By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Taped last week in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Aired June 24, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] Mauro Ranallo introduced NXT and the show cut to footage of Damian Priest left lying at the edge of a car door. Cameron Grimes was shown running away and laughing before they showed Priest…
Mauro Ranallo and Beth Phoenix were on commentary…
Cameron Grimes made his entrance to the ring at Full Sail. Grimes joked about Priest not being able to make it to his scheduled match. Grimes said Priest deserves what happened to him because Priest sent Grimes into his match with Finn Balor with a broken jaw. Damian Priest stormed the ring and Grimes put the boots to Priest’s injured and taped up ribs. Priest got to his feet and agreed for the match to start.
1. Cameron Grimes vs. Damian Priest. Priest was dominating initially, but Grimes focused his strikes on Priest’s ribs. Grimes got Priest to his knees with a forearm to the back. Priest hit Grimes with a sitout chokeslam, but Priest also sold the pain due to the injured ribs. Grimes and Priest brawled at ringside. Priest went for a Razor’s Edge, but Priest’s ribs gave out. Grimes gave Priest a cave-in at ringside. Priest beat the ten count. Priest tried to get to his feet, but Grimes nailed Priest with the Cave In Stomp for the victory.
Cameron Grimes defeated Damian Priest via pinfall in 3:14.
Grimes gloated as he walked up the ramp…
Rhea Ripley was interviewed outside of Full Sail about Io Shirai. Before she could give a full answer, a coked out looking and disheveled looking Roberto Stone approached Rhea and told Rhea that Rhea broke his body and heart two weeks ago. Stone started making choo choo noises. Ripley gut punched Stone and press slammed him in a trash can. Aliyah yelled at Rhea and tried to defend Stone’s honor. This would lead to Rhea challenging Aliyah to a match…[c]
John’s Thoughts: I know it’s campy, but I’m really getting a kick out of Robert Stone’s version of the Hot Mess Laurel Van Ness gimmick (minus any form of projectile vomit). Back to Grimes v. Priest, I can’t say enough. NXT is really doing a solid job keeping Cameron Grimes in the mid-card, yet making the guy the most protected mid-carder in NXT. He’s always vulnerable, but he picks up a ton of wins over big stars on the brand.
They aired week 3 of the “Thatch as Thatch Can” Training Videos. Timothy Thatcher continued to overdo his training, this time using a kneebar and arm trap hold. Thatcher told the students to line up in front of him. He said the most important part of the training is they all had fun…
They aired a recap of Santos Escobar beating down Drake Maverick last week. They were calling Escobar’s faction “Legado Del Fantasma”…
2. NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar (w/Joaquin Wilde, Raul Mendoza) vs. Jake Atlas in a non-title match. Atlas managed to take down Escobar with a crossbody. Atlas continued on Escobar with punches and a chinlock. Mauro noted that Escobar disrespected Lucha Libre tradition by ditching his mask (despite him losing in AAA to LA Park where he had to lose his mask). Atlas continued to keep Escobar grounded with chops. Atlas hit Escobar with a huracanrana. Mendoza distracted Atlas at ringside, which allowed Escobar to shove Atlas off the apron and into the plexiglass. [c]
Escobar got a two count on Atlas after a one legged dropkick. Mendoza and Wilde mocked Atlas while Atlas was trapped in a ground press. Atlas kicked out at two after an Escobar back elbow. Escobar locked Atlas in a modified brutalizer. Atlas managed to get to his feet and land punches on Escobar. Atlas had a rally of offense. Atlas got a two count after a standing moonsault. Atlas hit Mendoza and Wilde with a moonsault after he dumped Escobar at ringside.
Atlas hit Esocabar with a face driver for a two count. Escobar crotched Atlas on the top rope. Escobar gave Atlas a knee, followed by the Phantom Driver (Thrill of the Hunt) for the win.
Santos Escobar defeated Jake Atlas via pinfall in 7:07 of on-air TV Time.
