By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Taped in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Aired September 30, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] Highlights from last week’s NXT show aired…
Tom Phillips and Beth Phoenix were on commentary. Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett had the “night off”….
1. Shotzi Blackheart vs. Dakota Kai (w/Raquel Gonzalez). Shotzi welcomed Dakota to the ball pit several times, once via words and once via her double leg drop. Shotzi rolled up Kai for a two count. Kai escaped a modified grounded full nelson. Kai gained control and used her boots to force Shotzi into a corner. Kai hit a snap suplex on Shotzi for a two count. Shotzi recovered and was about to hit a running move on Kai, but Gonzalez got on the apron and distracted Blackheart enough for Kai to land a backbreaker on Blackheart. The show cut to picture in picture. [c]
Blackheart gained control after a reverse Sling Blade. Blackheart got Kai draped on the 2nd rope with a forearm smash. Blackheart then hit Kai with a imploding cannonball. Kai escaped the corner with double knees. Kai hit Blackheart with a sitout power slam for a two count. Shotzi tried to make a comeback on the apron, but was tripped by Kai. Shotzi tripped up Kai by booting Kai in the lower knee. Kai gained the advantage in the enxt change with a Scorpion Kick. Shotzi blocked a pump kick and hit Kai with a Switchblade Kick.
In the Shotzi scary moment of the night, Shotzi landed awkwardly on a Sliced Bread #2 on the apron where it look liked she landed on her head. Once the women recovered, Gonzalez tried to get involved, but Rhea Ripley ran out to toss aside Raquel. Shotzi avoided a Face Wash kick and rolled up Kai for the win
Shotzi Blackheart defeated Dakota Kai via pinfall in 13:09.
John’s Thoughts: Another great match for Shotzi in a row, but also another scary moment again with that Sliced Bread spot. As I said before, this hasn’t only pertained to WWE, Shotzi has been giving 110% even during her time at the California indies, and it usually leads to scary moments like that. She’s very crisp when she tones it down, but she’s also prone to getting hurt when she goes too far. This one was more of the accidental variety, because it’s not like Sliced Bread is a high risk move, I’m just reminded of her other scary moments because they happen so often.
Tom Phillips cut to a side by side video interview wtih Isaiah Scott and Santos Escobar. Scott gave his words first. He talked about being in past Cruiserweight Championship matches and his past losses were not necessarily in fair fashion. Scott talked about being the only man in WWE. Phillips asked Escobar if Scott is right about being superior in a fair match. Escobar called Scott a parasite. Escobar promised that the match between Scott and Escobar at Takeover will be fair.
Scott brought up Legado Del Fantasma and a loaded mask being brought up last time so he doesn’t think its fair. Escobar said Scott is just making excuses. Scott talked about adapting to everything in the business and is ready for whatever Escobar has in store at Takeover. Scott said he’s going to showcase to the world what he’s good at and then prove that Santos Escobar is a fraud. Escobar said that Scott will fail at that. Escobar talked about rebuilding the Cruiserweight Division in his image, in the image of Lucha Libre where Cruiserweight Wrestling was founded. Escobar said he was going to bury Scott on sunday.
Beth Phoenix hyped up the Kyle O’Reilly Prime Target documentary segment for after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Definitely Scott’s best promo since I saw him in Lucha Underground as Military Killshot. He had focus and showed a lot of confidence here. As I’ve said for years, the “Swerve” moniker is an empty character that was carried by his Chaka Khan entrance theme. As good as that promo was, I hope they don’t take the title off Escobar yet, because that guy has a lot of potential to be a top star in NXT and I think he can establish the Cruiserweight title along the way (unless they’re planning to hot shot him to the main roster which I can see happening given his talent and English-speaking promo ability)
A Damian Priest vs. Johnny Gargano hype package aired…
A vignette aired for the “returning” NXT wrestler who was in military garb. The screen was seen through Night Vision goggles. The mystery man in a biker helmet looked at a Takeover flyer and the date for Takeover flashed on the screen.
