NXT TV Live Review: Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Roderick Strong vs. Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Burch, Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream

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

Aired May 16, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped May 9 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

Johnny Gargano’s entrance theme started out NXT. Mauro Ranallo was elated. Tommaso Ciampa came out instead. Ciampa said everyone is saying that Gargano won. Ciampa said that the fact is Gargano won the battle but Ciampa will always win the war. Ciampa said he stands here while Gargano is sitting at home with a neck brace that Ciampa put him in. Ciampa soaked up “you suck” chants. Ciampa said piece by piece, Gargano is broken. CIampa said Gargano’s mind, body, and spirit is broken. Ciampa said Johnny Wrestling is gone and Ciampa wins.

Candice LeRae walked out to confront Ciampa. A Candice Wrestling chant ensued. LeRae asked LeRae who he was. She said she knew Tommaso but doesn’t know what he became. She said she doesn’t understand why he is trying to destroy her and Johnny’s lives. LeRae said Ciampa is broken. LeRae said she is done trying to understand a former friend and Ciampa is a monster now. LeRae said Gargano’s future may be uncertain but Ciampa knows that Johnny Gargano will always be better than Ciampa. A “Johnny’s Better” chant started. Ciampa said Gargano may be better, but that boy LeRae calls a husband isn’t half the man Ciampa is. Ciampa said that’s why he sent his precious blonde out to confront Ciampa. Ciampa said he’s lived in their house for years and Candice was always more of a man. A “Mess him up candice, Mess him up” chant ensued (what?). After more taunting, LeRae slapped Ciampa in the face. Candice walked up the ramp. Ciampa shrugged it off saying “I win”…[C]

John’s Thoughts: More good progression for this storyline for this feud. The “Mess him up chants” was a bit odd. I’m guessing the crowd was coached for that one because most indy shows would give Ciampa a “F–k him up” chant.

Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson, and the returning Nigel McGuinness were on commentary. Brandi Lauren made her entrance. She’s the former Ava Storie from Impact Wrestling. Percy Watson noted that Lauren is a fan of Arn Anderson. Lacey Evans came out to new theme music and her newer Olive Drab look…

1. Lacey Evans vs. Brandi Lauren. Evans womanhandled Laurel easily and stomped a mudhole into her. Evans rode Lauren like a surfborad and then hit a very high slingshot elbow drop. Evans was methodical in her movement. Evans did a salute and then hit a moonsault. Instead of going for the pin she decided to go for a knockout punch called the “Women’s Right”…

Lacey Evans defeated Brandi Lauren in 1:21. 

Kairi Sane ran in and blindsided Evans for a beatdown sequence. Kairi Sane stood tall, and they cut to a Ricochet and Velveteen Dream highlight package from last week’s promo segment…

John’s Thoughts: There we go. I like the transformation of Lacey and that she’s in an actual storyline. The more “wild girl” theme music is also a good fit for her as a heel. I hope she keeps this up and stays no-nonsense. Ava Storie looked good in taking the beating herself and I hope NXT gives her a second look. She has a good “Girl Next Door” look which won’t clash with Dakota Kai because it’s different enough and relatable. She reminds me of former Tough Enough winner Sara Lee, except Ava can actually wrestle.

Aleister Black was strolling outside of Full Sail and was interviewed. He talked about how he has a big target on his back as champion. He said people want opportunities and title shots. Black said everyone knows the history between he and Dream and if he goes against Ricochet then Ricochet has to prove he’s the one and only. Black said he was ready for both men and for them to prove themselves…

It was time for a Dakota Kai press conference. Kai said she didn’t know about why Nikki Cross was laughing at her but that she was working on her strength and conditioning at the Performance Center. Nikki Cross ran in like a maniac and stole one of the press guy’s smartphones. Nikki acted like an interviewer and asked Kai “When are you going to face Shayna… because with fear comes opportunity, Face Your Fear! And Fight!”. Cross laughed to close the segment…

John’s Thoughts: These are the must see segments on NXT now and that did a lot to evolve the character of Nikki Cross as a transcendental intellectual based on her Sanity history. This reminds me of the Impact Wrestling Rosemary and Allie Relationship, except more intriguing.

Velveteen Dream made his entrance wearing a nice suit and ring gear for his upcoming match against Ricochet. Ricochet made his usual entrance. Mauro made his latest pop culture reference by saying that Ricochet is revolutionary like Donald Glover/Childish Gambino…

2. Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet. Dueling chants ensued. Dream was moving around the ring like a snake and Mauro noted that Dream has amateur background while Ricochet is self-taught. Both men traded armdrags into seductive hip gyrations. Ricochet managed to trap Dream in a headscissors. Dream managed to reverse the wide base into a side headlock. Dream countered and worked on a headlock of his own with a wide base. Nigel noted that Ricochet’s strength comes in using his agility not just to show off but at the right time. Both men had an impressive agility sequence which was won by Dream.

