By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Taped in Orlando, Florida at Capitol Wrestling Center (WWE PC)
Aired November 4, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary…
1. Dakota Kai (w/Raquel Gonzalez) vs. Ember Moon. Kai and Moon were even for the beginning of the match. Moon got control after a drop toehold. Kai turned the table after yanking Moon into the ringpost. Kai worked on Moon with methodical offense in the ring. Vic Joseph noted that Kai didn’t like being called a “stepping stone” by Ember Moon. Ember Moon got a moment to recover after deadlifting Kai from a armbreaker to a power bomb. Moon staggered Kai with a enzuigiri combination. Kai came right back with a running forearms. Moon responded with a springboard sobat kick. Moon tripped up Kai with a baseball slide kick. Moon told Kai that she would give her a receipt and gave her a stiff looking piston pump kick.
Ember Moon hit Kai with a sweet and nasty looking suicide dive. Moon then crash and burned off the second dive attempt. [c]
Moon hit Kai with a headscissors takedown and spinebuster for a two count. Kai hit Moon with a victory roll slam for a two count. Moon planted Kai back to the mat again and then got another two count. Moon baited Kai into a punch and dodged the punch right into a crossface. Moon and Kai traded rapid fire pin attempts. Kai managed to transition right into a Fujiwara Armbar. Moon got a foot on the bottom rope. Kai worked on Moon with strikes and trash talk. Moon no sold a slap and came back with a furious look.
Moon gave Kai rapid strikes and clubbing blows from the shortarm position. Moon gave Kai a big hip toss followed by a running forearm. Gonzalez got on the ropes to distract Moon on the top rope. Dakota Kai gave Moon a draping Go To Kick.
Dakota Kai defeated Ember Moon via pinfall.
Kai and Moon retreated to the back. Kai spoke to the camera that she proved Moon wrong, where Moon thought Kai was the same person that she was the last time Moon was in NXT…
Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett checked in from the commentary table and they sent things to McKenzie Mitchell and Cameron Grimes…
McKenzie Mitchell asked Cameron Grimes about his Haunted House match experience. Grimes said he didn’t get pinned or submitted and that the ref was a zombie. Grimes said he was okay. A referee showed up behind Grimes to tell him to head over to his match and Grimes ran away in fear thinking that the ref was a zombie. McKenzie noted that Grimes vs. Kushida was happening after the break…
John’s Thoughts: Couldn’t get the time for the match because I was having Sling TV troubles, but eventually I got in. Anyway, great women’s match. Moon has brought a different type of in-ring style since returning and looking like she hasn’t missed a beat. I like her new moves that she’s employing, moves we don’t see from a lot of wrestlers in general. The match result surprised me in a good way because I didn’t think that NXT would have Moon lose so soon in her return to WWE. A pleasant surprise that does a lot for Kai as well. This helps her from feeling like a “gatekeeper” or “stepping stone” type of wrestler. Good stuff.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Shotzi Blackheart. Blackheart talked about having a fun Halloween Havoc. She then said that Regal allowed her to hand pick her opponent and she picked a top quality opponent in Toni Storm. Blackheart ended her promo with her “Welcome to the Ball Pit” catchphrase…
2. Kushida vs. Cameron Grimes. Grimes acted freaked out when Kushida tried to use the octopus guard to approach him. Grimes recovered and traded chain wrestling with Kushida. Kushida then had the upper hand on the ground submissions. Kushida went for a Juji Gatame, but Grimes kept his hands grasped. Kushida adjusted to a unique butterfly arm trap. Kushida then gave Grimes a shoulder wishbone. Kushida followed up with a shoulder slam and dropkick for a two count. Kushida worked on Grimes with joint manipulation. The commentators talked about Grimes being off his game since the halloween match.
Grimes gained an advantage once he landed a few punches on Kushida’s kidneys. Kushida got a two count off a victory roll. Grimes gave Kushida snake eyes on the top rope for a two count. The show cut to picture-in-picture.[c]
Grimes and Kushida traded forearms. Kushida gained a bit of momentum with a CQC combo and handspring back elbow. Kushida hit Grimes with his signature cartwheel dropkick. Kushida knocked Grimes off the apron with double handspring boots. Kushida hit Grimes with a high crossbody for a two count. Grimes used a rollup on Kushida to counter the curb stomp boots. Grimes hit Kushida with a deadlift power bomb for a two count. Kushida and Grimes brawled on the top rope. Kushida crotched Grimes and gave Grimes a haymaker. Kushida then gave Grimes a diving shoulder slam.
