By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Aired May 30, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped May 9 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
The NXT teaser focused on last week’s Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae segment where Gargano teased retirement. The segment ended with the fans convincing Gargano to stay and causing Gargano to call out Tommaso Ciampa yet again, both against LeRae’s wishes. This segment ended with Gargano accidentally falling on LeRae which sent LeRae into the steel steps. Mauro Ranallo noted that Ciampa and Gargano won’t be on this week’s NXT and have been sent contracts for a match at Takeover: Chicago…
No NXT theme this week as the show went straight to Aleister Black making his entrance. Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson were on commentary. Black said ever since he won the NXT title, it’s been a life changing trip for him. Black said he knows there is a dispute in the selection of his challenger. Black reminded fans that he only needs one shot to defeat his opponents and make them fade to black. Lars Sullivan made his entrance. He was in ring gear (I’m assuming he’s always in ring gear). Sullivan said the dispute is over because William Regal booked Black to be his challenger. Sullivan reiterated Black’s “one shot” claim. Sullivan said Black has never faced anyone like him with his size and dominance. Sullivan said Black can’t ignore the reality of what is going to happen in Chicago. Sullivan said he’s going to take everything that Black worked his life for and you are looking at the new champion Lars Sullivan. Sullivan went to go for a choke on Black but Black blocked it. Black went for Black Mass but Sullivan caught it with his bare hand. Sullivan hit Black with the Freak Accident and stood over Black with the NXT Title at hand…
John’s Thoughts: A decent promo segment. This was a bit paint-by-numbers which we’re seeing a lot of in NXT these days, but it was effective enough. Sullivan wasn’t a bad promo, but I wouldn’t have deliver extended promo sgments like this on a regular basis to keep up his monster mystique (I get that they are trying to push him as a cerebral person, but less can be more).
Mauro Ranallo thanked Chris Jericho and his band Fozzy for providing the song “Painless” for the next NXT Takeover.
1. “War Raiders” Hanson and Rowe vs. George Hickson and Cody Vincent. I believe the first guy is named Geroge Hickson. Rowe no sold a shot from George. Hanson tagged in and hit a slingshot senton on Hickson. Cody Vincent tagged in and was beat up easily. Rowe hit a running meteora and Hanson hit a running bronco buster on Vincent. Rowe hit a knee on Hickson. The Raiders hit a springboard Hart Attack. The Raiders hit Hickson with Fallout for the victory.
War Raiders defeated George Hickson and Cody Vincent via pinfall in 2:48.
A Dakota Kai vignette aired where she talked about her dreams of becoming NXT Women’s Champion. This was also a video package for Shayna Baszler to hype the upcoming women’s title match… [C]
Cathy Kelly interviewed Lacey Evans backstage about her upcoming rubber match against Kairi Sane. Evans said the results will be the same as the last match. She said she doesn’t care if Sane won the Mae Young classic because she has a “Right” [hand] a “Women’s Right” with Sane’s name on it…
John’s Thoughts: That exaggerated Southern Accent is still there, but the content was a bit better than her past promos which sounded like line reading. Lacey Evans continues to improve every week.
2. EC3 vs. Fabien Aichner. Aichner had new generic rock entrance music (I’m a bigger fan of his old lyrical one). An NX3 chant ensued. EC3 gave Aichner a knee. He yelled “Top One Percent Forearm” like an anime character before hitting the move. Aichner caught EC3 with a flying elbow and gutwretch suplex. Ethan tripped Aichner off the top rope sending Aichner outside. Johnny Gargano randomly walked to the announce table past EC3 as he made the announcement that Gargano vs. Ciampa II is happening at the next Takeover in a Street Fight. Aichner hit the distracted EC3 with a Crossbody to the outside. EC3 had a little tantrum and snapped on Aichner with a Russian Legsweep. EC3 defeated Aichner with the TK3.
EC3 defeated Fabien Aichner via pinfall in 2:35.
John’s Thoughts: A good squash in a way, but it’s a bit disappointing that they still have EC3 wandering around with nothing to do because this guy has been main roster ready about two years ago when he wasn’t in WWE. I’m guessing they are just stacked with feuds that there is no room for him but that’s a shame. Hopefully they have him set up for a heel role down the road. As for Aichner, that guy has also been ready for a long time but is stuck in this enhancement role.
NXT cut to a Bianca BelAir documentary video . Bianca talked about being naturally gifted since a child. She said she was bred to be the best. Bianca talked about her great grandfather being the first African Electrician in North Carolina. She talked about her Grandfatehr being a biochemist. Clips and photos were shown of Bianca Blair (her real name) winning everything from track to gymnastics. She talked about being inspired by her parents. Biancca talked about working her butt off for a full ride athletic scholarship. She talked about graduating BelAir also talked about finding CrossFit which led her to NXT. Bianca talked about feeling belonging in NXT since day one. She said she didn’t have past wrestling experience or experience in Japan. She said she sees the looks other people give her but she will always be better than them. Bianca talked about NXT making her the woman she is supposed to be. She said she was in NXT to shine…
John’s Thoughts: Another great documentary piece by NXT and it did it’s job in leveling up the perception of BelAir. Speaking of being ready, Bianca has been ready for a while and that video did a good job flushing out exactly who she is. She has a very “heel” motivation, but you can’t help but love her dedication and determination.
