By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Taped July 15, 2020 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Aired July 22, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] NXT started off with William Regal introducing Keith Lee via Skype/Zoom. They cut to Keith Lee’s feed. Lee addressed his path to becoming double champion as well as the passing of his trainer Tim Brooks. Lee talked about how he’s not going to be “limiting” the opportunities for other people. Lee said he’ll defend the NXT Championship regularly but will relinquish the NXT North American championship.
The show cut back to William Regal, where Regal announced a series of triple threat matches that will allow wrestlers to qualify for a match at NXT Takeover on August 22 where the vacant NXT North American Championship will be on the line…
Mauro Ranallo, Tom Phillips, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary…
Creepy ass Samuel Shaw made his entrance. Of course he goes by the name Dexter Lumis now…
1. Dexter Lumis vs. Killian Dain. Dain took down Lumis a few times with tackles. Lumis responded with his snake slither crawl. Lumis used his sliding to prevent any force form Dain’s tackles. Lumis gave Dain a series of punches. Dain tried to Irish Whip Lumis into the steps, but Lumis did a clear dive over the steps. Dain got Lumis to the floor with one of his signature crossbodies. Dain draped Lumis on the second rope and gave Lumis a guillotine leg drop for the two count. The show cut to picture in picture commercial.[c]
Lumis fought out of a wristlock with a right hand. Lumis then acted like he was liking it when Lumis was punching him. Dain yelled “Boot!” and gave Lumis a pump kick. Lumis recovered and hit Dain with a Spinebuster. Lumis took Dain down with a Thesz Press. Lumis caught Dain with a Saito Suplex and legdrop for a two count. Dain caught Lumis with a cannonball and elbow drop. Lumis recovered and hit Dain with his sitout uranage. Dain and Lumis brawled to the top rope. Lumis shoved Dain off. Lumis hit Dain with a Swanton Bomb. Dain hit Lumis with the sitout Uranage. Lumis locked Dain in the Kata Gatame. The ref called for the bell when Dain passed out.
Dexter Lumis defeated Killian Dain via ref stoppage in 10:42.
John’s Thoughts: Lumis is continuing to improve every time he gets put in these longer matches. I wonder how far he goes especially since he’s a babyface and you would think his serial killer character would be better as a heel. As for Dain, the guy’s really good in the ring and can talk. Dain has also showed on social media that he can be a fun person too if that’s the route they want to go with him. I think they can definitely use him at a higher spot than as undercard gatekeeper.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Roderick Strong about being in a triple threat to qualify for the North American Championship match at takeover. Strong said the Undisputed Era is about to get back on track and Strong shouldn’t have to qualify because Lee owes Strong a title match.
Dakota Kai cut a selfie promo (while wearing a Stardom shirt). Kai bragged about kicking Io Shirai in the face and mentioned how she’s coming after the championship…[c]
Chase Parker and Matt Martel made their entrance looking like they were jobber versions of the Young Bucks (I joke). Speaking of joking, This week’s Breezango stripper routine was as Canadian mountie strippers…
2. “Breezango” Tyler Breeze and Fandango vs. “Ever Rise” Chase Parker and Matt Martel. Breeze took down one of the ever rise guys with a shoulder tackle. It was parker. Parker then acted afraid every time Breeze would tease a supermodel kick. Martel chanted Defense like he was at a basketball game. Breeze clocked him with a kick. The distracton allowed Parker to put the boots to Breeze. Martel put the boots to Breeze at ringside. Martel tagged in and worked on Breeze a bit. Breeze escaped a Parker suplex and tagged in Dango. Dango hit Parker with a series of chops and a back body drop.
Dango hit Martel with a Russian Legsweep. Dango put on the mountie hat and did a Mountie Dive to Ever Rise at ringside. Breezango hit both opponents with stereo superkicks. Breeze pinned one of the guys for the victory.
Breezango defeated Ever Rise via pinfall in 3:31.
Tom Phillips checked in from the on-site commentary table where Phillips hyped up the qualifying matches for the title Keith Lee vacated…
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Dominik Dijakovic about being attacked by Karrion Kross last week. Dijak said Kross slammed Dijak’s head into the concrete, but this week Dijak is going to smash his fist, knee, and elbow into Kross…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Didn’t Breezango’s stripper act and YouTube videos jump the shark way before they returned to NXT? I have no clue why they’re so stubborn with changing up Fandango and Breeze after all this time, especially when they can’t fall back on the YouTube hits this time as an excuse. Heck, I thought Breeze was doing pretty well when they were presenting him as the veteran of NXT, right before Dango returned.