Grimes shoved Kushida into the ref and then accidentally knee’d the ref when Kushida kicked him. REF BUMP!!! Kushida locked in the hoverboard lock, but the ref was ref bumped. Grimes hit Kushida with his sweet looking Spanish Fly Power Slam. The referee was still bumped. Suddenly the “Zombie Referee” man ran out, which freaked Grimes out. The distraction allowed Kushida to lock Grimes in the Hoverboard Lock for the submission win.
Kushida defated Cameron Grimes via submission in 14:07.
Joseph noted that Grimes has PZSD, Post Zombie Stress Disorder.
They cut to a Toni Storm hype vignette where she hyped up her match against Toni Storm…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Poor dude. Getting dubbed the “Zombie ref”. I feel like I’m supposed to hate this, but for some reason I got a kick out of the finish. I just hope they don’t run it into the ground. NXT is usually good with not running things into the ground so that fear’s not there. It was goofy, but good goofy. I totally understand if you hate it though. Outside of the goofy, I do look forward to the day that Cameron Grimes gets taken seriously because he definitely has all the tools to be a main event player if positioned correctly. Given their young age, I feel like Cameron Grimes and Austin Theory (also both due to their natural talent) have the potential to be future cornerstones of WWE. Look at how long it took Drew McIntyre to go from the bottom of the barrel to the main event?
An Io Shiri promo vignette aired. Io Shirai talked about having one more challenge in NXT. She said she wants to face Rhea Ripley in a one-on-one match for the NXT Championship. Shirai said she’s not afraid of nightmares…
Drake Maverick and Killian Dain made their entrance to the world’s best whistle entrance theme. Dain still won’t sell the music. Wade Barrett couldn’t stand the music…
3. Killian Dain and Drake Maverick vs. “Ever Rise” Matt Martel and Chase Parker. Dain and Maverick dominated Parker with tandem offense. Dain body slammed Maverick on Parker for a two count. Martel tagged in and got control of Maverick. Parker tagged in. Maverick dumped Parker to ringside by pulling the rope. Maverick ended up deciding to follow up on ringside. They then showed a side-by-side camera of Pat McAfee and his crew pulling up to the Performance Center. Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Burch stormed the ring and ended the match in DQ after the heels beat up Dain and Maverick.
Dain and Maverick vs. Ever Rise ended in a no-contest in 3:58.
Ever Rise left the area. After a beatdown, Lorcan, Burch, and Dunne hit Dain with their draping DDT finisher. Pat McAfee had a camera with him. They cut to commercial after the heels did a selfie with the camera…[c]
John’s Thoughts: This was more about putting heat on Pat McAfee’s new heel faction than it was to do anything for the Dain and Maverick alliance, which is fine. This will probably still lead to Undisputed Era vs. McAfee’s crew at War Games. Good standard pushing forward of that story. So far so good, with Dunne’s involvement in the group. He’s still doing his dead pissed off face. It keeps him different from the “happy to be here” Lorcan and Burch.
[Hour Two] Pat McAfee cut a promo in the ring with his team. McAfee said he, Lorcan, Dunne, and Burch run NXT now. He said what makes them different from other groups is that they are not scumbags. McAfee said they are the new kings of NXT. McAfee then talked over a Undisputed Era slideshow. He talked about the UE’s run in NXT. McAfee said UE was over with the “stupid stupid stupid” fans. McAfee then sent it over to Dunne to talk about what UE did to Dunne when UE needed a new member. Dunne brought up how Roderick Strong betrayed him and all Dunne did last week was return the favor. McAfee then went back to talking about the UE’s rise in NXT.
McAfee talked about how the Undisputed Era’s “push” was taking away opportunities away form the hard working people in the back. Oney and Danny talked about having to fall behind UE for so long. McAfee then talked about how Adam Cole didn’t show respect to McAfee after beating McAfee. McAfee then talked about putting together this powerful group. McAfee said it was time to raise the UE banner to the rafters so that never will have to hear from UE again. McAfee then told his boys if they were in favor of raising the banner, then to say I. McAfee then proposed throwing it in a trash can. The three guys said “I”. McAfee said the banner will end up in a trash can like Vic Joseph, who McAfee called a piece of trash. After giving finals thoughts, McAfee threw the banner in the trash.
