NXT – July 29, 2020

NXT
Date: July 29, 2020
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Beth Phoenix, Mauro Ranallo

We have another Takeover coming up and that means we need to find out who is going to be involved in some of the big matches. You can see a lot of the card from here and when you add in series of triple threat matches to set up the ladder match, we should be in for some good stuff on the way there. Let’s get to it.

The opening video, set to The End, looks at Karrion Kross vs. Keith Lee.

Candice LeRae/Dakota Kai vs. Tegan Nox/Io Shirai

Kai jumps Shirai from behind before the bell until we settle down to LeRae vs. Nox to start. An elbow in the corner into a snapmare gives LeRae two and it’s off to Shirai to knee Kai in the face. Shirai picks up the pace and nips up, only to get monkey flipped into the ropes. Kai kicks her in the face for two but Shirai gets in a flapjack for a breather. A Lotus Lock goes on with LeRae coming in for the save. It’s off to Nox, who is taken outside and sent hard into the steps as we take a break.

Back with Nox and LeRae ramming heads, allowing the double tag back to Shirai and Kai. A palm strike sets up the springboard missile dropkick for two on Kai but she breaks up the moonsault. Kai catches her on top with an Alberto double stomp for two and Nox Shiniest Wizards LeRae. The moonsault finishes LeRae at 13:00.

Rating: C. Not too bad here but Kai vs. Shirai feels like little more than a filler feud until we get to someone bigger. LeRae vs. Nox isn’t much better, but it worked well enough for an opener. Kai vs. Shirai sounds like we should be in for a big match at Takeover and should be fine, though I’m not sure if there would be much drama.

We look at Adam Cole erupting on the Pat McAfee Show. HHH showed up earlier this week and said things are going to be smoothed over.

Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong

Fallout from last week’s triple threat. They go to the mat to start with a battle over the front facelocks. Strong can’t get much off an armbar and has to roll out of an early Gargano Escape attempt. That means an early standoff until Strong takes him to the mat again. Gargano reverses into a Rings of Saturn but has to switch into a headlock instead. Back up and Gargano snaps off a hurricanrana to send things outside. Gargano takes Strong down by the arm on the floor and we take a break.

We come back with Strong hitting a backbreaker and chopping away in the corner. A release front suplex drops Gargano again and One Final Beat is countered into a backbreaker for two more. Strong puts Gargano on top but gets caught in a jumping Downward Spiral to give Johnny his own near fall.

The Gargano Escape attempt is countered into a failed Stronghold attempt as Gargano kicks him in the head. Back up and they chop it out until Gargano knees him in the head. What looked to be a GTS is countered into a headscissors from Gargano to send Strong outside. Strong gets posted hard and the shoulder is banged up even more. There are some rams into the Plexiglas, followed by the One Final Beat to finish Strong at 12:55.

Rating: B. Good match here, even with the heel vs. heel setup. Strong was wrestling a little more like a face here, at least out of the two, and that could be a hint at the Era not being as strong as it was before. It was a good back and forth match though and that’s something that will always have a spot on any given show.

Dakota Kai says she is not a team player and is done with triple threats and tag matches and battle royals. She is the #1 contender and she wants her shot at Io Shirai. Rhea Ripley comes in and says not so fast because that’s her title shot.

Timothy Thatcher isn’t worried about Finn Balor or Dexter Lumis in the triple threat match.

The Undisputed Era isn’t happy with what has been going on. Kyle O’Reilly says they need to remember who they are and get back to changing the business.

Shotzi Blackheart vs. Mercedes Martinez

Robert Stone and Aliyah are in Martinez’s corner. Shotzi goes right at her to start but gets shoved away. A Stone distraction lets Martinez send Shotzi into the steps, followed by a drop down onto the apron. Back in and Shotzi slips out of a fisherman’s buster, setting up a dropkick to send Martinez into the corner. A sunset bomb does the same and there’s the reverse Sling Blade to put Martinez down again. Shotzi kicks her down for two but Martinez grabs a spinebuster for the same. A release German superplex sends Shotzi flying and something between White Noise and a Death Valley Driver gives Mercedes the pin at 4:20.

Rating: C-. Quick match here and a good way to establish Martinez as the killer that she can be. If nothing else it helps by giving Stone a win over Blackheart, which is something that they needed to do at some point. I’m not sure what Martinez is going to do next, but I can’t imagine they have more than one match left for these two to go.

NXT UK star Ridge Holland is coming next week.

Here’s a serious Keith Lee for a chat. He wants to get something straight: Dominik Dijakovic is going to be just fine. On the other hand, this other man thinks the sound of sand is the sound of a clock. Kross has made it clear that he wants the NXT Title and has done so much extra bull****. All of that means nothing when Kross can’t come see him face to face so he is officially calling Kross out.

Cue Cameron Grimes instead and he isn’t happy that Lee gave up the North American Title before Grimes could win both belts. Lee just stares ahead until Grimes gets in the ring and then pulls him over the top by the throat. There’s a running splash in the corner but Scarlett appears on the stage. Grimes jumps Lee again and gets Spirit Bombed for his efforts.

