COOL POINTS: nXt TV July 15th-29th, 2020
Welcome to the Cool Points.
The Keith Lee era has begun in nXt. The Leegion is praising the name of Lee as the first double champion in the brand’s existence. In the Women’s division, Io Shirai defends against newly named #1 contender Tegan Nox and the tag team division is practically non-existent. This is nXt in July 2020.
Read on for the latest on the major feuds and matches of the past two weeks in nXt, which will set the stage for the build to TakeOver XXX in a month’s time, on August 22nd.
nXt Women’s Championship Picture
Io Shirai (c) vs. Tegan Nox (#1c), July 15th Main Event
3 cool points for Shirai and Nox in an excellent Women’s Championship title defense on nXt TV. So many near falls and a great variety of offense seen from both women. Nox certainly leaned more on striking, like the running European uppercuts though, whereas Shirai employed backbreakers, German suplexes and, of course, her Tiger Feint Kick to build up towards her finishing move, the Moonsault. That Moonsault won her the match tonight.
Nox was a fresh face for Shirai to defeat and it was the right call to have this match on TV, instead of the next TakeOver. Dakota Kai and Rhea Ripley are displaying the most attitude right now, especially Kai who has simply been on TV more and been successfully interfering with ladies like Nox, LeRae and Yim. Perhaps they’ll end up in a #1 Contender’s match…
Io Shirai (c)/Tegan Nox vs. Dakota Kai/Candice LeRae, July 29th
Kai’s level of aggression and targeting of Shirai has been one of the most noticeable parts of nXt TV these past few weeks. She continues that assault in this match, looking at Shirai with disdain, even trying to choke her on the middle rope.
LeRae gets rough, slamming Nox into the steel steps. She rolls Nox in for a 2 count.
Shirai with a nasty double stomp on Kai’s head as she was in the tree of woe. Should’ve been a match finisher there.
Shiniest Wizard on LeRae while the referee wasn’t looking. Moonsault from Shirai and pin for the win.
2 cool points for Shirai and Nox who end up using a little bit of cheating to win. Not the standard strategy for the “good girls”.
1 cool point for Kai, for the reasons listed above. She escapes the match without being pinned, looking like a strong candidate to be the next #1 contender to Shirai’s championship
nXt Women’s Division
Mercedes Martinez w. Robert Stone & Aliyah def. Shotzi Blackheart, July 29th
1 cool point for Martinez. A decisive victory and her first with the Robert Stone brand. Highlight was the throw German suplex from the top rope. I’m intrigued by this pairing. Stone can certainly promote her abilities and by having Martinez on his team, it makes people take him a little more seriously.
nXt Championship Picture
Winner Takes All: Keith Lee (c) + (NAc) vs. Dominik Dijakovic, July 15th
2 cool points for Lee. Dijakovic controlled the better part of the match until Lee warmed up and began connecting with tackles, strikes and even a top rope forearm smash. That last one opened up the offensive onslaught, which directly led to Lee’s victory.
1 cool point for Dijakovic. Fortunately, he receives one of the quickest title opportunities in nXt history, after Lee had only just won the nXt Championship last week. He controlled the first half of the match and if he had been able to hit “Feast Your Eyes a few times, Lee would have been a short-lived champ.
North American Championship Triple Threat Qualifiers
The first triple threat, on July 22nd, was won by Bronson Reed, pinning Roderick Strong and stealing the moment from Johnny Gargano.
The second triple threat, on July 29th, was won by Dexter Lumis, forcing Timothy Thatcher to tap out, preventing him from submitting Finn Balor for a win of his own.
The third triple threat will take place next week between Damian Priest, Oney Lorcan and nXt UK star Ridge Holland.
nXt wastes no time booking matches to decide on #1 contenderships, and that is definitely a best practice for this brand. Opting for 3 triple threat matches allows more wrestlers to be involved, get some important TV time, and is an effective way of building up newer talent. That’s what has happened in the first two matches.
3 cool points for Lumis. Dude is creepy and menacing, but it works and his mere presence in the ring controls the people around him. At the start of the match, he simply watched Balor and Thatcher fight it out and even dove to the outside just to stand in between them and stare. It’s dramatic and engaging all at once.
If you watch the match, notice how Lumis only ever targets Thatcher with his Silence submission move. It’s as if he decided ahead of time that Thatcher was the guy he would target to win the match.
2 cool points for Reed who gets the surprise victory. He picked his spot, threw his weight from the top rope and who can blame Strong for losing? He had just been knocked silly by Gargano’s One Final Beat slingshot DDT.
Reed hasn’t been able to build up too much momentum since last summer’s Breakout Tournament where he debuted. He was 3-9 going into this match, so it really is quite a surprise. He and Lumis had their first nXt TV match against one another though, so, already, that’s a storyline I want to hear about next month.
nXt Men’s Division
Karrion Kross def. Dominik Dijakovic, July 22nd Main Event
2 cool points for Kross. He’s scary, he’s strong and the Kross Jacket submission is worrisome.
