Date: May 6, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, Tom Phillips
It’s a packed show this week as we have two title matches. Charlotte defends her Women’s Title against Io Shirai and Velveteen Dream gets his long awaited shot at the NXT Title. A title change isn’t out of the question and that could be something that they have been needing for a good while now. Let’s get to it.
The opening recap looks a the title matches.
Dominick Dijakovic vs. Johnny Gargano
Gargano strikes away to start but gets sent hard into the corner so Dijakovic can elbow him in the back. The toss slam gives Dijakovic two so Gargano gets smart by taking out the knee. Some left hands and stomps in the corner have Dijakovic down but he comes back with the heavy forearms.
Cue Candice LeRae for a distraction though and Gargano knocks Dijakovic outside. The suicide dive connects and we take a break. Back with Dijakovic slugging away but getting kicked in the leg. It doesn’t seem to work as the cyclone boot gives Dijakovic two. Gargano is back with some superkicks to various parts of Dijakovic for two more but Candice offers a distraction.
The turnbuckle is loosened but Gargano walks into a sitout chokeslam for two. A superkick puts Gargano down again but he goes after the turnbuckle pad again. The buckle pad comes up as Dijakovic gets him up for a powerbomb, meaning a hurricanrana sends Dijakovic into the steel. The slingshot DDT (One Final Beat) finishes Dijakovic at 14:00.
Rating: B. They hit each other quite a bit here and Dijakovic got to show off again as usual. It’s a good first win for the heel Gargano though as we know he can hang in there and win a match like this but now he’s cheating instead of doing it the hard way. Good match here and heel Gargano and LeRae interest me more each week.
We look back at Imperium attacking Timothy Thatcher and Matt Riddle last week.
Imperium wants a title shot.
Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament Group B: Akira Tozawa (1-0) vs. Jack Gallagher (0-1)
Tozawa grabs the Black Widow in a hurry but gets slammed down just as fast. A dropkick sends Gallagher into the corner but he catches a charging Tozawa with a shot to the face. Gallagher heads outside to beat up Tozawa on the apron, followed by the double arm crank back inside. Tozawa fights up again and snaps off a hurricanrana but has to break up a standing chinlock. They fall out to the floor and then slug it out on the apron with Tozawa DDTing him hard. The top rope backsplash finishes Gallagher at 3:48.
Rating: C-. This didn’t have the time to go anywhere but what matters is they’re setting up a leader in the group, which should give them a path towards the finals. As for this match though, I’m still surprised that Gallagher has done so little, even with the new tattooed look. The match was watchable enough, but it’s still weird to see Tozawa leading the group and being a full jobber on Raw. It’s like the division means nothing in the grand scheme of WWE.
Group B Standings
Akira Tozawa – 2 – 0
El Hijo de Fantasma – 1 – 1
Isaiah Scott – 1 – 1
Jack Gallagher – 0 – 2
Tozawa says he doesn’t know Fantasma, but he’ll defeat him.
We see athletes, including wrestlers, giving their jerseys and uniforms to healthcare workers.
Chelsea Green vs. Xia Li
Robert Stone handles Chelsea’s introduction. Green throws part of her skirt at Li for an early distraction but charges into an elbow to the face. A superkick drops Chelsea again but here’s Aaliyah for a distraction. Li kicks her out but gets caught with I’m Prettier (not a good one) for the pin at 1:18.
Velveteen Dream is ready for Adam Cole.
Karrion Kross vs. Leon Ruff
Kross and Scarlett’s entrance is in black and white before cutting to red lights as Kross appears. It’s a rather intimidating visual and above all else, commentary is quiet until the end. Back to back Doomsday Saitos into the Krossjacket finishes Ruff at 54 seconds. Exactly as it should have gone.
Video on Io Shirai vs. Charlotte.
Matt Riddle says the Newlybro Show is ready for Imperium. Timothy Thatcher is ready to fight too.
Women’s Title: Io Shirai vs. Charlotte
Charlotte is defending and we get the Big Match Intros. Shirai charges at her to start but runs into a shoulder. The big boot is avoided with a Matrix though and it’s time for Charlotte to bail into the ropes. The champ is right back with the Figure Four necklock into the faceplants and Charlotte flips her over for a bonus. A running clothesline drops Shirai again and we take a break. Back with Shirai kicking her in the head but getting knocked down again. Shirai catches her on top with a hurricanrana for two, only to get caught with the backbreaker out of the corner. Charlotte’s moonsault misses (the Flairs don’t do well up top) and Shirai hits the running knees in the corner for two. Shirai’s moonsault misses as well though, but she reverses a powerbomb into a hurricanrana into the corner. The moonsault to the floor misses as well but Charlotte kendo sticks her for the DQ at 10:41.