The show aired the Kyle O’Reilly Prime Target video. O’Reilly talked about his passion for wrestling. They got words from Adam Cole and showed pictures of a young Cole and O’Reilly on the indies. Clips were shown of Kyle O’Reilly training in nature and the Dojo. O’Reilly talked about his love for Undisputed Era and how he’s going to help UE get back to their Undisputed Prophesy of being draped in gold…
Beth Phoenix hyped the Shawn Michaels moderation of the Kyle O’Reilly and Finn Balor contract signing…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Another solid Prime Target video to make O’Reilly seem more relatable and a big deal heading into his title match. What’s still odd is the rushed build towards this random Takeover out of nowhere. They didn’t have time, really, to set up O’Reilly as a singles wrestler. That said, O’Reilly vs. Balor has a really low chance of being bad or average. It should be amazing.
Tom Phillips quoted the NXT Twitter on Tegan Nox suffering another torn ACL…
Sarah Schreiber interviewed Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae about Nox’s torn ACL. Gargano said that was deserved after what Nox did to the Gargano’s TV. Sarah then transitioned to talking about Johnny’s match against Damian Priest. Gargano talked about his promise that he and Candice will become champions as a couple and how they’ll have a chance to do that on Sunday…
Cameron Grimes made his entrance in his ring gear. He cut a promo about losing his opportunity in some match called the “Gauntlet Eliminator”. He was booed by the canned heat. Grimes then proposed that he was going to hold an invitational where he hand picked an opponent. Some generic music played. Some guy that Grimes called “Joey Pistashio” made his entrance. His gear said Ariel Rodriguez. I think it was MLW’s Ariel Dominguez.
2. Cameron Grimes vs. Ariel Dominguez. Grimes quickly won with a cave-in stomp.
Cameron Grimes defeated Ariel Dominguez via pinfall in 0:07.
Grimes called some guy he called “Joey Strong” to come out, but “Joey” was tossed around by Ridge Holland. Grimes tried to tell Holland that Holland wasn’t a part of the invitational. The bell rang for some reason…
3. Cameron Grimes vs. Ridge Holland. Holland impressively tossed Grimes around the ring. The referee called for the bell when Hollandspummeled Grimes with aggressive boots.
Cameron Grimes defeated Ridge Holland, I think, Via DQ in 0:33? (They played Cameron’s theme after, but I’m not sure if that was a production flub)
Cameron’s music started playing, so I think he won by DQ?
Sarah Schreiber interviewed Austin Theory. Theory talked about how he should have been in the Gauntlet Eliminator match. Theory bragged about his early success in making WrestleMania at 22. He said that Kyle O’Reilly is being seen as the future now, but should be actually catching up to the pace of Austin Theory…
A subtitled Kushida Video Package aired where he talked about how the world is about to see the real Kushida. he said he had to go balistic in recent weeks. He said you’re going to see him explode at Takeover. He said he was going to be victorious at Takeover over Velveteen Dream…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Holland has looked the best he’s looked in NXT so far. He was more agressive here and didn’t look lost in the beatdown he was delivering. I think a part of his key to future success is to show the same aggression he showed tonight.
4. Kushida vs. Tony Nese. Nese tried to show off his muscles, but he ate a kick from Kushida. Kushida kicked around Nese for a bit. Nese landed a throat punch to Kushida and bulldog on the top rope. Kushida threw Nese into the ringpost and went back to Nese with kicks again. Kushida reversed a Pumphandle suplex into a bulldog on Nese’s left arm. Kushida bulldogged Nese’s left arm again. Beth noted that a move like that hurts Nese worse due to his muscularity. Kushida softened up Nese with the reverse curb stomps. Kushida made Nese tap out to the Hoverboard Lock.
Kushida defeated Tony Nese via submission in 2:12.
The arena went purple as Velveteen Dream appeared on the big screen. Dream said the spotlight will be too bright for Kushida on Sunday. Dream said he’s used to doing his best in the brightest spotlight. Dream said he’d see Kushida on Sunday…
The camera then cut to Cameron Grimes crying backstage about getting beat by Ridge Holland. He then ran into a silent Dexter Lumis. Grimes called Lumis a freak, and said he was looking for Regal…[c]
John’s Thoughts: They’re laying it on thick by saying that Kushida is now more “aggressive”. Hopefully that’s a sign of a big push. Maybe they’re setting up future Finn Balor opponents?
[Hour Two] Adam Cole was already in the ring for a promo. He talked about how the UE dominated NXT for three years. He brought up how UE delivered on their “draped in gold” prophesy. Coel then said that people should know that they’re going to pay if they cross the UE. Cole said they did end up losing all those championships and people started thinking less of UE. Cole said nothing has changed. Cole said UE is still the same UE that won the first War Games, the same UE that dominated the brand. Cole called out Austin Theory for calling out Kyle O’Reilly.
