DATE: June 7, 2020
VENUE: Full Sail University (Winter Park, FL)
COMMENTATORS: Mauro Ranallo, Tom Phillips, & Beth Phoenix
NXT TakeOver: In Your House plays dirty by going right for the nostalgia, resurrecting one of the WWE’s old PPV themes. I’ve been ignoring most empty arena wrestling in 2020 but goddammit they got me and I’m here for it. This PPV features a Backlot Brawl for the NXT Championship as Adam Cole defends against The Velveteen Dream, Keith Lee defending the North American Championship against Johnny Gargano, and Charlotte Flair defending the NXT Women’s Championship against Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai.
- NXT CHAMPION: Adam Cole
- NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPION: Charlotte Flair
- NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION: Keith Lee
- NXT CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPION: El Hijo del Fantasma
- NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner)
- Shotzi Blackheart, Tegan Nox, & Mia Yim vs. Dakota Kai, Raquel Gonzalez, & Candice LeRae (****)
- Finn Balor vs. Damian Priest (***1/4)
- Keith Lee [c] vs. Johnny Gargano for the NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP (***)
- BACKLOT BRAWL: Adam Cole [c] vs. The Velveteen Dream for the NXT CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/2)
- Tommaso Ciampa vs. Karrion Kross (***)
- Charlotte Flair [c] vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai for the NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (****1/4)
–Todd Pettengill welcomes the home audience and goes over tonight’s big matches via video package straight out of 1995. They even did the “revolutionary force in sports entertainment” opener with the NXT logo. I AM INTO IT.
-Opening live performance from Code Orange on the entrance stage, which HAS A VERSION OF THE OLD HOUSE SET UP YESSSS. I thought the male singer was Damian Priest but people on Twitter are saying it isn’t? Nahhh
Shotzi Blackheart, Tegan Nox, & Mia Yim vs. Dakota Kai, Raquel Gonzalez, & Candice LeRae
Yim and LeRae slated to start, LeRae tags out to Gonzalez instead. Gonzalez throws Yim and easily breaks out of a waistlock. Yim with a pair of chops and guillotine choke, Gonzalez counters into a suplex throw. Nox tags in and goes after the larger Gonzalez’s legs but gets dropped with a shoulderblock. Kai tags in, Nox dodges a PK and rolls her up for a two-count. Nox catches a kick and connects with a forearm, Kai rolls her up for the 1…2…Nox kicks out. Roll-up by Nox, counter by Kai, skulls crack into one another. Nox with an inverted cannonball in the corner and covers for the 1…2…Kai kicks out. Blackheart tags in and drives Kai’s face into the mat. Blackheart eats a Scorpion kick from Kai and Kai covers for a two-count. LeRae tags in, misses a senton and gets dropped with a kick by Blackheart that sends her to the floor. Gonzalez helps LeRae up, Blackheart tries a tope suicida but gets caught and thrown by Gonzalez. Splash from Yim, springboard plancha by LeRae, Nox with a senton on all five ladies. ROCK AND ROLL.
Back in the ring Blackheart hits a meteora followed by a splash against the middle rope on LeRae, covering for the 1…2…kickout. Blackheart ducks a kick and locks in Cattle Mutilation until Kai breaks it up with a kick to the ribs. This fake crowd is helping SO MUCH. Gonzalez runs in and clotheslines Blackheart, LeRae covers for the 1…2…not yet. Heel trio continue working Blackheart over, Gonzalez stomping her down and distracting the ref so Kai can cheap shot. Kai misses a Yakuza kick in the corner, LeRae quickly tags in but trash talks too long allowing Yim to tag in and get her hands on her hated rival. Yim with a Dragon Suplex, bridging for the 1…2…kickout. Yim belts Gonzalez in the jaw with a forearm, LeRae counters Soul Food with a suplex. Nox and Gonzalez tag in for their respective teams, Nox with a series of body jabs. Gonzalez catches a crossbody attempt, Nox lands on her feet in a fallaway attempt, Gonzalez counters headscissors with a power bomb for the 1…2…Yim breaks it up. Yim and LeRae brawl into “the garage” and vanish, Kai tags in and accidentally belts Gonzalez with a kick. Nox chokeslams Kai, Blackheart clears Gonzalez out, Nox with the SHINIEST Wizard on Kai for the 1…2…3.