Rating: C+. This was quite the disappointment but the ending sets up a rematch down the line. If nothing else, it might suggest that Charlotte isn’t as good as she thinks she is and might have trouble with some of these new NXT women. It wasn’t bad, but I was expecting an epic showdown and got just an ok match.
Post match Charlotte stays on Shirai but Rhea Ripley returns for the save. Charlotte runs and Shirai shouts, so Rhea tells her to shut up.
Post break Rhea says she’d love to see Charlotte beat her again but Shirai runs in for the brawl. Referees break it up.
Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament Group A: Kushida (1-0) vs. Jake Atlas (1-0)
Kushida starts in on the arm and then kicks him to the floor early on. The big flip dive takes Atlas down again and it’s a basement dropkick for two back inside. Atlas is right back with an enziguri for two of his own to send Kushida outside. The suicide dive connects but Atlas’ springboard missile dropkick is pulled into the cross armbreaker to make Atlas tap at 3:03.
Rating: C. Again the time didn’t help things here but there is a path to get Drake Maverick into the finals and that is the most interesting story they have in this tournament. That being said, I can understand why people aren’t comfortable with it and I won’t argue otherwise. This match didn’t have much time to last, but both guys looked pretty crisp.
Group A Standings
Kushida – 2 – 0
Jake Atlas – 1 – 1
Drake Maverick – 1 – 1
Tony Nese – 0 – 2
Kushida speaks Japanese before switching to English to say time will tell.
Here’s Finn Balor to address being attacked. Balor used to think that the biggest snakes around here were in the office. Someone came after him to get a push with the music and the lights, but once the bell rings, they’re getting squashed.
Imperium gets their Tag Team Title shot next week.
Cameron Grimes vs. Denzel DeJournette
Cave In finishes Denzel at 24 seconds.
Post match Grimes says he deserves better than this. He would slap Balor in the face if he had a chance so here’s Balor to say do it. The fight is on with Balor dropping him with a Sling Blade. Balor says there’s a snake in the tall grass in the back and he’s coming for them.
Video on Velveteen Dream vs. Adam Cole. Dream has wanted a title shot for months and is finally getting his hands on Cole tonight.
Balor vs. Grimes next week.
NXT Title: Velveteen Dream vs. Adam Cole
Cole is defending. They grapple in the corner to start until Dream forearms him outside. Back in and Cole tries a quick Last Shot but gets caught in a spinebuster instead. Dream loads up a super Samoan drop but Cole slips down to the apron. A shot to the eye looks to set up the Panama Sunrise, which is quickly reversed into the DreamDT for two.
Back form a break with Dream hammering away in the corner but getting caught with a pump kick. The Backstabber gives Cole two so he tries a quickly broken fireman’s carry. Cole kicks him in the head and hits the brainbuster onto the knee for two more. A right hand rocks Cole but he’s fine enough to superkick Dream out of the air. They both fall down with Dream landing on top for two.
Cue the Undisputed Era so Dexter Lumis immediately comes out from underneath the ring (good thing the camera was right there at such a unique angle) to throw Strong at the ropes. That’s good for a ref bump, meaning there’s no count for the Purple Rainmaker. Dream dives onto the Era and Lumis but walks into the superkick back inside. The Last Shot retains the title at 10:19.
Rating: C+. This felt like a house show main event, meaning it’s a good enough match but dang I was expecting a lot more. I’m both surprised and not surprised that Dream lost, as Cole has been champion for a LONG time now but Dream has lost so much momentum in recent weeks. Couple that with the scandal and the title change might have been a bit too far. They had to do the title match at some point though and the ending leaves them with an opening for later. If this is it for now for Dream vs. Cole though, I’m not sure who is left for Cole as he’s been champion for so long now and doesn’t have many options left.
Overall Rating: B-. I liked the rapid fire matches as it got more people on the show, but I was rather disappointed with the two big title matches. This should have been some big showcase episode but instead we got some pretty good wrestling but nothing overly memorable. On its own it’s a good show, but when you look at what usually happens with this stacked of an NXT show, it’s a pretty weak showing.
Johnny Gargano b. Dominick Dijakovic – One Last Beat
Akira Tozawa b. Jack Gallagher – Top rope backsplash
Chelsea Green b. Xia Li – I’m Prettier
Karrion Kross b. Leon Ruff – Krossjacket
Io Shirai b. Charlotte via DQ when Charlotte used a kendo stick
Kushida b. Jake Atlas – Cross armbreaker
Cameron Grimes b. Denzel DeJournette – Cave In
Adam Cole b. Velveteen Dream – Last Shot
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