It’s Their Era, We’re Just Living In It
by: Michael Respass Follow him on Twitter @ApronWorkMikeR by clicking here
Since last week’s episode was essentially a recap show with a few pre-recorded matches that were held in Chicago, this is the first actual NXT episode following NXT TakeOver: Chicago II. Back at Full Sail University, we kick things off with Nigel McGuinness giving us huge news that Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven) will be in action tonight after defeating The Undisputed ERA (Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong) for the NXT Tag Team Championships the previous night on the NXT United Kingdom Championship Special from Royal Albert Hall.
[ photo courtesy of WWE.com ]
After the big announcement, Aleister Black makes his way to the ring with his NXT Championship still around his waist; Black won his match against Lars Sullivan at NXT TakeOver. He speaks on his match a little bit before something truly wonderful happens…Tommaso Ciampa comes out (without music, as he has been doing ever since his return) to the top of the ramp. Ciampa calls out Black and tells him he is coming after him after he finished his feud with Johnny Gargano officially in Chicago. This was absolutely the way to go with that feud, by the way. Ciampa and Gargano III will happen eventually but to put Ciampa in the title picture with the potential to win it would make Ciampa/Gargano III that much better if it were Gargano FINALLY winning the NXT Championship if it was against Ciampa (maybe at the next TakeOver or even drag it out until the TakeOver before WrestleMania 35).
Candice LeRae and Lacey Evans were announced for a tilt later in the show. LeRae lost her last match against Bianca Belair (which was written off as her being distracted after her husband, Gargano, was attacked) and Evans, even though she lost two out of three matches to Kairi Sane, looked very strong in those clashes so this should be interesting.
Vanessa Borne is then interviewed outside of Full Sail to talk about her competing against Sane. I personally could do without so many interviews outside at the same place. They did the same type of interviews with Dakota Kai while she was feuding with NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Bazsler. It was a cool idea but just seems to be overdone at this point with the outdoor press conference type look.
Let’s get to the card.
Max Humberto vs. Kona Reeves
Oh goodness…Kona Reeves came out and it looked like his opponent is already out there so another squash match for him. Reeves gimmick and look could be good, but he doesn’t play the character very well. It looks very awkward when he poses and he doesn’t look super impressive against the jobbers he competes against. NXT is the best thing to watch each and every week. Not just wrestling. I include any and all TV shows in this. But unfortunately, the last few times that I have seen Reeves wrestle, it has left me wanting so much more. The announcers are doing what they can to make him seem better than he is but it just isn’t working out. I expect him to be future endeavored or have a drastic gimmick change coming from all of this. I mean, he just won a match using a Samoan Drop (which they, for some reason, called a Hawaiian Drop) and then claimed this to be “his most impressive win.” Well, the bar has been set super low for his matches, so I guess maybe they are right.
Kona Reeves defeated Max Humberto at 02:50 via pinfall.
* Not Worth Watching *
Next, a replay of Moustache Mountain beating The Undisputed ERA at Royal Albert Hall for the NXT Tag Team Championships is shown along with another spot promoting Bate and Trent Seven (Moustache Mountain) will be in-ring action…tonight!
Candice LeRae vs. Lacey Evans
LeRae and Evans are next, which I was super excited for. Evans makes a great stepping stone heel (by that I mean she will take losses for a face to gain momentum against her). A little bit of back and forth to start the match, leading to Evans wrapping LeRae’s left arm around the ring post and she continues to work it. LeRae sold the injury to the point that I am thinking she may have actually hurt it on that ring post spot. Since Evans continued to work that arm and this match hasn’t quickly ended, I would assume LeRae is just doing a wonderful job selling the injury. Evans is playing the dominant brute force type of heel, the same way she did against Sane, and it has grown on me. She is not as fluid in the ring as most, but she definitely is worthy of a secondary women’s feud that doesn’t involve the Women’s title. LeRae used her right arm only for a number of moves with her left arm hovered and close to her body. LeRae finished off Evans with an inverted double underhook facebuster and a springboard moonsault to pick up the victory after getting worked over for so much of the match.
Candice LeRae defeated Lacey Evans at 05:38 via pinfall.
* Good Match/Served Its Purpose *
[ photo courtesy of WWE.com ]
Cathy Kelley then interviewed Gargano, referencing LeRae’s match that just happened asking how he is recovering from his loss at NXT TakeOver: Chicago II against Ciampa. Gargano replays the fact that Ciampa took his wedding ring, spit on it and threw it away…and then won the match. Gargano claims he wants a rubber match, wherever and whenever. He doesn’t even care if it’s in the “freakin’ grocery store.” Oh, please let the third of their trilogy be in the grocery store, just like Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Booker T!! I am hoping this match doesn’t happen until after Ciampa has the NXT Championship – or that Gargano costs Ciampa the title, leading to a Triple Threat Match at a future TakeOver event. We shall see.
