Date: April 1, 2020
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Sam Roberts
It’s a taped show this week and likely will be for a good while to come. This time around we are going to have a rather stacked card, capped off by the triple threat match for the North American Title. Other than that though, all roads lead to next week with the final showdown between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. Let’s get to it.
The opening recap looks at the triple threat match.
Velveteen Dream vs. Bobby Fish
Fish kicks away to start but Dream clotheslines him down. A knee drop gets two and there’s a little gyration for a bonus. Back up and Fish kicks him into the corner, only to get popped in the face. A top rope ax handle has Fish in trouble and Dream hammers away in the corner, only to get sent outside. Fish whips him into the barricade and we take a break.
Back with Fish kicking the knee out and then kicking away at it even more as you can’t fault his logic. A slingshot hilo gets two and we take another break. Back again with Dream not being able to hit the Dream Valley Driver and having to fight out of a sleeper. Now the Dream Valley Driver can finish Fish at 15:46. The part after the second break was barely a minute long.
Rating: C-. This never got off the ground and I’m not sure why. The second break really didn’t feel necessary and the match was just going through the motions until the ending. That can get annoying in a hurry and I’m not sure what they were going for here. Dream seems destined to go after Adam Cole and the NXT Title but he needs something better than this.
Post match Dream says he’s coming after Cole.
We look at Matt Riddle getting beaten down by two unnamed monsters last week. Malcolm Bivens was introduced as their manager.
Bivens is glad his reputation precedes him. He introduces them as Rinku and Sarif, both of whom hit people really hard. The two of them rant a bit.
Dexter Lumis vs. Jake Atlas
Lumis stares at him to start and hammers away in the corner. A springboard armdrag doesn’t get Atlas very far as Lumis is right back with forearms to the face. Atlas snaps off a running hurricanrana but Lumis knocks him down again and rips at his face. The neck crank makes it even worse but Atlas fights up with a neckbreaker to the floor. The suicide dive drops Lumis but he’s right back with a Side Effect. A head and arm choke finishes Atlas at 3:25.
Rating: C-. Lumis’ facials and presence alone should carry him a long way, but it would make sense to show him being creepy outside of the ring. He has a great vibe to him but let us know a bit about him. He’s the kind of guy who can get to a different level of disturbing and some vignettes would help that a lot.
Killer Kross video.
We look at part of Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa brawling at the Performance Center two weeks ago.
#1 Contenders Qualifying Match: Gauntlet Match
It’s a six woman gauntlet match with the winner getting a spot in next week’s #1 contenders ladder match. Shotzi Blackheart is in at #1 and Deonna Purrazzo is in at #2. Shotzi ducks a running clothesline to start and kicks her in the head. A reverse Cannonball against the ropes gets two but Purrazzo is right back with a bicycle kick for the same. Some shots to the back get two more so it’s off to the chinlock to keep Shotzi down. Purrazzo takes her up top but gets knocked right back down, setting up Shotzi’s top rope elbow for the elimination at 3:45.
Xia Li is in at #3 and slugs away in a hurry before we take a break. Back with Xia hitting a running dropkick, only to miss a spinning kick to the head. Shotzi grabs an Edge-O-Matic and a seated Cattle Mutilation gets rid of Li at 9:49. Aliyah is in at #4 and grabs a backslide for two, setting up a battle over a small package.
Blackheart reverses that into a reverse Koji Clutch but Aliyah is out in a hurry. A running kick in the corner drops Shotzi for two, only to have her come back with a German suplex. The same Cattle Mutilation finishes Aliyah at 13:16. Kayden Carter is in at #5 and dropkicks Shotzi down for a fast two. Shotzi gets crotched in the corner so Carter can hit another running dropkick for another two and we take another break.
Back again with Shotzi hitting a running DDT out of the corner, setting up a top rope backsplash to get rid of Carter at 18:20. Dakota Kai, with Reina Gonzalez, is in at #6 to complete the field and start stomping away at Shotzi. Some forearms to the chest get two on Shotzi and a cheap shot from Gonzalez gets the same.
The chinlock doesn’t last long so Kai kicks her into the corner instead. Shotzi is back with some clotheslines and a belly to back suplex to send Kai outside. You don’t make Shotzi wait though as she hits a suicide dive onto both of them. Gonzalez gets sent into the steps but the delay lets Kai hit the Go To Kick for the pin at 24:03.
