NXT is back to normal this week, well kind of. We’ve got three things on the preview. Aleister Black is set to appear. Candice LeRae will face Lacey Evans. And the new NXT tag team champions are going to have a match. Yep, new tag team champions. If you haven’t seen the UK tournament I’d recommend checking it out because that’s where the title change happened, along with the announcement of a new NXT UK brand. If you don’t want spoilers, go and watch that first.
Kona Reeves def Max Humberto
Candice LeRae def Lacey Evans
Undisputed ERA def Moustache Mountain and Ricochet
After the housekeeping, including the announcement that Moustache Mountain are the new NXT tag team champions, Aleister Black opened the show. He said adversity and how you deal with it is what defines you as a champion. At NXT TakeOver the adversity was Lars Sullivan and he did something Black didn’t think was humanly possible, he truly is a freak of nature. But faced with that adversity he made it fade to black.
Tommaso Ciampa came out to the stage and said, Black stood face to face with adversity now it’s time he stood face to face with the devil. He sees right through him, he can dress it up with the smoke and mirrors and candlelight, but he doesn’t buy it. He is the NXT champion. They say the title doesn’t make the man the man makes the title, but in this case, he begs to differ, the title does make Aleister Black. At TakeOver Black barely got past Sullivan but he beat Johnny Gargano, and he did it with his arms behind his back. But now the Gargano fairytale is behind him and all the personal crap goes away he can focus on business, he can focus on the title, because Black has something he wants.
Black said, ‘you really, really like the sound of your own voice, don’t you?’ If Mr Regal decides to make the match happen then like everyone before him he will kick his lights out.
Ciampa not only interrupted but called Black ‘boy’ and told him to watch what he says. There’s a certain mystique that comes along with Aleister Black and something he needs to understand is when Ciampa beats him he’ll lose a lot more than the title. That mystique, like the fancy candles, will be gone. All he needs is one opportunity, one title match, one moment. Ciampa sat down and mimicked Black’s usual cross-legged pose. All he needs is one moment and in that moment his title reign will fade to black. Then he waved at him. Black left the ring and Ciampa was instantly on his feet, still waving and smirking as he backed away.
Commentary revealed, along with x-ray proof, that Lars Sullivan’s jaw was broken in the match with Black. Apparently, he fought over half the match like that.
Vanessa Borne was interviewed outside. In a twist to the norm she asked the reporters a question – does anyone know why Kairi Sane dresses like a pirate. When none of them could answer, she said it was stupid. And what’s worse is everyone adoring her and admiring her for it, when they should be adoring and admiring her instead. She’s going to take Kairi Sane into the ring and make sure she doesn’t walk out. Then Vanessa Borne will be the one on all the posters and the t-shirts.
Kona Reeves vs Max Humberto
This was short. I question the need for Kona Reeves to be given matches like this, I don’t understand what it adds to his character, his profile, or our knowledge of him. Wouldn’t he be better off being given a meaningful feud with another lower roster member?
There is every chance Max Humberto is good, we may never know. He got minimal offence and got thrown around a lot.
Kona Reeves won, obviously, with his Hawaiian drop after a big boot.
Footage of Moustache Mountain winning the NXT Tag Team Champions was shown along with the announcement they will be in action later.
Candice LeRae vs Lacey Evans
It’s good to see Candice LeRae in action again rather than just being Mrs Gargano. However, the preview for tonight’s show talked a lot about how affected she must still be by the beating her husband took at NXT TakeOver Chicago II, so it’s all still very much part of her narrative. I wish it wasn’t, I want to see her take the belt of Shayna Baszler.
Great match. Lacey Evans dominated for the first moments of the match, but she severely underestimated LeRae. She was almost dismissive at the start, but that soon disappeared and she got nasty. She slammed LeRae’s arm into the ringpost then spent a lot of time working it over.
The whole time LeRae was taking punishment commentary were talking about everything she’s been through, until Nigel McGuinness told Mauro Ranallo to stop giving her excuses for losing. Thankfully, once the fightback started they stopped arguing about it.
LeRae’s fightback was fairly brief, one-armed, but fierce. Once she got going, Lacey Evans didn’t stand a chance.
