Clever character development and some strong in-ring performances? It’s that time once again guys, time to check out the best WWE Network show… No, not Superstar Ink! Let’s check out what happened This Week on NXT!
The show opens with Mauro Ranallo and Nigel McGuinness once again welcoming us to NXT, and Centre Stage in Atlanta. That place they did WCW once.
Or a few times.
DUSTY RHODES TAG TEAM CLASSIC ROUND ONE: SAnitY (ALEXANDER WOLFE & ERIC YOUNG) VS TINO SABBATELLI & RIDDICK MOSS
SAnitY is out in dominant force, Wolfe and Young accompanied to the ring by Killian Dain and Nikki Cross. In comparison, the pairing of well aren’t they muscular let’s put them together in a tag team that’ll obviously work out great – Sabbatelli and Moss come out to near silence. We get it, you’ve got abs and you drive nice cars, cool. Wolfe and Riddick lock up, a knee to the gut of Wolfe taking him out of the equation and thrust into the corner. Wolfe reverses but Moss counters, tagging Tino in to continue the beat down on Wolfe. Miscommunication on a tag leads to Young getting the hot tag from Wolfe, hits his ode to hail to the king from the top rope, goes for a pin and is dragged out by Moss.
Cross gets, well, somewhat cross at this and decides she’s had enough of their shit. Diving crossbody takes Moss out (if we’re going Kayfabe here then dude you need to get some real muscle, not Showtime mass), Tino stumbles around a bit – tries to look confused, gets hoisted up by Wolfe for the double team belly to back suplex/neckbreaker combo… and that’s three. SAnitY move onto the semi-finals of the Dusty Classic in a rather underwhelming match. Can’t understand why you’d have ‘nice cars incorporated’ instead of anyone else in the tournament.
The now very unwholesome Tomasso Ciampa makes his way to the ring, the crowd all holding signs of Johnny Wrestling’s infamous logo. Ciampa tries to speak, deafened by boos and cheers of ‘JOHNNY, JOHNNY, JOHNNY’ and ‘JOHNNY WRESTLING’. The heat magnet screams at the crowd that ‘He’s gone’, once again taking to the mic and getting totally shut down, dropping it to the canvas. Ciampa takes in the crowd, savouring the moment.
‘NA-NA-NA, NA-NA-NA, WA-AAVE GOODBYE!’
And he’s out. What utterly fantastic work from Ciampa. Just proving once again why he owns the moniker of the Sicilian psychopath.
LACEY EVANS VS DAKOTA KAI
Lacey Evans is out first, and I for one am hoping this match is over as soon as possible. Sorry to say, but Evans is nowhere near ready to be on television in an elevated role with the likes of Nixon Newell almost ready to go. Dakota Kai comes out to a big pop, having just returned from injury after being attacked by an ever vicious Shayna Baszler. Kai goes for a running Pele kick, Evans dodges and controls Evans, quick roll up from Kai and that’s three. Thank the gods.
After the match, Baszler heads to the ring, staring down Kai. Baszler looks pissed. Kai looks like she’s about to do something similar to that word but in a please don’t kill me kind of way. Ember Moon hits the ring making the save, challenging Baszler to a match at Takeover: New Orleans. Moon attacks and the two throw hands, the ever seemingly weak referees trying to break them up (dude you were literally Drake Younger in CZW, sort it out). The segment ends with Moon hitting the Ember Eclipse from the top rope to Baszler with a little assist from her new pal Kai. Moon stands tall. Overall, the match played of little significance, but you can see where they’re trying to build – Ember taking out the bully that is Baszler once and for all.
Ember Moon vs Shayna Baszler for the NXT women’s championship is confirmed by the commentary team for Takeover: New Orleans. I’ve got a funny feeling we might be seeing a new champion…
DUSTY RHODES TAG TEAM CLASSIC ROUND ONE: STREET PROFITS VS HEAVY MACHINERY
As is expected with the team of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins, they’re still over with the crowd. Ridiculously over. Montez Ford and Otis Dozovic lock up, Ford attempting a headlock but is thrown into the corner, grabbing his cup. Djokovic asks if he can have some of whatever it is that Ford’s got going in that cup, and like the good guy he is, happily allows him. Otis chugs the lot, tossing the cup out of the ring into the air and goes on the offensive against Ford. Tags made from both teams, Dozovic and Knight catch Montez by the legs and hoist him up, using him as a battering ram to Dawkins valuables. Not good for the old baby maker. Bear hug to Ford by Tucker, forearm smashes breaking the hold and getting the hot tag to Dawkins. Dawkins runs wild, suddenly getting cut off. Ford makes the save, breaking up a Compactor attempt on Dawkins by Dozovic and Knight, leaving Angelo to nail Otis in the centre of the ring with a huge DDT, Montez following up with a frog splash on him for the three count. Street Profits win and advance to the semi-finals in a fun, but short match.
