By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Taped earlier in the day in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Aired August 12, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] Highlights from last week’s NXT show aired, featuring the Pat McAfee and Adam Cole story that played out…
Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, and the returning Vic Joseph were on commentary. Karrion Kross and Scarlett [Bordeaux] made their entrance. Danny Burch rushed the ring
1. Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett) vs. Danny Burch. Burcn attacked Kross early on, jumping the bell. Burch had the advantage for a few seconds. Kross regained control after a choke bomb at ringside, where Kross went back to his usual methodical dominance. Kross hit Burch with an Exploder in the ring. Burch recovered and got Kross to a knee with a missile dropkick. Kross shrugged the damage off. Kross no-sold Burch’s German Suplex.
Burch gave Kross another suplex, which Kross no sold again, but Burch followed up with a lariat. Burch dominated Kross with a crossface. Kross used his neck to deadlift Burch, leading to a Doomsday Saito. Kross planted Burch with another Saito. Kross made Burch pass out due to a standing Kross Jacket.
Karrion Kross defeated Danny Burch via ref stoppage in 3:57.
Keith Lee made his entrance following Karrion Kross’s win. Lee had a folder in hand. Lee and Kross glared at each other with Lee in the ring and Kross and Scarlett at ringside. Lee told Kross that Kross is wrong for blaming Lee for making the title match not happen. Lee called Kross a bitch for taking bitch tactics. Lee told Kross that he begged for a title match with Regal and he has a signed contract for a title match at Takeover.
Lee said all it needs is Kross’s punk ass name. Lee tossed the contract down and Scarlett handed it to Kross. Kross to the pen and signed the contract. Scarlett kissed the folder clipboard and slid it over to Lee, who glared back at her. Lee opened the folder and the folder exploded, as in shot fire, at Lee’s face. The referees and medical staff ran out to help Keith Lee, who was crying in pain.
John’s Thoughts: Not bad, not bad. As a person who’s worked with Thermite in the past, I like that they played it as Scarlett snuck the thermite bomb/flash paper in the clipboard when she handed it over to Lee. The whole fire thing also matches Kross’s demonic/nihilistic motif. A little bit buried under the Kross-Lee story, but I think Kross did a great job elevating Danny Burch a bit. Burch looked good and even had Kross selling his offense, Kross sold just the right amount to make Burch look stronger than he’s ever had, while not degrading Kross’s invincibility. Smackdown producers should look at how Kross sold in this match and have The Fiend do something similar because Kross’s selling didn’t come off as horror movie hokey.
Drake Maverick made his entrance to Full Sail. They kept a split screen video to show the referees and medical staff struggling to hold Keith Lee back.
2. Drake Maverick vs. Killian Dain. Dain no-sold Maverick’s strikes and the show immediately cut to the picture-in picture commercial. During the commercial, they kept cutting between the match and Keith Lee footage. Keith Lee was shown getting put in an ambulance and Mia Yim was helping him get in.[c]
When Keith Lee’s ambulance drove away from the garage, the Undisputed Era’s van entered the garage. Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Roderick Strong got out of the van. The show cut back to Maverick and Dain. Maverick ended up nailing Dain with an elbow. Undisputed Era put the boots to Maverick and Dain to end match.
Drake Maverick vs. Killian Dian ended in an apparent no-contest in 5:20.
UE tossed Maverick outside. Adam Cole ended up hitting Killian Dain with a Last Shot. Adam Cole took a mic and called out Pat McAfee for kicking him while he had his hands tied behind his back. Cole bragged about being the longest reigning NXT Champion. Cole dared Pat McAfee to show up to NXT next week. Cole said he wants to look McAfee in the face and tell McAfee that he’s going to whoop McAfee’s ass at takeover. Cole ended the promo with his “undisputed” line…
A replay aired of Legado Del Fantasma beating down Breezango last week. Vic Joseph announced Santos Escobar vs. Tyler Breeze after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Lots of moving pieces with the Keith Lee ambulance shots and the Undisputed Era showing up, but I thought that did a good job setting up an intriguing and chaotic setting. I have no clue why Drake Maverick is wrestling heavyweight Killian Dain? Didn’t Maverick have one of WWE’s hottest storylines in the last few months. I also feel bad for Dain because I just thought Dain would job to Maverick given his position on the roster. I’m ok with UE doing what they did because it did make sense. Adam Cole is furious according to the story.
