By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Taped in Orlando, Florida at Capitol Wrestling Center (WWE Performance Center)
Aired November 11, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] A Veterans Day tribute video aired right after the WWE signature graphic…
Vic Joseph, Beth Phoenix, and Wade Barrett were on commentary. Johnny Gargano opened the show with a spinning wheel in the ring. Gargano also had a new T-shirt that had him and Candice LeRae modeled after classic black and white Mickey Mouse. Gargano ranted about his new love for the wheel which led to him getting the North American title.
Gargano pointed out that “where there’s a ‘wheel’ there’s a way” and that the name that the wheel lands on will get a match against him for the North American title. Gargano also talked about how he was going to break his NXT Championship curse where he loses his first title defenses. Gargano spun the wheel and it was rigged to land on Leon Ruff. Wade Barrett sarcastically gave Gargano praise for being lucky…
1. Johnny Gargano vs. Leon Ruff for the NXT North American Championship. Ruff tripped himself up early on. Gargano then pummeled the tiny Leon Ruff. Gargano gave Ruff a Military Press slam. Ruff rallied back and gave Gargano a leaping lariat. Gargano then tossed Ruff off the apron leading to Ruff falling nastily on his leg against the steel step. Gargano then tossed Ruff into the chain link fence. Damian Priest was on the other side of the fence. Priest glared at Gargano. Gargano mocked Priest’s deep voice, causing Priest to walk around the plexiglass and spook Gargano.
Gargano ran in the ring and ate a two count rollup from Ruff. Gargano lawn darted Ruff into the second buckle. Gargano ended up distracted by Priest. This led to Ruff rolling up Gargano with a crucifix driver for the pinfall win.
Leon Ruff defeated Johnny Gargano via pinfall in 3:34 to become the new NXT North American Champion.
Everyone was shocked as the underdog Ruff won the title. Priest and Ruff posed on the top of the ramp. Ruff was so skinny, that the belt slid to his feet when he put it on…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Welp, that was sure surprising! I’m not even going to complain because it was something different and caught me off guard. I was actually ready to type up that I wouldn’t mind seeing Ruff get this title two years from now after eating years and years of losses as the king of the undercard. I think this title win was more about building Gargano’s frustration than making Ruff, but let’s see how they move forward. Congrats to Leon Ruff too, who’s been the mainstay enhancement wrestler for Raw, Smackdown, and NXT for most of 2020.
McKenzie Mitchell and Damian Priest congratulated Leon Ruff in the performance center gym. Ruff couldn’t believe he just won. Priest warned Ruff that Gargano is pissed and will kick his ass in a bit, so Priest gave Ruff Priest’s car keys to run away. Ruff bolted out once Gargano entered the PC gym. Gargano demanded that Regal reverse the decision. Priest mocked Gargano for making the match. Priest told Gargano “go watch Wheel of Fortune!”…
Santos Escobar, Joaquin Wilde, and Raul Mendoza were already in the ring. They aired a clip of Jake Atlas showing up to the PC and attacking Joaquin Wilde with a bat. The commentators noted that this led to this match…
2. Santos Escobar (w/Joaquin Wilde, Raul Mendoza) vs. Jake Atlas for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Escobar dominated Atlas early on with Muay Thai clinch strikes. Escobar locked Atlas in a Leg Scissors half nelson. Atlas went for a huracanrana, but was slammed to the mat by Escobar. Escobar worked on Atlas in the corner with Muay Thai roundhouse kicks. Atlas rallied back with his ugly but effective punches. Atlas got Escobar to his knee with a forearm haymaker. Mendoza tried to nail Atlas in the gut with a pipe, but Atlas jumped it and kicked down both Mendoza and Wilde.
Atlas hit a flying slingshot blockbuster. Escobar rolled to ringside to head into commercial.[c]
The referee ejected Mendoza and Wilde. Escobar worked on Atlas with methodical strikes. Escobar hit Atlas in the corner with a leaping Frankensteiner. Escobar then hit Atlas with a Frog Splash, leading to a two count. Atlas fired up and hit Escobar with a dropkick and German Suplex. Atlas hit Escobar with a high kick leading to a two count. After some mounted punches, Atlas dragged Escobar to his feet and worked on Escobar with shortarm punches. Atlas went for Old School, but Escobar shoved Atlas to the announce table.