Mauro noted that the thrill of the hunt is still on the mind of Santos Escobar…
They cut over to the next part of the Undisputed Therapy segments. Dr. Kyle O’Reilly asked Roddy about his progress. Roddy talked about running in fear last week, but after isolating himself to get his mind straight he can finally face his fears. Bobby Fish and Adam Cole cheered on Strong. Strong turned around and found out that the doctor was Kyle O’Reilly. Fish, O’Reilly, and Cole put Strong in the trunk. Strong conquered his fear and got in and out of the trunk. The UE all cheered and Cole told Strong that he will conquer his other fear by beating Dexter Lumis later in the show. Strong acted fearful again…
A Tale of the Tape graphic aired for the North American Championship triple threat main event…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A good win for Escobar to establish his new run as the leader of the Legado Del Fantasma faction. Atlas losing nothing in the loss and looked pretty good during his time on offense. My guess is that Kushida will join Atlas and Maverick to try to overcome the heel trio.
Highlights from last week’s NXT Tag Team Championship match aired…
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Malcolm Bivens and Indus Sher. Bivens said he’s pissed off to a high level of “pissivity”. Bivens brought up how Rinku And Surav were attcked by Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch for no reason last week. Bivens said that if Bivens didn’t hold back Indus Sher, they would be in an ambulance. Rinku and Saurav both cut promos in their native language to end the segment…
A North American Championship triple threat hype package aired…[c]
The State Farm sponsored Highlight segments was Karrion Kross highlights through his run in NXT so far…
3. Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter vs. Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez. Mauro reminded viewers that Raquel Gonzalez has been dubbed “Big Mami Cool” by herself. Raquel took down Kayden with a choke sweep. Carter went for the Rey Fenix tightrope armdrag, Gonzalez kept a wide base to block the armdrag. Catanzaro tagged in and Gonzalez no sold her offense. Gonzalez rolled off the back of Carter to avoid being tossed out of the ring. Gonzalez continued to dominate both opponents single handedly. Kai tagged in, which allowed Catanzaro go get a two count.
Kai hit Catanzaro with a knee for a two count. Gonzalez and Kai then traded quick tags to keep Catanzaro under control. Catanzaro tagged in Carter who rallied at Kai with strikes and a dropkick. Kai escaped a Carter victory roll, but took the superkick for a two count. Carter hit Kai with a bottom rope face wash for a two count. Kai surprised Carter with a scorpion kick. Catanzaro tagged in and gave Kai a huracanrana. Gonzalez tagged in and no sold Catanzaro and Carter’s offense. Gonzalez cleared Carter from the ring and slammed Catanzaro impressively, like a glove, with a delayed swingeing chokeslam. Dakota Kai locked in her submission finisher for the win on Catanzaro.
Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez defeated Kazy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter via pinfall in 4:13.
Dakota Kai went to the camera and addressed Io Shirai. She said that the Women’s Championship is in her crosshairs…
Bronson Reed was shown getting ready outside of Full Sail…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A really well done enhancement match. Raquel Gonzalez stood out an a great way when she was in the ring, no-selling all the offense of the smaller wrestlers. Kai does a great job to with the character work and allowing the opponents to get their hope spots in. I wouldn’t mind seeing Kai and Gonzalez get a run with the WWE Women’s Tag belts if they’re willing to have those titles in NXT? I also would recommend that a lot of big men monster heels, who want to be big men monster heels, check out Raquel Gonzalez’s work because she’s got the big man monster heel work down to a T.
[Hour Two] Karrion Kross and Scarlett [Bordeaux] made their entrance….
4. Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett) vs. Bronson Reed. Reed managed to get Kross off his feet with a running axe handle strike. Kross quickly gained control and got Reed to his knees with forearms. Kross tossed Reed with an Exploder Suplex. Reed fought back with punches and an enzuigiri. Reed then hit Kross with a German Release Suplex. Kross fired up and the two men had a strong style fighting spirit exchange. Kross would roar after every strike from Reed. Kross slowed Reed down after a Northern Lights and a shortarm lariat. Kross hit Reed with a Doomsday Saito. Kross locked in the Kross Jacket on Reed for the submission win.
Karrion Kross defeated Bronson Reed via submission in 2:22.
