Grimes were shown getting ready backstage…
A Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez vignette aired. Kai talked about having to do something different after coming back form injury. Kai talked about how WWE was putting Kai behind Tegan Nox in terms of showcase. She talked about teaching Nox a lesson and bringing Raquel into the picture. Raquel entered the scene with a chopper bike. She talked about having Kai’s back and how they are going to hurt a lot of people…
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Isaiah Scott about being eliminated if he loses. Scott talked about being confident in life and in the ring. He said he’s going to get a victory over Gallagher. Gallagher left the promo by saying he has a house to protect, Swerve’s house…
Mauro advertised that D Generation X (Shawn Michaels and Triple H) were appearing later in the show…[c]
John’s Thoughts: The Isaiah Scott promo was a little bit cringe, but I don’t mind people getting promo time to attempt to get their character over (He’s just never really made the “Swerve” character click because of how vague it is). What was good was the prior two vignettes with nice productions. The Kai and Gonzalez one in particular was a good one with nice production and logical exposition.
Shawn Michaels and Triple H were in the NXT Production Room. Shawn was wearing a face mask to prevent the spread. Shawn said he hopes this goes better than Hunter’s appreciation night on Smackdown. Triple H said Regal couldn’t make it. Triple H then said it was the 25th anniversary of WWE In Your House. Road Dogg popped out behind the TVs to say a bunch of things about In Your House. Triple H then announced that since people are stuck in their houses now there’s going to be an NXT Takeover Show dubbed NXT Takeover: In Your House on June 7…
John’s Thoughts: That was a fun announcement. I was afraid that they were going to do a Wild Card rule with Raw and Smackdown. Thank god that’s not happening. Anyway, I was also afraid we weren’t getting Takeovers during the shelter-in season. I’m also hoping that this In Your House show doesn’t consist of screwy finishes like last week’s two title match NXT show. I’m also a fan of puns, so good work on the In Your House joke and relating it to people being in quarantine.
4. Finn Balor vs. Cameron Grimes. Balor dodged Grimes’s early Cave In attempt. Grimes and Balor then were aggressive in the initial brawl. Balor slowed things down with a side headlock on Grimes. Grimes countered into an armbar. Balor escaped and put the boots to Grimes. Grimes hit Balor with some intentionally ugly tackles on the ground. Grimes then hit Balor with a Muay Thai Roundhouse. Balor countered a Sunset Flip with a basement dropkick. Balor said “here’s your Squash”. Grimes countered Balor’s Sling Blade into a side slam. [c]
Grimes trashed talked Balor while locking him in an armbar. Grimes caught Balor with a high knee when Balor escaped. Balor tried to fend off Grimes with boots, but Grimes took down Balor with a lariat for a two count. Grimes said he’s going to slap the piss out of Balor, followed by a slap to Balor. Balor got a double leg takedown on Grimes and a double stomp. Balor punted Grimes’s gut and put the boots to him. Balor stompped on Grimes’s neck on the apron.
Balor hit Grimes with a PK from the apron. Suddenly Damien Priest ran in with his baton. Balor knocked Priest down before he could do anything. Balor tossed Grimes in the ring. While Drake Wuertz was distracted attending to Grimes, Priest smacked Balor’s leg with the retractable baton. Balor stumbled right into Cameron’s Cave In Stomp.
Cameron Grimes defeated Finn Balor via pinfall in 6:19 of on-air TV Time.
After Grimes left, Priest planted Balor with The Reckoning on a steel chair. Priest sat on a chair that Balor was trapped under. Priest talked about how he was the one who attacked Balor three weeks ago.
Byron Saxton talked about the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament as the graphic was on the screen…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Two really well executed surprises. First, no one really expected Grimes to eek a win out against Balor. Second, Damien Preist wasn’t really on the radar for being Balor’s attacker, but it can make sense. Priest has been really good on the mic in the last two months in particular. This can be fun. What’s been even more solid is how they’re strategically building up Cameron Grimes without rushing him up the card. They’ve done a stellar job building out the knockout ability of the Cave In. They’ve also protected his opponents in strategic ways by having Grimes just be very lucky every time his opponent has issues with someone else.
Byron Saxton plugged Make a Wish…
Jack Gallagher made his entrance first. Isaiah Scott made his entrance next, but was attacked by Tony Nese during his entrace, by being thrown into the steps. Nese trash talked Scott and walked to the back. Isaiah Scott entered the ring and agreed to continue with the match…
5. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott (Record 1-1) vs. “Gentleman” Jack Gallagher (Record 0-2) in a Group B match of the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament. Gallagher nailed Scott with his running dropkick finisher. Scott managed to break the count with a foot on the ropes. Gallagher got a few kicks in on Scott and got a few more two counts. Gallagher slowed things down and locked in an abdominal stretch on Scott. Scott got to his feet and avoided another dropkick. Scott hit Gallagher with the House Call kick for the two count. Gallagher countered Scott’s kicks with a snug Guillotine Choke. Scott countered the hold into a Suplex escape. Gallagher hit Scott with a discus elbow for the victory.
Jack Gallagher defeated Isaiah Scott via pinfall in 3:34 to win a match in Group B.
Mauro noted that Gallagher eliminated Scott and played spoiler to prevent Scott from having a chance too…
Byron Saxton announced Kayden Carter vs. Aliyah for later in the show and said the match was sponsored by GEICO…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Another dirty-ish finish, but it was also creative. That’s two matches in a row where they used interference in very creative and non-cliche ways. That’s Finn Balor, Cameron Grimes, Damien Priest, Tony Nese, Jack Gallagher, and Isaiah Scott all being pushed foward while the losers were all protected. Hopefully WWE gets behind Gallagher too. The guy’s too versatile as a character and fighter for them to underutilize.
