By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Taped earlier today in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Aired May 27, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] Tom Phillips, Mauro Ranallo, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary. NXT was going with the plexiglass setup with wrestlers providing crowd reactions…
1. Kushida vs. Jake Atlas vs. Drake Maverick in the tiebreaker match of Group A in the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament. Atlas got a two count on Maverick early on after a backbreaker. Atlas caught Kushida with a Golden Triangle moonsault. Atlas nailed Maverick with a high flying slingshot Blockbuster for a two count. Kushida recovered and hit Atlas with his signature basement dropkick. He then hit Maverick with a PK. Atlas suplexed Kushida who suplexed Maverick at the same time. Maverick’s and Atlas’s shoulders were on the mat and they kicked out of Kushida’s pin. [c]
Maverick and Atlas had a strong style punch exchange. Maverick managed to nail Kushida and Atlas with a face wash knee. Kushida knocked Atlas off the apron with his handspring boot. He then hit Atlas with a top rope cannonball to ringside. Kushida locked in the Juji Gatame on Maverick and Maverick almost beat Kushida the same way he did last week from the same position. Atlas hit Kushida with an inverted Suplex for a two count. Maverick hit Atlas with the Underdog (Dudley Dog). Kushida broke the pin.
Maverick no sold Kushida’s Kawada kicks, but was knocked out by a Haymaker. Atlast planed Kushida with a German Suplex. Atlas hit Maverick (barely) with the Rainbow DDT. Kushida broke up that pin. Atlas knocked out Kushida with a pump kick. Atlas and Kushida brawled to the top rope. Maverick punched Atlas to ringside. Kushida locked Maverick a bit in the Hoverboard Lock. Atlas quickly broke up the lock. Kushida hit Atlas with an armbreaker.
Kushida locked Atlas in the Super Juji Gatame. Maverick slipped his hand over Atlas and Kushida and picked up the pinfall since both opponents had their shoulders on the mat.
Drake Maverick defeated Kushida and Jake Atlas via pinfall in 7:53 of on-air TV Time to win Group A of the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament.
Drake Maverick celebrated and stood next to the Cruiserweight Championship podium. El Hijo Del Fantasma walked out to give Maverick a handshake…
Tom Phillips announced Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai at In Your House for the NXT Women’s Championship. Phillips also announced Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair and a mystery partner for later in this show. Phillips noted that it might be hard for Charlotte to find a partner given how she’s been acting on all the shows…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A very good and fast paced match. Having the crowd really helped this match and give it good energy. Small gripe, but I thought the crowd should have been more fired up for Drake Maverick during the match given Maverick’s situation and the fact that they can control the narrative as wrestlers. Just a small nipick. Anyway, Maverick’s battle for his career has been a fun ride and is still going. The threat of the ending being melancholy makes it even more intriguing.
Timothy Thatcher was chatting with Referee Kurt Angle backstage over the rules of the match…
Tom Phillips showed a replay that revealed that Jake Atlas tapped out, but the referee’s decision will stand given that Maverick also has a legit claim to the win…
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae made their entrance to boos. Gargano told the PC wrestlers that they are working here because of Gargano. Gargano joked about a lot of people around here being good hands. Gargano said he started out when he was given an opportunity and has made it to the top. Gargano said he’s announcing the “Johnny Gargano Invitational”, which got boos. Gargano offered a young star a chance to wrestle him and said it could be anyone in the crowd. Candice LeRae had a paper which said that Adrian Alanis is Gargano’s opponent…
2. Johnny Gargano vs. Adrian Alanis . Beth noted that Alanis is an Evolve wrestler that we’ve seen before. Alanis got a little bit of a rally, but Gargano quickly regained control after a superkick. Gargano locked in the GargaNo Escape for the victory.
Johnny Gargano defeated Adrian Alanis via submission in 0:45.
