By John Moore
NXT TV on WWE Network
Taped August 2017 Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
The NXT opening theme played. Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson were on commentary. Mauro said the arena was full of fans and humanoids. Mauro hyped up Mustache Mountain vs. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. He also hyped Aleister Black speaking for the first time…
1. Johnny Gargano vs. Tino Sabbatelli (w/ Riddick Moss). Tino slapped Gargano in the face to taunt him. Gargano responded with loud chops. Tino came back with a dropkick. Tino hit an Irish Whip and side slam on Gargano. Tino had a chinlock locked in. Gargano escaped. Gargano then gave Tino some left hands. Sabbatelli ate a enziguri.
Gargano went for a springboard move but Sabbatelli hit an impressive power slam on Johnny. Tino kept yelling, you ain’t nothing. Gargano responded with the GarganNoEscape. Tino tapped out.
Johnny Gargano defeated Tino Sabbatelli via submission in 3:46.
The commentators continued to question Gargano’s motivation. They cut to Regal having a meeting with Roderick Strong. Strong reminded William Regal that he should be next in line for the title after beating Roode. Regal said Strong did everything promised and will get his title shot against Drew McIntyre in two weeks… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Tino is still very green as evidenced by the limited ring time they gave him. He also comes off as an athlete trying to play pro wrestler rather than trying to be organic. Moss is definitely the better worker of the two (Moss just has to work on his dopey facial expressions). Tino does have upside though. As for Gargano, they are continuing to tell a nice slow burn story that will lead to Tommaso Ciampa whenever he’s ready to return.
Mauro talked about Asuka relinquishing the NXT Women’s championship. Mauro then cut to a Sonya Deville interview. Sonya said Asuka knew if she stepped in the ring with her she would not be champion. Sonya said she will be the next champion and if anyone disagrees they better put their hair up and square up…
Lacey Evans made her entrance wearing an Olive Drab version of her usual attire.
2. Lacey Evans vs. Bianca BelAir. Bianca cornered Lacey and tested her with a chop. Bianca dominated the next lockup. Bianca then did a waistlock takedown on Lacey. Bianca did a cartwheel escape but Lacey managed to sneak a pin attempt after a legsweep. Evans blocked a whip. BelAir did a shortarm into a release Glam Slam. Bianca took another legsweep. Evans hit Bianca with a slingshot elbow drop
Bianca hit a cradle suplex on Evans. Bianca put the boots to Lacey in the corner. Evans came back with a palm strike and strong lariat. Evans hit a hanging bronco buster on BelAir. Evans hit a neckbreaker into a cross body for a nearfall. Belair gained breathing room by using the ropes. She then whipped Lacey with her hair which made a loud noise. Belair hit a reverse powerbomb on Evans to pick up the win.
Bianca BelAir defeated Lacey Evans via pinfall in 4:17.
Bianca swung her hair around post-match and rotated. Mauro then hyped Tyler Bate and Trent Seven vs. Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish… [C]
John’s Thoughts: A good match between two up and comers. I’m really impressed by Evans changing her look a bit. She’s still trying to go for the Betty Boop era character for some reason, but I do like the switch to Olive Drab to integrate her Marine background. BelAir continues to impress and received a lot of hype after her good showing against Kairi Hojo. BelAir is athletic, but I’m more impressed by her surprising strength that she shows with a small frame. Hopefully she does pick better finisher because it essentially looked like a backtoss…
Aleister Black made his fog machine entrance. He wore a suit to the ring. Black said 15 years ago, he started a journey. He said it led him here to NXT. Black said in those 15 years he traveled the world and saw/experienced a lot. Black said he put all those experience on his skin in the form of scars. Black said he wanted to forget from the heart on his throat to the devil on his back. Black said his journey is far from done. Velveteen Dream Patrick Clark interrupted Black. Clark wore a high cut shirt.
Clark said everything that fades to black must come to the light and here we have Aleister Black who’s the man that walked through darkness only to walk into the light that is your Velveteen Dream. Clark said he still doesn’t see it in Black. Clark asked Black where was the location of his scars? Clark said the dream doesn’t see scars but rather a man who is hurt. Clark said he sees a man in pain. He said it’s scribbled on Black’s skin like lies. Clark said Black’s biggest problem is not feeling, but fear. Clark said Black looks afraid. Clark said Black is afraid to show emotion and moreso afraid of the light.
Clark said he knows that Black has a heart just it’s in the wrong place. Black hit Black Mass on Dream’s hand. Dream then did an oddly seductive crawl to Black when black did his meditation pose. Dream slid out of the ring and knelt on the ramp.
John’s Thoughts: Huh. I expected to be impressed by Black and he wasn’t bad in his first promo on NXT, but that was probably the most I’ve been impressed by Patrick Clark in like ever from a character perspective. Clark was less Prince and more Goldust, but not quite, which is what he should be shooting for. Black should not lose a match to Clark but I would like to see some sort of Black vs. Dream mind game feud devoid of matches to see where they go.
