Keith Lee makes his NXT debut tonight. That’s going to be great. Ricochet is in action against an unnamed opponent. Tamara Conti and Vanessa Borne battle for a place in the Mae Young Classic. And Aleister Black takes on Johnny Gargano. Two weeks ago, Johnny Gargano cost Black the NXT Championship and last week Black showed his displeasure by giving Gargano a Black Mass kick. Tonight’s match will be interesting, but they’re both looking ahead to Tommaso Ciampa.
Nikki Cross def Amber Nova
Kassius Ohno def Adrian Jaoude
Keith Lee def Marcel Barthel
Taynara Conti def Vanessa Borne
Aleister Black vs Johnny Gargano – No contest
Amber Nova vs Nikki Cross
Does it still count as two women’s division matches in an episode if one of them is a squash? Amber Nova got a proper entrance and a nice intro from the commentary team, she’s a classic car enthusiast apparently.
Actually, this wasn’t a straight squash. Nova got a period of control in the mid-section of the match with a few strikes and a straightjacket hold on Cross.
Nikki Cross stepped it up a gear and Nova’s offence was over. Cross won with The Purge.
Nice Hype Package for ‘Limitless’ Keith Lee, next. He debuts later in the show and it’s fantastic to see him being built up before he steps in the ring.
Ricochet vs whoever it was supposed to be, didn’t happen. Ricochet was attacked by Undisputed ERA during his entrance and left barely conscious on the ramp. Adam Cole objected to Ricochet having called him a coward and said he hides behind no-one. That’s a bit of a stretch when you’ve just ambushed someone with three of your mates.
Vanessa Borne was interviewed while warming up for her Mae Young Classic qualifying match. She said her game plan is to win. With her being the nice and generous person she is, she wouldn’t want to deprive the world of ‘the vision’. The Mae Young Classic is all about having the most immaculate women’s performers and how can that be possible if she’s not even in it. So, unfortunately for Taynara Conti, Borne is going to get what she deserves, the world is going to get what it deserves and ‘Vanessa the vision’ is going to take the final spot in the Mae Young Classic. Then she told the interviewer to leave.
Adrian Jaoude vs Kassius Ohno
Right, so, Jaoude has a martial arts gimmick and apparently wasn’t expecting to compete tonight. I’m guessing this is an ‘impromptu’ match to make up for the cancellation of the Ricochet match. That does beg the question of what happened to the guy Ricochet was supposed to be fighting and why couldn’t Ohno just fight him instead (because if Ohno was Ricochet’s original opponent it would have been advertised as such, so it must have been an unknown). But it’s often best not to examine these things too closely.
In fairness, Jaoude was very entertaining to watch and I hope we see more of him, but this was another dressed up squash. Do I even need to say that Kassius Ohno won?
EC3 and Velveteen Dream had their meeting by a pool. It was odd, with blurred edge camera work and background music. EC3 thought Velveteen Dream was going to throw him in the pool. There was fake niceness, sarcasm, and veiled threats. Velveteen Dream dropped his sunglasses, EC3 bent to pick them up, hefted Velveteen Dream onto his shoulders when he lunged forward, and threw him in the pool. Velveteen splashed around, EC3 told him it was only three feet deep and walked away.
Marcel Barthel vs Keith Lee
So it’s not one debut, it’s two. Marcel Barthel, previously known as Axel Dieter Jr, is as exciting an acquisition for NXT as Keith Lee, as far as I’m concerned. The crowd were distinctly more impressed by Lee, with ‘Keith Lee’ and ‘Oh, bask in his glory’, chants ringing out throughout the match. To be fair to Barthel, he’s just had a name change so it might take a bit of time for new chants to form, Lee’s are already well known.
There was no way for this to be anything other than a good to great match. And that’s exactly what it was. Happily, although it was Lee’s hyped debut, Barthel got to show what he’s made of too.
Lee is an exceptionally agile big man, in a time when agile big men are becoming quite common. Barthel is a talented technician but he lost out in power, as most people will when facing Lee.
Keith Lee won his debut match with a pounce followed by a Jackhammer.
Street Profits had a Street Talk segment. The dissed and discussed The Mighty. The two teams have a match next week.
Taynara Conti vs Vanessa Borne – Mae Young Classic qualifying match
Good match and they made a good show of the importance behind it. Both were in the first MYC, only one can be in the second. Conti is very expressive in the ring. They both like a bit of trash-talking.
Borne is probably the more powerful of the two, but the difference in their styles made the match interesting. Borne’s training is all wrestling, whereas Conti is from a martial arts background. Not the longest match, but it got the job done.
Conti won, by countering a crucifix, to become the final entrant into the Mae Young Classic.
A recap of Kairi Sane rescuing Candice LeRae from Shayna Baszler’s post-match attack last week led to the announcement the Sane will take on Aliyah next week. Also on next week’s show, Tyler Bate versus Roderick Strong, ahead of Moustache Mountain’s rematch for the tag titles at TakeOver.
Cain Velasquez was shown in the crowd, named, and mentioned by commentary. Velasquez has been training at the Performance Centre, only time will tell if he’s a future WWE superstar.
Aleister Black vs Johnny Gargano
Aleister Black clearly had some anger to take out on Johnny Gargano and he got straight into it. Gargano has also been an angry man of late, so was happy to give as good as he got.
As Gargano went for a slingshot spear, Black stuck his knee up and Gargano crashed into it.
It could have been a fun match, it was definitely shaping up that way. Hard hitting, impressive skills on both sides, with plenty of passion. Unfortunately, we got all of a couple of minutes.
Tommaso Ciampa ran down to the ring, attacked Johnny Gargano, threw him out of the ring, then turned his attention to Aleister Black. Gargano came back for Ciampa, Black went for them both. It was a complete free for all.
Six referees got into the ring to restrain Black and Gargano while Ciampa was on the outside clutching his belt.
William Regal came out at the end of the chaos and declared the main event of NXT TakeOver Brooklyn to be a triple threat.
I’m very surprised Marcel Barthel debuted with zero hype, especially in a losing effort. I can’t see it holding him back long term though.
Just one more show to go before TakeOver and everything looks to be set. Except it probably isn’t. No official announcement has been made by WWE, but it has been widely reported that Aleister Black has undergone surgery on his groin following an injury at a live event. There is no news yet about what will happen to the TakeOver match.
The next couple of weeks will be interesting.