Reviews by Dave
Show air date: May 13, 2020
HHH hates me. He has to. Why else would he have Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, AND Byron Saxton working on the same show?
NXT had a lot of good wrestling this week, some good angles, some great promos (and some bad ones) with some of the worst commentary work you will ever hear. A great show to watch on mute for long stretches.
Show Opening: Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher (c) vs Imperium for the NXT Tag Team Championships
Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher defended the NXT tag titles against Imperium–Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel in a very good match that had a surprise ending as Thatcher gets fed up with Riddle and walks out, costing them the tag titles. The only thing missing was JJ Dillon screaming at him, “I told you he wouldn’t be there for you.” (old school reference to the greatest heel turn of all time). I thought this match was very good and the angle was great. Thatcher explains his irritation in a post-match interview and is confronted by Riddle that leads into a mild skirmish.
Tegan Nox vs Indi Hartwell
Tegan Nox beat Indi Hartwell in a good TV match. More competitive than I expected. Good wrestling, TERRIBLE commentary and not just by Phoenix. Ranallo said Nox was the “Captain America of NXT” despite the fact that she’s Welsh and her ring gear was inspired by Captain MARVEL. Nox should give up that chokeslam though. That looked goofy.
Rhea Ripley Promo
Rhea Ripley had a promo outside. It wasn’t very good.
Jake Atlas vs. Tony Nese – NXT Cruiserweight Title Tournament
Jake Atlas (1-1) talks to Saxton before his Cruiserweight Title Tournament match with Tony Nese (0-2). Not that good. The match was good. Athletic and fast-paced as expected. Atlas won with a Rainbow DDT, one of the most convoluted finishes today, giving him a 2-1 record and dropping Nese to 0-3.
Undisputed Era Video Call Promo
Something with the Undisputed Era. I don’t see how people knock AEW for things they say were done first by WWE and don’t see how AEW did this first with the Inner Circle but whatever.
Dakota Kai Vignette
Decent vignette for Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez (Lady Diesel to me).
Swerve Scott vs Jack Gallagher – NXT Cruiserweight Title Tournament
Swerve Scott (1-1) had a good promo before his tournament match with “Gentleman” Jack Gallagher (0-2). He notes that if he hadn’t won a match in this tournament, he would quit wrestling. Hey pal, you don’t wrestle, you sports entertain. Nese did not like that jab and attacked Swerve before his match, helping Gallagher to his first win. Swerve is now 1-2, Gallagher 1-2.
Kayden Carter vs Aliyah
Kaydan Carter drew the short straw and had to wrestle Aliyah. Actually, not a bad match. Aliyah got caught up trying to impress Robert Stone, who had come out to watch, and got beat.
Cameron Grimes vs Finn Balor
Cameron Grimes got the biggest win of his career beating “The Prince” Finn Balor in a very good match of different guys with similar movesets. Damien Priest came out and interfered. That part was dub because why did Balor turn his back on him when he knows Priest has a history of backjumping and someone just jumped him three weeks ago? Sigh. WWE. Good win for Grimes, in a way.
Karrion Kross and Scarlett Vignette
Great vignette for Karrion Kross and Scarlett.
The Garganos Vignette
Also great vignette piece for Johnny Gargano and Candice LaRae. I like their heel work. Gargano is going after North American champ Keith Lee and LaRae has beef with Mia Yim now.
Main Event: Matt Riddle vs Timothy Thatcher
Matt Riddle gets William Regal to give him a match with Thatcher that night. Tim gets it popping early in the back. That ref was very conveniently there, making a good angle a little silly. The Riddle/Thatcher match was a great display of mat grappling and I enjoyed it, outside Riddle and his bad looking kicks. Riddle got a measure of payback with a pinfall win, but Thatcher loses it and slaps him in a Fujiwara armbar as they go off the air.
Bad commentary aside, this was a very good show. It’s all downhill from here.