12/23 NXT TV results: Moore’s review of Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch vs. Killian Dain and Drake Maverick in a Street Fight for the NXT Tag Titles, Rhea Ripley vs. Dakota Kai, Jake Atlas vs. Isaiah Scott, A Very Gargano Christmas, Bronson Reed’s return

By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)

NXT TV 
Live from Orlando, Florida at Capitol Wrestling Center (WWE Performance Center)
Aired December 23, 2020 on USA Network

[Hour One] Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix were on commentary. Drake Maverick and Killian Dain attacked Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch during their entrance…

John’s Thoughts: Damn, no whistle theme! This actually makes complete sense as they should be in no mood to goof around, but that doesn’t stop their music from being a guilty pleasure of mine.

1. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch vs. Killian Dain and Drake Maverick in a Street Fight for the NXT Tag Team Championships. Maverick and Dain set up tables and chairs in different positions while having the early advantage over the champs. Lorcan and Burch managed to get back in sync, tossing Dain into the plexiglass. Lorcan and Burch punched Maverick to the ringside too. Lorcan and Burch traded tags to keep Dain under control. Dain backdropped Lorcan into chairs.

John’s Thoughts: So you need to tag in a No-DQ match?

Dain Body Slammed Drake Maverick into Burch. Dain then used Maverick like a battering ram into Lorcan. Maverick and Dain hit Lorcan with stereo Face Wash kicks in the corner. After both men running the ropes a bit, Burch caught Maverick with a running lariat. Burch gave Maverick a drop toehold on a chair. Dain tossed Burch over the barricade. Dain caught Lorcan with a pump kick. Dain ended up tackling a table after Lorcan avoided a tackle. The show cut to regular commercial.[c]

Maverick was getting whipped in the back and chest by Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch taking turns on him. Maverick was doing his usual amazing sell job of crying in pain. Dain was knocked out at ringside. While Burch was showboating for his team, Dain recovered and tagged himself in for the hot tag. Dain took care of Lorcan and Burch with corner splashes and suplexes. Burch and Lorcan pushed Dain off the apron and into tables, which didn’t break (“I am THE TABLE”). Barrett claimed that “we have reinforced tables in NXT” (Nice once, Barrett).

Maverick ended up catching Burch with a low blow kick. Maverick then went to town by slapping Burch and Lorcan with a flurry of belt shots. Lorcan caught Maverick with a low blow. Burch then hit Maverick in the gut with a cricket bat to the gut. Lorcan and Burch then hit Maverick with their finisher to give Burch the victory.

Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan defeated Drake Maverick and Killian Dain via pinfall in 12:14 of on-air time to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships. 

Burch and Lorcan gloated to the camera. Dain recovered and carried Drake Maverick to the back.

Wade Barrett and Vic Joseph checked in on commentary with Joseph pointing out that Barrett wasn’t dressed for the holidays. Joseph was wearing an elf hat. Joseph sent things over to “A Very Gargano Christmas”…

They cut to the Gargano house where Johnny Gargano was playing the Christmas Tree song on the piano. Candice LeRae said “The Kids” (Austin Theory and Indi Hartwell) want their presents. Austin Theory ended up saying the words “No Way Jose” as a quip, but got berated by Gargano who said not to mention that guy’s name in the Gargano household. Johnny also said that Jose had No Way because it was in his name. Gargano told Theory to “Put the cookie down” (in a funny nod to Arnold Schwarzenegger). Austin Theory was then elated and yelled “Holy shit” (censored) when he got “The Gargano Whey” protein powder as a present which will allow him to be big and strong. Theory made a lame dad joke that didn’t stick…

John’s Thoughts: A really good tag team match to put some heat on the heel tag team while also continuing the slow burn of Maverick and Dain’s synergy. The subsequent Gargano Christmas segment cracked me up though! Austin Theory is starting to show some personality as the dorky protégé of Gargano and he really hit some funny notes as Gargano’s “son” in that segment. Gargano continues to hit it out of the park as his douchey heel character. Nice nod to former WWE wrestler No Way Jose in his skit (No Way is another one of those guys WWE missed the boat on in that NXT really utilized his comedy really well. Jose vs. Austin Aries was a low key sleeper feud of that year). I kinda wanna buy some Gargano Whey protein myself after that segment.

Vic Joseph thanked Ghostmane for providing the song Lazaretto for New Years Evil…

A hype package aired with Kyle O’Reilly and Finn Balor watching their last title match and recollecting on their battle. Both men focused on how people came out of that match remembering O’Reilly shattering Balor’s jaw, causing him to get plates put in there, and not remembering Balor’s win.