A tweet from Io Shirai was shown saying that Shirai sees Kai’s message…
3. Shotzi Blackheart vs. Aliyah (w/Robert Stone). Blackheart gave Aliyah a series of forearms. Blackheart yelled “welcome to the ball pit” right before giving Aliyah the double foot drop to the gut. Stone distracted Blackheart which allowed Aliyah to hit Shotzi with a running facebuster. Aliyah hit Shotzi with a boot to the back of the neck. Aliyah hit Shotzi with a nice snap suplex into a Northern Lights for a two count. Blackheart recovered and gave Aliyah some right hands. Shotzi gave Aliyah a corner tackle and Sling Blade Bulldog.
Shotzi hit Aliyah with a switchblade kick and Suplex. Aliyah kicked out at two. Blackheart stunned Aliyah with a Saito Suplex. Robert Stone got on the apron and was clocked with a pump kick by Shotzi. Shotzi Blackheart hit Aliyah with a diving senton for the victory.
Shotzi Blackheart defeated Aliyah via pinfall in 4:38.
Robert Stone fell down like a cartoon character. Of course, this allowed Blackheart to run over Stone’s foot with her toy tank. Out of nowhere, Mercedes Martinez tackled Blackheart and left Blackheart lying…
Tom Phillips hyped up The North American Championship qualifyer…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Robert Stone was starting to win me over with the drunk and disheveled act, but I’m already starting to grow tired of the revamp of his old Robbie E character from Bro Mans. I think there’s some potential for a good program between Shotzi and Mercedes Martinez though. I don’t think Blackheart was harmed either because this comedy sidetrack has allowed Shotzi to showcase her unique and fun personality.
An Isaiah Swerve Scott interviewed aired. Scott talked about how he gained confidence as a kid when dancing to music. He talked about his biggest confidence booster as a kid was when he sung Billie Jean in front of his classmates as a kid. Scott compared wrestling to recording songs in a recording studio. Scott said he took Gargano to the limit and that match is a step towards being a champion. Scott talked about Santos Escobar calling himself untouchable, but Scott is the only person to beat Escobar in WWE…
4. Johnny Gargano vs. Bronson Reed vs. Roderick Strong in a triple threat match to qualify for the NXT North American Championship match at Takeover. Gargano and Strong bickered at ringside. Gargano tried to get Strong to team up against Reed because Reed was bigger. Reed dragged both opponents in the ring and was manhandling them. Strong went for an Olympic Slam, but to no success. Gargano clocked Strong with a superkick and was shoved by Read heading into regular commercial. [c]
[Hour Two] Reed went for a dive but was caught by Roderick Strong’s Sick Kick. Gargano and Strong took turns giving Reed punches in the corner. Strong and Gargano then took turns giving Reed chops in the corner. Reed used strikes to fight off his opponents but they both managed to get Reed to a knee again. Reed turned the tables with headbutts and a hip attack on his opponents. Strong came right back with a leg lariat. Strong reversed Reed. Gargano catapulted Strong into Reed’s balls. Gargano caught Strong with a slingshot spear and caught Reed with a suicide dive.
Gargano went for another slingshot spear on Strong, but Strong countered it into one of his signature backbreakers. Reed hit Strong with a few forearms, an atomic drop, and a bionic elbow. Reed then gave Strong a uranage onto a held Gargano. Out of nowhere, Strong managed to nail Reed with an Angle Slap. Gargano tossed Strong outside and got a two count on Reed. Strong recovered and gave Gargano a backbreaker.
Reed was tangled in the ropes and took a series of Strong drive by punches. Strong and Gargano brawled at ringside. Reed took down both opponents with a dive heading into a second commercial. [c]
Reed fought off Gargano and Strong with a lariat. Strong fended off Reed and Gargano with boots. Reed got both Gargano and Strong into a Fireman Carry and hit both opponents with a single Samoan Drop. Reed got a two count on Gargano. Reed gave Strong a few right hands on the top rope. Gargano tripped Reed off the top rope and started giving Reed strikes. Strong and Gargano brawled on the top rope. Reed put Gargano in an electric chair. Gargano reversed a Doomsday Device with a Poison Rana on Reed, which ducked Strong.
