By Zack Zimmerman
NXT on WWE Network
Taped May 25, 2017 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
A new opening video played with hard rock music accompanying it… Inside Full Sail Arena, Tom Phillips, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuinness checked in from the commentary table. They were beginning to speak about the show when their attention was diverted.
Tommaso Ciampa limped down the ramp on crutched, with no music and no entrance video. Some awful members of the crowd chanted “Psycho Killer” for him, while others tried to drown them out with “Ciampa sucks” chants. He took a microphone after a few moments and began to speak.
Ciampa asked Johnny Gargano to come down to the ring to give an explanation for what Ciampa did to him. Ciampa waited, but then reminded everyone that Gargano wasn’t at the show. The crowd chanted “you suck.”
Ciampa said that on the Thursday before Takeover Chicago, he got injured and questions began to swirl. He said that he knew all along that he was going to fight, but people began to speculate about him being replaced with “dream partners” for Gargano.
Ciampa said he’s nobody’s afterthought, but he put that aside and teamed up with Johnny to fight for the titles in one of their biggest matches. He said that he took a fall off a ladder and knew right away that he was injured in a way that would keep him out of action. He said again, he put that aside and continued to fight.
Ciampa recalled looking at Gargano and everyone in the crowd after they lost in Chicago, and realized that Gargano, like all of them, would deb quick to replace Ciampa if he was out on injury. He yelled that he wasn’t going to be an afterthought, and a few people chanted “afterthought” at him.
Ciampa confessed that he made his decision then and there that if he was going to be out with an injury, he was going to make sure Gargano would be out with one too. He said that Takeover Chicago was supposed to be their moment, but it wasn’t, so Ciampa made it his moment. Ciampa yelled that he’s 32 years old and the wrestling ring is not a replaceable thing in his life and he’s not replaceable in it.
Ciampa claimed that he never has and never will need Gargano. He promised that he’s going to go out, get healed, improve himself, and come back the baddest son of a bitch in NXT. “I am professional wrestling whether you like it or not,” He closed. The schmucks at Full Sail applauded him loudly while he took one more look around the arena and the segment ended…
Roderick Strong and Kassius Ohno vs. Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe was advertised as the main event… WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne vs. Danny Burch was advertised for up next… A brief character piece aired on Burch which portrayed him as a hard-working, likable fighter… [C]
Zim Says: Good promo from Ciampa. The injury is unfortunate. Besides the obvious, it also throws a speed bump in the Gargano/Ciampa feud kicking off hot on the heels of the turn. I have confidence that they’ll get people right back into it when they do get to it, but in the meantime it feels like that was one of the big hot summer feuds that’s been put on the back burner for the foreseeable future.
Back in the arena the commentators claimed to have medical updates on both members of the former #DIY. They stated that Ciampa would be out indefinitely as he undergoes “major” knee surgery,and then they said there was no update on Johnny Gargano but check the website for updates. They mentioned that Gargano has refused to talk on record with anyone since Takeover Chicago…
A video aired of Bobby Roode riding in the back of a car. He said tonight would be his “Glorious celebration,” but nobody watching is invited because it’s exclusive. He said he’ll be back in the arena next week…
Back in the arena, Danny Burch made his entrance. He’s improved his body impressively and showed some good charisma. New WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne was out next and the crowd leapt to their feet. Real star aura.
1. Danny Burch vs. Pete Dunne in a non-title match. Burch out-wrestled Dunne in the opening couple of minutes. They faced off and traded stiff slaps to the face. Burch looked for a crossface, but Dunne avoided it and rocked Burch with a shot that dropped him and sent things into a commercial break. [C]
Dunne had Burch grounded and was working some joint manipulation, but Burch escaped and mounted a comeback. Dunne rocked Burch with an elbow, but Burch fired right back with a kick to the head, an exploder suplex, and a wicked looking right hand for a near-fall.
Burch wasted no time and followed up with a straight knee lift to the jaw and a vicious headbutt, but again Dunne kicked out before three. Burch once again went to follow up, but he took a snap back suplex from Dunne. Dunne connected with a kick to the head and the X-plex(?) for a near-fall of his own.
The two exchanged holds, ending in a double-down when Dunne hit an enzuigiri but Burch fired back a hard lariat. Burch hung Dunne up in the ropes and used a better looking version of Randy Orton’s draping DDT for yet another near-fall. Dunne countered a follow-up attempt with a German suplex into the turnbuckles, and then put Burch away with the Bitter End.
Pete Dunne beat Danny Burch in about 8:00.
Replays aired, and when they concluded Pete Dunne had a microphone in the ring. Dunne said that since January, he had to watch “some boy” walk around with a title that belonged to Dunne all along. Dunne said that history will remember his title reign as the spark that launched that WWE UK brand. With that he took his title and made his way out of the arena…
Zim Says: Good showing for Burch to be sure, but I can’t help but feel like Dunne should’ve taken more of the match coming off his title win. It’s just a little weird for him to go 8 minutes and get like 25% of the offense against a guy who isn’t even signed (as good as Burch may be).