McKenzie Mitchell caught up with Tyler Rust backstage. Malcolm Bivens cut into the interview and hyped up Rust for taking Tommaso Ciampa to the limit. Bivens said that Rust was a “Diamond in the Rust”. Rust ended up leaving with Bivens after the two shared a fist pump…

Isaiah Scott made his entrance wearing new pre-match gear and walking to the ring differently than he usually does…

2. Jake Atlas vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott. Atlas ended up slapping Scott a few times. Scott then pressured Atlas with strikes in the corner, showing a mean streak. Scott grinded his elbow into Atlas on the ground. Atlas turned the tide after dragon screwing Scott into the bottom rope. Atlas kept Scott ou tof the ring with a Beautiful Disaster kick. The show then cut to commercial with Scott recovering at ringside.[c]

Scott worked on Atlas with ground and pound. Atlas got to his feet and fended off Scott with a boot. Atlas used a Code Red to get a two count on Scott. Atlas hit Scott with a cutter. Scott blocked the Rainbow DDT with a superkick. Scott hit Atlas with a pump kick. Scott hit Atlas with a suplex for a two count. Scott carried Atlas to the top rope. Atlas held on to the top rope to block a Half and Half Superplex. Atlas caught Scott with a Yakuza Kick. Scott blocked a Super Poison Rana by landing on his feet.

Scott caught Atlas with a jump pump kick. Both men traded pin rollups. Scott caught Atlas with a headbutt to escape the rope pressure. Scott hit Atlas with the JML Driver for the victory.

Isaiah Scott defeated Jake Atlas via pinfall in 6:56 of on-air time. 

Scott was gloating around the ring. Beth Phoenix berated Scott via commentary for not being respectful. Scott ended up condescendingly asking Jake Atlas to shake his hand. Jake refused and walked away…

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Adam Cole and Roderick Strong about their thoughts on Kyle O’Reilly going for the title. Adam Cole noted that O’Reilly vs. Balor will have a different result the next time they meet. Strong said O’Reilly proved his worth after beating that “dork” “Peter Dune”. Velveteen Dream cut in and tried to showboat in front of UE. Adam Cole slapped Dream and said that there is no leader in Undisputed Era. Cole said he’ll show Dream Undisputed Era is still the best around here…

Rhea Ripley and Dakota Kai were shown walking to the ring area from backstage…[c]

John’s Thoughts: A good match between Atlas and Scott with both men benefiting. Atlas is getting some good TV time. His strikes are ugly, but they don’t come off as performance. His ugly strikes come off as gritty and complement his more acrobatic moves. Scott is really starting to turn a corner as a character, and it looks like it took turning heel to do so. Scott’s “Swerve” gimmick is one of the most overrated wrestling gimmicks ever (People fail to realize that his Chaka Khan entrance theme was way more over than whatever the hell “Swerve” was supposed to be). I always felt that “Swerve” held Scott back because I saw the guy really get over when he finally found the right ways to sell the  “Killshot” character.

Timothy Thatcher cut a promo backstage. Thatcher talked about how Ciampa tried to take his ear at takeover while he tried to take Ciampa’s neck. Thatcher then called Ciampa for not respecting Thatcher and keeping a distance away from him in recent interactions. Thatcher said that Ciampa doesn’t like fake tough guys who flap their mouth. Thatcher said he’s about to “take liberties” on Leon Ruff because he wants to show that he wants to fight Tommaso Ciampa.

3. Rhea Ripley vs. Dakota Kai. No Raquel Gonzalez at ringside to start the match. The commentators noted that the reason Gonzalez was banned from ringside was because of an exchange on Twitter between Kai, Ripley, and Gonzalez. Kai used her strikes to keep Ripley at a distance. Ripley ended up grabbing Kai and tossing her with a Gutwrench Giant Swing. Kai landed on her feet when Ripley went for an atomic drop on the apron. Kai stomped on Ripley’s shoulder on the apron. Kai then tossed Ripley’s shoulder into the ringpost. The show then cut to picture in picture.[c]

[Hour Two] Kai had Ripley in a cross armbreaker. Ripley fought through the pain and gave Kai a deadlift power bomb. Ripley gave Kai’s back a basement dropkick. The commentators noted that Ripley was sporting a shoulder injury from the stomp Kai gave her earlier. Ripley gave Kai a shortarm kick and slam for a two count. After a strike exchange, Kai caught Ripley with a Scorpion Kick. Ripley sidestepped a Face Wash kick. Ripley hit Kai with an Electric Chair slam for a two count.