Weird that the referee didn’t call him out for his work kicking Dijakovic into the steel steps. Some of the outdoor. Is he too intimidating for the referee to do her job properly?
2 cool points for Dijakovic. He starts strong with a brutal clothesline on Kross that sends him out of the ring, follows it up with a nasty high kick to the chin and it looks like Kross might be hurting until they return to the ring and Kross hits a striking DDT combo.
This was important because if Kross had dominated this match, as he has most of his other matches, it would have made nXt Champion Keith Lee look bad. He and Dijakovic had a fine TV match last week, and Dijakovic was quite competitive with Lee. If Kross overwhelmed Dijakovic, it would make Lee seem very easy to beat for Kross.
Dijakovic’s eventual loss can be linked in part to his unwillingness to let nXt Champion Keith Lee intervene while Kross had him in the Kross Jacket submission.
It’ll be interesting to see how Lee handles Kross. Will he be aggressive, and seek immediate revenge, or wait for Kross to continue his mind games?
Timothy Thatcher def. Oney Lorcan, July 22nd
In the rematch from Great American Bash, Thatcher isn’t able to defeat Lorcan as soundly. Instead, he wins with a unique pinning combination coming out of a series of counterings.
Lorcan showed his usual energetic offense, employing diving European uppercuts, chops and punches.
1 cool point for Thatcher. He is now undefeated against Oney Lorcan in what were two hard-hitting, competitive matches. Thatcher’s reputation and in-ring skills remind me of a mix between Samoa Joe and Pete Dunne. I’m sure there are other wrestlers who are a better match but, for nXt, he’s right in that company.
He’s only a few months into his run so, come a year from now, will he have some gold of his own?
Lorcan will always get a cool point for just showing up and wrestling like Oney always does. Such a fun wrestler to watch in the ring. nXt is fortunate to have him for matches like this where new guys need to see how they match up against the black and yellow bulldog.
Roderick Strong vs. Johnny Gargano, July 29th
Both of these guys are veterans of the nXt brand at this point and they were both upstaged by relative newcomer, Bronson Reed, in July 22nd’s North American Championship triple threat qualifier.
Following that match and their arguing on social media, nXt GM William Regal booked them for a singles match to resolve their differences.
They packed a lot into a 10 minute match, but Gargano edged out Strong in his approach at ringside, using the barricade and the steel steps to hurt Strong and weaken him for the One Final Beat slingshot DDT.
So, 2 cool points for Gargano, for going to that extra level of intensity in order to win the match. He won’t be chasing any titles this summer, it seems, but could a feud with the Undisputed Era be reignited?
2 cool points for Strong though because he still showed up with a few of his exceptional backbreakers, and kept up in the quickness and countering of Gargano.
nXt Tag Team Division
Breezango vs. Ever-Rise, July 22nd
2 cool points for Breezango who were both entertaining and effective with their offense. Beauty Mountie salute splash to the outside by Fandango. Parker evaded three supermodel kicks by falling to the ring and stopping his momentum. Breeze got tired of this and turned his attention to Martel, on the apron, dishing him a supermodel kick instead.
nXt Cruiserweight Division
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott def. Jake Atlas, July 29th
Within the opening minutes, we’ve got Atlas and Scott doing quite the ballet of evading one another’s cartwheel kicks, high kicks, etc. Atlas walked on his hands for a spell there before repositioning and flipping out of the way of Scott. Scott retorted with some tumbling of his own and this match is looking more like a fight sequence from a movie than a wrestling match.
Atlas takes over offensively, scoring quite a sharp kick to the face of Scott. He follows it with a front faceslam for a 2 count.
Atlas, after suffering a near fall from Scott, hits an amazing tilting super fireman’s carry slam for a 2 count. Never seen that kind of move before!
JML driver ends it and Scott wins!
1 cool point for Scott. The push is on for him, evident by the amount of promo and match time he’s received during the past month.
1 cool point for Atlas for that unique top rope slam. I found the opening sequence stuff was too anticipatory and rhythmic to enter into the match. Like I said, it was like a fight scene from a movie and I wasn’t feeling that tonight.
With TakeOver: XXX finally announced, the next three weeks will be devoted to setting up the matches and feuds for that special event. nXt continues to do well at giving fans a reason to tune in, whether it be a title defense or a #1 contender’s match.
I’m extremely pleased seeing Keith Lee as the nXt Champion. It had been visible since the January staredown with Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble that Lee had reached that next level of support and engagement from the fans. Here’s hoping he can have a long run.
Same for Io Shirai who has beaten one #1 contender and awaits the next one. I suspect the Robert Stone brand, with Mercedes Martinez, will continue to gain momentum, too and that makes the Women’s Division more intriguing, having a manager and a stable.
Speaking of which, the Tag Division showed a sign of life this week. Hooray! Glad the Undisputed Era is back in full effect because we’ll see them face Imperium next Wednesday.
Until then, what were your favourite matches and highlights from the past month? Share them in the comments below or tweet them to me.
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