NXT – May 20, 2020

NXT
Date: May 20, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, Tom Phillips

I’m not sure what to expect at the moment but it’s time to start getting ready for Takeover. The show is in two and a half weeks and that means we are going to need to get things going in a hurry. There isn’t much set for the show but NXT knows how to do this stuff like no one else. Let’s get to it.

In Memory of Shad Gaspard.

Opening sequence.

Karrion Kross vs. ???

Scarlett doesn’t do as much lip syncing this week but the entrance is still cool. Doomsday Saito and the Krossjacket choke finishes…someone (his tights say Liam) at 49 seconds.

Post match here’s Tommaso Ciampa to say Kross started by going after the top man in NXT. Ciampa knows Kross is special and Kross can prove that when they fight at Takeover. They’re starting fast with the build.

We take a quick look at the Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament.

Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament Group B: Akira Tozawa (2-0) vs. El Hijo de Fantasma (1-1)

The winner wins the block. Tozawa takes him to the mat with a test of strength but Fantasma is back up with a northern lights suplex for two. They trade armdrags but Tozawa misses a dropkick to give us a standoff. The chop off is on until Tozawa head fakes him into the right hand. A hurricanrana sends Fantasma outside and Tozawa hits the running flip dive off the steps.

Back from a break with Fantasma hitting a frog splash on the apron but Tozawa plants him down inside. Fantasma crotches him on top but Tozawa drops him on the same buckle to even things up. The top rope backsplash gets two with Fantasma sending him outside for the big suicide dive. Back in and the Phantom Driver finishes Tozawa at 11:30.

Rating: B-. This was a rather action packed one and it’s smart to go with someone new in Fantasma getting the win. He’s someone with a lot of potential and while Tozawa has the history, he hasn’t been getting much extra momentum on Raw with all of the losses. I like the result here though and it’s the right call.

Group B Standings

El Hijo de Fantasma – 2 – 1

Akira Tozawa – 2 – 1

Jack Gallagher – 1 – 2

Isaiah Scott – 1 – 2

We recap last week’s Tag Team Title change and Timothy Thatcher attacking Matt Riddle to end the show.

Thatcher wants one more match with Riddle where pinfalls don’t count and you can only win via knockout or tap out. Riddle can pick the time and the place.

Shotzi Blackheart, on a tank, promises to destroy the NXT Women’s division. She rolls over some cars, which sounds like Dakota Kai. Chelsea Green’s makeup got crushed and she’s sorry to Candice LeRae but she might have just squashed a pixie. This was rather over the top and one of the more memorable things I’ve seen in a long time.

Mia Yim vs. Santana Garrett

They try stereo dropkicks to start so it’s an early standoff. Santana sends her into the corner for a handspring elbow and floats over into a press for two. Yim is back with a dragon suplex and Protect Yo Neck finishes Garrett at 1:15.

Post match here are Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae with Johnny mocking Mia’s theme song. Candice mocks her for winning because she should be winning against Charlotte. See, Mia had ANOTHER chance to win and blew it, as she always does. The brawl is on but Johnny low bridges Mia to the floor. Keith Lee runs in for the save.

We recap Damien Priest attacking Finn Balor last week to unveil himself as the attacker and causing Balor to lose to Cameron Grimes in the process.

Grimes gloats a lot about his win.

Drake Maverick has to beat Kushida tonight and that’s not easy against one of the best junior heavyweights of all time. He has to pin Kushida or make him submit and since Maverick isn’t Bret Hart, he doesn’t have a lot of options. All Drake knows is he’s tired of doubting himself so tonight’s winning.

Roderick Strong vs. Dexter Lumis

During the Era’s entrance, Adam Cole promises a celebration of his one year title reign next week. Lumis wins a wrestle off to start and stares Strong to the floor in frustration. Back in and Strong still can’t outgrapple him, meaning it’s time for another breather. Strong gets back in where Lumis uppercuts and slams him into a legdrop. A bulldog brings Strong down again so it’s out to the floor for a third time.

This time Lumis follows and gets sent into the steps as a result. Strong drops him onto the apron and we take a break. Back with Strong hitting his running forearms in the corner and grabbing the seated abdominal stretch. Lumis glares his way to freedom so it’s an Olympic Slam to give Strong two.

The Stronghold is broken up so Strong elbows him in the back instead. This time it’s Lumis fighting up with shots to the head and a backdrop, followed by a slingshot suplex for two. Strong chops away and Lumis just glares at him again and grabs a spinebuster. Strong tries the Stronghold again so Lumis reverses into a cradle but Strong sits down on it for the pin at 11:28.

Rating: C+. It was good, but Lumis continues to be so gimmicky that it’s distracting. I’m not sure if I can get into him being this high on the card but it might not be something that lasts too long. They have to try something else though and it makes sense to put him out there and see what he can do. And at least he didn’t pin Strong here so it could have been much worse.