Kai gave Ripley a drop toehold into the middle turnbuckle. Kai gave Ripley a Face Wash against the second buckle. Ripley reversed a Code Red into an inverted Cloverleaf. Raquel Gonzalez then showed up at the stage. Barrett noted it was okay since she was only banned from ringside. Ripley dared Gonzalez to come to the ring while she had Kai in the lock. Kai got to the bottom rope to break the hold. Ripley kept daring Gonzalez to get to the ring.

Ripley dragged Kai to the top rope. Kai kicked Ripley off the top rope and hit Ripley with the Code Red lungblower for a two count. Ripley reversed Kai’s kick, but Kai reversed the Rip Tide. Ripley countered a guillotine choke from Kai right into the Rip Tide for the win.

Rhea Ripley defeated Dakota Kai via pinfall in  11:31

Rhea Ripley continued to dare Raquel Gonzalez to enter the ring. Gonzalez agreed and was chased by the NXT referee brigade. Gonzalez got to the ring and shoved the in-ring referee to the corner. Some of Ripley’s words were censored. Ripley and Gonzalez then traded punches to the head. The referees got involved and a pull apart brawl ensued. Steve Corino and a bunch of the backstage hands ended up also getting in between the two women, but still couldn’t contain the two women…

John’s Thoughts: Dakota Kai and Rhea Ripley deliver every time they get TV time. Ripley is a gem, that’s undeniable. If NXT is going to go with the Shawn and Diesel analogy with Kai and Gonzalez, I can see that reaching even more into reality with the Kai and Shawn connection. Dakota Kai is the workhorse of NXT’s women’s division despite being undersized, making her a modern day Shawn Michaels of NXT. A good win for Ripley who needed after taking a few L’s recently. The post-match brawl between Gonzalez and Ripley was simple and effective. I’m expecting these two to get a Takeover match this time after they had a good TV match a few months ago.

They cut back to the Very Gargano Christmas. Indi Hartwell got a PS5 which caused Austin Theory to say “No F–king Way”. Gargano and LeRae didn’t like their “son” cursing. Indi was then disappointed when she found out the PS5 box was empty. Gargano said the PS5 was actually his own gift and he just gave Hartwell the box for dramatic effect. Gargano said that Hartwell’s real gift was getting the “family name”. Gargano said that Indi’s new name is “Indi Wrestling”. Candice noted that “we support ‘Indi’ Wrestling” (get it?!?). Austin Theory was eating cookies and he said what Gargano and LeRae said was beautiful…

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Toni Storm. Storm gloated about beating Rhea Ripley. Storm said her next move is taking the Women’s title away from Io Shirai…

A quick returning vignette aired to hype the return of Bronson Reed after the break…[c]

John’s Thoughts: When I hear WWE and “Christmas” in the same sentence, I usually expect some campy cartoon s–t given the stuff we’ve seen on Raw and Smackdown over the years. The Gargano thing is goofy, but I can’t help but laugh at the awesome comedic timing being shown in these segments. Dorky Austin Theory is really growing on me. Gargano and LeRae are also reminding me of Matt and Reby Hardy during their holiday cinematics back in 2016, which has me thinking that this is more-than-likely a Jeremy Borash production. Borash is The Man at these, I can’t deny that at all. I even referenced him in my quick Impact recap last night and how Impact is doing a bunch of weird and pretentious cinematics without Borash to guide them to logical production.

This week’s Xia Li, Boa, and Shi Fu training segment aired. Xia Li was still fighting the Wing Chun dummy and this time looking more confident and strong. Boa was still getting hit wiht a stick and beat up by Li, but this time no-selling and looking very hardbody. Li and Boa emerged from their drowning training unfazed too. The camera then showed a closeup of the mystery woman’s eyes…

4. “The Colossal” Bronson Reed vs. Ashanti The Adonis. Reed manhandled Adonis easily, leading to stomps. Reed hit Adonis with the Tsunami Splash for the win.

Bronson Reed defeated Ashanti the Adonis via pinfall in 1:05.

