Reviews

TJR: WWE NXT 07/01/20 Review (Great American Bash – Part 1)

Welcome to the WWE NXT review here on TJRWrestling. As is the case for my NXT reviews, this will not be as detailed of a play by play format as I usually do, but I will do play by play for the main event. I’ll still cover everything as best as I can.

From Full Sail University in Orlando, FL. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s roll.

The opening video package welcomed us to a two-night extravaganza with the Great American Bash theme. There was a video hyping up the big matches coming up this week as well as Adam Cole vs. Keith Lee for NXT’s top two titles next week.

There were some red, white and blue cars by the entrance with lot of those colors throughout Full Sail University and on the ropes as well. The WWE developmental wrestlers were at Full Sail University making some noise.

Mauro Ranallo welcomed us to the show with Beth Phoenix and Tom Phillips also there to call the action. They also noted there would be limited commercial breaks.

Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match: Tegan Nox vs. Dakota Kai vs. Mia Yim vs. Candice LeRae

The winner of this match earns an NXT Women’s Title match. There are no countouts or disqualifications in a four way match.

Nox and Kai are former best friends that battled on the outside of the ring as Yim hit a running dropkick on LeRae to prevent her hitting an attack on the floor. LeRae hit a running slam on Kai on the apron to send Kai onto the apron. LeRae also hit an impressive dive onto Nox on the floor. Yim and Nox worked together with a double suplex and Yim hit a jumping knee to the face of LeRae – like a one legged Codebreaker – to pin LeRae.

Candice LeRae eliminated by Mia Yim

There were some moments where Nox and Yim worked together to try to eliminate Kia, but Kai managed to kick out even with both women covering her at once. There was this year spot where Yim bumped to the floor without even getting knocked out of the ring. It just looked off. There were big moves by all three women with Yim taking over with suicide dives on both women on opposite sides of the ring. Yim nearly eliminated Kai with a Code Blue powerbomb, but that only got a two count. Yim hit Sole Food on Nox and Nox went out of the ring, so Kai capitalized with an rollup into a bridging pin on Yim.

Mia Yim eliminated by Dakota Kai

It turned into a one on one match between former best friends Kai and Nox. Kai was the heel in control while Nox did a nice job of making the babyface comebacks. Kai and Nox were selling exhaustion as they were both looking tired after an exchange of punches. Kai hit a big kick, Nox with a headbutt and Nox hit three running clotheslines to build some momentum. Nox hit three running uppercuts as well for a two count. Nox hit a fallaway slam into a bridging pin for a two count. Kai managed to get some nearfalls of her own including after a Kai-ropractor double knee attack to the back. Each woman got more nearfalls after that, Nox also fought off a submission and Molly Go Round off the top set up the Shiniest Wizard for the pinfall win after 21 minutes.

Dakota Kai eliminated by Tegan Nox

Winner: Tegan Nox

Analysis: ***1/2 I liked this match a lot with Nox really standing out and it was cool to see her beating her rival Kai to earn the title shot. Booking it elimination style made it a better match than if it was just a one fall match. I thought LeRae would have lasted longer than Yim although I guess it doesn’t matter that much. Nox continues to improve in all aspects and she’s really somebody that I would look to as a future star she’s just 25 years old. I’m sure Nox and Kai enjoy working together. You can tell just by watching that their chemistry has improved since Kai turned on Nox last November. Nox wins here after winning also at Takeover In Your House, so she’s got a lot of positive momentum now. This is also a better way to earn a title shot compared to what we get on Raw or Smackdown when a champion loses non-title to set up a title match. This is called good booking, my friends.

Damian Priest did a promo with a message for rival Cameron Grimes. Priest said that Grimes has his full attention and he’ll regret it. Priest challenged Grimes to a match.

Timothy Thatcher vs. Oney Lorcan

They were battling over submission holds early on with Ranallo doing a nice job of explaining the submissions since he’s also an experienced MMA announcer. Thatcher was working on the left arm of Lorcan for a lot of the match. Lorcan went for submission moves of his own as the crowd cheered him on, but there wasn’t a moment in the match where Lorcan really looked like he was going to win. Thatcher really was aggressive in how much he worked on the left arm. Sometimes people wrestle that style where they forget it and move on to other things, but Thatcher kept going after the left arm. When Lorcan tried to break free, Thatcher hit a belly to belly suplex across the ring. Lorcan nearly got the win after a German suplex and running elbow. They exchanged hard strikes to the chest with a lot of loud slaps. Thatcher decked Lorcan with a hard slap to the face and a butterfly suplex for two. Thatcher slapped on the Fujiwara armbar on Lorcan’s right arm and Lorcan tapped out to give him the win. Thatcher held on a bit after the match was finished. They got about 12 minutes.