Mia Yim and Keith Lee showed up on the big screen in a spoof of the Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae dinner table segments. Lee gave Yim fake flowers. Yim said the fake flowers were fake and artificial, like the Garganos. Yim used a flash light to mock the Gargano “brooding” segments during the segments. Keith Lee broke the fourth wall and said that the dark filter thing was stupid. Yim told Lee to try. Lee did and acted like he was Gargano, saying that Gargano
Yim said it was time to eat LeRae’s favourite food, takeout. Tegan Nox entered the room and Lee joked about Nox somehow having a key. Nox ate one of the three pieces in the box. Yim and Lee then talked to the camera and said it’s not about the Gargano way, but about making the Garganos pay for trying to attack Yim…
John’s Thoughts: Nice seeing some range from Lee and I liked him lampshading the weird parts about the Gargano dinner segments. Yim came off as very natural too. She’s come a long way since her very inorganic and nervous “Jade” days.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Drake Maverick about the replay showing that Jake Atlas tapped out. Maverick said he’s ok with having another match. Kushida told Maverick that he put up a good fight and he deserves to wrestle for the title. Kushida pat Maverick in the chest and told him “Gambatte!” (You can do this!). Maverick said “when” he wins the title, he’s giving Kushida the first title shot. Kushida nodded and walked away. Maverick was emotional afterward over making it to the final…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Awwww. I always like me some wholesome in my pro wrestling. That segment made me smile. It helps with Kushida throwing out the “You can do this!”/”Gambatte!” line. Fantasma is probably winning and revealing he’s the heel leader of the Samoa Joe kidnap ninjas, right?
Imperium, Marcel Barthel and Fabien Aichner, cut a promo about being new champions. They talked about how neither them or Walter are losing the title. Barthel said this is the era of Imperium. Aichner noted that the ring is sacred to them…
Shotzi Blackheart made her entrance in her toy tank…
3. Shotzi Blackheart vs. Raquel Gonzalez (w/Dakota Kai). Gonzalez overpowered Shotzi early on with the collar and elbow. Gonzalez took down Blackheart with shortarm shoulder tackles, with trash talk. Blackheart landed a few shortarm boots. Gonzalez blocked a huracanrana and Sunset Flip. Blackheart avoided an elbow from Gonzalez. Blackheart took down Gonzalez with a Question Mark kick and Enzuigiri. Gonzalez slammed Blackheart to the mat. Kai tried to drive the toy tank away and trash it, but Tegan Nox ran out and tossed Kai out of the tank (Great bump by Kai).[c]
Gonzalez continued to work her monster heel offense. She hit Blackheart with a Power Slam. Gonzalez hit Blackheart with a pendulum backbreaker. Blackheart tripped Gonzalez on the second rope. Blackheart hit Gonzalez with a senton. Blackheart then (botched) a trust dive fall on Kai and Gonzalez. Kai and Gonzalez did their best to cover it up. Candice LeRae ran out to complain with Tegan Nox, presumably for participating in the skit earlier. The ref was distracted which allowed Kai to crotch Blackheart on the top rope for the win.
Raquel Gonzalez defeated Shotzi Blackheart via pinfall in 5:42 of on-air TV time.
Tom Phillips announced Finn Balor vs. Damian Priest at Takeover: In Your House. A Damian Priest and Finn Balor video package aired…
Phillips noted that Flair and mystery partner vs. Shirai and Ripley was after the break…
An ad aired for Takeover: In Your House…[c]
John’s Thoughts: More good monster heel stuff from Raquel Gonzalez. A lot of monster heels should look at some of the simple and efficient work she does. A good match that pushes things forward, but that trust fall botch was a bit scary. That’s kinda what I’ve gotten used to seeing with Shotzi Blackheart over the years and it’s usually due to her trying to go above and beyond. sometimes leading to an injury.
During Io Shirai’s entrance Mauro Ranallo acknowledged the death of Hana Kimura and noted that cyberbullying is something that shouldn’t be initiated. Chelsea Green was revealed as Charlotte’s tag partner…
4. Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai vs. Charlotte Flair and Chelsea Green (w/Robert Stone). Io Shirai was back to wearing her Kamen Rider Zero One color scheme. Green and Ripley started off the match. Green dodged the lockup with a judo roll. Ripley blocked a punch and gave Green a thurst kick and face bust slam. Ripley knocked Ripley off the apron. Green pulled Ripley’s hair, but Ripley escaped and tagged in Shirai. Shirai did a backflip into a dropkick into Green.
Shirai hit Green with her wrecking ball meteora. Green tossed Shirai outside and hit Shirai with a suicide dive (both sequences looking a bit rough). Shirai hit Green with a scary looking crossbody tope. Green gave Shirai an irish whip into the barricade.[c]
[Hour Two] Flair had Shirai in a headlock back from the break. Flair was giving Shirai chops, but she accidentally gave Green a chop. Flair and Green ended up double teaming Shirai once Flair fired up Ripley. Shirai escaped the corner by giving Green a crossbody. Ripley gave Green clinch knees and a dropkick. Flair broke up Ripley’s pin attempt on Green after an Electric Chair slam. Flair kicked Ripley and locked in the figure four. Shirai dropkicked Flair off. Shirai gave Flair a huracanrana and meteora.