Post match, Lumis chokes Strong out. The Era comes in for the save but Velveteen Dream comes in to make the real save. A Purple Rainmaker over the barricade hits Cole, likely setting up the rematch for the title at Takeover. Lumis cradles Strong and rubs his head while blankly staring out into the distance.

During the break, Akira Tozawa and Fantasma showed respect but the masked men ran in to jump Tozawa. Fantasma made the save and ran them off.

Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch vs. Ever Rise

Burch runs over Parker to start and hands it off to Lorcan for the headlock on Martel. The running Blockbuster sets up a half crab for the tap at 1:33 while Burch Crossfaces Parker at the same time. Well that was fast.

We look back at the Garganos/Keith Lee/Mia Yim segment from earlier.

Keith Lee is sick of the Garganos and is willing to prove it at Takeover.

Matt Riddle would love to face Timothy Thatcher and let’s do it in a cage.

Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament Group A: Kushida (2-0) vs. Drake Maverick (1-1)

If Kushida wins, he wins the block outright but if Maverick wins, it’s a three way tie between the two of them and Jake Atlas. Kushida grabs a headlock to start so Maverick reverses into a sunset flip. They stare each other down before Drake has to avoid an armbar attempt. A basement dropkick to the ribs puts Maverick in trouble and a handspring elbow makes it even worse.

Kushida snaps the arm back as Jake Atlas comes out to watch. The cartwheel into another basement dropkick gets one on Maverick and we take a break. Back with Maverick sending him into the corner and hitting a middle rope dropkick. A Code Red gets two but Kushida goes right back to the arm to put him outside. Back in and Kushida stomps on the arm but the Sakuraba Lock is broken up with a grab of the rope.

The hold goes on again and stays on a good bit longer, sending Drake into the rope again. Drake demands that the match not be stopped so Kushida gives him a running palm strike in the corner. What looked to be a tornado DDT is blocked but Kushida gets the Sakuraba Lock in the ropes. That has to be broken up due to the ropes so Maverick goes up top for a super sitout bulldog. That’s reversed into the cross armbreaker but Maverick stacks him up for the upset pin at 12:01.

Rating: C+. I understand the issues that exist with the story (playing off of employment at this point, possibly faking a release, releasing someone and then possibly keeping them around because of all of the emotion etc.) but DANG I’ve gotten hooked on the whole thing. I want to see Maverick survive and that’s the kind of story that you need.

Group A Standings

Kushida – 2 – 1

Drake Maverick – 2 – 1

Jake Atlas – 2 – 1

Tony Nese – 0 – 3

Post match it’s Byron Saxton coming out to announce a triple threat match next week for the spot in the finals.

We recap Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai.

The Riddle vs. Thatcher Cage Fight is next week.

Drake Maverick talks about living forever. Championships will come, but Finn Balor was a target that turned into an opportunity. Balor put this place on the map so Priest is coming for him at the place where Balor made a name for himself. At Takeover, Balor’s name will turn to ash while the name Damian Priest will live forever.

Ciampa vs. Kross is confirmed for Takeover.

Io Shirai vs. Rhea Ripley

Shirai scratches the back to start so Ripley dropkicks her down. That earns her a quick double stomp from Shirai for two and we take a break. Back with Shirai getting a sunset flip for two and slapping on a Crossface. Ripley powers out and catches her on top for a top rope superplex. That’s good for two and Shirai strikes away, only to get knocked down by a single shot.

Shirai slaps her down into another Crossface so Rhea makes it to the rope again. The 619 connects and a dropkick puts Rhea on the floor. Shirai nails the suicide dive….and here’s Charlotte, for her third appearance on three straight shows. Shirai headscissors Rhea into Charlotte and hits the running knees in the corner back inside. A DDT plants Rhea for two more, only to have Charlotte come in for the big boot to Shirai for the DQ at 10:50.

Rating: C+. Why yes it is Charlotte interfering again, likely setting up a triple threat match for the title at Takeover. I know WWE loves itself some Charlotte and having her on all three weekly shows is something that seems to be a regular move, at least for the time being. Hopefully that isn’t the case, but the title match at Takeover does sound intriguing.

Post match Charlotte spears Rhea down and poses with the title to end the show.

Overall Rating: B-. I had a better time with this one than most of the recent shows as it felt like two regular hour long shows stacked on top of each other. That made things a little bit easier to watch, if nothing else due to the fact that they didn’t stay on anything for too long. You don’t need to spend that much time on any one thing and make it more like a buffet than one big meal. That has worked well for NXT for years and it’s what they were doing here. Good show, and Takeover is taking shape in a hurry.

Results

Karrion Kross b. ??? – Krossjacket Choke

El Hijo de Fantasma b. Akira Tozawa – Phantom Driver

Mia Yim b. Santana Garrett – Protect Yo Neck

Roderick Strong b. Dexter Lumis – Rollup

Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch b. Ever Rise – Half crab to Parker

Drake Maverick b. Kushida – Rollup

Io Shirai b. Rhea Ripley via DQ when Charlotte interfered

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