Austin Theory walked out to the stage. Cole gave Theory two options: to enter the ring and fight like a man or wait on the stage and get beat up by Undisputed Era. Theory then entered the ring to confront Cole confidently…
5. Adam Cole vs. Austin Theory. Cole quickly stomped a mudhole in Theory. Theory was grounded with a series of pump kicks. Cole caught Theory with a neckbreaker. Theory avoided a pump kick by trying to run away. Cole caught Theory at ringside with a Yakuza Kick. Theory tried to drag Cole back in the ring to work his offense, but was caught by an Enzuigiri. Cole caught Theory with a move and then got a two count in the ring.
Cole tangled Theory in the corner and then caught Theory with a dropkick. Cole locked Theory in a grounded headlock while Theory tried to trash talk, saying “Undisputed Crap”. Cole got Theory to his feet and caught Theory with a running back elbow. Cole continued to manhandle Theory. Theory landed a gut tackle on Cole and rolling dropkick for a two count. [c]
Theory was dominating Cole back from the break. Cole made a comeback and hit Theory with a backstabber for a two count. Cole hit Theory with a knee to the back of the neck for another two count. Theory blocked a Panama Sunrise and kicked Cole in the back of the head with a thrust kick. Theory hit Cole with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Cole ended up beating down Theory with a superkick. Cole hit Theory with a superkick, ushigoroshi, and Last Shot shining wizard for the victory.
Adam Cole dfeated Austin Theory via pinfall in 9:29 of on-air time.
Adam Cole talked in the camera that Kyle O’Reilly is going to shock the world on Sunday…
John’s Thoughts: A longer-than-expected match from Austin Theory again, but he continues to show that he’s a natural pro wrestler. Right now it looks like he’s the designated whipping boy of NXT, but it looks like it can be a learning experience for him for down the road. He is very young, so there’s time for him to look credible down the road. Just a hunch, but I wonder if they’re setting up Cole to turn on O’Reilly down the road? I don’t think it’ll happen, but Cole being very sappy over O’Reilly in the last segment had me wondering.
Tom Phillips plugged Connor’s Cure…
Sarah Schreiber interviewed Io Shirai and Damian Priest about their tag match later in the show. Priest said that both he and Shirai are keeping their titles on Sunday. Priest said the two rock stars of NXT are taking care of business tonight. Shirai talked in Japanese a bit. She then did a devil horn fist bump with Preist…
6. Kayden Carter (w/Kacy Catanzaro) vs. Xia Li. Li was all smiles and her usual self during her entrance. Beth brought up Li’s disrespect and saltiness after her loss the last time Li faced Carter in the tag match. Carter and Li had a stalemate during the opening chain wrestling. Carter hit Li with a dropkick for a two count. Li tripped up Carter and then dragged her aggressively to her back at ringside. Phillips pointed out the new “aggression” from Li. Li got a two count on Carter in the ring.
Li hit Carter with Muay Thai clinch knees and a back kick for a two count. Carter came back with aggressive chops. Carter hit Li with a kick for a two count. Li got a two count after a sunset flip. Carter reversed into a rollup for her victory.
Kayden Carter defeated Xia Li via pinfall in 3:24.
Carter helped up Li from the corner, but Li shoved Carter to the mat. Li then walked to the back looking salty again…
John’s Thoughts: Basic story here, but there’s nothing wrong with basic. Li has shown a lot of promise in NXT as one of their developmental projects and she has seemingly delivered with a lot of hard work. Wishing for the best here because she has looked really good leading up to this and it will be fun to see her take that next step away from being a “developmental” wrestler. It’ll also be cool to see a person of Chinese dissent get a push in WWE.
Shawn Michaels introduced the Finn Balor and Kyle O’Reilly contract signing in an empty arena. The scene used cinematic camera angles and had background music. Balor and O’Reilly sat down and exchanged pleasantries. Shawn Michaels talked about how he declared O’Reilly as the best kept secret in NXT. Balor said he doesn’t see O’Reilly as a secret and that’s more of a fringe wrestling fan view. Balor said that he knows how good O’Reilly is. O’Reilly said Balor is good at stroking his own ego. O’Reilly said he’s going to beat Balor on Sunday. Balor wondered if O’Reilly will show up as a man or with Undisputed Era.
