By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Taped July 29, 2020 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Aired August 5, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] Highlights from last week’s NXT aired. They now rotate different background music instead of just the Slipknot theme these days…
Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, and Tom Phillips were on commentary…
1. Rhea Ripley vs. Dakota Kai for number one contendership of the NXT Women’s Championship. Ripley has bleached hair now. Dakota Kai no longer comes out with Raquel Gonzalez (smells like a callup, but you never know). Ripley shoved Kai to the mat early on with a shove to show her strength advantage. Ripley then womanhandled Kai around the ring with power moves and power strikes. Ripley got a two count off a delayed vertical suplex. Ripley hit Kai with a pendulum facebuster for a two count.
For some reason, Eric Bugenhagen was leading a dance session in the spectator wrestler section. Kai and Ripley then traded advantage in a bodyscissors and pinning situation with Ripley locking in the body scissors. Kai had to kick out when Ripley adjusted the submission. Rhea Ripley took down Kai with a nice lariat. Kai reversed Ripley’s suplex and strikes. Ripley held on to a firm base to prevent being tripped. Ripley gave Kai an electric chair slam on the apron to Kai’s face. Scary looking, but I’m assuming it’s Kai’s great selling. They transitioned to Picture-in-picture.[c]
Kai missed an axe kick and Ripley went for a rollup. Kai ended up getting control of the match again after a Yakuza kick. Kai rolled up Ripley for a two count. Kai missed a switch kick. Ripley rallied back with strikes and her nice looking Cravate Knee Strikes. Ripley hit Kai with a sitout Electric Chair Slam for a two count. Kai caught Ripley with a temple roundhouse. Kai then caught Ripley with a Scorpion Kick.
Ripley flattened Kai with a Flapjack Slam for a nice nearfall. Ripley called Kai “pathetic”. Kai came back with a nice reversal DDT to reverse the Rip Tide. Ripley shoved Kai away during Kai’s Code Red attempt. Ripley locked Kai in the Prism Hold. Kai reversed momentum to send Ripley into the bottom buckle. Kai caught Ripley with a Face Wash Kick in the corner. Ripley shoved Kai off the top rope, but while the referee was distracted, Mercedes Martinez hit Ripley with a big boot to trip Ripley off the rope. Dakota Kai hit Ripley with the Go To Kick (Detonation Kick) for the victory.
Dakota Kai defeated Rhea Ripley via pinfall in 15:48.
Mercedes Martinez reentered the ring after Kai left and gave Ripley an Air Raid Crash. Ripley was left lying with a bloody face due to a nose bleed…
Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish were shown strolling outside of Full Sail University, heading into break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A great women’s match to open the show. Lots of good energy. I feel like I haven’t seen Rhea Ripley in weeks, even though she’s been on the show pretty consistently. She’s just been cold and in meaningless segments for months. This reminded me of the old Rhea Ripley that we saw being built towards a WrestleMania headline match. Good stuff from Kai too, but I’m a bit disappointed if they broke up the Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez (not confirmed of course, but they’re hinting at that). NXT just did such a great job building up that duo. Abrupt shifts like this usually scream “callup”. Looks like they’re building up Ripley vs. Martinez? Hopefully this is a Takeover match? Martinez in particular has the ability to elevate Ripley’s game so I hope that gets a Takeover spotlight.
Footage from “earlier today” showed former Colt’s punter, Pat McAfee, chatting with Shawn Michaels in the Full Sail arena…
Bronson Reed made his entrance. His opponent is is former faction-mate (As a part of “The Mighty” when they were in the indies) Shane Thorne…
2. Bronson Reed vs. Shane Thorne. Thorne gave Reed a series of forearms that Reed no-sold. Reed came back with his own forearms, which Thorne did sell. Thorne gave Reed a dropkick. Thorne hit Reed with an innovative Suicide Dive Cannonball. Reed tried to go high risk, but Thorne gave Reed a rising palm. Thorne knocked Reed into a reverse Tree of Woe and hit a nice spinning ball senton on Reed (some Sonic the Hedgehog looking stuff). Thorne then hit Reed with a leaping knee. Reed recovered and gave Thorne a Military Press and running senton.
Thorne gave Reed a high roundhouse. Reed and Thorne then traded strong style strikes. Reed turned Thorne inside out with a lariat. Reed hit Thorne with a Death Valley Driver and his finisher top rope splash for the victory.
Bronson Reed defeated Shane Thorne via pinfall in 4:30.
