7/12 Zim’s WWE NXT TV Review: Johnny Gargano returns, Authors of Pain vs. Heavy Machinery for the NXT Tag Titles

By Zack Zimmerman

NXT on WWE Network
Taped June 23, 2017 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

A video recapped #DIY losing at Takeover Chicago and Tommaso Ciampa subsequently turning on Johnny Gargano. Gargano’s return to NXT was advertised for tonight’s show…

The opening video played…

Inside the arena, commentators Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuinness put on their somber voices to briefly discuss the break-up and Gargano’s return.

Roderick Strong was shown hugging his wife and mother after coming up short in his NXT Championship match last week…

A graphic advertised an appearance from NXT Champion Bobby Roode tonight…

Another graphic advertised The Authors of Pain defending their NXT tag titles against Heavy Machinery in the main event tonight…

Back inside the arena, Aleister Black made his entrance. His opponent, the debuting Bobby Fish, made his entrance next. The commentators put him over as a world-traveled veteran.

1. Aleister Black vs. Bobby Fish. The two felt each other out in the opening minute. Fish bit on Black sitting down mid-ring and inviting a kick, only to miss it and take a hard kick to the chest. Fish briefly got the better of Black and backed him into the corner, but Black fired back with a rapid sequence of strikes ending with a wicked knee strike.

Fish managed to get the better of Black from ringside and took control in the ring. [C] Back from break, Fish landed a series of his own strikes and then hit a senton atomico for a one-count. Fish teed off with more strikes and went to work on the legs of Black in the process.

Black reversed a half-crab into a roll-up attempt, but Fish went right back after him with a sleeper hold. Black backed into the corner and fought free, but Fish responded with an exploder suplex driving Black into the turnbuckles for a two-count.

The two traded forearms mid-ring, with Black getting the better after a Lionsault onto a standing Fish. Black landed a brutal knee which crumpled Fish. All that was left was to finish him off with the Black Mass spinning back kick and secure the pin…

Aleister Black over Bobby Fish in about 10:00.

A replay of the finish to last week’s main event was shown, with Sanity taking out Kassius Ohno and Killian Dane pinning Hideo Itami…

Cameras caught up with Itami and Ohno backstage afterwards. Itami said it was oho’s fault, and Ohno tried to restrain himself but yelled at Itami for blaming everyone but himself. Ohno said he’s done with Itami and walked off… 

Zim Says: Cool to see Bobby Fish show up in NXT and a decent showing against a strong opponent, but admittedly I’m a but surprised that he’s the first member of reDRagon to show up in NXT.

A grapic advertised Vanessa Borne vs. Jayme Hachey in a Mae Young Classic qualifying match up next…

A vignette for the Street Prophets (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) aired and advertised them as coming soon…

A WWE.com clip showed Velveteen Dream refusing to be interviewed as he left Full Sail Arena because once again, the setting was not right…

Back in the arena, Vanessa Borne (a/k/a Danielle Kamela) made her entrance. Jayme Hachey (a/k/a Jayme Jameson) was out next.

2. Vanessa Borne vs. Jayme Hachey in a Mae Young Classic Qualifying match. The two executed a clearly-rehearsed facsimile of a wrestling match. Borne was fighting back a joyful smile despite being grounded in a submission hold. She fought back and won with a strange spinning cradle slam…

Vanessa Borne pinned Jayme Hachey in about 1:50 to qualify for the Mae Young Classic.

A graphic advertised the main event tag title match…

Johnny Gargano’s return was hyped up next… [C]

Zim Says: That was bad. Borne has no business being on TV at this point.

