There is a debut on tonight’s NXT. Punishment Martinez makes his Full Sail debut against Matt Riddle. Also on the card is Forgotten Sons versus Raul Mendoza and Humberto Carrillo, Shaya Baszler versus Dakota Kai, and a visit from Tommaso Ciampa.
Matt Riddle def. Punishment Martinez
Forgotten Sons def. Humberto Carrillo and Raul Mendoza
Shayna Baszler def. Dakota Kai
Matt Riddle vs Punishment Martinez
Matt Riddle opened the show after the housekeeping and NXT chants. It’s an interesting choice to put a debut against the ‘shiny new toy’ as Kassius Ohno called him. He’s the latest of the influx from Ring of Honor, and he’s very tall (I don’t watch ROH, sorry).
Hell of a match though, despite it only being three minutes long. Definitely gave the unfamiliar an idea of what Martinez is all about. It was all fast counters and huge impacts, and they were obviously enjoying themselves.
Not an awful lot more I can say about such a short match. Martinez tapped out to the Bromission after almost succeeding in powering out of it.
As Matt Riddle got to the top of the ramp, Kassius Ohno appeared behind him and smashed him in the face with a rolling elbow.
A hype package for Ricochet led into an interview with him. He was asked how it feels to essentially be the highlight reel in NXT, having had awesome matches at his first couple of TakeOvers. He said he’d be lying if he didn’t say it felt great, but he didn’t come to NXT to be the highlight reel, he came to win. And he’s done pretty well because he has the North American Championship and he hasn’t been pinned at a TakeOver. He’s planning to defend his title next week, William Regal is yet to announce his opponent.
Heavy Machinery training montage and promo. They’ve been training hard and winning matches, and now they want a title shot.
Speaking of title shots, William Regal has announced, via tweet, that there will be a fatal four-way match in three weeks to decide the number one contender for the NXT Women’s Championship. The first entrant will be Bianca Belair. She qualified at a live event.
Humberto Carrillo and Raul Mendoza vs Forgotten Sons
Blake and Cutler were accompanied, as ever, by Jaxon Ryker. This match was great. Really good tag team wrestling is always a pleasure and both these teams are just the correct marketing away from the top of the tree. The NXT tag division is stacked.
Mendoza and Carrillo have the potential to do amazing things in NXT, they took Forgotten Sons to the limit. Carrillo especially impresses on every outing.
They could have pulled off the win, but Raul Mendoza got caught by Cutler as he dived through the ropes and laid out, which left Carrillo on his own. On double team later and the Forgotten Sons added another win to their list.
Velveteen Dream stopped his interview before a question got asked. He let Cathy Kelly get as far as, ‘following your loss to Tommaso Ciampa’ and then interrupted. He clearly wasn’t happy with the setting, so he clicked his fingers to make the lighting purple and start his music, then let her ask, ‘What’s next for Velveteen Dream?’ People are still talking about the Velveteen Dream, the internet, the NXT universe, he’s even heard people asking Triple H about The Velveteen Dream. So he wins, Dream Over. But what’s next for the Velveteen Dream, is leaving… and he did.
Undisputed ERA did a promo from what looked like the back of a van. Adam Cole checked they’d made sure no one could get in before they started. Next week is Bobby Fish versus EC3 and Fish is looking forward to it. He said he’s the guy EC3 has been warned about. They moved on to trashing the rest of the division, which will probably come back and bite them. Street Profits, The Mighty, and Heavy Machinery were mentioned by name. They also mentioned injuring War Raiders at TakeOver and an update on them was provided at the end of the promo. Hanson suffered broken ribs a ruptured spleen and torn ligaments in the WarGames match. He’ll be out for an unspecified amount of time.
Shayna Baszler vs Dakota Kai
It was no surprise to see Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir with Shayna Baszler.
