Date: March 4, 2020
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Nigel McGuinness, Mauro Ranallo
It’s a big night around here with a pair of steel cage matches. First up Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai are in for a big fight, as Nox is still out for revenge after Kai attacked her back in November. Other than that, we have Roderick Strong vs. Velveteen Dream in a heck of a grudge match. Let’s get to it.
Mauro previews the show.
Tegan Nox vs. Dakota Kai
Inside a cage with Raquel Gonzalez in Kai’s corner. Nox slugs away to start and takes Kai down to hammer her upside the head. The Shiniest Wizard misses but Kai can’t send her into the cage. A middle rope crossbody isn’t even worthy of a cover and Nox pounds away even more. Kai sends her into the corner though and chokes with a boot, followed by a ram into the cage for two.
Nox is back up and hits some running shots in the corner, onto to have the Cannonboar (yes Boar) hit knees. We take a break and come back with Nox sending Kai into the cage over and over, much to the fans’ delight. A tabletop suplex gives Nox two but Kai is back with the Kairopractor for her own two. Kai gets evil and goes after Nox’s knee brace but Nox kicks her away. It’s time for the climb, with Kai catching her on top, only to get chokeslammed right back down.
Instead of leaving, Nox climbs back down and hits the Cannonboar. Nox goes all the way up again and this time it’s a high crossbody of the cage. Nigel says that was a 20 foot drop, putting Kai at about 8’4. It’s time to go for the door but Gonzalez holds it shut, only to have Kai miss a running kick and knock the door into Gonzalez’s head. The Shiniest Wizard connects for two and Nox is STUNNED.
Gonzalez tries to come in this time but Nox kicks her in the face. Kai chases Nox up top so Nox kicks her down as well. Nox tries to climb down so Gonzalez tries to pull Kai out. That’s fine with Nox, who kicks the door onto Kai’s knee but Gonzales pins her against the cage with the door. The delay lets Kai escape at 16:10.
Rating: B-. The interference got annoying because the stipulation was built around the idea of Gonzalez not being able to interfere. Then she just did anyway, making the cage a rather pointless detail. There’s a good chance they do this one more time, perhaps in a ladder match in the tournament final at Takeover?
Finn Balor thanks Walter for sending Imperium to make the first move. That forced his hand and Walter will see him sooner than he thinks.
Rhea Ripley was in Raymond James Stadium (home of Wrestlemania XXXVI) and talks about how cool it is to have an NXT Title on the line. She started wrestling in front of 50-100 people and now she’s here. All she ever wanted to do was help people but she needed to find herself first. She changed everything and now she is ready to accomplish what she wanted. People called her a mini Charlotte when she got to WWE and now she wants to beat the real Charlotte.
#1 Contenders Qualifying Match: Chelsea Green vs. Shotzi Blackheart
Robert Stone introduces Chelsea. Green kicks her away to start but Shotzi takes her down for the Jeff Hardy legdrop between the legs. An enziguri drops Green again but she avoids a charge and gets caught with a Backstabber. Green kicks her in the ribs for two, followed by a missile dropkick to the apron. I’m Prettier (not Unprettier) finishes Blackheart at 2:24. I’m not sure I would have gone with Green over Blackheart for the ladder match. I’m also not sure how many people are going to be in the ladder match, as I thought it was just two but that might not be the case.
Here’s Keith Lee for a chat. After greetings and salutations, Lee talks about men invoking his name, including Dominick Dijakovic, who wants to fight forever. Or people like Damian Priest, who wants to live forever. Cue Cameron Grimes, who says Lee should be talking about him. Lee’s jacket comes off and Grimes has made the gravest mistake of his career.
The fans keep booing Grimes before he can get a word in, until Lee says he’d like to hear this. Apparently William Regal has granted Grimes a title match next week, so Lee shoves him out of the ring. Lee tells him to bring it next week. The fans didn’t like Grimes here.
Austin Theory is ready to win all of the titles but Isaiah Scott comes up to say not so fast. They’ll fight tonight.
The Undisputed Era is warming up.
Undisputed Era vs. Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch
Kyle O’Reilly/Bobby Fish here. Fish and Lorcan strike it out to start but everything breaks down in a hurry. The Era is sent outside and Lorcan hits a double Blockbuster off the steps to send us to a break. Back with Fish hitting Lorcan in the face again and having to throw in some knees to cut off the comeback attempt. Fish’s slingshot hilo hits raised knees though and it’s off to Burch to slug away. An RKO drops O’Reilly but Fish comes back in with a blindside shot to the face.
Burch gets beaten up in the corner and the chinlock goes on. That lasts as long as you might expect and it’s Burch getting up for a shot to the face. O’Reilly misses a big kick to the head though and Burch dives over for the hot tag. Lorcan comes in and gets to clean house, including a running Blockbuster to send O’Reilly outside. The big running dive over the top takes down Fish and O’Reilly and Lorcan takes him them back inside for running elbows in the corner. That’s not a good idea against the Era though as they come back with the High/Low to finish Lorcan at 11:50.
Rating: B. Burch and Lorcan are great gatekeepers as they can have good matches against anyone and make their opponents look good. The Era is in a weird place at the moment though as they’ve held the titles for the better part of ever and there’s no need for them to do so again. That being said, what else is there for them to do at the moment?
Post match the Era says they want their titles back. Adam Cole is taking care of business and tonight Roderick Strong is shutting up Velveteen Dream. Cue the Broserweights with Matt Riddle saying they’re down with a rematch. The Grizzled Young Veterans jump them from behind and throw the Broserweights off the stage. The Veterans don’t want to hear about rematch clauses because they’re going to be the Tag Team Champions.
