Date: July 17, 2019
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Nigel McGuinness, Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix
It’s weird to say this but NXT is in a little bit of a funk. I don’t know if it’s the Breakout Tournament or Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole III not being the most inspiring story in the world, but the last few shows haven’t been the most thrilling the world. They’re not bad by any stretch, but when your standards are this high, anything but great is jarring. Let’s get to it.
Matt Riddle vs. Arturo Ruas
Ruas is formerly known as Adrian Jaoude, with Mauro mentioning that he has a new identity. They go into an MMA striking battle to start with Nigel listing off their stats. Riddle takes him to the mat and they trade waistlocks into a standoff. Ruas gets in a powerslam but can’t get a full cross armbreaker. Instead Riddle tries his own but Ruas rolls out into another standoff. Back up and Riddle scores with a kick to the ribs so Ruas double legs him down. Another battle of kicks goes to Riddle and it’s the Final Flash knee strike. Riddle pounces on him until the referee stops it at 3:41.
Rating: C. Uh, shouldn’t pounding away with right hands until the referee calls it off be a DQ instead of a knockout? This was a nice change of pace between two people who know what they’re doing so I can go for a little something different. Riddle needs some competition though and a story would help him go a long way. The charisma and skills are there so give him somewhere to go with them.
Post match Killian Dain runs in and wrecks Riddle, including sending him shoulder first into the post and slamming his head onto the floor. A backsplash to Riddle’s back makes it even worse and Dain takes Riddle to the stage…..for another running backsplash THROUGH the stage. Well that worked.
The Street Profits don’t take kindly to the Undisputed Era thinking they deserve the titles more than the Profits. If the Profits aren’t serious, why can’t the Era just beat them? Come see how serious they are because they’re going to keep the titles. Dawkins: “And that is undisputed.” Ford’s shocked face is great.
We look at Mia Yim attacking Marina Shafir in the parking lot last Saturday.
Breakout Tournament First Round: Dexter Lumis vs. Bronson Reed
Lumis is Samuel Shaw and Reed is Jonah Rock. Reed says he’s from Australia and a usual night out for him is a fight fight at a pub. Why does no one talk about Australian strong style? Lumis frames his hands to look at Rock, who reaches his hand out at Lumis for a scene straight out of a character loading screen. The much bigger Reed runs him over but an elbow lets Lumis put him on the floor.
Lumis’ running flip dive misses but he lands on his feet, leaving Reed to run him over. Back in and Lumis sends him throat first into the bottom rope and hammers away. The neck crank goes on for a bit until Reed is back up with forearms to the face. The announcers talk about Lumis enjoying pain as Reed gets two off a backsplash (common move tonight). Lumis is right back up with a belly to back suplex and spinning legdrop, only to miss the Swanton. Reed slams him down and a top rope splash finishes Lumis at 5:52.
Rating: C. Lumis seems like someone who could be interesting if he was given some promo time and maybe a few vignettes. Reed is someone you get the idea of immediately and he looked good in the ring. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him work before but there’s some potential there and I was pleased with a short match here.
Here are the updated brackets:
Tyler Breeze thinks he might need some backup against the Undisputed Era. Cue the Forgotten Sons to say he’s not a real man. Breeze: “Oh I’m a real man. Check out his beard.” Breeze thinks Jaxson Ryker is Buddy Murphy and doesn’t seem worried.
We look at the debut of evil Io Shirai last week, when she said she didn’t need any friends.
Next week: Kacy Catanzaro vs. Io Shirai.
Kushida vs. Apollo Crews
Welcome home for Crews and he gets quite the reaction, even though he was never a big star in NXT. They shake hands to start with Kushida taking him to the mat and Gator Rollins him for two. Back up and they trade flips to dodge until Crews nails a dropkick to take over. Kushida slides to the floor and gets the chase going, allowing him to catch Crews with a handspring double heel to the face. Crews is fine enough to hit a pop up gutbuster and the chinlock is on. A Stinger Splash sets up a heck of an overhead belly to belly suplex for two on Kushida.
Back up and Kushida catches him with a kick to the arm in the corner as the setup for the Hoverboard Lock begins. The Tajiri handspring elbow connects and a basement dropkick has Crews in even more trouble. Crews powers out of an armbar attempt and some rolling German suplexes keep Kushida rocked.
He’s fine enough to Downward Spiral crews into the middle rope but Crews hits a jumping enziguri to put both guys down. Kushida catches him on top with another double heel shot to the head and pulls Crews down into a cross armbreaker. With that not working, Kushida rolls into the Sakuraba Lock for the tap at 10:45.
Rating: B. This worked quite well with Kushida getting to show off some more, though I can understand the criticisms from people saying he’s not that interesting. So far all he’s had are one off matches that get to showcase his skills, but he needs either some serious competition or something personal to challenge him. Crews is still very talented, assuming you don’t expect him to have some kind of character behind him.
Post match Kushida offers Crews respect and we get another WELCOME BACK chant.
Keith Lee isn’t happy with his tenure so far as he’s had a lot of starts and stops. He has yet to see any of the opportunities that were promised to him and he’s been passed by for all the new talents. Right now we’re in the middle of a tournament with eight people fighting for a title shot. Now there’s Damien Priest running around and getting all this attention so maybe he should change the narrative. I fully support more Keith Lee.
Next week: Lee vs. Priest.
Here’s Adam Cole for his first NXT Title defense but first, a chat. Cole talks about being on the Bay Bay Championship Tour as of late and he’s been able to show the world what power is. It is now undisputed that there is a power switch happening in NXT. He’s never said he won’t be a fighting champion so let’s have a title match right now, against this man. We see a clip of Johnny Gargano at his training school and showing a student the NXT Title. You know where this is going.
NXT Title: Adam Cole vs. Twan Tucker
Tucker is challenging and doesn’t look nervous. Cole insists that he’s alone here and it’s one on one. Tucker didn’t come alone though and here’s Gargano to charge the ring and go after Cole. No match of course.
Gargano superkicks him to the floor and hits a dive to the floor. They go into the crowd with Gargano hammering away and whipping Cole through various things. Referees break it up and Cole holds up the title so Gargano dives on him again and hammers away. They get into the ring and it’s the Gargano Escape to make Cole tap to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. Yeah this was way better than the previous weeks with some good wrestling and a few things being set up for later. The main thing here is trying to make Gargano vs. Cole feel more important….but I’m just not feeling it. We’ve done that so many times now and you could say this is their fifth match after three falls in the first one. That’s quite a bit to take and NXT rarely goes there. They do seem to be setting up the Undisputed Era dominance, though I’m not sure how interesting that would be. At least we had something good here though and NXT feels back on track.
Matt Riddle b. Arturo Ruas via referee stoppage
Bronson Reed b. Dexter Lumis – Top rope splash
Kushida b. Apollo Crews – Sakuraba Lock
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