NXT – February 26, 2020

NXT
Date: February 26, 2020
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, Nigel McGuinness

It’s time for a show with a guest star as Charlotte is in the house to deal with Bianca Belair after jumping her at Takeover. We’re rapidly approaching Takeover: Tampa and I’m not sure what that is going to consist of this time. They need to set some things up in a hurry, though you can all but guarantee the final chapter between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. Let’s get to it.

Opening recap.

Charlotte arrives with William Regal there to greet her.

Cameron Grimes vs. Dominick Dijakovic

Dijakovic grabs a headlock to start but Grimes goes after his knee to get a breather. Grimes stays on the knee, only to get caught in a backbreaker. A spinning middle rope splash gives Dijakovic two but Grimes forearms him in the back. Dijakovic is fine enough to toss him over the top but Grimes sends him head first into the apron. A PK from the apron drops Dijakovic and sends us to a break.

Back with Grimes grabbing a chinlock but Dijakovic is right back up for the slugout. The suplex toss drops Grimes again as he can’t get around the power. A superkick and a hard clothesline give Dijakovic two but Grimes hits a German suplex for the same. Dijakovic sends him outside and hits a moonsault to the floor, only to tweak his knee in the process. Grimes is sent back inside but here’s Damian Priest to hit the knee with a metal pole. Dijakovic beats the count back in but it’s the Cave In to give Grimes the pin at 12:38.

Rating: B-. I liked this one well enough and it’s nice to see Grimes getting a push. It isn’t a clean pin or anything and that helps things out a good bit. They can use some fresh blood in the North American Title picture as there is so much talent around here and seeing Lee against any of them could be interesting.

Referees and medics check out Dijakovic’s knee.

William Regal announces a tournament (they love those around here) to crown a new #1 contender for the Women’s Title. The qualifying matches begin next week and the finals will be a ladder match at Takeover. Works for me.

Here’s Finn Balor for a chat. He isn’t an internet guy or a moves guy because he’s the guy who builds brands. We hear his accomplishments before Balor talks about how everyone is trying to reach their peak for Wrestlemania season. He’s been at his peak for twenty years so who’s next for the Prince? Cue Marcel Barthel/Fabian Aichner to send regards from Walter, who runs NXT UK. The fight is on in a hurry and Balor gets beaten down, including being rammed into the steps.

Video on Austin Theory.

Bianca Belair is ready to give Charlotte her best.

Xia Li vs. Mia Yim

Yim pulls her in off a handshake but has to back off from some spinning kicks. Some kicks to the ribs have Li in trouble and a basement dropkick gives Yim two. More boots to the face keep Li down but she avoids a Cannonball. Li’s running dropkick misses and there’s Eat Defeat, only to have Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez come out for a distraction. Li grabs a rollup for the pin at 2:44.

Post match Gonzalez comes in for the beatdown and Li’s save attempt fails.

Velveteen Dream, in a big hat and in front of a mirror, says he wants Roderick Strong next week. Since Dakota Kai and Tegan Nox are having a cage match, leave it up for the two of them.

Austin Theory vs. Tommaso Ciampa

They fight over a lockup to start until Ciampa sends him into the ropes. That earns him a shoulder and forearms to the back, only to have Theory run into a boot. A headlock has Theory down on the mat but they head outside in a hurry. Theory blocks a whip into the barricade and takes it back inside because he’s not up to Ciampa’s brawling standard. Ciampa throws him right back outside for a posting, meaning the pat on the back can take us to a break.

Back with Theory hitting a standing moonsault for two and having to fight out of a Fairy Tale Ending attempt. What looked like a rolling DDT attempt is countered with a knee to the face to give Ciampa two, plus some frustration on the kickout. Theory hits a quick buckle bomb into Ataxia (fisherman’s buster onto the knee) for two more and now it’s his turn to be frustrated.

A superkick to the back of Ciampa’s head sets up a flipping Downward Spiral for two more. It’s time to go outside with Theory sending him into the barricade to make up for last week, only to get caught with Willow’s Bell back inside. The Fairy Tale Ending gives Ciampa the pin at 12:40.

Rating: C+. Theory is someone with a bunch of cool looking moves which are actually more moves that have been done before but have a slight tweak to them. A lot of people do that but it doesn’t really make them much better. At least he had a story here though and looks the part of a star, though it’s far too early in his run to make much of a determination about him.

Post match Johnny Gargano runs in and Theory helps him beat down Ciampa. Gargano sits next to the downed Ciampa on the apron and applauds himself.

Roderick Strong is ready to take care of Dream in the cage next week. The Undisputed Era will get their gold back.

Bronson Reed vs. Killian Dain

They lock up to start and power each other around until Dain drapes him over the middle rope. That means a legdrop to the back and shoulders in the corner, followed by a hard whip for two. We hit the seated abdominal stretch but Reed is right back up for stereo crossbodies. Back up and Reed starts throwing Dain around, with the straps coming down. The running hip attack hits in the corner but Dain grabs a Samoan drop. Dain’s Vader Bomb hits knees so Reed goes up, only to get superplexed back down. Back to back to back backsplashes set up the Vader Bomb to give Dain the pin at 6:15.