Shotzi Blackheart, Tegan Nox, & Mia Yim defeated Dakota Kai, Raquel Gonzalez, & Candice LeRae (9:51)
- Tremendous opening contest, didn’t take even a SECOND to breathe but in a good way. Dug every second, even through the chaos. I love that Shotzi found her way into NXT, she f*cking rules. (****)
-PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATION PAID FOR BY THE FOLLOWING: WWE Ice Cream Sandwiches, available now from Good Humor. Not anywhere in Texas though apparently 🙁
-Belt mutants get money off replica titles at WWEShop tonight.
-FEUD RECAP: Balor vs. Priest
Finn Balor vs. Damian Priest
Balor hits Priest with a corner dropkick before the bell. Priest reverses a corner Irish whip, Balor dodges a splash and chops him down, working over the left leg and Priest bails to the floor. Balor belts Priest with a running forearm, Priest sends him into the ring steps. Priest drops Balor on the apron, breaks the count, then sets up one half of the stairs, using it to launch Balor onto the apron with a jumping backbreaker. Back in the ring Priest drops Balor with a stiff forearm. Balor kicks Priest and charges, Priest counters with a flatliner and goes into ground & pound. Chinlock time after a near fall. Balor ducks a right hand and connects with a flying forearm followed by a corner chop. Priest goes for a suplex, Balor counters with one of his own and Priest rolls to the apron. Balor dropkicks him to the floor and goes a stompin’. Balor gets a running start, Priest rolls in and hits a lariat. Balor escapes a Razor’s Edge so Priest hits a Broken Arrow instead. Balor sweeps the legs and hits a double stomp, both men are down.
Priest hits a series of knees followed by a rolling strike and kick, Balor hits a Pele kick on the way down for the 1…2…Priest kicks out. Priest goozles Balor, Balor counters with a victory roll for the 1…2…Priest kicks out and gets clotheslined to the floor. Priest lands on his feet and hops the apron, catching Balor with a kick and sending him into the guardrail. Priest picks Balor up, Razor’s Edge on the apron! Priest rolls him in and covers for the 1…2…Balor gets the shoulder up. Priest with a leaping elbow in the corner followed by another. Balor counters a third with a Sling Blade, Priest with a pair of 360 roundhouse kicks but Balor fights back and dropkicks him into the corner. Balor to the top, Priest goozles him and climbs the middle buckle, AVALANCHE SIT-OUT CHOKESLAM, Priest gets his arm across Balor for the 1…2…NOT YET. Priest brings Balor to the apron, Balor fights back with rights but gets stunned with a kick. Balor escapes a Razor’s Edge and sends Priest BOUNCING OFF THE STEPS AND TO THE FLOOR. Jeeeeesus. Priest manages to beat the count, Balor with a Coup de Grace to the back of the head followed by the real Coup de Grace for the 1…2…3.
Finn Balor defeated Damian Priest via pinfall (13:08)
- Hard-hitting match, Priest’s ring step bump was NASTAY. Goddamn. I still don’t know what Damian Priest is supposed to be in NXT. FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU DO, CHUNKY. (***1/4)
-PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATION PAID FOR BY THE FOLLOWING: Adam Cole hypes up ICOPRO. Amazing.
-FEUD RECAP: Lee vs. Gargano
–Johnny Gargano stops at a picture of Dok Hendrix and turns the thermostat to 69 in his honor. NICE.
Keith Lee [c] vs. Johnny Gargano for the NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Gargano grabs a side headlock, Lee throws him off with ease. Both men dodge and counter, Gargano bails to the corner with Arn Anderson-level fear in his eyes. Gargano charges, Lee easily drops him. Gargano runs back in and dropkicks Lee when he tries to get back in; Lee catches a tope suicida. Gargano gets to the apron and connects with a kick, Lee catches a cannonball but Gargano goes after the injured eye of Lee. Gargano misses a kick, hitting the steps, Lee stares him down and sends Gargano bouncing off the apron. Gargano rolls in, Lee pulls him back out and connects with a forearm. Gargano tries to escape through the “door” of the IYH set, Lee rams his head against it and connects with a double chop, as seen by the security camera. Back in the ring Gargano connects with a series of rights, focusing on the eye and then the injured fingers (from a previous attack). Lee flings him off and connects with a left hand but that’s the injured one and he screams in pain. This allows Gargano to recover and connect with an enzuigiri and a series of lefts. Gargano steps on the hand while grinding at the injured eye, 2 birds 1 stone. Lee flings Gargano off again, he comes running back with a kick and once again grinds at the eye. Gargano removes the bottom buckle strut cover and bends the fingers across it, Lee screaming in pain.