McKenzie Mitchell asked Adam Cole backstage who he would want to face in terms of the North American Championship triple threat. Cole said some people would pick the easiest opponent, but Cole said he doesn’t care. Cole said he only is worried about making room on his mantle for one more championship…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Good stuff in yet another Kross squash, and I don’t mind Reed getting a good amount of offense in. It allowed Kross to exhibit that sadistic roar in a match. Kross continues to look strong and it looks like Adam Cole has no chance whenever they put him in the ring against Kross.
A Mercedes Martinez return vignette aired. The vignette said that Martinez was “coming soon”…
5. Rhea Ripley vs. Aliyah (w/Robert Stone). Mauro said Stone looks a bit better this week. Beth said she thinks Stone found a lint roller. Aliyah quickly ran away at the start of the match. Rhea caught Aliyah and tossed her with a gutwrench toss. Ripley dropkicked Aliyah to send her into retreat. Aliyah yanked Ripley’s head into the top rope. Ripley caught a flying Aliyah. Aliyah escaped. Aliyah staggered Ripley with a gut to the stomach. Ripley hit Aliyah with a series of clinch knee strikes. Aliyah kicked out of Ripley’s pin. Stone tried to tell Aliyah that “it’s all in your mind” and to focus.
Ripley gave Aliyah a big boot. Ripley locked Aliyah in the prism trap. Robert Stone got on the apron and threw a shoe at Ripley, causing Phoenix to say the Austin Powers Line of “Who throws a shoe?”. Ripley chased Stone away from the ring. Aliyah tried to take advantage of the distraction, but all she took was a Rip Tide for the loss.
Rhea Ripley defeated Aliyah via pinfall in 3:08.
The commentators advertised Roderick Strong vs. Dexter Lumis for after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: I’m not totally against keeping Ripley in a comedy feud with Robert Stone. She picked up a badass win here, overcoming the lame interference. Ripley needs to rebuild herself a bit after being taken down a few notches after her loss to Charlotte. I’m saying that I don’t mind seeing Ripley build herself away from the title picture before ultimately getting the belt back.
Creepy ass Sam Shaw made his entrance. He goes by Dexter Lumis now. Roderick Strong tried to run away, but Bobby Fish escorted Strong to the ring and hyped up Strong…
6. Dexter Lumis vs. Roderick Strong (w/Bobby Fish). Strong failed to get in the ring after the bell, causing Fish to give him more encouragement. Strong tried to strike a fighting pose, but was just wobbling around, acting scared of Lumis. Strong ran away and stalled for about a minutes Lumis finally made it to ringside. Strong tried to run away, but he ran into plexiglass. Roderick Strong ran to the back. Dexter won via countout.
Dexter Lumis defeated Roderick Strong via countout in 1:55.
Lumis surprised Fish by locking him in the Kata Gatame after the match. Fish also bolted to the back after he escaped the hold…
Robert Stone was chatting with William Regal via facetime. Stone requested an Aliyah and Ripley rematch. William Regal booked an Aliyah and Robert Stone vs. Rhea Ripley handicap match. Stone said if he wrestles then if Ripley loses Stone will have to join the Robert Stone Brand. William Regal wasn’t going to grant it, but Ripley put her hand on Stone’s shoulder and accepted the stipulation. Regal booked the handicap match for next week…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Not the biggest fan of what they did with Roddy and Fish there. I got a kick out of the Undisputed Therapy segments, but that match was a joke dragged out for a minute longer than it should. Last time we saw Lumis and Strong, they had one hell of a match. I get that this was an angle, but I’m not sure what story this angle actually progresses. Aren’t we supposed to be booking towards Velveteen Dream and Dexter Lumis going after the tag titles?
William Regal announced Dakota Kai vs. Candice LeRae vs. Tegan Nox vs. Mia Yimin a number one contenders match for who would face Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s Championship. Mauro Ranallo noted the match was happening next week…
Beth Phoenix announced Dexter Lumis vs. Roderick Strong in a strap match for next week…
Entrance for the NXT North American Championship main event took place. Alicia Taylor handled the formal ring introductions…
7. Keith Lee vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Finn Balor for the NXT North American Championship. Lee manhandled the smaller Gargano and Balor; tossing them around and giving them strikes.[c]
Balor and Gargano continued to be swatted away by Lee. Lee hit Gargano with a Grizzly Magnum. Lee tossed away Balor during a Sleeper attempt. Lee did the same to Gargano. Balor went back to the sleeper and got Lee to one knee. Balor gave Gargano and Lee forearms. Lee was wobbling, but he remained on his feet during Balor’s flurry. Lee recovered and carried both men, nailing both men with a double belly to belly. Lee no sold Gargano’s chop block.