Backstage, Velveteen Dream was standing by for an interviewer. The interviewer referred to him casually as “Velveteen,” but he interrupted to note that the ambiance wasn’t right for him. He said that he wanted them to fix that, as well as the interviewer’s hair, and then he’d give them the interview they’re looking for…
The main event was hyped… Andrade “Cien” Almas was advertised in action next…
An Authors of Pain vignette aired. Paul Ellering vowed that the “book of pain” has closed while the “book of dominance” has been opened…
Back in the arena, Andrade Almas made his entrance. His opponent was already waiting in the ring.
2. Andrade Almas vs. Cezar Bononi. Almas charged with a dropkick right out of the gate. He stomped Bobobi down in the corner and connected with the high impact double knee strike. He wasn’t done however, as he chopped the hell out of Boboni and belittled him. The Full Sail crowd, who has never cared about Almas for a second, suddenly wanted “uno mas.”
Bononi fired back for a second, but Almas put him back down with a backbreaker combination. Almas once again set Bononi up in the corner, but this time Almas stopped short and just slapped the hell out of him. Almas lifted Bononi for a suplex, but Bononi reversed his weight and caught Almas in a small package which secured him the the upset pinfall.
Cezar Bononi pinned Andrade Almas in about 3:00.
Afterwards, Bononi celebrated his win, but took off when an angry Almas retrieved a chair from ringside. As the segment wrapped up, Almas began showing a big sh*t-eating grin and acted like he was over everything and couldn’t care less.. [C]
Zim Says: Interesting choice. I’m not familiar with Bononi so time will tell if he’s someone who be a success. Meanwhile, Almas remains pretty grossly underutilized. It’s unfortunate he doesn’t have the crowd behind him but he’s been having good matches pretty consistently so I’m curious what this program is going to turn into.
In the gym at the WWEPC, Peyton Royce and Billie Kaye were being silly when Ember Moon walked slightly near them. They harassed and taunted her, until a member of the medical staff walked up, had Moon sign off on her clearance, and walked off. Moon said nothing, but her smile said that she’s back in action and those ladies are in trouble. Kay and Royce were suddenly very nervous and cautious.
The commentators recapped that Ember Moon was officially cleared to return to the ring… A graphic advertised Asuka defending the NXT Women’s Championship in a triple-threat elimination match against Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross…
The commentators threw to a video of Hideo Itami in the wake of his loss to Bobby Roode at Takeover Chicago. Itami began to destroy the locker room. He got in Kassius Ohno’s face and they bleeped out everything Itami said, leading you to believe either he can only swear. Itami and Ohno were then shown having a heated discussion in the parking lot later in the night…
A graphic advertised Hideo Itami vs. Oney Lorcan for next week’s show…
Back in the arena, Sanity made their entrance. Kassius Ohno and Roderick Strong were out next individually.
3. Sanity (Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe w/ Kilian Dain) vs. Kassius Ohno and Roderick Strong. Strong connected with a big half-nelson backbreaker within the opening minute. Wolfe tagged in, but he ate a nice combo attack from Ohno and Strong.
After some shenanigans around ringside, Young managed to establish firm control for his team. [C] Back in the ring, Ohno was grounded in a facelock which set the tone for the uneventfulness of the first half of the match. The heels continued to isolate Ohno until he rocked Young with a kick and Strong took the hot tag.
Strong came out running wild with offense including an Angle Slam and his face-first dunk slam for a near-fall. Things broke down and just when it looked like the 3-on-2 numbers advantage was working for Sanity, No Way Jose made his return to even things up. Jose took out Dain at ringside, leaving Ohno to hit a rolling elbow on Wolfe and Strong to hit the End of Heartache for the pin on Young.
Roderick Strong and Kassius Ohno defeated Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe in about 10:30.
Replays aired and the show closed with the commentators wondering if this is the trio that would be able to stop Sanity…
Zim Says: It was OK down the stretch and I get that it facilitated Jose’s return, but it feels like it’s been-there-done-that with these matches, and I think thats a reflection on Sanity being kind of stale and lacking any actual direction or storyline motivation. This show had some hits and some misses, but frankly I’m way too tired to get into it right now.
This is a week where it would realllllllllly pay to be a DotNet member, because I’ll be breaking the show down in detail in my NXT Audio Recap tomorrow when I’m more awake. I apologize for the delay in coverage this week but sometimes real-life gets in the way. I’ll be back next week, hopefully right back on schedule. Talk to DotNet members tomorrow, and the rest of you freeloaders next week. Thanks for reading along.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.