Welcome one and all to a special edition of the NXT Spotlight here at TJRWrestling. Last night I was fortunate enough to attend a NXT Live Event in my hometown of Dallas, Texas. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve had a strong NXT show in town as last year when they rolled through, we didn’t get Gargano, Ciampa, Cole, or Black when they were the top four stars of the brand. This show looked to be a little more loaded with the advertised stars. I was excited as everyone knows what a Keith Lee fan I am, and this was going to be his first show back in Dallas since signing with NXT.
I didn’t get to take many pictures. I’m sure anyone who’s been to a live event knows the lighting can suck unless you’re really close to the ring or have a good camera. I had neither as I was on a bartop section of the venue. We had seats to watch the show, but it didn’t lend to good lighting for pictures.
NXT Tag Title Match
Street Profits defeated Forgotten Sons
Strong opening match. There was a lot of irony in this match from last year. The Forgotten Sons weren’t even on TV yet, but were the opponents for The Revival who made a special appearance on the show (because of the lack of talent on the show). Jaxson Ryker wasn’t even in the group yet and was just Chad Lail, taking on Kassius Ohno. The crowd was so restless at that point of the show with non-TV guys showing up, they just decided to make Chad some sort of martyr and got fully behind him for no reason. (Ohno was still a babyface at this point.) I’m pretty sure they changed the finish on the fly because Chad won and the crowd went nuts. It was just funny to see how things change.
This started out as a comedy match, but quickly developed into a very strong title match. Really enjoyable. Montez Ford just doesn’t know how to not be entertaining. He makes every mannerism count and is just a joy to watch. He hit his massive frog splash for the win, even throwing in a 90-degree rotation in mid-air for good measure.
Jordan Myles defeated Cameron Grimes
Myles is the former ACH and Grimes is the former Trevor Lee. I understand that both of these guys are in the Breakout Tournament, but until they’re actually on TV, I think they should be going under their FKA names on the road. When you see “Cameron Grimes” or “Jordan Myles” show up on the video boards before actually seeing the superstar come out, it’s naturally a fart in church type reaction. We’re here to see the people we see on TV. Then they walk out and everyone goes, “oh, I know that guy.” Myles did a lot of indy work in Texas so as soon as people saw him, they got excited. I just think it would jumpstart the matches better if “ACH” popped up on the video boards. Maybe I’m completely off base.
I put in my State of the Brand column a couple weeks ago that Myles is a name to look out for, and he showed why in this match. This was a lot of fun. He does a lot of stop on a dime type maneuvering, which is really impressive to see. He’s so fluid. Lookout for him in the Breakout tournament. I’m pretty sure Myles used a brainbuster to finish off Grimes, but I could be wrong on that. The finish is escaping me at this moment.
Reina Gonzalez & Rachel Evers defeated Lacey Lane & Jessi Kamea
I’ll be completely honest, I did not watch this match. We knew what the Women’s Title match would be, so that left Io Sharai, Bianca Belair, Candice LaRae, even Vanessa Borne and Aliyah who are on TV on a pretty regular basis. We instead got this. No offense, but this is a match for the local Florida shows that NXT does. I get that you want to get some true “on the road” training, but we couldn’t get one TV regular? I don’t think Kamea has been on TV even once? I’m a fan of Evers from a personal standpoint, as her dad is Paul Ellering and The Road Warriors are what made me a fan. She’s always been a babyface as far as I know, so seeing her try to be a heel was weird. Reina is trying a female Stan Hansen thing, but then acted like she didn’t want to be from Texas even though she has a cowbell, cowboy boots, and chaps. It just didn’t work for me.
Damien Priest defeated Raul Mendoza
This match ended up being one of those cool moments you only get at a live event. Priest was over immediately, a lot of fans chanted “Punishment” since he was Punishment Martinez before WWE. He just smirked and shook his head, as if to say, “that’s not me anymore.” Fun match that followed the premise of their TV match this week where Mendoza couldn’t get Priest off his feet. Since it was a live event though, they were able to do more and have more time, and that’s where Mendoza really shined with a huge corkscrew dive off the top rope to the floor and a nice top rope hurricanrana. The crowd really got into this match by the end. They did the TV finish with a Chokeslam on the apron, followed by the cyclone kick and Priest’s version of the Cross Rhodes. After the match though, Mendoza got a standing ovation, rightly deserved. That’s what I was describing when I talked about moments you only get at a live event.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) June 23, 2019
Velveteen Dream and Matt Riddle defeated The Outliers (w/Robert Strauss)
The Outliers are Riddick Moss and Dan Matha. Matha hasn’t been on TV in forever, but Moss was recently with Tino Sabbatelli and was a pretty successful tag team on their way up, but then Sabatelli got hurt. I was surprised to see Moss in another tag team already. I’m not sure what the status of Sabatelli is, but I would’ve liked to see them back together. (Editor’s Note: He is still injured.) Strauss is the former Robbie E from Impact Wrestling, as they’ve now converted him to a manager in NXT. His promo was typical: “These two are the best athletes in the world. We’re on TMZ all the time. We’re so rich.” Strauss said that they had offered an open challenge for tonight but no one accepted it, so they were going to just leave. Matt Riddle’s music hit though and the crowd went nuts. The crowd came unglued when he revealed Dream was his partner.