Escobar tossed Atlas into the steel steps. Atlas beat the ten count and yanked Escobar’s head on the top rope. Atlas then botched a suicide dive, tripping off the second rope. Atlas got a nearfall after a few rollups. Atlas got a two count off a standing moonsault. Atlas went for a Rainbow DDT, but Escobar blocked it and hit Atlas with the underhook driver into the knee for the victory.
Santos Escobar defeated Jake Atlas via pinfall in 11:43 of on-air time to retain the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.
Dexter Lumis was doing a caricature of Cameron Grimes and the “Zombie Referee” backstage. They shen showed Raquel Gonzalez heading to the ring…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A match that helped both men look good (aside from the few botched moves by Atlas). Ultimately, this was clean once Mendoza and Wilde were cleared from the arena. Having Escobar win clean in the end makes him a bigger deal than your everyday chicken heel. Hopefully we see Escobar in a 15+ minute match someday because this guy is one of the best “technical” wrestlers in the world and NXT viewers haven’t seen that high technique yet.
A Shotzi Blackheart interview promo aired. Blackheart talked about the tank meaning a lot to her. She said it meant family because it represents her family members who are in the military. Shotzi ended the promo by saying she’s going to kick Candice’s ass…
Raquel Gonzalez made her entrance first. Xia Li’s entrance theme played, but Boa came out instead. Boa apologized to Gonzalez and said Xia couldn’t be here tonight. Gonzalez gave Boa a big boot when Boa walked out of the ring. Gonzalez then tossed Boa into the plexiglass. Gonzalez manhandled Boa at ringside. Gonzalez hit Boa with a delayed chokeslam. Gonzalez said that everyone better get her name out of their mouth. Gonzalez left and Boa was rolling in pain in the ring.
The lights then turned off as some dragon graphics floated around the video walls. Some older Asian man walked up to boa to hand him a letter written in chinese characters. The man painted something on Boa’s hand and walked away. Boa then overacted as he looked at the character written on his hand…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Well? That was weird? I’m not sure where this is going, but so far it looks cheesy as hell, not in a good way. I’m part Chinese myself and grew up partially in chinese culture and aside from the dragon this stuff if flying over my head. As for the Gonzalez segment, it takes a certain woman to make a woman on man beatdown look believable, and Gonzalez is that woman. She looked badass and it looks like they are making her NXT’s Chyna. Poor Boa though.
McKenzie Mitchell tried to interview Anthony Greene backstage, now named August Grey. Grey was in his hippie gear. Before he could get words out, he was beat up backstage by Timothy Thatcher. Grey was left lying, after being thrown into Dexter Lumis’s caricature painting. Lumis glared face-to-face with Thatcher after the beatdown…
A picture-in-picture promo by Candice LeRae aired during the next match’s entrances. Candice LeRae talked about feeling cathartic after running over Shotzi Blackheart’s tank. LeRae called Toni Storm a “Punk Rock Poser”…
3. Toni Storm vs. Candice LeRae. Storm womanhandled LeRae early on with a wristlock. Vic Joseph joked that it was a “Ruff” night for the Garganos. Toni Storm swatted LeRae out of the air with a big boot. The show then cut to picture-in-picture.[c]
[Hour Two] LeRae gave Storm a backstabber back form break. Storm came back with a headbutt. Storm hit LeRae with a basement hip attack and two basement lariats. Storm got a two count off a Fisherman Suplex with a bridge. Storm missed a leg drop and LeRae got a two count off the fallen Storm. LeRae picked up the win after hitting Storm with a STO into the second buckle and using the legs for leverage.
Candice LeRae defeated Toni Storm via pinfall.
Toni Storm attacked Candice LeRae after the match. The Scream Mask person ran out and gave LeRae the numbers advantage. Shotzi Blackheart ran out and dominated the heels for a bit, but the heels got control. LeRae planted Blackheart with the Wicked Stepsister to leave her lying. The scream mask person unmasked to reveal she was Indi Hartwell.
