The SmarK Rant for NXT – 08.05.20

The SmarK Rant for NXT – 08.05.20

Not gonna lie, they’re gonna have a tough time topping Dynamite this week.  Hopefully it’s a 2-for-2 week!

Taped from the Performance Center

Your hosts are Mauro, Beth and some homeless guy who wandered in off the street.  Tom?  Tim?

#1 Contender match:  Rhea Ripley v. Dakota Kai

Frankly I’m shocked they didn’t have this as a three-way match, since they seem unable to book anything else.  Dakota attacks to start, but Rhea lays her out with clotheslines and beats on her in the corner.  Kai fights back with chops, but Rhea gets a delayed suplex for two.  Rhea with a facebuster for two and Kai hides in the ropes, so Rhea pulls her out by the hair and beats her down, into a bodyscissors.  Ripley just beats the hell out of her with forearms to the neck and rolls her over for two, then puts her down with a clothesline for two.  Dakota bails and tries to pull Ripley out with her, but Rhea kicks her in the face to block that and then drops her facefirst on the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING.  Back in, that gets two.  And we take a break.  Back with Kai magically in control and she hits a big boot for two.  A replay reveals that Rhea missed a blind charge to give Kai the heat.  Kai wraps her up with a submission and rolls her over for two, but Rhea boots her into the corner to buy time.  Ripley makes the comeback with a seated dropkick, and an electric chair facebuster gets two.  Kai fights back with a high kick and they slug it out with kicks, but Rhea hits an elevated facebuster for two.  Rhea tries the Riptide, but Kai reverses to a DDT for two.  Ripley boots her down again and hooks the cloverleaf, but Kai reverses her into the corner to break.  They fight to the top and Ripley slugs her down, but Mercedes Martinez runs in behind the ref’s back and knocks Rhea down, allowing Kai to finish at 15:23 and advance to Takeover.  Not a fan of the finish, but it was a great opener and they worked really hard.  ***1/2  And then Mercedes attacks Rhea and lays her out with the Air Raid Crash to set up that feud.

Bronson Reed v. Shane Thorne

They trade forearms to start, which goes badly for Thorne, but he manages to put Reed on the floor with a dropkick and hits him with a dive.  But then Reed gives him a full nelson bomb on the apron, which in case hasn’t been noted yet, is THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING.  Back in, Thorne completely ignores that move and follows Reed to the top before dropkicking him down and then following with a cannonball in the corner.  Shining Wizard gets two.  Seriously, if you’re gonna do fucking slams on the apron, at least SELL THEM.  Reed comes back with a press slam and senton for two.  Thorne tries some high kicks, but Reed won’t go down and comes back with a lariat before hitting a death valley driver and going up to finish with a flying splash at 4:32.  See, now this was a complete video game match, as they sold nothing and just did a bunch of moves with no story.  **

Meanwhile, Breezango arrives and gets attacked by a roving gang of Mexicans, who proceed to kidnap Fandango.

Meanwhile, the Robert Stone Brand isn’t done with Rhea Ripley yet, which is why Mercedes attacked her.  And then the interviewer stands there with a stupid look on her face.  You asked the question and he answered it!

North American Qualifier:  Damian Priest v. Oney Lorcan v. Ridge Holland

They do a three-way slugfest to start and Priest hits Holland with a flatliner and throws kicks on Lorcan, but Oney clears the ring and hits both guys with a dive.  Mauro notes that Priest’s father once competed in a martial arts exhibition against Chuck Norris, which felt like a wasted opportunity to note that it was only an exhibition so he only had two limbs shattered by Chuck.  We take a break and return with Ridge slugging it out with Priest, but Lorcan flies in with a dive on them both and then hits a double blockbuster and gets two on Holland.  He takes Priest down with a kneebar and hits him with a running forearm for two.  Holland hits Lorcan with a powerslam and escapes the neckbreaker from Priest, hitting him with a powerbomb for two.  Holland slugs it out with Lorcan, but Priest breaks that up and Holland hits Lorcan with a clothesline to take him out.  But then Priest hits Ridge with the chokeslam bomb and then finishes Oney with the Reckoning to advance at 9:45.  Priest barely figured in the match outside of the finish, but it was fine.  **1/2  I’m not seeing “superstar potential” in Holland as of yet, though.

