Lars Sullivan versus Velveteen Dream is the big match of the night, with Sullivan aiming to take Velveteen Dream out and take his place in the title match against Ciampa at NXT TakeOver WarGames. But the really big news isn’t a match, it’s a promise from Johnny Gargano to reveal all about why he attacked Aleister Black. Also on tonight’s card, Dakota Kai versus Tamara Conti, and Heavy Machinery versus Forgotten Sons. They should be good matches, but it’s all about what Gargano has to say.
Heavy Machinery def. Forgotten Sons
Dakota Kai def. Taynara Conti
Lars Sullivan def. Velveteen Dream
Heavy Machinery vs Forgotten Sons
Jaxon Ryker accompanied Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler to the ring. Cutler was wearing a nose guard because he’s still recovering from a break.
Fun match, but Heavy Machinery matches always are. It got a good amount of time to play out as well, which is always nice to see.
Heavy Machinery picked Blake and Cutler up and slammed them together. Tucker Knight slammed Blake to the mat, but Dozovic spun Cutler round and round until Knight reminded him to slam him onto his partner. Dozovic also managed to do the worm before Forgotten Sons took control of the match.
They isolated Dozovic after that and utilised frequent tags to keep themselves fresh enough to keep him down. He got caught in a triangle and it looked like he might pass out. Instead, he stood up with Blake still hanging on and sent him crashing to the mat. That gave him the opportunity to tag in Tucker Knight.
Knight came in with the intent to take everyone out. He only managed to get two after the came off the top turnbuckle onto Cutler, and quickly found himself on the wrong end of a double team. Knight kicked out of a Forgotten Sons backstabber/elbow from the top, but Dozovic had to break things up after the superplex/frogsplash.
After an excellent opening match, Otis Dozovic got the win for Heavy Machinery by slamming Wesley Blake into the canvas so hard he should have gone right through.
After a recap of Candice LeRae confronting Nikki Cross and being questioned by Aleister Black, Candice LeRae was interviewed on her way into the performance centre. She said she’s not there to be exploited. Everything that’s going on with her husband and herself, she’d like to keep between them right now.
She has questions too, for Nikki Cross. But Cross didn’t answer them. She laughed in her face and walked away. She’s there to ask William Regal for a match with Nikki Cross. That way she can’t walk away from her and they’ll see if she’s still smiling when LeRae is done.
Shayna Baszler was interviewed alongside Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir. She was asked what happens when Kairi Sane invokes her rematch clause. Baszler looked annoyed, although to be fair she usually looks annoyed, and asked how many times she has to beat down Kairi Sane before everyone realises how insignificant she is. What’s most important is that she is the first ever two-time NXT women’s champion.
William Regal interrupted and said Kairi Sane has invoked her rematch clause, and, because of their past, he’s decided to make it a two out of three falls match at WarGames. Baszler seemed less than pleased and kicked Cathy Kelley out as soon as Regal left.
Dakota Kai vs Taynara Conti
Good to see it looks like Kai will be working across NXT and NXT UK. She’s making a name for herself on both brands, and that’s something Conti is desperate to do.
Commentary called it a contrast of styles, but it really didn’t play out that way, if anything they complimented each other pretty well. Kai has the skills and experience advantage, but Conti is fast and ruthless. And, like Kai, she likes to kick hard.
Conti damaged Kai’s wrist with a kick and spent a lot of the match working that injury. It gave her a good period in the ascendency, but eventually, Kai realised she didn’t need her wrist to kick Conti’s head off, and it was all Kai from that point.
Dakota Kai’s backstabber finisher has a name. Commentary called it the Kairopractor. I like it. She used it to finish the match and pick up another win.
Mia Yim said she’s living the dream, training at the performance centre, working alongside the best of the best. Bianca Belair interrupted the interview. When Yim asked if there was a problem, Belair asked why Yim was getting an interview when what should be being talked about is the fact she’s been there for two years, she is undefeated, and still hasn’t got her title shot.
Yim said she doesn’t understand why Belair is so angry with her, she doesn’t know what her issues are. But she does know Belair hasn’t beaten her. Bianca Belair shook her head and walked away.
Bianca Belair versus Mia Yim is happening next week.
Matt Riddle and Keith Lee were talking in the corridor talking about how great Riddle’s NXT debut felt when they came across Kassius Ohno. Ohno welcomed them as General Manager Regal’s shiny new toys. He likes shiny new toys, they’re fun to break. Ohno left and Lee and Riddle went back to talking about how great it was to be in NXT.
