By John Moore
NXT TV on the WWE Network
Taped in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
The intro teaser focused on the NXT Fatal 4 Way for the NXT Women’s Championship at the next Takeover…
The NXT opening theme played. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay were already on their way to the ring after the theme. Peyton Royce was the one wrestling. Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuinness were the commentators.
1. Peyton Royce vs. Liv Morgan vs. Nikki Cross for a spot in the NXT Women’s Championship Four-Way. Nikki and Liv decided to single Peyton Royce out due to their issues with her (see, Riot couldn’t have found Morgan?). They disposed of Royce. Morgan gave Cross a huracanrana. Morgan gave Royce an enziguri. Cross hit Morgan with a crossbody takedown. Cross then locked in a rear chinlock with a body scissors. Royce went for her signature back kick. Royce and Liv took down cross by catching her and putting her down off a crossbody from Cross.
Cross and Royce then argued. Royce gained the upper hand and called Morgan a brat. Royce then locked in a hammerlock tarantula. Cross jabbed her nails in the gut of Royce which made Royce have a scary fall to the outside on the back of her neck. Nikki Cross took out everyone inside including Billie Kay who tried to distract. Morgan gained a bit of momentum with a chop shoulder block. Cross regained dominance. Royce and Morgan brawled on the top rope. Cross snuck in to initiate a Tower of Doom.
Adam Cole and the Undisputed Era then walked out. They were encouraging Mae Young Classic wrestler, Taynara Conti from Brazil. Taynara distracted Nikki Cross. Cross took her down and gave Royce a hangman neckbreaker. Nigel clarified that Adam Cole sent her out due to his issues with Sanity. Cross hit a hanging Moonlight Drive on Morgan but Conti pulled Cross off the pinfall. Nikki Cross then comically started to fume and Conti sold it well by showing fear. Cross chassed Conti around and ran right into the back kick of Royce. Royce hit the fisherman buster to pick up the win.
Peyton Royce defeated Nikki Cross and Liv Morgan via pinfall in 6:43 to advance to the NXT Women’s Championship Four Way at NXT Takeover.
Nigel narrated the highlights from the match. Royce and Kay then did the belt winning gesture in the ring. Nigel hyped up Lio Rush vs. Velveteen Dream… [C]
John’s Thoughts: That was a well worked three way with a surprising finish since Nikki Cross was the hands-on favorite to move on. Liv Morgan had no chance. She does a good job with the wrestling moves but is usually clumsy in execution, but she had a good showing and no botches to my recollection. The Adam Cole interference made since given his team’s issues with Sanity. I’m intrigued with them possibly attaching Taynara Conti to their act who’s new to wrestling I believe and came off as “the little train engine that could” during the Mae Young. As for Royce going over, she would be my personal pick to win the fatal four-way due to NXT needing a strong heel in the Division and her being the complete in-ring and ascetic package in my opinion.
Lio Rush made his way to the ring and this time Patrick Clark did not jump him. Velveteen Dream Patrick Clark came out next wearing his exposed midriff sweater. Mauro noted that Clark’s goal is for Aleister Black to acknowledge him as the Velveteen Dream. Dream rolled around on the ground and ring in unorthodox fashion. He also took off his sweater in “seductive” fashion…
2. Lio Rush vs. Velveteen Dream. Dream explained to Rush that he was just trying to get Black to call him Velveteen Dream. Rush came at him with a slap. Rush then captivated the crowd with cool twists, reversals, kicks, and a hooking enziguri. Clark managed to slow things down with a whip and lariat. Dream hit some axe handle strikes while yelling “Velveteen Dream”. Dream hit a backbreaker and told Rush to say his name. Nigel noted the size difference.
Lio Rush came back with a schoolboy. Rush then countered into a nice popup DDT. This hyped up Mauro. Dream caught Rush with a right hand which set him up for a cartwheel Death Valley Driver. Dream then hit his impressive Purple Rainmaker.
Velveteen Dream Patrick Clark defeated Lio Rush via pinfall in 2:42.
