NXT – April 29, 2020

NXT
Date: April 29, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Beth Phoenix, Mauro Ranallo, Tom Phillips

The shows are continuing under the same format they’ve had for weeks now: continue on like nothing has changed and hope for the best. Things might have to change though after last week’s real life situation with Velveteen Dream, which could change a lot of the plans going forward. Let’s get to it.

The opening recap looks at the Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament.

Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament Group B: Isaiah Scott (0 – 1) vs. El Hijo de Fantasma (1 – 0)

Fantasma wastes no time in going for a rollup and takes Scott down a few more times. Scott nips right back up into an anklescissors though and Fantasma needs a breather on the floor. That’s fine with Scott, who follows him to the floor and is promptly enziguried straight back down. They wind up standing on the middle rope at the same time so Scott grabs a jumping hurricanrana for two. A kick to the face puts Fantasma on the floor and we take a break.

Back with Fantasma hitting a basement dropkick to put Scott in the corner, setting up some running knees to the chest. Fantasma’s frog splash gets two but Scott muscles him up with a German suplex. They head outside with Scott’s big dive missing, allowing Fantasma to hit his running dive. The Phantom Driver is countered and it’s a crucifix to give Scott the pin at 11:23.

Rating: C+. That’s a good decision as Scott gets to be back in the hunt here, making me wonder what might happen with the rest of the tournament. Hopefully things keep going as I’m liking the format so far. They need to do something like this to fill in a bunch of time as they can only do so much with such a limited crew.

Group B

Akira Tozawa – 1 – 0

Isaiah Scott – 1 – 1

El Hijo de Fantasma – 1 – 1

Jack Gallagher – 0 – 1

Post match, Scott says he’s ready to go and he needs this more than anyone. Nothing but respect for Fantasma of course.

Dominick Dijakovic didn’t like the sound of Johnny Gargano rebelling against the establishment. It was the same establishment that got him into about a million straight Takeovers, but now Johnny hates it anyway. Next week, let’s see if Johnny can back it up against someone twice his size.

During the break, the masked men tried and failed to kidnap Fantasma again.

Candice LeRae vs. Kacy Catanzaro

Johnny Gargano handles Candice’s entrance (Gargano: “From Riverside, California, but currently residing in my heart, my favorite wrestler, Candice LeRae!”) and it’s glorious. Kacy gets taken into the corner for a clean break and then grabs a wristdrag on LeRae. A drop toehold takes Candice down again but she blocks a spinning splash with some raised knees. The chinlock goes on and a wheelbarrow faceplant drops Kacy again. The Gargano Escape is blocked so Candice elbows her in the face. A curb stomp (the Wicked Stepmother) finishes Kacy at 4:04.

Rating: C-. This was a good way to debut Candice and it’s fine to have her take some punishment to start. There is no reason for Candice to suddenly be dominant and amazing and they didn’t do that here. She can win over a lower level star like Kacy and this was a fine way to debut her under her new (and possibly awesome) persona.

Post match Candice slaps on the Gargano Escape as Gargano is rather pleased.

Damian Priest knows Keith Lee is injured and it’s time for him to become North American Champion.

Here are Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher for a chat. Riddle knows people have been complaining about NXT throwing people together in tag teams but he and Pete Dunne were a real team. The two of them are a real team too and Riddle already knows him like the back of his hand. Therefore, it’s time for the first episode of the NEWLY BROS SHOW, with Byron Saxton as host.

Saxton goes way over the top and makes some jokes about Thatcher hurting people, complete with a laugh track. Riddle on the other hand like drinking pina coladas in the rain. Now for the game though, where they’re asked a question and one answers out loud and the other writes the answer down. If the answers match, they get a point. First question: what did Matt have for breakfast?

Thatcher has no idea…and neither does Riddle so that’s a match! Riddle isn’t sure what they’re doing so we’ll move on to the second question: what is Thatcher’s favorite TV show? Thatcher doesn’t own a TV, though he’d be interested in buying one if the price is right. Riddle’s answer on the board: the Price is Right, which counts as another correct answer. And no, Thatcher has never Netflixed and Chilled because he doesn’t need Netflix to chill.

Question #3: as a wrestler, where is the craziest place you’ve ever done it. Thatcher says he’s had a triple threat in a laundromat and Riddle’s card says “threesome on a washer”. That counts so we’ll move on to the speed round. Riddle: “Uh, speed isn’t really my thing.” Cue Imperium to jump the champs from behind and Riddle is taken out. The European Bomb drops Thatcher and Imperium poses with the titles. They’re better than Bivens’ guys at least.

Today is Make-A-Wish Day.

Adam Cole isn’t happy with it but he’s defending the NXT Title against Velveteen Dream next week. That’s when it’s Dream over. There’s your answer about Dream’s status in WWE’s eyes, barring a big bait and switch.

Mia Yim vs. Charlotte

Non-title. Charlotte backs her into the corner to start and it’s already a clean break. The feeling out process continues until Charlotte is whipped into the corner. A Flair Flip puts her on the apron but she is right back with a shoulder to the ribs. That’s fine with Mia, who strikes away and hits a Cannonball in the corner. The tornado DDT gets two on Charlotte but she’s right back with a whip into the ropes. Mia steals Andrade’s gimmick by posing in the ropes and avoiding a charge to send Charlotte outside. The dive is blocked though we take a break.

