The SmarK Rant for NXT – 09.17.20
Well, I’ve got a couple of hours to kill before I can play Super Mario 3D All-Stars, so let’s knock out some NXT. Also releasing by the time you read this is WWE Battlegrounds, and the fact that I have seen or heard about ZERO gameplay footage or even mention of the game from WWE itself cannot be a good sign.
Live from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Wade Barrett & Vic Joseph
LAST WEEK: Finn Balor wins a second NXT title! Rhea Ripley beats Mercedes in a cage match!
Io Shirai v. Shotzi Blackheart
Non-title match here. Shotzi’s attempt at a handshake is rebuffed and they do some reversals before Shotzi clotheslines her for two. Io gets a crucifix for two, but they reverse off a jackknife attempt from Blackheart and trade near-falls. Shotzi ties her up with a double arm submission on the mat, but Io makes the ropes to escape. Shotzi charges and lands on the floor, and Io follows with a quebrada as w take a br…oh wait, we don’t? Ah, they make it back into the ring, and THEN we take the break. Back with Blackheart hitting a dropkick into the corner before coming back with a bulldog, but they slug it out with chops. Io misses an enzuigiri, but manages to get a crossface, and Shotzi makes the ropes to escape. Shotzi gets her own enzuigiri and follows with a senton, and a double arm suplex gets two. She turns that into a double arm bridging submission, but Io falls on top for two. Io comes back with a flapjack and hits the 619 to set up a missile dropkick for two. Io goes up and gets cut off with a rana from the top by Shotzi, and that gets two. So now Shotzi goes to the top and Io cuts her off with a superplex attempt, but Shotzi reverses and drops her on the apron. Shotzi gets wacky again, so Io hits her with a german suplex on the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING, and Shotzi is out cold and in some trouble on the floor and might be thinking her name is Kath Maxwell. Hopefully there’s some Aussies who appreciate that one. Back in, Io hits the moonsault, smashing her damn knees into Shotzi’s gut in the process, and that’s enough to finish at 13:56. Hell of an effort from the green haired weirdo and I appreciate that she put aside the nonsense and just did some good wrestling for once. ***1/2
Meanwhile, everyone wants to know what the deal is with Ciampa?
Tommaso Ciampa v. Desmond Troy
Ciampa quickly takes Troy down with a headlock, but Troy rolls him up for two and gets a bit of offense with a dropkick before Ciampa smashes him with a forearm and beats him down in the corner. He follows with the catapult under the turnbuckle and finishes with the draping DDT at 1:51. But before he can bash on Troy with a chair, Jake Atlas interrupts and swears revenge next week. I don’t like his chances, but good for him.
Meanwhile, Drake Maverick may not have heard from Killian Dain yet about their tag team match, and sure, the last time he saw Dain he was getting punched in the face by him, but he’s still pretty sure that they’re good.
Finn Balor chats about the differences between his NXT title reigns four years ago and now. No more signing autographs and building the brand, apparently!
Austin Theory v. KUSHIDA
Kushida immediately kicks Theory to the floor and then out-wrestles him on the mat back in the ring. Theory comes back with a clothesline and slugs away on the mat. Snap suplex gets one. Theory misses a standing moonsault and Kushida fires away with kicks to the arm to knock him to the floor. Theory attacks and punches the post by mistake, allowing Kushida to further injure the arm outside. Back in, Kushida stomps away and finishes him off with the hoverboard lock at 3:15. Hopefully this means they’re gonna do something with Kushida that doesn’t involve ninjas. *1/2
Meanwhile, Gargano and LeRae lament the loss of their TV, so Johnny buys a new “100 inch plasma screen 3D TV” which I can only assume is a shoutout to Baconman because they’re huge fans of the blog. Although the last plasma TV was made in 2012 so hopefully Johnny didn’t pay too much for it. Anyway, tonight they have to stoop to watching the show on the TV in the GUEST bedroom. They haven’t been downstairs in a week! There’s spaghetti everywhere! But at least they can watch “crooked tooth Thatcher against second rate Slash” while they’re waiting for their new TV.
NXT tag team titles: Breezango v. Imperium
Imperium tries to sneak attack and gets chased out of the ring, but Aichner manages to take out Fandango, allowing Barthel to stomp him down in the corner. Barthel with an elbow strike and Aichner comes in and chokes away on the ropes before following with a back suplex. Fandango makes his own comeback, but Aichner clotheslines him for two to cut him off again. Barthel with a double arm suplex for two and they cut the ring in half, allowing them to hit a double dropkick in the corner as we take a break. Back with Barthel holding a chinlock, but Fandango almost gets a tag again before getting cut off by Barthel. Finally he is successful in his continued attempts to create separation and it’s hot tag Breeze.
