Date: March 25, 2020
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton
We’re back to a little more normal this time around with NXT having regular matches instead of a mini documentary show like last week. Since there was no Takeover: Tampa Bay, those matches and stories will have to be addressed and HHH will be here tonight to start that process. Let’s get to it.
The opening recap looks at Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano getting in their huge brawl last week.
Tom Phillips confirms that matches originally scheduled for Takeover will be taking place on NXT TV instead.
Austin Theory vs. Tyler Breeze
Theory has his own phone with him to mock Breeze. The lockup goes nowhere so Theory talks trash, saying he’s the future and Breeze is the past. Back up and Breeze hits a dropkick, allowing him to chill on the top rope for a bit. The Supermodel Kick has Theory distracted so Breeze hits a clothesline instead. Theory is right back with a running Blockbuster though and the pace slows down a bit. The reverse chinlock keeps Breeze down and Theory keeps talking trash about how great he is. A rolling dropkick puts Breeze on the floor and we take a break.
Back with Theory hitting a spinning torture rack bomb for two, meaning Breeze needs to roll outside again. Theory throws him through the barricade (Theory: “LET’S TAKE A PICTURE TYLER!”) and hits a Buckle Bomb back inside. Breeze hits a quick Supermodel Kick for two and Theory slows down a bit. He’s fine enough to go up top and hit a shot to the back of the neck for two. A bunch of stomping has Breeze down but Theory goes to get his phone and film himself talking trash. That lets Breeze come back with the Beauty Shot for the pin at 13:25.
Rating: C. They’ve got something with Theory, who is only lacking experience to get him to the next level. The loss here doesn’t mean much as the idea is that he spent too much time bragging, meaning that he could come back a lot more serious next time and win a rematch in more dominant fashion. Good storytelling here, and Theory will be fine.
Post match Breeze grabs Theory’s phone for his own selfie.
Killian Dain vs. Tehuti Miles
Miles gets an entrance and has some swagger to him. Some early shots have little effect on Dain and it’s a pump kick to put Miles on the floor. Back in and Dain knees him in the chest as the beating is on. The neck crank goes on for a bit but Dain misses a charge into the post. Dain forearms him in the head though and hits the backsplash. The Vader Bomb finishes Miles at 3:43.
Rating: D+. Just a squash here and that’s something Dain needs. He keeps going away and coming back for matches like this so if they want to push him, they have to reignite him every little while. The match wasn’t the point here and there’s nothing wrong with having something like this involved, as they kept it short and dominant.
Cameron Grimes vs. Tony Nese
Grimes doesn’t think much of the bicep pose and they lock up in a hurry. Nese takes him down with an armbar, followed by an armdrag into another armbar. A clothesline puts Nese down for two but Nese blocks a powerbomb. Grimes walks into a spinwheel kick and the Lionsault gets two. The sunset driver is countered though and a Superman forearm rocks Nese. He’s fine enough to hit a superkick into the corner though, only to get forearmed again. The Cave In finishes Nese at 5:38.
Rating: C-. This didn’t do much for me but the Cave In always looks good. They didn’t have a ton of time here but at least Nese made him sweat a bit. Grimes is someone who could go somewhere around here and that’s a good thing to have no matter where you are. Not a bad match, but it didn’t go very far.
We look at Aliyah having her nose broken by Xia Li four months ago.
Women’s Title #1 Contenders Qualifying Match: Xia Li vs. Aliyah
Well done on remembering something mostly forgettable that happened four months ago. Hold on though as Li has been attacked. We need a replacement.
Women’s Title #1 Contenders Qualifying Match: Io Shirai vs. Aliyah
Shirai dropkicks her in the corner to start and shrugs off Aliyah’s right hands. A butterfly backbreaker sets up the perfect moonsault to give Shirai the pin at 1:22. Total squash.
Here’s Keith Lee for a chat. Two weeks ago he powerbombed Dominick Dijakovic but now he knows it was Damian Priest who attacked him. Therefore, he owes Dijakovic an apology so here’s Dijakovic in person. He doesn’t want an apology though because all he cares about is the North American Title.
Lee took the food off of Dijakovic’s family’s plate, but here’s Priest to interrupt. He wants the title because it will give him more women, money and legacy, but first he needs to win the title. Lee says the champ is right here so Priest busts out his baton, meaning the three way fight is on. Priest and Lee fight outside so Dijakovic hits a big flip dive to take both of them out and stand tall.
Adam Cole is by the pool and talks about being the longest reigning NXT Champion in history. He’s been thinking about his altercation with the Velveteen Dream and it shook him up a bit. However, he isn’t the only member of the Undisputed Era who wants some of that experience. Therefore, next week, it’s going to be Dream vs. Bobby Fish.
Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch vs. Shane Thorne/Brendan Vink
The rather large Vink shoves Burch around to start and powers him into the corner for the tag off to Thorne. That means it’s time to start in on the arm so Burch fights up without much trouble and hands it off to Lorcan. It’s already back to Vink for a Rock Bottom out of the corner to plant Lorcan for two more. Burch gets over for the hot tag a few seconds later though as everything breaks down. A dropkick puts Vink down and the Crossface goes on, followed by Lorcan’s half crab on Thorne for the double tap at 3:44.
Rating: C-. Just a quick match here to keep up Lorcan and Burch’s ability to wrestle on more shows than is healthy for anyone around. I’m not sure if they are ever going to become Tag Team Champions but they can have a good match against almost anyone so it makes sense to keep them strong. The Aussies were fine enough here, but they were just there to get beaten up.
Women’s Title #1 Contenders Qualifying Match: Candice LeRae vs. Kayden Carter
LeRae headlocks her down to start and grabs a rollup for two. They trade stereo missed dropkicks for a standoff and seem to wait around for applause that isn’t coming. Carter takes over with a whip into the corner and clotheslines her down a few times. A running knee to the face gives Carter two more but she has to roll out of the Gargano Escape attempt. LeRae misses a Lionsault but slips out of a rollup and grabs the Gargano Escape for the tap at 4:29.
Rating: D+. This wasn’t very good with little more than Candice shrugging off some clotheslines until she got in the hold for the win. I get why NXT would want to see her in the ladder match but it still wasn’t all that much to see. The Lionsault didn’t look great either, and the whole match just didn’t give me anything to care about.
Matt Riddle vs. Roderick Strong
There are no seconds here and Riddle does fist bumps with the non-existent fans. They go to the mat to start with neither of them being able to get the better of it. That’s the same result when they try it again so they do it a third time with Strong grabbing a front facelock. Riddle shoves him away to the ropes so Strong tries striking away. Strong drops him ribs across the top rope and we take a break.
Back with Riddle fighting out of a camel clutch and kicking away to put Strong in the corner. A t-bone suplex looks to set up a running kick to the chest but Strong reverses it into the Strong Hold. That doesn’t last long either so it’s the Bro To Sleep for two on Strong instead. The Bro Derek is broken up as well so Strong hits an Angle Slam for two. Strong hits the running forearms against the ropes, only to try one too many and get caught in the Bro Derek for the pin at 10:53.
Rating: B-. This was a good grappling match to start and then turned into a fight, but it never got close to the next level. It didn’t help that neither partner was here and the feud between the two teams seems to have wrapped up. Riddle didn’t seem to be in much trouble here either and that kept things slow as well. Good match, but you would expect more.
Post match two big guys come out and beat Riddle up, despite his best efforts to fight back. Cue the debuting Malcolm Bivens (formerly Stokely Hathaway) to say it’s a shame that Pete Dunne isn’t here because this is the future of the tag team division. No names are given but I think the point was made.
Here’s HHH to address the Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano war. Before he can get that far though, here’s Ciampa to interrupt. He knows it’s time to end this with Gargano and wants him out here now. HHH says there can be no physicality between the two of them tonight and tells Gargano to get out here as well. Gargano comes out and stands on the stage because he knows Ciampa will start something. Why was Gargano fined for wrecking the Performance Center when Ciampa started things in the first place?
HHH doesn’t want to hear it and tells Gargano to get in the ring. He understands what the two of them are doing because he and Shawn Michaels did it as well. This has to end and it should end on the biggest stage in the world. Gargano says it was supposed to end last year but Ciampa broke his neck. It’s a shame Gargano didn’t get to break Ciampa’s neck for him. Gargano knows this has to end and says they can do it anywhere. Put a ring in an empty building and give them a referee so they can finish it.
HHH says that works for him and we’ll do it in two weeks. After that, it’s done and neither can touch each other after or they’re gone. Gargano promises to prove that he’s the better man and wrestler….and those videos about death pop up on the screen. This time, a voice is included speaking something other than English, with Killer Kross’ face appearing a few times. A clock hits midnight to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. It was good enough and I like where things are going, but at the same time it felt rather flat in a lot of ways. That is going to be the case for a lot of these shows going forward and there aren’t a lot of ways around that reality. Having the Takeover matches is a good idea though and hopefully we can get somewhere else in the future with some other stories. Not a bad show, but at least it worked well enough.
Tyler Breeze b. Austin Theory – Beauty Shot
Killian Dain b. Tehuti Miles – Vader Bomb
Cameron Grimes b. Tony Nese – Cave In
Io Shirai b. Aliyah – Moonsault
Danny Burch/Oney Lorcan b. Brendan Vink/Shane Thorne – Crossface to Vink
Matt Riddle b. Roderick Strong – Bro Derek
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