Date: November 11, 2020
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Beth Phoenix, Wade Barrett, Vic Joseph
Things are starting to get back to normal after Halloween Havoc and that means we need to start the build for the next Takeover, which has yet to be officially announced. I’m not sure what to expect from the show, but we still have a lot of building to do for whenever the show is taking place. Let’s get to it.
Veterans Day video, as usual.
Here’s North American Champion Johnny Gargano in the ring with his Wheel of Challengers. It’s exactly what it sounds like, with a bunch of legitimate challengers and Leon Ruff being written in as an option. Gargano talks about losing his titles in his first defense every time but tonight it’s going to be difference. After starting a SPIN THE WHEEL chant, the wheel is spin and believe it or not, it winds up on Ruff, albeit after spinning backwards to get there.
North American Title: Leon Ruff vs. Johnny Gargano
Gargano is defending and kicks him in the face to start, followed by stomping Ruff down in the corner. The beating is on in various corners and Gargano throws in a little dance. Gargano sends him outside as the cockiness is high, partially because Ruff is holding his knee. Hold on though as Damian Priest is in the crowd to distract Gargano, who mocks him with the arrow.
Priest comes out from around the fence to scare Gargano inside for two off a rollup. Gargano hits a heck of a clothesline into the Lawn Dart but stops to glare at Priest again, which isn’t that bright. Ruff uses the distraction to hit a crucifix bomb for the pin and the title in a huge upset at 3:36.
Rating: C-. I like it! Ruff isn’t going to be the next big thing or the long reigning champion but points for throwing a big surprise in there to keep Gargano vs. Priest going. It plays up the idea that anything can happen and gives the show a bit of a spark, which has been missing in a bad way as of late. They surprised me here and that’s a nice feeling to have again.
Priest cracks up and Ruff (Ruff: “I’M THE CHAMPION???”) is stunned as Gargano screams at the referee. Barrett: “THE CURSE IS BACK!!! IT’S REAL!!!” Ruff puts on the title, which falls down because he’s so skinny.
Post break Ruff can’t believe it but Priest says Gargano is going to come through the curtain and beat him up. Priest pulls out his keys and says go get in the black Challenger and get out. Gargano comes through the curtain and has to be held back from Priest. They argue a lot with Priest saying that was his idea and Gargano blaming him for the loss.
Earlier today, Jake Atlas attacked a member of Legado del Fantasma with his club and called out Santos Escobar for the title shot.
Cruiserweight Title: Santos Escobar vs. Jake Atlas
Escobar is defending and has the rest of Legado del Fantasma with him. Feeling out process to start until Atlas scores with a dropkick to put him on the floor. Back in and it’s time for Atlas to win a chop off, earning himself a knee to the ribs. Escobar takes him to the mat and wraps his leg around Atlas’ neck for some stretching. That’s broken up so Escobar slams him down to counter a headscissors attempt and some stomps keep Atlas in trouble.
We hit the chinlock with Escobar cranking on the arm for a bonus. As usual, the chinlock makes Atlas come back to his feet so Escobar sends him to the apron. The rest of Legado tries to get in some club shots but Atlas takes him down. Some club shots put Legado down and a springboard Blockbuster gives Atlas two. Escobar bails to the floor and we take a break. Back with the rest of Legado being ejected and Escobar choking in the corner. The frog splash gives Escobar two but Atlas starts the real comeback.
A suplex into a superkick gives Atlas two but Escobar shoves him off the top and into the announcers’ table. Escobar slides outside and sends Atlas into the steps as the confidence is growing. Atlas makes it back inside and sends Escobar outside this time, only to get caught in the ropes on a suicide dive attempt. It knocks Escobar down enough to set up a small package for two back inside but a jumping superkick gives Escobar the same. Atlas hits a Regal Roll though and goes up top, only to have the cartwheel DDT blocked. The double underhook facebreaker finishes Atlas at 15:01.
Rating: B-. That was the most fire that Atlas has ever shown and it helped a lot. Atlas is still a long way from being a big deal but he has come along rather well in recent weeks. That being said, it is a good idea to have Escobar get some wins like this as it makes him seem like someone who can get a big win without a ton of help from his goons. You need to have some wins like that here and there and that’s what Escobar got to do here.
Dexter Lumis draws a picture of Cameron Grimes running away from the zombie referee. It seems to get some good reviews.
Shotzi Blackheart talks about what her tank meant to her before Candice LeRae destroyed it. The tank represented freedom, family and members of the military, so no they aren’t even. Now it’s time for her to beat LeRae up. Fair enough, but that seems like a fairly flimsy reason to care about a toy tank.
