Moore’s NXT TV Live Review: EC3 vs. Lars Sullivan, Johnny Gargano vs. Tony Nese, Candice LeRae vs. Lacey Evans, The Forgotten Sons in a six-man tag match

By John Moore, Staffer (@liljohnm)

Aired October 3, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped September 20 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

Before the show, Nikki Cross was shown in a smoky room talking to herself like a crazy person. She kept talking about playing games with people like Bianca Belair. Cross talked about how she and Belair didn’t behave last time. Cross then went into her “I know” rant about knowing who attacked Aleister Black. The NXT theme aired…

Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson were on commentary. Candice LeRae made her entrance with what sounds like new music…

1. Candice LeRae vs. Lacey Evans. Lacey looked like she was dressed as a pepermint candy drop. Evans dominated early on with her power but LeRae turned the tables and womanhandled Evans around the ring. LeRae hit Evans with a slingshot X Factor. LeRae missed a high risk move and ran right into a shoulder block from Evans. Evans stomped on LeRae in the corner and hit her with a bronco buster. Evans used a headscissors submission on LeRae combined with pushups. Evans hit LeRae with a roundhouse into a pin attempt. Evans locked in a headlock while using her frame to block the referee’s view so she can illegally pull LeRae’s hair during the move.

Evans talked about LeRae not being a good wife during the submission. LeRae escaped but was tripped. Evans missed a slingshot elbow drop. LeRae gained a bit of momentum after an enzuigiri. LeRae then hit a rally of rights. LeRae hit Evans with a knee plus. LeRae hit Evans with a tornado paydirt for a nearfall. Evans blocked an unprettier attempt. Evans mocked LeRae for being a loser like her husband which fired LeRae up. Evans came back with a focused right hand, The Women’s Right,  in the middle of LeRae’s rally to pick up the win.

Lacey Evans defeated Candice LeRae via pinfall in 6:18. 

John’s Thoughts: Good match with a great finish. I love smart finishes like that. I’ve talked this up for weeks where NXT has done an amazing job building up a “basic” punch as a devastating finisher. I wouldn’t mind seeing Lacey Evans use her live event gimmick by joining the Forgotten Sons because I feel like both acts can enhance each other. LeRae is at the top as far as in-ring ability is concerned in NXT but she is missing any character other than being “Johnny Gargano’s wife”. She’s missing some of that spark she had when she teamed with Joey Ryan for years.

Mauro, Nigel, and Percy checked in from the commentary where they talked up next week’s North American Championship triple threat. A vignette aired for the match. Adam Cole talked about how the title represents NXT’s future. Pete Dunne said he owns the UK and he wants to be on top of the whole brand. Ricochet said he wants to defend the title around the world against anybody. Ricochet said he’s going to build the legacy of the title. Cole said the NXT NA’s Championship legasy begins with him. Ricochet talked about how the legacy of the title went around Adam Cole. Pete Dunne said he built the legacy of the UK title. Ricochet also talked about legacy. Ricochet talked about how Adam Cole treated the belt like a prop. Cole and Dunne made their cases to win the NA championship to close the vignette…

The Forgotten Sons will be wrestling after the break… [c]

Tommaso Ciampa cut one of his camcorder promos in the back of a semi. Ciampa talked about how people are trying to steal the spotlight from Ciampa. Ciampa said it also might be people trying to accuse him to protect themselves. Ciampa targeted Velveteen Dream. Ciampa then said that both he and Dream know what Aleister Black experienced. Ciampa told Dream to be careful and keep his accusations to himself and stay out of the champ’s spotlight. Ciampa talked about exposing Black’s mystique and if Dream isn’t careful the Dream will become a nightmare…

The enhancement wrestlers actually got entrance music.

2. “The Forgotten Sons” Wesley Blake, Steve Cutler, and Jaxson Ryker vs. Terry Kirsh, Cezar Rise, and Vinny Mixon. Percy Watson said that Blake and Cutler brought in Ryker to be their enforcer. Cutler wore a broken nose mask. Ryker tossed around the enhancement wrestlers early on. Ryker then led his partners through flying moves against one of the enhancement guys. Mauro noted that Blake was trained by Dory Funk Jr. while he had an armbar on his opponent. Blake let the other jobber tag in and no sold his lariats. Blake came back with a devastating lariat. Blake and Cutler hit a stomp-Scorpion Death Drop combo. Ryker hit the enhancement guy with a slingshot power bomb.

