May 21, 2020

NXT Review – 20/05/20

The round-robin group stage of the Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament wraps up tonight with Drake Maverick versus Kushida in group A and El Hijo del Fantasma Akira Tozawa in group B. Also on tonight’s show, Rhea Ripley takes on Io Shirai and Roderick Strong faces Dexter Lumis. Karrion Kross and Scarlet are advertised as opening the show with a match against an unnamed opponent.



Karrion Kross def. Liam Gray

El Hijo del Fantasma def. Akira Tozawa

Mia Yim def. Santana Garrett

Roderick Strong def. Dexter Lumis

Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch def. Ever-Rise

Drake Maverick def. Kushida

Rhea Ripley vs Io Shirai – No Contest due to Interference




Tonight’s show was dedicated to the memory of Shad Gaspard, who was confirmed to have died today after going missing in a riptide off Venice Beach on Sunday. His final act was to direct rescuers to save his son first.


Karrion Kross, with Scarlett vs Liam Gray

Karrion Kross and Scarlett have the best entrance in WWE at the moment. It wasn’t a match. A match implies that both people competed, Gray just got tossed around then tapped out with the Kross Jacket.

Tommaso Ciampa came out when Kross and Scarlett were celebrating. He officially introduced himself and said the ring they were standing in was his home. But they knew that and that’s why they attacked the main attraction, to make a point. He gets it and part of him respects it. Kross is special, in a locker room full of the best professional wrestlers in the world he stands out as special.

Scarlett opened the ropes for Ciampa and he stepped through to get face to face with Kross so he could tell him they have a match at NXT TakeOver In Your House. He backed out of the ring and left without ever taking his eyes of Kross and Scarlett.

Tommaso Ciampa and Karrion Kross face to face
All photo credits:


El Hijo del Fantasma vs Akira Tozawa – Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament match

A fantastic match which would still have been too short if it had been given twice the time. It wasn’t overly short, I just really enjoyed it. Fantasma got the win, but I still don’t understand the scoring. The result leaves them both on 2-1, but El Hijo del Fantasma wins the group. I’m not confident I got quite how that works, but I think it’s because Fantasma got the head to head victory.

Akira Tozawa and El Hijo del Fantasma mid-match


Timothy Thatcher wants another match against Matt Riddle. But this time he wants it to be knockouts or tap outs only, no pinfalls. He’s told Riddle he can name the place.


Shotzi Blackheart had a promo video with a lot of tanks.


Mia Yim vs Santana Garrett

This one might have been fun if it was longer, but it was a couple of minutes and no more. Mia Yim won it with Protect Ya Neck.

Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae came out to play bullies. LeRae is still upset about Yim getting the opportunity she felt she deserved. Inevitably they attacked her, with Gargano sacrificing his face to Yim’s boot so that LeRae could attack her from behind. Gargano also pulled the rope down so Yim crashed out of the ring to the floor.

Candice LeRae and Mia Yim scrap

But Candice LeRae and Johnny Gargano aren’t NXT’s only couple. Keith Lee had clearly seen enough and came to Yim’s aid. After checking she was ok, they rushed the ring together and Gargano and LeRae fled.


Cameron Grimes is very happy with his win over Finn Balor. He’s taking all the credit himself and not acknowledging the fact Balor was attacked by Damian Priest in the middle of their match.


Drake Maverick had a backstage interview. Kushida is the best in the world and he isn’t, but he has to beat him. He’s tired of second-guessing himself and thinking what if, and he’s tired of feeling sorry for himself. He’s got to do one thing and one thing only. Win.


Roderick Strong vs Dexter Lumis

Adam Cole and Bobby Fish accompanied Roderick Strong to ringside, then left.

Roderick Strong was supremely confident going into the match but that faded as it went on and he was unable to put Lumis away. Dexter Lumis is unreadable in the ring, which is obviously unnerving for his opponents. Good match, decent enough length. For the briefest moment, it looked like Lumis might pick up the win, but it wasn’t to be and he got pinned.

