Date: May 13, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Byron Saxton, Beth Phoenix
It’s another title week this time around with the Tag Team Titles on the line as Timothy Thatcher and Matt Riddle defend against Imperium. It’s always fun to see Imperium in the ring so we should be in for a big match. Other than that, Finn Balor gets to beat up Cameron Grimes on his way to finding out who attacked him. Let’s get to it.
Tag Team Titles: Timothy Thatcher/Matt Riddle vs. Imperium
Imperium (Marcel Barthel/Fabian Aichner this time) are challenging and it’s Thatcher taking Barthel down to the mat to start. Aichner comes in for an armbar as Riddle beats up Barthel on the floor. Riddle comes in to choke Aichner, who powers out without much trouble. That just earns him a gutwrench suplex so Barthel can come in, earning a suplex of his own. Aichner runs Riddle over though and we take a break. Back with Riddle fighting out of a chinlock but it’s too early for the tag.
Aichner hammers away again and hands it right back to Aichner to pound him down. Riddle suplexes his way out but misses the penalty kick, meaning Barthel can cut him off again. That earns Barthel a kick to the head and Riddle monkey flips him….right into Thatcher to knock him off the apron. That’s enough for Thatcher, who walks out, despite Riddle’s shouts. The European Bomb is broken up though and it’s a Bro to Sleep to Barthel. A blind tag brings Aichner back in though and the European Bomb gives us new champions at 11:04.
Rating: B-. They didn’t have much of a choice here as Thatcher and Riddle were a makeshift team to replace another makeshift team. At some point you need to just give them to a regular team and that’s a good idea with Imperium. Riddle and Thatcher can do something later on anyway and give them both something to do.
Post break Thatcher complains about Riddle not being serious. He wants to be a champion, but not with someone who is more about game shows and flip flops. Riddle comes in and the fight has to be broken up.
Tegan Nox vs. Indi Hartwell
Hartwell slams her down by the hair to start and some shots to the ribs have Nox in angry pain. A side slam gives Hartwell two but Nox fights back with a whip into the corner. The reverse cannonball sets up a high crossbody to drop Hartwell again. The Shiniest Wizard gives Nox the pin at 3:19.
Rating: C-. How great is it to see Nox not only on her feet but also getting to do something in the ring? You almost never see anything like that after two horrible knee injuries and yet here Nox is. I’m not sure how high she can go, but not wrestler deserves to have their career cut short so horribly and so soon.
We look back at Rhea Ripley returning to go after Charlotte but getting in a fight with Io Shirai.
Rhea is ready to bring the Women’s Title back to NXT and if she has to beat up Shirai to get there, so be it.
Riddle says he has a match with Thatcher tonight so here’s Thatcher to jump him from behind. He hits Riddle in the arm with what looks like a TV.
Jake Atlas says he has to win to advance and then hopes that Drake Maverick wins to force the tie.
Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament Group A: Tony Nese (0-2) vs. Jake Atlas (1-1)
Last first round match for both guys. Nese grabs a headlock to start and snaps Atlas’ throat across the top to put him down. Some left hands set up a front facelock on Atlas but he’s right back up with a big boot. There’s a German suplex into a step up enziguri for two on Nese. That’s not good for Tony but he can’t hit the pumphandle powerslam. Instead Atlas hits a running neckbreaker, only to get caught in the corner. That lets Nese stomp away at the face and head but Atlas kicks him down. The Rainbow DDT finishes Nese at 5:04.
Rating: C. This didn’t have much time to go anywhere but Atlas is starting to grow on me. He’s come in pretty cold and now has a finisher that is getting over and is a contender for the tournament finals. I’m not sure where this block is going and that’s an interesting feeling, as this could set up a three way tie if Maverick can beat Kushida.
Group A Standings
Kushida – 2 – 0
Jake Atlas – 2 – 1
Drake Maverick – 1 – 1
Tony Nese – 0 – 3
Adam Cole talks to Kyle O’Reilly on Facetime because O’Reilly is making a movie. Apparently it’s Nuns On The Run Ghostbusters meets Titanic but here are Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong to join in things. It’s been a long time since they’ve been together but O’Reilly is happy with what they’ve been doing. They’re not happy with Dexter Lumis so Strong is going to take care of him.
Karrion Kross/Scarlett video, set to the old The End Is Here theme. They are not here to shock a system or to save anyone. No, they are your entertainment and it is time to wake up from the dream or else you will sleep forever. Tommaso Ciampa was the first but will not be the last.
Dakota Kai talks about how she cared too much about the fans because they didn’t care about her. She came back from her knee injury and was in the shadow of Tegan Nox. That brought her to Takeover: WarGames where she took Nox out. Then she met Raquel Gonzalez, who knows what it’s like to be an outcast as well. This is the hurting business and they’re going to hurt everyone.
Isaiah Scott is ready to win and stay alive in the tournament. He’s feeling confident to protect his house. If you can’t win a match in this tournament, you should quit wrestling.
D-Generation X (Shawn Michaels/HHH/Road Dogg in this case) announce the next Takeover, which will be Takeover: In Your House on June 7. Dogg finally remembers that HHH had the hog pen match and we’re suddenly out of time.
Finn Balor vs. Cameron Grimes
This could be interesting. Grimes goes for the Cave In at the bell but Balor isn’t having any of that and takes him into the chinlock. That’s broken up in a hurry and Grimes kicks him away, setting up some elbows to the back. Balor rolls out of a sunset flip and dropkicks him down but can’t get 1916.
Back from a break with Balor fighting out of an armbar but getting kicked in the knee to take him down again. Some shoulders to the back keep Balor in trouble and a big clothesline gives Grimes two. Balor is right back with the double stomp and then regular stomps put Grimes on the floor.