A WWE.com video showed Sanity members Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain mugging Drew McIntyre in the parking lot behind Full Sail. McIntyre got his shots in on Wolfe, but Dain sent him crashing into a garbage can…

In his office, NXT GM William Regal was talking with NXT Champion Bobby Roode. Regal suggested Drew McIntyre as an opponent for Roode. Roode suggested McIntyre face Killian Dain instead. Regal agreed, but added the caveat that the winner will be the next challenger for Bobby Roode’s title. Roode walked off with a shaken smile…

Back in the arena, #DIY’s music and video wall hit. Johnny Gargano calmly and slowly made his way out in street clothes. He made his way into the ring and took a microphone. The crowd strongly chanted for “Johnny Wrestling” before he began.

Gargano admitted that he’s missed hearing that. He also admitted that he never saw Ciampa’s attack coming. Gargano said that he’s asked himself why so many times, but he doesn’t think he’ll ever understand fully. However, he said that he’s not there to dwell on that, he’s there to make his future.

Johnny said that he needs to go back to doing what he does best. He said that Takeover Brooklyn is NXT’s biggest show of the year and he needs to be on it because he needs to be “Johnny Wrestling again. The music that is presumably his new entrance tune played and Gargano hit the turnbuckles as the crowd cheered…

A tale-of-the-tape for the main event tag match was shown, with a claimed combined weight of over 1,200 lbs… [C]

Zim Says: Short, simple, effective promo from Gargano. He and Ciampa were never great promos as a team, so I’m glad they didn’t saddle him with too much in this one. If he’s going to break out strongly on the mic, I’d like to see it build naturally rather than overdo it too early. I’m curious what they have planned for Gargano in Brookyn, as I’m not sure what Ciampa’s timetable for a return is in relation.

Drew McIntyre vs. Killian Dain for the No. 1 Contendership was advertised for next week…

Ember Moon vs. Ruby Riot was also announced for next week’s show…

Back in the arena, Heavy Machinery made their entrance to a good response from the crowd. The  NXT Tag Team Champions were out next. Both teams received formal in-ring introductions. The crowd chanted “steaks and weights” for Heavy Machinery and booed the Authors.

3. Heavy Machinery (Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight) vs. The Authors of Pain (Akem and Rezar w/ Paul Ellering) for the NXT Tag Team Championships. Akem and Knight opened things up and both landed hard shots before tagging out. Otis and Rezar faced off with Otis no-selling Rezar’s shots and taking him off his feet with a body block, for what the commentators claimed was the first time. [C]

Back from break, the Authors were in control. A replay revealed that during the break, one of them dropped the top rope and sent Knight toppling to ringside. They grounded and isolated him mid-ring. Knight repeatedly tried to break free and reach his corner, but was repeatedly unsuccessful.

The Authors hit a combo sidewalk slam/second-rope stomp for a near-fall. Shortly after the seven-minute mark, Knight struck with a hard clothesline which allowed him to reach Big Doz in the corner. Otis came in hot and ran through one of the Authors before sending the other flying overhead with a very impressive belly-to-big-ol-belly.

Big Doz continued to run wild, slamming one of the Authors and then slamming Knight on top of him for a near-fall. Heavy Machinery set up for the Compactor, but the other Author intercepted with a big boot. Moments later, the Authors hit the Last Chapter and scored the pinfall.

The Authors of Pain retained the NXT Tag Team Championships over Heavy Machinery in about 9:00.

Replays aired. The show looked like it was going to go off air with the tag champs celebrating, but suddenly the lights cut and Sanity’s music hit. Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dain, and Nikki Cross came out onto the stage. They laughed and looked up as ripped out pages began to fall from the ceiling and the show closed.

Zim Says: Who would be the babyfaces in that match? Honestly, I would rather have seen some sort of non-finish and get more from Heavy Machinery and the Authors rather than the Authors and Sanity. The match was slow at points, but not painfully slow and when it picked up it got pretty damn fun. Otis is a diamond in the rough.

As a whole, I enjoyed this show. The only real miss was the ladies match, while the bookend matches and Gargano’s return all hit with me. I’ll have more to say in a special All-Access audio review tomorrow, which is available to everyone reading this. Be sure to check back for that, and thanks for reading along.

Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.