Ricochet’s opponent in the next match was Chris Dijak (Formerly known in ROH as Donovan Dijak). Like Aichner, he also has generic rock music…
3. Ricochet vs. Chris Dijak. Ricochet started off the match with quick right hands. Ricochet used a axe kick to set up a rolling dropkick. Dijak went for a suicide dive but was caught midair by Dijak. Dijak chokeslammed Ricochet on the apron and hit an impressive elbow on Ricochet. Ricochet dodged Dijak’s moonsault. Ricochet took down Dijak with strikes and a jumping axe kick. Ricochet hit his combination deadlift suplex on the bigger Dijak. Ricochet hit the 630 for the victory.
Ricochet defeated Chris Dijak via pinfall in 2:13.
The replays showed the 630 in slow motion. Ricochet grabbed a microphone after the match and asked if Dream likes the spotlight. Ricochet said he gets it and thinks Velveteen Dream deserves it. He talked about Dream being one of the most entertaining superstars to step foot in NXT. Ricochet said the spotlight shows how good you really are and also your flaws. Ricochet said the spotlight show what a punk Dream was last week. Velveteen Dream interrupted Ricochet’s promo. Dream asked “punk?”. Dream said he gets it because tonight is Ricochet’s spotlight. Dream said last week was supposed to be “our” spotlight.
Dream said what Dream proved last week is that whatever Ricochet could do, Dream could do better. Ricochet said Dream is only showing people that he is a coward now. Ricochet called Dream a homeboy and dared him to enter the ring. Dream teased entering and then instead said that “as epic as you and me would be, the Dream can only think of one spotlight to contain the two of us. The Dream will see you in Chicago”. Dream said when the spotlight hits Ricochet’s beautiful face, Ricochet will truly know that whatever Ricochet can do Dream can do better. Ricochet confronted Dream after doing a clean somersault over the top rope to his feet…
John’s Thoughts: Dream is showing that he is prime time while Ricochet is showing that he has improve immensely on the microphone since his days in other companies. So far this feud is living up to the hype. The only thing missing is a bit more backstage work from Dream. Speaking of having “too much” talent on the roster, Chris Dijak is still on the NXT B-Team which tells you how much they have in the bullpen.
Kayla Braxton handled the formal ring introductions for the upcoming title match…
4. Shayna Baszler vs. Dakota Kai for the NXT Women’s Championship. Mauro Ranallo noted that all Four Horsewomen of MMA were signed to WWE now. Kai continued to be timid and fearful which Nigel pointed out. Baszler bullied Kai with light kicks and smothering her in the corner. Kai tried to stand up to Baszler but ate a gut punch. Kai had her leg stomped a mudhole in (showing that she is double jointed). Baszler continued to toy with Kai with some methodical strikes and then a kneebar. Kai tried to kick out to no avail.
Baszler just continued to take out the legs of Kai. Baszler yelled “aren’t you the captain of team kick?”. Baszler hit the ground and pound on Kai. Baszler then locked in the ankle lock. Nigel noted that Baszler was toying with Kai. Kai finally escaped the ankle lock with an enziguri. Kai hit a roundhouse and bicycle kick on Baszler. Kai hit a series of corner kicks on Baszler. Kai went for something, but fell right into the Kirafuda Clutch (which translated to “Trump Card” Clutch) Baszler picked up the submission win.
Shayna Baszler defeated Dakota Kai via submission in 5:31.
Baszler wasn’t done yet and continued to lock in the Kirafuda Clutch on Kai. Nikki Cross ran in for the save. Baszler slowly walked away while staring at Cross. Cross stole Baszler’s title while Baszler’s back was turned. Cross used the belt as bait to get Baszler in the ring. Cross ran and pulled back the title when Baszler went to pick up the belt. Nikki Cross signaled in her strange way that she wants a title match. She wanted the title match today. Cross handed the title belt to her and made her act as a pseudo-referee. Cross hit Baszler with The Purge while she was distracted by Kai and then picked up an unofficial three count on Baszler. Cross ran around into the crowd with the title acting like she won the belt to close out NXT…
John’s Thoughts: I liked the one-sided nature of the Baszler vs. Kai match despite Kai going a bit overboard with playing the timid bully victim. The rally by the end of the match fixed that. The Nikki Cross stuff at the end of the match was extremely fun. Some of the nuance that i think we’re missing in the other men feuds on NXT is all in this one right here. As I said, this is the best thing NXT has going and has surpassed Gargano vs. Ciampa. The result of this feud is all but predictable with it looking like Cross is a stepping stone for Baszler while Kai builds herself up to take down Baszler down the road. With the Four Horsewomen of MMA all being in NXT, those plans could easily change (but Nikki Cross has been ready for a main roster callup for a long time and has been wallowing in limbo for many months).
NXT continues to be jam-packed every week with more content than Raw at times. This one had everything you could get in a weekly wrestling show with storyline development and character development. They also do it in a new way that breaks the mold of traditional and tired pro wrestling tropes. I’ll be by tomorrow with my NXT Hit List and Member’s Exclusive Audio Review.