Gargano applies a sort-of cobra clutch, putting Lee’s forearm across his eye. Lee gets to one knee, Gargano drives an elbow to the face followed by springboard stomps and an elbow for the 1…2…Lee kicks out. Lee grabs a wrist with the healthy hand and drops Gargano with a series of forearms but misses a splash, Gargano misses a spear and Lee bends him in half with a backbreaker for the 1…2…not yet. Gargano escapes under Lee’s legs and connects with a series of forearms, Lee drops him with ONE forearm. Gargano with more strikes, goes back down thanks another forearm. Gargano counters a pop-up into a hanging armbar, Lee lifts him up but gets his fingers bent again and we’re back in the armbar. Lee finally slams him off, Gargano with a series of clotheslines but gets turned inside out by one from Lee for the 1…2…Gargano kicks out. Lee picks Gargano up, joint manipulation and heel strikes and Gargano rolls him up for the 1…2…Lee kicks out. Gargano with a superkick, Lee with a headbutt, Gargano counters a slam with a roll-up for the 1…2…champ kicks out. Superkick from Gargano, Lee with a pop-up slam, Gargano rolls to the floor to prevent getting pinned.
Lee to the floor, Gargano with a tope into a DDT on the IYH logo sticker. Gargano breaks the count to prevent the end of the match, rolls back out and gets POOOOOOUNCED through the guardrail/plexiglass. EVERYBODY SCATTER. Lee picks Gargano up and takes the long way back to the ring. Candice LeRae shows up to distract Lee, Mia Yim shows up and start brawling in and around the ring. Gargano pulls out a key from his trunks and DIGS IT INTO LEE’S EYE followed by a slingshot DDT for the 1…2…LEE KICKS OUT. Gargano with a superkick for the 1…2…Lee kicks out again! Gargano with ANOTHER superkick for the 1…2…Lee continues kicking out! Gargano stands on Lee’s hand, Lee lifts him up and eats a SPIRIT BOMB. Lee with that fighting spirit and a power bomb and the BIG BANG CATASTROPHE for the 1…2…3.
Keith Lee [c] defeated Johnny Gargano via pinfall to retain the NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP (20:36)
- I like moments of this, from the Pounce through the plexiglass to Gargano focusing his offense on the two parts of Lee’s body that he injured before the PPV, but this draaaaaagged. Should have been five minutes shorter. Good win for Lee regardless. (***)
-FEUD RECAP: Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream. Highlights of Cole’s record-setting reign as NXT Champion.
Adam Cole [c] vs. The Velveteen Dream for the NXT CHAMPIONSHIP
Looks like we’re getting NXT’s take on “cinematic wrestling” or whatever we’re calling it. Cole arrives in a souped up Undisputed Era truck. The “backlot” has a wrestling surrounded by people in cars. Dream arrives in a yellow Lamborghini looking like Negan from The Walking Dead. Referee Drake Younger says he’s only here to declare a victor.
No bell. Cole charges, Dream rolls him up for a two-count. Dream with a backslide for a two-count. Oklahoma Roll for a two-count, Cole rolls out and back in to see he can connect with a pump kick. Ground and pound, Cole takes the NXT Championship and gets in a different car to leave. Dream grabs the bat and starts breaking the car with it, yelling at him to get out. Cole and Dream brawl, a black car pulls up and a lady asks if someone called for an Uber. They use the van, lady drives off terrified. Cole tries to escape through some doors, but they’re in a backlot so they’re only for show. Dream misses a trash can shot, Cole begs off and throws Dream into a parking meter. Cole continues looking for an escape, Dream grabs another trash can and throws it as Cole has disappeared. Dream opens a door and Cole sprays him with a fire extinguisher. Cole belts Dream with a European uppercut and calls him stupid for not quitting. Dream rebounds, hitting a double axhandle from the apron, and he rolls him in for a pinfall but Cole escapes. Cole wants a time-out, Dream launches off the top and gets dropped with a superkick. Cole launches off the apron, Dream hits a superkick of his own.