Next up was an excellent hype package for the WarGames match at TakeOver, between Undisputed Era and War Raiders, Ricochet and Pete Dunne.
The explanation from Johnny Gargano came via a video. He said everyone’s been asking why. Aleister Black talks about a path he’s on, but Gargano’s on a path too – He was filming from near where he attacked Black – The end of his path led to Tommaso Ciampa, to righting a wrong fulfilling a promise and him being the one to beat Ciampa for the NXT Championship. Black got in the way, collateral damage, nothing personal. He’d like to think Black would appreciate that seeing as he walks around like he owns the place Black Massing everyone and no-one bats an eye.
Black is always saying no man is truly good and no man is truly evil. Gargano thinks Black’s confused, and that’s sad. He knows exactly who he is, he’s the good guy, he’s the hero at the end of the story. He does one little thing people might consider evil and everyone freaks out. He’s still the same Johnny Gargano he always has been. He still fights for what’s right. What he’s learned is that sometimes you’ve got to fight a little dirty. So that’s why.
He knows Black probably wants to kick his face off. That’s fine. He accepts that and probably deserves it, but after everything he’s been through he’s not scared of him. He lives in a dark, dark place, and he’s afraid of the dark anymore, Actually, he’s kind of starting to like it.
Gargano stopped walking pointed the camera at a spot behind him and asked if it looked familiar. That’s the spot he left Black laying, and at TakeOver WarGames, he’ll leave him laying again.
William Regal announced that next will there will be a singles match between two of the WarGames competitors, and whoever wins will get the advantage in the WarGames match.
Velveteen Dream vs Lars Sullivan
Velveteen Dream did the only thing he could do to have a chance to compete with Sullivan, he piled in as soon as the bell went
Trouble is, once you get caught by Lars Sullivan, something is going to hurt. Especially as Sullivan had stated that his game plan was to hurt Velveteen Dream enough that he can’t compete at TakeOver and Sullivan can take his place – I’m not convinced that’s what would happen, but Sullivan seems to think it’s worth a shot.
Velveteen Dream’s not a small guy though, and he’s very agile and not afraid to fly around the place. He launched himself over the top rope at Sullivan and managed to kick him headfirst into the steps then slammed his head into them again. It kept Sullivan down for seconds before he pulled Velveteen Dream out of the ring and drove him back first into the apron.
Velveteen Dream took a lot of punishment from Sullivan’s extreme power and brute force, but fought back with a couple of dropkicks that got Sullivan down for two. He tried, and failed, to get Sullivan up for the Dream Valley Driver, and got caught with a powerslam.
Velveteen Dream went for a superplex but got thrown to the mat. He rolled out of the way of the diving headbutt and dodged Sullivan’s next charge which sent Sullivan into the post.
He got Sullivan on his shoulders for the Dream Valley Driver this time and went up to the top for the Purple Rainmaker. Tommaso Ciampa appeared from nowhere and Velveteen Dream diverted his leap onto him instead.
As soon as Velveteen got back in the ring, he took a Freak Accident and got pinned.
After the match, Tommaso Ciampa got into the ring while Velveteen Dream was trying to cover and hit him from behind. He yelled, ‘I’m the champ, you don’t share my spotlight, you don’t share my main event, you’re not in my league, Dream’, then started the attack proper.
Velveteen Dream fought back and DDT’d Ciampa on the title but, when he ascended the turnbuckle for a Purple Rainmaker, the ring was suddenly full of officials. They persuaded him to get down and he started to leave, then ran back to the ring climbed to the top and flew onto Ciampa before anyone could stop him.
He held the title belt up while the crowd chanted for him and Ciampa writhed in pain, then dropped it on him to end the show.
There is only one more episode before NXT TakeOver WarGames, but it feels like the build has only just got going. We’ve got four confirmed matches though:
- Undisputed ERA vs War Raiders, Ricochet, and Pete Dunne – WarGames match
- Tommaso Ciampa (C) vs Velveteen Dream – NXT Championship match
- Shayna Baszler (C) vs Kairi Sane – NXT Women’s Championship, two out of three falls, match
- Aleister Black vs Johnny Gargano
By normal TakeOver standards, there is one more match to announce. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s Kassius Ohno vs Matt Riddle, but I’d love to see Nikki Cross and Bianca Belair go one more time.