Moore’s NXT TV Live Review: New NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa addresses the fans, Shayna Baszler vs. Candice LeRae, The Mighty vs. Heavy Machinery, EC3 vs. Kona Reeves, Trent Seven and Tyler Bate vs. State Line


By John Moore, Staffer (@liljohnm)

Aired August 1, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped July 18 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

Before the WWE signature, NXT started off with an “In memory of…” for Nikolai Volkoff and Brian Christopher…

This week’s NXT cold open was a highlight package of last week’s NXT Championshp match and subsequent title change. The NXT theme aired which featured Tommaso Ciampa as the NXT Champion…

Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson were on commentary. Mauro recapped Tucker Knight returning after The Mighty buried Tucker Knight under weights…

1. “Heavy Machinery” Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic vs. “The Mighty” Shane Thorne and Nick Miller. Heavy Machinery beat up on The Mightty before the bell. Otis came after Shane Thorne with some cool looking clubbing blows. Otis then hit Miller with a helicopter body slam which staggered Otis as well due to the dizzyness. The dizzyness allowed The Mighty to cut the ring in half and beat up on Dozovic with quick tags. The Mighty managed to plant Dozovic with a double back suplex. Dozovic got his window of opportunity by hitting Miller with a back suplex. Tucker Knight cleaned house with the hot tag. Dozovic hit both opponents with a double lariat. Knight hit Miller with a double underhook belly-to-belly.

Knight hit both opponents with a cannonball to the outside. Miller regained control with a chop block on Knight. The Street Profits made their return by handing out merch in the crowd as their entrance theme played. This allowed Dozovic to tag in and beat up on the distracted Mighty. Heavy Machinery planted Nick Miller with The Compactor (double Worlds Strongest Slam) for the win.

Heavy Machinery defeated The Mighty in 5:14. 

Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford celebrated in the crowd after the match while Heavy Machinery went to the back… [c]

John’s Thoughts: That was Heavy Machinery’s best in-ring performance to date and that’s due to Otis Dozovic being more experienced in the ring and able to hold his own. The Mighty still continue to be stuck at a low undercard level though. They are better as heels but they kinda just come off as locker room trolls. They need some credible wins and a decent push to move to the next level.

2. “Moustache Mountain” Tyler Bate and Trent Seven vs. Matt Knots and Brandon Taylor. Tyler Bate started off the match against someone who Mauro called Matt Knox. Bate hit Knots with his bop and bang punch. Seven tagged in and worked on Knots. Brandon Taylor (is that California Indie Wrestler “The Hobo”?) tagged in after Knots chop blocked the injured leg of Seven. Seven managed to come back and tag Bate who destroyed Taylor. Seven tagged back in so they could hit the Knee Drop Burning Hammer on Taylor for the win.

Moustache Mountain defeated Matt Knots and Brandon Taylor in 2:30. 

Trent Seven said “we’re back at Full Sail!”. Seven said the last time they were here it didn’t go down how they expected. Seven apologized to everyone for what happened. Tyler Bate apologized too and said Trent’s health and well being means everything to him. Bate said they are on a mission to get back the titles and are invoking their rematch clause at NXT Takeover Brooklyn… [c]

John’s Thoughts: The title change stuff was rushed but Moustache Mountain and Undisputed Era quickly made up for that by telling a long epic in the match they were talking about where the towel was thrown. This takeover rematch has a chance to steal the show and be match of the night. Because of the reliability of these NXT wrestlers, this takeover is already going to be good.

EC3 made his entrance and Mauro talked about EC3’s budding feud with Velveteen Dream. Konan Reeves now has fur (?) collars on his “finest” suit…

3. EC3 vs. Kona Reeves. Kona Reeves yelled at EC3 that Reeves is the finest. I think he bleached his hair more. EC3 wrangled in Reeves with a headlock. EC3 took down Reeves with a shoulder tackle. EC3 hit a series of body slams on Reeves. EC3 told people to say his name and he hit a flying elbow on Reeves. Reeves gained control by jabbing the throat of EC3 and hit him with a running boot. Reeves went into his mean streak in the corner. Reeves locked EC3 in the cobra clutch. EC3 tried to escape but Reeves used the elbow to maintain the short arm. Nigel noted that this move is called the “Kona Clutch”.

EC3 escaped and gave Reeves a few punches. EC3 hit Reeves with a corner splash and a running blockbuster. Velveteen Dream’s entrance interrupted as Dream came out wearing a du rag cap and nice white shirt. Dream said there is someone in the building who still can’t get over Royal Albert Hall. Dream said if EC3 wants to talk about it he has to come in the “Dream’s world” and if EC3 is lucky he can bask in the Dream’s Experience. Kona Reeves took advantage over the distracted EC3 by hitting his Hawaiian Drop finisher on EC3. EC3 surprised Kona Reeves with the TK3 for the victory.

