With NXT on USA airing this past Wednesday, many questions surrounding the top titles were answered. Equally as informative were the stories that unfolded outside of the ring. Let’s take a deep dive into the week that was. This is NXT Weekly for 6/20/20.
NXT Weekly for 6/20/20
Kurt Angle Has High Praise For Velveteen Dream
Kurt Angle conducted a Q&A via his official Facebook page on June 13th. Among the questions asked were who he perceived to be a top guy in NXT.
“It’s hard to say. I always liked Velveteen Dream. But…there are so many great talents in NXT right now” – Kurt Angle
Looking back at the narrative of most interviews held in the past few years with Angle, his praise for Dream makes complete sense. Kurt has been very vocal about the importance of character. Embracing all facets of a gimmick. Not being afraid to look silly once in a while. When one thinks of a performer who has honed in on the crux of their persona, Velveteen Dream is right up there.
Of all the names that Angle could have picked in what is a stacked talent pool, he chose Velveteen Dream. He can go to sleep happy knowing that he’s made such a positive impression on one of the all-time greats.
NXT Weekly for 6/20/20
Angel Garza Speaks about NXT Breakout Tournament
Speaking of high praise, Angel Garza recently doled out some of his own. He spoke to Spanish wrestling site ViBe & Wrestling in a recent interview.
Garza touched on a number of topics; including his performance in the NXT Breakout Tournament and his favorite opponents:
“Everything started with the Breakout Tournament, that unfortunately was not achieved, but then came the Cruiserweight Championship, my first NXT TakeOver that was Worlds Collide, and I got called to the main roster, and finally I am in the RAW banner on the website. It’s like, ‘Let me stop for a while and enjoy the moment.’ I am proud because we bring the flag of Latinos well high, and we are showing that we’re not playing anymore.”
“Regarding (my favorite) opponent, the favorite, it has been between Kevin Owens and when I ‘retired’, Rey Mysterio for some months. But if we are talking about pure wrestling, I think the match that put my career on the map was the one against Lio Rush when we left our souls in the ring for more than 15 to 20 minutes, and the people were at the edge of their seats. I think those shows for me were pure adrenaline running through my veins. That was something really impressive, believe me. There are few words to describe that, but those encounters have been my favorites. Not just in WWE, but in my entire career.” – Angel Garza
The match Garza is referring to was the NXT Cruiserweight Championship Match in December 2019. Garza would defeat the Rush to become the new face of The Cruiserweight Division. Check out the highlights of that fantastic match below:
Positive COVID-19 Test At The Performance Centre; Tapings Delayed
Earlier this week, prior to WWE’s planned Wednesday taping schedule, the company released the following statement:
“A developmental talent, who was last on site at WWE’s training facility on Tuesday, June 9, has tested positive for COVID-19. Since that time, no other individuals that attended the facility have reported symptoms. However, out of an abundance of caution and to ensure the health and safety of the company’s performers and staff, all talent, production crew and employees on site at the training and production facilities will be tested for COVID-19 immediately. Following the test results, WWE plans to proceed with its normal television production schedule.” – Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, WWE Associate Medical Director
Once the test was confirmed positive tapings for both RAW and Smackdown were postponed. Along with NXT tapings for the next two weeks.
Further details came to light surrounding the nature of the previous testing, or lack thereof. Allegedly, the positive result appeared during the first-ever official COVID-19 tests the company held. Prior to this, anyone stepping through the doors simply had their temperatures checked. Then made to fill out a questionnaire about how they were feeling.
Instead of Wednesday being dedicated to filming, everyone at the Performance Centre was instead made to undergo COVID-19 Testing. An endeavor that took several hours to complete. Once testing was wrapped up, the plan was still to commence with tapings. Albeit much later in the day.
Many workers were understandably frustrated and frightened by the whole scenario. Expressing concerns about whether they had been exposed to the virus. And possibly proceeded to pass it along to their families and loved ones. Others even went so far as to vindicate Roman Reigns’ decision to stay home while the pandemic was unfolding.
Furthermore, the fact that a select group of “family and friends” were allowed at the Monday shows caused further dismay. Unlike WWE employees, the company cannot trace the movement of these individuals. In addition, many wrestlers weren’t informed that outside individuals would be attending. Adding another layer of callousness to the entire scenario.
Tommaso Ciampa: Blackheart Staying Black and Gold
Despite the recent entertaining back and forth between Tommaso Ciampa and Randy Orton on Twitter, The Wrestling Observer reports that there are no plans to move Ciampa up to RAW or Smackdown in the near future.
Ciampa has been famously vocal about his intentions to remain with NXT until he retires. A sentiment he first shared on Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast. While Blackheart flirted with the main roster a couple of years back with then-partner Johnny Gargano, the two frenemies ultimately returned to NXT once their feuds had wrapped up.
Vince McMahon has expressed frustration in the past when it comes to performers starting online feuds. Given the high status of both Orton and Ciampa, it has been said that the two received a pass.
NXT Weekly for 6/20/20
In the past two days, the wrestling world has been rocked by allegations of abuse against performers. Several of whom perform under the NXT and NXT UK brands. Using the hashtag #SpeakingOut, multiple individuals released statements. Detailing disturbing encounters and predatory behavior at the hands of wrestlers in their private lives. WWE released a short statement when news first began circulating, as seen below:
“We take any allegation of this nature very seriously and are looking into the matter.” – WWE Press Release
As more allegations began pouring out from social media, WWE elaborated with a follow-up press release:
“Individuals are responsible for their own personal actions. WWE has zero tolerance for matters involving domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. Upon arrest for such misconduct, a WWE talent will be immediately suspended. Upon conviction for such misconduct, a WWE talent will be immediately terminated. WWE’s ability to fine, suspend or terminate a WWE talent will not be, however, limited or compromised in any manner in the event incontrovertible evidence of such illegal misconduct is presented to WWE.” – WWE Press Release
Shortly after this statement, WWE announced the release of Jack Gallagher from his contract.
NXT on USA Results (17/06/2020)
Imperium defeated Breezango to retain the NXT Tag Team Titles.
Damien Priest defeated Killian Dain.
Aliyah defeated Xia Li.
Dakota Kai defeated Kayden Carter.
Bronson Reed defeated Leo Ruff.
Bayley & Sasha Banks defeated Shotzi Blackheart & Tegan Nox to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.
NXT Weekly for 6/20/20
Bayley and Sasha Banks Return Home
Following Wednesday’s NXT broadcast, Triple H took to Twitter to thank Bayley & Sasha Banks. The Game spoke about always being able to return home. A fitting sentiment since both Banks & Bayley were pioneers of the women’s division of NXT. Check out Triple H’s tweet below:
No matter how far you go or how successful you become, you can always come home.— Triple H (@TripleH) June 18, 2020
Thank you @SashaBanksWWE and @itsBayleyWWE for bringing your shine to @WWENXT. #WeAreNXT #Proud pic.twitter.com/ZfEJSoiZuQ
NXT and the wrestling world, in general, has had a hell of a week. Be sure to follow along next week to recap the goings-on of the next few days.