Keith Lee v. Cameron Grimes

Sadly, this is non-title.  Grimes immediately bails and warns Keith that “I know you’re mad but you’d better adhere to the rules!”  Reasonable request.  Back in, Grimes backs off again and once more warns Keith Lee not to get in his face.  He sounds serious, I’d listen.  Grimes goes for a single-leg and that fails, so he goes to the ropes and then tries throwing some forearms, which is like fighting a grizzly bear with a squirt gun.  Lee throws him down and whips him around the ring and out to the floor, but Grimes suckers him in and runs him into the stairs.  Grimes with a moonsault off the stairs and we take a break.  Back with Lee continuing to maul Grimes and a splash gets two.  Grimes escapes the Spirit Bomb and rolls him up for two.  Banana peel rollup gets two.  Grimes counters the Pounce with a high kick, but Lee won’t go down, so Grimes hits his bodypress splash for two.  He tries the Cave In, but Lee blocks it and they slug it out.  Grimes actually gets the best of that, but Lee hits him with the short arm clotheslines and finishes him with the Spirit Bomb at 12:00.  Grimes is hilarious but they gave him WAY too much here.  Lee should have ran him over in 2:00 and instead they went 50/50.  **1/2  And then Karrion Kross pops up on the big screen and I guess we’re doing things the Hard Way.  Which is apparently Danny Burch getting taken out.  The announcers don’t even mention his name so clearly he’s pretty high on the totem pole.

Meanwhile, Mr. Regal recaps the North American title situation, and with Dexter Lumis sadly taken out by an ankle injury, we’ll now have four of the losers of the three-ways competing in two singles matches to determine the last two people in the 5 person ladder match.  COULD THEY MAKE THIS SHIT ANY MORE COMPLICATED?

Legado del Fantasma joins us, hauling Fandango around with them in retribution for MOCKING lucha libre.  Tyler Breeze tries to save, but he gets beat up as well.

Moments Ago, Damian Priest chats with some guy in the parking lot about his North American title match, but Reed interrupts to offer congratulations.  Priest notes that it’s not going to be a fluke when they meet for the title, which I presume sets up a match between them next week.  Wouldn’t be a multi-man match at a PPV without a series of singles matches between them beforehand so everyone can lose!

Tegan Nox v. Indi Hartwell

Tegan slugs away on her to start, but Indi gets a sideslam for two and goes to a chinlock.  Nox reverses to a rollup, but Hartwell hits her with a big boot for two.  Nox boots her down in the corner and finishes with the Shining Wizard at 3:03.  ½*

Next week:  Cameron Grimes v. Kushida v. a mystery opponent in another North American title three-way to prove they’ve completely stopped trying with this thing, plus Karrion Kross v. Danny Burch.

NXT Tag Team title:  Imperium v. Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish

O’Reilly throws down with Aichner right away and they trade boots, which is won by Kyle.  Over to Fish, who pounds Aichner with knees, but Aichner gets a backbreaker for two.  The Era double-teams Barthel and O’Reilly beats him down to set up a slingshot senton from Fish for two.  And we take a break as the announcers completely ignore the match to focus on Pat McAfee on commentary.  Back with Fish backdropping Barthel out of the ring and making the hot tag to O’Reilly, who takes Barthel down with kicks.  O’Reilly goes up with a flying knee on Barthel and hooks a kneebar, but Aichner breaks it up with a moonsault.  Finally Adam Cole goes over to the announce desk because he’s sick of McAfee trash-talking him, which brings out Grandpa Shawn to calm things down.  Oh and Bobby Fish gets pinned at 11:15.  Hugely disappointing as the whole match was just a backdrop for the Adam Cole v. Pre-Game Show Host feud.  **  And then McAfee lays out Cole with a punt and gets thrown out of the set, and I guess he’s a heel now?

Granted, I have no idea who McAfee is outside of his WWE involvement because I don’t watch football, but regardless I’m not particularly into this storyline anyway.

Pretty clear win for Dynamite this week, with both the stronger show and better matches by far.