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7/12 Zim’s WWE NXT TV Review: Johnny Gargano returns, Authors of Pain vs. Heavy Machinery for the NXT Tag Titles

By Zack Zimmerman

NXT on WWE Network
Taped June 23, 2017 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

A video recapped #DIY losing at Takeover Chicago and Tommaso Ciampa subsequently turning on Johnny Gargano. Gargano’s return to NXT was advertised for tonight’s show…

The opening video played…

Inside the arena, commentators Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuinness put on their somber voices to briefly discuss the break-up and Gargano’s return.

Roderick Strong was shown hugging his wife and mother after coming up short in his NXT Championship match last week…

A graphic advertised an appearance from NXT Champion Bobby Roode tonight…

Another graphic advertised The Authors of Pain defending their NXT tag titles against Heavy Machinery in the main event tonight…

Back inside the arena, Aleister Black made his entrance. His opponent, the debuting Bobby Fish, made his entrance next. The commentators put him over as a world-traveled veteran.

1. Aleister Black vs. Bobby Fish. The two felt each other out in the opening minute. Fish bit on Black sitting down mid-ring and inviting a kick, only to miss it and take a hard kick to the chest. Fish briefly got the better of Black and backed him into the corner, but Black fired back with a rapid sequence of strikes ending with a wicked knee strike.

Fish managed to get the better of Black from ringside and took control in the ring. [C] Back from break, Fish landed a series of his own strikes and then hit a senton atomico for a one-count. Fish teed off with more strikes and went to work on the legs of Black in the process.

Black reversed a half-crab into a roll-up attempt, but Fish went right back after him with a sleeper hold. Black backed into the corner and fought free, but Fish responded with an exploder suplex driving Black into the turnbuckles for a two-count.

The two traded forearms mid-ring, with Black getting the better after a Lionsault onto a standing Fish. Black landed a brutal knee which crumpled Fish. All that was left was to finish him off with the Black Mass spinning back kick and secure the pin…

Aleister Black over Bobby Fish in about 10:00.

A replay of the finish to last week’s main event was shown, with Sanity taking out Kassius Ohno and Killian Dane pinning Hideo Itami…

Cameras caught up with Itami and Ohno backstage afterwards. Itami said it was oho’s fault, and Ohno tried to restrain himself but yelled at Itami for blaming everyone but himself. Ohno said he’s done with Itami and walked off… 

Zim Says: Cool to see Bobby Fish show up in NXT and a decent showing against a strong opponent, but admittedly I’m a but surprised that he’s the first member of reDRagon to show up in NXT.

A grapic advertised Vanessa Borne vs. Jayme Hachey in a Mae Young Classic qualifying match up next…

A vignette for the Street Prophets (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) aired and advertised them as coming soon…

A WWE.com clip showed Velveteen Dream refusing to be interviewed as he left Full Sail Arena because once again, the setting was not right…

Back in the arena, Vanessa Borne (a/k/a Danielle Kamela) made her entrance. Jayme Hachey (a/k/a Jayme Jameson) was out next.

2. Vanessa Borne vs. Jayme Hachey in a Mae Young Classic Qualifying match. The two executed a clearly-rehearsed facsimile of a wrestling match. Borne was fighting back a joyful smile despite being grounded in a submission hold. She fought back and won with a strange spinning cradle slam…

Vanessa Borne pinned Jayme Hachey in about 1:50 to qualify for the Mae Young Classic.

A graphic advertised the main event tag title match…

Johnny Gargano’s return was hyped up next… [C]

Zim Says: That was bad. Borne has no business being on TV at this point.