Rating: C+. Nice hoss fight here and that’s all they were going for. Dain hasn’t exactly shown the ability to get very high on the card around here but he can be impressive when he has the chance. Reed is someone who got my attention during the Breakout Tournament but he hasn’t come back to that level since.

Video on the Broserweights.

Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Forgotten Sons

Gibson gets hiptossed and dropkicked by Blake to start and I guess the Sons are just faces now because AMERICA. Beth and Nigel get in a weird mini argument about what sounds like a British children’s show, capped off by Nigel saying she has spent too much time watching TV with her three year old. Beth: “That’s a bad thing?” Nigel: “I guess not.” Cutler stomps away on Gibson in the corner but it’s off to Drake to take over in a hurry.

The chinlock doesn’t last long and a powerslam puts Gibson on the floor. That means a staredown with Jaxson Ryker and it’s the Sons taking over on the Veterans back inside. Drake gets thrown over the top and onto Gibson as we take a break. Back with Blake sunset flipping Drake but a blind tag lets Gibson come in to stomp on him. The chinlock goes on again but this time Blake fights up with a jumping neckbreaker.

Drake gets backdropped and it’s off to Cutler to clean house (Nigel: “Full of fury. AMERICAN FURY!”). A butterfly backbreaker sets up a quickly broken Boston crab so it’s a buckle bomb to rock Drake instead. The fisherman’s driver gets two as Gibson makes the save, which sends Ryker out after him. Drake dives onto Ryker and the Veterans send him into the steps, only to have the Sons dive onto the two of them. Cutler gets knocked off the top for a nasty crash and it’s the Ticket To Mayhem to finish Blake at 13:05.

Rating: C+. I got a good smile out of the Sons losing as they are one of the least interesting teams in a long time. Now we’re supposed to like them because while they’re bad, they’re AMERICAN bad and that makes them worth something. Thankfully this felt like a one off so we can continue with the Veterans instead of the Sons, who are one of those misfires around here.

Tegan Nox is ready to hurt Dakota Kai in a cage and isn’t worried about Raquel Gonzalez.

We get a creepy video showing various horrible things and a lot of destruction. Seems pretty Killer Krossish.

Damian Priest says Dijakovic was in the way of something he wanted. Now Keith Lee knows what that is.

Charlotte vs. Bianca Belair

Fans: “YOU DON’T GO HERE!” Charlotte powers her down in the corner to start and draws a line on the mat. Belair charges across it, earning herself a headlock takeover. That’s broken up so Charlotte grabs a front facelock to keep her down. Belair powers out and hits a dropkick before squatting Charlotte to show off even more. Charlotte slips out and hits the chops, followed by a big boot as we take a break.

Back with Charlotte getting posted but grabbing a dragon sleeper to slow Belair down. It’s not enough though as Belair flips over her in the corner and grabs a hair faceplant. A double chickenwing faceplant gets two but Charlotte kicks her in the ribs to take over. An abdominal stretch stays on the ribs but Belair reverses into one of her own. That’s broken up as well and the Downward Spiral into the middle buckle rocks her again.

The moonsault almost hits raised boots but Charlotte lands on her feet and grabs a Boston crab. Belair makes the ropes so Charlotte hits a powerbomb for two. A missed big boot sends Charlotte to the floor for another posting but she avoids Belair coming off the top. Belair hits a spear but Charlotte pops up with one of her own, followed by Natural Selection for the pin at 12:07.

Rating: B-. I liked what they were going for here with the old athletic freak vs. the new one. The spear exchange at the end reinforced that a bit too with Belair hitting her own but Charlotte’s being that much better. Belair has gotten better in the last several months and the upgrades have helped her a lot, but she has a long way to go to get into Charlotte’s league.

Post match Charlotte grabs a chair and Pillmanizes the ankle as Rhea Ripley comes out to watch. There’s no save as Charlotte puts on the Figure Eight. Once that’s broken up, Ripley chases Charlotte off as we’re cut off before Ranallo can finish talking about their Takeover match.

Overall Rating: B-. It isn’t as bad as it was a few weeks ago but this show is still missing something. My best guess is having so much stuff that feels like it isn’t leading anywhere or that is going long for the sake of filling time, but the magic isn’t the same. This week didn’t feature some of the bigger names, which is kind of a questionable move with about four weeks left before Takeover. It’s still a completely watchable show, but the move to two hours is hurting the quality more every week.

Results

Cameron Grimes b. Dominick Dijakovic – Cave In

Xia Li b. Mia Yim – Rollup

Tommaso Ciampa b. Austin Theory – Fairy Tale Ending

Killian Dain b. Bronson Reed – Vader Bomb

Grizzled Young Veterans b. Forgotten Sons – Ticket to Mayhem to Blake

Charlotte b. Bianca Belair – Natural Selection

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