NXT TV Live Review: NXT Champion Aleister Black appearance, Candice LeRae vs. Lacey Evans, Kona Reeves in action on the first show from the latest tapings

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

NXT TV 
Aired June 27, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped June 21 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

After the NXT intro theme aired, Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson checked in on commentary. Nigel McGuinness talked about how “Mustache Mountain” Tyler Bate and Trent Seven won the NXT Tag Team Championships during the WWE’s time in the UK for the UK Championship tournament. Aleister Black made his entrance in dress clothes. Black got a huge reaction from the Full Sail crowd. Black said adversity and how you deal with it is what defines you as a champion. He said the adversity he faced at Takeover was Lars Sullivan. Black called Sullivan a freak of nature. He talked about how he made him fade to black. Tommaso Ciampa made his themeless entrance to interrupt Black.

Ciampa said now it’s time that Black stands face to face with the devil. Ciampa said he’s not buying any of Black’s smoke, mirrors, or candlelight. Ciampa said the title doesn’t make the man, but the man makes the title. Ciampa said he thinks the title defines Black instead. Ciampa bragged about how him beating Johnny “Freaking” Wrestling was better than Sullivan’s win earlier in the show. He talked about how he literally beat Gargano with his hands behind his back. Ciampa said his eyes were set on the title. Black cut off Ciampa. He said he was going to kick Ciampa’s lights out. Ciampa brought up Black’s “mystique”. Ciampa said when he beats Black, Black will lose his mystique and title. Ciampa said all he needs is one opportunity. Ciampa mocked Black by doing his meditation pose. Ciampa also mocked Black’s “Fade to Black” catchphrase. Black teased confronting Ciampa but Ciampa started slowly backtracking and doing his creepy hand wave…

Mauro Ranallo cut to a picture of Lars Sullivan’s X-Ray which showed he wrestled the Takeover Match with a broken jaw… [C]

John’s Thoughts: I still would prefer if Black say more with less words. He’s a good speaker, but as Ciampa said, he has a mystique that says more words. Ciampa is strong on the mic. He has the opposite problem. Ciampa can say a lot when he’s silent, but when he talks he’s a great heel monster. Ciampa carried that segment. Black also needs to stop doing that coorporate “Fade to Black” catchphrase.

The show cut to a Vanessa Bourne press conference where she mocked Kairi Sane for dressing like a pirate. Bourne talked about how she was about to sell all the merch and stuff… [C]

John’s Thoughts: For some reason, in that interview Vanessa really sounded a lot like Alexa Bliss. Which isn’t a bad thing…

Kona Reeves made his entrance…

1. Kona Reeves vs. Max Humberto. Reeves started off with methodical offense while also calling himself the finest. Humberto had a nasty fall to the outside. Reeves hit Humberto with a Butterfly Suplex and falling elbow drop. After a little glimmer of hope for Max, Kona hit Max with the Hawaiian Drop for the win.

Kona Reeves defeated Max Humberto via pinfall in 2:49. 

Mauro Ranallo recapped Mustache Mountain defeating Undisputed Era “last night” for the NXT Tag Team Championships…

John’s ThoughtsWhat more can I say? Kona Reeves needs a reboot. It hurts that Lio Rush is playing the same character and doing a better job.

Candice LeRae made her entrance and the commentators talked aobut how LeRae was inspired to move on. Lacey Evans made her entrance using a new instrumental version of her latest theme…

2. Candice LeRae vs. Lacey Evans. Nigel noted the size vs. experience battle between the two women. Evans halted LeRae’s offense with her strength. LeRae regained control with a series of armdrags. Evans gained control with a hand full of hair. Evans slammed LeRae’s left arm into the ringpost and then focused her attack on the left arm of LeRae. LeRae tried to rollup Evans but Evans kicked out and slammed LeRae’s injured arm into the mat. Evans utilized a headscissors and hammerlock to work on the injured arm of LeRae. Evans got a nearfall after a bronco buster. The action slowed down during a Cobra Clutch from Evans. LeRae escaped with an armdrag. LeRae followed up with a blockbuster and basement dropkick.

LeRae worked on Evans with some stiff right hands. LeRae continued to fight Evans one armed. LeRae hit Evans with an impressive top rope tornado DDT. LeRae hit Evans with a Unprettier (which Mauro called a Vertebreaker for some reason). Candice LeRae won after hitting Evans with a lionsault.

Candice LeRae defeated Lacey Evans via pinfall in 5:37.

John’s Thoughts: A good television match and Lacey Evans is getting better every week with her new focus. What’s hurting her is the losses stacking up in her refined persona. They should look at what they are doing in 205 Live in protecting Drew Gulak to replicate a similar push for Evans. She is ready for an actual program ASAP. That program could have come with LeRae so I’m not sure why they just treated this as a LeRae enhancement match. LeRae does need rebuilding because she’s been established as a token wife on this show. She’s way more than that.

Cathy Kelley cut one of her “sad” interviews with Johnny Gargano about his loss at Takeover and LeRae’s win. He said LeRae is his favorite wrestler but he can’t stop replaying Takeover in his mind. He talked about being haunted by Ciampa winning and tossing away his wedding ring. Gargano said he was going to ask Regal for another match since both men have one win a piece. He said he doesn’t care if their fight is in Brooklyn, the streets, or even the grocery store. He said this ends when Ciampa ends…

John’s Thoughts: Didn’t I hear Eddie Edwards cut this promo a few months ago except replace “woods” with “Grocery Store” and replace “murder” with “end”. Hell, just for laughs, I wouldn’t mind NXT’s Jeremy Borash producing a funny cinematic match between Gargano and Ciampa in a grocery store.

