Moore’s NXT TV Live Review: EC3 vs. Johnny Gargano, Velveteen Dream vs. Chris Dijak, NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler appears, Heavy Machinery vs. The Mighty

By John Moore, Staffer (@liljohnm)

Aired July 4, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped June 21 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

Happy 4th of July everyobody! Welcome to Prowrestling Dot Net Live NXT coverage on the 4th of July holiday. After the NXT theme, Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson checked in on commentary…

1. Dakota Kai vs. Santana Garrett. The commentators were constantly pointing out that Lacey Evans has been talking about Dakota Kai. Mauro noted that Kai beat Evans a few months ago. Santana used the ropes to help her flip into a wristlock. Both women had an even chain wrestling exchange. Kai won the subsequent agility sequence with a dropkick. Garrett responded with an armdrag. Garrett locked in a standing Rings of Saturn on Kai and turned it into a Russian Legsweep. Garrett then flipped into a Muta Lock.

Kai blocked an Eat Defeat and hit Garrett with a series of roundhouse kicks. Kai hit Garrett with two consecutive face wash kicks. Kai used a Ling Xiaoyu kick into her Sunset Backbreaker for the win.

Dakota Kai defeated Santana Garrett via pinfall in 3:36.

Mauro noted that Dakota Kai got her first win after taking two big losses. They cut to EC3 outside of full sail high fiving people. Johnny Gargano was also outside and more somber…

John’s Thoughts: A good momentum win for Kai and Garrett looked great as usual. I forget, has anyone signed her yet? Garrett has been having great matches in every wrestling promotion for years as an enhancement wrestler but never signed to an actual contract. It looks like they’re heading to the feud I predicted a few weeks ago and I hope they give Lacey Evans the win there to push her forward after doing a good job redefining herself.

Heavy Machinery were shown doing workouts in the Performance Center. Otis Dozovic got distracted with the selfie cam talking about how much he likes his steaks juicy, thick, and rare, but not overcooked (to use his wording). He heard come commotion in the background and went to check on “Tucky”. Tucker Knight had weights and chains dropped on him as The Mighty were shown running away from the crime scene.

Shayna Baszler made her entrance and then bragged about handling Nikki Cross and her craziness. Baszler called herself the most dominant force in NXT. The crowd responded with “Asuka” chants. Baszler mockingly brought up Bianca Belair, Kairi Sane, and Candice LeRae. Baszler took another jab at LeRae by saying she should take care of her husband. Baszler called herself the reason for a 2nd Mae Young Classic due to there not being good competition for her in the Performance Center. Baszler talked about how she was going to put everyone to sleep and everyone will continue to hear “… and still NXT Champion”…

Cathy Kelley interviewed Danny Burch about Oney Lorcan’s injury which will put him out of action for an extended amount of time. Burch’s interview was cut off by Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong, and Bobby Fish. Kyle O’Reilly said he likes a good clause and they were going to invoke their rematch clause next week. They called Burch a loser. Burch brought up beating Kyle O’Reilly and how the Era lost the tag titles in the UK. Cole accused Burch of having a sudden big head. Burch challenged Adam Cole to a match next week. Cole laughed it off and agreed to the match like it was nothing next week… [C]

John’s ThoughtsA good promo segment from Baszler who continues to show great poise on the mic. The main roster should be taking notes on how NXT uses simple segments like this to more effectively hype their title feuds and storylines.

After a War Raiders vignette, they aired a recap of the Black and Ciampa promo exchange last week. Mauro Ranallo advertised Aleister Black vs. Tommaso Ciampa for three weeks from now…

John’s Thoughts: I have no idea from the spoilers since I already forgot them, but based off what happened during the Black vs. Gargano match for the title a few months ago, I totally expect Gargano to interfere in this upcoming match.

Mike Rome noted that Otis Dozovic agreed to single match to replace their tag match due to Tucker Knight getting injured backstage.

