By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Live from Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Aired September 8, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] Highlights from last week’s NXT Show (Super Tuesday I) aired along with some quick hype for this week’s show…
Vic Joseph, Beth Phoenix, and Wade Barrett were on commentary with Wade and Vic being the on-site commentators…
Finn Balor made his entrance to open the show followed by Adam Cole. William Regal was in the ring with the NXT Championship in-hand. Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring introductions for the world title match…
1. Finn Balor vs. Adam Cole for the vacant NXT Championship. Both men traded early side headlocks with Balor dominating on the ground. Balor got a quick one count after a shoulder tackle. Vic Joseph pointed out Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura as the only two-time NXT Champions. Balor maintained his control of the headlock for the first two minutes. Cole escaped by putting Balor in a hammerlock.
Balor escaped by kicking out of Cole’s pin attempt. After the kickout, Cole went back to the hammerlock. Cole hit Balor with a dropkick after the long chain wrestling opening exchange. Cole hit Balor with a Death Valley Driver onto his own knee. The show cut to picture in picture. [c]
Cole kicked out at two after Balor grounded him with some kicks. Vic Joseph noted that this match started out very slow paced. Cole countered Balor’s hold with a jawbreaker. Balor came back with a running elbow, body slam, and running elbow drop for a two count. Balor hit Cole with a basement front dropkick for a two count. Balor worked on Cole with tackles to the gut as well as other strikes in the corners. Cole rallied back at Balor with forearms. Cole took down Balor with a few lariats and a pump kick.
Adam Cole hit Balor with an enzuigiri and a side codebreaker for a two count. Balor noted that Cole was looking slower than he usually is due to the early part of the match where Balor worked the methodical pace. After a few counters, Balor hit Cole with a Sling Blade. Cole came out of nowhere with a Shining Wizard for a good looking nearfall. Cole took down the pad for the Last Shot, that allowed Balor to recover and hit Cole with a standing double stomp. Balor stomped a mudhole into Cole in the ring and against the ringside barrier when Cole rolled to ringside.
Balor tried to shotgun dropkick Cole into the timekeeper area, but Cole got up from the chair he was placed on to nail Balor with a superkick. That allowed him to get a bit of a breather as the show cut to the next picture-in-picture. [c]
The show cut back 18 minutes into the match. Balor was knocked to the mat and Cole put him into a figure four leg lock. Cole was about to go for a last shot, but Balor caught cole with a slingblade and elbow slam. Joseph noted that Balor was hobbling on one knee after Cole’s Figure Four. Balor ended up hitting Cole with the Coup De Grace. Balor sold the knee and Barrett went “he blew his knee out!”. Cole kicked out at two and the commentators noted that no one has kicked out of the Coup De Gras.
Cole reversed a Bloody Sunday into a Figure Four. Balortried to roll to the ropes, but Cole maintained control. Cole tried to rehook the figure four but Balor reversed into a small package. Cole superkicked Balor and hit Balor with a Last Shot Shining Wizard. Balor kicked out at two. Balor reversed a Panama Sunrise and was hobbling. Balor ended up hitting Cole with a Bloody Sunday II. Balor continued to sell the knee.
Balor went to the top rope and ate a superkick to the knee from Cole. Both men struggled on the top rope. Balor hit Cole with a Super 1916 off the top rope. Balor picked up the pinfall win.
Finn Balor defeated Adam Cole via pinfall in 23:09 to become the new NXT Champion.
Beth noted that Balor achieved the goal he said he would go for since coming back to NXT. Highlights from the match aired. Balor ended up doing his double finger gun pose at the top of the ramp…
Rhea Ripley cut a promo backstage about her match against Mercedes Martinez. Ripley said she will show Martinez why she’s the nightmare…[c]
John’s Thoughts: An amazing match that was storyboarded like your usual Adam Cole Takeover Championship match, complete with the expected, but well placed false finishes after 75% of the match. A strange path to get here? Why not book Cole vs. Gargano and Balor vs. Ciampa in a mini tournament to get to this point because that would have been a better setup for this week’s match as opposed to last week’s ultimately meaningless 60-minute ironman match (again, they booked last week’s match with it being a tie most of the match and the only suspense came in the end where it ended in a copout finish). The booking was odd, but the match was great. As expected, Balor won, which makes sense given his star power. Interesting decision to open the show with Balor vs. Cole? (I was busy today and didn’t see if WWE announced that). Are they going with Ripley vs. Martinez in the main event?