Raquel Gonzalez vs. Xia Li
Hold on as here’s Boa to say Li isn’t here tonight so they can’t have a match. Gonzalez kicks him in the head and beats the heck out of him, including the powerbomb to leave him laying. She says everybody better get her name out of their mouth. Gonzalez leaves and a bunch of red lights come on. An older man comes out and Boa bows to him, with the old man handing him a letter. Ok then.
August Grey was being interviewed when Timothy Thatcher jumped him from behind. The brawl was on with Grey being sent through Lumis’ picture from earlier. Lumis showed up for a staredown with William Regal joining them. I think you know where this is going.
Toni Storm vs. Candice LeRae
During her entrance, Candice talks about loving the sound of hearing the tank crushed last week. They trade headlocks to start with Storm taking her down to the mat. Back up and Candice gets caught in a wristlock but manages to reverse into one of her own. Storm takes her down to the mat with an armbar but Candice is back up with a hair pull to take over.
Now it’s Candice with her own headlock as this isn’t exactly in high gear yet. There’s a suplex to get Storm out of trouble and she hits a basement dropkick to start the comeback (despite not exactly being in much trouble). They head outside with Candice avoiding a hip attack into the steps to send us to a break. Back with Candice hitting a Backstabber but missing a Lionsault. Storm scores with a headbutt to put them both for a bit, allowing the fans to start some rhythmic stomping.
A German suplex drops Candice and the running hip attack connects in the corner. There’s a sliding lariat against the ropes and another in the middle of the ring has Candice rocked again. A fisherman’s suplex gives Storm two so she goes up top, only to miss the guillotine legdrop. Candice kicks her in the face for two but Storm knocks her into the corner. Storm misses a charge though and Candice grabs a rollup with feet on the ropes for the pin at 10:14.
Rating: C+. They beat each other up rather well and I can go for more of Candice cheating to win, but at the same time it’s weird to see Storm taking a loss. She would seem to be one of the most can’t miss prospects in all of NXT, though at least it wasn’t a clean loss here so it isn’t some horrible tragedy.
Post match Storm goes after her again but the Ghostface attacker comes in. Shotzi Blackheart comes in for the save but gets double teamed down. The Ghostface is revealed as….Indi Hartwell, which shouldn’t be that big of a surprise, just like the tag match likely taking place next week.
Breezango says it took them five years to get the titles but they pulled it off. They don’t like Pat McAfee because he isn’t even a wrestler. Tonight, they’re taking the titles back because they can do it again. I doubt it, but it was the serious promo they should have been cutting here.
Dexter Lumis vs. Timothy Thatcher
Lumis goes with a Thesz press to start and knocks Thatcher outside early on. Back in and Thatcher goes for the leg but gets kicked away into another standoff. Lumis rides him on the mat for a bit until Thatcher goes for the ankle again with a little more success. There’s a suplex to drop Lumis again but he crawls over to Thatcher without much effort. A front facelock has Lumis in more trouble and it’s back to the ankle to make it worse.
Lumis’ choking doesn’t get him very far as Thatcher is right back with a bow and arrow (always nice to see). Back up and Lumis gets in a spinebuster into a dropkick as the ankle seems ok. Lumis is favoring his arm as he sends Thatcher outside but follows him anyway. They slug it out on the floor with the bad arm being sent into the post as we take a break. Back with Thatcher getting two off a butterfly suplex before slapping on another armbar.
That’s broken up as well so Thatcher tries another suplex, with Lumis reversing into a belly to back of his own. Lumis nips up into a spinning legdrop and grabs a bulldog out of the corner. Thatcher catches him on top but Lumis shoves him off and this a Swanton. Cue Cameron Grimes on the apron so Thatcher sends them together and pulls Lumis into a cradle for the pin at 13:34.
Rating: C-. The wrestling was fine but sweet goodness WHAT IS THE OBSESSION WITH LUMIS??? He’s here week after week and I don’t remember a match where I’ve been overly interested with or impressed by him. For some reason NXT seems to think he’s some kind of awesome star for I just do not get it no matter what he does. At least Thatcher got the win though.
Post match Grimes stays on Lumis and puts a burlap sack over Lumis’ face. Lumis gets beaten to the floor, where Grimes puts him in a chair for the Cave In. Yeah I’m still not interested in Lumis. Grimes yes, Lumis no.
Johnny Gargano goes to William Regal’s office and thinks the decision should be reversed. That isn’t happening so Gargano snaps and admits to rigging the wheel. Regal says the decision stands and shuts the door in Gargano’s face, meaning it’s time to yell some more.