Dakota Kai had a determined look and she was obviously determined to show Baszler she’s not the same frightened person she was a few months ago. She took it to Baszler from the bell and Baszler rolled out of the ring in surprise. When Kai came to the apron to follow her out, Baszler grabbed her leg and pulled her into the ringpost.
Baszler taunted the audience for the time it took Kai to make her way back into the ring then started with the joint manipulation. She tried to stomp on Kai’s elbow the way she injured her in their first match, but Dakota Kai moved and attempted a roll up.
Baszler went back to kicking and taunting Kai, trying to humiliate her, but Kai fired right back up and kicked Baszler in the head. She built a little momentum from there, but Baszler halted that with a knee in the head.
Again, Kai fired herself up. She got a two count from a double stomp from the top but got caught with an enziguri and superplex. It didn’t keep her down and it rocked Baszler just as much as her.
As Dakota Kai went for her finisher Baszler tripped her and slapped on the Kirifuda Clutch. Dakota Kai refused to tap, so she passed out.
Of course, that wasn’t enough for Baszler and friends. They started beating on her and Io Shirai came out to help her friend. Shirai cleared Duke and Shafir from the ring, took down Baszler, and left her in a corner for Kai. Duke and Shafir pulled Baszler from the ring before Kai’s kick could make contact.
Another Dijakovic hype package. That’s a good sign.
Next week Ricochet defends his title, and EC3 takes on Bobby Fish.
Tommaso Ciampa closed the show. Another TakeOver in the books and once again Tommaso Ciampa is NXT’s MVP. Time and time again he’s proved to be a man of his word. He ended the fairytale, he exposed the mystique and now he has turned the dream into a nightmare. But still, people refuse to accept him as our NXT champion, still, people refuse to believe in him. He pointed at a few random crowd members then at Mauro Ranallo and said they don’t believe in him but ‘mamma mia, here I stand’.
When everything is said and done his title reign will go down as the single greatest title reign in NXT. Children will grow up and study his work. He is not the flavour of the week or the month, he is the champ. He is 2018 sports entertainer of the year and he will be 2019’s sports entertainer of…
Aleister Black’s music played and Ciampa shut up. Black made his way to the ring and said at NXT TakeOver he stood toe to toe with Johnny Gargano and he absolved him of his sins. Sins that Ciampa created. Now look at him, NXT champion, but he’s not really a champion. Black looks at him and sees original sin, sin which he will absolve because he’s invoking his rematch clause. At NXT TakeOver Phoenix.
Johnny Gargano arrived then and said Black is getting ahead of himself talking about a title rematch, because he and Black aren’t finished. He thanked Black for absolving him of his sins, but it’s over when he says it’s over. Ciampa quietly removed himself from the ring as Gargano and Black stood nose to nose. From the apron, Ciampa said he loves it when Gargano leaves Johnny Wrestling out the back and becomes Johnny Badass. The crowd chanted ‘Johnny Badass’ and Ciampa said to Black that when Johnny Gargano gets fixated on something, he refuses to let it go, and it looks like he’s fixated on Black. The champ gets it, he saw their match and they damned near tore each other’s heads off, and in the champ’s opinion, it should have been them inside the WarGames cage. He’s looking at them and clearly there’s some unfinished business. It’s just his opinion, just the champ talking to them, but if it were him he’d want to finish it properly, inside a steel cage – Nothing like trying to get both your potential opponents to take each other out, is there.
Ciampa’s plot worked because Gargano and Black started shouting at each other. A bit of trash talk then Black went for Black Mass and Gargano ducked and rolled out of the ring. Ciampa got a Black Mass instead.
Another quietly excellent episode of NXT. It would be nice if the matches were longer, but that’s my only complaint about what NXT are doing, and they’re limited by the one-hour format for that one.
Everything seems to be working well for NXT right now. It remains to be seen whether they can actually sustain the size of roster they’ve currently got in every division, but the main roster brands could do with some extra numbers if they can’t.