The Forgotten Sons defeated Terry Kirsh, Cezar Rise, and Vinny Mixon via pinfall in 2:28.

The commentators cut to last week’s Shayna Baszler and Kairi Sane segment where they set up the title rematch at WWE Evolution.

John’s Thoughts: There’s still a ways to go with them but they looked better this week. The trios format really made them stand out better than the standard tag and singles match. I really feel like if they add Lacey Evans to the act they will move to another positive level.

Percy Watson introduced a Shayna Baszler vignette. Baszler talked about how her mentality is different now. Baszler talked about having training camp experience in MMA and the girls in NXT haven’t experienced it. Baszler was shown kickboxing in a cage and training with Marina Shafir and Jesszmyn Duke. Baszler talked about how women’s wrestling has evolved and Shayna Baszler has evolved…

John’s Thoughts: Baszler may not be the smoothest talker but she did well in the pre-tape setting. NXT is doing a lot better job at hyping WWE Evolution than the main roster, but NXT is a lot better at build in general.

Cathy Kelley interviewed Tony Nese about being in NXT this week. Nese said NXT has some of the best competition in Sports Entertainment. Nese said he proved why he’s the premier athlete on 205 Live. He then said he’ll prove it with eight reasons why (his abs). Gargano was shown heading to the ring heading into break… [c]

Cathy Kelley interviewed Bianca Belair about Nikki Cross “wanting to play” with Belair in the form of a rematch. Belair said she didn’t care about the games. Belair said it’s not about what Cross wants, it’s about what Belair wants. Belair bragged about being “un-de-feat-ed”. Belair said she was going to embarrass Cross and remain “un-de-feat-ed”. Belair kept repeating her new catchphrase…

John’s Thoughts: Again, there are a lot of people cutting good promos in NXT, but there’s still that forced-catchphrase thing that a lot of people seemed to be mandated to do. She can brag about being undefeated, that’s fine, but don’t make it look like a generic catchphrase.

Gargano made his usual entrance. Tony Nese still makes his entrance where you can’t hear him. He’s probably making ab puns since he’s pointing at his abs…

3. Johnny Gargano vs. Tony Nese. The match started off with chain wrestling. Nese came back with a running forearm. Nese then caught a flying Gargano. Gargano escaped, yelled gotcha, and hit Nese with a huracanrana. Nese rallied back with a running axe handle strike. Nese then stomped a mudhole in Gargano. Both men exchanged flip escapeds. On the ground, Gargano hit Nese with a Listo Kick and then followed up on the outside with a suicide dive. Johnny yelled “Johnny Freakin’ Wrestling” on the outside. Nese recovered in the ring and popped up Gargano with a punt into a gutbuster. Nigel McGuinness used this match to hype up Super Show Down since Nese’s tag partner is competing against Cedric Alexander. Tony Nese had a body scissors locked in on Gargano.

Nese made sure to keep a wide base to block Gargano’s escape. Gargano reversed the guard and turned it into ground and pound. Nese came back by tripping the running Gargano. Nese missed a slingshot Triangle Moonsault. Gargano hit Nese with a slingshot DDT. Gargano caught Nese with a slingshot spear for a nearfall. Nese came at Gargao with a stiff forearm. Nese did an impressive Matrix escape. Nese then reversed with a few kicks on Gargano. Nese showed off a deadlift bomb. Nese reversed a GargaNo Escape with a deadlift buckle bomb. Nese did a cartwheel escape but ran right into a forearm.

Nese used his core to block a slingshot DDT and dropped Gargano outside. Nese hit Gargano with a cool Fosbury Flop. Nese hit Gargano with a 450 for a great nearfall that fired up the crowd in NXT chants. Nese hit Gargano with a few fase wash kicks. Gargano dodged the Running Nese attempt. Nese hit Gargano with a German Bucklebomb. Gargano came back with a superkick and lariat. Gargano locked in the GargaNo Escape for the victory.

