WWE NXT Review: Amin’s review on Io Shirai & Rhea Ripley vs. Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez


Wednesday August 26, 2020
Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL


The show opened with a highlight package recapping the results from NXT TakeOver: XXX 

NXT Champion Karrion Kross and Scarlett came out to start the show. Kross shoulder was in a sling after suffering a shoulder injury during his match against Keith Lee. Kross mentioned he told everyone that he would be NXT Champion. Kross noted he kept his word and won the NXT Title. Kross noted he’s in pain but mentioned he likes it. Kross mentioned his shoulder was separated. Kross mentioned there was no way they would allow him to defend the NXT Title in the condition he’s in. Kross noted these are obstacles but for him these obstacles are the path. Scarlett handed the NXT Title to Kross who placed the title on the mat. Scarlett placed the hourglass behind the title. Kross noted these changes mean nothing and are just obstacles in his path. 

(Amin’s Analysis: This was expected a bummer to start a show as Kross has been presented as a superstar and has been so fun to watch since debuting on NXT. Speedy recovery to Kross and hope he comes back soon. After Adam Cole’s historic run the NXT Title has been moved around in a game like hot potato from Lee to Kross. Let’s see how NXT handles this hurdle what kind of creative they come with to crown a new champion.) 

Vic Joseph was on commentary as he introduced special guest commentator Wade Barrett who was terrific on the show and would be great if this leads to a potential return back to WWE.

NXT Tag Team Championship Match – Imperium (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel) vs. Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango)

Barthel took control early delivering a Butterfly Suplex to Breeze. Barthel went to leap off the turnbuckle but Breeze caught him with a Beauty Shot for a two count. Fandango delivered a flying leg drop too Aichner. Barthel pulled Aichner to the floor. Fandango delivered a Somersault Plancha to Aichner on the floor. Barthel appeared and nailed Fandango with a running European Uppercut as Aichner followed with a German Suplex. 

Aichner delivered a rolling fireman’s carry to Fandango and followed with a Moonsault but Breeze made the save. Aichner and Barthel delivered a Spinebuster/PK combo to Fandango. Barthel followed with an Air Raid Crash but Fandango kicked out at two. Imperium went for a combination double sliding dropkick but Fandango moved out of the way. 

Breeze got a hot tag as he welcomed both Aichner and Barthel to the Superkick Party. Fandango made the tag as he climbed the turnbuckle and delivered a Flying Leg Drop to both Aichner and Barthel. Fandango pinned Aichner as the referee counted 1,2,3 as Breezango won the NXT Tag Team Titles. 

WINNERS: Tyler Breeze & Fandango won the NXT Tag Team Titles 

(Amin’s Analysis: This is the first championship win for both Breeze and Fandango in their WWE careers. A nice moment for them as they have come from being a comedy tag team on SmackDown to showing they can wrestle good matches to winning tag titles in NXT. Overall, a solid match as everyone worked hard.)

–Backstage, McKenzie Mitchelle was about to interview the new NXT North American Champion Damian Priest who noted the party is still going on in his hot tub. Timothy Thatcher appeared and noted Priest was acting embarrassingly as champion. Priest took a drink from his bottle of champagne and noted he’s looks pretty well equipped. Priest left as Thatcher snarled.

Triple H, William Regal, Matt Bloom and Shawn Michaels were shown in an NXT board room. 

Tommaso Ciampa vs. Jake Atlas 

Ciampa came out spotting a leather jacket and a very cool mask. The match began as Ciampa took control delivering strikes to Atlas in the corner. Ciampa delivered a head butt and followed with stomps in the corner. Ciampa followed by delivering Willow’s Bell (Draping DDT) to Atlas for the 1,2,3. 

WINNER: Tommaso Ciampa 

The big angle came after the match as Ciampa continued his attack on Atlas as he nailed him with a running knee. Ciampa draped Atlas against the ring bars. WWE officials came out to place Atlas on a stretcher as Ciampa sat on the ring apron and watched. Atlas was laying on the stretcher as Ciampa left the ring apron and delivered a Draping DDT on the floor. 

(Amin’s Analysis: Wow! What a return for Ciampa. I was thinking they would be telling the redemption story of him coming back from his loss to Kross at TakeOver: In Your House. Looks like that ain’t happening as Heel Ciampa is back, which I’m totally fine with as he did some of his best work as the heel NXT Champion.)

Highlight package aired on Candice LeRae speaking about her friendship with Tegan Nox. LeRae noted Nox doesn’t get her anymore and asked where she was when she needed someone. LeRae noted she’s on the right path now and Tegan can get there too if she wants too. LeRae noted if Tegan doesn’t want to go on that path, she should stay out of her way. LeRae was great here and has really clicked since her new character change.

