By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Taped earlier in the day in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Aired July 29, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] A video package aired spotlighting the the Karrion Kross vs. Dominik Dijakovic match from last week which also included Keith Lee at ringside…
Mauro Ranallo, Tom Phillips, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary…
Io Shirai was making her entrance to Full Sail. Before Shirai could get down the ramp, she was blindsided by Dakota Kai. The rest of the wrestlers in the upcoming mach made their way out and the women brawled heading to the ring into match start…
1. Io Shirai and Tegan Nox vs. Candice LeRae and Dakota Kai. Once things got separated, LeRae beat up Nox around the ring. Nox fought back LeRae with strikes. Kai and Shirai tagged in. Shirai pummeled Kai with clinch Muay Thai knees and a snapmare. Shirai caught Kai with a shotgun basement dropkick. Kai recovered and hit Shirai with an Exploder Suplex. Kai hit Shirai with a kick for a two count. Kai and LeRae traded tags to keep Shirai under control and isolated. Shirai turned the tables after a flapjack on Kai.
Shirai then worked on Kai with a lotus lock. LeRae broke it up with Nox later dumping LeRae from the ring. LeRae ended up pulling Shirai outside. Kai kicked Nox to send her outside. LeRae then tossed Nox into the steel steps heading into picture-in-picture commercial.[c]
Nox and LeRae took each other out with stereo headbutts. Shirai and Kai tagged in. Shirai did a backflip into a shotgun dropkick. Shirai caught Kai with a slingshot dropkick for a two count. Kai punched Shirai to prevent her from doing a high risk move. Shirai ended up blocking a superplex and putting Kai in the tree of woe. Shirai hit Kai with the corner double stop. Kai kicked out. Kai tagged in LeRae who ate a Tiger Feint to the back. Shirai hit LeRae with a dropkick and corner meteora.
Shirai took out Kai with a suicide dive. Nox hit LeRae with a Shiniest Wizard. Shirai hit LeRae with a Moonsault for the victory.
Io Shirai and Tegan Nox defeated Dakota Kai and Candice LeRae via pinfall in 12:59.
Mauro pointed out that Kai was leaving LeRae by herself after the match.
John’s Thoughts: A really good high energy match. A bit “filler” but the action was solid enough to make this match worth watching. Shirai and Kai seems to be a pairing they’re looking forward to in the Women’s title picture. I’m assuming they had LeRae take the loss here either to start a feud with Nox, or have her insert herself into the title pitcure (along with Nox, maybe making a 4-way title picture).
Tom Phillips checked in from the commentary desk to present footage from Adam Cole’s appearance on the Pat McAfee show. They aired clips from the show that Cole appeared on. They also aired the clip where Paul “Triple H” Levesque appeared to apologize for Cole exploding in anger during his appearance…[c]
Tom Phillips introduced some tweets were Roderick Strong and Johnny Gargano were going at each other…
Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong made their entrances. Even though both were heels the last time we saw them, the spectator wrestlers cheered Strong and booed Gargano…
2. Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong. Both men started the match off with ground chain wrestling. Both men escaped each other’s signature submissions and rollups for an opening stalemate. Strong and Gargano went back to the ground chain wrestling, just a bit more methodical. Gargano locked Strong in a Rings of Saturn. Gargano then converted it into a pin attempt for a two count. Strong ended up blocking Gargano’s slingshot spear. Gargano escaped and slammed Strong at ringside heading into commercial.[c]
Strong hit Gargano with a backbreaker heading back from break. Strong then gave clubbing blows to Gargano’s back followed by a front suplex. Strong blocked a One Final Beat and then hit Gargano with a backbreaker. Gargano dove from the top rope and hit Strong with a Tornado Flatliner, which led to a two count. Gargano reversed an Angle Slam into the GargaNo Escape. Strong escaped with a rollup for the two count. Gargano used boots to block Strong’s Stronghold. Strong came back with a donkey kick to Gargano’s face.
Both men staggered each other with kicks and knees. Gargano reversed a suplex into a huracanrana and superkick. Gargano huracanrana’d Gargano into the barricade and tossed Strong into the ringpost. Gargano bounced Strong off the plexiglass. Gargano hit Strong with the One Final Beat DDT for the victory.
