The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover – In Your House! 06.07.20
Live (?) from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Mauro & Beth
Shotzi Blackheart, Tegan Nox & Mia Yim v. Candice LeRae, Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai
LeRae declines to start the match and lets Raquel toss Mia Yim around for a bit. Nox comes in and she gets overpowered as well, but rolls up Kai for two. Dakota misses a charge and gets rolled up again, but they collide in the middle and Nox gets the best of that as well and follows with a senton in the corner for two. Blackheart misses a charge and Kai gets two off that, but Candice comes in and gets sent to the floor. Shotzi tries to follow with a dive, but Gonzalez catches her and dumps her. Everyone does some dives to follow and Blackheart hits LeRae with double knees in the ring for two. Blackheart with a double underhook submission, but Kai breaks it up and then Gonzalez takes Shotzi out with a lariat for two. Kai chokes her out in the corner and the heels work her over, but Kai misses a boot in the corner. Blackheart takes too long trying to make her own comeback and LeRae cuts off the tag, but then Yim gets it anyway and she runs wild on Candice with a dragon suplex for two. Over to Tegan, but she walks into a powerbomb from Gonzalez for two. Yim and LeRae fight off into the house set and Kai accidentally boots Gonzalez, and Nox gets the Shining Wizard on Kai for the pin at 9:53. This was alright, nothing wrong with it, and it didn’t overstay its welcome. **1/2
Promotional Considerations Paid For By The Following: WWE Ice Cream bars!
Finn Balor v. Damian Priest
Balor comes in with the shotgun dropkick before the bell and throws chops, then follows with a chop block and puts Priest on the floor for a fight out there. Priest runs him into the stairs and then drops Balor with a backbreaker off the stairs and onto the apron, which I might remind you is THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Back in the ring, Balor fights back but walks into a Flatliner and Priest slugs away on the mat and stomps Finn down for one. At this point Mauro declares that this is celebrating the 25th anniversary of “a classic PPV”. King of the Ring 95? Balor comes back with a suplex out of the corner and dropkicks Priest off the apron before stomping him down on the floor while the camera zooms and shakes. Back in, Priest hits him with a clothesline and tries a Razor’s Edge, but Finn escapes, so Priest gets a falcon arrow but is unable to do the deal before Finn hits him with a double stomp. They exchange Pele kicks and Priest goes down first, so Finn gets two. Priest tries a chokeslam but Finn rolls him up for two and they head to the floor again, where Priest gives him a Razor’s Edge on the apron for two. So the buckle bombs are banned but not THAT? Back in, Priest gets some running elbows in the corner, but walks into a sling blade. Priest gets a pair of spinkicks, but Balor reverses him into the inverted DDT and follows with the shotgun dropkick to set up the Coup de Grace. But Priest catches him with the chokeslam off the top, and that gets two. They head to the apron and Priest teases a Razor’s Edge onto the stairs, but Finn knocks him off the apron and back-first onto the stairs instead. Dude, why are you taking those bumps? Your back only has so many punches on the bump card. Back in, Finn hits a pair of Coup de Graces and gets the pin at 13:22. I’m not a fan of guys taking bumps onto the apron and stairs for no reason, but in this case it set up the finish and wasn’t just a cheap near-fall. ***1/2
Promotional Considerations Paid For By the Following: ICOPRO! To be fair, though, ICOPRO was long gone by the time we got to the IYH era.
NXT North American title: Keith Lee v. Johnny Gargano
The picture of Handsome Dok Hendrix on Johnny’s wall is a nice touch. Although was Johnny living in the house set all week? Johnny tries to attack and gets foiled right away, wisely retreating to the floor, but he tries a dive and gets caught. He tries a somersault off the apron and gets caught again, but rakes the eye to escape that. Johnny keeps trying to run away while Lee beats on him, so Johnny retreats to his house and discovers the door is locked, apparently having forgotten that he stuck the key in his trunks earlier. Lee throws him back in the ring and mauls him like the time Archie got mauled by a grizzly bear off-screen on Riverdale, but Johnny takes him down and stomps on the hand to get on offense. Lee fights him off and Gargano keeps coming and keeps attacking the injured eye before doing some SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION and a sleeper on the mat. I feel like he should probably break free because a black guy getting choked out and losing would probably be a bad finish at the moment. Luckily, he does escape, so Johnny keeps slugging away with palm strikes and dodges a charge in the corner. Lee comes back with a backbreaker for two and punches Johnny down, but Johnny jumps up into a hanging armbar and keeps bending the fingers. Lee puts him down with a clothesline for two, however. Lee tries the powerbomb and Johnny kicks him down for two. Gargano and Lee trade superkicks and Johnny gets a rollup for two, but Lee slams him and Johnny bails to the floor to escape. Lee follows him out and Johnny gets a diving DDT onto the floor, but then remembers that you can’t win the title on a countout and has to haul him in somehow. So he breaks the count, which gives Lee a chance to wake up and Pounce him through the plexiglass. So Lee hauls him back to the ring, while the wives get involved and brawl, but Johnny now remembers the key in his underwear and puts it in Lee’s eye for two. Superkick gets two. Another one gets two. Another one gets two. I feel like if you’re gonna do a deal where he hides a key in his tights and then pokes him in the eye with it, that should be your finish. Finally Lee comes back with the Spirit Bomb and finishes with the Big Bang Catastrophe to retain at 20:39. They went way too long with this for the story they were trying to tell and missed the peak, which seems to be a problem with Keith Lee matches in NXT. It was good, but kind of dull at times. ***