Bronson Reed was interviewed backstage as Austin Theory returned to NXT. Theory spoke about Reed’s long climb up the ladder to TakeOver: while he took the short climb to compete in his first WrestleMania match. Theory told Reed if he works hard he might make it at 55? Reed said 55 and then slapped Theory right across his face. Reed left as Theory smiled. 

Robert Stone came out with Aliyah who was going to have a match with Mia Yim. However, that didn’t happen (which I’m not complaining about) as we got to see Shotzi Blackheart run over Stone’s foot with her tank. Shotzi took Aliyah’s spot in the match with Yim. 

Shotzi Blackheart vs. Mia Yim

Shotzi delivered a jumping leg drop but Yim responded with a head scissors. Shotzi delivered a Dragon Hurricanrana for a two count. Yim delivered a Dragon Screw against the ropes and then placed Shotzi in a Bow-and-Arrow. Shotzi made a comeback as she planted Yim with a reverse Slingblade and followed with a Question Mark Kick. 

Shotzi delivered a Saito Suplex but Yim kicked out. Shotzi charged but Yim countered with Dragon Suplex coming off the ropes. Yim went for a missile dropkick but Shotzi moved and delivered a back senton. Shotzi followed by delivered a Super Senton Splash for the 1,2,3. 

WINNER: Shotzi Blackheart 

(Amin’s Analysis: A solid back-and-forth match which had some nice sequences leading to the finish. Yes, Yim looses quite a bit on NXT TV but is still an established star. So this came off a big win for Shotzi who’s a talented wrestler and has a very strong character and too me she standout to next to my favourite Io Shirai.) 


Backstage, Dakota Kai told Rhea Ripley she’s should’ve have stayed out of her business at TakeOver: XXX and noted she wasn’t worried because Io Shirai and Ripley won’t be able to get along. Raquel Gonzalez noted Ripley would regret getting in her face. 

NXT General Manager William Regal came out next and put over the NXT Championship Match between Lee and Kross at TakeOver: XXX. Regal put over Kross’s battling through his shoulder injury to win the NXT Title. Regal wished Kross a speedy recovery in his long journey. Regal noted they come up with a solution for the NXT Title and on a special edition of NXT on Tuesday, Adam Cole will face Finn Balor, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa in a Fatal-4-Way Match. Regal called next week’s episode “Super Tuesday” and noted it won’t just be a Fatal-4-Way Match. It will be a 60 Minute Fatal-4-Way Iron Man Match for the vacant NXT Championship. Wade Barrett noted he’s coming back for commentary next week because he doesn’t want to miss this match. 

(Amin’s Analysis: Wow! What an announcement from Regal. I liked the participants featuring four amazing wrestlers and former NXT Champions. The match announcement was good too as it adds more stakes to the NXT Championship match. The match should be excellent and would like to see it have either no commercial breaks (Which would be hard on TV) or have limited breaks like the NXT Great American Bash specials. Ciampa looked great in his return so he could be the game changer. Cole just had an history NXT Champion run so I don’t think he will win but wouldn’t mind seeing it happens if it leads to him turning babyface. Gargano has clicked since turning heel but don’t think this is the match for him to win the title. Balor’s NXT run has been very good but not great as he’s presented as a top star and having great matches. Something seems to be missing, and another run as NXT Champion is his current role would put him back on track as the top star on the brand.)

NXT Cruiserweight Championship Match – Santos Escobar vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott

Scott delivered a backdrop driver but Escobar maintained control of his side headlock. Scott responded by delivering a handstand head scissors and followed with a vertical suplex for a near fall. Scott went for an armbar but Escobar rolled to the floor. Scott was standing on the ring apron but Escobar responded by tossing him into Plexiglas. Scott delivered a running double knees in the corner for a two count. 

They battled for position on the turnbuckle as Scott went for a Flying Hurricanrana but Escobar countered with a Flying Powerbomb for a two count. Scott fired up by delivering  a flying European elbow and followed with a Fosbury Flop to Escobar to the floor. Scott connected with a rolling flatliner but Escobar kicked out at two. Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza came out as Escobar delivered a jumping enzuigiri for a two count. 

Breeze and Fandango came out as they brawled with Mendoza and Wilde to the back. Scott delivered a bridging German Suplex but Escobar kicked out. Scott connected with House Call but Escobar kicked out. Scott connected with the JML Driver but Escobar grabbed the ropes to force a break. Escobar rolled to the floor and wore his mask. Escobar delivered a head butt to Scott for the 1,2,3. 

WINNER: Santos Escobar retained the NXT Cruiserweight Title 

(Amin’s AnalysisA very good match with some great near falls leading to the finish. The appearance from Breeze and Fandango to lead Mendoza and Wilde way was a great way to tease Scott winning the title. However, that didn’t happen as I liked the finish as it was unique and should lead to a rematch.)