Tyler Breeze and Fandango were backstage cutting a promo. They talked about fighting for years to get the tag titles and had the titles taken from them by Pat McAfee. Breeze said they were going to become two time NXT Tag Champions tonight…
John’s Thoughts: The Indi Hartwell reveal was the world’s biggest non-surprise if you’ve been paying attention to the vignettes, but there’s nothing wrong with building up exposition as to why something is happening. We can only assume that Austin Theory is the male Scream person. The Indi makes more sense than Theory given that they specifically addressed Indi Hartwell as a potential protégé while Theory is only speculation based off a moment Theory had with Gargano once.
4. Timothy Thatcher vs. Dexter Lumis. Beth Phoenix noted that it’s hard to figure out if Lumis is mad or not given that his face expression is always the same. Lumis gave Thatcher a Thesz Press and Throat Punch. Lumis got a rear guard on Thatcher when Thatcher went for a takedown. Thatcher hit lumis with a uppercut and leg takedown. Vic Joseph noted that Lumis is coming off an ankle injury. Both men rolled on the ground a bit. Thatcher managed to twist Lumis’s ankle a bit.
Thatcher locked Lumis in a Bow and Arrow. Lumis freed his arm and laid some crossface punches on Thatcher. Lumis planted Thatcher with a nice looking spinebuster. Lumis hit Thatcher with a standing dropkick. Lumis used a cravate to toss Thatcher outside. Lumis sold a right arm injury. Thatcher caught Lumis with an uppercut at ringside. Thatcher took down Lumis with an axe handle strike to the back. Thatcher threw Lumis’s shoulder into the ringpost to leave Lumis in pain.[c]
Thatcher took down Lumis with a modified suplex. Lumis made a comeback with a back suplex and leg drop. Thatcher crotched Lumis off the top rope and brawled with Lumis on the top rope. Lumis blocked a Superplex and shoved Thatcher to the mat. After shoving off Thatcher again, Lumis hit Thatcher with a Swanton Bomb. Thatcher kept his arms clasped to block Lumis’s Kata Gatame submission. Lumis then shoved Thatcher at Cameron Grimes, who got on the apron. Thatcher rolled up a distracted Lumis into a submission, and then transitioned the submission into a pin for the win.
Timothy Thatcher defeated Dexter Lumis via pinfall
Grimes got the upper hand over Lumis after the match. Grimes wrapped Lumis’s head in a burlap sack. Lumis grabbed a chair and swung it wildly when Grimes taunted Lumis. Grimes beat up Lumis more and put Lumis sitting on a chair. Grimes then hit Lumis with a Cave-in stomp…
Johnny Gargano knocked on William Regal’s door to meet with Regal. Gargano told Regal that he calmed down and that the decision should be reversed. Gargano admitted that he rigged the wheel and that the segment was supposed to be a joke. Regal said the decision stays and Leon Ruff is the new North American Champion. Gargano threw a fit backstage…
Beth Phoenix hyped the Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai “Prime Target” for after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: At least Thatcher didn’t have to eat another loss, albeit he wasn’t necessarily the focal point in the end of this segment either. Baby steps with Thatcher I guess, but I’m not sure who will really gain in the presumed August Grey vs. Timothy Thatcher feud. I’m interested to see how Lumis and Grimes goes. Hopefully they move away from the hokey zombie stuff and more towards seeing some sadistic stuff from both Lumis and Grimes.
Tommaso Ciampa cut a promo from his usual trailer spot. Ciampa talked about being in wrestling for nearly 16 years. He said he was trained by Harley Race and Killer Kowalski. Ciampa said people like Harley and Killer didn’t need to tell people they were tough, they were just tough. Ciampa said people these days can’t wait but want to tell you that they’re tough. Ciampa said it must be a product of the times, where people bark loudly to get what they want. Ciampa said he didn’t think that he’d be a last of a dying breed.
Ciampa said the 2020 locker room is culture is about to change and Tommaso Ciampa is that change…
Wade Barrett and Vic Joseph checked in from the commentary table. They sent it over to the Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai Prime Target video package. Ripley talked about being in a fan-less wrestlemania and how she lost the title in that empty arena. The vidoe then cut to two months later where Io Shirai pinned Rhea Ripley to win the championship from Charlotte Flair. Io Shirai talked about being a disciplined champion (in subtitles). She talked about how she’s beaten the best women wrestlers in the last few months. Shirai said it’s taken Ripley months to recover from Mania and she’s ready. Shirai said she’s not afraid of nightmares.