That’s fine with Balor, who goes to the apron to keep up the stomping. The running kick from the apron drops Grimes again…and here’s Damian Priest. Balor is ready for him and takes Priest down, followed by the Sling Blade to Grimes on the floor. Back in and Priest gets in a baton shot to the leg, setting up the Cave In (more like a running double stomp to the back of the head) for the pin at 9:47.
Rating: B-. I’m curious about how this is going to go as they have Grimes getting a big win to give him something to build from, but also Priest vs. Balor. Odds are you can pencil that in for Takeover and Grimes will probably get something out of this as well. Not bad for ten minutes of action.
Post match Priest hits the Reckoning on the chair and sits it on Balor’s throat ala HHH/Undertaker in 2001. Priest reveals himself as the attacker. Well that was simple.
Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament Group B: Jack Gallagher (0-2) vs. Isaiah Scott (1-1)
Final first round match for both and if Scott loses, he’s eliminated. Hold on though as here’s Nese to deck Scott from behind and send him into the steps. Like any goodhearted schnook, Scott says he’ll fight so the bell rings. That is immediately followed by a running corner dropkick for two and the seated abdominal stretch goes on. Scott fights out and hits a quick House Call for two, followed by some YES Kicks. Gallagher pulls him down into a guillotine so Scott muscles up and throws him off. Not that it matters as Gallagher discus forearms him for the pin at 3:32.
Rating: C. This was working while it lasted but it didn’t have time to go anywhere. I’m surprised that Scott is already eliminated. It’s nice to see Gallagher actually get a win for a change, but I still don’t get why Scott can’t get out of the blocks around here. He seems like someone who is ready to be pushed but it just never takes off. He’s far from done, though they might want to actually do something with him.
Group B Standings
Akira Tozawa – 2 – 0
El Hijo del Fantasma – 1 – 1
Jack Gallagher – 1 – 2
Isaiah Scott – 1 – 2
Kayden Carter vs. Aliyah
Carter takes her down in a hurry and the trash talk is on. Aliyah fights up and gets suplexed down for two. A missed charge in the corner lets Aliyah kick away but Carter switches places and stomps as well. Cue Robert Stone to watch as Aliyah takes over again and goes up top. That’s broken up as well and something like an Indian Deathlock makes Aliyah tap. So much for the Stone deal.
And now, Dinner with the Garganos. Things have gotten better in recent weeks with Candice stomping a hole in a ninja and Gargano beating the 7’8 383lb Dominick Dijadofus. They look at some clips of the match with Gargano breaking Dijakovic down. If he did it so easily and Keith Lee had so many problems, Gargano wouldn’t have any problem with Lee. Candice isn’t happy with Mia Yim being rewarded over and over after losing time after time. Where is Candice’s chance? Everyone else deserves nothing, just like Mia.
Gargano knows what it’s like to be North American Champion and everyone loves you….until they don’t. The glory Lee is looking for doesn’t exist because it’s just a catchphrase to get fans on your side. Gargano has been turned on before and while Lee is strong physically, he isn’t strong enough to deal with reality. They’ll show everyone what glory looks like. These dinner deals are great and this worked well, again.
Next week: Kushida vs. Drake Maverick and Fantasma vs. Tozawa, plus Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai.
Timothy Thatcher vs. Matt Riddle
Thatcher doesn’t get an entrance and Riddle’s arm…seems to be fine actually. Riddle takes him to the mat to start and fights from underneath. That’s broken up in a hurry so Riddle kicks away at the legs. They go straight back to the mat with Riddle getting on top this time and pounding away.
Thatcher can’t get the leg so Riddle drives him down again and they trade forearms from the mat. They get back up with Riddle firing off knees and kicks. Back from a break with Riddle working on the leg but Riddle gets up again. A German suplex is no sold and Riddle hits the running knee. Riddle gets in a triangle choke but Thatcher reverses into an armbar.
The powerbomb breaks things up and they get back to their feet to strike it out hard. Thatcher knocks him down for the ankle lock (on a bare foot, which is a little strange) but that’s reverses into a Bro To Sleep to put them both down. The Floating Bro hits knees and Thatcher grabs a Fujiwara armbar. That’s reversed so Thatcher grabs the ankle again but Riddle stacks him up for a pin at 12:26.
Rating: B. Maybe it was that the match was so different but this was a really entertaining one with a very different style. Thatcher looked like he could hang with Riddle and doesn’t lose all that much by getting pinned. Fans are still getting used to Thatcher so having him show off against Riddle is a good way to go.
Post match Thatcher sends the arm into the post and grabs the Fujiwara armbar. Riddle taps so Thatcher lets go, only to put it on again for more tapping and screaming to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. The wrestling was pretty good overall here but the show just felt bleh. You can see some of what they’re setting up for Takeover and I’m sure they’ll be fine to set up a card over the next two weeks, but it’s still not all that thrilling. That being said, there is only so much that can be done with the limited crew and it’s pretty clear that they are lacking a lot of their big stars. It’s just a weird time and while the wrestling worked, it wasn’t a great feeling one and that’s a bigger problem.
Imperium b. Timothy Thatcher/Matt Riddle – European Bomb to Riddle
Tegan Nox b. Indi Hartwell – Shiniest Wizard
Jake Atlas b. Tony Nese – Rainbow DDT
Cameron Grimes b. Finn Balor – Cave In
Jack Gallagher b. Isaiah Scott – Discus forearm
Kayden Carter b. Aliyah – Indian Deathlock
Matt Riddle b. Timothy Thatcher – Rollup
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