John’s Thoughts: The totally expected outcome given that Reed is getting the Takeover match with Thorne being the resident enhancement guy. It surprises me a bit that they don’t do anything with Thorne. He looked great here as he usually does. The guy also has a personality, which really shined when he was standing next to his old tag team partner (Nick Miller, who was very bland by contrast). All about presentation I guess?
Tyler Breeze and Fandango were shown in the Full Sail Parking Lot. The Legado Del Fantasma Trio of Santos Escobar, Joaquin Wilde, and Raul Mendoza drive up in their SUV and then attack Breezango. After tossing Breeze to the side, they beat up on Dango some more and toss him in the back of the SUV and drive off. Breeze tried to chase down the SUV on foot. Legado Del Fantasma has just kidnapped Fandango…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Yo! With Fantasma kidnapping DJ Z last time, we never saw Zema bring back the dumb babyface douchy DJ gimmick ever again. With Fandango being kidnapped, can we never see Fandango’s weird stripper gimmick ever again? Maybe bring back Johnny Curtis? This also continues Kenta’s constant twitter claim that NXT Parking Lots are the most dangerous environment in WWE.
McKenzie Mitchell caught up with Robert Stone, Alyiah, and Mercedes Martinez and asked about Martinez’s attack on Ripley. Stone said Ripley may be done with Robert Stone Brand, but Robert Stone Brand isn’t done with Rhea Ripley…
They showed highlights from last week’s main event triple threat…
3. Damian Priest vs. Oney Lorcan vs. Ridge Holland in a triple threat match to qualify for the North American Championship ladder match at Takeover XXX. Holland and Lorcan tried to trade European Uppercuts, but Priest jumped in and hit both men with an axe kick and elbow smash. Priest hit Lorcan with a CQC combo. Priest and Lorcan reversed each others moves. Holland interjected and sent Priest outside. Lorcan hit both opponents with a corkscrew Tope Con Hilo. Holland caught Lorcan with a Suplex. Holland and Priest had a nice CQC exchange. Holland sent Priest outside with a headbutt strike heading into commercial.[c]
Priest and Holland traded European uppercuts. Lorcan interjected and knocked Priest out of the way. Lorcan hit Holland with a Blockbuster for a two count. Lorcan hit Priest with a uppercut for a two count. Holland hit Lorcan with a pounce for a two count. Holland escaped a Reckoning and hit Priest with a Gutwrench Power Bomb. Lorcan broke up the subsequent pin. Holland took down Lorcan with a right forearm. Lorcan and Holland then traded angry faces. Lorcan got Holland to his knees with two uppercuts.
Lorcan escaped a Priest choke and gave Priest his stiff slaps. Holland turned Lorcan inside out with a lariat. Priest came out of nowhere with a sitout chokeslam. Priest hit Lorcan with the Reckoning for the victory.
Damian Priest defeated Oney Lorcan and Ridge Holland via pinfall in 6:42 of on-air time to earn a spot in the North American Championship ladder match.
Beth Phoenix hyped Keith Lee vs. Cameron Grimes after the break…
John’s Thoughts: A really good triple threat with lots of good action and nearfalls by the end. Holland does come off as a bit green, but that’s expected from a man transitioning from Professional Rugby to Pro Wrestling. The guy does have a good look, so I hope WWE doesn’t jumble the guy in the pool of Raw/Smackdown enhancement wrestlers that they’re utilizing from developmental. As for Priest, he was the first “favorite” to win his triple threat. I see him as one of the favorites to win the whole ladder match.
[Hour Two] They showed tweets and pictures of Adam Cole and Pat McAfee burying the hatchet with a handshake (uhm? No Social Distancing? I joke I joke)…
4. NXT Champion Keith Lee vs. Cameron Grimes in a non-title match. Grimes hid behind the ropes to stall. He stalled for a good minute or two. Lee finally got his hands on Grimes when Grimes went for a thigh hold. Grimes went back to the rope for the break. Lee blocked a kick, but Grimes followed through with forearms. Lee grabbed Grimes by the side of the head and sent him into an Irish Whip. Lee hit Grimes with a shoulder tackle. Lee took down Grimes with a second shoulder tackle. Mauro talked about how resilient Grimes is.
Lee sent Grimes over the top rope with a whip to the corner. Grimes tripped up Lee with a dropkick to Lee’s ankle. Grimes then took down Lee with a Triangle Asai Moonsault. [c]
Grimes gave Lee punches and let out a high pitched “I’m Cameron!” but then got hit by Lee’s strikes. Lee hit Grimes with a running crossbody. Grimes escaped a Spirit Bomb attempt. Grimes escaped a Big Bang Attack and rolled up Lee for a two count. Grimes tried to get a dirty win with a matchbook leverage rollup. Grimes used a kick to block Lee’s pounce. Grimes caught Lee with his beautiful looking Spanish Fly Powerslam for a nearfall.