2. “The Mighty” Nick Miller and Shane Thorne vs. Otis Dozovic in a handicap match. Otis easily manhandled both Mighty members early on and clotheslined them to the outside. Miller and Thorne landed some precision strikes in the ring but Dozovic no-sold the strikes. Dozovic did yell, “no one messes with my brother!”. Thorne gained the advantage by dragging Dozovic ringside to cause him to slam to the ground. Miller worked on Dozovic with the ground and pound. The Mighty hit Dozovic with a double suplex. A “Mighty Jobbers” chant started during a Thorne chinlock. The Mighty traded quick tags to double team Dozovic. Dozovic blocked a double suplex from the Mighty and gave them a double suplex by himself.

Dozovic started a good one-man hot tag sequence by running through both members of The Mighty. Otis Dozovic hit both Mighty dudes with a corner splash. Dozovic caught a flying Thorne and gave him a basic slam. Dozovic hit Miller and Thorne with The Caterpillar (the heavy version of the Worm). Miller pulled Thorne away form Dozovic’s Vader Bomb. The Mighty hit their double team shove northern lariat for the victory.

The Mighty defeated Otis Dozovic via pinfall in 5:51.

Mauro noted that the Mighty shouldn’t be celebrating so hard due to winning a handicap match.

John’s Thoughts: A surprisingly better handicap match than I expected. Dozovic usually needs to be carried though his matches by Tucker Knight’s selling but he really did a great job here selling and dealing damage by himself. It wasn’t the greatest showing ever but Dozovic showed some evolution in the ring to support his immense charisma. I like the Mighty picking up the win as they continue to write the story of their new characters. I also like the simple and effective Northern lariat finisher.

Mauro noted that Bianca Belair was on her honeymoon. They showed Bianca cutting a promo while on a honeymoon boat. She talked about people stating their claims for the NXT Women’s title. Belair made the similar critizisms that Baszler made. My favorite was her talking about Dakota Kai leads a team that doesn’t exist. She said she’s undefeated because she hasn’t been pinned by any of these “uh.. girls” (she stopped short of saying bitches)….

Mauro hyped the upcoming matches on the show… [C]

Kairi Sane had a mini press conference. Kairi said she heard what Vanessa Bourne said but Bourne should focus more on fighting. Sane said she’s going to make Bourne walk the plank and soon get “The Treasure” the NXT Women’s Championship. “Twitter William Regal” Booked Adam Cole vs. Danny Burch for next week as well (Regal is still off TV due to a medical issue that the commentators mentioned a few months ago)…

3. Velveteen Dream vs. Chris Dijak. Dijak cornered Dream and tried to say “feast your eyes”, but Dream stopped him and did his velveteen Dream pose. Dijak yelled “Time to Fly!” and hit Dream with a toss suplex. Dijak yelled in the face of Dream and smothered Dream in the corner. Dijak staggered Dream on the top rope with a superkick. Dijak gave Dream a backbreaker knee and a side toss. The crowd chanted “feast your eyes”. Dream shoved Dijak off the top rope and then pounded on Dijak on the ground showing off his mean streak.

Velveteen Dream hit a neckbreaker on Dijak. Dream did his pose and hit a running leg drop on Dijak. Dijak and Dream traded fatigued shots. Dijak gained the upper hand wiht a stiff standing lariat. Dijak ran at Dream with a running boot and got a nearfall. Velveteen Dream tripped Dijak off the apron and Dijak sold it like a champion by slamming his head into the top of the ring steps. Velveteen Dream hit a Twisting DDT on Dijak to pick up the clean win.

Velveteen Dream defeated Chris Dijak via pinfall in 5:00. 

The commentators talked over Dijak’s many highlights in this match. Velveteen Dream did some of his sensual poses in the center of the ring. While Dream was in the center of the ring, EC3’s entrance theme interrupted him as EC3 made his entrance. The commentators noted that there was a bit of animosity between these two due to Dream leaving EC3 high and dry in their UK tag team match… [C]

John’s Thoughts: A strong match between Dijak and Dream and a good introduction to some of the best that Dijak can do to the NXT audience. Dijak’s best part in the match was his constant yelling and stiff offense. He was a bit cartoony though but it might work for him (his match style there reminded me a bit of Impact Wrestling’s Kevin Kross).  The post match stuff was well done and I like them integrating the UK storyline into the current storylines.

