Date: September 8, 2020
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, Beth Phoenix
It’s time for the sequel to last week’s four way Iron Man match with Finn Balor vs. Adam Cole for the NXT Title. This could be a classic if they’re given the time and actually have a finish instead of setting up something for Clash Of Champions. I’ll give NXT the benefit of the doubt not to do that twice in a row though and hope for the best. Let’s get to it.
Quick recap of last week’s Iron Man match.
NXT Title: Finn Balor vs. Adam Cole
The title is vacant coming in and they’re not wasting time tonight. After the Big Match Intros, it’s a battle over a headlock to get things going. Cole takes him down into an armbar but Balor reverses into one of his own and slaps on a headscissors on the mat. That’s broken up and Cole hits a basement dropkick, followed by some chops against the ropes. The fireman’s carry backbreaker gets two on Balor and we take a break.
Back with Balor working on a chinlock and then slamming him into an elbow drop for two. Balor knocks him into the corner and hits his own basement dropkick for another near fall. Cole is back with some shots to the face and a pump kick to put Balor down. A Backstabber gives Cole two of his own and a Shining Wizard cuts off Balor’s shotgun dropkick. The Last Shot misses though and Balor hits a double stomp to the ribs to take over again.
Some hard stomping puts Cole on the floor but he’s back up with a superkick for the double knockdown. Back from another break with Cole grabbing a Figure Four to work on the knee. Balor finally escapes and hits the shotgun dropkick. The Coup de Grace connects for a delayed two (because of the bad knee) and commentary LOSES IT at the kickout to really sell the impact.
Cole goes back to the Figure Four but this time Balor makes the rope. A superkick into the Last Shot gives Cole two and there’s the shocked face that Cole does so well. Back up and Balor drives him into the corner for the reverse 1916. Cole crotches him on top and it’s a super 1916 to give Balor the pin and the title at 23:16.
Rating: A-. That’s the right call as we just got done with a year plus Cole reign and Balor has been needing a big win to get himself back on track in NXT. I would have bet on him being the next big challenger to Karrion Kross anyway so this makes a lot of sense. It was also a heck of a match which got some time and had the knee injury working as a story throughout. Nice job here and thank you for not having any kind of a surprise twist.
Rhea Ripley is ready for Mercedes Martinez and grabs the cage.
William Regal congratulates Balor for the win and Cole shakes his hand as well. The face turn continues.
Robert Stone finds Shotzi Blackheart’s tank and is ready to hit it with a pipe. Cue Shotzi to hit him in the face but Aliyah pops up to knock Shotzi through a curtain…and right into Io Shirai. Aliyah panics and the fight heads into the arena where the beatdown is on. Stone tries to come off the top but gets punched out of the air. Shirai hits the moonsault to Aliyah and Shotzi hits the top rope backsplash to Stone….but picks up the Women’s Title, which Shirai doesn’t like.
We go to the Gargano House where Candice LeRae is nervous about dinner with Tegan Nox. Johnny Gargano says it’s cool but the nerves are still there. Nox shows up and Johnny puts on his good face before letting her in. He teases being annoyed at her but says it’s just a joke before bringing Nox inside. LeRae hugs her and Nox is nervous as the two stare at her.
Timothy Thatcher has a film study on Damien Priest, who mistakenly thinks life is a party. It’s time to do some work.
Velveteen Dream vs. Ashante Adonis
Dream doesn’t seem worried to start and strikes away but Adonis pops back up and hits a DDT into a nipup. Adonis hammers away but Dream gets serious and pounds him down. The Dream Valley Driver is good for the pin at 1:35.
Post match Dream grabs the microphone but Kushida, who Dream attacked a few weeks ago, runs in to jump him before Dream can say a word. Referees try to break it up but Kushida manages to pull him shoulder first into the post. A cross armbreaker in the corner makes Dream tap, because that’s what you do in a brawl.
Video on Breezango winning the Tag Team Titles but getting jumped by Imperium last week. Breezango took the only nice accessories they had so Imperium want the titles back next week.
Back at the Gargano House, Johnny realizes he’s making this weird and leaves the two women alone. Candice thinks Nox should admit to her mistakes but Nox isn’t sure what those are. Nox asks what she’s talking about so Candice explains the Gargano Way and thinks Nox is jealous. That’s not what’s going on but Candice offers to show her the way.
Bronson Reed vs. Austin Theory
Reed works on a headlock to start before sending Theory flying with a shoulder. A bottom rope springboard elbow gets two and Reed flips him back in from the apron. We hit the big chinlock until Theory fights up and tries a sunset flip. Reed sits down on his chest for two and sends Theory outside, meaning it’s a cannonball off the apron as we take a break.
Back with Reed fighting out of a chinlock and hitting the Jagged Edge for two. Reed sends him into the corner but Reed hits a forearm into a rolling Blockbuster for two of his own. Theory tries the TKO but collapses under the weight. Reed adds the top rope splash to the back for the pin at 10:49.
Rating: C+. This might have been a bit longer than it needed to be but they both looked good, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Reed has come out of nowhere and turned into something rather good while Theory looks to have all the tools in the world minus experience. I could go for more of both of them and that’s a good sign for the future.
