NXT are really packing in the content on their shows recently. I guess they’ve got to find some way of showcasing as much of the overstuffed and ever-growing roster as possible. Tonight, Nikki Cross gets to play with Bianca Belair. Raoul Mendoza tries to get his revenge on Lars Sullivan. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch are back in action, as is Shayna Baszler. And Tommaso Ciampa is set to make an appearance. It’s going to be another busy hour.
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch def. Cezar Bononi and Adrian Jaoude
Shayna Baszler def Violet Payne
Lars Sullivan def Raoul Mendoza
Nikki Cross vs Bianca Belair – No contest – double count out.
The show opened with Tommaso Ciampa arriving at the building and ignoring interviewers.
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch vs Cezar Bononi and Adrian Jaoude
First match of the show was the return of Burch and Lorcan after Oney Lorcan’s injury. I’m glad they were given NXT up-and-comers, rather than a squash, it turned out to be a pretty decent match.
Danny Burch took a fair amount of punishment in the early part of the match before Lorcan came in fired up and ready to prove he hadn’t lost a step. In all honesty, he barely had time to do that. One of the issues with NXT packing stuff in so tightly is that only the main event gets long enough to really develop. Still, it’s good to see him back and fighting fit.
A double team DDT on Adrian Jaoude finished the match in Burch and Lorcan’s favour.
Tommaso Ciampa has a theme song now. It’s ok and apparently accompanied by a spotlight for his entrance. Mauro Ranallo pointed out he also has new gear, but I hadn’t noticed. The ‘you suck’ chants were still in evidence though.
Ciampa said that the music is a personal message from the champ to everyone. It’s the politest way he could think of saying shut up. He talked about hearing whispers and rumours over the last month that he was the one who took out Aleister Black. But if he wanted to do it he would have done it front of an audience, so people could appreciate a master at work.
He admitted he had every intention of taking out Black before TakeOver Brooklyn, but someone got there first. He wants to know who, so he can pat him or her on the back and say job well done. It wouldn’t have mattered if Black had been fit for the match, he would have just beaten him and Gargano and won anyway.
The title is apparently talking to him these days. He said it thanked him for returning it to the main event of TakeOver. He is the champion of champions, he talks the talk and walks the walk. When he says he’s going to do something he does exactly that. That’s what makes Tommaso Ciampa the greatest success story in the history of NXT and our NXT Champion.
He had one final thing he wanted to address. And he wanted to make sure the crowd, the viewers, and the roster were listening. If you want to be a success if you want to be a winner, if you want to be a champion, then follow the lead of Tommaso Ciampa.
Shayna Baszler vs Violet Payne
Baszler got a squash match. Completely one-sided. She tapped Violet Payne out with the Kirifuda Clutch, held it too long, then came back after the bell and put it on again, twice. She finally threw Payne out of the ring before leaving.
Heavy Machinery did a little video from outside. They have made it their mission to find out who attacked Aleister Black and in this segment were saying their main suspect is Ciampa.
Ciampa heard them and told them if they’re going to say the champ’s name they should say it with respect. This isn’t a game.
Dozovic said ‘listen, dumpling’ and offered Ciampa a fight. William Regal came over and told them it wasn’t happening now. If they want to fight they can do it later. Regal told Ciampa he wasn’t happy he’d been avoiding his calls, and ordered him to his office immediately.
Undisputed ERA had a backstage promo segment. They talked about War Raiders saying UE can run but not hide. According to them, they’re way too popular to hide from anyone. Kyle O’Reilly is too famous to buy groceries. O’Reilly also dissed War Raiders fashion sense and called them cowards. Adam Cole moved on the discuss Ricochet and Pete Dunne’s champion versus champion match next week. He said he called it the Adam Cole Invitational, where the winner eventually gets to defend against and lose to him. He couldn’t care less who wins the match because he will get his rematch and he’ll beat whoever is holding the title. Pete Dunne, Ricochet, War Raiders, none of them are on their level – and that’s undisputed.
Raoul Mendoza vs Lars Sullivan
Anyone want to place bets on how Mendoza’s revenge went?
Actually, he did pretty well. I mean, he didn’t win but he almost got Sullivan off his feet a couple of times, and he sent him shoulder first into the ringpost. He also got thrown around the ring like a sack of potatoes a lot.
Lars Sullivan won with the Freak Accident.