Heavy Machinery loves meat. They were BBQ-ing and complaining about how The Mighty stole the win from them. Tucker Knight was cooking Brats. Otis said “The Mighty! We’re Comin'”. The show cut to William Regal’s twitter which booked a match with Gargano and EC3 so Gargano can move on…

Kelley interviewed Candice LeRae. LeRae talked about how she’s still concerned with Gargano but now it’s time to focus on her career. She talked about how she was coming after the NXT Women’s Championship…

John’s Thoughts: Good promo from Candice. I like that they are simply moving away from LeRae being utilized in the Ciampa feud. She detracted from it a bit. It’s also a waste of such a great and legendary women’s talent.

“Moustache Mountain” made their entrance. Random enhancement wrestlers Dave Dixon and Carl Axelrod were supposed to be their opponents but they were blindsided and beat up by the Undisputed Era trio. The crowd was 75%-25% in favor of Undisputed Era. The trio talked down to the Tag Champs and claimed that they only won the title due to their country support. Adam Cole said “this is our era and you’re just living in it”. The trio tried to outnumber Moustache Mountain but Ricochet ran out to even the odds.

3. Tyler Bate, Trent Seven, and Ricochet vs. “The Undisputed Era” Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Roderick Strong. O’Reilly and bate started off in a lockup. Both men traded joint manipulation counters. Bate gained control with his high flying. Trent Seven tagged in and used O’Reilly as a battering ram against his opponents. Ricochet tagged in and hit a slingshot swanton on O’Reilly. O’Reilly managed to snap the arm of Seven and drag him to their corner. Seven faked a punch and grounded Cole with a snap DDT. Bate propped up Seven for a fun fall on Strong and Cole. Ricochet wanted a piece so Bate did the same move with Bate.

Tyler bate went Fist of the North Star on the Era with some fun punch combos. Roderick slowed down the action with a half nelson slam on Bate. The Era traded quick tags and cut the ring in half over Bate. O’Reilly mocked Bate’s mustache pose while putting the boots to him. Tags and isolation ensued for the heels. Bate tried to escape a resthold with a headbutt but cole managed to regain control and drag him to be worked on by Kyle O’Reilly. O’Reilly used the hammerlock to maintain control while he was yanking at Bate’s mustache. Strong tagged in and the isolation continued. Bate gained a window of opportunity with an Exploder Suplex on Strong. Ricochet received the hot tag and cleaned house. Ricochet hit Cole with a cutter which forced him to DDT strong.

Ricochet hit O’Reilly with a Tiger Feint Kick and slingshot uppercut “Like a Puma” as Mauro put it. Ricochet went for hit signature deadlift Northern Lights but O’Reilly countered with a body scissors Guillotine. Ricochet made his way to Trent Seven who tagged in and hit O’Reilly with a chop and Michinoku Side Slap. O’Reilly grabbed on Seven’s leg to prevent a tag to Bate. O’Reilly blocked a Rainmaker attempt. Adam Cole hit the Last Shot suplex on Seven and O’Reilly followed up with a PK on Seven. Ricochet and Bate broke up the subsequent pin. Trent Seven surprised Adam Cole with a Clothesline from Hell.

Madness ensued with a bunch of kicks from everyone. This left the ring with everyone lying. A huge and deserved “NXT” chant ensued. The trios made their way to their feet trading punches. Ricochet and Cole were the legal men. O’Reilly and Strong dominated on the outside. Ricochet grounded Cole with a lariat and had the coolest dodge ever. Ricochet had the cleanest dodge to Total Elimination by doing a bullet time flip to avoid the lariat and sweep. What the F’n F? Ricochet hit Cole with a Paydirt and then the 630. O’Reilly yanked Cole away to break up the pin. Ricochet hit O’Reilly with a Crossbody Tope. Strong caught Ricochet with an apron End of Heartache and tossed him in the ring for Adam Cole to pick up the  win.

The Undisputed Era defeated Moustache Mountain and Ricochet via pinfall in 13:33. 

The Undisputed Era celebrated their win up the ramp as the commentators closed the show recapping the match highlights.

John’s Thoughts: What a match! That was fun by all players involved. Even Trent Seven, who has never won me over as a babyface, was fun. Ricochet showed what makes him such a sensation. O’Reilly showed why he’s the low key MVP of most matches he’s involved in. Tyler Bate is the youthful main eventer. Adam Cole was Adam Cole and he was good too. This was a fun television trios match that would tempt companies to make trios titles (I’d just say try to parlay that to building up the tag division). Ricochet had several fun sequences like that kick sequence and awesome dodge to the Total Elimination. Unlike Burch and Lorcan, the babyface trio had an easier time overcoming the “Cool Heel” reception of Undisputed Era. This was a match worth going back and watching.

This was a nice treat of a show. The only low point was the forgettable Kona Reeves match because “The Finest” Kona is forgettable. I liked the middle of the show focusing on refocusing the LeRae character into the NXT Women’s division. Ciampa was good in the opening segment. Viewers were left happy with a fun trios tag team match. I’ll be by tomorrow with my NXT Hit List and Members Exclusive Audio Review.


Readers Comments (1)

  1. I assume this is going to lead to Ciampa challenging Black for the title, and Ciampa’s chances being ruined by Gargano. It might seem a bit sad to have the brand’s main championship to be a prop in setting up the final match of the Gargano/Ciampa series, but to be honest, they need to buy some time as they are running out of credible challengers to Black.

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