Cole says Balor was the better man and they went through the same Iron Man match. Balor better be ready though because if Cole gets another shot, he’s taking the title. Total face promo from Cole here.
Mercedes Martinez wants to be locked in a cage with Rhea Ripley so she can show who the real animal is.
Roderick Strong vs. Killian Dain
Fallout from Dain saving Drake Maverick from the Undisputed Era and Bobby Fish is in Strong’s corner. Strong goes after Dain to start and the monster doesn’t like that. He knocks Strong around the ring and hammers away in the corner until a leg lariat puts Dain on the apron.
A Rock Bottom from the apron takes Strong down but Fish kicks the ankle out and we take a break. Back with Reed throwing him across the ring and hitting the running crossbody for two. Fish pulls Strong out of the way of the Vader Bomb so Dain drops Fish from the apron. The distraction is enough for Strong to hit a jumping knee to the face for the pin at 7;35.
Rating: C. Dain is someone else who should be an easy layup and they’re finally starting to get the hang of him. It’s better late than never, but it’s weird to see a monster like him getting beaten like this. It’s interesting to see the Undisputed Era showing some differences and that could go in several different directions, which is always a good option.
Post match the beatdown is on until Drake Maverick makes the save with a pipe. Maverick is beaten down as well but Dain gets the pipe to chase the Era off. Maverick slowly gets up and offers a handshake but Dain punches him out.
Back at the dinner, the ladies toast a new beginning until Candice throws a salad at her. Nox eats some lettuce and throws a drink at Candice, so here’s Johnny to interrupt. That earns him a bowl of spaghetti over the head so Candice throws something at Nox, only to hit and break the TV instead. Nox bails and Candice chases after her as Johnny looks at the broken screen.
Damien Priest thinks Timothy Thatcher is ugly and his game plan is pretty easy: hit Thatcher in the face and make him uglier than he already is. Priest promises a sweet Reckoning for Thatcher before the celebration can continue. Of course the interviewer is invited to join in.
Next week: Thatcher vs. Priest for the North American Title, Imperium challenges Breezango for the Tag Team Titles and Io Shirai vs. Shotzi Blackheart in a non-title match.
Mercedes Martinez vs. Rhea Ripley
In a cage with Robert Stone at ringside. Martinez goes for some weapons to start but Rhea is right there to jump her from behind. A table and some chairs go inside the cage with them and Ripley closes the door herself. Martinez sends her into the steel but Ripley does the same and then sends her in again for a bonus. The fisherman’s suplex gets Martinez out of trouble and she powerbomb Rhea out of the corner as we take a break.
Back with Ripley throwing a chair at Martinez’s face to catch her on top. The running dropkick sends Martinez into the cage and her HEAD gets caught between the cage walls. Rhea pulls her out (without ripping off an ear) and hits a top rope superplex for a delayed two. Martinez is back with a spinebuster and they’re both down again.
It’s Rhea up first and she grabs the Prism Trap until Martinez grabs the kendo stick to break it up. Stone tries to interfere but gets caught climbing, allowing Ripley to beat him up on top of the cage. Martinez catches her up top though and grabs a super neckbreaker to put both of them down again. The table is set up in the middle of the ring and Ripley loads up a fisherman’s superplex. That’s countered into a super Riptide (dang) through the table to finish Martinez at 14:21.
Rating: B+. This was a heck of a match and a lot of that has to do with the atmosphere. You had two big, strong women beating the heck out of each other for a good while in a hard hitting fight. That’s what they advertised this as being and Ripley looked like the star that she most often does. The big spots all worked and the ending looked great. I’m not sure what more you could ask for here, aside from maybe no Stone interference as he felt out of place, but other than that, this was a heck of a fight and felt like a main event.
Overall Rating: A-. To coin a phrase, this was NXT. This felt like the old days of the classic shows with the big matches delivering (to put it mildly) and the undercard working as well. What mattered the most about the undercard stuff was not only did they build things for the future, but they built reasons for these people to dislike each other for the future.
You had Thatcher’s film session, the Gargano House dinner, Breezango and Imperium’s dueling promos and the Shirai/Blackheart staredown. Those are different (enough) ways to set up feuds for the future and they made me want to see some of the matches. This was the tightest show NXT has put together in a long time and if this is what they can do unopposed, load up the moving truck and get the directions to every Tuesday night.
Oh and one more thing that helps a bit here: the evolution of Damien Priest. He has turned into this guy who is all about the party and the celebration, but there was no big moment and announcement of the change. Instead, you just saw him starting to act differently and NXT didn’t treat you like a moron who needed every tiny detail explained to you. That’s just who Priest is now and people are going with it because it was an acceptable evolution of where he went. Commentary isn’t beating you over the head with it and he’s rolling along with the change. Little things like that make a show so much easier to watch.
Finn Balor b. Adam Cole – Super 1916
Velveteen Dream b. Ashante Adonis – Dream Valley Driver
Bronson Reed b. Austin Theory – Top rope splash
Roderick Strong b. Killian Dain – Jumping knee
Rhea Ripley b. Mercedes Martinez – Super Riptide through a table
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