Heavy Machinery (Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic) have a pre-recording of them grilling sausages in a backyard. They claim that there are no more fun and games as they are coming for The Mighty (Nick Miller and Shane Thorne) who cheated them out of a win. A nice little segment that was more serious than the normal goofy gimmick that they usually have. I still don’t know how I feel about this team.
It is now announced that moments ago, William Regal tweeted that “Johnny Gargano needs to move on from Ciampa, so next week he’ll be facing someone who demands the main event spotlight, the Top 1%, EC3.” This match was foreshadowed a bit when Gargano interrupted EC3’s match weeks ago when he brought his signed contract for the Chicago Street Fight against Ciampa out and also with last week’s episode that showed Carter (EC3) at the WWE Performance Center looking to dropkick Regal’s door wide open and demand the absolute top-tier of competition the company has to offer after being left off of the last TakeOver card.
[ photo courtesy of Twitter ]
Cathy Kelley then interviewed LeRae, who was still selling her arm injury. Good for her…if it is not legitimately hurting her. Kelley questions how hard has it been to focus on her career with everything that has gone on with her husband. She claims to be focusing on her future and her goal, which is the NXT Women’s Championship!
Moustache Mountain vs Dave Dixon & Carl Axelrod
Well, this match never even got underway due to an attack by The Undisputed ERA (Adam Cole BayBay!, Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong) which was not entirely surprising, due to the fact that we had not heard from The Undisputed ERA at all throughout the night and that the jobber opponents would come out after the NXT Tag Team Champions. They claimed that due to their match being held in the UK, it was unfair and that was the only reason that they won the match. As The Undisputed ERA surrounded the ring to attack Moustache Mountain, Ricochet comes out for the save. I love this! I am going to assume this will eventually lead to a Ricochet/Cole (BayBay!) feud over the North American Title, which sounds amazing.
Moustache Mountain & Ricochet vs The Undisputed ERA
During a commercial break, William Regal announced that this will now be a 3-on-3 match between Moustache Mountain and Ricochet versus The Undisputed ERA. O’Reilly started the match off against Bate. Love me some Kyle O’Reilly, especially the way he starts off a match. Except early on, Moustache Mountain and Ricochet had their way with him.
Quick tags and exciting moves from all three men. With Trent Seven in the ring, O’Reilly finally turns the table long enough to get a tag into Cole (BayBay!). Now it seems to be Cole (BayBay!)’s turn to deal with the quick tags between Moustache Mountain and Ricochet and then when Cole (BayBay!) was sent to the ropes, Strong made a hidden tag on his back. Bate did a bit of a rope-a-dope type of move onto all three members of The Undisputed ERA until the tables finally turned and Bate is now dealing with quick tags and punishment.
The match slowed down a bit with Bate receiving a lot of damage brought to him by The Undisputed ERA. Ricochet finally got the hot tag and he took all of The Undisputed ERA out with a variety of maneuvers, showing off his quickness and high-flying ability. O’Reilly finally slows him down with a guillotine but Ricochet gets up while in it to tag in Trent Seven. With a couple of broken up pins, now we see huge moves from each and every competitor in the match, leaving everyone on the ground needing a breather and the crowd going wild with “NXT” chants.
A faint “Fight Forever” chant broke out. Please…stop that…;thankfully it didn’t get that far. Ricochet flipped through a high-low attempt of Strong and O’Reilly which looked absolutely fantastic. He hit the 630 splash on Cole (BayBay!) but O’Reilly saves him by pulling his leg under the rope. Ricochet flies out to attack O’Reilly but then his caught by Strong who hit him with a modified End of Heartache on the edge apron and then rolled him in the ring to Cole (BayBay!) for the victory.
I love how they put The Undisputed ERA over here, especially with Ricochet taking the loss. It shows that they are a very cohesive three-man group and looking forward to the future matches between The Undisputed ERA vs Moustache Mountain as well as Ricochet vs Adam Cole (BayBay!).
The Undisputed ERA defeated Moustache Mountain & Ricochet at 13:31 via pinfall.
* Must See TV *
[ photo courtesy of WWE.com ]
Overall, this was a wonderful NXT show (that seems to be a pattern with NXT for a long time now), especially since it did everything it needed to do as the first real episode removed from NXT Takeover Chicago II. Though the show may not have been filled with incredible matches, the night set us up for future feuds and didn’t even have Baszler or Velveteen Dream (who has been possibly the hottest thing on NXT without needing to win a damn thing) on the episode. That leaves so much more to look forward to for next week.
* Do Yourself A Favor And Watch This *