Date: July 15, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Beth Phoenix, Mauro Ranallo
We’re back to normal this week, though we do have a big main event with Tegan Nox challenging Io Shirai for the Women’s Title. That could be an interesting one, but we also have the first night of Keith Lee’s NXT Title reign. Karrion Kross might have something to say about that though, which could go a few ways. Let’s get to it.
We look back at last week’s title change. Lots of wrestlers talk about coming for Keith and the titles, capped off by Karrion Kross.
Here’s Lee for his big debut as champion. The fans sing BASK IN HIS GLORY but Lee needs to hear the introduction one more time. Lee understands that he is at a crossroads in his career because he is understanding the losses, the hurt and the pain. There is something special about being in this ring though and he feels it right now. He feels it when he hears that intro and when he holds these championships.
Lee lays the titles on the mat and says he knows people are coming for them. Opportunity and chances created this moment and he knows he isn’t a self made man. Tim Brooks was more than a trainer for him and acted as a father who believed in him when no one else did. This is about Brooks and a lot of other people, which is why Lee wants Dominik Dijakovic out here right now.
Dijakovic comes out and tells Lee how proud he is of him. Lee talks about how Dijakovic is the one man to pus his limits so maybe he should have the first title shot. William Regal seems to agree and Dijakovic seems to agree as well. Lee wants to do it tonight but Dijakovic isn’t sure. Lee: “Just say yes.” Dijakovic: “Yes.” The Brooks thing was a great touch as I wasn’t sure WWE would let him be mentioned on TV and would keep it on YouTube.
Damian Priest vs. Cameron Grimes
Grimes charges at him before the bell and runs into a boot to the face. We actually start with Priest hitting a running elbow in the corner and adding a running spinning kick to the face. Grimes is back with a dropkick for two and we take a break. Back with Priest kicking away for two of his own, only to be knocked to the floor. The baseball slide doesn’t work for Grimes but he slips out of an apron chokeslam attempt.
The Razor’s Edge onto the apron works just fine and a Flatliner gives Priest two back inside. Grimes gets two of his own off a quick small package and the flipping powerslam gets the same. For some reason Grimes slaps Priest in the face and gets kicked in the back of the head. A hanging Reckoning finishes Grimes at 9:55.
Rating: C+. I was looking forward to this one in a way and despite Priest being built up as a monster, they had done a great job of making me believe that Grimes could pull off the upset. That’s hard to do but they made it work here, which is a hard thing to make work. Grimes is going to be fine based on how well he can talk, though Priest seems primed for a move up the card.
Post match Priest puts his vest back on and says he wants the winner of Lee vs. Dijakovic.
Timothy Thatcher demonstrates how to hurt people a little more after they tap.
Shotzi Blackheart vs. Indi Hartwell
As Tom Phillips tries to explain that Robert Stone was a victim last week (when he was run over by a tank), Shotzi takes her down to start and uses the rope for a headscissors into the corner. A missed charge lets Hartwell dropkick her to the floor and Blackheart is in trouble. Back in and a side slam gives Hartwell two before she cranks on both arms.
Blackheart fights back with a faceplant and a discus forearm. The running reverse Cannonball on the ropes connects but here’s Robert Stone in a walking boot. Blackheart doesn’t seem to mind as she hits a DDT and goes up top, only to have Aliyah sneak up and shove her off. Hartwell hits a big boot for the pin at 4:05.
Rating: C-. This was a storyline match and that’s a fine way to go. Stone is becoming one of the more entertaining parts of the show and I can go for giving Blackheart something to do. Hartwell might not be going anywhere at the moment but they can always use some extra talent in any division.
Tegan Nox is ready to overcome her obstacle and make it her night.
Legado del Fantasma is (presumably) in Santos Escobar’s home where they drink a toast to their first win as a team. They’re happy to be done with Drake Maverick and now it’s time to get rid of Breezango, who made fun of lucha libre culture. The division needed the three of them and they’re going to build an empire, even if it means tearing everything down to start.
We look at Keith Lee winning the title last week and everyone congratulating him for it.
NXT Title/North American Title: Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic
Lee is defending both titles. Feeling out process to start as they seem to have some time here. A test of strength doesn’t go to either of them so Dijakovic powers him up against the ropes for a clean break. Lee seems to appreciate the power and we even get a fist bump in appreciation. Lee powers him down again and steps on the arm, only to miss an elbow. Dijakovic covers but can’t even get one as it’s another standoff.
Back up and Dijakovic’s shoulders have no effect on Lee, though they do give Dijakovic a sore shoulder. An offer of a handshake lets Dijakovic hit an overhand chop, earning him the Grizzly Magnum from Lee. That lets Lee go up top but Dijakovic pulls him into a torture rack, which Lee slips out of as we take a break. Back with Lee fighting out of a chinlock and Pouncing Dijakovic outside.