EC3 defeated Kona Reeves via pinfall in 5:50.

Mauro Ranallo hyped up Candice LeRae vs. Shayna Baszler… [c]

EC3 was interviewed about “basking in the experience”. EC3 tossed away his water and said he was going to play the Velveteen Dream’s game, drink his kool aid, and join him in the experience, summit, discouse, or discussion. He said this will become a fight. EC3 cut his “best here…” catchphrase…

John’s Thoughts: Did EC3 lose weight? He looks both ripped and cut and he moved the best in the ring that we’ve seen him in a long time. This is great! That was a really fun match which did a good job forwarding the Dream and EC3 feud. Kona Reeves is a bust at this point but I’ll give the guy credit for going out there with confidence. Maybe there is some hope with him with some sort of character shift. I think it has to be just like the way Cody Rhodes turned the “Dashing” character into the Phantom of the Opera gimmick.

4. Shayna Baszler vs. Candice LeRae in a non-title match. Baszler mocked LeRae by holding open the ropes and telling LeRae to leave. LeRae gave Baszler a dropkick and had a rally of offense on her. LeRae went for Old School but Baszler tripped LeRae on the tightrope walk. Baszler slammed LeRae into the ring steps. The commentators noted that Candice arm looks injured and Baszler went to target it with a chickenwing. Baszler tossed LeRae into the turnbuckle and then went to the ground and pound. Baszler stomped on the shoulder of LeRae like she did to Dakota Kai and Ember Moon.

Mauro noted how Josh Barnett trained Baszler. Baszler continued to torture LeRae with the hammerlock chickenwing. LeRae gained a little respite by tossing Baszler into the turnbuckle. LeRae hit Baszler with an enzuigiri and then hit rapid fire right hand strikes on Baszler. LeRae hit a tornado flatliner that didn’t hit cleanly. Baszler kicked out at one and rolled to ringside. LeRae hit Baszler with a suicide dive. LeRae then hit Baszler with a tornado DDT for another kickout. Baszler finally met LeRae on the top rope and went for a gutwrench superplex . Baszler hit LeRae with a Super Kirafuda Clutch from the top rope to the mat. LeRae managed to be aware of the ring ropes.

LeRae and Baszler had a great counter exchange which had LeRae hit the Unprettier on Baszler. Baszler dodged the lionsault and hit the PK on LeRae. Baszler locked in the Kirafuda clutch for the tapout win…

Shayna Baszler defeated Candice LeRae via submission in 7:57. 

Shayna Baszler locked LeRae in the Kirafuda Clutch after the match. The referee brigade ran out to ry to break things up. A leather jacket wearing Kairi Sane ran out for the save. Baszler backed down and smirked at Sane. Sane went to check on LeRae and Baszler took advantage of this by giving Sane a boot to the back . Sane was livid and Baszler smirked due to the referee’s successfully holding back Sane. Baszler backtracked to the stage and held up her title..

John’s Thoughts: That caught me off guard. I did not expect to get such a quality match on TV with little advertisement. That was one of the better women’s matches TV and Takeover that we’ve gotten since Ember Moon left. LeRae played her underdog babyface role to perfection and it was good to see Baszler go back to being the badass bully.

Moustache Mountain were backstage and talking about how they don’t rely on tricks unlike the Undisputed Era. Hanson and Rowe ran into Bate and Seven and War Raiders said it doesn’t matter who wins at takeover, they will take the titles and destroy anyone in their way… [c]

John’s Thoughts: Wrestling 101 says Undisputed Era wins at takeover then to set up the heel-face matchup but NXT did fool us before with this type of telegraphing.

The show cut to William Regal in his office announcing EC3 vs. Velveteen Dream even though EC3 didn’t accept yet. Regal also announced Adam Cole vs. Ricochet for the North American Championship at Takeover. Percy Watson announced Keith Lee’s NXT Debut next week…

New NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa came out to his [not] theme music of crowd boos. Ciampa was showered by “Asshole” chants. There was this one yelling angry woman who jawed with Ciampa. Ciampa gloated in more fans faces. Ciampa held the title to him like a phone. Ciampa talked to the belt and acted like it told him that Ciampa deserved to win. Ciampa kissed the belt and then said it’s his NXT now. Ciampa talked about how he said he needed one opportunity and he proved that he was a man of his word. The crowd gave Ciampa a “shut the hell up” chant to drown out his promo. Ciampa said he looks so good with the title and he deserves it. Ciampa said no one deserves the title like he ever did.