Mauro hyped up Lars Sullivan beating up No Way Jose at Takeover and Jose’s subsequent challenge… [C]
The next NXT Women’s Championship promo was from Dakota Kai. Kai said she may be new but for everyone that watched the Mae Young Classic they know you can not take her lightly. She said she’s the captain of Team Kick…
3. No Way Jose vs. Lars Sullivan. No Way brought it with forearms to starts but couldn’t get the big man off his feet. Sullivan pushed Jose midair and then drove his knee into No Way’s back several times. Sullivan rammed Jose into the apron and gave him Snake Eyes. Sullivan then gave Jose several splashes in the corner.
The crowd hyped up Jose from a chinlock. Sullivan came back with a knee to José’s gut. Jose floated over Sullivan and locked in a Sleeper hold. Sullivan escaped by slamming Jose into the turnbuckle. Jose came back with punches but couldn’t get Sullivan off his feet still. Sullivan ran through Jose. Sullivan then hit a diving headbutt on Jose. Sullivan hit a delayed sideslam on Jose for the win.
Lars Sullivan defeated No Way Jose via pinfall in 3:10.
Nigel talked about how dominant and frightening Lars Sullivan is. They then recapped the headbutt and sideslam on Jose.
John’s Thoughts: Not a big fan of the non-finisher headbutt. It’s not needed, he could do a splash or senton and it would have more impact on the match as opposed to real life brain damage. Extricating that mess, this was a smart match. No Way Jose looked good in the ring by trying to chop down the big tree and Lars got to look like a monster. I also like the added touch of the commentators by saying that Lars has a cerebral edge to him as opposed to being a big oaf.
Nigel McGuinness recapped that William Regal granted Roderick Strong his NXT Championship match in two weeks…
4. Tyler Bate and Trent Seven vs. Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish (w/ Adam Cole). Cole wore a suit at ringside. O’Reilly started off against Bate. They both had a chain wrestling sequence. Bate hit a dropkick on O’Reilly. Seven tagged in and assisted Bate in a splash on O’Reilly. O’Reilly tagged in Fish. Fish was sent outside. O’Reilly blocked a tope. Fish ran thorough Seven. Fish hit Seven with a slingshot senton. Fish and O’Reilly isolated Seven in their corner.
O’Reilly and Fish hit stereo roundhouse kicks on Seven. Seven gave Fish a chop to try to get to Bate. Seven outsmarted Fish by giving Fish a DDT. Fish made the tag first. O’Reilly took down Bate and hit mounted palm strikes on Seven. O’Reilly then locked in a Juji Gatame on Seven. Adam Cole distracted the referee. Fish rammed Seven into the outside barricade. [C]
Fish dominated Seven back from the commercial. Seven caught Fish with a boot. Fish put Seven in Fireman Carry. Seven hit Fish with a Rainmaker. Fish tagged O’Reilly and Bate made the hot tag. Bate caught O’Reilly with a knee and diving European Uppercut. Bate went for a deadlift German Suplex but O’Reilly shifted his weight. Bate then impressed with a deadlift Fisherman Suplex on O’Reilly. Bate hit a standing shooting star.
Seven took out Fish on the outside. O’Rellly locked in a Guillotine Choke on Bate after Bate went for the Tiger Bomb. Fish kept Seven from reentering the ring. O’Reilly and Fish then hit Chasing the Dragon on Bate. Bate got his foot on the ropes to break the pin. Bate taged in Seven who gave Fish and O’Reilly chops. Seven locked in his arms to block a crossarmbreaker. Seven converted the move to a half crab. Fish broke up the submission. Cole superkicked Bate on the outside. Fish and O’Reilly hit stereo roundhouse kicks on Seven and then hit Total Elimination on Seven to pick up the win.
Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish defeated Tyler Bate and Trent Seven via pinfall about 10:00.
As the trio celebrated their win in the ring, Drew McIntyre made his entrance to cause the heels to retreat into the crowd. Cole and crew were trapped as Sanity was behind the curtain behind them. Sanity dominated and even threw them into McIntyre who got a shot in. Fish, O’Reilly, and Cole escaped through the commentator’s area. Drew McIntyre and Sanity stood tall to close out the show.
John’s Thoughts: When Seven’s selling, his matches tend to drag, but he action really picked up once Tyler Bate tagged in and even Seven picked up the pace later on. O’Reilly and Fish had to pick up the win since they were debuting and this was a good win for them. O’Reilly and Fish shouldn’t be facing enhancement talent and instead should be dominating top tag teams. This is where the UK division comes in handy as it gives them top contenders to dispatch. I’m looking forward to see where this goes with build of the former ROH trio. This was a good episode of NXT. As I say most weeks, every segment serves a purpose and forwards a storyline. Combine that with solid character development and you get a nice weekly show.