Ricochet entered the ring to block a Dream Dive. Dream was knocked off the apron with a Flying Chuck. Ricochet taunted Dream with his superhero pose. After another sequence, both men ran into each other. Suddenly boos ensued because Lars Sullivan ran in to beat up both opponents.

Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet ended in a no-contest in 3:43. 

Thumbs up for Kayla Braxton for calling this match a “No-Contest”. Lars Sullivan destroyed both men with power moves and power slams… [C]

John’s Thoughts: Great preview of a potential Takeover match with the right finish. Lars Sullivan interjecting himself in this feud really has me intrigued of great things possible between the trio. I’ve said that Lars Sullivan reminds me of Mil Muertes but this reminds me of a really fun feud in Lucha Underground between Mil Muertes, Prince Puma (Ricochet), and Pentagon Jr. Because Ricochet knows how this goes, this has the potential to be fun in NXT.

Kona Reeves has some new theme music. It sounded douchey and said he’s the “finest”…

3. Kona Reeves vs. Raul Mendoza. Reeves towered over Mendoza. A “Kona Sucks” chant ensued. Reeves called for the referee to distract Mendoza. Mendoza had one of his fun Lucha Libre sequences. Reeves put Mendoza in the corner and then showed that aggression that he showed inthe past. Reeves hit a nice vertical suplex on Mendoza and diving fist. Reeves hit his top rope trust fall elbow. Kona Reeves locked in the Million Dollar Dream on Mendoza. Mendoza escaped with a jawbraker and a myriad of kicks. Raul Mendoza fired up and gave several enziguris to Reeves. Reeves swatted Mendoza off the slingshot. Reeves picked up the win after the Hawaiian Drop (slightly modified Samoan Drop).

Kona Reeves defeated Raul Mendoza via pinfall in 3:48. 

John’s Thoughts: A really fun match that showed off Reeve’s power moves. The star of the match was Raul Mendoza who impresses every time we see him. This was probably Mendoza’s best match to date. I have a feeling, if they put that guy under a mask right now, he has the potential to be WWE’s next great Luchador (along with Kalisto if the man roster is willing to take foreign Luchadores seriously).

Cathy Kelley (who has nice volumized hair today) was standing in front of William Regal’s office. Kelley said she was hoping to hear from Ricochet or Dream. She ran to Ricochet who was banging on Regal’s door. Dream walked to the office too. Both men made it clear that they wanted Lars Sullivan in a match. Ricochet held the door open for Dream to let him and Dream into Regal’s office… [C]

Heavy Machinery were walking in the hallway doing a selfie promo. Tucker Knight tried to cut a promo while Otis Dozovic made his weird noises. Otis talked about how it was gaining season. He also talked about going out with his mother on Mother’s Day for some thick juicy steaks. They got excited over steaks. They ran into TM-61. Knight called them out for being cheaters now. This set up a future encounter…

Before the next match, Mauro congratulated both Pete Dunne and Nigel McGuinness for becoming new fathers. Kyle O’Reilly still does his signature air guitar with the belt. Mauro noted that all three Undisputed Era members have gold. Nigel said they were an “army of harmony”…

3. Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Burch vs. “The Undisputed Era” Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, and Kyle O’Reilly. Strong teased wrestling Dunne but then quickly tagged in Kyle O’Reilly. Dunne responded by tagging in Burch. Percy said he empathizes with Burch since they both got a 2nd chance in NXT. Mauro noted that Burch has amateur boxing background. Both men had a stalemate in the chain wrestling. Burch wanted O’Reilly to be standing while O’Reilly wanted a ground game. O’Reilly won out and brought in Adam Cole who dominated and called Burch a joke. The heels isolated Burch in their corner. O’Reilly hit Burch with Muay Thai clinch kicks. Roddy hit his signature backbreaker on Burch.

Roddy mocked Dunne’s fist on chin during his beatdown on Burch. This allowed Pete Dunne to tag in and go all Fist of the North Star on Roderick. Dunne brought Strong on the ground and peat on Strong’s chest while breaking the fingers of Strong. Burch and Lorcan broke Cole’s and O’Reilly’s fingers at the same time. This fired up the Era guys as they cornered Dunne and put the boots to him.

The Era beat up on Dunne for an extended sequence with quick tags. Mauro noted the high amount of quick tags which went on for about two minutes or so. Dunne managed to flip out of the corner and get the hot tags with a nice Daniel Bryan like sequence. It might be better than Bryan as there were chops, suplexes, and fire. Lorcan hit O’Reilly and Strong with a nice Tope Con Hilo. Lorcan hit an Atomic Drop and Burch hit Strong with a Lariat. Madness ensued. Strong threw Lorcan into Dunne and hit Burch with a backbreaker. Roderick hit Burch with a high knee. Cole hit Burch with the Last Shot. O’Reilly hit Burch with a roundhouse for a nearfall. Burch reversed a Guillotine into a Crossface. Lorcan locked Strong in a single Leg Crab. Dunne locked Cole in a hammerlock body scissors. Cole fell on Burch to break the submissions.

