It looks like a very good episode of NXT tonight. Three pre-announced matches and a teaser of more on the Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Candice LeRae storyline. Heavy Machinery face TM61, Velveteen Dream and Ricochet team up to try to take down Lars Sullivan, and Kairi Sane takes on Lacey Evans.
TM61 def Heavy Machinery
Lacey Evans def Kairi Sane
Lars Sullivan def Ricochet and Velveteen Dream
After the initial housekeeping from commentary, the show started with tag team division action.
Heavy Machinery vs TM61
It was obvious TM61 were going to try to outpace Heavy Machinery. It was equally obvious there was going to be limited success with that approach. Shane Thorne got a few dodges in before Otis Dozovic grabbed him and showed off his superior power.
Tucker Knight and Nick Miller took over. When Thorne tried to interfere to save Nick Miller, he was bulldozed by Dozovic then used as a battering ram on Miller who was hooked up in the corner.
Knight ran into trouble when he didn’t spot the TM61 tag. A double team took him down, then he got caught in the TM61 corner with Thorne and Miller making frequent tags allowing for enough double teaming to keep him there. He escaped after double suplexing Thorne and Miller.
Otis Dozovic came in fully fired up. Thorne broke up the post Caterpillar pin attempt on Miller. He and Knight fought it out and both ended up laid out on the outside.
Shane Thorne interfered again when Otis Dozovic was on the turnbuckle. He’d distracted himself using Thorne’s shirt as a sweat rag, Thorne kicked him in the head, Dozovic fell off the turnbuckle and Miller pinned him while his partner held his feet on the ropes.
Another cheap cheat win from TM61. Great start to the show though.
Interesting hype package for Bianca Belair. There is going to be an in-depth feature about her next week, solidifying her as marked out for big things in the future.
EC3 cut a video promo about being the top one percent and turning NXT into NX3. He said a lot of words, but that was the entire content of the segment.
Kairi Sane vs Lacey Evans
The sweet version of Kairi Sane was switched off as soon as the bell rang, replaced with the focused and aggressive version. Starting with a dropkick to set the tone of the match.
Really good contest from two of the hottest prospects in the NXT women’s division. Sane has masses more experience than Evans, but Evans has grown by leaps and bounds since her first appearances in NXT, and her superior strength served her well in this one.
Evans dominated the mid-portion of the match, keeping Sane grounded and using her power advantage. Sane’s superior skillset facilitated the fightback and things started to look very familiar as she began the series of moves which usually lead to the InSane elbow.
They ended up on the outside after Evan rolled out and Sane delivered an elbow from the steps. Kairi Sane rolled her back into the ring and ascended to the top turnbuckle. Lacey Evans caught Sane with The Woman’s Right as she launched herself off the turnbuckle, and got the pin.
Cathy Kelley spoke to Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae in the parking lot. Gargano’s neck was in a collar. She asked him how his neck was. He said it’s seen better days, then said he and LeRae had sat down and discussed the future and they’d made a decision as a team. He didn’t tell her what the decision was because he’s going to speak to the NXT universe later. He did say it something he didn’t want to do, but that has to be done.
After a recap of the six-man tag match last week, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch said they think they have earned the title match against Undisputed ERA, which they will get at TakeOver Chicago. That was followed by Undisputed ERA talking about how Lorcan and Burch don’t deserve and shot and none of them had heard of Oney Lorcan before last week (a touch of indie match erasure there from Strong, but hey). They all blamed Pete Dunne for giving Lorcan and Burch false hope. Roderick Strong said he hasn’t got the patience to wait for Chicago and wants to face Danny Burch one on one.
Ricochet and Velveteen Dream vs Lars Sullivan
This was hugely entertaining. More an exercise on Ricochet and Velveteen Dream throwing their bodies and everything they could think of to try to get Sullivan off his feet. They succeeded, eventually and only after an extreme amount of punishment, but it didn’t last long.
Even a clearly rocked Lars Sullivan still managed to throw Velveteen Dream around like he weighed about the same as a bag of sugar. NXT have created their monster well.
Velveteen Dream kicked out of a powerslam. Ricochet broke the pin from Sullivan’s diving headbutt.
A diving crossbody from Velveteen followed by a standing shooting star press from Ricochet wasn’t enough to keep Sullivan down. But a couple of quick tags and some sustained offence looked to have Sullivan reeling.
Ricochet’s tag on Velveteen Dream seemed to knock him off balance as he came off the top rope, and it appears Velveteen might have thought it was deliberate. Just when things looked to be going their way, Velveteen Dream delivered a Death Valley driver to Ricochet and walked away, leaving Ricochet to take a Freak Accident and get pinned.
Dakota Kai has an NXT Women’s Championship match next week. She was asked how she felt about it. She said this is something she’s dreamed about for years. But the fact it’s against Shayna Baszler, a bully she has let get too far in her head – that was as far as she got.
Shayna Baszler appeared and told her she knew she didn’t stand a chance. Kai said, ‘we’ll see about that’. Baszler looked on in shock as Kai walked away.
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae came to the ring for the final segment, both looking more than a little subdued. He told the crowd he loves them too, then talked about how his body reminds him every day of everything that happened last time he walked down that ramp. How he should have had a title match but left on a stretcher before the bell rang after being brutalised by Tommaso Ciampa.
He’s been wrestling his whole life, but he sat down with Candice and they talked about him needing to focus on their future. He had to ask, with all the injuries mounting up and the toll it has taken on his family and wife, is it worth it. He was clearly building up to a retirement speech but, with the crowd chanting Johnny Wrestling and his wife pleading him to do what he came there for, he ripped off the neck collar, declared it was worth it and called out Tommaso Ciampa.
Ciampa appeared and Candice LeRae ran backstage to get help. Ciampa called Gargano ‘boy’ and said he would walk to the ring and if Gargano was still stood there he would finish this. Before he got there LeRae reappeared with three officials and Gargano rolled out of the ring to try to give them the slip.
Candice LeRae tried to hold him back and the officials tried to get in his way, he even started to walk away. Then Ciampa started trash-talking and Gargano rushed the ring. Ciampa knocked him off the apron into LeRae who hit her head hard on the ramp and knocked herself out. Ciampa looked shocked, left the ring and went backstage without passing the couple. The show closed out with Johnny Gargano and the officials waiting for medics to move the semi-conscious LeRae.
Lots of good stuff on tonight’s show. The first TakeOver match has been confirmed and the various possibilities for the rest of them all look exciting. It seems fairly certain we’ll get Ricochet versus Velveteen Dream now, and that will be incredible.
I find myself wondering what’s left for Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano to do. Things are obviously still escalating between them, although Ciampa’s reaction to Candice LeRae getting hurt was interesting. But they have already had that brutal unsanctioned match, how much more can they put each other through. I can’t wait to find out.
Dakota Kai seems to be getting over her fear of Shayna Baszler. Maybe Nikki Cross’ little pep talk did the trick. Is it wishful thinking to hope that Kai getting her title shot next week will open the door for Cross to challenge at TakeOver?