Dunne poured on lighter fluid and then dropped in a zippo to set the flag on fire. McAfee ended the promo by saying that the fans suck, both on the monitor and in person. The camera followed McAfee, Dunne, Lorcan, and Burch to backstage. Before McAfee could get in his van, Killian Dain pulled out McAfee and beat up McAfee a bit. Lorcan, Burch, and Dunne then got the number game advantage over Dain. Dunne kicked the door lid onto Dain. McAfee said that may have been a bit much. Dunne did his signature shrug. McAfee got in the car and said “we’re the best and you all suck”. They drove off. The camera then showed Killian Dain rolling on the ground in a pool of blood with a bloody mouth…[c]
John’s Thoughts: While that went a bit long, it was all effective in putting heat on Pat McAfee and his new team. I like the logical attention to detail about Dunne turning on Undisputed Era due to Undisputed Era causing Roderick Strong to turn on him several years ago. The slideshow did a good job at making UE come off as a central part of NXT and setting up McAfee’s group as a big deal. This made me look forward to the presumed clash between UE and McAfee’s group.
The show cut to Johnny Gargano at his dinner table where he talked about liking wheels. He was playing the game of Life by himself. Gargano then got a call on the phone by the Scream guy. The Scream guy was playing Life with Gargano. Gargano bragged about winning the title. Gargano made fun of the scream guy when he spun the wheel. Gargano then spun the board game wheel and claimed that he won. Gargano did some odd dance, complete with pelvic rotations…
Toni Storm made her entrance to the WWE PC. Shotzi Blackheart made her entrance by running to the ring, with no tank…
4. Toni Storm vs. Shotzi Blackheart. Blackheart tried to go for a slingshot move, but then botched the ring entry. The commentators noted that Blackheart blames Storm for stealing her tank. Blackheart gave Storm a huracanrana into the second buckle. The commentators talked about how it’s odd to see a respectful person like Storm steal from Blackheart. Storm hit Blackheart with a stiff hip attack into the bottom buckle for a two count. After trading pin attempts, Storm locked Blackheart in a cranium crunch. Barrett noted that Blackheart was off her game after losing her tank.
Storm kept Blackheart under control with headlocks and pin attempts. Storm hit Blackheart with a snap suplex for a two count. The show cut to regular commercial.[c]
Vic Joseph noted that Killian Dain was sent to the “hospital” (they didn’t use the term “local medical facility”!) due to the attack by Dunne. Blackheart hit Storm with a reverse cannonball into the second rope for a two count. Storm hit Blackheart with a German suplex. Storm reversed a Sliced Bread into a German Suplex for a two count. Blackheart reversed Storm’s German Suplex into a Saito Suplex. Storm got a two count after hitting Blackheart with a headbutt. Blackheart got Storm teetering over the apron with strikes. Blackheart then did some sort of “modified DDT” on the apron. It was a bit of a botch.
After Shotzi beat the ten count, Candice LeRae appeared on the big screen. LeRae showed that she was standing next to Shotzi’s tank. Storm used the distraction to nail Blackheart with a huracanrana into a jackknife pin for the victory.
Toni Storm defeated Shotzi Blackheart via pinfall in 9:55 of on-air time.
LeRae appeared on the monitor again where she stood on front of a giant truck to “protect” Shotzi’s tank. LeRae then got in the truck and then ran over Shotzi’s tank (which took a bit of time). The camera then showed that the Scream mask guy was in the back seat of the truck. LeRae said they are now even after Shotzi cost Candice the title last week. Shotzi was crying in the ring with Storm trying to console her…[c]
John’s Thoughts: I mean, I hope this isn’t the end of Shotzi’s tank, because I get a kick out of the tank. But poor Shotzi! This can be a fun feud to keep LeRae away from the title scene for now, after being in two consecutive title matches. The Garganos are doing solid stuff as heels so I hope they eventually get the titles to showcase their heel antics at a higher level. My guess is that there are two scream mask people and I still think they are Indi Hartwell and Austin Theory.
Legado Del Fantasma was interviewed outside of Full Sail. Escobar talked about how he doesn’t care that people think that he cheated against Jake Atlas becaue he beat Atlas fair and square. Jake Atlas appeared in a SUV. Atlas got out of the car and then hit Raul Mendoza with a bat to the gut. Atlas then got back in the car and drove off before Wilde could catch up to him…
It was time for this week’s live “Thatch as Thatch Can” segment where Timothy Thatcher was in the ring with a guy name Akeem. This week’s lesson was “reversals”. Thatcher told Akeem to put him in a guillotine choke. Thatcher did the play by play on how to get into a pin situation on the mat. Thatcher used a forearm to get into a double wrist lock. Of course, Thatcher wouldn’t let go after Akeem tapped out. Thatcher said it was a part of the lesson because you can never be sure if the opponent is trying to get you in a false sense of security. Akeem acted sour over Thatcher being overly aggressive. Thatcher said he could get someone else.
