Welcome back to the weekly TJRwrestling review of WWE NXT. Last week, we saw a lot of build to the NXT Takeover: Portland show, with the main event between Adam Cole and Kushida being a good way to end the show. The Takeover: Portland event on Sunday was excellent and you can check out John’s review of the show here. As a quick side note, I went 5-1 in my predictions for the show but as John eluded to on Twitter, a predictable show doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a bad show. Let’s find out how they continue the road to NXT Takeover: Tampa Bay, which is a big part of Wrestlemania weekend.
WWE NXT from Full Sail University 2/19/2020
The show starts with a recap of the Takeover event this past Sunday, while the performance by Poppy is played over top.
They have packages going over the match tonight between Velveteen Dream and Roderick Strong in Dream’s first match back in 5 months.
The Undisputed Era music hits and out comes Roderick Strong, Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish. Cole is the only remaining champion in the group after Takeover. Cole grabs a mic and says that he told everyone that he would walk out of Takeover still holding the gold. He says that the UE is the measuring stick in NXT. He says that Strong is going to put an end to the charade that is the Velveteen Dream. Just as Strong goes to say something, they are interrupted by Dream himself. He says that if Strong was man enough he would let them face off one on one without the backup. Strong cuts him off and says that he swears on his family that he is taking out Dream tonight.
Collective Thoughts: That was a short promo to hype up the main event between Strong and Dream. Cole did most of the talking and really put over his victory at Takeover: Portland. If you haven’t seen the match yet, do it, because it was excellent. It was a good promo because it didn’t drag on for 20 minutes like Raw opening promos tend to do, but at the same time, it was kind of weird because it was so short. I have mixed feelings about it.
We are greeted to the show by Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, and Nigel McGuinness. They talk about the shocking heel turn by Johnny Gargano at Takeover: Portland before sending it down to the ring for the opening match of the night.
NXT Cruiserweight Championship
“The Irish Ace” Jordan Devlin (c) vs. Lio Rush
Rush earned this opportunity last week by defeating Angel Garza. They get the championship introductions before the match begins.
Both men lock up with Devlin pushing Rush into the corner. Rush fights out and both men go back and forth with some counter wrestling as they go to a double screen.
*Commercial Break* Devlin gets back in the ring and hits a kick to the midsection. He continues working on Rush in the corner, before Rush counters with an elbow. He follows that up with a kick to the head for a two count. Devlin goes for a punch but misses and Rush continues working on him in the corner. He pulls him out and hits a snap suplex for a two. Rush hits another kick to the head and rams Devlin into the corner. He lays in the boots, followed by a snapmare and kick to the back for a two count. He locks on the front face lock, but Devlin fights out. Before he can gain too much, Rush hits an elbow and takes him down to the mat. Rush locks in a chinlock, but Devlin rises to his feet and knocks him off. Devlin is out on the apron but Rush knocks him off. Devlin regains the advantage and hits a corkscrew for a two count as they come back to full screen.
Devlin continues to pound on Rush. He hits a stiff shot to the head and a backbreaker. He works him into the corner, but Rush comes back with some strikes of his own. Devlin slams him down and goes for the standing moonsault but Rush counters. Devlin with a German Suplex for a two count. Devlin is back to his feet and hits a knee strike to the gut for another two count. Devlin stalks over Rush and hits a Butterfly Suplex for a near fall. Devlin locks in the Camel Clutch in the middle of the ring. Devlin drops the hold but hits another shot to the head and stomps on the back. He works Rush over to the ropes and chokes him on the middle rope. Rush tries to fight back but Devlin snuffs him out and hits a chop, followed by a European Uppercut. He starts to taunt Rush, and as Rush tries to fight back, Devlin hits a kick to the face. Rush comes back and attempts a move but Devlin counters into the elevator backbreaker for a two count. Rush comes back with an uppercut, followed by a hard chop. He follows that up with a few more, but as he goes for the advantage, Devlin hits a jawbreaker. Both men are down as they go to a commercial break.
They come back from the break with both men hitting a double crossbody. Both men make their way back to their feet and Rush knocks Devlin over the top rope. He follows that up with a Suicide Dive to the outside. Rush rolls him back in and hits a cross body from the top for a two count. Rush pulls him up but Devlin pushes him off. Devlin is thrown into the corner but comes back with a cutter over the top. He tosses Rush outside and hits a punt to the face. Both men trade splashes to the outside with Rush coming out on top with a corkscrew plancha. He rolls Devlin back in the ring, but Devlin recovers and goes for a kick to the midsection but Rush rolls him up for two. Devlin gets to his feet and hits a stand Spanish Fly for a two count. As they are down, Rush locks in a submission hold, but a Devlin gets to the ropes. Rush goes up top, but Devlin knocks him down. He climbs to the top but Rush hits a reverse Poisionrana. He hits the Come Up but only gets a two count when Devlin got his foot on the bottom rope. What a nearfall. He goes for the final Hour, but Devlin scouts it and moves out of the way. Devlin hits a headbutt, followed by the Devlin side suplex and picks up the win in about 19 minutes.