Reed went to the camera and said “The colossal one is back, everyone be afraid”…

McKenzie caught up with Io Shirai backstage about if she heard what Toni Storm said. Shirai walked past McKenzie after saying she heard it. Shirai then told the production guy in Gorilla Position to play her music. Shirai made her entrance to the PC arena. Shirai set up a chair to sit on in the ring. Shirai demanded Toni come out. Toni’s theme started playing. Mercedes Martinez showed up and gave Shirai a Cobra Clutch. Martinez then womanhandled Shirai and ringside. Martinez then tossed Shirai through the wooden plate under the announce table. Martinez posed to close the segment…

John’s Thoughts: A good string of segments. It’s good to see that all of the kayfabe torture is paying off for good ol’ Boa and Xia. I’m actually looking forward to their on-screen “Power up”. I like the quick one-sided squash in favor of Reed. Poor Ashanti though, who was being set up for a little push, but now he’s back to the enhancement role. What was also fun was seeing Mercedes Martinez back, who REALLY dodged a bullet by being pulled out of the lame-ass Retribution faction. I still feel disappointed for poor ol’ Shane Thorne, Dio Madden, and Dominik Dijak though for being taken away from NXT and into garbage.

Back at the Gargano house, Candice LeRae opened her present. LeRae loved the present, which was a jacked up toy wheel. Gargano said he hates wheels now, but he spent hours in a junkyard to pull out the last piece of Shotzi’s old and run over tank. The Garganos, Hartwell, and Theory took a family photo, which didn’t end up well because Theory spat protein powder all over the place because he was eating it, which distracted Gargano, LeRae, and Hartwell…

5. Timothy Thatcher vs. Leon Ruff. Thatcher dominated Ruff a bit early on. Ruff used a few quick moves to run around Thatcher. Thatcher regained control after a suplex. Thatcher gave Ruff a Belly to Belly Suplex. Barrett noted that Thatcher is toying with Ruff and can end the match any time he wants. Thatcher set up a chair at ringside for Ciampa. Ruff recovered and gave Thatcher a few dropkicks. Thatcher nosold a lariat. Thatcher then reversed a cutter with a European Uppercut. Thatcher had Ruff in position for a Suplex, but Ruff reversed Thatcher into a rollup for the surprise win.

Leon Ruff defeated Timothy Thatcher via pinfall in 3:58. 

Vic Joseph sold shock over Ruff’s win. Thatcher beat up Ruff at ringside and tossed him back in the ring. Tomasso Ciampa ran out and gave Thatcher a Willow’s Bell DDT in the ring. Ciampa yelled “You want a fight? I’ll see you in the Fight Pit”…

A Damian Priest promo aired where Priest talked about Karrion Kross not being all that tough due to blindsiding Priest. Priest said he’s going to punk Kross out in front of the world…[c]

John’s Thoughts: NXT does a really good job presenting Leon Ruff as their 1-2-3 Kid. That’s great. What’s baffling is they really never give Timothy Thatcher any heat whatsoever. Everyone beats this guy, including Leon F’n Ruff. Can we give this guy a win please? Or at least have him not be punked out by everyone from Tommaso Ciampa to August Grey? Maybe a clean win in the Fight Pit which I’m really really looking forward to.

Creepy Ass Sam Shaw, now known as Dexter Lumis these days, was shown drawing another one of his caricature drawings. He drew picture of Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez for New Years Evil…

Hey look! It’s an Ariya Daivari sighting!

6. Tyler Rust (w/Malcolm Bivens) vs. Ariya Daivari. Rust took down Daivari and locked him in a reverse crossface. Rust reversed Daivari into an abdominal stretch. Malcolm Bivens walked up to Vic Joseph to tell Joseph how impressive Rust is. Rust continued to dominate Daivari with chain wrestling. Daivari caught Rust with a neckbreaker and worked on Rust with stomps. Daivari did a bit of trash talk, but Rust countered into a Triangle Choke. Daivari got to the bottom rope for the break. Rust worked on Daivari with the Daniep Bryan kicks. Rust reversed Daviari’s Hammerlock Lariat attempt. Rust hit Daivari with a rolling One Percenter. Rust locked Daivari in the Rings of Saturn for the win.

Tyler Rust defeated Ariya Daivari via submission in 4:33.