O’Reilly said Sunday is not about UE, it’s about O’Reilly and O’Reilly’s moment. Michaels brought up a conflict in UE might end up arising if O’Reilly wins the title. O’Reilly then joked around a bit and said it’s no problem. Balor said there’s no room for excuses or jokes on Sunday. Balor said he’s been in wrestling for 20 years. O’Reilly talked down to that and said he’s been wrestling for 15. O’Reilly said this sunday is the biggest moment of his life. Balor said that the match on Sunday will be a life altering main event not just for O’Reilly, but for everyone watching. O’Reilly said this is Balor’s first title defense. O’Reilly said being considered the underdog in this match is bull shit. O’Reilly said that Balor might end up getting snapped by a so-called “tag team specialist”. Balor said that O’Reilly might be NXT Champion, if the title was on anybody else but Finn Balor…
Tom Phillips hyped up the tag team main event of the show…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A really good promo exchange that would have been amazing if they just didn’t book this Takeover impromptu. I felt like we needed to know a bit about O’Reilly a bit more and it looks like they’re trying to do all the exposition for O’Reilly in one day. That said, the segment did convince me, just a bit, that O’Reilly might come out on Sunday as champion. Just in a sense that NXT might want to tell O’Reilly’s story “as champion” and through a big moment. My pick is still Balor winning though, and I see more of a UE breakup afterwards.
Tom Phillips thanked Corey Taylor for providing the song Culture Head for Takeover…
Entrances for the main event took place…
7. Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae vs. Damian Priest and Io Shirai in a mixed-tag match. The face team cleared the ring before the bell rang. The bell rang once Priest and Gargano got in the ring. Priest took down Gargano with a running boot. Priest hit Gargano with a sidewalk slam. LeRae and Shirai tagged in. LeRae reversed Shirai into a rollup for a two count. Shirai flapjacked LeRae. Gargano got in between LeRae and Shirai to allow LeRae to recover. Priest hit Gargano wtih a roundhouse. Shirai hit LeRae with a meteora in the corner. Shirai got on Priest’s shoulders and then dove on the Garganos at ringside. The show cut to picture-in-picture. [c]
Shirai hit LeRae with a German Suplex. Gargano and Priest tagged in. Priest hit Gargano with a few kicks and a stiff stortarm lariat. Priest hit Gargano with a Falcon Arrow for a two count. Priest hit Gargano with a Tae Kwon Do combination. Shirai tagged in and hit Gargano with a slingshot dropkick. LeRae came in and reversed a Tiger Driver. Shirai countered LeRae into a Crossface. Gargano pulled his wife to ringside. LeRae got a two count off a small package. LeRae slammed Shirai and hit Shirai with a senton to Shirai’s back.
Shirai avoided a Lionsault. Shirai hit LeRae with a Tiger Backbreaker. Johnny pulled his wife aside again. Priest hit Johnny with a bell clap and boot. Shirai hit Johnny with a moonsault. Priest was about to hit the Reckoning on Priest, but LeRae snuck in and hit Priest with a low blow while the referee was distracted with Shirai. Gargano hit Priest with One Final Beat for the victory.
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae defeated Damian Priest and Io Shirai via pinfall in 10:13.
Candice LeRae hit Shirai with a backstabber after the match to leave both babyfaces lying. LeRae and Gargano posed with the North American and Women’s title belts to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: A textbook way of heating up heels going into a title match. Expected, but it was solidly done. I think Priest is really shining in his moments as a babyface. I’m almost afraid that he’s too good now, which usually leads to a main roster callup. Because this Takeover feels rushed and somewhat meaningless, I think that they might have to put the belts on Gargano and LeRae on Sunday just to have a big moment. I only bring this up, because I also think LeRae and Gargano would do a great job as the dual champions. On top of that, Gargano and LeRae have been taking a lot of L’s in recent months, and need something to heat them back up.
This week’s NXT was a solid NXT with the daunting task of stuffing in a lot of hype for a rushed Takeover build. I give them a B – on that grade because there’s only so much you can do and they did the best they can. The fault still lies in the booking of this out-of-nowhere Takeover show. I’ll have more thoughts on this show in my member’s exclusive audio review. Jason Powell will be by with his NXT hit list.