After the match, Lumis reached through the ropes and grabbed Strong in an Anaconda Vice. They ended up sat on the floor while Lumis choked him out. Cole and Fish ran down and repeatedly kicked Lumis in the head, but he didn’t let go. Velveteen Dream came and dealt with Fish and Cole, dropping an elbow off the top onto Cole on the outside which sounded so grim.

Bobby Fish holds Dexter Lumis still for Adam Cole so he can try to make him let go of Roderick Strong

When they were dealt with Velveteen Dream posed on the steps while Lumis sat on the floor still stroking the head of the unconscious Roderick Strong.


El Hijo del Fantasma stopped his car to talk to Akira Tozawa. After they’d hugged and he got back in, Tozawa was attacked by the masked men who have been kidnapping people. Fantasma has to get out of the passenger side of his car to intervene, but the attackers ran off.


Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs Ever-Rise

Parker and Martel seem to be becoming more of a fixture recently. There’s no way of telling if it’s a planned rise for Ever-Rise, or a by-product of reduced talent availability in the current circumstances. Only time will tell. Either way, this match was too short to do much for anyone and Ever-Rise were in charge for none of it. Lorcan and Burch were on fire and got the submission victory in double-quick time.

Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan tap out Ever-Rise

During their celebrations, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch very briefly did the Imperium pose.


Keith Lee requested a backstage interview. He has a problem with the new Gargano way after tonight’s antics and he has a feeling it reaches its limits at TakeOver.


Matt Riddle has accepted Timothy Thatcher’s challenge. He wants the match in a cage. It’s happening next week.


Kushida vs Drake Maverick – Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament match

I still hate this Drake Maverick fighting for his job storyline and, of course, that was all they talked about. ‘If he doesn’t win this match it’s over and he goes home.’ A victory would put him in a three-way tie at the top with Kushida and Drake Maverick.

Jake Atlas came out to watch the match and commentary noted he had become a supporter of Maverick after beating him in their tournament match. He acted as vocal moral support for Maverick, who by all accounts was getting his ass kicked. The ref tried to stop it on a couple of occasions after Kushida rendered one of Maverick’s arms non-functional.

Drake Maverick gets dropkicked byKushida

While locked in a submission, Drake Maverick shifted his weight and pinned Kushida’s shoulders to the mat for the three count.

Jake Atlas joined them in the ring to celebrate, then Byron Saxton arrived and informed them they will face each other in a triple-threat next week to see who goes through to face El Hijo del Fantasma in the final.


Damian Priest had a chance to talk about why he attacked Finn Balor. He said the key to infamy is multiple targets. He wants to be a champion and championships will come but Finn Balor coming back to NXT, that’s a target that turned into an opportunity. Balor put NXT on the map and for that reason, he’s coming for him. And he’s not going to do it on just any old stage, he’ll do it where Balor made a name for himself. At TakeOver the name Finn Balor will turn to ash, but Damian Priest’s name will live forever.

Damian Priest


Rhea Ripley vs Io Shirai

This was the main event of the evening, because anything else would have been a travesty. Cards on the table, I’d have been happy if they’d had half the show. It was also Ripley’s first match since WrestleMania and, apparently, their first singles match. It was great… until Charlotte Flair crashed the party and it became obvious we weren’t getting a clean finish. Io Shirai sent Ripley flying into her and knocked her down and the match carried on for a while. Inevitably, Flair got up and invaded the ring. A big boot to Shirai and a spear to Ripley and it was Charlotte Flair standing tall at the end of the show.

Charlotte Flair stands over Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley



Final word

NXT TakeOver: In Your House is starting to shape up. Tommaso Ciampa vs Karrion Kross is confirmed. Keith Lee vs Johnny Gargano, and Damian Priest vs Finn Balor, aren’t official yet but there’s no reason to think they won’t be confirmed. I suspect Charlotte Flair will be defending the women’s title in a triple-threat.

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