Clark sat in the middle of the ring to mimic Aleister Black’s Indian Style meditation pose. Dream talked to the camera that he want’s Black to say his name. The commentators then recapped Lars Sullivan and his path on destruction… [C]
John’s Thoughts: I was a bit afraid that this was going to be completely one sided in favor of Clark due to the size difference and Lio Rush’s limited exposure to the NXT audience, but this short and sweet match offered the viewers a nice sampling of what Lio Rush has to offer. Rush came right out like a bat out of hell with a nice initial flurry, bending and twisting in ways most people can’t bend and twist. Velveteen Dream Patrick Clark continues to be someone who has completely won me over with his new darker persona. There’s a little bit of Prince, Percy Watson, and Goldust and he’s melded it all together to make it original and one of the most intriguing acts on the NXT roster.
Lars Sullivan made his entrance for his upcoming match. Danny Burch followed with Mauro talking about Burch’s awesome series of matches with Oney Lorcan.
John’s Thoughts: Small crowd note, There is an oddly large amount of Cody Rhodes and Marty Scrull shirts in the Full Sail Crowd for this episode…
3. Lars Sullivan vs. Danny Burch. Burch came in with some stiff slaps. Burch caught Sullivan with a kick. Sullivan powered through with a high knee lift. Burch came back with a knee lift of his own. Sullivan ran through Burch with a running shoulder tackle. Sullivan than gave Burch some scary clubbing shots to the side of the head. Sullivan then squashed Burch with a splash in the corner. The crowd tried to rally up Burch. Sullivan hit a delayed vertical suplex on Danny. Sullivan then laughed and shoved Burch around with his foot. Burch escaped a powerslam and shook up Sullivan with his stiff strikes. Sullivan fought through with a strong lariat.
Lars Sullivan defeated Danny Burch via pinfall in 2:58.
Mauro talked about Sullivan being undefeated (which is true in singles, His whole gimmick was that he lost a bunch of tag matches). They then cut to Drew McIntyre vs. Roderick Strong highlights with the focus being on the post-match handshake and Adam Cole sighting. Nigel advertised a Drew McIntyre “exclusive interview” for next week…
John’s Thoughts: You had to know that the guy who’s only won one match in about five years on this show had no chance. That said, the new and improved Burch has been fun to watch in his latest NXT run. The smaller bodies in the wrestling industry make Lars Sullivan stand out and his monster push continues to be a fun one to follow. I also like to believe that he is somehow the result of Sami Callihan getting shot by Gamma Rays and becoming the Incredible Lars Sullivan Hulk. The delay and roar also did a good job in making Sullivan’s finisher look good!
4. Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford vs. Damien Smith and Marcos Espada. Ford started off the match by calling his opponent a little ma. Ford spent a moment rotating is shoulders in rhythmic fashion. Ford countered his opponent and continued to taunt this opponent several times with shoulder rotations. Dawkins came in and took down Espada, the other guy, with a right hand while Ford barked like a dog on the outside. Dawkins set up Smith with a 360-corner splash and uranage. Montez ford hit a frog splash on Smith to pick up the win.
Street Profits defeated Damien Smith and Marcos Espada via pinfall in 1:52.
Montez Ford went to dance in front of Kayla Braxton, Mike Rome, and the timekeeper. They took the mic from the timekeeper and Dawkins yelled “eh” with the crowd… [C]
John’s Thoughts: The Street Profits are getting solid build as a fan friendly undercard act in the tag division. Dawkins continues to be the workhorse with Ford receiving very limited action; but when we do see Ford he never fails to impress with his athleticism, dance moves, and swag. I’ve said it before, he reminds me of a young Ron Killings. Dawkins is starting to grow on me a bit too. Someone just needs to tell the guy to stop “stirring it up” too much. It makes him look dorky! He can still do it! Just not in every single camera shot.
The commentators advertised next week’s matches. We were getting Ember Moon vs. Ruby Riot vs. Sonya Deville in the next fatal four way qualifying match. They also hyped Sanity vs. Undisputed Era in a trios match for next week.