A subtitled Kushida promo aired where Kushida laid his claim for the North American Championship…
John’s Thoughts: Even though I don’t speak Japanese, Kushida always delivers his pre-tape promos in NXT with a level of poise and confidence (reminds me a bit of how Pentagon Jr. delivers promos even though I’m not fluent in Spanish). Kushida also has a level of wholesomeness to him that a lot of wrestlers don’t have (I remember this from the promo where he talked about loving his wife and daughter). They should let Kushida talk more, of course via subtitle.
3. NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar (w/Joaquin Wilde, Raul Mendoza) vs. Tyler Breeze in a non-title match. Escobar put the boots to Breeze early on. Someone in the crowd, I think, was trying to start a “Culero” chant (is that allowed?). Fantasma hit Breeze with one of his nice looking high dropkick. Fantasma trash talked Breeze while initiating his methodical offense. Breeze managed to get a shot in, but Escobar ran and recovered at ringside.
Escobar hit Breeze with a chop block and snake eyes on the apron. The show cut to regular commercial.[c]
Escobar nailed Breeze with a leaping knee. Breeze escaped a Phantom Driver attempt and shoved Escobar out of the ring. Breeze came back at Escobar with leaping superman forearms. Breeze got Escobar to the mat with a superkick. Wilde and Mendoza ran to the aprons, leading to Breeze knocking them off. The distraction allowed Escobar to hit Breeze with the Phantom Driver for the win.
Santos Escobar defeated Tyler Breeze via pinfall in 4:20 of on-air time.
Fandango walked to the ring with a mop, which he broke the head off of to use as a weapon. Legado Del Fantasma ended up putting the boots to Dango due to the numbers game and the fact that Dango came in wearing an arm brace. Isaiah Scott ran out to clear Legado Del Fantasma from the ring.
The show cut to a Dakota Kai promo. Kai talked about people talking about how unstoppable Io Shirai is. Kai said she figured out how to beat Shirai. Kai talked about getting in Shirai’s head and how Shirai is in Dakota territory. Kai said she got to this point, a title match, all by herself. She said she doesn’t need friends, former friends, or insurance policies, she’s going to beat Shirai…
John’s Thoughts: I like the slow burn build towards Escobar and Scott. The match was just filler to push the story forward, but it does utilize Breezango effectively. It also keeps Breeze and Dango from doing their tired stripper gimmick. By the way, Breeze was back in “Veteran” mode and he’s so much better in that role. Much more credible. I kinda hope they put Escobar and Scott in a Takeover match given that I’ve seen both men work matches before in other promotions and they can tear the house down, but I’m not holding my breath because I don’t think NXT sees the Cruiserweight title as one of their spotlight titles yet.
A quick Ridge Holland vignette aired…
Indi Hartwell was already in the ring. McKenzie Mitchell caught up with Mia Yim backstage, who was just finished getting dressed. She noted that she got back from the hospital and Keith Lee is doing okay…
4. Mia Yim vs. Indi Hartwell. Beth Phoenix compared Mia caring for Lee to herself caring for Adam Copeland (Edge). Hartwell took down Yim with a takedown. Yim hit Hartwell low with a chop block. Yim gave Hartwell a big boot. Yim hit Hartwell with a cannonball. Hartwell turned the table a bit and put the boots to Yim. Hartwell posed, which allowed Yim to come back with chops. Hartwell reversed Yim with a sidewalk slam. Yim slammed Hartwell to the mat during a Hartwell sleeper attempt.
Hartwell went back to the sleeper, and Yim shrugged it off again. Hartwell came at Yim with a forearm for a two count. Mauro noted that Yim is distracted. Yim pummeled Hartwell after a double leg takedown. yim came back with a series of dropkicks and a neckbreaker. Yim planted Hartwell with a German Suplex. Yim rolled Hartwell into a unique looking armbar submission for the win.
Mia Yim defeated Indi Hartwell via submission in 4:35.
John’s Thoughts: Indi Hartwell is getting a lot of TV time these days as the local enhancement wrestler. She gets better every time and she should be someone to look out for once they give her the expected repackage that most NXT wrestlers get. This match ultimately was there to show Mia Yim off her game, due to being worried about Keith Lee.
