Two matches pre-announced for this episode of NXT, and both should be excellent. Kairi Sane faces Shayna Baszler for the first time since the Mae Young Classic final. And Velveteen Dream squares up against Tyler Bate. Velveteen Dream has made some disparaging comments about Bate recently, and Tyler Bate threw water over Velveteen Dream last week during an interview segment backstage. Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas is due to appear for Zelina Vega to talk about what comes next for the NXT Champion now he’s ended Johnny Gargano’s NXT career.
It’s not starting until next week, but the brackets for the 2018 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic have been announced. The first-round matches are:
- Street Profits vs Heavy Machinery
- Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss vs SAnitY
- TM61 vs Authors of Pain
- Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch vs Moustache Mountain
Sad to see there’s no War Machine in there, but the inclusion of Moustache Mountain is a happy surprise.
Velveteen Dream def Tyler Bate
Adam Cole def Cezar Bononi
Shayna Baszler def Kairi Sane
The show opened with a recap of Johnny Gargano’s defeat by Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas last week, complete with super-slow-mo for the count. The recap finished with the shot of Tommaso Ciampa waving goodbye as Johnny Gargano left NXT for the last time.
Velveteen Dream vs Tyler Bate
It’s impressive to note the way Velveteen Dream is being the opportunity to display how well rounded he really is. He’s being given a series of very different types of wrestlers to display his skill against, and Tyler Bate is the latest.
Velveteen has the height and weight advantage over Bate, but the majority of Bate’s opponents do and he’s well equipped to deal with that. He engaged Velveteen Dream at the beginning of the match in a way we’ve not seen Velveteen deal with much, countering all Velveteen’s holds and frequently slipping out of his clutches. It clearly frustrated him as he threw a little tantrum at ringside after a dropkick sent him out of the ring.
They turned out to be quite evenly matched. Velveteen Dream might have a slight power advantage, Tyler Bate a slight technical advantage, but there isn’t much in it. It would be interesting to see a feud develop between them and see how the chemistry is in a few matches time.
Velveteen Dream got out of the airplane spin by elbowing Bate in the face until he dropped him. I don’t know why no-one’s ever thought of that before. He countered an attempt at setting up the Tyler Driver 97 as well.
A lazy cover after a spinebuster denied Velveteen the victory and they went blow for blow for a bit, until a headbutt knocked them both to the mat.
Velveteen Dream climbed the turnbuckle and Bate tried to kick him back off. Velveteen crotched Tyler Bate on the top rope when he climbed up, then delivered the Purple Rainmaker when he fell into the ring. Another win for Velveteen Dream. And another good match under his belt.
Paul Ellering cut a promo for the Authors of Pain’s entry into the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Essentially, they won it last time, they’ll win it again – but scarier.
The video of Johnny Gargano signing his termination letter with William Regal was shown. Gargano is still working out dates for NXT Live, but he’ll be finished up soon. Referee Drake Wuertz apologised for making the wrong call (because he didn’t see Ciampa’s interference). A sombre moment for all three.
Cezar Bononi vs Adam Cole
Adam Cole had the rest of Undisputed ERA with him at ringside. Cole took a few moments to ask the crowd to applaud Bononi for being NXT future star of the year in the NXT year end awards, then invited him to become part of Undisputed ERA. While Bononi was holding the shirt he was thrown, Cole attacked him.
Cezar Bononi got the upper hand, briefly, when Adam Cole was busy saying his own name, but he got distracted by Fish and O’Reilly, having already dealt with them once, and ate a superkick. One knee to the back of Bononi’s neck later Adam Cole was the winner.
Undisputed ERA attacked him after the match and told him only the best can be part of Undisputed ERA.
Street Profits pretended to be random strangers and interviewed each other in an episode of Street Talk. Funnily enough, they both thought Street Profits would win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. The brackets for tournament were shown after their promo (see above for link).
Kairi Sane vs Shayna Baszler
Baszler tried a humiliating face shove to start the match but Kairi Sane went for her immediately to show she wasn’t going to be psyched out by her. Sane has the psychological advantage of having already beaten Baszler once, and righteous anger on her side.
Another very even match, if not a long one. Kairi Sane landed a spear that looked to hurt her almost as much as Baszler. It gave her a temporary advantage, but she didn’t wear Baszler down enough before trying to finish her.
Kairi Sane went for the InSane Elbow but Baszler sprung up and kicked her in the head before she got chance and scooped her up, dropping her straight into the Kirifuda Clutch. Kairi Sane tapped out and Baszler held on for a little longer just to make a point.
After the match Baszler screamed at commentary that she was calling Ember Moon out as a coward. She said Moon won’t step back in the ring with her because she knows that if she does Baszler will either leave with her title, or a limb.
Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas and Zelina Vega took to the ring for the final segment of the show. Vega started by gloating about Almas having beaten Johnny Gargano four times. She said unlike most women she doesn’t feed off her man’s success she creates it, and that’s why Almas is still champion – I don’t recall her explicitly framing them as a couple before.
Almas said his piece too. He said Johnny Gargano tried to champion and came at him again and again and again, and lost. He made Johnny Wrestling into Johnny jobless.
Vega asked if they call Gargano ‘Johnny Wrestling’, what do they call him? Almas said they call him the NXT Champion.
They’d got as far as the stage on their way out, still congratulating themselves, when Aleister Black appeared and entered the ring. Before Black could say anything, Killian Dain joined him. Black and Dain set upon each other while Almas and Vega laughed from the stage and walked off. Killian Dain got the better of their encounter this time, and the show closed out with him standing over Aleister Black in the centre of the ring.
I’m curious as to the plan for Tyler Bate. Things do not seem to be going his way but it’s impossible to tell whether he’s being broken down to be built back up, or just broken down.
Good to see Kairi Sane fighting on NXT again, but I wonder about the long-term plan for her as well having taken a loss to Baszler tonight. Things seem a bit quiet in the women’s division at the moment. There is so much more they could/should be doing.
The NXT title picture looks fairly healthy. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Killian Dain or Aleister Black who ends up challenging Almas, it’s going to be good either way.
Healthiest of all is the NXT tag team division. The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic 2018 starts next week and it’s going to be amazing.