Thursday, April 16, 2020

WWE NXT Review - April 15th, 2020

WWE NXT Review
Orlando, FL
April 15th, 2020

Today has been a crazy day in WWE history, as has this whole week. On top of returning to live, albeit empty arena, shows - WWE began making numerous cuts to their roster due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Included in those cuts is Drake Maverick, a talent who will be finishing out his WWE run in the round robin cruserweight title tournament that begins tonight. A heartfelt video from him talking about this on Twitter is honestly what led me to want to watch this show live.

1) Finn Balor vs. Fabian Aichner

This stems out of Balor's quest to face NXT UK Champion Walter whom is the leader of the Imperium stable which Archer is a part of. Balor has been so much more intense since returning to NXT, so this was good, even without an audience to boot. Archer gave Balor a hell of a fight, giving some nasty looking marks on his back, but Balor would retaliate with a running dropkick through the railing followed by the Coupe De Grace and the bloody sunday for the win.

Match rating - ***1/4

TONIGHT: Adam Cole and Velveteen Dream confrontation

UP NEXT: NXT Champion Charlotte speaks

Charlotte pre-taped video package airs and she wants MIA YIM as her first challenger. Hell yes ! ! !!

2) Aliyah vs. Xia Li

Li accidentally broke Aliyah's nose in a prior match so here we are. Li starts pounding away but Aliyah won't back down. Valiant effort from Aliyah, but Li puts her down after a few minutes. Both ladies killed it, though. Perfect for what it was!

Match rating - **3/4

REGAL CRUSERWEIGHT TITLE TOURNAMENT VIDEO PACKAGE. FINALLY YES. And kicking it off up next is TOZAWA VS SCOTT. Perfect pairing to match my taste's.

Matt Riddle is on the phone with Pete Dunne trying to get him to tell him who his tag team partner is..

3) Isaiah "Swerve" Scott vs. Akira Tozawa - Cruserweight Title Tournament Match

This was.. different. Scott seemed to target the neck of Tozawa and several bumps down the stretch continued that and I'll be damned if Tozawa didn't sell it from start to finish. Just brilliant work on his end. Scott was fun to watch as usual, but this wasn't a flippy showcase like normal from him. Tozawa held on through it all and pinned Swerve with a senton off the top turnbuckle.

Match rating - ***

4) Tegan Nox vs. Raquel Gonzalez

Lots of shenanigans here. Dakota Kai comes down to interfere which is followed by Shotzi Blackheart. Gonzalez tries to get her hands on Blackheart and Nox rolls her up for the win.

Match rating - *3/4

5) Dexter Lumis vs. Tehuti Miles

Alright well I had no idea Sam Shaw was in NXT working this Dexter Lumis gimmick. I was in the minority that enjoyed Shaw in TNA so this was actually decent. He works the gimmick real well and just comes off weird as fuck. Nice squash for him here.

Match rating - **

Adam Cole sends a video to Velveteen Dream laughing at the fact that he thought he'd show up. Cole says Dream simply does not deserve a shot at the title and basically says he's irrelevant.

Velveteen comes out to respond to the video and makes the mistake of mentioning the greatest NXT champions of all time. This brings out Finn Balor. The Prince meets The Dream next week!

NEXT WEEK: Tegan Nox & Shotzi Blackheart vs. Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai

6) Matt Riddle & Timothy Thatcher (c) vs. Roderick Strong & Bobby Fish - NXT Tag Team Title Match

Pete Dunne comes on-screen as Riddle enters the arena to introduce his partner... the debuting TIMOTHY THATCHER. WOW. An insane surprise I did not expect, but am super stoked about. They even let Tom Phillips drop a curse word referring to Thatcher as the "meanest son of a bitch" you'll ever see. Great reaction by the commentators to make the debut feel special despite the empty arena. This was a solid showing for Thatcher. He got to work a few of his holds and slapped the absolute piss out of Roddy at one point. They work over Riddle and allowed Thatch to get the hot tag before things break down for a moment. Thatcher locks Roddy in the arm bar and he taps immediately. Not the barn burner I hoped for or you may expect, but a solid outing and debut for Tim. Riddle & Thatcher pose with the titles.. so does this mean Thatcher is a tag champ even though he's a fill in for Dunne?

Match rating - ***1/4

The closing segment features Tomasso Ciampa seemingly going to admit Gargano was the better man only for him to be savagely attacked by... KILLER KROSS.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Not a bad show at all tonight, it honestly flew by. Solid matches throughout and the Thatcher debut ruled!

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