COOL POINTS: nXt’s Great American Bash July 1st and 8th, 2020
Welcome to the Cool Points.
Another two week review here because nXt did a new thing! They presented their first special weekly show under the old WCW & WWE moniker, The Great American Bash. Spread over two nights, nXt’s positioning of this themed show right around America’s Independence Day is certainly appropriate, but was it also to counter AEW’s Fyter Fest? Read on for analysis on the matches and feuds, and possible directions for the wrestlers moving forward.
nXt Women’s Championship Picture
#1 Contender’s Fatal Four-Way Elimination Match: Tegan Nox vs. Dakota Kai vs. Mia Yim vs. Candice LeRae, July 1st
Yim eliminates LeRae first, following two superkicks in the corner and a double team effort from Nox and Yim.
Gotta say, Yim led much of the offense in this one. Hitting a tope on Nox on one side of the ring and Kai on the opposite side popped Ranallo and was a highlight of the match. A shame that Kai was able to eliminate her with a back bridge pin.
That left rivals Kai and Nox, fighting for the #1 contendership. Neither woman has faced Shirai in singles competition on nXt TV, but Kai did tag with her against Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke back in December 2018. Wonder what’s going on with those two…
In the final few minutes, Nox is the one who outpowers Kai, kicking out of the Kai-ropractor and hitting her with one Shiniest Wizard to get the victory. That evens their record of singles matches at 2 a piece and gives Nox a title shot against Io Shirai in the near future.
Yim with 2 cool points for all the good work she did in eliminating LeRae and then leading a flurry of offense that saw her diving from the ring, one side on Nox and one side on Kai. Great energy there. A shame she lost.
Kai gets 1 cool point for her timely back bridge pin to eliminate Yim. She’s been stealthy in her attacks on the women of nXt, often hitting them from behind and this match was no different.
2 cool points for the eventual winner, Tegan Nox. Not only does she get the #1 contendership but she beats her rival, Kai, to get it. That’s poetry in action. She’ll be a good opponent for Shirai, but I don’t think we’ll see a title change.
nXt Women’s Division
Street Fight: Candice LeRae vs. Mia Yim, July 8th
Gotta love the kendo sticks to start the match. Amazing how those continue to be a part of extreme matches 21 years after their peak in the Attitude Era.
I like seeing this match go into the back as the two fight in a catering area.
LeRae rolls Yim back into the PC, on to a production platform and sprays Yim with a fire extinguisher.
LeRae grabs a chair and shoves it into Yim’s ribs. Then she chucks a bunch more chairs into the ring. I wonder who’s going into those?!
Yim with a trash can kick on to LeRae’s head in the corner! Cannonball and a 2 count.
Brass knuckles! Nice, Yim. But she doesn’t get to use them. LeRae manages to grab them and hits Yim.
Super swinging neckbreaker from the top rope…ON TO the pile of chairs!
LeRae with the cover and she wins.
3 cool points for Candice LeRae. Sheesh. She let loose in this one and did a great job with various weapons to weaken Yim for the win at the end. The finish is certainly worth the price of admission. Smart play stealing the brass knuckles and using Yim’s own tool against her.
2 cool points for Yim but just barely. She had a big moment when she dropkicked LeRae from the production platform on to the broken table but, otherwise, didn’t contribute much noteworthy cuts, bruises or scrapes-wise on LeRae.
This might be the end of the feud. I don’t see how Yim can get LeRae to agree to another match after LeRae decisively won this one.
Rhea Ripley def. Aliyah & Robert Stone, July 1st
1 cool point for Ripley. The double suplex on Aliyah and Stone was a turning point in this one, as the former took too long to organize their own suplex. She coped well with Aliyah’s awkward moments, adjusting her offense accordingly, and won the match with the rare double submission via Prism Trap.
1 cool point for Stone’s comic outfit, wearing boxing trunks, mouthguard and goggles for this match. He played the buffoon very well and Aliyah worked off of that well.