Moustashe Mountain was interviewed in the Performance Center about Undisputed Era invoking their rematch clause next week. Bate noted that they called them flukes and jokes. Bate said it’s going to be a joke when he splits their jaws. Seven said what’s not a fluke is the UK fans seeing he and Bate take the titles from The Era. Nigel McGuinness hyped next week’s rematch…

4. EC3 vs. Johnny Gargano. The commentators noted the difference in demeanor by both Gargano and EC3. EC3 put Gargano in a headlock and told him to settle down. EC3 ran through Gargano. Gargano turned the table with a Thesz Press and then worked on EC3 a bit. EC3 responded with a STO on Gargano. Both men had dueling chants as EC3 had the advantage. EC3 hit Gargano with a corner lariat and then hit a blockbuster on him. EC3 locked in a nerve pinch on Gargano. Nigel noted how Gargano disrespected EC3 a few months ago by stealing the spotlight from EC3 during his match against Raul Mendoza a few months ago.

EC3 hit his signature Stinger Splash on Gargano in the corner and then went back to the nerve pinch. Mauro noted that EC3 says his name stands for “The formula for Success” (well, I thought that Carter was the formula for failure based off of Dixie Carter’s usage of the name. I’m kidding). EC3 hit Gargano with a running leaping elbow drop. Gargano caught EC3 with a step up enziguri and then hit his slingshot spear on EC3. Gargano hit Ethan with a running suicide drop. EC3 surprised Gargano with a perpendicular Lariat. Mauro noted that EC3 is trying to remain perfect as far as record is concerned.

Gargano caught EC3 with a surprise enziguri. EC3 caught a flying Gargano and went for a celtic cross. Gargano reversed into the GargaNo Escape but couldn’t get a hold of it. EC3 rolled into a deadlift sitout power bomb for a nearfall on Gargano. The commentators noted that Gargano’s demeanor changed to aggressive. Gargano hit a series of superkicks and then went for Ciampa’s knee finisher on EC3. EC3 reversed the knee but Gargano locked in the GargaNo escape on EC3. EC3 made the rope break but Gargano held on for the maximum of the five seconds. Gargano hit EC3 with a face wash knee. Gargano roared and hit EC3 with a draping DDT for the win. Mauro noted that Gargano used the same move that beat him at Takeover.

Johnny Gargano defeated EC3 via pinfall in 10:04. 

Mauro and the commentators noted the transformation of Gargano that we were seeing…

John’s Thoughts: Now this Gargano and Ciampa feud is really reminding me of Eddie Edwards and Sami Callihan. The benefit to Gargano is Gargano is a much better actor compared to Edwards. If you go back to my Impact reviews, all of my critizisms of Eddie Edwards and his facial expressions are solved in Gargano’s portrayal of the same transforming character. I’m liking this and looking forward to see how this ends up. This was a strong television match. NXT needs more of these that are meant to tell more of a story than steal the show. It was strange seeing EC3 as a sacrificial lamb to Gargano, but I’m okay with them not making the winning streak a part of his NXT character. EC3 reminds me a bit of Austin Aries in that he is so talented that he can play a babyface well by default but you haven’t seen the best of him until he turns heel. Maybe they’re saving the strong heel run for the main roster and I won’t fault them for that. It would be the opposite of Bobby Roode which would be great as opposed to lame.

This was another strong and jam packed episode of NXT. This episode handled the jam packed-ness better than most episodes with good spacing and storytelling. NXT continues its streak of making sure every segment serve a purpose. The difference with this episode and some others is every segment clicked to some extent. I liked the last two weeks of establishing the women’s division in the middle of the show. Packing the women’s development didn’t detract from their bigger storylines. They even found a way to showcase Donovan Dijak in a meaningful position. I’ll be by tomorrow with an NXT Hit List and members exclusive audio review…



Readers Comments (2)

  1. I know what you mean about EC3, but for me it is still baffling that they had him lose to Gargano here. This is all about Gargano’s storyline, so they could have picked almost any other wrestler to play his punching bag here.

    • Hopefully they try to tell a story from this loss on EC3’s end. It does work to have Gargano be an emotional steamroller at this point though so I’m willing to see where this goes.

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