Winner and STILL NXT Cruiserweight Champion: Jordan Devlin
Match Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: This was a match I was very much looking forward to and while it was an exciting back and forth battle, it didn’t really get out of second gear for me. Both men had some impressive offense with Lio Rush being a big standout to me the last couple of weeks. He had some great athletic spots here and doesn’t look bad in a loss. Devlin is a star and I think his reign with the title should be a long one. A solid way to start the show.
Backstage, Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzales are being interviewed. Raquel says that Kai has been overlooked and so has she. She said this is the last time anyone is going to overlook them. Kai takes the mic and says that together they are untouchable. William Regal comes in and says they are untouchable together, but Kai will be facing Tegan Nox in 2 weeks in a Steel Cage Match as the segment ends.
Tommaso Ciampa is shown walking backstage as they go to a commercial break.
They come back from break with Mauro talking about Charlotte laying down the challenge for Wrestlemania against Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s Championship. Rhea is shown in a backstage interview after Takeover and says that Charlottle played right into her hands and got exactly what she wanted.
Austin Theory makes his entrance but his soon interrupted by Ciampa. Ciampa grabs a mic and completely ignores Theory in the ring. He starts talking about Takeover and Theory comes up beside him and Ciampa tells him “not tonight”. Ciampa says that he was so focused on getting goldie back that he didn’t look around to his surroundings. He says that he should have listened to his inner voices. He says that the one constant with him and the NXT Title has been Johnny Gargano. He says he isn’t asking himself “why Johnny why?” Because he knows why. Johnny knows why. Theory goes to attack Ciampa but Ciampa takes him out. He said to get his life back, there can be no Johnny Gargano in NXT. He leaves the ring and Austin Theory tries to attack him again. Ciampa unleashes on Theory and throws him into each guardrail multiple times, and Theory is laid out as Ciampa leaves the arena.
Collective Thoughts: Looks like we are continuing with the Ciampa/Gargano feud which was a foregone conclusion after Sunday. It’s not a bad thing because the matches they have had have been some classics. I expect them to have a match at a Takeover: Tampa Bay but I could be wrong. Ciampa was very good here with his promo work and got his point across well, that he wants Gargano out of NXT. Their match should be a special one.
Chelsea Green is backstage getting some pictures taken and is getting ready for her rematch against Kayden Carter coming up tonight.
Back from break, we are shown a package showcasing Finn Balor. He says next week you will see his next move.
Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde vs. The Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake)
Gibson and Wilde lock up not the middle of the ring with Wilde hitting a dropkick. Gibson recovers and makes a tag into Drake. He comes in and exchanges some offense with Wilde before Wilde hits a hurricanrana. Drake comes back and makes a tag to Gibson and they hit some double team offense on Wilde. Drake is back in and hits a left hand to the face of Wilde. He follows that up with a backbreaker, and Gibson and Drake hit another double team backbreaker on the outside. They trade tags back and forth and get a nearfall after a splash. Wilde fights out and hits a moonsault. Wilde and Drake both make tags, and Mendoza takes out everyone in the ring. Gibson grabs him from behind, but Mendoza fights out and hits a springboard dropkick on Gibson. Gibson comes back and hits a thrust to the throat. He hits a suplex and tags Drake back in. He dropkicks Wilde off the apron and they hit the Ticket to Mayhem and pick up the win. The match went for about 5 minutes.
Winner(s): The Grizzled Young Veterans
Match Rating: 2.25/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: Both teams got some offense in, but The a Grizzled Young Vets controlled most of it. They exchanged a ton of tags in the match and they function as a textbook tag team should. The double team offense was smooth and they will be a force both here in NXT and in NXT UK. Wilde and Mendoza are on 205 Live most of the time and they have a matchup against each other this week.
After the match, Gibson grabs the mic and they talk about American being the homes of the neckbeards. He says that they will soon be recognized as the top team in all the land. They leave the ring as they go to a commercial break.
They are back and start to hype up NXT Takeover: Dublin, which was announced last Sunday at Takeover: Portland.