Pete Dunne was interviewed about next week’s champion versus champion match. He said what happened two weeks ago was Ricochet’s fault, but he blames himself for getting involved in Ricochet’s business with Undisputed ERA. But Ricochet has gold that Dunne wants and now he has a chance to get it. Ricochet has been a champion for five minutes, he’s the longest reigning champion in WWE, so now he just has to work out how to fit two title belts in his mouth.
Ricochet’s answering interview he said that five minutes was a month, but he wants to address Dunne thinking that Ricochet doesn’t have what it takes to deal with the high-pressure situations and retain his title. Dunne knows as well as he does that Ricochet’s been in high-pressure situations long before he was in NXT. Each and every step that he has taken in sports entertainment for the last 15 years has been one high-pressure situation after another. Dunne is just another mountain he has to climb, another hurdle he has to leap over. Because it doesn’t matter how long someone’s been champion and he’s going to find that out next week when Ricochet retains his title, takes the UK Championship, and becomes NXT’s only dual champion.
Forgotten Sons promo. They were discarded and forsaken but they’re never going to let that happen again.
Someone asking fans their opinions on something caught footage of Dakota Kai arguing with Aliyah and Lacey Evans. Deonna Purrazzo appeared and joined Kai’s side. It ended with Purrazzo and Kai suggesting they sorted it out there and then, physically, and Evans say no. That led to an announcement that Dakota Kai and Deonna Purrazzo versus Lacey Evans and Aliyah takes place next week.
Kairi Sane was shown being interviewed by William Regal in the Aleister Black investigation. When she’d finished Kassius Ohno came in and said he was there to give his perspective. Regal said he didn’t need to talk to him and Ohno got upset. William Regal said he didn’t need to speak to him because Kairi Sane had given him an alibi, but he wanted to know why Ohno looked perturbed when he came back to the table.
After some snark, Ohno said that it was because he’d come back to NXT as the hottest free agent and been pushed to the back of the line. So many ‘hot free agents’ have leapfrogged him. Does he have to put a suit on and sit in the front row of TakeOver to get back on Regal’s radar?
Regal said he’s always on his radar. Ohno said he always will be. When Regal’s new shiny toy turns up let him know and he’ll take care of him, Bro.
Yup, Matt Riddle versus Kassius Ohno will be fun.
Nikki Cross vs Bianca Belair
I’m so very happy this was the main event. The preview on wwe.com billed it as the unpredictable versus the undefeated. I think very highly of both these wrestlers, but I particularly like Nikki Cross. Everything she does is pitched so perfectly, she’s just wonderful.
This was such a fun match to watch. Cross’ mind games worked well on Belair to start with. There’s no strategy to be formed with someone like Cross especially when they laugh when you hit them and play games like a child. A particular highlight was Cross bouncing up and down clapping her hands and saying ‘bouncy’ in response to one of Belair’s more gymnastic moves.
Belair definitely has the strength advantage. She dropped Cross face first to the mat from the military press but ate canvas herself when Cross rolled out of the way of the follow-up splash.
Bianca Belair tried to escape the ring when Nikki Cross took to the top turnbuckle. She got as far as the apron before Cross got down and took her legs out from underneath her then trapped her in the ring skirt and pounded on her a bit. The ref freed Belair and she drove Cross into the steps and followed up with a hair whip.
Nikki Cross jumped on her back and applied a sleeper as Belair tried to get back into the ring. Belair had to slam them both backwards onto the metal ramp to make her let go. Unfortunately, that meant she couldn’t get up before the count either.
The match was ruled no contest due to a double count-out, but it wasn’t over by a long shot.
Once they’d got their breath back they started beating on each other again. Belair was dragged away but Cross chased her towards the announce desk and Cross was thrown over it. In response, Nikki Cross climbed onto the desk and launched herself off onto Belair and all the officials. The show closed out with everyone on the floor and Nikki Cross laughing.
I know it’s a while until TakeOver, but I’d love to see Bianca Belair and Nikki Cross given a non-title match there. It would have the distinction of being the first time there were two women’s division matches on the card, and that would be cool. If tonight is anything to go by, they could have an amazing rivalry.
I’m interested in the storyline they’re running with Kassius Ohno. He rejoined NXT off the back of an impressive indie run, and he’s done very little since. I’m aware he has behind the scenes responsibilities as well, but it would be nice to see him get more in-ring attention.