Date: May 27, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, Tom Phillips
We’re less than two weeks away from Takeover and that means a lot of the matches are already set up. Hopefully they come up with a strong main event, though I can’t imagine it’s anything but Velveteen Dream getting his second title shot. That one just doesn’t blow my skirt up but Takeover has surprised me before. Let’s get to it.
Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament Group A Finals: Drake Maverick vs. Jake Atlas vs. Kushida
The winner faces Hijo de Fantasma in the finals. They start fast with Atlas being sent to the floor and Kushida going for Drake’s bad arm. Atlas is back in for the save and a middle rope moonsault to the floor takes Kushida down. The springboard Blockbuster gives Atlas two on Maverick but Kushida takes them both down as we take an early break. Back with Atlas kicking Maverick in the face but being sent outside for a dive from Kushida. Atlas makes the save so Drake hits him with a Dudley Dog for two.
Kushida lays Drake out with a right hand and the cartwheel DDT makes it even worse for Drake. Atlas knocks Kushida down on the floor as Drake gets up. The Sakuraba Lock catches Atlas on top but Maverick makes the save. Kushida superplexes Atlas into the cross armbreaker but Maverick reaches an arm over to pin Atlas while the armbar is still on at 11:15. Shouldn’t that be a double pin since Kushida’s legs were over Atlas as well? Or even a clean pin for Kushida since he was on top first?
Rating: C+. The action was rather good here, though the ending was a little bit confusing. Maverick winning is the right story and I’m curious to see what happens. Kushida is starting to look more like his old self, but the New Japan version is never going to be back in full. At least he looked good here, and Atlas should be fine moving forward as well.
Post match Fantasma comes out and shakes hands with Maverick. Maverick: “Carpe diem.”
Post break, we see that Atlas tapped before Maverick got the pin.
Here are Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae for a chat. Johnny talks about how these people at ringside have a company because of him. Tonight is the first ever Johnny Gargano Invitational where he will wrestle a young superstar. Candice pulls the name out of an envelope and it’s….Adrian Adonis?
Johnny Gargano vs. Adrian Alanis
Gargano starts with some forearms and cuts Alanis off with a superkick. The Gargano Escape finishes in 46 seconds.
Post match Keith Lee and Mia Yim pop up on screen at a dinner of their own. Keith pulls out some ugly flowers, which Mia says are so trashy that they’re perfect for the Garganos. Mia busts out the flashlight and mocks Candice for having badly tinted hair and being in NXT for 25 years and never winning a title.
Lee isn’t sure what’s up with the flashlight but does the same thing to mock Gargano himself. Keith: “Now I’m blind but I did work up an appetite.” Mia has prepared takeout, which is Tegan Nox bringing in…..what’s left of a pizza as she ate the rest. Keith: “Apparently she just has a key.” It’s no longer about the Gargano Way, but rather about making them pay.
Drake Maverick isn’t sure what happened in the match but he’ll have another triple threat if necessary. Kushida comes up to say Maverick is fighting for the title and a job at Takeover, so win. Maverick shakes his hand and promises him the first title shot.
Imperium isn’t losing the Tag Team Titles, especially to Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch.
Shotzi Blackheart vs. Raquel Gonzalez
Dakota Kai is in Gonzalez’s corner. Gonzalez drives her into the ropes to start and takes Shotzi down by the arm for some yelling. Shotzi pulls herself up and tries a hurricanrana but Gonzalez blocks it with raw power. The same thing prevents Shotzi’s sunset flip so she hits Gonzalez in the face and head a few times. Shotzi goes after Kai and gets jumped from behind, allowing Kai to STEAL THE TANK. Cue Tegan Nox to make the save as Shotzi is sent into the corner and we take a break.
Back with Shotzi still in trouble and we hit the bearhug. A backbreaker plants Shotzi for two but she knocks Gonzalez outside. Shotzi springboards up with Darby Allin’s Coffin Drop but mostly misses both women and lands HARD on the back of her head. I’ve never seen the referee get down so fast to check on someone but thankfully Shotzi is back inside. Cue Candice LeRae to argue with Nox though, allowing Kai to offer a quick distraction. Gonzalez hits a chokeslam off the top for the pin at 9:45.
Rating: C. I’m still trying to get over the terrifying landing off the springboard. Shotzi just jumped too far which is going to happen every now and then but my goodness that was terrifying. At least she’s ok now though and we should have a few matches coming out of this thing. Gonzalez is fine as a monster too and that’s a spot you don’t see too often in this division.
Video on Finn Balor vs. Damian Priest.
Video on Charlotte.
Rhea Ripley/Io Shirai vs. Charlotte/???
The mystery partner is…..Chelsea Green. During Shirai’s entrance, Ranallo pays tribute to Hana Kimura and asks humans to be better in general. Rhea wants Charlotte but gets Green to start with Chelsea crawling between the legs. A big knockdown takes care of Chelsea so Rhea scares Charlotte off the apron. Green knocks Rhea into the corner and it’s Io coming in to strike away. Some flips set up a dropkick to Green’s ribs and the slingshot knees to the chest connect in the corner.
The 619 is broken up and Shirai is sent outside for the suicide dive from Green. Now Charlotte is willing to come in and stomp away in the corner but Shirai fights right back. Another dive takes Green out on the floor but she whips Shirai into the barricade as we take a break. Back with Shirai sending Charlotte into Green but it’s not enough for the hot tag. A middle rope crossbody is enough for the tag to Rhea though and it’s time to clean house.