Winner by submission: Timothy Thatcher

Analysis: **1/2 This was a hard-hitting technical wrestling, submission style match that isn’t going to be loved by every type of fan. They might think it’s boring. I appreciate the style, but it wasn’t a special match or anything like that. The problem with the match is that nobody watching this likely thought Lorcan was going to win, so that hurt the match because we knew it was about putting over Thatcher. I liked how relentless Thatcher was throughout the match and it played into the finish since he won with the armbar. Thatcher is a guy that they really like in NXT, so he’s going to keep winning matches.

There was a video about Karrion Kross and Scarlett talking about how father time has a plan for the future. Kross said it’s not about the time you put in, but the time you take away. They showed images of Adam Cole and Keith Lee with the “Tick Tock” phrase to end it.

Analysis: I’ve said it before that I think Kross is going to be a major player in NXT for the rest of this year and whenever he’s on Raw and Smackdown in the years that follow. They’ve got a great look. I think they’ll have a lot of success in WWE.

Rhea Ripley vs. Aliyah and Robert Stone

Stone is a former wrestler that used to be Robbie E in TNA/Impact, so he’s got a lot of experience in the ring. The idea here is that if Ripley wins then she has to join the Robert Stone Brand.

Stone wrestled with goggles on, he had a mouthguard and had boxing trunks that were pulled up way too high. Ripley chopped Stone out of the ring and Aliyah jumped on Ripley’s back followed by Aliyah getting a headscissors. Stone held Ripley leading to a running knee by Aliyah. After Ripley slammed a slam on Aliyah, Stone broke up a pin and Stone missed a diving attack on Ripley. Aliyah capitalized with a diving attack on the floor. There was also a double submission with Stone and Aliyah followed by a double suplex. Ripley came back by whipping Aliyah into Stone a few times including a spot where Ripley tossed Aliyah near the groin of Stone, who sold it in a comedic way. Ripley hooked the legs of both opponents and they tapped out to give Ripley the win after about ten minutes.

Winner by submission: Rhea Ripley

Analysis: **1/4 It was entertaining as a comedy match. It’s fine to do something like that once in a while. I figured it would be closer to five minutes instead of ten minutes. There wasn’t much doubt about the result with Ripley getting the win. I think Aliyah has improved this year, but it’s going to be a while until she’s considered at the same level as Ripley. There weren’t a lot of moments with Stone hitting Ripley because WWE tries to avoid man on woman action in their matches.

There was a video summarizing the feud between Roderick Strong and Dexter Lumis with Strong fearing the creepy Lumis, who is the face in this story. This was the top of hour two.

Strap Match: Roderick Strong vs. Dexter Lumis

The Strap Match stipulation meant that they had their left wrists tied together with a leather strap. The match could be won by pinfall or submission. It’s the first Strap Match in NXT history.

Lumis is a unique character that just stalks his opponent and doesn’t really do much in terms of facial expressions. Lumis was dominant early in the match with power moves. When Strong tried getting some offense with chops, Lumis no sold it and sent him out of the ring.  Strong finally got some offense going with a kick to the face followed by a running knee. Lumis managed to take over again with an uppercut punch and then they left the ring with Lumis hitting a stiff forearm. Lumis also used the strap to launch Strong off the steps and onto the floor. Strong went up the stage and Lumis whipped him into part of the set. Lumis went over to the trunk of the Dodge Viper in the arena, Strong wanted to avoid that, so he booted Lumis in the face repeatedly. Strong also hit an Olympic Slam on the floor. When they went back in the ring, Strong worked over Lumis with the strap multiple times. Strong managed to get a couple of nearfalls followed by more attacks with the strap. After taking punishment for a few minutes, Lumis decked Strong with a clothesline with Strong doing a flip bump to sell it. Lumis did a clothesline into a bulldog combo and also a slingshot suplex. Strong managed to get the momentum back with a superplex for a two count. They went out to the floor again with Lumis sending Strong into the ring, but then Bobby Fish kicked Lumis on the apron and Strong hit a running kick for a two count. Lumis managed to come back by whipping Strong into Fish to knock Fish off the apron. Lumis hit a sitout uranage and then The Silence submission where he hooked his hands around the head/arm of Strong while also using the strap for support. They went 16 minutes.

