Tonight is a big night for NXT. William Regal will make an announcement that will change the landscape of NXT forever. Sadly, we’ve all known about it since WWE put the news on their website immediately after the tapings, but it will be nice to hear it I suppose. If you missed it, and can’t wait long enough to scroll down to the notes, you can find it here. In the rest of the show, we have the semi-finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic where SAnitY face Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong, and Authors of Pain take on Street Profits. Aleister Black will come face to face with Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas ahead of their NXT Championship match at TakeOver New Orleans. Lars Sullivan makes his return to NXT. And, Tommaso Ciampa wants to talk to William Regal about Johnny Gargano. That sounds like a lot to fit into an hour.
Authors of Pain def Street Profits
Lars Sullivan def John Silver
Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong def SAnitY
The show opened with Tommaso Ciampa confronting William Regal outside the arena complaining that Gargano has attacked him at his place of work (Gargano apparently attacked him in the car park last week as well as on the show), has shown up at Ciampa’s physical therapy, and at his house at 3am. And it’s Regal’s fault.
Regal agreed that Johnny Gargano was out of order and said the only way to fix it was to give them a match at NXT TakeOver New Orleans. But, as Gargano isn’t currently an employee of NXT, it would have to be an unsanctioned match. If Gargano wins he gets his job back, if Ciampa wins Gargano is banished from NXT for good. Ciampa looked less than pleased and refused to answer the press questions being throw at him.
William Regal came to the ring to make the big announcement. He talked about NXT having the best competitors in the world, and needing to recognise the standard bearers as it grows and expands. Then said at NXT TakeOver New Orleans, they will be introducing the NXT North American Championship.
His talk about the title was interrupted by EC3’s arrival at NXT, with a theme proclaiming him to be in the top one percent. EC3 praised William Regal’s good sense in signing him, and suggested he’d created the title just to give it to him on his first day. For anyone not familiar with EC3, he talks a lot.
William Regal said no-one is handed anything at NXT, everything has to be earned in the ring. He knows he’s capable and talented, or he wouldn’t be there. The final announcement was that EC3 would be competing against five other competitors, at TakeOver, for the new North American Championship, in a ladder match.
EC3 said it didn’t matter how many men were in the match, he’d show them all why he’s in the top one percent of the industry.
Over to Charly Caruso to look at the brackets for the dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. The semi-final matches are on tonight’s show. The final is next week and the winners will face Undisputed ERA for the tag titles at NXT TakeOver New Orleans.
TM61 were interviewed about their loss to the Authors of Pain in the first round of the Dusty Classic. They talked about needing to change their attitudes and look for a new strategy, then the cameras cut away to Ember Moon and Shayna Baszler having a fist fight.
Street Profits vs Authors of Pain – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Final match
Montez Ford got in to start the match for Street Profits but after Rezar shoved him and yelled at him a bit he changed his mind and tagged Angelo Dawkins.
Dawkins is a big lad, but Authors of Pain are built like brick walls. He got moderately murderized for a while before he managed to deliver a huge dropkick and get some offence in.
Ford was doing a happy dance outside the ring, because Dawkins had got Akam down with a pop up spinebuster, but came face to face with Paul Ellering. He offered Ellering a sip from the cup, Ellering knocked it out of his hand and they argued up the ramp.
Unfortunately, Angelo Dawkins was watching all this instead of paying attention to Akam and Rezar. Authors of Pain hit the Last Chapter and got the pin.
Authors of Pain are through to the finals for the second year running.
Cathy Kelley spoke to William Regal about the new championship match. He announced the Adam Cole will be the second competitor in the ladder match. Velveteen Dream interrupted and, in a very roundabout way, said he should be in the match. William Regal agreed and named him as the third competitor.
Lars Sullivan vs John Silver
Squash match. Nothing much else to say about it really. Sullivan likes to play with his victims for a while apparently. It could have been over in ten seconds, he made it last a minute or so.
Back to Cathy Kelley and William Regal. She asked him for more names for the ladder match. He answered by telling her to watch, then inviting Lars Sullivan to be part of the match. Sullivan said yes, but he wants Killian Dain. Regal said Dain is in the ladder match as well, but he can have a match with him next week as well.
Dakota Kai was entering the ring for her match when the cameras cut to the parking lot, where Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas was attacking Aleister Black. Black went down as the cameras got to them, and he never got a chance to turn things round. Almas kicked him, dunked him in a water filled cooler (they like that for the backstage brawls on NXT), then dragged, threw, and kicked him all the way to the ring. He grabbed a chair and smacked Black across the back with it, tried to put the chair up on Black’s back (which didn’t really work), then stood over him with the title. Aleister Black was still laid out in the ring, surrounded by officials, when Almas and Vega left.
Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong vs SAnitY – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Final match
A positive at the start of the match for Dunne and Strong, Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe came to the ring without the backup of Killian Dain and Nikki Cross. But SAnitY still have the advantage of being a cohesive team, this is just the second time Dunne and Strong have teamed together.
A match worthy of main event status. Back and forth, and about as even as you can get. The main problem seemed to be keeping the non-legal partner stay outside the ring, for both teams.
Pete Dunne looked great in this match. He punched Alexander Wolfe out of the air at one point, but got caught by Eric Young and flattened. I love a match where there is the genuine feeling that either team could win at any time and it would make sense. There aren’t that many, but this was one of them.
Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne may not have been a team long, but they’ve obviously been working on it because they pulled a double team manoeuvre on Eric Young, and Dunne got the pin.
Next week it will be Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong versus Authors of Pain in the final of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
The show ended back with Cathy Kelley and William Regal. She knocked on the office door and asked who the final competitor was going to be, and Regal said he’d get him and disappeared back inside. The office door opened and out stepped Ricochet. He said, ‘See you at TakeOver’, and that was it.
No women’s division action at all tonight, unless you count that ‘candid’ fight. Sadly, that seems like an accurate reflection of how much of an afterthought the women’s division in NXT is at this time. Let’s just make this crystal clear, that is not acceptable. In 2018, with the depth of the roster available to them, to not have a women’s division match on a show is not acceptable.
Onto more positive things. The new North American Championship is a great move for NXT. There is just too much talent on the roster to have a single title especially now they’ve debuted two more. EC3 and Ricochet are both major and well-publicised signings. It’s great to have them both there, but I’m extra-psyched to be able to cover Ricochet’s matches on NXT. The TakeOver match is going to be incredible – Lars Sullivan, Killian Dain, EC3, Velveteen Dream, Ricochet, and Adam Cole in the same ring, full of TakeOver hype, with ladders.
Next week we have Lars Sullivan versus Killian Dain, and the final of the Dusty Classic. It’s the go home show for TakeOver as well, so expect shenanigans aplenty. Should be a good show. Surely they wouldn’t disrespect the women’s division twice in as many weeks, would they? Come back next week to find out.