Flair kicked out at two. Flair backdroped Shirai, but Shirai followed through into a double stomp after a rollup. Shirai gave Flair a 619. Green took a bullet for Flair by taking Shirai’s dropkick. Shirai accidentally knocked Ripley off the apron. Flair picked up the pinfall win with her feet on the ropes. :
Charlotte Flair and Chelsea Green defeated Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley via pinfall in 8:18 of on-air TV Time.
John’s Thoughts: There’s a part of me that liked that finish. I was afraid that with Green being put in the match, she was the fall girl for Flair, but they ended up protecting both Flair and Green in that match. The match was a bit rough though at some points. Ripley and Shirai are also really cold on their end heading into the championship triple threat, and this is odd given how over both Ripley and Shirai were at points before WrestleMania.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Candice LeRae and Johnny Gargano about Keith Lee and Mia Yim’s entertaining skit. The Garganos yelled at McKenzie for calling it entertaining. LeRae challenged Yim to a match next week and said that Tegan Nox should be ashamed for taking part in the skit…
Referee Kurt Angle was talking over the match rules with Matt Riddle…
Beth Phoenix advertised a William Regal and Adam Cole segment for later…[c]
Tom Phillips sent things to an Adam Cole and William Regal skype call. Cole bragged about being the longest reigning NXT Champion of all time. Cole said his celebration was put on ice this week due to Velveteen Dream’s attack last week. Regal wanted Cole to get to the point. Cole demanded that Undisputed Era get a fair chance at the NXT Tag Championships. Cole also wanted Velveteen Dream out of Cole’s business. Regal said Cole is all about Cole. Regal said that he’s expecting Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream at In Your House. Cole called Dream a narcissist.
Regal said he agrees with Cole, but Cole also craves the spotlights. Cole was disgusted and insulted for being compared to Dream. Cole said he is the cornerstone of NXT and UE makes Regal’s company look good. Regal said they are supposed to discuss something and Cole should stop acting like a “baybay”. Cole said that was the best joke Regal told since being a “man’s man”. Cole asked for a match with Dream and if Cole wins then Dream will not get another shot at the championship. Regal agreed to the match and said it would happen at a location of Regal’s choosing during the In Your House show. Cole was happy and he hung up…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Good usage of low resolution Skype footage. Also good to see William Regal in a confrontation with a heel. Regal was really good during the early days of NXT when he would have his feuds with people like Cesaro or Kassius Ohno.
An Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch documentary style video package aired. They talked about their backgrounds. Both men agreed that their careers changed when they wrestled each other in a series of matches. Burch said it’s like looking in the mirror wrestling Lorcan, except he thinks Burch looks better. Both men went to a cafe and joked about each other’s attire. Danny Burch talked about why he mocked Imperium last week and how he and Lorcan are going to take the titles off of Imperium…
John’s Thoughts: One of the better character pieces this team has been given. Danny Burch showed off some good personality in that video. There was a little bit of a Jason Statham vibe to him.
Tom Phillips announced Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream for the NXT Championship
Designated WWE Enhancement Wrestler Leon Ruff was in the ring. Tommaso Ciampa made his entrance. Scarlett [Bordeaux] showed up at the ramp to watch Ciampa’s match..
5. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Leon Ruff. Ruff went for a rollup while Ciampa was distracted. Ciampa quickly gained control and took down Ruff with a jumping knee. Ciampa blew a kiss at Scarlett and gave Ruff the Fairy Tale ending for the win.
Tommaso Ciampa defeated Leon Ruff via pinfall in 1:16.
Ciampa and Scarlett stared at each other before Scarlett left up the ramp. Karrion Kross appeared, close up, on the video wall. Kross said he agreed with what Ciampa said, Ciampa is a special person. Kross said at Takeover he’s going to make Ciampa feel something he’s never felt in his life. Kross ended the promo by saying “tick tock”.
Tom Phillips hyped up the Timothy Thatcher vs. Matt Riddle Fight Pit match for after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Simple and effective stuff to lead to what should either be a Kross win or thrashing for Ciampa. Scarlett continues to show the most charisma in this act, but Kross has just started in NXT and has plenty to show off once he gets in a serious match or gets more promo time.