Dream slams Cole on the hood of the silver car and grabs a ladder FROM OUTTA NOWHERE. He sets it up and climbs but is distracted by the honking of a new car. Out come Roderick Strong & Bobby Fish to cheer their main man on. Cole climbs the ladder, Dream shoves him off and through the windshield of the crowd, his arm bleeding. Strong & Fish attack Dream (which they should have done in the first place tbh) and throw a whole lot of chairs in the ring from the UE truck bed. Suddenly Dexter Lumis shows up from under the ring, attacking Fish and Strong with a chair. Lumis puts Strong and Fish in the trunk of the white car and drives off, probably to MURDER THEM. Somebody wanna call the cops? No? Okay fair enough.
Back to the action Cole goes for Panama Sunrise, Dream counters with the Dream Valley Driver for the 1…2…Cole kicks out. Cole sets up a chair to get to his feet as Dream climbs to the top, Cole sits down and Dream hits a Purple Rainmaker-ish for the 1…2…COLE KICKS OUT. Dream talks trash, Cole with a low-blow and a Panama Sunrise on the pile of chairs for the 1…2…3!
Adam Cole [c] defeated The Velveteen Dream via pinfall to retain the NXT CHAMPIONSHIP (14:58 or so)
- With NXT being the “wrestling” brand I shouldn’t have been surprised that their take on cinematic wrestling would have been an actual match. Respect. I liked this a lot more than I expected, especially Dexter Lumis showing up to be a babyface…serial killer I guess? He’s got the creep look down. Cole retaining made sense given the placement on the show as well as the fact that ending a record reign in a goofy gimmick match would’ve been an awful idea. (***1/2)
–Todd Pettengill shills some merchandise and is confused that 900 numbers no longer exist. He then takes to DX (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, & Road Dogg) who are trying to figure out how to use a computer for the AOL chatroom. GODDAMMIT I LOVE THIS.
-FEUD RECAP: Ciampa vs. Kross
–Karrion Kross and Scarlett make their entrance for the next match. Yup still as lame as the first time I saw it.
Tomasso Ciampa vs. Karrion Kross [w/ Scarlett]
Ciampa attacks Kross, Kross no sells it and sends him to the floor. Ciampa sends Kross into the ring steps and tries for a Willow’s Bell, but Kross picks him up to avoid it. Kross blocks strikes but eats a chop, Ciampa ducks a punch and connects with a running kick. Kross pops back up and shoves Ciampa back to the floor, dropping him shoulder blades-first across the edge of the apron. Kross with another suplex (Ranallo saying “soo-play” Solie-style which RULES) followed by a T-bone suplex. Kross connects with rapid-fire knees in the corner, Ranallo references the UWFi in regards to his offensive style. What a nerd. Kross PUTS HIS HANDS BEHIND HIS BACK to goad him, then hits a Northern Lights suplex followed by a clothesline. Hell yeah. Ciampa connects with a series of slaps followed by a step-up enzuigiri and a running kick that sends him to the floor. Kross climbs the apron, Ciampa with Widow’s Bell for the 1…2…kickout. Ciampa with a knee trembler, Kross counters the Fairy Tale Ending with a fireman’s throw. Kross picks Ciampa up and puts in the Kross Jacket for the knockout.
Karrion Kross defeated Tommaso Ciampa via knockout (6:15)
- A dominant win over one of the NXT’s biggest-ever stars. Dorky entrance aside Kross looked like, well, a Killer here. Can’t wait to see what he does going forward. (***)
-Code Orange has stuck around to watch the show, the female lead trying to look as TOUGH as possible. Metal folks are so dorky.
-A disheveled Robert Stone is shown, still smarting over the loss of Chelsea Green as his client.
-FEUD RECAP: Flair vs. Ripley vs. Shirai
Charlotte Flair [c] vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai for the NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
This is the first time the women of NXT have headlined a TakeOver in I think five years or something absurd. Took ‘em long enough, damn. This is the best choice too, I got high hopes for this one. Ripley and Shirai are a joy to watch and Flair rocks when she has the right opponents which she does.