Kross appears on the screen and asks what kind of a man Lee was to stand by and let his friend suffer. Lee can take the easy way and give Kross his NXT Title shot or take the hard way when everyone suffers. Tick tock. Lee says pick the time and place so he can whip that a**. This was serious Lee and while he doesn’t bring it out very often, he felt like a monster here and that’s something I could go for a lot more of later.

Video on the three entrants in tonight’s triple threat match.

Imperium vs. Ever Rise

Non-title. Barthel armbars Martel to start and yes commentary does chuckle at the similar sounding names. It’s off to Parker in a hurry for a few cheap shots but Barthel is right back to hit him in the face. Aichner comes in for a spinebuster and the European Bomb is good for the pin at 2:17. That’s how it should have gone.

Post match Imperium says they want a challenge and here’s the Undisputed Era to take them out without much effort. The Era leaves the champs laying, which hopefully doesn’t mean another Tag Team Title reign.

Video on Bronson Reed, who has done so many things to get here and made a big splash in his NXT debut. Some people make it happen and while he was the underdog last week, he came away with the win. At Takeover, the dream comes true.

William Regal says Kross needs to earn an NXT Title match. This isn’t going to end well.

Isaiah Scott vs. Jake Atlas

Scott snaps off an early headscissors into the corner and they circle each other a bit. Atlas flips away from him but Scott avoids a standing moonsault. That’s fine with Atlas who scores with a dropkick to get us back to a standoff. Scott kicks him out to the apron in a heap and we take a break. Back with Atlas hitting a springboard Blockbuster for two and firing off elbows to the face.

Scott grabs a rollup for two and muscles him over with a German suplex. The rolling Downward Spiral gets two more and it’s time to head up top. They slug it out on the corner until Atlas hits a super spinning Angle Slam for no cover. The cartwheel DDT is broken up though and a kick to the face leaves Atlas hanging upside down by his toes. Scott nails the House Call and the JML Driver gives Scott the pin at 9:53.

Rating: B-. I’m rather pleased by seeing Scott’s push actually continue for once as they have a bad tendency to pull the rug out from under him. Beating Atlas isn’t a game changer for his career but it is a great sign that he is actually going somewhere. I have no idea if that is going to be a good ending, but at least it’s better than nothing.

Damian Priest is ready to win next week’s qualifying match.

Next week: the Undisputed Era gets their Tag Team Title shot, Ripley vs. Kai in a #1 contenders match and another qualifying match between Oney Lorcan, Damian Priest and Ridge Holland.

North American Title Qualifying Match: Dexter Lumis vs. Finn Balor vs. Timothy Thatcher

Balor kicks Thatcher in the face to start and then pulls him to the floor as Lumis watches on. Back in and Lumis uppercuts away before throwing them both outside. Lumis flips over the top and lands on his feet before throwing Thatcher inside. Balor comes back in and Lumis knocks both of them down as Lumis….still doesn’t do much other than slowly stare at people and punch.

Thatcher gets sent outside so Balor can kick away at Lumis. Balor and Thatcher switch places with Thatcher hitting a belly to belly suplex for two. An armbar is broken up by Balor but Lumis is back up with a hot shot to Thatcher. Balor kicks Lumis down but gets knocked off the top to put everyone down as we take a break.

Back with Thatcher uppercutting Balor and choking him on the rope. Lumis, with a bad ankle, gets knocked off the apron and Thatcher pounds Balor back down. There’s another shot to knock Lumis outside again and it’s Balor coming back on Thatcher. The third time works for Lumis as he gets back inside for a bulldog on Balor. Thatcher gets back up and it’s a Sling Blade to Lumis.

The shotgun dropkick is broken up as Thatcher crotches Balor against the post. Balor’s leg is wrapped around the post and Thatcher cranks away until Lumis makes a save, even though Thatcher was on the floor and there was no danger of a fall. Back in and Lumis hits a spinebuster on Thatcher but can’t hit the Silencer. Thatcher twists the leg down again but walks into the Silencer. Balor breaks it up with the Coup de Grace with Thatcher making the save this time. Thatcher grabs the ankle lock on Balor but Lumis does his crawl over and Silences Thatcher for the title shot at 12:16.

Rating: C. I….I just don’t get it. There are wrestlers that I don’t like but I can get their appeal. That isn’t the case with Lumis, who is supposed to be this creepy guy or some tortured artist but he comes off as a guy who just stands there and stares a lot. There is a world of difference between getting a title shot and winning the title and they do seem to be setting up new people in the match, but dang I don’t get it with Lumis.

Overall Rating: B-. The wrestling wasn’t as strong this week but there was enough to balance that out and bring it up a little higher. The Lee promo in particular was great stuff and I want to see more of that side of him. They have a target in sight for Takeover and I’m curious to see what they are going to do with everything at the card. Good show here, but far from a must see week.

Results

Io Shirai/Tegan Nox b. Candice LeRae/Dakota Kai – Moonsault to LeRae

Johnny Gargano b. Roderick Strong – One Final Beat

Mercedes Martinez b. Shotzi Blackheart – Death Valley Driver

Imperium b. Ever Rise – European Bomb to Parker

Isaiah Scott b. Jake Atlas – JML Driver

Dexter Lumis b. Finn Balor and Timothy Thatcher – Silencer to Thatcher

 

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