By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Aired August 29, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped August 23 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
NXT started off with Cathy Kelley interviewing William Regal. Cathy pointed out that there were legal people in Regal’s office. Regal said he’s starting the investigation on who attacked Aleister Black tonight…
John’s Thoughts: Wait? Didn’t he start that three weeks ago? He even cleared Undisputed Era and implicated Nikki Cross as the attacker via “Digitally enhanced” camera footage.
Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson checked in on commentary. Nigel joked that Percy Watson might have attacked Aleister Black. Johnny Gargano then hobbled to the ring with a crutch and no entrance music. The crowed was 75%-25% “Johnny Wrestling” – “Psycho Killer” chants. Johnny talked about how the fans has always had his back, this turned it to more 85%-15%. Gargano said he doesn’t deserve the Johnny Wrestling chants because he broke a promise to the fans. Gargano said winning the NXT Championship would have solved his problems but he failed. Johnny got emotional and said he doesn’t know where to go from here.
Gargano said he didn’t lose a match at Brooklyn, he said he lost himself. Gargano said he became something he’s not proud of at Brooklyn, Tommaso Ciampa. Gargano started to cry and said that Ciampa was stuck in his head. Gargano started to smack his own head with inner turmoil talking about how he needs to make things right for the fans and for Candice. William Regal’s theme played and he interrupted Gargano’s diatribe. Regal said that before Aleister Black returns and burns the place down Regal has to ask Gargano if Gargano attacked Alieister Black. Gargano gave a non-answer and said “you tell me”. Regal repeated his question. Gargano continued to be vague and say “look in by eyes”.
Velveteen Dream made his entrance wearing slacks, cloth suspenders, and shirtless. Dream joked about Johnny Gargano’s sob story. Dream said this should “fo sho” not be about a man who’s not in the building (Aleister Black). Dream said the night should be about the trending topic, the Velveteen Dream. The crowd was 100% chanting “Velveteen”. Dream then called Johnny “Johnny Failure”. Johnny said he only has the crutch to relieve some of the pressure and he’s good to go. Gargano chucked the crutch at Dream and showed that he was okay. William Regal calmed things down and sent Dream to the back…
John’s Thoughts: A bit sobby, but Gargano is a great babyface and finding a way to maintain some of that in his psychotic character. Impact Wrestling could use Gargano playing this character now because Eddie Edwards is playing the same role and becoming a bad cartoon. Overall this was a solid segment which set up a match between Dream and Gargano while also showing Gargano’s character development and that his leg is fine…
The Undisputed Era were shown backstage getting ready for their main event match. Kyle O’Reilly was getting his belt air guitar ready…
Dakota Kai made her entrance. Alliyah made her entrance next with yet another gear change and acting more overtly heel.
John’s Thoughts: I thought Alliyah had something when she went with the black leather look. She is really struggling now because she can’t stick with a look and gimmick week to week.
1. Dakota Kai vs. Aliyah. Dakota countered Aliyah’s early advantage with a headscissors. Aliyahused a few hip strikes to attack the back of Kai. Aliyah then dominated Kai from the rear mount position. Aliyah even did a mocking belly dance on top of Kai. Aliyah dominated Kai for a prolonged sequence. Kai escaped the corner with a snapmare. Kai then hit Aliyah with a scorpion kick. Kai hit two face wash kicks on Aliyah for a nearfall. Aliyah countered wiht a facebuster. Aliyah mocked Kai a bit which allowed Kai to hit Aliyah with her Code Red Backstabber for the win.
Dakota Kai defeated Aliyah via pinfall in 5:12.
Velveteen Dream was shown being interviewed by William Regal and Regal’s “lawyer”. Regal’s desk comically had his signature “Power of the Punch” brass knuckles on a display. Regal dismissed Dream and invited The Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler, Wesley Blake, and Former Impact Wrestler Gunner). The sons came up with an alibi that said there was no way they were even close to the scene based off the post-attack footage. Regal took the alibi under consideration and then booked the Forgotten Sons in a match next week…
Before the commercial EC3 was shown laid out backstage with Lars Sullivan walking away in the background like he was during the Black attack… [c]
John’s Thoughts: A little more offense than expected for Aliyah, but it works in this case since Kai works from behind most of the time. Moving along, I’m liking the continued mystery and hope all of this time dedicated leads to a great payoff. Maybe a new wrestler?
Regal and the lawyer tried to interview Nikki Cross but Cross was having too much fun in the office chair twirling around. Regal noted that Cross probably knows the attacker since she was on the roof during the attack. Nikki Cross said she knows, it was beautiful and she knows who did it. Cross then continued to act crazy playing with Regal’s office phone and bragging about knowing a secret. Bianca Belair walked into the office and complained about having to be a part of this investigation. Nikki Cross acted like a little cat on the side. Belair wanted a match and so did Cross (in her own funny way). Regal told Cross that he had more quesitons.
John’s Thoughts: Nikki Cross is a blessing to pro wrestling.
Raul Mendoza was supposed to face EC3 again but instead got the entrance of another old foe, Lars Sullivan. Lars Sullivan said unlike the Alesiter Black situation, he admits he attacked EC3. Lars said when his name comes out of someone’s mouth, he would rip them limb from limb. Lars then said that Mendoza was standing in Lars Sullivan territory.