Flair bails from the ring, content to let her challengers battle it out first. Ripley throws Shirai down, Flair attacks them from behind, stomping Ripley in the corner. Shirai gets involved, countering a slam with an inverted X-Factor. She charges at Ripley who hits her with a big boot, Flair hits Ripley with a neckbreaker and turns a crossbody from Shirai into a fallaway slam, kipping up to add insult to injury. Flair makes with the chops but takes too long to trash talk, leaving her open to a double team from Ripley and Shirai. Ripley headbutts Shirai and clubs Flair down with forearms. Flair flips over the buckles, Ripley pulls her off the apron but misses a cannonball and gets sent into the plexiglass. Shirai surprises Flair with a hurricanrana from the apron, but gets sent into the post and into Ripley after Flair recovers quickly.
Flair and Shirai move back into the ring, Shirai flips out of a suplex attempt but her dropkick is countered into a Walls of Jericho into a Lion Tamer. Shirai kicks Flair off, Ripley drops the champ with a pair of clotheslines and knee strikes. Ripley hits a basement dropkick, Shirai hits Ripley with a leaping something or another. 619 to Flair and a victory roll into a double stomp and basement dropkick for the 1…2…Flair kicks out. Ripley and Shirai knock each other down with strikes and all three women are down, Flair on the floor. Flair with a double clothesline, covering Shirai for the 1…2…kickout, cover to Ripley for the 1…2…not yet. Flair gets them in position and heads to the top, Ripley counters the moonsault with a pair of knees, Shirai rolls her up for the 1…2…Ripley pulls her off but the Riptide is countered with a crossbody, Shirai with a crossface on Flair. Ripley breaks it with a kick, Flair boots her down and covers for the 1…2…Ripley kicks out. Shirai with shotgun knees in the corner to Ripley, Flair catches Shirai with Natural Selection for the 1…2…Shirai kicks out!
Shirai with a crucifix for the 1…2…Flair kicks out and locks in a Figure Four. Ripley pulls her off before it can be a Figure Eight and they brawl on the floor. Shirai catches Ripley with a crossbody through the ropes, Flair hits her with a running forearm and throws her “through the window” of the IYH set. Ripley and Flair beat the sh*t out of each other, Shirai CLIMBS THE HOUSE and flattens them both with a crossbody. “HOLY SH*T” chant from the fake crowd. Shirai rolls Flair in and heads to the top, Ripley runs over and belts her with a goddamn potato of a right hand. Flair goes for a spear, Ripley dodges and goes nose-first into the middle buckle. I could’ve sworn I heard the crunch of her nose breaking. Ripley goes for a superplex, Shirai blocks it and goes for a Frankensteiner but Ripley stops it and Flair kicks her in the guts. Flair chops the seated Ripley repeatedly, Ripley fights back and hits an AVALANCHE RIPTIDE for the 1…2…Shirai breaks it up just in time. Shirai ducks a kick and hits a palm strike, Ripley counters a kasadora (casadora?) with a Prism Trap, Flair breaks it up with a kendo stick. Flair spears Ripley, Figure Four into the FIGURE EIGHT, Shirai comes off the top with a moonsault that pretty much misses (mostly hits Ripley in the back of the neck?) for the 1…2…3!
Io Shirai defeated Charlotte Flair [c] and Rhea Ripley to win the NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (17:36)
- This match was f*cking fire up until Shirai’s final moonsault which looked like it hit absolutely nothing. That was unfortunate, but that doesn’t take away from the physicality and excellence that preceded it. Great stuff here, I’m glad they went on last and I’m glad Io Shirai is finally getting a run with the Women’s Title because she’s a goddamn queen. (****1/4)
After a replay of the big moments we cut to Shirai celebrating her win covered in confetti and streamers.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The nostalgia aspect drew me in but the wrestling kept me watching. Tremendous sprint of a PPV, with the women of NXT bookending it with the two best matches on the card. Your mileage may vary on the Backlot Brawl but I found it entertaining and I respect NXT putting its own spin on all that cinematic stuff WWE has been doing. Only match I didn’t really care for was Lee/Gargano but even that didn’t suck, it just dragged on for way too long. Easy recommendation for this one, probably the best empty arena Covid show I’ve sat through.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: DX tries to figure out how to use a COM-PEW-TOR