Lee caught Grimes during a Grimes Cave in attempt. Lee grounded Grimes with a Grizzly Magnum (which I hear is named after something from One Piece). Lee grounded Grimes with a series of shortarm lariats. Grimes struggled to get to his feet. Lee ended up hitting Grimes with a Delayed Spirit Bomb for the victory.
Keith Lee defeated Cameron Grimes via pinfall in 8:55 of on-air time.
The lights turned off. Scarlett [Bourdeaux]’s voice could be heard saying some sort of foreign language (Latin? I don’t know). Karrion Kross appeared on the big screen and talked about how he hasn’t been able to get into contact with Regal and Lee needs to make something happen or else people will suffer. The camera panned back to show Kross choking out Oney Lorcan. Kross tossed Lorcan to the mat, saying his “tick tock” catchphrase before leaving…[c]
John’s Thoughts: I didn’t think this match needed to run as long as it did with a commercial break, but I also understand that NXT has been consistent in allowing Cameron Grimes to look really credible in his matches (which has me hopeful that he gets a Daniel Bryan-like run in the future). Grimes gains a bit, hanging in there with the top guy in the promotion. I thought Lee looked good too. He was less happy-go-lucky, and always holding a solemn stare throughout the match. That makes sense after last week’s promo Lee gave. Lee vs. Kross is going to be one of WWE’s big showdown matches coming up. We all know Lee is great, but trust me, based of what I saw from Kross in other companies, this guy can bring it with the violence.
Tom Phillips thanked Metallica for providing the song “Moth into Flame” for NXT Takeover XXX. Beth announced Io Shirai vs. Dakota Kai for the Women’s Championship at Takeover. Mauro talked over the graphic that hyped the North American Championship Ladder Match…
Mauro noted that Dexter Lumis has been struggling with an Ankle Injury. Mauro sent it over to William Regal for a Lumis injury update. Regal announced that Lumis has been taken out of the match. Regal also announced that the people not pinned in the qualifying matches would end up wrestling in a mini-tournament to get in the final spots.
John’s Thoughts: Welp! There’s the expected “Last chance” thing that WWE always does with these qualifying matches. Looks like we might get multiple big names back in the match given that they’re for two spots.
Legado Del Fantasma made their entrance through an alternate entrance. Santos Escobar cut a promo as Wilde and Mendoza dragged Fandango to ringside. Escobar gave his usual speech about Lucha Libre being art and not something that should be exploited for merchandise sales. Escobar talked about disrespectful people like Fandango existing. Escobar mocked Breezango’s dress-up stripper routine and noted that Breezango disresptected Lucha Libre at Great American Bash. Escobar talked about it being disrespect to his family and ancestry.
Escobar ordered his goons to beat up Dango more. Breeze tried to run in, but to no avail. Wilde held Breeze and Mendoza nailed Breeze with a Shining Wizard. Escobar talked about Isaiah Scott putting Escobar’s name in his mouth, and warned Scott that Scott will end up like Breezango if he disrespects Escobar again…
They cut to a Undisputed Era vs. Imperium hype package…
John’s Thoughts: More solid stuff from the artist formerly known as El Hijo Del Fantasma. The guy is really coming off well as the leader of his Lucha faction. He’s someone I see as a future main event level star in the company and I hope he doesn’t get pigeon-holed into being “just a cruiserweight”. The guy’s too damn talented for that. Is it also wrong for me to think that they were the babyfaces in that last segment for kicking the asses of hokey ass Fandango and Breeze? You can’t help but agree with Escobar in that situation. Breezango were being culturally disrespectful to the culture of pro wrestling with their shark-jumped stripper gimmick.
Damian Priest was interviewed outside of Full Sail about his recent win. Priest talked about living in infamy, as he usually does. Bronson Reed showed up behind Priest and congratulated Priest on his recent win. Priest called Reed’s win a fluke. This led to Priest challenging Reed to a singles match. Reed accepted…
Tom Phillips introduced Pat McAfee as the guest commentator for the next match. Phillips congratulated McAfee on his recent wedding…
5. Tegan Nox vs. Indi Hartwell. Hartwell tried to trash talk Nox, but Nox came at Hartwell with strikes. Hartwell gave Nox snake eyes on the top rope. The camera cut back to Phillips and McAfee. Hartwell ended up dominating Nox a bit with a chinlock. The commentary’s focus was on Pat McAfee, but to McAfee’s credit, he tried to draw the attention back to the action. Phillips dragged the attention back to McAfee. Nox hit Hartwell with some ground and pound. Nox hit Hartwell with an inverted cannonball and the Shiniest Wizard for the victory.