Lee loads up another Pounce into the Plexiglas but this time he puts on the brakes, learning from last week. Back in and Dijakovic manages a side slam for two but Lee catches him on the ropes for a hanging spinning Downward Spiral. Lee takes him to the top, where Dijakovic headbutts him right back down. A Blockbuster gives Dijakovic two and there’s the cyclone boot to put the champ down again. Back up and Lee’s big spinebuster plants Dijakovic again, followed by the Big Bang Catastrophe to retain the titles at 15:23.
Rating: B. These two are always good for an entertaining match but there wasn’t a ton of doubt about this one. It made a lot of sense to do this as Lee’s first match though as Dijakovic has been his biggest rival to date. I’m glad they did this as a one off instead of a big Takeover match though as the drama wasn’t going to be there on a bigger stage so doing it here was the right call. Good stuff, though they’ve done better.
Post match Lee helps him up but the lights go off. Scarlett appears on the stage and walks towards the ring with a bag in her hand. She pours out the pieces of a broken hourglass and Lee stares down at her as she leaves.
Post break Dijakovic says Lee is on a different level when Karrion Kross comes up. The brawl is on with Kross suplexing him over a barricade and screaming a lot as the jacket and tie come off. Dijakovic is out and Kross says Tick Tock. Makes sense.
Timothy Thatcher vs. Denzel DeJournette
DeJournette was a college wrestler. Thatcher drives him up to the ropes to start and grabs a front facelock suplex for two. DeJournette takes him down by the leg and the grapple on the mat a bit with DeJournette managing a quick one. Back up and Thatcher gets an armbar to drive him down, only to get reversed into a chinlock. That’s broken up as well and Thatcher gets a half crab for the tap at 1:57. This was a fun change of pace, and that’s what they’re going for with it.
Post match Thatcher puts the hold on again until Oney Lorcan runs out for the save.
Rhea Ripley says she’s going to be watching the Women’s Title match. On Twitter of course, because that’s how you communicate in wrestling these days.
Earlier today, Robert Stone had to try to talk his way out of getting killed by Killian Dain. Aliyah ran up with Dexter Lumis’ drawing of last week’s show. Dain doesn’t like how he is depicted in the drawing and says if Stone wants to make it up to him, get him a match with Lumis.
Next week: Dain vs. Lumis and Dijakovic vs. Kross.
Women’s Title: Io Shirai vs. Tegan Nox
Nox is challenging and they aren’t waiting around on Big Match Intros. They lock up to start with Nox driving her into the corner and taking the lockup to the mat. A headlock has Shirai in more trouble and Nox unloads on her in the corner. Nox misses a charge to the floor though and we take a break.
Back with Shirai offering her jaw for a shot from Nox before slapping her in the face. Nox forearms and uppercuts away before countering Shirai’s crossbody into a tabletop suplex for two. Shirai is right back with a stomp to the hand and an arm trap chinlock, which is reversed into a rollup for two more. Shirai doesn’t like that and wraps her legs around the back of Nox’s neck on the ropes. Some right hands from Nox have Shirai staggered but she’s right back with a flapjack for two as we take a break.
Back with Shirai aggressively stomping away before taking Nox outside. That means a whip into the steps but Shirai’s running knees crash hard into the steps (that looked bad). Back in and Shirai hits a double underhook backbreaker, which hurts her knee all over again. The moonsault is broken up and Shirai gets caught in the Tree of Woe, setting up the Cannonball for two. Some running clotheslines have the champ down again and there’s the reverse Cannonball.
Nox hits the high crossbody for another near fall, followed by the chokeslam for the same. Shirai is back up with a suplex into the corner and the running knees connect. The 619 sets up the missile dropkick for two on Nox and they’re both down again. Nox superkicks the knee and grabs a sitout gordbuster. The Molly Go Round gets two on Shirai but the Shiniest Wizard is cut off with a palm strike. Shirai hits the moonsault to retain at 22:58.
Rating: B. They had me believing that a title change could have happened here as Nox is easy to get behind. Shirai wasn’t likely going to lose on her first title defense though, even with that nasty knee bump into the steps. That played a bit of a factor later in the match, though not as much as it should have. Good stuff here though, with Nox looking great in defeat.
Post match Shirai goes up to the stage and gets her head kicked off by Dakota Kai to end the show.
Overall Rating: B+. They definitely tapped the brakes a bit this week and that’s probably a good thing after going hard on the previous two shows. There was good wrestling mostly throughout here though and they have stuff set up for later. It’s another very good week for the show and I’m wanting to see where they go. Lee is off to a good start as champion and I’m curious to see if he drops the title in his first major defense. That’s some good drama and hopefully they follow up on it, as they have shown the ability to do before.
Damien Priest b. Cameron Grimes – Reckoning
Indi Hartwell b. Shotzi Blackheart – Big boot
Keith Lee b. Dominik Dijakovic – Big Bang Catastrophe
Timothy Thatcher b. Denzel DeJournette – Half crab
Io Shirai vs. Tegan Nox – Moonsault
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