The Broserweights (Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle) vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Birch
Dunne and Riddle are coming off their victory at Takeover: Portland where they won the NXT Tag Team Titles by beating Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish. It was another standout match from that show. Both men grab a mic, and Riddle asks where their golf cart was. Dunne tells him that he managed to get his impounded and the only thing that matters is that they are the NXT Tag Team Champions. Riddle says that the celebration continues and that they partied hard after their victory on Sunday. Riddle says that The Dusty Cup partied a little too hard though, which caused him to fail a test for the wellness policy and is suspended for 30 days. There’s the weekly weed joke. He is interrupted by the music of Birth and Lorcan and they make their way down to the ring.
Birch and Dunne are starting things off. Dunne comes out and locks on the arm of Birch. He stretches him out and ties his legs up in the middle of the ring. Dunne continues putting the pressure on but Birch fights out with a kick to the head. They go into a test of strength and Birch comes out and sweeps the leg. Dunne comes back up and goes for an armbar followed by a roll-up for a two count. Dunne and Birch both make tags, and Riddle and Lorcan start to wrestle. Dunne comes in and they hit double Gutwrenches on both Birch and Lorcan. Dunne and Riddle hit a pair of dropkicks that knocks both men to the outside as they go to a commercial break.
They come back from break and Lorcan and Birch are in the offensive. Lorcan locks Riddle in a Single Leg Crab and turns it into an STF. Riddle gets back to his feet and hits a knee to the face and has enough to make the tag to Dunne. He is in and takes out both men in quick fashion. He hits Birch with a suplex into an armbar, and Birch is in a world of pain. Dunne makes a tag to Riddle, and they hit a double team kick to the head. They hit another move and Riddle almost gets a three but Lorcan breaks it up. Ripcord knee to Lorcan. Birch recovers and hits Riddle with a German Suplex and a lariat for a near fall. Dunne comes in and hits both men with kicks to the head. All four men fall to the mat, with Dunne getting to his corner so Riddle can make a tag. Riddle is cut off before he can get there, but Riddle hits Birch with a knee and a powerbomb. Dunne and Lorcan both get the tags in and Lorcan takes out Dunne with some fast-paced offense. Dunne grabs his fingers and breaks them and they hit the double team finisher and pick up the win in about 13 minutes.
Winner(s): The Broserweights
Match Rating: 3/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: That was a back and forth tag team match with the Broserweights winning a non-title match. Who would have thought? Riddle and Dunne have worked well together thus far and could be a force in the tag team division for a good bit of time moving forward. Both members of the Broserweights have offenses that are so stiff and believable. Lorcan and Birch have been on the NXT UK brand as well, and they have shown they are a good team. Solid match all around.
After the match, The Broserweights celebrate the victory with the fans.
Backstage, Roderick Strong tells the rest of the Undisputed Era that he has to do this by himself tonight. They all agree and they pump him up as they go to commercial break.
Back from break, The Forgotten Sons are on Twitter and took offense to the words The Grizzled Young Veterans said earlier. They said that maybe they will have to beat them up and teach them a lesson.
Keith Lee makes his way down to the ring. They show his recent appearance on WWE Backstage on Tuesday night. Lee grabs a mic but just as he is about it talk, he is interrupted by Kona Reeves. Lee pounces him into the corner and tells the ref to ring the bell.
Keith Lee vs. Kona Reeves
Lee hits the Big Bang Catastrophe and wins in about 5 seconds.
Winner: Keith Lee
Match Rating: Squash
Collective Thoughts: That was a far cry from Lee’s match against Dijakovic last Sunday.
After the match, Dominik Dijakovic comes out and tells Lee he isn’t ready to move on yet. He said they both know that he had Lee beat at Takeover: Portland. He said the Spanish Fly was supposed to be the end. Lee cuts him off and says we all have excuses. He says that no matter what he says, Lee won the match. He says that everywhere they have been, he has heard the same thing as the fans chant “fight forever”. Lee says that if he can talk Regal into it, they can actually fight forever. Lee leaves the ring and they go to a commercial break.
Collective Thoughts: Good promos by both Lee and Dijakovic that keep the feud going. Their match at Takeover: Portland might have been one of my favorite big man matches ever, so I am all for them continuing to go at it. I don’t think Dijakovic will be the one who beats Lee for the title, but they could have some great matches coming up in the future.
They come back from break with Kayden Carter making her entrance for the next match. Robert Stone announces his client Chelsea Green and says she’s the face of the NXT Women’s Division. Keep dreaming, buddy. This is a rematch from a couple of weeks ago when Carter picked up the upset win over Green.