Very basic match, and easy night for the babyfaces. It didn’t matter because both Riddle and Dream are so over, they didn’t have to do anything. It’s a good way to get them on the show but save some wear and tear. I had no problem with it because they’re so entertaining. They won with a dual deadlift German Suplex by Riddle and the Dream Valley Driver by Dream.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) June 23, 2019
KUSHIDA defeats Kona Reeves
This was the match coming out of intermission. Reeves cut a long promo after coming out first. KUSHIDA got a great ovation and it was cool to see him live for the first time. Good spotlight match for KUSHIDA, but not much to it overall. KUSHIDA ended up making Reeves tap out with the Hoverboard Lock.
NXT Women’s Title Match
Shayna Baszler defeated Mia Yim
This was a GREAT match. It looks like we’re headed for this match for Takeover: Toronto, and if so, these girls have a strong foundation to build on for that match. I just hope they get as much time on Takeover as they did here. Mia is over with the crowd, which is great to see since she has a great story and is really good in the ring. I was surprised to see how split the crowd was though, as Shayna definitely has her supporters. Shayna worked over the arm and Mia did a great job selling throughout. If the plan is for Mia to finally be the one to take down Shayna, and seriously if not her then who, they’ve got a great finish in the bag for it to happen. Mia finally got the upperhand and ended up doing the stomp on Shayna’s elbow that Shayna has done to everyone else. That got a GREAT reaction from the crowd and then Mia immediately looked on the Fujiwara armbar. The finish, if Mia is to win, should be Shayna tapping out right there. The crowd will go nuts. In this instance though, Shayna manages to reverse it into her choke though and Mia had to tap out.
Post match, the crowd gave Mia a great ovation, and then Shayna came back out to lock the choke on again for good measure. Very fun stuff.
NXT Title Match
Adam Cole defeated Keith Lee
This was the match I was hoping we’d get as this was built as Keith’s return home. He’s billed from Wichita Falls (about 80 miles north of Dallas) and really made his name in Dallas while working for VIP Wrestling a lot and wrestling the likes of Young Bucks, ACH, Ciampa, Ray Rowe, etc. He had about 40 friends and family in the crowd. He got the hometown welcome for sure, but Adam Cole is over on another level. The pop when his music hit sounded like there was three times the size of the crowd that was actually there. I thought Dream’s ovation was loud, but this was more. Even the “Boom” part of Cole’s entrance gets such a reaction.
There were dueling chants the entire match. This match was AWESOME. I cannot put it over enough. Takeover level. I hope somehow a performance like this convinces the NXT powers to be that Keith is ready to get a rocket strapped to him. I didn’t time it, but I’m pretty sure they went 20+ minutes. They threw everything at each other. The finish saw Cole kick out of everything Lee had, but Lee couldn’t connect with the Spirit Bomb. Cole somehow hit a Destroyer piledriver on Keith, from the mat and not his Panama Sunrise version, which Keith kicked out of, but Cole came right back with the Last Shot for the win. Standing ovation for both men.
Cole quickly left to give Keith his moment and Keith sent us home with a heartfelt promo talking about his struggles in NXT (no Takeovers yet) and how sometimes a decision can feel wrong, but nights like this make them feel right. He closed it out by saying NXT has his heart and soul and we are all NXT. Great stuff from him.
After the show, I went over by the buses that the NXT tours use to bring everyone through the loops, as everyone was leaving the arena. Big shoutout to Matt Riddle and Shayna Baszler as they took every picture and signed every autograph. It was really cool to see that. If you want to know if Dream stays in character throughout, he came out wearing all black head to toe (it was still 90 degrees outside at 10:30 PM) with white satin gloves on and what can only be described as a mix of a bridal and funeral veil over his face.
Overall this was a fun night. It was a much better showing than last year and good to see a lot of the top stars.