Winner by submission: Dexter Lumis

Analysis: ***1/4 This was a good match that was very physical with a slow pace because they both realized that you can’t rush a match like this where you have to sell spots with the leather strap. Strong is one of the best workers in all of WWE that can have an entertaining match against anybody in any kind of match. Lumis is experienced, but he hasn’t been pushed in NXT that much. There weren’t a lot of pinfalls or submissions attempts, but I think that is fine because this was about beating down your opponent until they reached that point. Even though Lumis isn’t a traditional face, it was easy to root for the guy that had to deal with Strong getting help from Fish as well. It’s hard to know if they will push Lumis very far due to the way his character is, but I think he’s a guy that stands out and utilizing Lumis more wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.

There was a Prime Target video about NXT Champion Adam Cole facing NXT North American Champion Keith Lee. Great video as usual from the NXT crew. I’m going with Lee to win both titles next week. I said that was my pick last week as well.

Analysis: I am aware that a spoiler is out there. I’m not going to post it on TJRWrestling or mention it.

Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae were interviewed backstage. Candice spotted Mia Yim, so they got in a brawl. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott was there too, so he got into a shoving match with Gargano and that looked like it was setting up a match. Shoutout to former Scotty 2 Hotty as one of the Producers there to break up the fight.

Let’s Hear from Santos Escobar

Santos Escobar, the Cruiserweight Champion, led his Legado del Fantasma group out to the ring with all three of them wearing suits. Escobar complained about how fans thought that Lucha libre was about a bunch of guys in masks doing flips. Some fans chanted “that is Lucha” and Escobar told them that they’re wrong. Escobar said that they will leave a legacy that they can be proud of.

Drake Maverick showed up with the interruption with a neckbrace on after the big table bump that he took two weeks ago. Maverick took off the neckbrace and then he went into the ring as Juaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza beat up Maverick in the ring. Escobar told Maverick that nobody can touch him, which led to the Breezango duo of Fandango and Breeze coming to the aid of Maverick. The heel trio left. Fandango challenged them to a six-man tag team match.

Analysis: It was a solid angle to set up a tag team match. It didn’t take too long to set it up. No wasting time on NXT.

Cameron Grimes was interviewed backstage talking trash about Damian Priest. Grimes said he’s going to the top by calling out Adam Cole or Keith Lee. Grimes claimed that he’s the number one contender that’s going to the moon.

Analysis: Grimes is entertaining as an egotistical heel and he’s talented in the ring too.

There was a video about Mercedes Martinez letting us know she is back action next week on NXT.

Next week on NXT Great American Bash:

* Drake Maverick, Tyler Breeze and Fandango vs. Santos Escobar, Juaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza

* Street Fight: Mia Yim vs. Candice LeRae

* Champion vs. Champion – Winner Take Call: NXT Champion Adam Cole vs. NXT North American Champion Keith Lee

This show was taped on Wednesday night after this week’s NXT show was taped.

Sasha Banks made her entrance in a 2014 Jaguar Convertible and Bayley had Sasha Banks’ dog with her. Banks had on some festive red, white and blue gear for the Great American Bash theme. Banks is one half of the Women’s Tag Team Champions along with Bayley, who is also the Smackdown Women’s Champion. Bayley was wearing a Sasha Banks jacket.

The NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai made her entrance to a good reaction from her NXT friends in the crowd. Shirai’s title is not on the line here.

Io Shirai vs. Sasha Banks (w/Bayley)

This was a highly anticipated match after it was announced last week. The match was aired without any commercials. I’ll go play by play for it.