Thatcher then let Akeem try to do the forearm crossface move. Thatcher took Akeem off guard by countering the crossface into the ankle lock. Akeem tapped out. Suddenly Anthony Greene (who has a new name that I didn’t exactly catch) ran out and cleared Thatcher from the ring…
McKenzie Mitchell asked Xia Li about Boa’s letters over the past few weeks. Li said they were letters from her family. Mitchell wanted to know more but Li said it was none of McKenzie’s business. William Regal showed up and gave Li another letter with chinese characters on it. Li asked Regal for a chance to challenge Raquel Gonzalez due to the disrespect that Gonzalez showed Li a few weeks ago. Regal gave Li the match…
A hype video aired to hype Tommaso Ciampa vs. Velveteen Dream…[c]
John’s Thoughts: By the way, if you never took a martial arts class before, you should use some of the lessons Thatcher is teaching because he’s teaching solid mechanics. Aside from that, Thatcher continues to be solid in his weekly Thatch as Thatch Can segments as he continues to get nearly weekly TV time on NXT TV. Hopefully this leads to him winning a feud for once. They can’t put the hippie looking Evolve guy over him right?
A Rhea Ripley promo vignette aired where Rhea Ripley accepted Io Shirai’s challenge from earlier. Ripley talked about how she’ll end 2020 just like she ended 2019, by winning the title…
John’s Thoughts: About damn time, Shirai vs. Ripley should be good.
Johnny Gargano vs. a mystery opponent for the North American Championship and Lorcan and Burch vs. Breezango for the Tag Team Championships was announced for next week…
Velveteen Dream was already in the ring, dressed up as NWO Shawn Michaels. Tommaso Ciampa came out dressed up as a Mortal Kombat looking character…
5. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Velveteen Dream. Ciampa controlled Dream with headlocks early on. Dream rolled to ringside and slammed the announce table out of anger. Dream sold hand pain to sell the injured hand in a cast. Dream got a moment of respite after tossing Ciampa into the plexiglass, but Ciampa quickly regained control. Ciampa suplexed Dream on the announce table. Ciampa teased doing a knee strike to Dream, but then stopped on a dime and then slammed Dream’s hand onto the table several times. Dream ended up getting Ciampa to the mat with a few gut strikes. Ciampa then tossed Dream to ringside, which Dream sold by flailing all over the place.
John’s Thoughts: The Shawn Michaels inspired gear made me can’t help but think that Dream is overselling a bit much these days.
Dream countered a Fairy Tale ending, but Ciampa planted Dream to the mat and then stompped on Dream’s hand. Ciampa tripped up Dream, face first, into the top buckle. Ciampa stompped a mudhole onto Dream from the tree of woe. The show cut to PIP commercial.[c]
Dream used an eye rake to escape the corner. Dream used his boxing punches to corner Ciampa. The commentators noted that Dream has been behind most of the match. Dream planted Ciampa with a spinebuster. Dream locked Ciampa with a cast assisted Camel Clutch. Ciampa escaped. Ciampa reversed an atomic drop with a shoulder tackle. Ciampa hit Dream with rapid fire lariats. Ciampa hit Dream with a Superplex for a two count nearfall. Dream countered a Fairy Tale Ending into a rollup for a two count. Dream caught Ciampa with a big boot. Ciampa caught an incoming Dream with a forearm. Dream then dove on Ciampa at ringside.
Ciampa then suplexed Dream over the top rope to ringside in a scary suplex. Dream tossed Ciampa back in the ring and tossed a chair in the ring. The referee quickly tossed the chair out. Ciampa caught Dream with a Knee, Willow’s Bell DDT, and Fairy Tale Ending for the win.
Tommaso Ciampa defeated Velveteen Dream via pinfall in 13:32.
Highlights from the match aired. Joseph noted that Dream wanted to use the chair as a distraction so he could hit Ciampa with the cast. Ciampa stood tall to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: A very good match to showcase Ciampa, who is presumably being positioned as a babyface again (most likely a result of the unsure status of Finn Balor). This was a good showcase of the badass Tommaso Ciampa. Interesting that this is Dream’s job these days, to get his ass kicked in pathetic fashion. It’s still tough seeing the guy on TV after all the public allegations against him, but at this point I’m assuming we’re never going to get resolution on that. I actually hope that they keep Dream off TV for a while. Less due to the alligations, but more for him to get a bit of a reset too. All he does these days is show up to get absolutely beatdown, and then come back to extend a feud for no reason.
A step down in terms of this show compared to last week’s, but that’s how it should be when presenting “themed” shows. It makes the themed show have more of an impact. This was a strong episode of NXT nonetheless with two great women’s matches and more build towards Pat McAfee’s heel faction. I’ll have more thoughts tomorrow with my NXT audio review.