One week removed from a big title change, I’m Scott Hammond and this is NXT from Full Sail University,
We had another hot start this week, with Johnny Gargano making his entrance after losing the North American title in his very first defence against the Velveteen Dream last week. I’ve said this before, but I do worry for him on the main roster. His debut on RAW was a lukewarm introduction at best, and it may not set a good precedent going forward. I hope I’m wrong (I am frequently). He started off by saying how interesting the last few weeks have been, citing the less-than-stellar debut on the two WWE main shows, as well as the elation of being ‘Johnny Champion’ after NXT Takeover: Phoenix, and then losing in his first title defence. This led the crowd into a ‘Johnny Failure’ chant (bit harsh, but fair, I suppose). Interestingly, he then said that he failed the fans (is he a face, is he a heel, or do we blur the lines with him now?) and, before he can realise the only reason he’d been winning, he was cut off by NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa.
Ciampa went the typical manipulator route, citing that Gargano won when he was next to Ciampa, and lost when he thought he could do it by himself. Ciampa said that, when they are together, they win, and Gargano doesn’t have to be without a championship for long, because the Dusty Rhodes Classic had returned, with the winners of the tournament gaining a title shot at the NXT Tag Team Titles at NXT Takeover: New York. Ciampa said that if they team up, they will win. The segment ended with Ciampa extending his hand to Gargano, who shook it, as Ciampa smiled. Good segment, achieving what they wanted, and progressed a very intriguing story.
Promo from Ricochet on the Undisputed Era. He is getting so much better and more comfortable on the mic, excellent work.
Candice LeRae stopped Johnny Gargano outside of Full Sail following Tomasso Ciampa, and simply said ‘Again?’, and Gargano replied asking her to trust him.
Aliyah & ‘The Vision’ Vanessa Vaughn vs Taynara Conti & Xia Li
Wait a minute! Aliyah is on NXT TV two weeks running. This is good news. She deserves continued exposure. Conti and Vaughn started. Conti started quickly with a bicycle kick into a high knee strike in the corner. Conti worked into a kneebar on Vaughn through the middle rope, very unique, I like it. Vaughn then took control after an Aliyah distraction and hit a reverse bronco buster. Aliyah was then tagged in, to boos, and they hit a double northern lights suplex.
Conti eventually managed the lukewarm tag to Xia Li, who took Aliyah down with a set of pretty impressive kicks, before Aliyah made a blind tag to Vaughn. Vaughn then held Li’s head down by her knee while Aliyah came off the ropes with a twisting neckbreaker for the pinfall victory. That finish looked awful.
The Velveteen Dream arrived at Full Sail. The Undisputed Era interrupted (with Strong referring to Dream as VD, hehe) and Adam Cole warned Dream about taking his title back. He said the cameraman should be talking about Fish and O’Reilly winning the tag team titles. Dream mentioned that he didn’t have time for them, which set off the Undisputed Era as he walked off.
Backstage segment with Bianca Belair and Io Shirai arguing and being separated.
Dominik Dijakovic vs Keith Lee
Dijakovic’s theme music kills me a little inside every time I hear it. I’m excited about this match. I’ve been impressed with Dijakovic since his debut. Slow start in this match with a test of strength to start. Impressive agility by both men. Lee quickly popped Dijakovic up into a pop-up powerbomb position that Dijakovic reversed into a monkey flip, but Lee landed on his feet! Crazy stuff early on here. Both men then exchanged slaps before Dijakovic hit some big forearms. Massive forearm after that by Lee into a pounce that sent Dijakovic halfway across the ring into the corner.
Superkick by Dijakovic which led into a sit-down chokeslam for a two-count. Dijakovic then hit the ropes but was hit with a spike reverse flapjack for a two-count for Lee. Dijakovic then worked Lee to the apron, and then hit the ropes and hit Lee with a sick looking discuss kick to the head. Dijakovic then hit an incredible Asai moonsault to Lee on the entrance ramp. The referee then counted both men out for a double count-out. Both men were then separated after the bell. Great match regardless.
The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic was next and we have eight teams. With Aleister Black and Ricochet, Horny… I mean Oney Lorcan and Danny Birch, Moustache Mountain, #DIY, Undisputed Era, Aichner & Barthel, The Forgotten Sons, and the Street Profits.
Well, that was a surprise! Sasha Banks and Bayley returned to Full Sail next to a huge pop! Please don’t make me call them the Boss’n’ Hug Connection. That is such a terrible name. Couldn’t creative come up with something easier on the tongue. Like ‘The Affectionate CEO’s’? I joke. Big welcome back chant. Banks said it felt good to be home, and everything started for them in NXT.
Bayley reminded the crowd of the last time she and Banks were in an NXT ring together, in an Iron Woman match for the Women’s title at NXT Takeover: Respect. Bayley said they wanted to share the moment with Full Sail. She said they want the Women’s tag team titles to be the most sought after gold in the WWE. Banks then said that they would be taking them all over the world, from RAW to SmackDown Live, to right here in NXT. Bayley told the women in the back to step up as Banks signed off. Great moment for the live crowd and a nice throwback.
Shayna Baszler vs Mia Yim
Mia Yim was out first. Decent response from the crowd. ‘The Queen of Clubs’ was out next, and I’m becoming a big fan of Baszler. Baszler hit a few full mount takedowns before Yim recovered throwing Baszler out and hitting a Tope Suicida. Yim then shot Baszler into the ring steps before stomping on her right hand. Yim then hurt her foot by kicking into the steel steps. Baszler then began working over the right leg of Yim.
She hit a few stomps on her knee before trying to get Yim into the Kirifuda Clutch. Yim then used joint manipulation on Baszler’s injured right hand to work out of it, but Baszler reversed it into an Achilles lock. Yim recovered enough to hit a through-the-middle-rope tornado DDT. Good selling by both women. Yim out of nowhere hit Eat The Feet but delayed the pin attempt and only got a two count. Baszler then hit a gut wrench corkscrew driver for another two-count. Baszler continued with chest kicks to Yim, but Yim reversed it into a sit down powerbomb. Great back and forth here. Baszler reversed a strike attempt by Yim and hit a knee to the face into a Kirifuda Clutch and used her leg to neutralise Yim’s arm for the tap-out win.
Well, a decent wrestling show this week. The women’s tag match was a bit short on head and time, but Dominik Dijakovic gets better every week, Keith Lee is great, and Shayna Baszler is single-handedly carrying the women’s singles division on her back. Mia Yim looked strong in defeat as well. Good show!
All photos courtesy of WWE.com