Johnny Gargano had a backstage promo noting he’s always been the Iron Man of NXT and next week he will prove it. 

Finn Balor spoke about how life comes at you full circle in this business. Balor spoke about the four cornerstones being in this NXT Championship Match. Balor noted he’s not a cornerstone but the centrepiece. Balor said he will prove it when he becomes NXT Champion. 

Kyle O’Reilly (w/Bobby Fish & Roderick Strong) vs. Killian Dain

Maverick fired up delivering strikes to O’Reilly as the match began. Maverick climbed the turnbuckle and delivered a flying Swanton Bomb to Fish and Strong on the floor. Maverick delivered a bulldog to O’Reilly and followed with a back senton. Maverick went for Sliced Bread but O’Reilly countered into the heel hook and got the submission win. 

Winner: Kyle O’Reilly 

After the match, Fish and Strong attacked Maverick as it looked liked O’Reilly wanted them to hold back. Fish and Strong left the ring and grabbed chairs. They entered the ring but Killian Dain came out. O’Reilly left the ring as Dain attacked Strong with a chair. Maverick thanked Dain for the help. Dain responded by attacking Maverick. 

(Amin’s Analysis: This was a fun match as Maverick showed great fire in the babyface roles. O’Reilly was terrific here and is one of the best wrestlers on the NXT brand as it was nice to see him in a single’s match. This was interesting to watch as the show is top heavy with heels. Undisputed Era are clearly ready for a babyface run on NXT. I wonder if Cole turns babyface will UE join them?) 

Backstage, Ripley noted she didn’t save Shirai but wanted to let her know she wants a chance at the NXT Women’s Title. Ripley noted if Gonzalez want her to get out of her way, she will have to make her. 

Adam Cole was shown pacing backstage as he spoke about being the Iron Man during his NXT Championship run. Cole noted being NXT Champion twice would be a whole different ballgame. 

NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai & Rhea Ripley vs. Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez

My favourite Io Shirai came out first as her entrance is so much more amazing and makes me smile seeing her as NXT Women’s Champion. Rhea Ripley came out next. Dakota Kai and Raquel Gongalez came out as a team together. 

Gonzalez and Ripley tied up as they battled for position. Shirai tagged in as she delivered a flying Hurricanrana sending Gonzalez to the floor. Shirai went for a palm strike but Kai moved out of the way. Shirai kicked Kai off the ring apron as Gonzalez caught her. Shirai delivered a double stomp to Kai as Ripley tagged in. Kai applied a rollup but Ripley kicked out. 

Ripley caught Gonzlez with a high kick as Shirai tagged in and delivered a flapjack to Kai. Shirai delivered a Bullet Train Knee to Gonzalez and followed with a Tiger Feint Kick to Kai. Shirai delivered a beautiful Springboard Missile Kick but Kai kicked out. Kai went for the Kai-Ro-Proctor but Shirai countered by nailing her with a Kamigoye Knee Strike. Shirai delivered bridging German Suplex to Kai but Gonzlez made the save

Gonzalez and Kai delivered a running boot/Powerslam but Shirai kicked out. Mercedes Martinez came out and planted Ripley on the ring steps. Gonzalez delivered a Spinning Slam but couldn’t keep Shirai away. Ripley made is back to her corner and made a tag. Gonzalez tagged in and nailed Ripley with a running boot. Gonzalez planted Ripley with a One-Handed Powerbomb for the 1,2,3. 

WINNERS: Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez 

(Amin’s Analysis: Lots of good action as everyone worked hard in a fun main event. I didn’t mind the finish at all as Mercedes Martinez and Rhea Ripley can have they’re match. I also liked how Gonzalez pinned Ripley and with the win they could set up a title match without pinning Shirai who’s the champion. Now, I just want to speak about Io Shirai who’s my favourite. She won the NXT Women’s Title in the main event of TakeOver: In Your House. Shirai main event night one of the Great American Bash special against Sasha Banks. Shirai had her first successful NXT Women’s Title defence against Tegan Nox which was another main event match. She successfully defended her NXT Women‘s Title against Dakota Kai at TakeOver: XXX and was in the main event this week as well. Always fun watching Io Shirai perform as she will always be my favourite.) 

OVERALL THOUGHTS: A very newsworthy episode of NXT following TakeOver: XXX as there were lots of solid wrestling matches on the show. The big announcement was Kross having to vacant the NXT Title which is a bummer and hope he has a speedy recovery and comes back soon. New champions were crowned on the show and Ciampa’s return was very strong. The other big announcement was 60 Minute Fatal-4-Way Iron Man Match for the vacant NXT Title. I look forward to see how they pull this match off. I look forward to next week’s show. Overall, a thumbs up show. 

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