1 cool point for Aliyah. She doesn’t get many opportunities like this to prove herself against a top-tier opponent. She did well enough, executing a balanced attack of aerial, submission and suplex moves.
This was more of a comedy match. Ripley appeared to be having fun though, which helps the fans engage and see more of her personality.
Aliyah & Robert Stone Backstage Interview, July 8th
The comedy continued this week with Killian Dain attacking Stone during the interview.
Then, to conclude the segment, Shotzi Blackheart drove over Stone’s ankle with her mini tank. Hijinks.
Io Shirai (c) vs. Sasha Banks (TTc), July 1st Non-Title Main Event
Bayley distracted Shirai on the turnbuckle with Banks with the car horn! That’s clutch ringside assistance from Bayley.
Banks goes to the double knees move a few times early in the match, getting close to the pinfall both times.
Huge frankensteiner by Shirai on Banks. Shirai follows it up well with clotheslines and then the Tiger Feint Kick. Springboard dropkick for a 2 count. Super sequence there.
Awkward German suplex by Shirai where Banks flips right on to her feet, but she bounces back with a Banks Statement submission attempt.
Shirai in the tree of woe. Banks taunts and trash talks her and the nXt audience. Shirai evades the front dropkick from Banks, misses her moonsault attempt and takes a Meteora for a 2 ½ count!
Banks drills Shirai, shoulders-first, into the plexi-glass at ringside. Misses the Frog Splash though and Shirai cinches in the Crossface submission!
Would’ve been huge oohs and aahs when WWE Raw Women’s Champion Asuka appeared at ringside to spray green mist in Banks’ eyes. That’s our turning point, which allows Shirai to hit the Moonsault for the win.
2 cool points for Io Shirai, and she shares 1 of those with Asuka for that huge assist in getting the victory. She had two stand-out offensive sequences in this match that are worth revisiting. A win over Sasha Banks is a big deal and it should put a little pep in Shirai’s steps.
2 cool points for Sasha Banks who must have really enjoyed the return to singles competition on nXt TV. She looked like a million bucks coming in with Bayley in the car, and showed good aggression with the trash talking and slamming of Shirai into the plexi-glass. It’d be easy to slot her in on this roster for more regular matches.
nXt Tag Team Division
NO TAG MATCHES DURING GAB
There was one 6-man tag between Breezango and Drake Maverick vs. Legado del Fantasma.
I fell asleep during it and have nothing to report on it.
Seems a shame that the tag division has been reduced to vapors right now.
That’s gotta be intentional due to Covid-19, that they just don’t want that many bodies in the ring, right?
nXt Men’s Division
Timothy Thatcher def. Oney Lorcan, July 1st
2 cool points for Lorcan. Great seeing him in a singles match, providing Thatcher with a worthy foe, in terms of his willingness to slap, uppercut, punch, submit and rile up the crowd with his intensity. Thatcher always had an answer for him, ably reversing submission attempts like the single leg crab and matching Lorcan’s uppercuts and suplexes.
2 cool points for Thatcher. That Fujiwara armbar and the torque he put on it was just plain nasty. That’s about it. He’s now 3-0 in singles competition and, with his style of fighting, it’s hard to see him losing anytime soon.
Strap Match: Dexter Lumis def. Roderick Strong, July 1st
Strong’s on his own for this first ever strap match in nXt.
Good to see Strong try to break Lumis’ focus even before the match began. He wasn’t timid once he climbed through the ropes, lashing out at Lumis with punches and kicks.
Lumis was generally unfazed by Strong’s physicality though, pulling Strong to the outside and dragging him around the ring and staging.
Eerie callback when Lumis spots the Dodge Viper by the stage and opens the trunk, reminding viewers of TakeOver: IYH and what happened at the Backlot Brawl.
Vicious clothesline by Lumis turns Strong head over heels to the mat.
Lumis slithers under the ropes to the outside to evade further punishment from Strong’s leg submission.