Chelsea Green vs. Kayden Carter
The match begins with Green kicking Carter in the midsection. Carter fights back and rolls her up for a two count. Green gets back to her feet but Carter takes her down with a clothesline. Green gets back up and comes off the ropes but is met with a Carter superkick and Carter scores a nearfall. Carter goes to the corner but slips getting up and Green takes advantage and slams her down. Green maintains control and hits some strikes and covers for a two count. Green locks in the Camel Clutch and smashes down on Carter’s back as she gets up. Carter crawls to the ropes but Green is right there and catapults her into the second rope throat first. Green whips her into the corner but Carter fights out but isn’t in control for long and Green stomps down on her. Bianca Belair comes out of nowhere with a mic and tells them to get out of the ring. She says she happy that they got some TV time and she is going to let them finish but she has something to say. She says you aren’t even from here, but now she wants you here. She says that when she crosses paths with Charlotte Flair again, she is going to whip her ass. She doesn’t care if it’s in NXT or on Raw. She is coming for Flair. She leaves the ring and Green rolls Carter up for a two count as the match continues. Green goes for a backslide for another two count. Green goes for a cradle for two. Carter recovers and hits a superkick that sends Green out of the ring. Carter follows her out but as she gets back in, Robert Stone trips her. Green takes advantage and hits the Unprettier to pick up the win after about 5 minutes.
Winner: Chelsea Green
Match Rating: 1.25/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: The match was alright, but there wasn’t much to it. Belair interrupting the match was bizarre and made the two women in this match feel like a step below the rest of the women’s division. Belair and Flair will probably have a match on NXT TV which should be a good one when it goes down. After watching Green and Carter have two matches now, you can see they still need some work, but both women have worked hard, so I’ll give them props for that.
Chelsea Green and Robert Stone celebrate the victory in the ring.
Velveteen Dream is shown getting ready to make his entrance for the main event as they go to commercial break.
They come back and announce that Tommaso Ciampa vs. Austin Theory is official for next week, as well as Finn Balor making his return to the show. They also confirm that Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai will have a Steel Cage Match in two weeks. It’s time for the main event.
Velveteen Dream vs. Roderick Strong
Dream is out first and makes his long-awaited return to the ring after an injury kept him out for nearly 6 months. This rivalry was going on before the injury and the Undisputed Era attacked Dream to add fuel to the fire and to put him out of action. Dream continues with the mind games by waving and saying “Hi Marina” into the camera.
Dream starts the match by jumping out of the ring when Strong shot in to start the match. Dream gets in the ring and both men lock up and Strong takes him down to the mat. Strong gets him up against the ropes and uses all the five-count from the referee. Both men miss the mark with right hands, and Strong slides out of the ring as Dream taunts him. Strong goes to get back in the ring, but Dream takes his weight belt off and goes to hit Strong with it but Strong nails and remains outside. Strong gets back in the ring and shoots the double leg and takes Dream down to the mat. Both men start to scrap back and forth with Strong getting Dream in a front face lock and uses the whole five-count again. Strong misses with a clothesline and Dream slides out of the ring. He starts to circle the ring and Strong jumps outside to give chase. Dream rolls in the ring and Strong is quick to follow and Dream hits a dropkick as he is coming in. He works Strong into the corner and slaps him in the face and hits a kick to the midsection before whipping him with force into the opposite corner. Dream slaps Strong in the face again, before getting him in the corner and hitting a hard chop. Strong goes to the other corner but Dream is right behind and hits him with an elbow. Dream hits another chop and puts Strong in a front face lock but Strong gets to the ropes forcing the break. Dream goes to work on Strong some more in the ropes, but Strong gets a thumb to the eye and throws Dream into the corner. Strong hits some chops in the corner and follows that up with some shots and boots as Dream falls to the mat. Strong hits a backbreaker and Dream rolls out of the ring in some serious pain. Strong waits for him to get back in but eventually comes out to meet him but Dream comes back with a clothesline. Dream goes to capitalize, but Strong pushes him into the apron and slams his head into it. He does it again, but Dream comes back and tosses Strong headfirst into the stairs as they go to the split-screen.
*Commercial Break* Both men are on the outside in a world of hurt. Dream gets to his feet and throws Strong into the guardrail. He hits some shots on the outside and tosses him into the guardrail on the other side of the ring. Dream drops him throat first in the rail and goes up top and hits an ax handle to the outside. Strong tries to get away but Dream pushes him into the guardrail again. As Dream climbs into the ring, Strong grabs his foot and pulls him off and hits a belly to back suplex on the guardrail. Strong rolls back in the ring and as Dream climbs up on the apron, Strong suplexes him into the ring. Strong hits a chop and works Dream into the corner. He goes up top for the ten punches but Dream fights out and grabs Strong by the neck, only to have Strong hit him with a right hand. Strong covers and gets a two count and puts Dream in a front face lock. He keeps him there and hits a high knee strike and covers for another two count as they go back to full screen.