Candice LeRae won with a springboard moonsault.
The camera cut to an interview with a troubled-looking Johnny Gargano. He was asked about his wife’s victory and about how he’s recovering after NXT TakeOver Chicago. Gargano said Candice LeRae is his favourite wrestler. But he keeps replaying Chicago over and over again. He sat and watched it and to see Ciampa rip his wedding ring off and spit on it and throw it in the crowd, then win… he doesn’t get to win. This is far from over. He’s beaten Ciampa once, Ciampa’s beaten him once, he’s going to talk to William Regal and make sure they do it one more time. He doesn’t care where or when, this ends when Ciampa does.
Heavy machinery promo aimed at The Mighty. Knight and Dozovic were barbequing while they said The Mighty stole something from them and they’re coming for them.
Johnny Gargano versus EC3 was announced for next week via a screenshot of a tweet from William Regal saying Johnny Gargano needs to move on from Tommaso Ciampa.
Interview with Candice LeRae next. She said the Ciampa situation has been distracting but she’s made the mistake before of letting everything in her husband’s life distract her from her dream, but she’s re-evaluated everything and it’s time to focus on her and her goals. His passion and drive to get what he wants inspires her and nothing’s going to stop her going after the NXT Women’s Championship.
The scheduled match, Moustache Mountain versus Dave Nixon and Carl Axelrod, didn’t happen because Undisputed ERA took out the opposition on the stage. They took turns to speak and said the Royal Albert Hall match was a fluke. The only reason they won was that they were held up by the home crowds. Moustache Mountain are phoneys, and Undisputed ERA are not going to waste any time. They’re going to make sure that when Bate and Seven go back to the UK they leave without their pride and without the tag team championships. This is their era and Moustache Mountain are just living in it.
Undisputed ERA surrounded the Ricochet ran out to make it three on three. Why Ricochet? Why not I guess. I suppose he’s a logical choice to challenge Adam Cole. It was quickly made into a six-man tag.
Moustache Mountain and Ricochet vs Undisputed ERA
This was much more fun than a squash match and chaotic from the outset.
Tyler Bate assisted Trent Seven to do a senton onto Strong and Cole by giving him a leg up, then assisted Ricochet to do a moonsault the same way.
Lots of tags kept the pace high at the start, and the overlaps and invasions meant there was rarely only two people in the ring.
Tyler Bate took a lot of punishment while stranded in Undisputed ERA’s corner, just to slow the pace for a minute or two. Eventually, he tagged in Ricochet who seemed to want to fight all of Undisputed ERA at the same time. That worked for a while but he almost got submitted by Kyle O’Reilly and had to stagger back to his corner for Trent Seven to tag in.
Adam Cole pulled Tyler Bate off the apron when Trent Seven really needed the tag. Ricochet wasn’t back on his feet yet and Seven took some punishment from all three ERA members.
It broke down quickly after that until all six men were paired off. Kyle O’Reilly took down Tyler Bate on one side of the ring. Roderick Strong took out Trent Seven on the other. Ricochet didn’t seem to mind having to take all over Undisputed ERA on at once again and cleared the ring of the extras.
O’Reilly pulled Cole out of the ring after Ricochet landed the 630. Ricochet launched himself through the ropes onto O’Reilly. Strong picked Ricochet up and dumped him back-first on the apron then rolled him into the ring for Adam Cole to pin him.
Just a thought, but William Regal hasn’t been seen for quite a long time. I do hope he’s ok. His presence is missed.
Good episode tonight. Really great to see Candice LeRae get a win. I just want to see them use her to her full potential. I want to see everyone used to their full potential.
Which brings me to squash matches. I acknowledge they have their uses, but I’m not buying the need for them on NXT at the moment. NXT have a roster overstuffed with exceptional talents who already don’t get enough screen time. Bringing people in to lose instead of creating storylines to showcase more of your superstars just seems lazy, but what do I know. It’s the same on the main roster, but somehow it feels even worse on NXT. Rant over.
There are some interesting storylines shaping up for the coming weeks, we’ll see what next week brings.