1 cool point for Strong. Like I said, good seeing Strong face his fear and challenge Lumis, instead of running away. Didn’t see much of his trademark backbreaker work though. He didn’t seem fully himself.
1 cool point for Lumis. Wanna see what it looks like to be unshaken in focus and worth ethic? Lumis is that guy. He’s now beaten Fish and Strong. So, is Cole next?
Johnny Gargano def. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, July 8th
Good seeing Scott in that #3/4 middle of the show slot. The matches there get a good amount of time for both competitors to show off their skills and, against Gargano, you know you’re going to look good. Still haven’t seen Scott elevate his game towards a championship title shot. He’ll need some promo time and a distinct feud to get there.
As for Gargano, business as usual for him. After the Winner Take All match, you gotta figure the North American Championship will be put up for grabs, so maybe he chases that again?
nXt Championship Picture
Winner Takes All: Adam Cole (c) vs. Keith Lee (NAc), July 8th
First big moment of the match happens on the outside with Cole evading a charge from Lee, and Lee blasting through the plexiglass. Cole firmly in control at this point and talking trash at Lee, too.
Struggleplex from Lee after Cole blocks the first attempt. Lee’s slow to cover him and only gets a 2 count.
Cole kicks out of a Pounce/Spinebuster combo. Lee hits a moonsault from the top rope. 1-2- kickout again!!
Now Cole is firing with all the kicks he can muster, even hitting a Last Shot. Lee breaks the cover. Cole is shocked.
Again, Cole with 1, 2, 3 superkicks while Lee is kneeling in the middle of the ring. Fans are super behind Lee right now. Lee will not give up though. Last Shot! Cole doesn’t pin Lee but waits for Lee to get up again.
Cole goes for the Panama Sunrise but Lee counters it with a Spirit Bomb! Big Bang Catastrophe follows and Lee is going to win this match! DOUBLE CHAMPION!
3 cool points for “The Limitless” Keith Lee. Big day for him and quite a journey so far in nXt. He endured double-digit superkicks and persisted in humbling Adam Cole with his powerful offense.
2 cool points for Adam Cole. He ought to have won this match a number of times, but Lee found another gear and kept breaking those pinfall attempts. I think Cole made the mistake of giving Lee too much downtime between pinning, which provided Lee the energy and wherewithal to counter Cole’s finishers.
The Bash ends with Karrion Kross and Scarlett looking on from above at the WWE PC, so it’s a safe bet that Kross will be challenging Lee in the near future.
As for Cole, been a long long time since he wasn’t wearing gold around his waist. He may make life miserable for Lee and ask for a rematch, or fade back and wrestle a guy like Timothy Thatcher.
nXt did a decent job with the production of this special edition of nXt TV. Having the classic cars in the set, the red, white and blue colour motif and the unique show graphics are all simple things to set the show apart from its usual weekly theme.
For the WCW fans, it was likely not enough of a throwback, especially in these Covid-19 days where nXt is limited with what they can do roster-wise and production-wise. But if it is meant to become an annual event, similar to what AEW is doing with their use of Bash at the Beach, then it’s nice to have the historical connection.
In review, here are the biggest and best matches that likely would have been showcased if it were a TakeOver:
Winner Takes All: Adam Cole (c) vs. Keith Lee (NAc)
Io Shirai (c) vs. Sasha Banks w. Bayley (likely a title defense though)
Strap Match: Dexter Lumis vs. Roderick Strong
Street Fight: Candice LeRae vs. Mia Yim
Legado del Fantasma vs. Breezango & Drake Maverick
Stay tuned for a review of the best of nXt TV for July 15-22 dropping later this weekend.
Lots of great takes and content in the Columns Forum right now, and plenty of wrestling not being covered. If you enjoy ROH, NJPW, Impact, or NWA, try your hand at a column and not only will you get good feedback from the community, you’ll get reads for taking on a unique topic.