Back with Charlotte stomping away and bending Mia’s neck around the rope and then slowly stomping away. Mia fights back and gets a quickly broken Tarantula, followed by Soul Food. Charlotte gets the backbreaker out of the corner, only to get caught in the Code Blue for two. That just earns her a Boston crab, with Mia kicking out into a rollup for two. A big boot gives Charlotte the same but the Figure Eight is blocked. Protect Yo Neck is countered as well though and it’s the Figure Eight to make Yim tap at 10:50.

Rating: C+. They were trying here and that made for a good match. I’m not sure if it’s just not hearing Mia called the HBIC every few seconds or something similar, but the match was easier to watch. Charlotte had to sweat a bit here and the whole thing was a nice enough piece of business.

Post match Io Shirai comes out and says next week, Charlotte is hers.

Karrion Kross is here next week.

Kacy Catanzaro’s neck is banged up. Gargano and LeRae come in to say this is the new NXT. Kayden Carter stands by and doesn’t seem pleased.

We’re still not sure who attacked Finn Balor but he’ll be here next week.

Dexter Lumis vs. Shane Thorne

Thorne slugs away to start and Lumis seems to enjoy it. A Thesz press has Thorne in trouble but he’s back up with a kick to the head in the corner. Lumis shoves off a tornado DDT attempt but Thorne rakes the eyes. Thorne’s running dropkick in the corner just annoys Lumis, who plants him with a spinebuster. The Side Effect into the head and arm triangle finishes Thorne at 3:30.

Rating: D+. Lumis is a weird case as he’s very creepy, but we also have Kross coming in to fill the creepy void. Then again there is a certain charisma to Lumis that makes him feel like a major threat and that’s a very good thing. Granted how much can you get out of a three and a half minute squash?

Last week, Jake Atlas gave Drake Maverick a pep talk after the loss. Maverick seemed touched.

Keith Lee is ready for Damian Priest.

Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament Group A: Tony Nese (1 – 0) vs. Drake Maverick (0 – 1)

Maverick tries a wristlock to start and gets blasted into the corner with a forearm. Nese forearms away in the corner and there’s a running kick to the back. More shots to the ribs and back have Maverick cringing all over again and Nese snaps his throat across the top. Back from a break with Nese talking a lot of trash as Maverick crawls to the corner to get up.

A ram into the corner wakes Maverick up though and Nese starts taking some steps backwards. Maverick unloads in the corner and hits a basement dropkick, only to get caught with a release German suplex into the corner. A cutter out of the corner gives Maverick two but he misses a top rope elbow. Nese gets crotched on top to break up the 450 though and a super bulldog gives Maverick the upset pin at 10:03.

Rating: C+. In the words of Jerry Lawler at Survivor Series, I want to believe, I’m trying to believe. They have the potential to put together one of the best Cinderella runs in a good many years with Maverick and this gives him the breathing room that he might need. It’s a crazy long shot, but there is a chance that he could pull it off and that’s a great feeling to have.

Group A

Jake Atlas – 1 – 0

Kushida – 1 – 0

Drake Maverick – 1 – 1

Tony Nese – 0 – 2

Post match Maverick says he knew he could do it and next up is Kushida. He isn’t leaving yet because he loves this.

Video on Priest vs. Lee. They’ve been fighting for months and will continue to do so tonight, with the title on the line.

Next week: Io Shirai challenges Charlotte for the Women’s Title, Dominick Dijakovic vs. Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole defends the NXT Title against Velveteen Dream.

North American Title: Keith Lee vs. Damian Priest

Priest is challenging. They run the ropes to start and Lee crashes down onto his back, followed by a right hand to knock Priest out of the air. A clothesline puts Priest on the floor and Lee follows, where he goes behind the barricade, gorilla presses Priest, and throws him onto the apron. Good grief that kind of stuff never gets old. A missed charge sends Lee through the barricade though and we take a break.

Back with Priest hitting a running hip attack in the corner but neither can hit a vertical suplex. Instead it’s a hangman’s neckbreaker to drop the champ but he’s back up with a Pounce into the corner. The big spinebuster drops Priest to the floor again and of course Lee hits a slingshot corkscrew dive. Back in and a hard clothesline drops Priest again but he’s right back up for the slugout. Lee breaks up the chokeslam attempt but Priest muscles him up for the Broken Arrow.

That’s enough to send Lee rolling to the floor and Priest hits the big dive over the top. Back in and top rope spinwheel kick give Priest two more so he goes outside. You don’t do that to Lee, who apron superplexes him back in for the big near fall. Priest pops up with a chokeslam for two more so he loads up the baton. This time Lee knocks it away and hits the Grizzly Magnum. Back to back Spirit Bombs retain the title at 14:37.

Rating: B. Most of the time, if you see a match or one close to it done this often, it’s going to lose some of its luster. That has yet to be the case with Lee vs. Priest/Dijakovic and I’m not sure what it would take to stop being this much fun. These guys beat each other up and it never stopped looking cool no matter what they did here. Another very entertaining match from these two because they can do things that no one else can pull off.

Overall Rating: B. Another good show here as things are starting to get into a rhythm. That is the best thing that can happen with these shows as NXT thrives when they have a goal in sight and work towards it. Next week will be a big time show with the two title matches and some other interesting things. They’ve got something with a few of these ideas and if they stay at them, the whole thing will be just fine.

Results

Isaiah Scott b. El Hijo de Fantasma – Crucifix

Candice LeRae b. Kacy Catanzaro – Wicked Stepmother

Charlotte b. Mia Yim – Figure Eight

Dexter Lumis b. Shane Thorne – Head and arm triangle choke

Drake Maverick b. Tony Nese – Super bulldog

Keith Lee b. Damian Priest – Spirit Bomb

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