Mendoza tried to land a flying punch but Sullivan caught him with a headbutt. Lars then demolished Raul Mendoza who had no chance. Lars Sullivan hit Mendoza with a side power slam and then the Freak Accident. Mauro noted that Lars Sullivan still is a major suspect due to Black being the person who shattered the jaw of Sullivan… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Lars did have a point there, he wouldn’t be a person that hides in mystery and he was justified in attacking EC3 due to EC3 putting the blame on Lars last week.
Keith Lee’s opponent actually got entrance music and was billed as a former rugby player form England. This guy looks like the result of Jack Swagger and Brock Lesnar doing the Fusion Dance…
2. Keith Lee vs. Luke Menzies. Menzies got a few uppercuts on Lee. Lee surprised Menzies with a huracanrana. Lee tried to call for a pause with his palm but Menzies didn’t bite on the stoppage. Lee destroyed Menzies with a series of punches. Menzies landed a few more strikes which Nigel noted isn’t a great approach to the superior all around athlete in Lee. Lee launched Menzies with a Monty Brown pounce. Lee then hit Menzies with a loud double chest slap. Menizes stumbled to Lee. Lee then pulled a Goku and hit Menzies with the Spirit Bomb power bomb for the win.
Keith Lee defeated Luke Menzies via pinfall in 3:01.
Quck replays aired of the match before the break… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Not a great showing by Menzies who reminds me of his fellow NXT prospect Mahabali Shera in his limitations. That didn’t hurt Lee though. Menizies looked decent enough with his strikes. Lee continues to slowly introduce his moveset to the NXT audience which is exactly how they should be introduce him.
An Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch return vignette aired which said they were returning next week (Lorcan’s coming back from injury). Mauro hyped Kairi Sane appearing next week. Nigel hyped Gargano vs. Dream for next week…
O’Reilly didn’t forget to do his air guitar on the way to the ring during the Undisputed Era entrance. Adam Cole ordered Kyle O’Reilly to sit this one out since he wants a piece of Ricochet…
3. “The Undisputed Era” Adam Cole and Roderick Strong (w/Kyle O’Reilly) vs. Ricochet and Pete Dunne in a non-title match. Cole and Strong had the early advantage over Dunne but Dunne fought out with his joint manipulation. Ricochet tagged in and Cole ducked out. Ricochet dodged circles around Roderick Strong. Strong manged to counter Ricochet for a bit of an advantage. Ricochet showed off more agile dodges and hit Strong with a neckbreaker. Cole tagged in and the two men had a strike exchange. Ricochet hit Cole with a stiff lariat. Ricochet escaped a celtic cross from Cole. Strong got the blind tag in which allowed him to surprise Ricochet with a single handed backbreaker.
Strong used a drop toehold to get rear mount punches on Ricochet. Cole tagged in and continued the isolation pummeling of Ricochet. Cole hit a swinging neckbreaker on Ricochet. Strong and Cole hit a gutbuster axe handle combo on Ricochet for a nearfall. Strong and Cole traded quick tags to cut the ring in half on Ricochet. Ricochet escaped a cobra clutch from Strong but Strong quickly followed up with a dropkick. Cole tagged in and went into the chinlock. Ricochet made some slim dodges to tag in Dunne. Dunne hit his rapid punches on Strong. Dunne got a nearfall on Strong. Ricochet hit Adam Cole with a Final Cut. Strong blocked a Kimura and went for a Strong Hold. More reversals ensued. Dunne hit Strong with a German Suplex and Sitout Power Bomb.
Cole broke up the subsequent pin. Tag Team madness ensued wiht Dunne coming out on top. Dunne hit Strong and Cole with a Golden Triangle Moonsault. Ricochet went for a Suicide Dive and accidentally hit only Pete Dunne. Adam Cole hit Pete Dunne with the Last Shot to pick up the clean win.
The Undisputed Era defeated Ricochet and Pete Dunne via pinfall in 9:47.
O’Reilly and Strong brought Ricochet in the ring for more damage. Strong and O’Reilly hit Ricochet with a knee kick combo. Cole hit Ricochet with the Ushigoroshi Last Shot. War Raiders, Hanson and Ray Rowe, ran out to send the Undisputed Era into retreat. O’Reilly and Cole bragged about not being sneak attacked this week. NXT closed with War Raiders standing tall in the ring…
John’s Thoughts: Smart booking here and any clean win for Adam Cole is a good addition to his in-ring credibility which was struggling early in his NXT run but has picked up the past six months. One would think that this match would have been a lot better if Kyle O’Reilly would have wrestled as advertised since O’Reilly is so innovative. Cole wasn’t bad though and this was a nice tag team encounter, especially since Pete Dunne provided the spark plug. The overall finish was smart as it builds animosity between Ricochet and Dunne which should be a stellar match whenever we get to it.
Not the hottest standalone workrate episode of NXT, but a good weekly one dedicated towards the Aleister Black mystery while also starting some new story arcs on this show. Regal’s brass knuckles on a pedastal and Nikki Cross acting like a kitten added more fun to this episode. I’ll be by tomorrow with a Hit List and members exclusive audio review…