Strong puts a chinlock on Dream. Dream fights his way back to his feet and hits some elbows to the midsection. Strong comes back and goes for a Double Underhook Powerbomb but Dream reverses into a back body drop. Strong is the first one to his feet and both men exchange blows, with Strong hitting a huge shot that knocks Dream to the mat. Dream goes for the Dream Valley Driver but Strong fights out and as Dream charges in, he runs into the back of Strong’s head. Both men exchange chops and right hands before Dream hits Strong with a clothesline. Dream slams his head into the corner and follows that up with a backbreaker. Dreams hits another backbreaker but as he tries to follow up, Strong hits him with a shot that knocks him to the mat. Strong pulls Dream up but Dream recovers and hits a DDT and covers him for a two count. Dream climbs to the top and hits another ax handle smash. Dream hits some chops and punches before throwing Strong into the ring and hitting a knee to the top of the head. That looked a little sloppy. Dream hits some elbows and leaps to the top but Strong pushes him down onto the top rope. Strong follows him up but Dream hits him with some elbows and picks him up on his shoulders but Strong fights out and hits a backbreaker on the top rope. That was a cool looking spot. Strong covers for a near fall. Strong attempts a suplex but Dream fights out. He goes for it again but Dream fights out a second time and starts to smash on Strong with some clubbing blows. Dream goes for a clothesline but Strong sucks and hits him with a Double Underhook Powerbomb and gets a two count. Strong follows that up by locking Dream in the Stronghold. Dream pulls himself across the ring and grabs the ropes but Strong doesn’t let go and the referee uses the five-count again. Strong goes for the Stronghold again, but Dream kicks him off and he falls to the outside. Strong slowly gets back up on the apron and hits a Sunset Flip but Dream rolls through and slaps Strong in the face. Both men exchange blows and Dream eventually kicks Strong away. Strong hits some shots and Dream counters with some of his own and Strong jumps up but Dream catches him with a superkick to the stomach. Dream hits the Dream Valley Driver and takes his tights off to reveal the tights that have Strong’s wife airbrushed on them. He goes up top, but the Undisputed Era comes out and he takes them out instead on the outside. Dream springboards off the top rope but Strong hits him with a high knee on the way down. He covers Dream and gets a near fall. He brings Dream back up to his feet but Dream recovers and hits the Dream Valley Driver and picks up the win in about 15 minutes.
Winner: Velveteen Dream
Match Rating: 3.75/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: The match had a strong final couple of minutes but was slower than I expected at times. They spent a lot of time outside of the ring, which is fine, but it slowed the pace down significantly. I think it was a very good match overall, but parts of it felt a bit off. Dream has been out for a while but didn’t seem to have a whole lot of ring rust, although, some spots were a bit fumbled. Roderick Strong is one of the best workers in the business, so his matches will always be entertaining and this was no different. Overall, I was entertained by the match but maybe expected a touch more between these two. The rivalry will continue and they will have more chances to put on classic matches. Good main event match.
After the match, the Undisputed Era hit the ring and attack Dream from behind. Fish and O’Reilly hit the High Low and Strong finishes it off by hitting The End of Heartache. The Undisputed Era stand over Dream in the ring as the show goes off the air.
Overall Show Grade: 7 out of 10
It was another NXT show that showcased how deep their roster is but was a bit clunky in spots. The opening promo with the Undisputed Era was on the short side and seemed a bit out of place. The two standout matches were the NXT Cruiserweight Title match between Jordan Devlin and Lio Rush and the main event between Roderick Strong and Velveteen Dream. Both matches had a lot of hype going into them, and for the most part, lived up to most of it. The Broserweights had a good non-title match and I think they may be at the top of the division for a little bit longer. Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic had a nice face to face and will probably have another match down the line. Bianca Belair, intentional or not, interrupting the Chelsea Green/Kayden Carter match made them feel like second-tier Women’s stars, which is about right. Green and Carter aren’t bad but just seem to need some more work before they are on the level with the Women’s division in NXT, which is the best in the business. Overall, it was a good, not great, NXT show coming off an excellent Takeover: Portland show.
What did you think of NXT this week? Loved it? Hated it? Watched Dynamite again this week? As always, follow me over @collectiveheel on Twitter and let me know your thoughts. Support the site. Support each other. I’ll be back soon enough with some Collective Thoughts.