The show cut to a Finn Balor promo where he hyped up his upcoming second chance match. This week’s Balor insider references included the “office” wanting him on TV and how people 18 years old and 49 years old pay attention to him on TV, in reference to the 18-49 demographic…[c]
John’s Thoughts: I know it’s silly, but I get a chuckle out of Finn Balor’s forced wrestling insider references.
[Hour Two] They showed a tweet where Pat McAfee announced that he’s returning to NXT next week to respond to Adam Cole’s call-out…
5. Damian Priest vs. Bronson Reed. Reed dominated the initial Collar and Elbow lockup. Priest turned the next lockup into a wristlock. Both men traded wristlocks. Priest used a kip up to get control of the wristlock, converting it to a cravate. Reed shoved Priest into the ropes for the separation. After a bit of gamesmanship, Priest hit Reed with a kick combo. Reed came back with a shoulder block. Reed ran the ropes and Priest caught him with a flying back elbow. Reed ended up getting the upper hand after spiking Priest with a DDT. Priest rolled to ringside. [c]
Priest had Reed locked in a chinlock back from break. Reed caught a running Priest with a sitout spinebuster. Priest hit Reed with a bell clap. Reed reversed a Priest kick into a Samoan Drop and running Senton. Priest planted Reed with a raised flatliner. Priest hit Reed with a nice Triangle Springboard Cannonball. Priest hit Reed with Muay Thai knees. Priest hit Reed with a Broken Arrow for a two count. Reed came back with a suplex.
Reed slammed Priest to the mat. Priest avoided Reed’s top rope splash (though it looked like Reed botched the landing a bit because his face skidded a bit). Priest went for the Reckoning, but Reed reversed it into a jackknife pin for the surprise win.
Bronson Reed defeated Damian Priest via pinfall in 7:51 of on-air time.
An Io Shirai subtitled promo video aired. She talked about Dakota Kai becoming a big star only after beating up Tegan Nox. Io called Kai a manipulator that uses people. Io Shirai said she sees Kai as the kawaii girl that was afraid of Shayna Baszler and will now be afraid of Io Shirai. Shirai spoke in English and said that Kai is not in her head and that Kai just pissed her off…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A decent big man match that wasn’t anything too special. I like NXT staying away from 50-50 booking by giving Reed some momentum in recent months. As for the Shirai promo, another nice piece of work. She’s really shined in these very dark and watery promos. Plus NXT isn’t afraid to use subtitles.
A Cameron Grimes promo aired. He seems to have developed this weird goofy cadance to his promos. He talked about how he’s going to take the North American Championship to the moon…
Robert Stone cut a promo before the match. He bragged about his brand. He then tried to recruit Kacy Catanzaro because Kacy was a former Ninja Warrior. Stone told Kacy to ditch Carter. Kacy refused by stepping on Stone’s “injured” foot…
6. Mercedes Martinez and Aliyah (w/Robert Stone) vs. Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro. Catanzaro and Carter double teamed Aliyah. Catanzaro hit Aliyah with a slingshot senton for the two count. The face team hit Aliyah with stereo kicks for the two count for Carter. Martinez tagged in and helped Aliyah hit a facebuster on Carter. Martinez picked up a two count. [c]
Aliyah slammed Carter’s head to the mat. Aliyah and Martinez traded tags to cut the ring in half on Carter. Catanzaro managed to get the hot tag and a rally on Martinez. Catanzaro hit Martinez’s back with a Kappou kick. Martinez recovered and ended up hitting Catanzaro with an Air Raid Crash for the win.
Mercedes Martinez and Aliyah defeated Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro via pinfall in 4:18 of on-air time.
Rhea Ripley made her entrance after Martinez’s victory. Martinez held her ground while Stone and Aliyah retreated in fear. Ripley stomred the ring and laid punches on Martintez. Aliyah got in the ring and helped Martinez get the advantage. Shotzi Blackheart ran out to even up the numbers.