John’s Thoughts: There’s that efficient use of time that I’ve been talking about. Most weeks, Raw is full of filler and can’t bother to offer hooks for the following week even though they have three hours of space to fit it in. Meanwhile, NXT makes sure to do the converse while also making every single segment mean something.
5. Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas (w/Zelina Vega). Percy Watson said Johnny Wrestling came from “Johnny Football” (Johnny Manizel?). Nigel said it probably means that wrestling means everything to Gargano. Gargano and Almas had some solid chain wrestling on the ground. Almas caught Gargano with a back elbow followed by a shoulder tackle. Gargano whipped Almas who did his Spiderman catch to the rope. Gargano had the GargaNoEscape locked in but Almas rolled outside.
Gargano caught Almas with a huracanrana and dropkick. Almas and Gargano traded stiff slaps in the corner. Almas and Gargano fought on the apron. Gargano escaped a suplex on the apron but took a boot to the face. Almas hit Gargano with a backbreaker elbow drop combo on the apron. [C]
Gargano missed his basement roundhouse on Almas. Almas locked in a crossarmbreaker on the ropes. Mauro talked about how Almas was starting to look lax and Vega would let him know about it later. Gargano hit a armbreaker sweep. Gargano took Almas to his knees with an enziguri. Almas recovered and staggered Gargano on the top rope. Gargano came back with a tornado Flatliner. Almas caught Gargano’s slingshot spear. Almas was tossed outside and Gargano hit his suicide dive on Almas.
Almas caught Gargano with a boot in the ring. Gargano blocked a reverse DDT and hit a reverse spinebuster on Almas. Almas tried to steal the win with a hand full of tights. Almas hit an arm trap German for a nearfall. Gargano shoved Almas to the corner to escape the Hammerlock DDT. Almas hit a Martial Law flip kick and locked in another rope crossarmbreaker. Almas took Gargano to his knee with a back elbow. Both men the trade strong strikes with Gargano coming out on top with a superkick. This popped the crowd out of respect.
Almas shoved the ref into the ropes to crotch Gargano on the top rope. Gargano went for a Super Hammerlock DDT but Gargano fought Almas off. Almas flipped out of a sunset flip but couldn’t escape the lariat. Gargano shot Almas like a lawndart into the turnbuckle. Gargano hit a rolling crucifix bomb on Almas and locked in the GarganNoEscape. Zelina Vega took off her jacket to show a DIY t-shirt. Gargano tried to so sold it but it allowed Almas to make it for the rope break. Gargano and Vega argued. Almas went for a small package for no success. Almas turned a rollup into powerbomb which Gargano reversed into a sunset flip.
Johnny Gargano went for La Mistica but Almas whipped Gargano’s face into the bottom turnbuckle. Almas hit Gargano with two double knees to the back of his head in the corner. Almas hit Gargano with the Hammerlock DDT to pick up the win.
Andrade “Cien” Almas defeated Johnny Gargano via pinfall in 13:50.
Mauro talked about Gargano falling due to the mental game played by Vega. Nigel pointed out that he distraction forced Gargano to let off his hold just enough in the replay.
John’s Thoughts: Did you expect anything other than splendid? This was a fun match and the story continues regarding building up the presence of Johnny Gargano’s PTSD issues. Almas is continuing to benefit from the huge push he’s getting after taking eating so much crap booking wise. He should be rewarded and he’s one of NXT’s most consistent performers (when Almas or Oney Lorcan are in the ring you know they are going to have a good showing no matter who they are against). This wasn’t as hot as their takeover encounter, but it was meant for storytelling purposes. What’s even more fun is they are building up so much heat for Tommaso Ciampa without Ciampa being nowhere close to physically at the building. This thing is going to be really fun once Heel Ciampa gets back and healthy!
What can I say? Unlike that hole of misery known as 205 Live, NXT is refreshing top to bottom. Again, every segment means something and I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but that’s true. Not only do they make the most of their limited time, but they also put in plugs for the following week. They also manage to get in all of their Rocket League and KFC plugs in there as well. It’s not hard, but the main roster TV has way of doing things that seems so inefficient and wasteful.