Ciampa said this is what it looks like when the most dangerous person in NXT takes his place at the head of the table. Half the crowd chanted “no” and half the crowd chanted “yes” like Daniel Bryan would. Ciampa went to that old lady he antagonized a few months ago. Ciampa held the title in her face and gloaded that he was their NXT Champion. Random side note: Kona Reeves’s chains were still on the turnbuckle. A “you’re an asshole” chant ensued. Ciampa said the title was so heavy! Ciampa said the icing on the cake is that Johnny Gargano proved that he was a failure again. Ciampa said Gargano looses and Ciampa won again. Ciampa continued to brag about ending the Gargano fairy tale and how he also was the first person to pin Aleister Black in a one-on-one match.

Ciampa said Black and Gargano can fight over 2a and 2b but never in the history of this business has there been such a huge gap between 1 and 2. Ciampa yelled that he’s the main event and untouchable. Ciampa said this isn’t just proof that he’s “your” NXT Champion but it also proves that NXT is “The A Show” because Tommaso Ciampa is the number one sports entertainer of all time!

Aleister Black made his entrance. Johnny Gargano ran past Black and then attacked Ciampa in the ring. Gargano clotheslined Ciampa outside and Ciampa escaped in the crowd. Gargano said this is not Ciampa’s NXT. Gargano said the only reason Ciampa is champion is because of Gargano. Gargano marched around the ring and was then Black Massed by Black. The crowd gave Gargano a “you deserve it” chant to Gargano in regards to getting kicked. Black said Gargano is right and the only reason Ciampa is champion is because of Gargano. The crowd chanted “one more time”. Black’s theme played and Black left the ring as the copyright signature flashed on the screen and the show closed…

John’s Thoughts: A strong world champion promo by Tommaso Ciampa and an overall fun closing segment. Full Sail does come off as a bit try-hard at times, but the group that continues to boo Ciampa make for a great atmosphere. Ciampa was an expert at playing the crowd like a puppet. I could only imagine that this would come off great if they were in front of an arena crowd. Gargano is in an interesting and intriguing position. This “crazed” character can backfire (see: last week’s Impact Wrestling where Gargano’s mirror, Eddie Edwards, got a confused reaction from the crowd), but Gargano is doing a good enough job acting on his end. Black comes off as a third wheel but they logically put him in the middle of this blood feud and he’s gained a bit of his mystique back after losing the title.

This was a thoroughly entertaining episode of NXT top to bottom with fun segments throughout. Not only did NXT utilize its time well by making every segment mean something, but every match had a fun surprise to it. Go out of your way to see the Baszler vs. LeRae match for a fun little match. Next week’s NXT should be fun too with Keith Lee’s debut and Ricochet doing something. I’ll be by tomorrow with a Hit List and Audio Review for the show.


Readers Comments (4)

  1. “Full Sail does come off as a bit try-hard at times, but the group that continues to boo Ciampa make for a great atmosphere.”

    Indeed. Tommaso Ciampa is the best heel in wrestling right now, and given how trustworthy NXT’s creative is, the only thing that could ruin a brilliant heel champion run now is too many attention-seeking smarks starting to cheer him. Hopefully those fans who boo Ciampa can continue to assert themselves.

    • Or instead of being attention seeking smarks, they could actually just like Ciampa? Some people like heels. It happens. Not everyone likes the vanilla babyface. Wrestling embracing that to a degree moves them closer to a “real” sports feel.

      • I like Ciampa, I think he is brilliant. I like a lot of other heels too. The best way to show appreciation for a heel is to boo him as loudly as you can, because he is portraying a villain in a fictional story, and he is doing it magnificently. Smarks at Full Sail and other places won’t do that though, because the need to show what real wrestling aficionados they are is way more important to them – they are the equivalent of the guy who goes to the rock concert amd stands there with his arms folded during the hits, because he pretends he prefers the early bootlegs. The “real sport” thing is just an excuse – if you want to talk about wrestling as if it were real, then you are cheering a despicable man who spat on another man’s wedding ring and threw it away. It isn’t real – it is a piece of performance that those who are not playing along are taking away from.

        • We see this very, very differently.

          Ciampa’s fantastic. On that we can both agree.

          When someone buys that ticket though, they’re purchasing the right to cheer or boo whomever they want. I don’t like Ronda Rousey, but it doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the product if people cheer her. I think it creates a better atmosphere when you have a split crowd. It adds an energy.

          Yes, it’s a piece of performance- that’s a fact. As for cheering the heels taking away from it, that’s only your opinion. You’re entitled to that. I personally root for a lot of heels within the confines of my own living room, where I’m not going to get “over” as a fan. I just happen to like them. I root for them at live events too, because it’s a carryover thing.

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