WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 20

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistMay 21, 2020

WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 20

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Rhea Ripley returned on the May 20 edition of WWE NXT with a mission in mind. She needed to first take down Io Shirai on her way to Charlotte Flair and the NXT Women's Championship.

    Roderick Strong wanted to take down Dexter Lumis, who has been a thorn in the side of Undisputed Era. The Messiah of the Backbreaker was ready to show the enigmatic Superstar what happens when you mess with NXT's best.

    The Group A and Group B brackets of the Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament were on the line in the final two matches ahead of the final. Drake Maverick challenged Kushida in potentially his final match in WWE. El Hijo del Fantasma fought Akira Tozawa for the first time.

    Karrion Kross and Scarlett opened the show ready to make another decisive statement at the expense of an unfortunate NXT opponent.

    This episode of NXT needed to deliver with NXT TakeOver: In Your House recently announced. The future of NXT was moving forward.

Karrion Kross vs. Liam Gray; Tommaso Ciampa Challenges Kross at TakeOver

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Karrion Kross made quick work of Liam Gray, making him tap out to the Kross Jacket. Tommaso Ciampa came out to welcome his attacker to NXT before stating he would face him at NXT TakeOver: In Your House.



    Kross def. Gray by pinfall.






    This was simple and to the point. Kross made quick work of another NXT enhancement talent before his feud with Ciampa reached its next stage. The Blackheart did not mince words. He simply set the stage for his revenge against a dangerous opponent.

    It will be interesting to see what Ciampa can do against Kross. Clearly, NXT wants to establish the big man, but he is going up against one of the elite in NXT.

Interim Cruiserweight Tournament: Akira Tozawa vs. El Hijo del Fantasma

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    The speed of Akira Tozawa and El Hijo del Fantasma was on display early before the luchador realized he needed to switch strategies. He brutalized The Stamina Monster on the apron with a running frog splash before showcasing his power to contain Tozawa.

    The Stamina Monster answered with his signature German suplexes, but Fantasma was still too much for him. The luchador sealed the win with the Phantom Driver.

    Later in the night, Fantasma saved Tozawa from a surprise attack by the mysterious luchadors trying to abduct wrestlers.



    Fantasma def. Tozawa by pinfall to win Block B of the Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament.






    This was one of the best matches of the tournament by a solid margin. Tozawa and Fantasma got time and used it. In particular, the luchador shined with his combination of power and speed. He has the size to deliver beyond the cruiserweight division, but a tournament win could be his big break early.

    It was a shame for The Stamina Monster to do so much and still fail at the finish line after years of misuse, but he will recover. Tozawa is too good not to get more opportunities.

Mia Yim vs. Santana Garrett

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    Before this match, a long video package for Shotzi Blackheart highlighted her issues with Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez.

    Mia Yim did not let Santana Garrett get in much offense before hitting the Protect Ya Neck for the win.

    Candice LeRae made fun of Yim for failing to deliver against Charlotte Flair, and Johnny Gargano made sure The HBIC landed hard on the floor in the subsequent fight. This led to Keith Lee coming to her aid and sending the heel running.



    Yim def. Garrett by pinfall.






    As always, Garrett is only around to lose to major stars. She did barely anything in this match. It gave Yim some momentum, but this segment would have worked the same if it was all about Yim vs. LeRae.

    Yim vs. LeRae and Gargano vs. Lee both have major potential. They could fill out the TakeOver card, and it is difficult to say which match will steal the show. These matches could make multiple stars by the end of the show.

Roderick Strong vs. Dexter Lumis

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    Roderick Strong was the superior grappler in this contest, but Dexter Lumis constantly had him off guard. His creepy unchanging gaze forced The Messiah of the Backbreaker to let up at times. This allowed Lumis to take advantage with explosive strikes and slams.

    The enigmatic Superstar took Strong's chops with quiet glee, but Lumis was not quite able to put away the match. The Messiah of the Backbreaker stole the win with a surprise pinfall.

    Afterward, Lumis caught Strong with the kata gatame choke. Adam Cole and Bobby Fish attempted to make the save, but The Velveteen Dream ran in. He put his body on the line to eliminate Undisputed Era as Lumis choked out his opponent.



    Strong def. Lumis by pinfall.






    Lumis shined against a superior opponent, finally working off a rival who pushed him. The storytelling on display showed the depths of his character. He enjoys pain, and he does not stop. Strong escaped with a win, but Lumis got him in the end.

    This segment also continued to develop the rivalry of Cole vs. Dream after the NXT champion snuck away with a win against his new rival. Hopefully, Round 2 at TakeOver will shine in a way that their first NXT match did not.

Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan vs. Ever-Rise

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    Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan brutalized Ever-Rise. The two younger stars were absolutely not ready for the physical style that is the signature of Lorcan and Burch. With tandem submission holds, they mercifully forced their opponents to tap out of this fight quickly.



    Burch and Lorcan def. Ever-Rise by submission.






    While this was completely unnecessary, Lorcan is a master of the short match. His speed and ferocity make even squash matches a little more exciting. The man speaks with his fists, as does Burch.

    The two should be in the NXT tag team title scene going forward. Both are too talented not to be used. It is a shame that they have been underused, especially following their breakout performance against Undisputed Era.

Interim Cruiserweight Tournament: Kushida vs. Drake Maverick

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    Jake Atlas watched at ringside as his tournament was on the line. The technical offense of Kushida absolutely outmatched Drake Maverick. The Japanese Superstar caught Maverick in repeated arm submissions, but the underdog refused to give up.

    As Kushida had Maverick trapped in constant pain nearly tapping out, the underdog reversed the pressure into a surprise pinfall to escape with the biggest win of his career.

    Byron Saxton announced that next week Kushida, Maverick and Atlas would fight in a Triple Threat to determine the true winner of Block A in the Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament.



    Maverick def. Kushida by pinfall to go 2-1 in the Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament.






    After a rushed few weeks, the Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament has stepped up in the home stretch. Maverick's story led to a true triumph. He defeated Kushida, refusing to give up even at the cost of his arm, and he tied for the lead in the tournament.

    The coming Triple Threat could be great, and anyone could walk out with the victory. Maverick may have signed a new contract with WWE given this booking. That means his underdog story could end with a huge win. If he did not, at least he will go out strong.

Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai

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    Before the main event, Damian Priest issued a challenge to Finn Balor for NXT TakeOver: In Your House, promising to use The Prince to cement his name forever.

    Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai pulled no punches in a brutally physical clash. The Joshi Judas assaulted The Nightmare with everything in her arsenal, but Ripley would not stay down. She had to make a statement.

    Charlotte Flair headed down the ramp to watch her competitors. Shirai used a headscissors to send Ripley into The Queen. Charlotte got involved, attacking The Joshi Judas to cause a disqualification. She hit Ripley with a Spear for good measure.



    Shirai def. Ripley by disqualification.






    Are there two women more on top of their games right now than Shirai and Ripley? With Becky Lynch stepping away, Charlotte may be the only one who can match them. This was an excellent match that was a full showcase of The Joshi Judas' skill set.

    NXT's roster can do without The Queen, but the likely Triple Threat at NXT TakeOver could be special. It will be a night that no one will forget with talent like this on display.