Rhea ripley was shown training. They showed coaches like Sara Amato give their thoughts on the match (there was a male coach who wasn’t shown on camera). Both women then gave their final thoughts on both wanting to leave their match as champion…
Beth Phoenix hyped Io Shirai vs. Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s Championship for next week…
Pat McAfee’s entrance theme started playing as he accompanied Oney Lorcan, Danny Burch, and Pete Dunne to the ring. They showed clips of McAfee and crew leaving Killian Dain lying in a pull of blood last week. McAfee grabbed a mic and said that Pete Dunne has been dominating over the past few weeks. McAfee bragged about tweeting with Tom Brady and having his business ventures going well. McAfee then called wrestling fans dumb. McAfee then hyped up the tag team champions and said he was joining the commentary table…[c]
Cameron Grimes was backstage saying he’s not afraid of ghost, ghouls, and zombies. He said he was scared of Dexter Lumis, but he covered Lumis’s face up and caved him in. Lumis said he was going to the moon…
Vic Joseph advertised Finn Balor returning next week to give us an update on the title and his health situation…
Breezango made their entrance not doing a their usual stripper entrance (though they were wearing stripper like tight pants). Alicia Taylor handled the formal in ring introductions…
5. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch (w/Pat McAfee, Pete Dunne) vs. “Breezango” Tyler Breeze and Fandango for the NXT Tag Team Championships. Both teams brawled evenly to start the match. Breeze managed to catapult Burch into the plexiglass. Dango and Burch wrestled in the ring, with Dango dominating Burch with strikes. Dango and Breeze then isolated Burch in their corner. Lorcan tagged in but he was quickly tackled into Breeze’s corner, leading to him getting isolated. [c]
Breeze catapulted Burch into the ringpost. Dango and Lorcan tagged in with Dango having the hot tag momentum. Dango cleaned house with both opponents. Dango turned Lorcan inside out with a lariat followed by a Falcon Arrow for a two count. Burch broke up the subsequent pin attempt. Dango caught Lorcan and Dunne with a Tope Con Hilo. Lorcan crotched Dango on the top rope. Dango escaped a suplex situation. Suddenly, Drake Maverick ran out and gave Lorcan and Enzuigiri.
Maverick gave Pat McAfee a stiff looking cannonball from the apron. Dango hit Lorcan with the Last Dance Leg Drop. Lorcan kicked out at two for a great nearfall. Dinne ended up punching out Maverick. McAfee distracted the referee so Dunne could punch Breeze off the apron. Lorcan gave Dango a headbutt. Lorcan and Burch hit Donne with their DDT finisher to give Burch the win.
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch defeated Breezango via pinfall in 9:57 to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.
Drake Maverick dove on Pat McAfee and his crew. The four men overpowered Maverick. Pete Dunne gave Maverick an X-Plex on the announce table. Dango tried to rin in but he was overwhelmed by the numbers. Breeze also tried, but was also overwhelmed. Lorcan and Dunne tossed Breeze on top of the table. Pat McAfee then posed like he was Jim Carey from Ace Ventura 2. Pat McAfee punted the chest of Tyler Breeze. Pat McAfee grabbed the camera and bragged about him and his crew being the best in NXT. NXT Closed…
John’s Thoughts: A good tag team match for the time given and NXT continues to do a solid job putting good heat on Pat McAfee and his new heel faction. The Drake Maverick interference and Dango hitting his finisher led to a great nearfall and Lorcan kicking out gave him a bit of credibility. Good stuff. My guess is still Undisputed Era vs. Kings of NXT at War Games, but I wonder how they get Drake Maverick and Killian Dain involved in all of this? Dango and Breeze might get involved somehow too? They have some interesting stuff going on with the elevation of McAfee’s heel faction.
A formula episode of NXT, but NXT’s formula is always gratifying and worth watching. Last week’s show has a few better in-ring matches, but they still are stewing their storylines really well. There are a few questionable stories roaming around though with the Zombies/Grimes and whatever the hell they are doing with Boa and Xia Li, but I can live with that because NXT usually does a solid job getting things on track. I’ll be by tomorrow for dot net members with more thoughts via my Audio Review.