NXT title, Backlot Brawl: Adam Cole v. Velveteen Dream
Yes, it’s CINEMATIC WRESTLING, with cars around a ring in the parking lot. Dream dives in with a rollup for two and a backslide for two. Oklahoma Roll gets two. I think it’d be kind of cool to do a flash finish in one of these as something different. Cole has had enough already and grabs his belt before getting into one of the cars to escape, so Dream plays Jack Nicholson and smashes it with a baseball bat to chase him out again. I guess it should have been a golf club for that reference to work, but close enough. An Uber pulls up and they fight in the back of that for a bit, but Dream throws Cole into a garbage can. Cole runs away again and finds a fire extinguisher in one of the shops to take control, and they slug it out by the ring. Dream runs him into the ringpost and tries for a cover, but Cole is in the ropes. So they head to the floor again and Dream tries a dive, but Cole hits him with a superkick on the way down. Dream hits his own and slams Cole onto a car hood before finding a ladder and setting up for the finish. But then Fish and Strong interrupt with a car, distracting Dream. Cole tries to superplex Dream off the ladder, but falls back through the windshield. Meanwhile, the Undisputed guys beat Dream down and fill the ring with chairs, but Dexter Loomis has apparently been hiding under the ring all this time and pops out to make the save. So he throws them in the trunk of the car and kidnaps them, which I guess is fine and not to be investigated further. Back in the ring, Cole tries the Panama Sunrise, but Dream reverses to the death valley driver for two. Dream goes up and drops the elbow on Cole for two. But then he talks too much shit and Cole hits him in the nuts, and follows with the Panama Sunrise on the pile of chairs to retain at 14:57. Yeah, this mostly sucked. It wasn’t like it was a good match or anything in the ring and they didn’t really do much that was particularly innovative or memorable with the setting to disguise the shortcomings. They just kinda had a crappy match and walked around the parking lot for a bit in between spots. In particular this kind of thing is not Dream’s deal AT ALL. He desperately needs structured matches in the ring. Also, it wasn’t FUN. I think that was the most annoying thing. *1/2
Karrion Kross v. Tommaso Ciampa
OK, Kross has got one hell of an entrance, you have to give him that. Kross shrugs off Ciampa’s initial attack and beats on him in the corner before following with a suplex to put him on the floor. Back in, Ciampa tries the draping DDT and Kross shrugs that off as well and then clotheslines him to the floor again. We get a chokeslam onto the edge of the apron and CAN WE PLEASE QUIT WITH THAT? Back in, Kross hits him with another pair of suplexes and then offers a free shot before leveling him with a clothesline. Ciampa fights back and puts Kross on the floor with a kneelift before bringing him back in with the draping DDT for two. This sets up the Fairy Tale Ending, but Kross reverses to the F5 and wraps him up with a rear naked choke to finish at 6:12. Good, glad to see them just get behind a guy and let him destroy one of the old guard for once instead of fucking around with a million near-falls and going 50/50. **
NXT Women’s title: Charlotte Flair v. Rhea Ripley v. Io Shirai
Charlotte throws them both around and throws chops while disputing the crowd’s assertion that she doesn’t even go here. Rhea fights back and sends her to the apron with a Flair Flip, but misses a dive and lands on the floor. Charlotte runs her into the plexiglass and then throws Io into her as well. Back in, Io tries a handspring and gets caught in a Boston Crab, but Rhea breaks it up and puts Charlotte down with knees. Shirai gets a 619 and double stomp for two, but Rhea cuts her off with a rollup and they collide for a double down. Charlotte spears them both and gets two on both in turn. Charlotte to the top and misses the moonsault, so she’s probably winning later. They all trade stuff and Shirai gets an awkward spin into a crossface on Charlotte, but Ripley breaks it up. Charlotte boots her down for two. Ripley slams Charlotte and Shirai gets a springboard dropkick on Ripley and follows with double knees in the corner, but Charlotte hits Natural Selection on Shirai for two. This sets up the figure-four, but Ripley breaks that up and beats on Charlotte outside. Shirai hits Rhea with a dive, but Charlotte throws Io through the window of the house to get rid of her. Charlotte slugs it out with Rhea, but Shirai dives off the roof of the house onto both of the others. Back in, Io goes up and Ripley cuts her off. So she went through the window of the house and that meant nothing, and then did a dive off the top of the house and they just moved on past that as well? That should be your finish. Io gets sent to the floor and Charlotte slugs it out with Ripley on the top, but Rhea gets the Riptide for two before Io makes the save. Rhea gets the scorpion hold on Io, but Charlotte saves with a kendo stick and beats on them to set up a figure-eight on Ripley. But then Io moonsaults Ripley while she’s in the hold and gets the pin to win the title at 17:57, looking like she hit her right in the face with her knees. Crowd was really subdued for that finish too for some reason. This was really good but not show-saving or anything. ***3/4
Overall, this was a pretty weak card going in and ended up being a pretty weak show by Takeover standards. The main event didn’t really feel like it was an important culmination of anything, especially with Charlotte losing the title without having to do the job. I don’t think there’s anything here you need to go out of your way to see, honestly.
Thumbs in the middle.