Reviews by Dave
Show air date: August 5, 2020
NXT on USA was a pretty good wrestling show, for the most part, this week. Even the commentary was pretty good and balanced until the last two segments, but I’ll get to that.
Dakota Kai defeated Rhea Ripley
Rhea Ripley and Dakota Kai faced off to determine the number one contender for Io Shirat’s NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver. Decent match but so one-sided, Kai had to win or her entire run was over. The booking was odd as she was fighting from underneath more like a babyface than a heel here but it made Ripley look like a killer. Just as she was looking to wrap things up, Mercedes Martinez showed up and mafia kicked her in the face.
It’s WWE so the ref was looking at Kai for no damn reason at all. Kai takes advantage, hitting the Go 2 Kick (dumb name) for the win. A little long but fine with a typical goofy WWE finish. Martinez is later interviewed outside with her agent, The Robert Stone Brand, who tells us this was payback for the way she embarrassed him repeatedly last month. Best usage of Aliyah and at least that wasn’t a complete waste of time.
Bronson Reed defeated Shane Thorne
Bronson Reed beat Shane Thorne is a pretty good TV match. Thorne got in a lot here, so I hope he doesn’t just disappear again.
Legado El Phantasma Kidnaps Fandango
Legado El Phantasma is back to their kidnapping ways, this time snatching Fandango, as he and Tyler Breeze are getting to the arena. Good promo by Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar, leader of Legado El Phantasma. He talked up the legacy of Lucha Libre and how this was payback for Breezango being disrespectful in their previous encounter. He calls out Swerve Scott on the way out.
Damian Priest defeated Oney Lorcan and Ridge Holland
Damian Priest became the third man in the Ladder Match for the North American title at Takeover, beating Oney Lorcan and Ridge Holland in a very good and physical match where all three guys were going hard. I prefer the Lorcan that did the grappling in his matches with Timothy Thatcher over the one who seems to channel his inner Kenny Omega here. But being the smallest man in the match, I can see him trying to do the most for the win. Didn’t work. He fell to Priest’s The Reckoning reverse spinning neckbreaker.
Keith Lee (c) defeated Cameron Grimes
NXT Champion Keith Lee beat Cameron Grimes in a solid match that took way too long. I like Grimes generally but Lee needed to just eat him up. This shouldn’t have gone past the commercial break. Great intense promo from Lee’s newest rival, Karrion Kross, who appears to have choked out whoever was not paying attention backstage. Who is still letting this guy sneak upon them?
Tegan Nox defeated Indi Hartwell
Tegan Nox beat Indi Hartwell in a decent enough short match. The placement seemed odd then I realized it was just to start putting over Pat McAfee and his thing with Cole. Hugely disrespectful to Nox and Hartwell. Very WCW Nitro of them.
Main Event: Imperium (c) defeated The Undisputed Era for the NXT Tag Team Championship
For the main event, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish challenged the Imperium–Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel–for the NXT tag titles. Good main event marred by the shenanigans and leading to the second stupid finish of the show. Way too much McAfee arguing with the commentary team, even including Beth Phoenix logging out (I guess) in outrage over some comments he made over Cole, a guy she had been openly cheered against the entire time she’s been on commentary.
Imperium wins because Cole gets into a dustup with McAfee, and EU decides to start watching that and Imperium takes them out. WTF was Roderick Strong doing during all this? He still worried about Dexter Lumis? Trying to find out how to get on Raw Underground and get one of MVP’s jackets like Shelton? The whole thing ends with McAfee kicking Cole to sleep and the rest of the UE still not doing shit. That Uber Dabba-Kato took that helped him avoid the Raw guys Monday must have swung through and picked up all logic and smart storytelling Wednesday night.
I say Dynamite often feels like Nitro 96-97, this was Nitro 99. I miss the days when the retired football players doing guest spots used to be Hall of Famers like Lawrence Taylor. Good show that didn’t end as strong as they think it did.