Joseph noted that Bivens has found a “Diamond in the rust”…

Leon Ruff told McKenzie Mitchell that he may be hurt but he feels like a kid on christmas. Ruff put on a santa hat and said that Regal booked him in a rematch against Gargano for the North American title. Ruff noted that Gargano’s title curse is still alive and he’s going to make sure it stays active…

Adam Cole and Velveteen Dream were shown heading to the ring…[c]

John’s Thoughts: A nice turnaround for Rust in terms of credibility and that’s easy to do once you put a quality manager with him. Part of it’s the hair, but another part is the smooth offense. He reminds me of a young Drew Galloway/Drew McIntyre. I’m not sure if he’s as tall as Drew, we need to see him standing next to someone like Damian Priest or Dominik Dijak to make that judgement. Good to see Daivari back , but I hope they end up giving him a good run one of these days. This guy has been in 205 Live hell for many years and deserves better. Daivari can do it too because he really started showing his personality when he was the manager of Hideo Itami. Gargano vs. Ruff is going to be a really fun and dramatic match given the credibility behind Gargano’s championship curse over the years.

A Karrion Kross promo aired where he responded to Damian Priest. Kross said Priest dug himself in a hole he can’t dig out of. Kross said Priest tried to challenge Kross’s manhood and make smartass comments to Scarlett. Kross said Priest is an intriguing roadblock. Scarlett said Doomsday is coming. Kross ended his promo by saying tick tock…

Wade Barrett pointed out that voting was open for the NXT End of the Year Awards. Beth Phoenix announced Johnny Gargano vs. Leon Ruff for the North American Championship next week…

7. Adam Cole (w/Roderick Strong) vs. Velveteen Dream. Dream stalled at the beginning of the match, putting away his sunglasses. Cole took down Dream early on with side headlocks. Cole kept Dream on the mat with a shoulder tackle. Cole took down Dream with a neckbreaker. Dream oversold being pump kicked off the apron. Dream got a moment of respite after both men took each other out with a headbutt. At ringside, Pete Dunne showed up and beat up Roderick Strong at ringside. Dunne hit Strong with the Bitter End on the apron. Dream hit Cole with a running elbow for a two count. The show cut to Picture-in-picture.[c]

Dream missed an elbow drop back from the break. Cole rallied with a few tackles and a pump kick. Cole hit Dream with a shoulder breaker for a two count. Cole hit Dream with an enzuigiri and German Suplex for another two count. Vic Joseph announced Roderick Strong vs. Pete Dunne for next week. Joseph then announced Timothy Thatcher vs. Tommaso Ciampa in the Fight Pit at New Years evil.

[Overrun]Dream slammed Cole to the mat for a two count. Dream hit Cole wiht nice punches in the corner. Dream tried to springboard, but Cole superkicked him in the shin. Dream went for an axe handle strike but Cole swatted him out of the air with a superkick to the gut. Cole rested in the ring while the ref checked on Dream. Cole caught Dream with a superkick. Cole locked Dream in the Figure Four. Dream went back into his overselling crying. Dream escaped and caught Cole with a Dream Valley Driver. Dream caught Cole with the Purple Rainmaker finisher.

Adam Cole kicked out of Dream’s finisher. Cole hit Dream with an Ushigoroshi. Dream reversed Cole’s Panama Sunrise with a superkick. Cole caught a flying dream with a superkick to the chin. Cole hit Dream with the Last Shot for the victory.

Adam Cole defeated Velveteen Dream via pinfall in 13:19. 

Highlights from the match aired. Cole proclaimed to the camera that Kyle O’Reilly is going to bring the NXT Championship back to Undisputed Era at New Years Evil. The show closed with Cole doing his U-E hand gesture…

John’s Thoughts: Has Velveteen Dream’s overselling been this over-the-top all the time? I don’t think so, because I used to praise the guy as a heel when he would be very slow and efficient with his body language. Now he’s just flopping and crying all over the place. It’s weird. It’s also weird that they have him in the “Jobber to the stars” position to the point where his finisher doesn’t work anymore. He can’t do any of the sexual aspects of his gimmick either because of all the outside of the ring issues that he may or may not have. They really need to figure something out with him and for now, maybe keep him in Dark Matches for a few months.

Cole getting a win though, that’s good. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes now that he’s presumably away from Pat McAfee for a while. As for this show, this was a really good episode of NXT that set up hype for the next two weeks of shows. Roderick Strong vs. Pete Dunne and Johnny Gargano vs. Leon Ruff (with Gargano’s title curse in play) add a lot of intrigue to next week’s show. New Years Evil is also setting up to be a huge show with that Fight Pit thrown in. NXT is looking good the next couple of weeks and this week’s show gets a bit of bonus points with the hilarious Very Gargano Christmas skits. Kudos to Austin Theory for his solid portrayal of being Johnny’s “son” and Gargano for his witty quotes. I’ll have more thoughts on this show in my member’s exclusive audio review. Thanks for watching along with me and Happy Holidays!

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