Vic Joseph did the plug for Connor’s Cure…
The show cut to backstage where Paul Levesque, William Regal, and some other wrestlers were congratulating Finn Balor. Adam Cole passed by Balor and gave Balor a handshake. Balor then was interviewed where he talked about doing his business and becoming NXT Champion…
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Robert Stone who was about to attack Shotzi Blackheart’s tank. Shotzi Blackheart ran in and backed down Stone. Aliyah attacked Blackheart. Aliyah accidentally hit Io Shirai during Shirai’s photoshoot. Blackheart and Shirai brawled with Aliyah to the ring. Shirai hit Aliyah with a Butterfly Backbreaker Suplex. Blackheart punched a diving Stone. Shirai and Blackheart hit Stone and Aliyah with stereo finishing dives. After Stone and Aliyah were taken care of, Blackheart handed Shirai the title belt, but not before making it know that she is coming after it…
The show cut to Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae at home. LeRae told Gargano to be nice to their guest, Tegan Nox. This was shot via cinematic camera. Gargano opened the door and joked with Nox about not bringing a pizza this time. Gargano acted passive aggressive and escorted Nox to the dinner table. LeRae wanted to talk, but was a bit unconfortable with Johnny Gargano sitting at the table and smiling at them…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A bit of an odd way to build toward Shirai vs. Blackheart (with Stone as the proxy). I hope they have more in mind to make Blackheart seem more than just a stepping stone for Io Shirai. I only say that because it’s expected that they
They cut to this week’s episode of “Thatch at Thatch Can”. Thatcher said that this week’s lesson was film study and they were watching film of the enemy, Damian Priest. Thatcher pointed out the flaws in Damian Priest match footage. Thatcher said Priest likes to think that live is a party, but live is something that grinds you into the ground, like Thatcher…
2. Velveteen Dream vs. Ashanti The Adonis. Ashanti looks like the designated enhancement wrestler. Dream shoved Adonis into the corner. Adonis then had a rally of lariats and a dropkick. Adonis rolled up Dream for a great nearfall. Adonis dropped Dream with a DDT. Adonis missed a superkick. Dream hit Adonis with a Dream Valley Driver for the win.
Velveteen Dream defeated Ashanti the Adonis via pinfall in 1:35.
Dream tried to cut a promo, but Kushida ran out and attacked Velveteen Dream. Joseph noted that this stemmed form Dream’s post-match attack on him. Kushida laid a good right hand on Dream. Kushida pulled Dream’s shoulder aggressively twice into the ringpost. Wade Barrett noted he never saw Kushida this aggressive since Kushida wrestled in Japan. Kushida tortured Dream with a rope assisted Juji Gatame against the turnbuckles…
John’s Thoughts: It’s still a bit uncomfortable trying to praise or critizise Dream given WWE’s lack of transparency on his allegations (again, I’m not saying he’s guilty one way or another, but when you just simply don’t know and know that “he might” be a creeper a-hole, then it’s hard to invest into anything he does). That said, there was good stuff around him. Kushida was really good in his aggressive attack on Dream, showing there’s more attitude to him than just the Marty McFly guy. That Adonis guy really looked good too and he only got about a minute of offense.
Vic Joseph transitioned to a Tyler Breeze and Fandango backstage promo. Fandango was talking in his regular voice. They then cut to a video package where Breeze talked about how they beat “Emporium” for the title belts. Breeze said with the title belts, they are at the top of the division. The show then cut in with sound bytes from Imperium, who said that Breezango are a joke. Dango said they took the best piece of fashion that Imperium had, the title belts. Aichner and Barthel noted that Breeze and Dango will have the shortest Tag Title reign in NXT history.
Beth Phoenix announced Breezango vs. Imperium next week on NXT’s return to Wednesdays. Joseph announced Bronson Reed vs. Austin Theory for after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Again, there are still aspects of the Breezango act that seem counter intuitive aspects of their act (Fandango being named Fandango for one). That said, the promo was a step forward. I liked Fandango using his natural voice again (which he might drop next week, he just goes back and forth sometimes). I like that they are slowly adding a bit of an edge to the comedy duo. I just hope that they don’t do it so slowly.
