WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 27

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistMay 28, 2020

WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 27

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    Credit: WWE.com

    On the May 27 edition of NXT, a legend returned as Kurt Angle arrived to referee the brutal NXT Pit Fight between Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher. Inside a steel cage, the only way to win was by submission or knockout.

    Charlotte Flair competed on the black-and-gold brand with a mystery partner against her future NXT TakeOver: In Your House opponents Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai.

    After a surprise three-way tie in the Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament, Kushida fought Drake Maverick and Jake Atlas for a spot in the finals against El Hijo del Fantasma.

    William Regal promised to address Adam Cole's concerns about The Velveteen Dream. The leader of the Undisputed Era wanted to make sure their likely title rematch was Dream's last match.

    This show had a chance to make a lasting impression with several huge matches along the way.

Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament: Kushida vs Drake Maverick vs Jake Atlas

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    In a chaotic triple threat to start the show, each man desperately fought for every inch in this contest. Kushida went off on both men with his technical style, and he looked to be easily the favorite to pull through.

    However, as the Japanese Superstar trapped Jake Atlas in the Sakuraba Lock, Drake Maverick slipped in and draped an arm over Atlas to take the surprise three-count.

    Afterward, El Hijo del Fantasma came out to shake the hand of his future opponent.

    Backstage, Maverick was asked about Atlas tapping at the same time the referee counted three on his pinfall. The underdog wanted a definitive win, but Kushida told him to go win this tournament as his career is on the line.



    Maverick def. Kushida and Atlas by pinfall to advance to the finals of the Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament.






    While there is no real telling what WWE is doing with Maverick when his contract expires, his story has been incredible to watch. He has gone from doing nothing to defeating some of the best up-and-coming cruiserweights in the business.

    He has shaped this tournament more than anyone else, including some fantastic talent. It will be interesting to see what happens with Fantasma in the finals. Win or lose, Maverick has certainly earned a new contract.

Johnny Gargano vs. Adrian Alanis

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    Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae walked out to introduce the Gargano Invitational for the "good hands" in NXT. He wanted to help young guys get their start. He made Adrian Alanis tap out to the Gargano Escape for a quick tapout.

    Afterward, Keith Lee and Mia Yim were shown eating dinner. They made fun of Gargano and LeRae for their self-absorbed attitude. Tegan Nox arrived with pizza, though she ate most of it.



    Gargano def. Alanis by submission.






    The comedy here didn't entirely work, but the story has serious potential. Lee and Yim work well off each other, as do Gargano and LeRae. This rivalry only grows more unique with time.

    If The Rebel Heart is repeatedly winning squash matches, it will not do much for anyone involved unless someone sneaks out a win. He certainly doesn't need to beat up on developmental talent for a minute each show.

Shotzi Blackheart vs. Raquel Gonzalez

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    Tegan Nox stood in the corner of Shotzi Blackheart while Dakota Kai helped out Raquel Gonzalez. While Gonzalez used her size to punish Blackheart, the green-haired Superstar refused to give in.

    During Blackheart's comeback, Candice LeRae confronted Tegan Nox, causing her to miss the moment when Kai got involved. This allowed Gonzalez to hit a one-arm powerbomb for the victory.

    Backstage, LeRae challenged Mia Yim to a match next week, and she told Nox she should be ashamed of herself for associating with Yim and Lee.



    Gonzalez def. Blackheart by pinfall.






    These two were never going to have a great match. Both women are too inexperienced to put on a consistent match. However, they showed serious potential here. Blackheart has impressive athletic gifts, and Gonzalez is the powerhouse the division needs.

    The story was what carried this. Blackheart and Nox are good foils for Kai and Gonzalez. This is the most consistently built story in the women's division.

Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai vs. Charlotte Flair and Chelsea Green

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    Chelsea Green was revealed as Charlotte Flair's tag team partner. Early on, the first signing of the Robert Stone Brand looked outmatched. She was beat down and kicked around by Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai.

    However, Green pushed through and relied on the leadership of The Queen. The Joshi Judas prepared for a springboard dropkick, and Green pushed Charlotte out of the way to take the hit. This allowed the NXT women's champion to roll Shirai up with her feet on the ropes for three.



    Charlotte and Green def. Ripley and Shirai by pinfall.






    This was not only a good tag team match but helped to solidify a stronger role for Green in NXT. She works far better trying to prove herself to Charlotte than playing overconfident on her own. The moment where she saved The Queen and took a dropkick for her was the best character beat of her career.

    Ripley and Shirai also make for a great tag team. As always, NXT's women's division is deeper than any other WWE women's roster. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross should venture to the black-and-gold brand soon.

Adam Cole Agrees to Face The Velveteen Dream at NXT TakeOver: In Your House

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    Adam Cole and William Regal chatted live. The Undisputed Era leader asked that Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish get a legitimate shot at the NXT Tag Team Championships after losing their rematch because of the surprise arrival of Timothy Thatcher.

    The NXT general manager told the NXT champion that he would put his championship on the line against The Velveteen Dream at NXT TakeOver: In Your House. The two were going to fight in a special location, and if Dream lost, he would never get another title shot.






    This segment went about as expected. Cole and Regal worked well off each other. The back-and-forth sold the power that Regal has in NXT as well as the absolute audacity of the NXT champion. He refused to show the NXT general manager any respect.

    It will be interesting to see what comes of Cole vs. Dream II. They should outperform their rushed first outing, but this could be Dream's crowning moment. He needs to pull off something special.

Tommaso Ciampa vs. Leon Ruff

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    Scarlett watched closely as Tommaso Ciampa made quick work of Karrion Kross' debut opponent, Leon Ruff. The Blackheart looked toward Scarlett before hitting the Fairytale Ending for three.

    Kross appeared on the Titantron and promised to make sure Ciampa felt something truly special at TakeOver.



    Ciampa def. Ruff by pinfall.






    This segment served its purpose. It could easily be skipped, but TakeOver is approaching. It is important to sell this story without Ciampa and Kross fighting. That needs to be saved for the show.

    This all moved so quickly that a random squash match just feels like treading water. The TakeOver clash should be great as an introduction to Kross, but the build to it has felt hyperbolic.

NXT Pit Fight: Matt Riddle vs. Timothy Thatcher

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    The fighting started the moment the two were in the cage. Matt Riddle knocked out two of Timothy Thatcher's teeth early in the match, causing a stop before officials stated the contest could continue.

    Thatcher did not let the early injury phase him. He attacked The Original Bro with everything in his arsenal. However, he made a mistake of moving to the second level, where Riddle knocked him down and hit the Floating Bro.

    Riddle could not finish the job, and Thatcher got his hook in with the rear-naked choke. The Original Bro passed out to the finisher by the decision of special guest referee Kurt Angle.



    Thatcher def. Riddle by submission.






    This was a strong main event. The physicality made the weird stipulation work. Both men made it feel like a real fight. Angle was not necessary, but it might have caused more fans to tune in, which is what WWE cares about right now.

    The NXT Pit Fight should be Thatcher's signature match. He works so well in that environment. His win was definitive and should help him build momentum toward future opponents. He needs to move past The Original Bro.