Cole reversed a Dunne suplex into a neckbraker over the top rope. Various strikes ensued with Danny Burch hitting Strong and O’Reilly with a double blockbuster. Burch and Lorcan hit O’Reilly with a wheelbarrow DDT for the victory which Burch picked up.

Pete Dunne, Danny Burch, and Oney Lorcan defeated The Undisputed Era via pinfall in 11:23. 

Adam Cole had his “what the hell?” face on the outside of the ring. The Undisputed Era crawled up the ramp as the face trio celebrated in the ring. Mauro Ranallo announced that Lars Sullivan will be facing Velveteen Dream and Ricochet in a handicap match next week. This closed out NXT…

John’s Thoughts: That match was fun as hell. It was expected given the wrestlers involved. Every single person had something to add and got to have their own sequences. This is exactly how a Trios match should be executed and a good contrast to a forgettable trios match which was last night’s 205 Live main event. Burch picked up the clean win. I would like to hear from a stats person on this one, but to my recollection Danny Burch has been in NXT since 2012 (with a one year hiatus in 2015) and has only won one match clean. I think this was his second clean win. If WWE wants, they can have this win be the spark to finally push the Lorcan and Burch team to start winning similar to what they did with Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano when DIY was the NXT resident enhancement tag team. Lorcan deserves better for being the strongest brawler in WWE just laying in the cut.

This episode gets a strong recommendation and NXT continues its string of having jam pack shows that deliver on a weekly basis. This episode has the added plus of having some of the developmental prospects shining in their showcase time. Kona Reeves still is a lame character but there are a lot of good things with the other developmental guys. NXT could use another half hour but I hope it stays a hour since it only leaves the viewer wanting more. The pacing is also good for people who want to binge right before takeovers. I’ll be by tomorrow morning with a NXT Hit List and Member’s Exclusive Audio Review…

Readers Comments (4)

  1. You have to love Oney Lorcan. His enthusiasm is so infectious, it always looks like he is having the time of his life out there.

    Pete Dunne is amazing, but looks a fish out of water as a babyface. Not his fault of course, he was getting cheered all the time by the ‘look at me everyone’ NXT crowd and they didn’t have much choice but to turn him.

    • I’d disagree with you on Dunne. As a babyface, he’s the closest thing the WWE’s had to Austin in awhile. I feel like he has huge potential, and I like that he’s stayed true to his character. This is how it’s done. I’ve been a fan of the guy since the first time I’ve watched him.

      Also, why does a crowd have to be labeled a “look at me everyone” crowd for cheering who they like? When you buy a ticket, it’s your right to cheer and boo who you want. It doesn’t always mean a crowd is trying to get themselves “over”. Besides, think of how many guys might’ve never been had crowds not gone against the grain. There surely wouldn’t have been a Stone Cold, and the Rock might still be wearing tassles and calling himself Rocky Maivia. And Rusev Day is on the verge of an explosion if WWE would just let it happen. Wrestling, and story-telling can be organic.

      Oh, and Lacey Evans is becoming quite amazing! That moonsault sequence was a thing of beauty.

      • “Also, why does a crowd have to be labeled a “look at me everyone” crowd for cheering who they like?”

        What do you mean exactly by ‘like’? Do you mean whose work you admire and appreciate, regardless of whether they are face or heel? If so, why isn’t everyone cheering Tommaso Ciampa? Fans cheer and chant for whatever makes them look knowledgeable and in the know, not who they ‘like’. The ‘Delete’ and ‘Obsolete’ chants were deafening until Matt started doing the gimmick, now you barely hear them. And remember the dicks who chanted Husky Harris when Bray Wyatt debuted? Oh clever guys, you know who he is!!

        Don’t get me wrong, cheering to support wrestlers who you feel are being kept down unfairly, like Rusev – I am all for that. Unfortunately, those are the minority of cases. Most of the time, such as with Dunne before and Adam Cole now, it is just know-it-all fans wanting to show everyone else they know about Progress or ROH.

  2. By “like” I mean characters you’re invested in. Speaking for myself, I enjoy Pete Dunne’s style. And it’s just a case of admiring and respecting his work. I like his character’s no non-sense, nonchalant attitude. It doesn’t matter to me who he’s against. I’m not going to root for, say, Tyler Bate, because he smiles and waves, and WWE wants me too. I just don’t care for the character.

    When the fans chant Bruiserweight, it could just be because they like Dunne. It’s relevant to the character though, and fits within the context of the WWE universe.

    Now I don’t disagree with you at all when fans chant stupid stuff like “Husky Harris”, because that no longer exists within the context of the WWE universe. That’s attention seeking.

    I guess the line for me is if you’re choosing a side in a match, whichever side- cool. I think of that as something that is present in any sport. If you’re doing something outside that box though, then it’s different story.

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