The show cut to the Gargano house where the Gargano’s finished eating their rice dinner. They then cut to Candice LeRae telling her dog a fairy tale. Gargano wondered what book they were reading because LeRae started acting evil again. Gargano talked himself the knight in the story. Gargano said there are new faces that are talented like the thicc boy and Priest. Gargano said they aren’t at the Gargano level. Gargano said Regal did the right thing in booking him in a second chance match against Ridge Holland…
Vic Joseph hyped the next North American Championship Ladder Match qualifying match after the commercial which includes a mystery opponent…[c]
Vic Joseph advertised a Triple H Entrance Theme vinyl…
They aired this week’s episode of “Thatch as Thatch can”. Timothy said the lesson this week is “adaptation”. Thatcher tested a Half Crab and Ankle Lock on one of his students. He went overboard as usual…
Vic Joseph advertised the Adam Cole and Pat McAfee face-to-face next week. Beth Phoenix advertised Legado Del Fantasma vs. Breezango and Isaiah Scott in a trios match next week. Vic then noted that there are two second chance matches next week. They then showed Vic Joseph checking in from the announce table. Vic noted that WWE.com has an update on Keith Lee…
Entrances for the ladder match qualifyer took place. The mystery opponent was Velveteen Dream. Velveteen Dream made his entrance while sitting on his sex couch (for some reason I feel uncomfortable making that joke these days). Dream had a light makeout session with the North American Championship. He was also wearing a pearl necklace to the ring as pre-match attire…
7. Kushida vs. Cameron Grimes vs. Velveteen Dream to earn a spot in the North American Championship ladder match at NXT Takeover XXX. Kushida and Dream ended up taking down Grimes first. Grimes pulled Dream outside and the two brawled. Dream went back in the ring and hit Kushida with an axe handle strikes for the two count. Dream botched a dive and then fell ringside (this isn’t live is it?). Kushida ended up hitting Dream with a Tornado DDT at ringside. Grimes crotched Kushida off the top rope. The show cut to picture-in-picture. [c]
Grimes and Kushida traded strikes back from break. Kushida missed an enzuigiri on Dream, but hit Grimes. Grimes recovered. All of the men countered holds. Kushida hit Dream with a haymaker, Dream hit Grimes with a superkick and fell into Kushida to leave all three men lying. Dream knocked Grimes outside and hit him with an axe handle strike. Dream cleaned house in the ring. Grimes tossed Dream outside, but Dream pulled Grimes with him. This was after Dream hit Kushida with a Dream Valley Driver.
Kushida took out Dream at ringside with a top rope cannonball. Kushida locked Grimes in a Spanish Fly Juji Gatame. Dream went for a Purple Rainmaker, but Kushida caught Dream in a Juji Gatame. Dream escaped Kushida’s Hoverboard Lock attempt. Kushida reversed Dream’s Fireman Carry into a Hoverboard Lock. Grimes used this position to nail the held Kushida with a Cave-In stomp. Grimes tossed Dream outside and picked up the pinfall win.
Cameron Grimes defeated Kushida and Velveteen Dream via pinfall in 8:52.
Mauro noted that by not being pinned, Velveteen Dream qualifies for a match against Finn Balor next week as a 2nd chance. After Grimes left, Velveteen Dream entered the ring and started slapping Kushida for no reason. Dream then showed a mean streak and was chasing cameramen. He attacked Kushida again, then posed at the top rope. The spectator wrestlers booed (So I guess he’s a heel here?). Finn Balor entered the ring to confront Dream. The two men faced off with Balor doing his Bullet Club finger guns to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: The match was pretty good, but what I like most is that WWE is really going hard in protecting the finisher of Cameron Grimes. Grimes has beat a lot of people, from Keith Lee (I think), Dominik Dijakovic, Kushida, to Finn Balor with that move and no one has kicked out of it. Despite Grimes acting like a goofball, they are definitely protecting him for something in the future whenever the decide to flip the switch, but the most protect part of the Grimes act is his finisher. Good to see Dream back and I hope that nothing nasty came out of his SpeakingOut allegations (for both sides, because if Dream is still the A-hole in all this then screw him).
I’m guessing we saw a Dream heel turn in the end, but it could also be Dream continuing to play the tweener character he’s played for over a year now. I kinda hope we get back to heel Dream, in particular, the Dream that wrestled Aleister Black in the past. Dream’s a good promo, but he’s been unnecessarily wordy in a lot of his recent promo work. Dream was at his best when he said less, made his words count, and played body language mind games. Anyway, solid episode of NXT as usual and I guess the Dream return would be the biggest surprise. The Keith Lee fireball stuff was fun too, at least for me. I’ll be by tomorrow with a member’s exclusive audio review and Jason Powell will be by with his Hit List.