Another busy week for NXT by the looks of it. Three advertised matches, Kairi Sane versus Lacey Evans, Roderick Strong versus Danny Burch, and TM61 versus… someone. We’re also expecting a visit from Tommaso Ciampa and an update on Nikki Cross and Shayna Baszler.
TM61 (now, The Mighty) def Mike Hughley & Robbie Grand
Roderick Strong def Danny Burch
Kairi Sane def Lacey Evans
Shayna Baszler started things off, and she’s got her belt back. She said that last week she showed the entire locker room that if they step in the ring with her they’ll get smacked in the face with a hard dose of reality. It doesn’t matter how brave they think they are she’s tougher, stronger, and better. The strong will always defeat the weak. But there’s always got to be one person in the group who thinks the laws don’t apply to them, and in this case, it happens to be Nikki Cross. She wants to tell her that if she ever gets in her face again it will be that last thing she ever does.
Nikki Cross decided to give her the opportunity, and out she came. They faced off and Baszler told her she is the NXT Women’s Champion. The only place Cross is better than her is in her own head. She asked Cross if she was crazy and the crowd chanted ‘Yes’ as Nikki Cross nodded.
Baszler said if she ever pulls a stunt like that again she could put her to sleep in a heartbeat.
Cross said, ‘Do it, Shayna’. Then repeated ‘do it’ and laughed.
Cross bounded forward and Baszler jumped back and dropped the belt. Nikki Cross laughed and then leapt on to of her and started pounding on her. She stomped on her in the corner then went to pick up the belt. She was still contemplating it when Baszler punched her in the side of the head and threw her out of the ring.
Cross got back on the apron, they exchanged blows then Nikki Cross climbed to the top turnbuckle and launched herself onto Baszler.
Baszler rolled out of the ring and sat on the ramp bleeding from the mouth. Nikki Cross threw the title out to her and Baszler grabbed it and backed away.
The NXT TakeOver Chicago II match has now been confirmed. I am 100% sold on this.
TM61 vs Mike Hughley & Robbie Grand
I’m completely over squash matches. TM61 are now more aggressive and will cheat if necessary, we already knew that. Surely that message could have been reinforced with one of NXT’s existing tag teams as part of a storyline. TM61 won.
After the match, Nick Miller took to the mic. He said they’ve proven they’re the best team in NXT, they’ve beaten Street Profits, they’ve beaten Heavy Machinery. They will win against the War Raiders, Lorcan and Burch, or Undisputed ERA if they’re man enough to get in the ring with them. Shane Thorne added that every team in NXT should kneel down and call them The Mighty.
A recap of Lars Sullivan laying out Aleister Black led into a shot of Sullivan pulverising trainees at the performance centre and the announcement that we’d be hearing from Aleister Black later.
Roderick Strong vs Danny Burch
Good technical match to start with. They seem very evenly matched and it was turning into an entertaining contest.
Of course, it broke down, it was always going to. When Danny Burch looked to have Strong almost beaten, Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly ran down to ringside, then Pete Dunne and Oney Lorcan followed to take them out.
As the chaos cleared Burch got Strong in a crossface and Strong was surely about to tap, but Adam Cole got up on the apron and Burch broke the hold to deal with him (he punched him in the head and knocked him off the apron). He turned around and was given a backbreaker by Strong and pinned.
Strong was too busy celebrating to notice Pete Dunne standing in the ring behind him. He turned around and froze, until Dunne hit him. As Dunne went for the Bitter End, Kyle O’Reilly hit Dunne in the back of the knee with his tag belt. Strong picked him up and gave him a backbreaker.
Kassius Ohno was having a photo shoot, which was interrupted by EC3. He asked the cameraman why he was taking pictures of Ohno, was he trying to break the camera? He quickly said he was joking, and that Ohno was a tremendous wrestler, but he’s not in the top one percent. He’s not NXT’s golden goose, the best here, the best there… Ohno said he gets it, EC3 is a lot of things, including a narcissistic arrogant blowhard. But if he keeps talking to him in that manner he’ll be one percent away from ninety-nine percent unconscious. EC3 said they were tough words, Ohno said let’s do this, EC3 said he was all booked up. Ohno said he’ll give him a week to prepare. EC3 accepted the challenge and left Ohno to his shoot.