A generic NXT ad aired to hype up NXT Takeover: In Your House…
6. Kayden Carter vs. Aliyah. Aliyah made her entrance wearing new blue ring gear. Carter kept Aliyah under control with the legs. Aliyah got to her feet and got in the face of Carter. Carter rolled up Aliyah and hit Aliyah with a dropkick for a two count. Aliyah hit Carter with some aggressive shortarm PKs in the corner while Carter was hanging on the top rope. Aliyah pummeled Carter in the corner. Carter tried to get back in control, but Aliyah hit Carter with double boots.
Suddenly, Robert Stone appeared at ringside to watch Aliyah. Aliyah went to the top turnbuckle to try to impress Stone, but was pulled down. Carter dragged Aliyah to the ground and hit Aliyah with a back kick for a two count. Carter locked in a reverse Indian Deathlock for a submission win.
Kayden Carter defeated Aliyah via submission in 2:50.
Aliyah tried to plead her case to Stone, but Stone held his hand up saying that he’ll see her later…
John’s Thoughts: Aliyah loses again (as she usually does during her 5 years in WWE), but at least it looks like they may be telling a story with her finally? Maybe?
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae were eating dinner at the table. Gargano bragged about LeRae beating a ninja while he beat Dominik Di-goof-avic. Gargano said Keith Lee is not that good because he gets beat up by Dijakovic. Gargano said that if you say their name, LeRae and Gargano, you will be taken out. A black and white evil filter went on the screen. LeRae complained about Mia Yim getting a chance to fight Charlotte Flair. LeRae said she had to fight Kazy Catanzaro. Gargano said Kacy is a Ninja and a Warrior. LeRae said she isn’t a Ninja or a warrior. Gargano said Catanzaro’s American at least (nice).
LeRae complained about Mia Yim getting chances that LeRae deserved. They did the black and white “dark” effect. Gargano complained about Keith Lee again. They did the dark filter effect with this too. Gargano said Lee may be the strongest man in NXT, but he’s not emotionally strong enough to challenge reality. LeRae said its time for the Garganos to show Yim and Lee what Glory is all about. Gargano said they will bask in the glory too…
The commentators advertised two more tournament matches next week as well as Io Shirai vs. Rhea Ripley…
John’s Thoughts: Good use of the cinematic, though they may have gone one or two more times than needed on the black and white filter. I believe Keith Lee and Mia Yim are dating, so are they going towards a battle between couples? What is a positive is Gargano starting to click as a heel on the mic. The ninja, warrior, and American line cracked me.
7. Matt Riddle vs. Timothy Thatcher. Riddle and Thatcher had a striking brawl to start the match. Riddle got to the ropes to block Thatcher’s grappling. Thatcher closed the gap to prevent Riddle’s Muay Thai. Thatcher dragged Riddle down with a head takedown. Riddle came back with a double leg takedown and forearms. Riddle passed the guard to get on Thatcher’s back. Thatcher got a one count, but then went to an armbar. Riddle kicked Thatcher and made him crumple to the outside.[c]
Thatcher kept Riddle under control with the high guard position and a vertical base. Thatcher locked Riddle in a reverse ankle lock. Riddle got to his feet and hit Thatcher with a punch combination. Riddle no sold a German Suplex and hit Thatcher with a knee. Thatcher came right back with a uppercut. Thatcher locked Riddle in a crossface. Riddle escaped. Thatcher escaped an Alabama Slam. Thatcher blocked Riddle’s Juji Gatame and got to the bottom rope for the break. Thatcher hit Riddle with knees then followed up with stiff slaps while mounting Riddle.
Riddle blocked Thatcher’s armbar and then deadlifted Thatcher into a power bomb. Riddle and Thatcher had a strong style sequence. Thatcher hit Riddle with stiff slaps. Thatcher reverse Riddle’s Pele Kick into a twisting ankle lock. Thatcher hit Riddle with a jumping gamengiri. Riddle came back with a GTS to leave both men lying. Thatcher got his legs up when Riddle went for the Corkscrew Moonsault. Riddle escaped an armbar. Riddle tried to yell “you’re not my bro”, but Thatcher dragged riddle in for a kneebar. Riddle tried his best to brawl out. Riddle wiggled his way to his feet and got Thatcher’s shoulders on the mat while still being submitted. Riddle picked up the pin.
Matt Riddle defeated Timothy Thatcher via pinfall in 8:48 of on-air TV Time.
Thatcher attacked RIddle after the match. Thatcher locked RIddle back in the Fujiwara Armbar with Riddle crying for mercy. Thatcher let go, but then went back to the Fujiwara Armbar on Riddle to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: I knew that both men were capable of a strong MMA style match, but that stuff was stellar. Maybe it’s not for all (those that prefer indie athletics as opposed to slower realistic fights), but I thought this was unique and greatness. I always say you don’t need blood to be violent, you just have to be stiff and snug. This match was stiff, snug, and technical. I liked the mental aspects to it in addition to the fury that both men sold. If we could get a 15 minute version of this at Takeover? Man! That would be great. Thatcher continuing to attack Riddle after the match tells me this isn’t over and it’s most likely going to continue at Takeover. Clever way to get Riddle out of the tag division, at least for now.
Another good episode of NXT. You can’t help but compare NXT to AEW and all I have to say is both are great shows that offer different flavors of pro wrestling. AEW is a better spectacle with bigger stars and brighter presentation. With NXT you get a better serialized show with lots of character depth and world building. I would also argue that the in-ring storytelling is better on NXT (but you do get flashier athleticism on AEW, which is a plus). Wednesdays are a great day for wrestling, even during a pandemic. I’ll be by tomorrow with my member’s exclusive Audio Review with more thoughts on this show. Have a good week and stay safe!