Johnny Gargano defeated Tony Nese via submission in 9:43.

The commentators talked about how Gargano was getting refocused which got him the victory.  Johnny Gargano borrowed one of his fans’s signs to celebrate in the ring…

John’s Thoughts: Great match. Nese really needed the new setting and I hope he sticks around because he really won over the crowd with his cool hybrid offense. The finish was a foregone conclusion, but they gave Nese a surprising amount of offense here. A match between Tony Nese vs. Fabien Aichner might be the coolest hidden gem that NXT has in the making if they want to go that way. I wouldn’t mind seeing Nese get a babyface run because the guy has been established as an enhancement heel and could use a reset because he’s too talented to be a jobber.

An Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch vignette aired where they recapped their formation and then commented on the NXT Takeover match where Lorcan broke his orbital bone. Burch said this experience will help build them as a team. Burch said they are average blokes and their goal is to become champion. Lorcan joked about the British slang that Burch used and then said that the goal is to become champion… [c]

Lars Sullivan made his awesome eclipse entrance. EC3 teased doing an entrance with a mink coat, but he tossed off the coat to beat on Sullivan in the ring…

4. EC3 vs. Lars Sullivan. EC3 tackled Sullivan into the steps. He couldn’t get Sullivan off his feet though. It took three tackles to take down Sullivan. Sullivan’s back was now like an American Flag (Red, White, and Blue) due to the bruises. There was a cut there too it seemed. EC3 lifted up Sullivan and hit him with a body slam. EC3 hit Sullivan with a diving elbow drop for a nearfall. Sullivan tackled EC3 into the corner and followed up with shoulder tackles. Sullivan then tossed EC3 like a volleyball. EC3 came back with an elbow and Missile Dropkick. EC3 hit Sullivan with a legsweep. EC3 caught Sullivan with a thrust kick. Sullivan came back with a running lariat.

Sullivan tossed EC3 like a free throw. Sullivan went into the rear mount and gave EC3 clubbing blows near the temple. EC3 kicked out of a subsequent pin at one. Sullivan locked in a neck vice on EC3. EC3 escaped a suplex. Sullivan blocked a German Suplex with his weight. EC3 tried again and hit Sullivan with the Suplex. EC3 hit Sullivan with a Stinger Splash and crossbody. EC3 got a two count on Sullivan. EC3 was bleeding from the eye at this point. Sullivan used his weight to block a TK3 attempt. Sullivan hit EC3 with a shortarm clothesline. EC3 blocked a Freak Accident attempt and then clotheslined Sullivan to the outside. EC3 let out a war cry. This allowed Sullivan to come back and hit EC3 with a Freak Accident on the apron. Lars Sullivan hit EC3 with a (safe looking for the head) diving headbutt.

Lars Sullivan defeated EC3 via pinfall in 6:44.

The commentators talked about how EC3 dominated a majority of the match but Sullivan’s power overcame EC3. NXT ended…

John’s Thoughts: That was one of EC3’s better in-ring performances since his WWE return. EC3 rally kept up the pace here and didn’t stick to rest hold and filler moves. Lars Sullivan is a great big-man worker who is one of the better sellers on the NXT roster. This wasn’t an in-ring classic, but it told a good story with EC3 trying to overcome the NXT “Boss battle” but the boss being too powerful. The bloody face added to the drama.

This was a nice and efficient episode of NXT with all four matches telling unique stories. This episode also contained about 3 or 4 very meaty vignettes. I don’t want to constantly take main roster jabs, but the efficiency is off the charts here. I get it, one hour, but we rarely see any “filler” on NXT so NXT must be doing something right. I’ll be by tomorrow with my NXT Hit List and Members Exclusive Audio Review…


Readers Comments (1)

  1. Which begs the question: Why can’t Smackdown be this efficient? The old Smackdown used to have an average of six matches and now we only get half that and endless commercials. They really need to follow NXT’s model.

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