Tom Phillips announced Drake Maverick vs. El Hijo Del Fantasma for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship next week. Tom Phillips also announced NXT Prime Target for next week to hype up the upcoming takeover show…
The camera focused on the fight pit structure, which was a cage with a lot of scaffolding and no ring ropes. Kurt Angle made his entrance to You Suck chants from the Performance Center trainees. A video package aired, recapping the Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher feud…
Mauro Ranallo went over the Tale of the Tape for both men…
John’s Thoughts: Hearing Mauro announce a Tale of the Tape makes me feel nostalgic as if I’m watching a Strikeforce or EliteXC show on Showtime.
6. Matt Riddle vs. Timothy Thatcher in a Fight Pit match (w/Kurt Angle as special guest referee). Riddle and Thatcher jumped from the scaffoled to the floor with Riddle landing a forearm after a judo roll. Riddle ran off the cage to reverse a Thatcher suplex. Riddle gave Thatcher a Suplex. Riddle hit Thatcher with a few sentons. Riddle then hit Thatcher with a cool looking, wall running jump kick. Thatcher beat the ten count, but Thatcher spat out blood and presumably some teeth. The NXT doctors showed up to check up on Thatcher’s mouth. The doctor said that the match can continue if Thatcher thinks he can fight. Thatcher said he can fight.[c]
John’s Thoughts: This match is good so far, but there’s a part of we that wanted the return of Ken Shamrock’s Lion’s Den structure. Not a big deal, because this structure is badass too.
Riddle dominated Thatcher from the guard position. Thatcher used a wristlock to escape the guard. Riddle went for a wall run punch and was caught by Thatcher. Thatcher tossed Riddle with a suplex. Thatcher then locked Riddle in a single leg crab. Thatcher locked Riddle in a STF and then went to boots on Riddle, against the cage. Thatcher hit Riddle with a Butterfly Suplex into a sleeper. Riddle reversed into the rear mount. Thatcher escaped Riddle’s hold by twisting Riddle’s toes. Mauro noted that Riddle wrestles barefoot.
Riddle managed to get the upper hand in a ground and pound. Thatcher reversed into a triangle armbar. Thatcher reversed a power bomb by climbing the elevated platform of the cage. Thatcher and Riddle then brawled from the second story of the platform. Riddle got Thatcher to his knees with roundhouse kicks. Thatcher locked an ankle lock on Riddle with Riddle dangling off the platform. Riddle crashed and burned off a running senton on the platform. Thatcher suplexed Riddle on the platform.
Thatcher teased a butterfly suplex off the platform, but Riddle escaped and gave Thatcher a V Trigger. Thatcher fell to the floor. Riddle gave Thatcher a corkscrew moonsault from the platform to the ring. Riddle held on to the cage to support his roundhouses. Thatcher avoided riddle, sending him into the cage. Thatcher slammed Riddle into the cage and went for the Sleeper. Riddle slammed Thatcher around the ring and gave Thatcher a senton, but Thatcher didn’t let go. Riddle was heaving a bit. Riddle faded away, Kurt Angle lifted Riddle’s hand three times, and Riddle didn’t respond. Mauro noted that this was a technical knockout.
Timothy Thatcher defeated Matt Riddle via TKO in 10:59 of on-air TV Time.
Tom Phillips narrated the recap of the high spots from the match. Thatcher stood tall, gloating on top of the platform while Riddle was selling the agony of defeat in the ring…
John’s Thoughts: Yo man! That was some sweet stuff right there. Definitely one of my favorite matches of 2020. While the pseudo-MMA style may not be for all, I think the Fight Pit structure and the fast pace was high enough to keep everyone interested. I haven’t seen wrestling like this since watching all of those warehouse matches in Los Angeles for Lucha Underground. I kinda want more of this. Can we get Brock Lesnar vs. Matt Riddle in a fight pit? Can we get Timothy Thatcher vs. Karrion Kross in a Fight Pit? Hell, Ricochet vs. El Hijo Del Fantasma (who have fought in the warehouse) can tear the house down in this match. Can’t you tell that I really like this match? In all seriousness though, Karrion Kross is someone who will really thrive in that setting.
Maybe I’m overblowing it a bit, but the realistic fighting really appeals to me because of being a martial arts practitioner. That combined with a good show. Combine that with an actual crowd. This was probably the best NXT show during the COVID era of wrestling. Drake Maverick is still wrestling too! Maybe I can talk myself down during my member’s exclusive audio review. Maybe Jason Powell liked it less than I did. You can check out his Hit List which will come out when he watches the show…