Video on Austin Theory.
Austin Theory vs. Isaiah Scott
Feeling out process to start with Theory’s headlock not getting him very far. Scott takes him into the corner and hits a quick dropkick. A jumping kick to the face in the corner drops Theory and we take a break. Back with Theory hitting a slingshot rolling dropkick to take over, only to get caught with a discus lariat. A jumping Downward Spiral gives Scott two but Theory counters a hurricanrana into the buckle bomb.
RP1 (leg trap brainbuster onto the knee) gives Theory one but Scott pulls him into a cross armbreaker. With that broken up, Scott pins one arm behind Theory and stomps the other one down, giving us a SNAPPING sound that made me cringe harder than anything in wrestling has in years. Theory is fine enough to pull Scott off the top and hit a one armed ATL (Austin Theory Launch, a TKO) for the pin at 10:59.
Rating: C+. Theory is one of those guys where you can see everything WWE loves in a wrestler wrapped into one. It isn’t surprising me that he is getting this kind of a push and he’ll be around for the time being. The different names for his moves are going to help too. Scott continues to feel like he has potential but can’t get very far for whatever reason. He’s far from in danger, but he feels like he’s running on a treadmill.
We get a series of creepy visuals, mainly involving death. Killer Kross maybe?
Mauro sat down with Johnny Gargano at the Performance Center and asks what happened with Tommaso Ciampa at Takeover. Johnny says he was the only wrestler to show up at the premiere of Mauro’s documentary in New York, which Mauro says meant more to him than Johnny could ever know. Johnny talks about some of Mauro’s (complimentary) statements about him but Mauro doesn’t know him at all.
Mauro would like to think that he knows him but people want to know about the sneak attacks on Ciampa. That makes Johnny a lot more serious and says that it can’t be a sneak attack when you’re wearing a powder blue sport coat. No one has any idea what Johnny has seen, gone through or felt, but Mauro wants to know. Johnny gets up and nearly gets in Mauro’s face before sitting back down. Mauro asks why again and this time Johnny stands up and puts his hand on Mauro’s shoulder, saying that Mauro knows why.
If Mauro admits it though, he’s admitting he’s a liar. Mauro admits that they haven’t talked since Takeover: Portland so Johnny yells at him for calling him Johnny Turncoat. When Ciampa came back, Mauro couldn’t help but say Daddy’s Home. Johnny wants Mauro to look in the camera and say he’s a liar but Mauro walks off. Johnny: “No Mama Mias now!” Gargano grabs the camera and says next week at the Performance Center, they do things his way. This was a level of intensity that you don’t see from Johnny very often (if ever) and he feels like he’s on the verge of madness all over again.
Video on Velveteen Dream vs. Roderick Strong.
Next week: Keith Lee defends against Cameron Grimes and the Undisputed Era gets their Tag Team Title rematch, all from the Performance Center.
Velveteen Dream vs. Roderick Strong
Inside a cage and they go straight at it at the bell with Strong sending him into the cage. Dream is right back with a crossbody but it’s too early for the Dream Valley Driver. They slug it out again with Strong getting the better of it, including the first backbreaker. Strong yells that Dream did this and starts with the running forearms. A backdrop sends Strong into the cage but here’s Marina Shafir (Strong’s wife) to slip him a kendo stick.
Shafir leaves and we take a break. Back with Strong going up but getting hit low, allowing Dream to grab a Boston crab. Strong grabs the rope and thankfully the referee does nothing, but Dream lets go anyway. The breather lets Strong grab the Stronghold but Dream slips out as well. Another Dream Valley Driver is broken up so Dream dropkicks him into the cage.
There’s a superkick to make it worse but Strong pulls him face first into the cage. They fight over the kendo stick with Strong using it for a pumphandle backbreaker. Strong goes up but Dream pulls the pants down (fans: “A******!”) for the save. Dream stays on the top with him and that means a super Angle Slam to put them both down.
Neither can dive through the door and now the Dream Valley Driver connects. Dream hits a second one and goes all the way to the top, only to have the rest of the Undisputed Era come out. Cole manages to get inside so Dream slams him off the top. Strong gets over to the door again so Dream grabs him, looks at Cole….and shoves Strong out to give Strong the win at 13:00.
Rating: B. This was both hard hitting and entertaining while setting up the next Takeover main event. Strong was fighting to get rid of Dream once and for all, but the ending says that Dream has his sights on something bigger (likely the guy he left himself inside the cage with, plus that guy’s shiny title). The match was a good fight but the ending was all about setting up something new and that’s a nice combination.
Post match Dream locks the cage with himself and Cole inside and the beating is on. Dream starts throwing Cole at the cage to knock the rest of the Era out, followed by using the stick to beat them up. Strong gets tied in the Tree of Woe and it’s another Dream Valley Driver to send Cole into the chair. Dream grabs the title and poses a lot to end the show.
Overall Rating: B+. This was a solid show up and down as the focus moves towards Tampa. I like a lot of where the show looks to be going and that’s hard to do on such a short turnaround time. It also helps that there was nothing bad here with a bunch of good matches and an intense promo from Gargano. Couple that with the potential of Balor vs. Walter (which might be more likely for Dublin) and things are in a good place. The doldrums that they were in for a few weeks have been shaken off and that’s quite the relief going forward.
Dakota Kai b. Tegan Nox – Kai escaped the cage
Chelsea Green b. Shotzi Blackheart – I’m Prettier
Undisputed Era b. Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch – High/Low to O’Reilly
Austin Theory b. Isaiah Scott – ATL
Roderick Strong b. Velveteen Dream – Dream pushed Strong out of the cage
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