Aleister Black didn’t appear live. His response was via a video package. He said Lars Sullivan did what people thought was unthinkable and turned it into reality, but his actions do not determine Blacks’ reality. He showed him what lays ahead in Chicago, but next week his reality will fade to black. Black will be on the show next week.
Hype package for Ricochet versus Velveteen Dream. Ricochet is good, athletically, but can he make them feel it. Ricochet is the king, Velveteen Dream is the prince who will succeed him. Ricochet has worked hard to get where he is, Velveteen Dream is gifted. That’s the bare bones of it.
Lacey Evans vs Kairi Sane.
Evans actually did write Kairi on her right hand, ‘A Woman’s Right’ really did have Sane’s name on it.
Third match for these two, the current score is one each. You can see the progression from the first to the third, they know each other better now so there were more counters and avoided moves.
Good match, and long-ish for NXT as well. Nice to see them getting a bit of time. Sane, sensibly, went for Evans’ right arm, Evans focused on exploiting her power advantage.
Evans missed with the moonsault (got to love the set up to that moonsault). Kairi Sane hit three spears in a row and launched into her usual set up sequence for the InSane Elbow. Instead, after she flew off the top turnbuckle, Sane locked in an armbar and Evans shifted their weight so Sane’s shoulders were down to force her to break it.
Kairi Sane laid Evans out with an Alabama slam, then hit the InSane Elbow for the win.
Tommaso Ciampa was out for the final segment. Still with no music, his entrance was accompanied by chants and jeers from the crowd. He sat on the corner and let them get on with it while they went through quite a range from ‘you suck’, through ‘Johnny Wrestling’, to ‘you tapped out’. There were still a significant number of ‘Psycho Killer’ chants in opposition to the ‘Johnny Wrestling’ ones.
When he finally spoke, he said the fact is they all gave up on him long before he gave up on them. The crowd wouldn’t let him speak so he told them he was going to talk and they could shut up and listen or keep making noise, he doesn’t care. They made noise. To the parts of the crowd still cheering for her he said ‘spare me the psycho killer bullcrap’ then started talking about Gargano.
Last week Gargano came out uninvited and interrupted a match because it’s always about Johnny Gargano. He had to announce to the entire world that he signed his contract for the street fight in Chicago. Apparently, Johnny Wrestling has become Johnny Badass. The crowd liked that. Anything to take attention from the fact that two weeks ago he nearly crippled his own wife. It’s all on Gargano. He brought LeRae to the ring, he challenged Ciampa to a fight. Ciampa was minding his own business, but Gargano insisted. Gargano attacked him, all he did was defend himself. The truth hurts. He should have listened to his wife, now he should listen to him and not show up for NXT TakeOver Chicago. The Gargano fairytale is coming to an end and it will not be a happy ending. LeRae is broken, Gargano will be broken. Ciampa wins.
Johnny Gargano appeared on the stage fighting of two officials who were trying to restrain him. He shook them off and charged at Ciampa. They fought through the ring and into the crowd. Gargano flew over a barricade onto Ciampa and officials, then chased Ciampa back to the ring.
Ciampa hit Johnny Gargano from behind as Gargano was fighting off officials and stomped on him before locking Gargano into the Gargano Escape.
Five officials made him break the hold and Ciampa rolled out of the ring. Gargano recovered enough to chase after him and caught him from behind on the stage. He through Ciampa around a bit, in a very similar way to Ciampa’s attack on him. Ciampa cut his head open on one of the backboards. Then Gargano put him in the Gargano Escape. Ciampa was tapping out, and bleeding from the head (hence the black and while photo). when the show went off the air.
Good episode of NXT tonight, and the card for NXT Takeover looks to be complete. It’s no surprise that it’s stacked, I can’t remember the last TakeOver that wasn’t. I’m not sure there’s been one.
I never thought I’d say this, but I’m ready for Gargano versus Ciampa to be over. I’m not sure how they actually end it unless one of them jumps to either the main roster or 205 Live. How do you go from such high levels of animosity to coexisting on the same brand? The Street Fight will be epic and brutal, but that needs to be the end of it.
Everything feels like it’s set up for TakeOver, there’s nothing left for anyone to say before they get down to it. It will be interesting to see what next week’s go home show adds.