Strong caught Gargano with a knee and Gargano broke up the pin on Reed with a superkick on Strong. Strong gave Reed a jumping knee on the apron which Gargano seamlessly transitioned into a huge power bomb on Reed to the ringside floor. Strong caught Gargano with a knee and Flapjack slam. Gargano kicked out at two. Gargano reversed Strong’s Tiger Driver with a hruacanrana. Strong quickly escaped a GargaNo Escape.
Gargano tossed Strong into the second rope like a lawn dart. Strong countered Gargano into a gutbuster. Gargano caught Strong out of nowhere with the One Final Beat DDT. Before Gargano could crawl over to Strong, but Reed hit Stron with a top rope splash. Reed picked up the pinfall win on Strong.
Bronson Reed defeated Roderick Strong and Johnny Gargano via pinfall in 14:01 of on-air time to earn a spot in the Takeover North American Championship match…
Highlights from Timothy Thatcher vs. Oney Lorcan from a few weeks aired. Phillips hyped Lorcan vs. Thatcher for after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Wow, was that a great match that came out of nowhere. Probably a star-making performance for Bronson Reed who really shined in the ring with two of NXT’s bigger stars. Going into the match you would have thought of Reed as the fall guy to take the pin from Gargano and Strong, but he ended up shining bright. They gave these men about 20 minutes when counting in commercial and there wasn’t a slow point at all. Good work from all three men. Because of this result, I’m also assuming that Gargano finds his way in the North American Championship match via a “last chance” match or something like they’ve done in the past. Maybe? Anyway, if you didn’t watch NXT and want a hidden gem, watch this very entertaining match at least.
5. Oney Lorcan vs. Timothy Thatcher. Mauro noted that Lorcan was trying to get revenge against Thatcher for not letting go of the hold after their last match together. Thatcher and Lorcan started off the match with methodical chain wrestling. Lorcan kept his hands clasped to block a Thatcher Juji Gatame attempt. Lorcan and Thatcher then traded nice open hand slaps. Thatcher caught Lorcan with a Belly To Belly for a two count.
My home internet gave up a bit, but I got my internet back with the match still going. Thatcher was dominating Lorcan. Lorcan made a comeback by giving Thatcher a series of running uppercuts. Thatcher dragged Lorcan into a double wrist lock. Lorcan escaped by shoving Thatcher into the ringpost heading into commercial.[c]
Thatcher was grinding Lorcan in the corner with snug forearms. Lorcan escaped and gave Thatcher a leaping Shoryuken. Thatcher locked Lorcan in a Half and Half. Lorcan escaped with joint manipulation on Thatcher’s fingers. Lorcan locked Thatcher in a double wrist lock. Thatcher escaped with clubbing blows and stiff slaps on Lorcan. Lorcan fought through and trapped Thatcher into a Half Crab. Lorcan transitioned into a Fujiwara Armbar.
Thatcher used an eye poke to escape the hold. Lorcan gave Thatcher a few chops and a Half and Half Suplex for a two count. Phillips pointed out that Thatcher struggled to kick out due to having an injured shoulder. Lorcan fought down Thatcher’s arms to land stiff chest chops. Thatcher tackled Lorcan to the corner, but Lorcan kept going for a double wrist lock. Lorcan had a double arm wristlock synched in but Thatcher got Lorcan’s shoulders on the mat for the sneaky win.
Timothy Thatcher defeated Oney Lorcan via pinfall.
Thatcher was shown seething at the top of the ramp…
John’s Thoughts: A good finish that protects Lorcan and continues to put heat on Thatcher. Two of my favorite wrestlers to watch in all companies due to their practical martial arts styles. I point it out plenty of times, but Timothy Thatcher goes from being one of the most boring wrestlers in the world before his time in MLW to becoming the MLW and now NXT resident gritty gladiator man. Lorcan is a gladiator in his own right too. This week’s 2nd hour of NXT has put on two very strong matches in a row, and we still have Kross coming up!
McKenzie Mitchell tried to interview Aliyah and Robert Stone Brand but they shooed McKenzie away. Mercedes Martinez walked up to Robert Stone and yelled at Stone. She yelled at Stone that all she needs is someone to handle negotiations and paperwork, all the stuff that gets in the way of her kicking ass. She threatened to break Stone’s legs if he didn’t work out. Stone was was pleased and shook hands with Mercedes Martinez, signing her to the “Robert Stone Brand”…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Mercedes Martinez making Robbie E her bitch (for lack of a better idiom)? I think there’s potential there. I’m not sure why.