WWE UNITED KINGDOM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: PETE DUNNE (C ) VS ADAM COLE W/NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS (BOBBY FISH & KYLE O’REILLY)
Adam Cole and the rest of the Undisputed Era are out first. The crowd pops HUGE as always for Cole, in unison chanting ‘ADAM COLE, BAY-BAY!’ – Also, those titles look so good on Fish and O’Reilly, the legend of the belt collectors continue. Pete Dunne is out next, to the biggest pop of the night. He is gold and I’m sorry if you don’t live in the UK because we still get to see him perform everywhere and anywhere! Cole sits in his corner giving zero fucks. We get the proper lights down ring introductions, referee Drake Wuertz holds aloft Pete’s belt and we’re off.
Dunne and Cole lock up. Dunne to the corner, Cole backs off. Dunne also gives zero fucks, slides out from the ring and gets straight in the faces of Fish and O’Reilly. Proper black country lad wanting a scrap is our Pete. Dunne rolls back in, is taken to the mat by Cole but gets back up, clocking Cole with a stiff forearm smash to the jaw, Cole collapsing under his own weight at the impact. Dunne continues not to give a fuck, controlling the arm of Cole, kicking him in the face and manipulating his fingers, smashing them to the mat with a hard stomp. Cole rolls out of the ring, Dunne following up. Dunne hits his x-plex on the apron (it’s the hardest part of the ring don’t you know). Out of nothing, Cole gets the upper hand with Fish and O’Reilly distracting Dunne as he goes to the ropes, Cole shoving him and putting Pete into a tree of woe to the outside of the ring.
Back from a short commercial break featuring not Rockstar Spud, Cole is in control. Cole attempts a suplex, but Dunne counters and hits a beautiful x-plex. Back and forth from Cole and Dunne, trading chops until Cole takes his knee to the gut of Dunne, throwing him to the corner. Dunne flips off the mid turnbuckle, hitting an enziguri. Sitout powerbomb by Dunne for a two count. Pete continues not to give a fuck, axe kick to the side of Cole’s head, getting him into position for the Bitter End. Cole reverses into a backcracker, picking Dunne up attempting another Suplex but gets caught in a variation of an octopus stretch. Cole breaks out. Two count. Both men down, Cole to his feet first. Cole talks a bunch of shit to Dunne and gets a nice shiner for it. The distraction from Fish & O’Reilly allows Cole to take the upper hand again, Dunne running the ropes again and getting caught with a b-e-a-utiful superkick to the jaw on the way back round. Near fall for Cole.
Both men are back up and Cole attempts a shining wizard, Dunne counters and blasts Cole with a release German suplex. Pete again goes for the Bitter End but Undisputed Era jump on the apron. Pete is smarter than the average bear and decides that Fish and O’Reilly both deserve a nap. Lights out lads. Cole hits his patented brainbuster to the knee and gets a damn near fall. Pete is pissed and snaps Cole’s fingers. The Bruiserweight finally sees his opening to finish the match and heads for the Bitter End. Fish and O’Reilly have other plans and rush the ring. Dunne retains via DQ in the best match of the night, albeit with a screwy finish. Undisputed Era decide that Dunne’s a bit of a problem and beat him down until Roderick Strong comes from nowhere for the save. Dunne gets back to his feet and they clear the ring together in a showing of mutual respect for one and other.
Up next is the contract signing for Takeover: New Orleans, with Andrade “Cien” Almas defending his NXT championship against the master of Black Mass, Aleister Black.
William Regal is standing in the ring, contract ready and waiting. Cien is welcomed to the ring by Regal, but Zelina Vega comes out alone. She goes on to say that Andrade is not in the building tonight and if he was, he would destroy Aleister until there was nothing left. Aleister couldn’t give a toss and simply ignores her. Vega gets irate, shouting at Black to listen to her. Aleister moves the table, sits down and puts the banter on Vega by saying that at least they’re on the same level now. Vega insists that Andrade is going to destroy him at Takeover. Black says she’s concerned that Andrade will come up, like her, a little short. Or is it because he just doesn’t measure up? Vega doesn’t like what Black is selling, and slaps him. Aleister stands up, signs the contract, and leaves. He says he’s happy that Vega came out alone, because he didn’t. Candice LeRae storms the arena and takes Vega all around the ringside area, laying her out in the ring. Black looks on as LeRae stands tall, avenging Johnny Wrestling’s unjust departure from NXT.
And that’s it until next week…
Joshua White – Steelchair Magazine 2018.