Tommaso Ciampa talks about being around NXT for a long time. He trained with some legends like Killer Kowalski and Harley Race, who were really tough men. They never took liberties because they didn’t need to. Now he looks around the NXT locker room and everyone will tell you how tough they are. Maybe it’s the world we live in today, where you complain and get rewarded. There are actions without consequences so maybe he is the last of a dying breed. Two weeks ago he told us that this 2020 locker room culture is going to change and he is that change. Ciampa turns the chair over as he leaves. I’m intrigued.
We get a Prime Target on Io Shirai vs. Rhea Ripley. Rhea talks about walking into Raymond James Stadium at 23 years old and being ready for Wrestlemania….but then it didn’t happen, and the match took place in front of no fans with no energy and no emotion. Then she got beat as well and it wasn’t what she expected. Then two months later, Io Shirai won the Women’s Title in a triple threat match, also involving Ripley.
Shirai talks about not being able to have regrets and failed as champion, which every challenger has learned. She stops momentum and defeats the best and now that Rhea has taken months to recover from Wrestlemania, Shirai is ready to be her nightmare. Ripley talks about how she doesn’t quit and is ready when the lights go on. The title match is next week. It doesn’t have the biggest build, but Ripley getting a shot feels like an important deal no matter what.
Here are the Kings of NXT for a chat. McAfee talks about how great it was to take out Killian Dain last week and even though he is stuck in Orlando, it has been a great day. Not only has he traded tweets with Tom Brady and found out that his business is worth $150 million, but now he gets to watch Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch destroy Breezango while he dominates that commentary desk. McAfee goes over to sit next to Stupid Joseph and Bad News Barrett.
Cameron Grimes is VERY pleased with what he did and is off to celebrate.
Finn Balor is back next week.
Tag Team Titles: Breezango vs. Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch
Burch and Lorcan are defending with Pete Dunne at ringside and Pat McAfee on commentary. The champs jump Breezango to start as McAfee talks about losing in the Super Bowl to “Drew Brees and his dumb baby.” Breeze manages to catapult Burch into the barricade as we settle down to a regular match. It’s Breeze getting caught in the wrong corner but managing to block a suplex and drive Burch over for the tag to Fandango.
Lorcan comes in and blocks a suplex to take over on Fandango but everything breaks down. They head outside with the champs both getting superkicked as we take a break. Back with McAfee off commentary and double tags bringing in Fandango and Lorcan as the pace picks up. Fandango starts cleaning house and hits a hiptoss into a neckbreaker on Burch. The Falcon Arrow gets two on Lorcan as everything breaks down again.
Breeze tries a flip dive to the floor but Dunne pulls Burch out of the way. Fandango dives onto them instead but Lorcan crotches him back inside. McAfee offers a distraction but here’s Drake Maverick to kick Lorcan off the top. Maverick dives onto McAfee as well, leaving Fandango to hit the Last Dance for two on Lorcan. Dunne runs Maverick over and then knocks Breeze off the apron so Fandango can’t make a tag. Burch comes in off a blind tag and it’s a headbutt into the elevated DDT for the pin to retain the titles at 9:59.
Rating: C+. The action helped overcome the fact that there was no drama to the match, but it was good to get the rematch out of the way. McAfee and company are looking like they could be a big deal around here for a long time to come and it’s not like Breezango are serious threats to get the titles back. This was a good enough match to make the point and Maverick being willing to fight for his friend works out well, especially if this foursome’s failure sets up the Undisputed Era coming in for the war.
Post match Maverick dives onto Burch and goes after the other three, earning himself a big group beatdown. Dunne X Plexes him onto the announcers’ table and Fandango’s save attempt earns him a beating as well. Breeze is held up and McAfee adds the Punt to leave him laying. McAfee takes over the camera to say that they’re the greatest and these three suck to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. This is a fine example of a show where there was a lot more going on than just the wrestling. What mattered here were things like stories being moved forward (in a Takeover direction) and setting things up for the future. I liked what we got here rather well and they’re starting to get some of that momentum back. Balor returning next week should help and things are looking up on the way to Takeover, assuming they bother announcing it in the near future.
Leon Ruff b. Johnny Gargano – Crucifix bomb
Santos Escobar b. Jake Atlas – Double underhook facebreaker
Candice LeRae b. Toni Storm – Rollup with feet on the ropes
Timothy Thatcher b. Dexter Lumis – Rollup
Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch b. Breezango – Elevated DDT to Fandango
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