Johnny Gargano defeated Roderick Strong via pinfall in 9:21 of on-air time.
Highlights from the match aired…
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Dakota Kai on walking out on Candice LeRae. Kai said she doesn’t care about LeRae because she’s not a team player. Kai said she’s tired of multi person and contenders matches. Kai declared herself the number one contender. Kai was about to leave but called back by Rhea Ripley. Ripley said she’s coming after Io Shirai. Kai said to see what Regal says…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A solid match that involved a lot of counter wrestling. Because we tend to see a lot of no-selling in high spot matches, it’s refreshing to see more counters to moves (I’m not going to give them all the credit though, there was a bit of no-selling). A good and different type of match which was fine in the middle of this show.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Timothy Thatcher about his upcoming match. Thatcher made a speech about teaching his opponents about his “Thatch as Thatch Can” Style…
Kyle O’Reilly met up backstage with Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish, and Adam Cole. Kyle tried to hype all of them up and told them that Undisputed Era was back in business…
Shotzi Blackheart made her entrance. She drove her toy tank and told everyone to “Welcome to the Ball Pit”. Mercedes Martinez made her entrance. Her video wall had Robert Stone graphics…
3. Shotzi Blackheart vs. Mercedes Martinez (w/Robert Stone, Aliyah). Mauro noted that Martinez’s pre-match gear looked like it came from Mortal Kombat. Martinez tossed Shotzi outside when Shotzi went for a rally. Martinez kicked Shotzi around at ringside while Blackheart was distracted at Robert Stone jawing with her. Martinez pummeled Blackheart with grounded forearms. Mauro noted that Martinez might be trying to prove that WWE missed the boat by not signing her years ago.
Blackheart rolled up Martinez for a one count. Blackheart followed up with a enzuigiri and shotgun dropkick. Blackheart got a two count off a sunset bomb. Shotzi hit Mercedes with a sling blade bulldog. Shotzi took down Mercedes with a Switchblade Kick. Shotzi caught Martinez with a reverse cannonball for a two count. Martinez reversed Shotzi with a spinebuster for a two count.
Martinez kept Shotzi under control with strikes. Mercedes reversed a Sliced Bread. Martinez gave Shotzi vicious clubbing blows into the chest on the top rope. Mercedes then hit Shotzi with a Release German Superplex. Mercedes Martinez hit Shotzi with a modified Air Raid Crash for the victory.
Mercedes Martinez defeated Shotzi Blackheart via pinfall in 4:22.
Tom Phillips hyped upcoming segments…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Great start for Mercedes in her first victory against a meaningful opponent. I really liked the stiff and snug strikes we saw from Martinez. Those suplexes looked like they hurt too. Shotzi is a good person to lose here as she can keep her heat as a plucky babyface. I’m still afraid that the former Robbie E might add too much comedy to the badass Martinez, but this was a good week 1 for their partnership. Martinez also reminds me of Shayna Baszler’s badassness, and that’s not a bad thing.
[Hour Two] A vignette aired hyping up Ridge Holland’s NXT US debut next week. It was similar to the video package they aired of his from NXT UK…
Keith Lee made his entrance. Lee was speaking in a serious/somber tone. He talked about the Dijak scene from last week. Lee then said Karrion Kross things the sound of sand is the sound of a clock. Lee talked about Kross doing extra “bullshit” to get Lee’s attention for the championship. Lee said all of Kross’s bull shit means nothing if Kross doesn’t come to meet him face to face. Lee then said Kross is looking like he doesn’t have the balls to come out. Lee then called out Kross.
Instead of Kross, he got Cameron Grimes. Grimes did his usual gloating promo. Grimes joked that he wanted to take the NXT Title and North American Title. Grimes continued to act like a delusional goof on his way to the ring. Lee had enough of Grimes and he dragged Grimes into the ring. Lee gave Grimes a lariat in the corner. Before Lee could follow up the lights dimmed and a spotlight focused on Scarlett [Bordeaux] in a red dress and black gloves. Grimes tried to hit Lee with the Cave In, but Lee ended up catching Grimes and hitting Grimes with the Spirit Bomb.