They spent the first minute doing moves, counters, avoiding moves and then Shirai hit a boot to the face. Shirai went up top and hit a perfect missile dropkick that sent Banks out of the ring. Shirai with a suicide dive into a cross body on Banks on the floor. Back in the ring, Shirai was working on Banks against the turnbuckle, so Bayley honked a car horn to distract Shirai and Banks took over with punches. Banks sent Shirai into the turnbuckle followed by the patented double knee attack to the ribs. Banks slapped on a wrist lock, then she ran the ropes and hit a running double knee attack. Banks pulled back on the arms of Shirai. There was a headscissors takeover by Shirai, then she charged right into Banks, who drove Shirai’s face into the turnbuckle. Banks was seated on the top rope and Shirai hit her with a Frankensteiner off the top rope. That looked good by Shiri and it was sold really well by Banks. Shirai with a shoulder tackle, a flapjack and Shirai with a 619 kick against the ropes. Shirai hit a perfect looking springboard missile dropkick for a two count. Banks avoided a double underhook slam, Shirai went for a German Suplex, Banks tried to land on her feet, but still sold the bump. I’m not sure what was going on there. Banks managed to take down Shirai with a Bank Statement, but Shirai got out of it. Shiri with a forward roll using her legs and then hit a double stomp on Banks. That was really good. Shirai hit a running knee attack on Banks against the turnbuckle. Shirai went up top, but Banks was back up on her feet and she knocked Shirai upside down against the turnbuckle. Banks charged with a dropkick, but Shirai moved and Banks hit the turnbuckle. Shirai went for a moonsault off the ropes, Banks with a boot the face and Banks hit a Meteora double knee attack off the ropes for a two count. Great nearfall.

Banks got back up selling the left leg with Shirai tripping up Banks to send her into the ropes. Banks avoided a 619 again, then they exchanged forearms and when Shirai went up top, Banks caught her and hit her with a rising kick to the face. Banks grabbed Shirai off the apron and gave her a Powerbomb into the plexiglass. That sounded brutal, but likely didn’t hurt that much. It looked vicious, though. Banks went up top with a Frog Splash, Shirai moved and slapped on a Crossface submission. Banks managed to get near the ropes, Bayley threw a title in the ring and Bayley hit Shirai with a forearm, which the referee didn’t see. That’s how you do a creative spot with a referee. Asuka showed up the Raw Women’s Title around her waist and she spit the green mist in Sasha’s face! Shirai got a rollup for a two count. Shirai with an uppercut punch and dropkick that sent Bayley into the plexiglass. Shirai went up top and hit a moonsault onto Banks’s back and Shirai turned Banks over for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Io Shirai

Analysis: **** This was an excellent match featuring two of the best women in WWE. They had a lot of pressure going into it, and I think they delivered easily. Some people just have that natural chemistry together. Banks is so great at being an aggressive heel while Shirai’s selling is terrific and when Shirai got going on offense, it looked believable as well. Bayley tried to help Banks win, but then Asuka showed up to even the odds and that ended up costing Banks the win. I liked that story with Asuka showing up to help Shirai when she needed her. It also protects Banks a bit by not having her lose clean and it gives Shirai a credible win as the champion. I really liked the work in the match and the creativity of the finish.

Post match, Shirai and Asuka celebrated the win. They used to be tag team partners when they were in Japan together.

Analysis: It makes sense to do a tag team match with Banks and Bayley facing Asuka and Io Shirai. That will be an awesome match as well.

There was another plug for next week on NXT Great American Bash:

* Drake Maverick, Tyler Breeze and Fandango vs. Santos Escobar, Juaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza

* Street Fight: Mia Yim vs. Candice LeRae

* Champion vs. Champion – Winner Take Call: NXT Champion Adam Cole vs. NXT North American Champion Keith Lee

The show ended with Shirai and Banks celebrating with their titles.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Io Shirai
  2. Sasha Banks
  3. Tegan Nox

 

Final Thoughts

I give this show an 8 out of 10.

It was a great show that was easy to enjoy from the opener right until the finish. A lot of big names in NXT didn’t even wrestle, yet the depth of this brand is strong and they can still put on an entertaining product. There were some very good matches, plus they built up some stories and delivered on an excellent main event that I was looking forward to. Shirai and Banks were awesome together with a creative finish as well. I thought the two women’s matches on this show were the best two matches on this week’s episode. Tegan Nox continues her rise. Congrats to the women of NXT (and Sasha Banks) for killing it. It’s a strong division right now.

I’m glad that Dexter Lumis got a meaningful win over Roderick Strong in a Strap Match. The Ripley match with Aliyah and Stone was more of a comedy match just to give Ripley something to do until they get her a new feud. As for Cole vs. Lee next week, I know there’s a spoiler out there. I’m not going to mention it. I’m looking forward to that match.

I think NXT is the most well-booked show out of Raw, Smackdown and Dynamite. They don’t do the things that frustrate me about the other shows. There isn’t that long promo to start, they don’t have champions lose non-title every week to build up a title match, they don’t have referees that fail to pay attention to the rules and what they’re really good at is taking their time to tell stories. It’s a nice mix of a serious wrestling show, some comedy when needed and then some meaningful promos as well, but there’s never too much talking either. There’s a nice balance.

Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

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