Rating: C. I thought they might find a way to send Kai on to the ladder match as soon as I saw her lose three weeks ago. She seems ready to move towards the title picture and having her against Rhea Ripley after WrestleMania is something that could work out rather well in the end. Either way, we could be in for a heck of a ladder match, which is what matters most. Good enough stuff here with Shotzi coming out looking rather positively as well.
Video on Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte. I really could see that going either way.
Joaquin Wilde vs. Kushida
Kushida goes straight to the front facelock and even slaps Wilde on the back for a bonus. What looks to be a rollup winds up as a surprise cross armbar attempt but Wilde is out in a hurry. A wristlock doesn’t work either as Wilde reverses down into an armbar. That’s broken up as well and Kushida armdrags him down for the basement dropkick.
Back from a break with Wilde kneeing him in the face and stomping away in the corner, only to have Kushida kick him in the arm. Kushida rather loudly asks if Wilde is ok, allowing Wilde to come back with a jawbreaker. That just earns Wilde the cross armbreaker for the tap at 8:45.
Rating: C+. I can go for more of Kushida, even if he is a shell of himself after his time in New Japan. That being said, he can still more than go around here and hopefully he can do something around here in the absence of so many other people. Wilde continues to be a solid talent who needs a story to give him something to do.
Post match we get a rather tense handshake with Wilde seemingly wanting a rematch.
Video on Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa. Their final showdown is next week.
During the break, Wilde was attacked and thrown into a van by masked men ala Raul Mendoza a few weeks back.
North American Title: Damian Priest vs. Keith Lee vs. Dominick Dijakovic
Lee is defending and it’s one fall to a finish. We get the Big Match Intros, complete with tales of the tape for all three in a nice bonus. They all slug away at each other to start and it’s a triple shot to the face to put everyone down as we go to a break. Back with Priest hitting a Downward Spiral on Dijakovic as Lee is down on the floor. Lee gets back in though and catches Priest on the top for a slugout.
Dijakovic gets Lee in an electric chair so Priest can hit a spinwheel kick (it works in No Mercy, it works here) to put everyone down at once. Back up and Lee gets caught with a double chokeslam, leaving Priest to muscle Dijakovic up into a Razor’s Edge. Dijakovic gets launched over the top onto Lee and that means a running flip dive to take both of them down again. Back from another break with Priest hitting the sitout chokeslam for two on Dijakovic but the Reckoning is easily blocked.
Dijakovic tries the suplex toss into Lee, who catches Priest in the air. Then Lee swings Priest around into Dijakovic a few times, because that’s the kind of thing Lee can do. The Spirit Bomb gets two on Priest with Dijakovic making another save. Lee chokeslams/spinebusters the heck out of Dijakovic but Priest catches him with the spinning kick to the arm.
The super hurricanrana brings Lee down and Dijakovic drops the top rope elbow. A double cover gets two on Lee and everyone is down again. Priest and Dijakovic go to the apron so Lee chops both of them but they shove him off the top for the huge crash. Dijakovic’s corkscrew moonsault gets two so Priest busts out his baton. Lee Pounces him to the floor though and it’s the Big Bang Catastrophe to Dijakovic to retain the title at 19:33.
Rating: B. It’s another entertaining fight between these three and odds are this was going to be a Takeover match but my goodness they need to find something to do with the crowd noise. This was like watching an amazing dress rehearsal and having no one there to cheer for them. It was rather entertaining and they beat the heck out of each other, but the lack of crowd reactions really took away some of the energy they should have had.
Overall Rating: C+. This show got better as it went on and is miles ahead of Raw and Smackdown at the moment, but it’s still just not all that great. The main event did a lot of good for it though and hopefully we get somewhere with the bigger Takeover matches over the next few weeks. Now just find a way to get the energy back and things will be a little better in a hurry.
Velveteen Dream b. Bobby Fish – Dream Valley Driver
Dexter Lumis b. Jake Atlas – Head and arm choke
Dakota Kai won a gauntlet match last eliminating Shotzi Blackheart
Kushida b. Joaquin Wilde – Cross armbreaker
Keith Lee b. Dominick Dijakovic and Damian Priest – Big Bang Catastrophe to Dijakovic
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