Karrion Kross appeared on the video wall. Kross talked about doing nothing while his friend was suffering. Kross said he was giving Lee two choices. A shot at the NXT Championship, or “The hard way” which Kross said Lee won’t want to even hear about because everyone will suffer. Lee then told Kross to pick a time and place so he can whoop dat ass. Scarlett walked away to end the segment…[c]
John’s Thoughts: I mean? I kinda want to know what “The hard way” is. Kross kinda set that up as a mini-cliffhanger. Joking aside, It does seem like they are rushing to this big match a bit too soon. Good promo as usual from Kross and it was cool seeing Lee give a different tone than he usually does. He might have thrown in one or two more curse words than usual to the point where it felt like shoehorning.
A hype package aired to hype Thatcher vs. Balor vs. Lumis…
The NXT Tag Team Champions made their entrance. Their opponents were the resident enhancement team of NXT known as Ever Rise.
4. NXT Tag Team Champions “Imperium” Marcel Barthel and Fabien Aichner vs. “Ever Rise” Matt Martel and Chase Parker. Barthel started off the match against Martel. Aichner got a blind tag in so he could surprise Martel with an armdrag. The Spectator wrestlers were chanting USA (weren’t Ever Rise Canadian?). Parker tagged in and rallied against Imperium with punches. Aichner grabbed Parker and tossed him into the back of Martel. Imperium hit Parker with double draping dropkicks to the head.
Imperium hit Parker with a Spinebuster and PK combo. Imperium then hit Parker with the European Bomb to give Aichner the victory.
Imperium defeated Ever Rise via pinfall in 2:16.
Marcel Barthel tried to cut a promo after the match, but Undisputed Era (including Kyle O’Reilly) made their entrance. UE put the boots to Imperium. Fish ended up hitting Aichner with a blockbuster lariat. Cole yelled about how Undisputed Era runs NXT.
John’s Thoughts: By the way, what the hell is an “Ever Rise”? Anyway, good to see the NXT Tag Team Champions back. These guys have been off tv for what seems like months. I’m kinda hoping that wasn’t a burial after the match by UE and more of a sign of Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish challenging for the Tag Team titles at Takeover.
Tom Phillips checked in from the commentary table. He introduced a Bronson Reed documentary package. The cut to their usual documentary style interview. Bronson Reed talked about growing up in an area full of street art. He talked about how his wife helped him get into wrestling and even paid for his wrestling school. Reed talked about traveling all around the world and finally made it to NXT.
Reed talked about how he “made it happen” like Michael Jordan. Reed talked about being the underdog last week and he proved that he’s a player in NXT. Reed said no matter who else makes the match, no one has the same fighting spirit as Reed. Reed said the Thicc Boi dream will come true at Takeover…
John’s Thoughts: A good package as usual. Probably a Jeremy Borash production. These things are really smooth and efficient in giving their blank slates character. I’ve mentioned for weeks how Bronson Reed has been pretty bland, but this gave the guy some reason to care about him. Not to mention, the guy is pretty solid on the mic.
Finn Balor was shown getting ready backstage. Dexter Lumis was shown creeping around behind some chairs in the same room…
They cut to William Regal at his home. He talked about how he won’t be bullied into making Championship matches and the next NXT Championship match will have to be earned as usual…
5. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Jake Atlas. Jake Atlas cut an inset promo talking about how he’s now cleared from injury. Both men started the match with a flip filled stalemate. The first landed move was a dropkick by Atlas on Scott. Atlas reversed Scott with an armdrag. Scott reversed a dropkick into a rollup for a two count. Scott blocked a roundhouse from Atlas and hit Atlas with a Rolling Sobat heading into commercial.[c]
Atlas caught Scott with a slingshot blockbuster for a two count. Atlas caught Scott with an axe kick and Front Face Driver for a two count. Scott countered a kick and rolled into a German Suplex. Scott hit Atlas with a Paydirt for a two count. Atlas caught Scott with a Super Murphy’s Law for a two count. Scott blocked Atlas’s Rainbow DDT attempt. Scott tripped Atlas to ringside and quickly followed up with a house call kick. Scott hit Atlas with a JML Driver for the victory.