Finn Balor talked about how Keith Lee is handing out opportunities. Balor said that Keith Lee gave up the title because he wasn’t man enough to face Balor. Balor said he doesn’t take charity. Balor announced his opponents in his qualifying match as Timothy Thatcher and Dexter Lumis. He said their “push” will hit a ceiling. Balor said the North American title match will get the Finn Balor “rub”…
John’s Thoughts: I referenced it in my Impact review last night, but I have no clue why Finn Balor feels the need to shoehorn insider pro wrestling terms in his promos. I’m not complaining because I find it as a hilarious running joke he has going with his promos. Aside from the pro wrestling terms, he is cutting great promos though, showing that Raw and Smackdown missed the boat.
Karrion Kross and Scarlett [Bordeaux] made their highly produced and awesome entrance…
6. Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett) vs. Dominik Dijakovic. Tom Phillips dubbed Scarlett as a emissary of Karrion Kross (I dub her as a sexy harbinger of destruction). Phillips noted that Scarlett dumped Kross’s hour glass in the ring last week, the glass that Keith Lee shatter a few weeks prior in an Adam Cole segment. Kross and Dijak had an initial stalemate during the collar and elbow lockup. Dijakovic managed to get Kross in the corner with a collar and elbow. Kross came back with a boot and Guillotine Choke. Mauro noted that Kross is skilled at many martial arts. Dijak escaped the hold by tackling Kross into the corner.
Dijak managed to execute the Feast Your Eyes on Kross, but Kross blocked it with hands. Dijakovic blocked Kross’s doomsday Saito and then sent Kross outside with a elbow strike. Dijakovic dodged a punch from Kross, causing Kross to punch Plexiglass. Dijakovic clocked Kross with a roundhouse. Kross fended off Dijak with a boot and a nice Tae Kwon Do roundhouse. Kross gave Dijakovic a DDT heading into picture-in-picture commercial.[c]
Kross had Dijakovic in a ground judo pin, while grinding his face with an elbow. Dijakovic recovered and hit Kross with forearms. Kross no sold the forearms and hit Dijak with a Doomsday Saito. Dijakovic got Kross to a knee with a haymaker forearm. Dijak hit Kross with a few strikes and hit Kross with the Time to Fly suplex. Dijakovic hit Kross with the sitout chokeslam for a two count. Dijakovic took out Kross at ringside with a Tope Con Hilo. Kross reversed an irish whip by tossing Dijakovic into the steel steps. While working on Dijakovic at ringside, Kross jammed the ring steps into Dijakovic’s shoulders into the steel steps with a boot.
Kross reset the count and dragged Dijakovic to ringside. Kross used a choke to drag Dijakovic into the ring. Kross laid Dijakovic in the center of the ring. Kross secured Dijakovic’s shoulder to allow himself to pummel a defenseless Dijakovic with elbows. Keith Lee walked to ringside to check on Dijakovic. Kross stared and Lee while continuing to punish Lee’s friend. Kross allowed Dijakovic to talk to Lee, who told Lee to stand back and that this was Dijak’s call to get in this fight. Kross gave Dijak some more elbows while allowing Dijakovic to get a few words into his friend. Kross then lifted up Dijakovic into a standing choke, asking Lee if he’s watching. Dijakovic faded which caused the referee to call for the bell.
Karrion Kross defeated Dominik Dijakovic via ref stoppage in 13:30.
Lee went to check on his friend Dijak while Kross walked to the ramp with Scarlett. NXT closed with Kross staring daggers at Keith Lee…
John’s Thoughts: Kross and Dijakovic had some tough competition in the matches that preceded this one and they managed to deliver as well. This was a good taste of some of the stuff I saw from Kross prior to 2016 in those Lucha Underground dark matches, where Kross implements a unique and violent martial arts style that is enhanced with his body language. The moment between Keith Lee and Dijakovic where Dijakovic was apologizing to Lee for allowing the suffering to happen may be a bit dramatic, but I thought it really enhanced the scene. This match is one match that shows why you don’t need cinematic camera angles to be cinematically compelling. This was a good compelling match and the in-ring stuff was great too.
The first hour of this week’s show was pretty forgettable, but the second hour of the show starting with the qualifier triple threat was off the charts good. Three amazing matches on this show with the Triple Threat, Thatcher-Lorcan, and Kross-Dijakovic. Those three matches told three fun stories and are worth going back to check out. I’ll be by tomorrow as usual with my NXT Audio Review for the Dot Net members. Jason Powell will be by with his hit list.