[Hour Two] The show cut to the Nox, Gargano, and LeRae dinner. Gargano was over the top and said he finally figured it out that he was making things unconfortable. Gargano left. LeRae pointed out that Nox should apologize for Nox’s mistakes. Nox pointed out that LeRae needs to apologize. LeRae said Nox doesn’t understand the Gargano way. LeRae pointed out that she always had Nox’s back as a big sister figure. LeRae proposed that they get on the same page and support each other…
3. “The Colossal” Bronson Reed vs. Austin Theory. Austin Theory still has generic Create-a-wrestler music. The match started off with chain wrestling. Reed dominated with a side headlock. Theory tried to fight back after escaping, but he was shoved down by Reed. Reed hit Theory with a springboard back elbow drop for a two count. Theory tried to escape the ring, but he was hip tossed back into the ring. Reed then locked Theory in a grounded sleeper. Reed used his weight to counter a Sunset Flip into a Bansai Drop.
Reed took down Theory with a shoulder tackle from the apron. The show cut to picture in picture. [c]
Reed continued to dominated Theory. Reed caught Theory with a DVD for a two count. Theory caught Reed with a blockbuster for a two count. Theory tried to lift up Reed, but Reed just fell on Theory. Reed caught Theory in the back with the top rope splash for the victory.
Bronson Reed defeated Austin Theory via pinfall in 10:48.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Adam Cole about his recent loss. Cole said that he was disappointed and agrees the better man won tonight. He said he has respect for Balor, but next time they go in the ring together the outcome will be different, and that is undisputed. McKenzie thanked Cole for the interview…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A nice picture of someone who’s getting a push vs. someone who’s not. Reed gets the new name and new entrance music. Theory gets “demoted”, becomes enhancement fodder, and still has the same generic-as-hell Video Game Create-a-wrestler entrance music. All in all, productive segment in NXT continuing to show that they finally have confidence in Bronson Reed. Austin Theory has the same dark clouds hovering over him as Dream, but it’s easier to ignore because it looks like they aren’t really doing much with Theory, meanwhile it’s uncomfortable with Patrick Clark because he’s still presented around the top of NXT.
Mercedes Martinez cut her promo on tonight’s match. She compared herself to a Lion going after the toughest animal in the jungle…
4. Roderick Strong (w/Bobby Fish) vs. Killian Dain. Strong kept his distance from Dain early on. Strong chopped Dain and then ran away to ringside, where Dain chased him. Fish distracted Dain, which allowed Strong to get cheap shots on Dain. Dain tossed Strong into the corner and gave Strong gut punches. Dain gave Strong a stiff lariat to the mat. Strong sent Dain outside with a leg lariat. Dain stood up and gave Strong a Uranage from the apron. Strong kicked Dain in the shin while the ref was distracted heading into regular commercial. [c]
Dain manhandled Strong back from the break. Dain hit Strong with a Wasteland and Senton maneuver. Joseph joked that the Wasteland was Wade Barrett’s old finisher. Fish Strong distracted the referee. This allowed Fish to kick Dain in the head. Strong hit Dain with a high knee for the victory.
Roderick Strong defeated Killian Dain via pinfall in about 3:00 of on-air time.
Fish and Strong put the boots to Dain after the match. Drake Maverick ran out and attacked UE with a baseball bat. UE ended up taking down Maverick via the numbers game. Dain recovered and chased UE away with the bat. Dain then stood over Maverick seething. Dain then dropped the bad and let Maverick be. Maverick quickly chased Dain and then offered Dain a handshake. Dain teased a handshake, but then clocked Maverick with a right hand to the face.