Breeze quickly cleans house and takes Aichner down with a half-crab, but Aichner escapes and gets a tombstone. He goes up, but Breeze brings him down with a superkick for two. Breeze goes up again and Barthel pushes him off into a delayed suplex from Aichner, which gets two. Back to Fandango and everyone gets wiped out in a car crash outside, but Fandango recovers first and throws superkicks out there. Back in, Fandango goes up and misses the Last Dance, and Aichner hits him with a german suplex for two. Fandango comes back again with a tornado DDT and it’s back to Breeze, who hits Barthel with an enzuigiri, but Imperium double-teams him in the corner, only for Breeze to reverse into a rollup and pin Aichner at 14:18. This was fine, but I don’t buy Breezango as tag team champions and the match went too long. They should have quit while they were ahead with the original hot tag to Breeze instead of getting fancy with all the twists and turns at the end, which I found hard to follow as a viewer. Still good but they need something different in the tag team division and neither of these teams are the answer. **3/4
Xia Li & Jesse Kamea v. Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro
Kacy and Kayden double-team Li in their corner to start and Carter works the arm, and it’s over to Kamea and she gets worked over as well. She fights back with a clothesline on Kacy to put them in control, but Carter gets a hot tag and slugs away on Li before hitting both girls with superkicks. And they put Li away with a pump kick from Kacy into a jackknife cover at 4:00. Not much to this one. *1/2
Meanwhile, Killian Dain isn’t into this tag team idea that Drake Maverick has. “OK, I’ll see you out there!” Drake notes.
Meanwhile, Tegan Nox cuts a promo from home, calling Gargano a whiner for crying about his $200 TV because now she can’t watch him lose every week. “Guys, it sounds like Tegan is focused on capturing the NXT Women’s championship!” notes Beth. Really? I didn’t get that at all.
Bobby Fish & Roderick Strong v. Drake Maverick & Killian Dain
Poor Drake enters first, ever hopeful, but no partner is forthcoming. Did they not sign the contract beforehand and clearly establish who was in the match? I mean, if not, that’s on Maverick. He was GM of 205 Live, he should know this stuff! If they did, then that’s a dick move on Dain’s part. Drake is course quickly overwhelmed by the Undisputed Era, but he makes a comeback on Fish with a missile dropkick, but Strong takes him down with a backbreaker for two. Strong goes to a chinlock and follows with another backbreaker and we take a break after two attempts on Joseph’s part to throw to commercial. Finally Mr. Regal approaches Dain in the back and calls him out for his bullshit, so Dain heads out while the Era toss Drake. Dain tosses his “partner” back in, but the Era call him a “fat dork” and this is when Dain decides he’s going to participate. And then Fish uses a chair for the DQ at 9:11. I’m not into this storyline, which makes Drake look like a pathetic loser and Dain look like a selfish dick. * And it’s not like Dain is some kind of high level competitor who is way above Drake’s level; he loses most of his matches and he’s never done anything of note aside from being big.
Meanwhile, Jake Atlas comments on his match with Ciampa next week, but gets laid out by a rampaging Tommaso before Kyle O’Reilly talks some sense into him and offers a hand to Atlas. “You OK man?” “Yeah”. “Good, get up, you’re all right.” OK, more of a metaphorical hand I guess.
Meanwhile, Mr. Regal needs to determine a new #1 contender to the NXT title, so yes, it’s a MULTI MAN STIPULATION MATCH. In this case, there’s 5 guys in a gauntlet Rumble deal next week with the winner getting a title shot at Takeover on…OCTOBER 4?! Really, that soon? I don’t even know that’s there any particular main event direction right now.
North American title: Damian Priest v. Timothy Thatcher
Thatcher grabs the head to start, but Priest escapes with an armdrag and gets his own. Thatcher switches back to his headlock and fires away with forearms and then headbutts Priest’s arm and puts him on the floor with an uppercut. They fight out there and Priest teases a powerbomb, but Thatcher sends him into the steps and follows with a double underhook suplex as we take a break. Back with Thatcher in control in the ring and he smacks Priest around, but that just wakes him up and he fires away with kicks on Thatcher. But then he gets fancy with a springboard senton attempt, and he lands on his ass and allows Thatcher to go for the armbar. Priest fights out and slugs away, but Thatcher calmly grabs the leg and takes him down for a half-crab. Priest makes the ropes and fights back, but this time Thatcher snatches the arm and takes him down with the Fujiwara armbar, but Priest makes the ropes. He comes back with a flatliner and a chokeslam for two, but can’t get all of it because the arm is injured. So he goes up with a leg lariat from the top to put Thatcher down and rolls the dice to finish at 13:14. This was good and I’m glad they’re leaning more into the rock star aspect of Priest and downplaying the evil archer thing or whatever his gimmick was supposed to be. Not a fan of Thatcher doing so many jobs lately but this was a good main event. ***1/4
I enjoyed this show, but let’s face it, anything they put out there was getting destroyed by that episode of Dynamite on Wednesday so it’s hardly a fair comparison. Hopefully we end up with an interesting challenger for Finn Balor next week because they don’t have much time to build to Takeover and I literally have no idea who they could even go with as a top guy right now.