Balor went back to the sleeper while Gargano locked in a heel hook. Lee continued to shrug them off. Balor suprised Lee out of nowhere by turning the corner and planting Lee with a Sling Blade. Gargano hit Lee with a Cannonball from the apron. Balor and Gargano tossed Lee into the steel steps to leave Lee lying heading into the break. [c]
John’s Thoughts: Good stuff from Lee so far! Lee’s usually flying around and doing plancha’s, but in this match he’s doing some really good Super Heavyweight storytelling in the ring. This reminded me of some of the great super heavyweight work I was seeing from Big Show and Mark Henry around 2010 when they were telling their best stories in the ring.
Next Week’s NXT episode was being billed as the return of the Great American Bash. Back to the show, Balor was tossing around Gargano with Irish Whips. Gargano hit Balor with a slingshot spear for a two count. Gargano worked on Balor with a series of chops. Balor blocked a Gargano slingshot DDT with a European uppercut. Balor kept Lee grounded with Tope Con Hilo. Balor hit Gargano with an Eye of the Hurricane for the two count. Balor nailed Gargano with the Sling Blade.
Lee did his rising GIF shot behind Balor when Balor tried to hit Gargano with a Shotgun Dropkick. Lee hit Gargano and Balor with a slingshot crossbody. Balor recovered and tripped up Lee. Balor hit Lee with a standing double stomp. Balor escaped a Lee Electric Chair and put Lee in the Sleeper Hold. Gargano hit Lee with a kick to help Balor get Lee to the ground.
Gargano hit Balor with the One Final Beat DDT. Lee broke up the pin by pulling Gargano away. Gargano hit Lee with a Tornado DDT, but Lee rolled to ringside. Gargano hit Lee with a suicide dive. Balor caught Gargano during Gargano’s Tope attempt. Lee broke up that move by hitting both opponents with a Pounce. Balor used a stomp to escape a Spirit Bomb from Lee. Gargano blocked Balor’s shotgun dropkick with a superkick. Balor shotgun dropkicked Gargano into Lee. Lee and Balor brawled to the top rope.
Gargano tried to get the win with a leverage pin. Lee hit Gargano with the Big Bang Catastrophe. Balor tried to hit Lee in the back with a Coup de Grace, but Lee saw it coming and stepped aside, causing Balor to hit Gargano with the finisher. Lee hit Balor with the Big Bang Catastrophe for the clean win.
Keith Lee defeated Finn Balor and Johnny Gargano via pinfall in 12:26 of on-air TV Time to retain the NXT North American Championship.
Adam Cole entered the ring to face off with Keith Lee. Both men held up their titles at each other. The Championship match graph flashed on the big screen. Mauro closed the show hyping next week’s winner-takes-all match…
John’s Thoughts: This was a fun triple threat match that I thought could have used a full Full Sail Crowd (or at least some louder developmental students. For some reason they weren’t as loud as last week). Lee got to work with two lighter opponents this week as opposed to his usual multi person match involving agile heavyweights. Lee did well here, playing the big giant that Balor and Gargano had to take down. I’m a bit surprised that they put over Lee so strong in the end, but I shouldn’t given how high WWE has been on Lee throughout 2019-2020.
Because Lee broke Kross’s hourglass last week, I’m expecting him to get involved in next week’s Championship match, but NXT is also not prone to doing contrived “pro wrestling” parity finishes like we see on the main roster, so I think we can also see Cole or Lee winning both titles. Either scenario can happen because NXT has done a great job not making their big matches predictable. It’s not a Takeover though, so a fluky finish is not out of the question. A good episode of NXT again. The show’s just been consistantly good. This did seem a bit down from the last few weeks in terms of gratifying content, but it’s not like it was a bad thing. This show kinda just few by, and that’s a positive. It was a good flying by. I’ll be by tomorrow with my member’s exclusive NXT Audio Review. Jason Powell will be by too with his Hit List of the NXT show.