A WWE.com video showed Sanity members Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain mugging Drew McIntyre in the parking lot behind Full Sail. McIntyre got his shots in on Wolfe, but Dain sent him crashing into a garbage can…

In his office, NXT GM William Regal was talking with NXT Champion Bobby Roode. Regal suggested Drew McIntyre as an opponent for Roode. Roode suggested McIntyre face Killian Dain instead. Regal agreed, but added the caveat that the winner will be the next challenger for Bobby Roode’s title. Roode walked off with a shaken smile…

Back in the arena, #DIY’s music and video wall hit. Johnny Gargano calmly and slowly made his way out in street clothes. He made his way into the ring and took a microphone. The crowd strongly chanted for “Johnny Wrestling” before he began.

Gargano admitted that he’s missed hearing that. He also admitted that he never saw Ciampa’s attack coming. Gargano said that he’s asked himself why so many times, but he doesn’t think he’ll ever understand fully. However, he said that he’s not there to dwell on that, he’s there to make his future.

Johnny said that he needs to go back to doing what he does best. He said that Takeover Brooklyn is NXT’s biggest show of the year and he needs to be on it because he needs to be “Johnny Wrestling again. The music that is presumably his new entrance tune played and Gargano hit the turnbuckles as the crowd cheered…

A tale-of-the-tape for the main event tag match was shown, with a claimed combined weight of over 1,200 lbs… [C]

Zim Says: Short, simple, effective promo from Gargano. He and Ciampa were never great promos as a team, so I’m glad they didn’t saddle him with too much in this one. If he’s going to break out strongly on the mic, I’d like to see it build naturally rather than overdo it too early. I’m curious what they have planned for Gargano in Brookyn, as I’m not sure what Ciampa’s timetable for a return is in relation.

Drew McIntyre vs. Killian Dain for the No. 1 Contendership was advertised for next week…

Ember Moon vs. Ruby Riot was also announced for next week’s show…

Back in the arena, Heavy Machinery made their entrance to a good response from the crowd. The  NXT Tag Team Champions were out next. Both teams received formal in-ring introductions. The crowd chanted “steaks and weights” for Heavy Machinery and booed the Authors.

3. Heavy Machinery (Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight) vs. The Authors of Pain (Akem and Rezar w/ Paul Ellering) for the NXT Tag Team Championships. Akem and Knight opened things up and both landed hard shots before tagging out. Otis and Rezar faced off with Otis no-selling Rezar’s shots and taking him off his feet with a body block, for what the commentators claimed was the first time. [C]

Back from break, the Authors were in control. A replay revealed that during the break, one of them dropped the top rope and sent Knight toppling to ringside. They grounded and isolated him mid-ring. Knight repeatedly tried to break free and reach his corner, but was repeatedly unsuccessful.

The Authors hit a combo sidewalk slam/second-rope stomp for a near-fall. Shortly after the seven-minute mark, Knight struck with a hard clothesline which allowed him to reach Big Doz in the corner. Otis came in hot and ran through one of the Authors before sending the other flying overhead with a very impressive belly-to-big-ol-belly.

Big Doz continued to run wild, slamming one of the Authors and then slamming Knight on top of him for a near-fall. Heavy Machinery set up for the Compactor, but the other Author intercepted with a big boot. Moments later, the Authors hit the Last Chapter and scored the pinfall.

The Authors of Pain retained the NXT Tag Team Championships over Heavy Machinery in about 9:00.

Replays aired. The show looked like it was going to go off air with the tag champs celebrating, but suddenly the lights cut and Sanity’s music hit. Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dain, and Nikki Cross came out onto the stage. They laughed and looked up as ripped out pages began to fall from the ceiling and the show closed.

Zim Says: Who would be the babyfaces in that match? Honestly, I would rather have seen some sort of non-finish and get more from Heavy Machinery and the Authors rather than the Authors and Sanity. The match was slow at points, but not painfully slow and when it picked up it got pretty damn fun. Otis is a diamond in the rough.

As a whole, I enjoyed this show. The only real miss was the ladies match, while the bookend matches and Gargano’s return all hit with me. I’ll have more to say in a special All-Access audio review tomorrow, which is available to everyone reading this. Be sure to check back for that, and thanks for reading along.

Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.

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