All Five Competitors Set for Ladder Match at TakeOver: XXX! NXT Review (8/19/20)

Promo image featuring (from left to right) Damian Priest, Cameron Grimes, Johnny Gargano, Bronson Reed, The Velveteen Dream. Via twitter (@WWENXT)

Overall

I really liked last night’s NXT! I thought it served as a really good go home show for TakeOver: XXX! All four of the announced matches on the main card got a segment to hype them up. The North American Championship ladder match found its final two contestants in Johnny Gargano and The Velveteen Dream who won their second chance bouts against Ridge Holland and Finn Balor respectively. Keith Lee and Karrion Kross did not appear in the ring this week, but were rather given one of the best video packages that NXT has ever produced. Io Shirai came out to attack Dakota Kai following Kai’s victory in a match against Jessi Kamea, and Pat McAfee returned to Full Sail to cut an admittedly great promo on Adam Cole.

Everything else in the episode did a good job of moving ongoing stories to their next natural place. Creatively speaking, NXT is in a good place. I’m enjoying the vast majority of what I am seeing each week and continue to look forward to NXT each week.

Overall I am excited for TakeOver and I’m looking forward to whatever it is that NXT has in store for the next few weeks. That being said, let’s look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of NXT 8/19/20!

The Good

  • Starting the night with Ridge Holland and Johnny Gargano.
  • I loved that Johnny won this match. The neck injury will likely come into play at TakeOver. Even if he really was injured it does make a good story beat.
  • Jessi Kamea is a good choice to make Dakota Kai look strong going into TakeOver. She’s still a jobber, but she has some real legitimacy with the fans.
  • Dakota Kai cut a solid promo!
  • Io is here!
  • So is Raquel Gonzalez!
  • I really liked Tegan Nox’s backstage interview. Whatever she and Candice get up to should be good.
  • I love a serious Breezango.
  • The energy at the beginning of the tag match was solid.
  • The Swerve not being the legal man bit was a good way to keep Legado Del Fantasma looking strong and still protect Scott. Better than some kind of distraction loss.
  • Hyped for the tag team number 1 contender match!
  • Pat McAfee cut a great promo!
  • I loved pretty much everything about that Adam Cole and Pat McAfee segment.
  • Shotzi’s Sky High DDT on Martinez was awesome!
  • I also loved Ripley’s powerbomb on Martinez over the barricade.
  • The video package for Keith Lee vs. Karrion Kross was excellent!
  • The Velveteen Dream and Balor match started off really good and I loved the whole thing but the following are my notes on the finish.
  • Nice Cameron Grimes!
  • Hey! Johnny is here! I liked that he pushed Cameron Grimes off the ladder!
  • Oh now everyone is here!
  • Oh shit Timothy Thatcher!!!! Yes! Give me more Finn Balor and Thatcher!
  • I’m so hyped for TakeOver!

The Bad

  • Oof that head bump that Johnny took looked gnarly! I hope he’s ok!
  • Ok, the powerbomb was cool spot, but the editing was a little off. Of course they don’t want hurt anyone for real but they could’ve been a little sneakier about covering the bump.

The Ugly

  • There’s a part of me that gets why Dream had to go over Balor. There’s another part of me that is worried about WWE not taking the allegations against Dream seriously enough.

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