An electric chair faceplant gets two on Green with Charlotte making the save. There’s a big boot to drop Rhea and the Figure Four goes on. Shirai makes the save before it can be switched to the Figure Eight though and Shirai is back up with a headscissors into the corner. The running knees get two on Charlotte and now the 619 can connect. Green shoves Charlotte out of the way and takes the missile dropkick for her but Charlotte avoids a charge to send Shirai into Ripley. The rollup with feet on the ropes finishes Shirai at 11:45.
Rating: C+. The action was strong here and if Charlotte has to be on every show, it’s nice to have her wrestling on the show where she’s the champion. It’s still not exactly thrilling to see her every week, but at least they’re setting something up for Takeover. Green being added is interesting, even though she isn’t ready for this spot.
The Garganos are livid and Johnny promises to take the North American Title at Takeover. LeRae wants to face Yim next week. As for Nox, she should be ashamed of herself.
It’s time for a negotiation between Adam Cole and William Regal (online in this case). Cole complains about his lack of a celebration for a year long title reign, but it’s because of Velveteen Dream. Therefore, he wants the Undisputed Era to receive a Tag Team Title shot and to never see Velveteen Dream again. Regal doesn’t like this and thinks it’s Dream getting the title shot at Takeover. Cole complains about everything wrong with Dream, not noticing the strong irony.
Regal points it out and Cole does not like being compared to Dream. That’s a bit too much for Regal, who doesn’t like Cole being like a bay-bay. Cole says that’s Regal’s first funny joke since he was a man’s man. Anyway, Cole will defend against Dream at Takeover, but it’s Dream’s last shot ever. Regal makes the match. However, it will be in a setting of Regal’s choosing. PLEASE don’t make this cinematic too. Please.
Video on Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan, who have fought their entire lives to get here. It’s why they work so well together and why they’re going to win the Tag Team Titles.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Leon Ruff
Cue Scarlett for a distraction so Ruff can get two off a rollup. Ciampa hits a running knee to the head and the Fairy Tale Ending is good for the pin at 1:17.
Post match Karrion Kross pops up on screen to promise the end for Ciampa.
Video on Timothy Thatcher vs. Matt Riddle. Thatcher was Pete Dunne’s replacement partner but he didn’t care for Riddle’s goofiness and it got even worse when they had a misfire in the Tag Team Title match. Riddle beat him off a surprise rollup in a match so Thatcher attacked him again, setting up this special cage match.
Matt Riddle vs. Timothy Thatcher
In a cage with knockouts/submissions only and Kurt Angle as guest referee. This is a very different kind of cage though (dubbed the Fight Pit) with no ropes or turnbuckles and a platform around the top of the cage (pretty cool actually). Riddle comes in off the platform off the top and rolls forward to go after Thatcher. A choke is blocked and they get up with Riddle walking up the cage to escape another choke. Riddle grabs a German suplex and says that’s what’s up BRO. One heck of a slap staggers Riddle so he walks up the cage to kick Thatcher hard in the face.
Thatcher is bleeding from the mouth and seems to have lost some teeth. We pause so the doctor can check on him as Angle holds the teeth. Thatcher says he can keep going though and after a break, Riddle is hammering away with Thatcher on the mat next to the cage. Riddle tries another cage walk kick but Thatcher reverses into a belly to belly suplex. The half crab puts Riddle in trouble and an STF makes it even worse.
Thatcher pulls him over for an armbar, followed by cranking on the leg. Riddle switches up and hammers away, only to get pulled most of the way into a triangle choke. That’s powered up so Thatcher climbs onto the scaffold with Riddle following. Some kicks rock Thatcher until he reverses into an ankle lock with a grapevine. That’s escaped but the Broton only hits scaffold.
Thatcher suplexes him onto the scaffold but Riddle is back with a knee to the face, sending Thatcher down to the mat. The Floating bro connects and Riddle fires off kicks to the chest. A charge hits the cage though and Thatcher grabs the rear naked choke. Riddle rams him into the cage and then drops back for the break, only to have Thatcher grab it again. That’s enough for Riddle who is out (with three arm drops) to give Thatcher the win at 14:32.
Rating: B. Good brawl here and Thatcher was put over completely clean as he survived all of Riddle’s attempts to escape and grabbed the hold again for the win. Odds are this is it for Riddle in NXT, as he isn’t winning the title so move him up to the main roster so his career can be destroyed. Well done on making a new star here though. Angle was a completely non-factor here and I forgot he was referee for a good chunk of the match.
Riddle is upset to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. Nice show here and they had some good things going on all night. Nothing was bad and they set up some things for both next week and Takeover. Hopefully they have something next week as well as they could use some momentum as they get ready for Takeover. I can’t believe I need to say that, but NXT has fallen a fair distance over the last few months. They had a good one here though and hopefully that’s the start of a trend.
Drake Maverick b. Kushida and Jake Atlas – Maverick pinned Atlas during a cross armbreaker
Johnny Gargano b. Adrian Alanis – Gargano Escape
Raquel Gonzalez b. Shotzi Blackheart – Chokeslam
Charlotte/Chelsea Green b. Io Shirai/Rhea Ripley – Rollup with feet on the ropes to Shirai
Tommaso Ciampa b. Leon Ruff – Fairy Tale Ending
Timothy Thatcher b. Matt Riddle – Rear naked choke
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