Isaiah Scott defeated Jake Atlas via pinfall in 6:24 of on-air time.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Damian Priest about his opponents next week being Oney Lorcan and Ridge Holland. Priest said he’s not looking past next week’s match. Priest said there is no upset like we got last week. Priest talked about his reign of infamy beginning next week…[c]
Tom Phillips announced Rhea Ripley vs. Dakota Kai in an number one contenders match for next week, Beth announced Damian Priest vs. Oney Lorcan vs. Ridge Holland in a triple threat qualifyer match, and Tom announced Imperium vs. Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish for the NXT Tag Team Championships next week…
Creepy ass Sam Shaw made his entrance. His name is Dexter Lumis now, of course. Out next was Timothy Thatcher. Out last was Finn Balor…
6. Finn Balor vs. Dexter Lumis vs. Timothy Thatcher in a qualifying match for the NXT North American Championship Ladder Match at NXT Takeover XXX. Lumis stood still while Thatcher and Balor brawled with each other. Lumis landed on his feet during a missed Tope Con Hilo. Lumis ended up punching down Thatcher and Balor. Lumis hit Balor with a back suplex for a two count. Lumis tossed Thatcher outside. Balor pummeled Thatcher with really sharp and snug punches and chops.
Thatcher tossed Balor aside and gave Lumis European Uppercuts. Thatcher gave Lumis a Belly to Belly for a two count. Lumis kept his arm close to his body to block a double wrist lock. Thatcher fought Lumis back with European Uppercuts, but Lumis tossed Thatcher’s throat into the top rope. Balor knocked Lumis to the mat. Thatcher knocked Balor off the top rope heading into picture-in-picture. [c]
Balor caught Thatcher with a jawbreaker, but that didn’t do much damage to Thatcher. Balor rolled up Thatcher with a Jackknife pin for a two count. Thatcher gave Balor knees while also making sure to knock Lumis off the apron. Thatcher kept Balor under control with methodical strikes. Thatcher hit Balor with a body slam and elbow drop. Thatcher kneed Lumis off the apron again. Lumis finally made his way into the ring and gave Thatcher a punch.
Lumis punched Balor, but Balor followed into a Pele Kick. Balor hit Lumis with a Sling Blade. Balor took his sweet time going for a Shotgun Dropkick on Lumis, which allowed Thatcher to trip up Balor. Thatcher had Balor in a heel hook Thatcher broke up the submission by giving Thatcher a throat punch. Lumis planted Thatcher with a spinebuster. Thatcher escaped Lumis’s Kata Gatame attempt. Thatcher dragon screwed Balor into the top rope.
Lumis reversed Thatcher into a Uranage into a Kata Gatame. Balor hit Lumis with the Coup De Grace to break the submission. Thatcher recovered and put Balor in a grapevined Heel Hook. Lumis put Thatcher in the Kata Gatame while Thatcher held on to Balor. Balor didn’t tap out, but Thatcher passed out to give Lumis the win.
Dexter Lumis defeated Timothy Thatcher and Finn Balor via ref stoppage in 12:17 to advance to the North American Championship match at Takeover XXX.
The show ended with Lumis giving his cold stare to the vacant North American Champion which was sitting on a podium…
John’s Thoughts: This was a good clash of three different styles: Thatcher’s catch style, Balor’s strong style, and whatever the hell Lumis’s style is (whatever it was it looked effective). A cute finish, but I thought it worked because in putting a submission on Balor, the move left Thatcher defenseless for Lumis’s Kata Gatame. I didn’t expect this win either. That’s two weeks of surprise underdog victories. Bronson Reed and Dexter Lumis were also in NXT’s Breakout Tournament about a year ago too so that’s nice to see. Simply put, Thatcher’s getting the huge push in NXT while Balor is the former WWE Champion. Now I’m curious as to who’s going to win next week. I don’t think Ridge Holland is going to win? Priest even joked about it by saying that he the favorite should win.
This week’s show wasn’t anything too noteworthy, but I thought they spread a good amount of storyline progression in this show along with a nice amount of hard hitting matches. NXT usually books less hot shot matches once they know a Takeover is on the horizon which is a good practice because it allows their stories to be a bit more serial on an episodic show. Nice little documentary piece for Bronson Reed too. I don’t think they’re going to interview Dexter Lumis in the same fashion next week because he has a defined character and they shouldn’t have him really talking much yet. I’ll be by for the members with my member’s exclusive audio review while Jason will be by with his hit list of the show.