NXT TV Live Review: Kairi Sane vs. Lacey Evans and Heavy Machinery vs. Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli, and a big debut from NXT Takeover: New Orleans


By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)

Aired April 11, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped April 7 in New Orleans, Louisiana at Smoothie King Center

NXT started off with a highlight package of NXT Takeover New Orleans with the Cane Hill music playing in the background. The NXT Intro theme aired…

Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson checked in for NXT Takeover: Aftermath…

1. Kairi Sane vs. Lacey Evans. Lacey wore her Olive Drab Marine themed gear (one I’m more of a fan of). Mauro noted that Evans has the size advantage. Evans used a crescent kick to escape a wristlock while Sane showed off some agility. Sane picked up the pace with a huracanrana and dropkick. Evans hit a clunky slingshot elbow drop. Evans locked in a Cobra Clutch. Evans tried to turn it into a pin but Kairi kicked out. Evans worked on Sane with some ground game heading into the break. [C]

Evans hit a delayed Bronco Buster on Sane back from the break. Sane fired up with yells and knife edge chops. Evans caught Sane and hit a shoulderbreaker for a nearfall. Sane dared Evans to come on after a strong chop. Sane responded with her signature interceptor spear. Sane hit an axe kick on Evans which set up a running blockbuster. Sane followed up with her signature basement forearm and then a flying forearm for a nearfall. Sane went for a modified boston crab but Nigel was correct in noting the core strength between Evans and Sane which caused the move falling apart. Sane caught Evans with a back elbow and hit the InSane Elbow on Evans for the win.

Kairi Sane defeated Lacey Evans via pinfall in 7:43 of TV Time. 

Mauro gave Evans credit for putting up a good fight against the experienced Kairi Sane. Percy Watson and Mauro Ranallo cut to a video package with highlights from the North American Championship Ladder Match… [C]

John’s Thoughts: As I mentioned earlier, I’m a fan of Evans implementing more of her Marine background into her act. She’s been in her 1920s pinup girl gimmick for a while and after all this time it hasn’t clicked and come off more like an act rather than an extension of herself. The character Liberty Belle from the Netflix GLOW series played this character better than Evans. Hopefully a character pivot or character reboot is on the way. Sane continues to shine when given the spotlight and I understand NXT wanting to evaluate her a bit more before putting her in a prominent position on the card. With Ember Moon out of the picture, Kairi is a candidate for top babyface, but so is someone like Dakota Kai of Candice LeRae.

After the break, there was a Takeover Tag Team Championship highlight package. Cathy Kelly tried to inquire the Undisputed Era about why Roderick Strong joined the Era. Adam Cole was about to give an answer but Strong calmly put his hand on the mic and dismissed the team before they could give Cathy an answer…

Clips from the Authors of Pain’s debut from Raw were shown. They showed a YouTube clip of Mike Rome interviewing the Authors of Pain. Paul Ellering walked in and essentially asked “what are you doing”. One of the Authors said that Ellering’s chapter was over with the Authors before walking away…

Highlights were shown of the Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano match with a focus on the crowd. They covered the “F–k you Ciampa” chants with “You suck” chants (and I totally understand why). Mauro noted that next week Johnny Gargano will be returning “live” at Full Sail (the show’s being taped today)… [C]

Highlights were shown of the Ember Moon vs. Shayna Baszler match from Takeover. Kayla Braxton interviewed Baszler and congratulated her. Baszler said this is not a bandwagon this is a war wagon. She said she know who supported her in the beginning and who hasn’t. Braxton asked about her thoughts on Ronda Rousey which she showed support. After the interview, clip of Ember Moon’s debut was shown. Mike Rome interviewed Ember Moon who was super excited for starting a new chapter in her wrestling life. Rome brought up not getting revenge against Shayna Baszler. Moon said the NXT roster is strong and will soon dethrone Baszler. They cut to Andrade Almas vs. Aleister Black highlights which included cinematic camera angles from the match… [C]

Clips were shown of No Way Jose’s debut along with his not-Adam Rose Konga Line. They also showed clips of the debut of the Iconics, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, on Smackdown. Percy advertsied Lars Sullivan vs. Killian Dain for next week…

2. “Heavy Machinery” Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic vs. Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss. Moss and Sabbatelli haven’t broken up yet (Based off of two breakup angles already)? These two are starting to click so I’m fine with them sticking together. Knight and Sabbatelli started off the match. Tino drew “Tino Sucks” chants. Knight easily shoved around Sabbatelli as Dozovic made strange noises. After Moss tagged in, all four men ended up brawling. Heavy Machinery dominated with Knight giving both men strong punches to the gut. HM did an ode to the Bushwhackers with a strut followed by sandwiching one of the heels between them. [C]

Moss caught the giant Knight and hit him with a fallaway slam. Tino Sabbatelli tagged in and hit his high dropkick with help from Moss. Knight managed to fight off both opponents but Sabbatelli showed off his hops but hitting a high standing crossbody. Moss worked on Knight to keep him away from Dozovic. Sabbatelli tagged in and their tandem offense fell apart due to the dodging of Knight. Dozovic tagged in and had a hot tag sequence. Dozovic hit several corner splashes and a suplex on Moss which fired up the crowd. Dozovic did the Caterpillar (The Worm) on Sabbatelli.  Knight and Moss took each other out. The team formerly known as War Machine entered the ring to call for the no contest.

Heavy Machinery vs. Sabbatelli and Moss ended in an apparent no contest in 6:02. 

Mauro yelled several times that Ray Rowe and Hanson are now known as the War Raiders. The Raiders destroyed both teams in the ring. NXT Ended…

John’s Thoughts: A very fun match between two of NXT’s “Developmental” teams as I like to call them. Moss and Sabbatelli have been working the Florida Live Event circuit for about two years and things eventually have to start clicking with them. Moss is good in the ring but he does get a bit dopey eyed when the camera are focused on him. he’s fixing that up a bit. Sabbatelli does still need to add more moves to his repertoire, but they guy is mad athletic with some mad hops. Of WWE’s NFL recruits Sabbatelli does have one of the more successful NFL resumes. Heavy Machinery continue to impress with Tucker Knight being a good big man worker while Otis Dozovic is a giant ball of charisma that you can’t help but smile at (unless ultra cheesy things make you nauseous).

With the Authors of Pain gone, this was a good time to bring in Rowe and Hanson to take their place as NXT’s dominant tag team. I’m with Jason Powell and a lot of people I see on Twitter in wanting to see what Paul Ellering can bring to the act if Ellering would like to continue the light NXT schedule. Overall, this was an NXT filler episode. The filler episodes have gotten better since 2016 when NXT would put these out to waste people’s time. We get to see some midcarders have a shot to shine on the big stage while also getting some good matchups. The music video vignettes have also improved. I’ll be by tomorrow with an Audio Review for the Dot Net Members…






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