NXT – July 31, 2019

NXT
Date: July 31, 2019
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, Beth Phoenix

With less than two weeks to go before the next Takeover, it really feels like this show has snuck up on us. The show should be fun, but it hasn’t had the most amount of time to build up. Last week’s major announcement saw Pete Dunne added to the North American Title scene though and that’s never a bad thing. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Jaxson Ryker vs. Tyler Breeze

Ryker goes with the power to start by throwing Breeze around so Breeze punches away and stomps Ryker down in the corner. That just earns him a release Rock Bottom as Ryker starts in with the power. A backbreaker gets two and then a backbreaker gets nothing as it’s almost all Ryker so far. Breeze hits a quick knee though and a victory roll finishes Ryker at 3:21.

Rating: D+. The fluke ending was a surprise but if it means we don’t have to deal with Ryker as the unstoppable monster for as long, it’s going to be an improvement. Breeze has needed a win like this and it’s nice to see WWE treating him like something that matters instead of a punching bag on the main roster.

Post match the beatdown is on but Fandango makes his return and cleans house.

Breakout Tournament Semifinals: Bronson Reed vs. Cameron Grimes

Reed shoves him down to start and we’re already in the chinlock. Grimes is right back up with a headlock so Reed shoves him off and hits a hard elbow. The clubbing forearms in the corner put Grimes on the floor and Reed is dim enough to chase after him. Back in and Grimes hits a running clothesline before grabbing an armbar. Since it’s just an armbar, Reed is out in a hurry with a powerslam and a Samoan drop. The backsplash gets two with Grimes having to put a foot on the rope. It’s off to a slow motion slugout with Reed taking the straps down but walking into the standing double stomp to give Grimes the pin at 5:55.

Rating: C. I wasn’t a big fan of Grimes when he was in TNA and he’s managing to turn me around a little bit here. I never would have guessed on that one and yet he’s making it work. Reed is someone who can go somewhere with his size and power so he’s going to be fine. This tournament has improved after what seemed to be a dull future. Nice enough match here and Grimes has impressed me.

Quick look at Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole.

Matt Riddle wants Killian Dain to fight him face to face. He’ll get to do that next week.

Here’s a ticked off Shayna Baszler for a chat. Mia Yim has been sending a message by attacking Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke and Baszler has heard it. That’s why Yim has lost before she’s even gotten on the plane to Toronto. Next week, Baszler is putting the street rat to sleep. Cue Mia to say Baszler looks really unfamiliar right now. Mia has nothing to lose so the street right is bringing a fight Shayna can’t rain for. Baszler promises to prove that Mia is street trash and holds up the title. I’d still prefer Candice LeRae in this spot but as long as they don’t call Mia the Blazian Baddie or Head Baddie in Charge, she’s fine.

Candice LeRae wants to face Io Shirai at Takeover. William Regal: “Can’t blame you.” The match is made and Regal asks her to go home.

Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong

Strong takes him to the mat to start but Dunne slips out and it’s a staredown from one knee each. Back up and Strong takes him into the corner for some right hands but you just don’t do that to Dunne. Pete fights out of the corner and stomps on the arm, followed by a kick to the elbow. Strong’s arm is fine enough to catch Dunne on top and hit a torture rack backbreaker to take over.

A regular backbreaker gets two but Dunne is back up with some kicks to the leg. Strong hits a dropkick to cut him off but bangs up his own leg in the process. They head up top with Dunne throwing him down and hitting a middle rope missile dropkick to a kneeling Strong. Dunne flips over Strong out of the corner and hits the X Plex. The PK gets two and Dunne kicks him in the head again.

A sitout powerbomb gets two and they’re both down. Strong heads outside so Dunne goes to the middle rope, allowing Strong to drop him back first onto the apron. The belly to back faceplant gives Dunne two but he’s right back with an enziguri. The Bitter End is blocked and Strong hits the Angle Slam. Dunne grabs a DDT and they’re both down again.

They slug it out with Dunne getting the better of it and heading up top for a sunset bomb….which doesn’t quite work as Strong lands on Dunne instead of the mat. Strong is fine enough to hit a jumping knee to the face and a Tiger Driver 99 for two. The Strong Hold attempt is countered into a triangle choke and Dunne bends the fingers for the tap at 16:03.

Rating: B+. Dunne has as much star power and potential as there is around here and it’s very nice to see him getting a chance in regular NXT. If he’s sticking around for good, it seems like a matter of time before he’s on the main roster and tearing it up there too. This was a rather good performance from both guys with Dunne getting a win to reestablish himself around here.

Post match Velveteen Dream comes in and teases a belt shot to Dunne but smiles at him without really loading it up. Strong stares at Dream and leaves, allowing Dunne to snap Dream’s fingers and hit the Bitter End to end the show.

Overall Rating: B-. The main event helped this show a lot as the build to this Takeover is still lacking a little bit. What they have is working well enough but nothing really pops off the page. Dunne helps that a lot because he feels like a bigger star than almost anyone else in NXT. That’s the case because he’s been very well protected over the years and believe it or not, that does wonders for anyone and it’s done that for Dunne. Next week can fix some of the problems, but Toronto just isn’t clicking as well as it could.

Results

Tyler Breeze b. Jaxson Ryker – Victory roll

Cameron Grimes b. Bronson Reed – Standing double stomp

Pete Dunne b. Roderick Strong – Dunne bent Strong’s fingers back

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