Tegan Nox defeated Indi Hartwell via pinfall in 3:03.
The camera cut to backstage where Imperium were working out in preparation for their Tag Title defense. Pat McAfee said he’s sticking along, of course, because it’s an Undisputed Era match…[c]
Beth Phoenix announced Kushida vs. Cameron Grimes vs. a mystery opponent for the next ladder match spot. Mauro announced Bronson Reed vs. Damian Priest for next week. Tom Phillips announced Karrion Kross vs. Danny Burch for next week….
Entrances for the main event took place. Pat McAfee was still the focus since he was hanging around at the commentary table. The match started off with 10 minutes left at the top of the hour…
John’s Thoughts: They’re really laying it on thick that they’re setting up something between Adam Cole and Pat McAfee. Does Takeover really need Pat McAfee vs. Adam Cole in some form?
6. “Imperium” Marcel Barthel and Fabien Aichner vs. “Undisputed Era” Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish (w/Adam Cole, Roderick Strong) for the NXT Tag Team Championships. Aichner and O’Reilly traded nice and stiff martial arts strikes. O’Reilly got Aichner to the mat with a low kick to the shin. Fish tagged in and gave Aichner Muay Thai clinch knees. Aichner hit Fish with a backbreaker. Aichner kept Fish under control with a double shoulder hold. Barthel tagged in and dragged Fish to the mat with a armdrag into an armbar.
The camera made sure to constantly cut back to Pat McAfee. UE got control after hitting Aichner with stereo roundhouse kicks. The show cut to picture-in-picture commercial. And in a strange exchange, Beth Phoenix got offended (I’m assuming storyline) at something Pat McAfee said. Weird. I wasn’t paying attention to the commentary because it was just McAfee constantly bringing up his history with Adam Cole.[c]
The show cut back to Adam Cole constantly staring at Pat McAfee. Tom Phillips brought up McAfee being extremely disrespectful. McAfee talked about how Adam Cole has a “short” temper. Kyle O’Reilly ended up catching a hot tag. O’Reilly hit Barthel with a nice kick punch combo. O’Reilly Dragon Screwed Aichner into Barthel. O’Reilly Dragon Screwed Barthel into the second rope. O’Reilly caught Barthel with a diving knee to the knee. O’Reilly locked Barthel in a heel hook. Fish used a headbutt to prevent Barthel from getting to the rope.
Aichner hit O’Reilly with a moonsault to break the submission. Cole walked up to McAfee telling McAfee to chill and that he can hear McAfee. McAfee called Cole an “elf” when cole walked away. Cole tossed a cup of water at McAfee. NXT referees, Paul Levesque, and Shawn Michaels ran in to separate McAfee and Cole. The commotion distracted Kyle O’Reilly who got hit with Imperium’s European Bomb finisher for the victory.
Imperium defeated Undisputed Era via pinfall in 10:46 to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.
The referees calmed things down. McAfee called Cole an “itty bitty short little bitch”. Pat McAfee then cheap shotted Cole with a Running Boot. McAfee left. Shawn Michaels was shown checking on Adam Cole to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: It was a bit annoying that the last two matches became the Pat McAfee Focus Show. It wasn’t too bad overall, but the production made it way too obvious that they were booking towards a Cole vs. McAfee match. McAfee getting physical shows that we’re more than likely going to get Adam Cole vs. Pat McAfee at the next Takeover. I’m actually happy that they’re going with McAfee as the heel. McAfee’s natural personality is abrasive, but that worked to their advantage here and when Beth Phoenix started getting offended you knew they were going towards McAfee being the clear heel. I wasn’t excited for this a few weeks ago. I’m still not all that hyped, but I think they did a decent job building the foundation for a potentially fun feud (Though, laying it on thick in the end was a bit much)
Overall a solid show that got hijacked by Pat McAfee (intentionally) in the end. The tag team title match was good from what we saw. Great to see Kyle O’Reilly is back and on fire in the ring as usual. He’s a guy who can get a strong singles push down the road if he and Fish break apart. A great women’s match to start the show and the rest of the show was spent pushing storylines forward. You never really feel like you’re wasting time when watching NXT. Even the obvious squashes are kept short and sweet. I’ll be by tomorrow with my Member’s Exclusive NXT Audio Review and Jason Powell will be by with his hit list.