They cut back to the LeRae and Nox dinner where they had a toast. LeRae continued to brag about the Gargano Way. The also brought up Nox losing to Io Shirai recently. Nox pointed out that LeRae couldn’t beat Io either. This caused LeRae to toss a bowl of salad into Nox. Nox threw her drink at LeRae. Gargano cut in and called Nox a terrible person who he can’t understand speak. Nox said “f–k you” (bleeped) to Gargano and dumped spaghetti on Gargano’s head. Nox walked away and left out the front door, with LeRae chasing her…
John’s Thoughts: I was about to criticize Dain taking yet another loss, but I was really intrigued with his post match exchange with Drake Maverick. I like that they didn’t go the expected steps towards two wrestlers teaming up. Dain is staying true to his character and resisting teaming up with face Maverick. I was afraid that Maverick was being dropped down the card and Dain would continue to be gatekeeper (which can still happen, let’s not throw that out of the window yet). I kinda hope both men start teaming up and I’m confident that Drake Maverick’s main event level talking ability will lead them to bigger things. On the other s
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Damian Priest on Thatcher’s film study segment. Priest said that Thatcher is ugly. Priest said he has a simple gameplan that he’ll punch Thatcher in the face until his face changes, because Thatcher needs it. Priest then started hitting on McKenzie saying that she’s invited to the “party forever” he’s holding…
The commentators ran through advertised matches for next week’s show…
Vic Joseph noted that the cage match is the main event. Wade Barrett noted that he’s been in cage matches with people like Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Randy Orton, and others and the match was always grueling. Mercedes Martinez made her entrance first, making sure to throw weapons into the steel cage. While Martinez was throwing in weapons, Rhea Ripley ran out and attacked Martinez between the steel door. Ripley then tossed Martinez in the ring and tossed her jacket at Stone.
5. Mercedes Martinez (w/Robert Stone) vs. Rhea Ripley in a Steel Cage Match. Ripley booted Martinez into the cage as Martinez was trapped in the ropes. Ripley dominated Martinez for the beginning 3 minutes of the match. Ripley blocked a steel chair shot with a Yakuza Kick. Martinez dragged Ripley off the top rope and then gave Ripley a running power slam. The show cut to picture-in-picture. [c]
Ripley was booting a Tree of Woe trapped Martinez while standing on the top rope. Martinez had the creative escape by hitting Ripley with a deadlift German Suplex while still in the tree of woe. Ripley chucked a chair at Martinez. Ripley dropkicked Martinez, causing Martinez to wedge her head at the edge of the cage. Ripley pulled Martinez out of the edge and hit her with a Superplex. Martinez fought Ripley back with a few forearms and then hit Ripley with a spinebuster. Joseph noted that Martinez was so worn out that she had to use the time now to recover.
Ripley countered Martinez with an electric chair slam. Ripley then locked Martinez in the Prism Hold (Reverse Texas Cloverleaf). Martinez escaped by picking up a kendo stick from the ground and fending off Ripley. This caused Ripley to yell “ow”. Ripley hit Martinez with the kendo stick. Robert Stone then tried to enter the ring. Ripley was about to suplex Stone into the ring, but Martinez hit Ripley in the back a few times with the kendo stick. Martinez hit Ripley with a top rope neckbreaker.
Martinez dragged Ripley to the top rope after setting up a table in the ring. Ripley blocked a Super Fisherman Suplex. Ripley gave Martinez a headbutt to knock out Martinez. Ripley lifted up Martinez and hit her with a Super Rip Tide through the table for the victory.
Rhea Ripley defeated Mercedes Martinez via pinfall in 14:21.
Highlights from the match aired. The commentators talked about Ripley finally taking care of Robert Stone Brand. Vic Joseph said that Ripley proved she’s the biggest badass in NXT. NXT closed…
John’s Thoughts: A really good cage match that was hurt a bit by the picture-in-picture. I say that because I actually paid attention this time to the picture-in-picture commercial and there was some good stuff happening in there as opposed to the usual restholds you see during those spots. The rest of the match had a lot of action and I like Mercedez Martinez also adding a lot of practical situations that we don’t see in matches (like that moment where her head was wedged in the cage). While I thought this match was great, it would have been greater without commercials and on a Takeover stage. I’m curious about two things. Where do they go with Ripley from here and I really hope this isn’t the end of Mercedes Martinez’s big push. Will they start pushing Ripley towards Io soon?
This week’s Super Tuesday was better than last week’s, mostly because we got satisifying matches and the last hour didn’t seem like a waste of time. NXT has also used some of the uncontested weeks to test out women’s matches in the main event. I really hope they get good results in the quarter hour analysis because it would be new, different, and refreshing to see high quality women’s matches get the spotlight when they deserve. I go back to TNA as a company that really strived when they were presenting Awesome Kong and Gail Kim in their highest rated segments. Sasha and Bayley did similar things early on in NXT. Anyways, good show. I’ll be by later with an NXT audio review and Jason Powell will be by with his hit list.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...