Moore’s NXT TV Live Review: Velveteen Dream vs. Lars Sullivan, Johnny Gargano promises answers, Taynara Conti vs. Dakota Kai, Heavy Machinery vs. Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler


By John Moore, Staffer (@liljohnm)

Aired November 7, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped October 17 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

The NXT intro theme opened up the show…

Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson, the 205 Live commentary team, checked in on commentary. Heavy Machinery made their entrance for the upcoming match. Nigel noted that Dozovic had a great showing against the NXT Champion in his next match.

1. “Heavy Machinery” Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic vs. “The Forgotten Sons” Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake (w/Jaxson Ryker). Cutler and Knight started off the match. Cutler wore a broken nose mask. Knight dominated early on but Cutler managed to initiate quick tags to wear down Knight with rapid fire offense. Knight dodged a double lariat and hit both Sons with a crossbody. HM body slammed Cutler and then Blake onto Cutler with a helicopter body slam. Dozovic did the Caterpillar (high impact Worm) on Cutler. After some distraction, Cutler hit Dozovic with a flatliner. Blake hit a slingshot Vader bomb on Dozovic for a nearfall.

The Sons went back to the quick tags to out pace Dozovic. Cutler hit a legdrop on Dozovic’s arm to continue the Sons’ plan of taking away the left arm of Dozovic. Blake went for a Kimura but couldn’t get a full lock on it. Dozovic escaped by getting to a vertical base. Cutler tagged in first to try to isolate Dozovic but Cutler’s legsweep allowed Knight to clean house with the hot tag. Knight tenderized Cutler with rapid punches in the corner. Knight showed some good ring running ability to lead into hop into a top rope cannonball. The sons countered into a backstabber and elbow drop combo to get a nearfall on Knight.

Knight and Cutler hit a combination superplex and frog splash combo for a nearfall. Cutler and Dozovic were cleared from the ring. Knight went for a few rollups. Knight dodged, weaved, and hit a fighting spirit lariat combo on Cutler. More madness ensued. Knight prevented Cutler from high flying and sent him into Ryker. Dozovic hit a Worlds Strongest Slam on Blake for the win.

Heavy Machinery defeated The Forgotten Sons via pinfall in 8:24. 

Replays aired from the match…

John’s Thoughts: A nice treat with a high action and well wrestled tag team match. Heavy Machinery is starting to come together as a well rounded team with both members now being able to sell and dish out in sequences. This is the best match the Sons have had in their short run in NXT on TV. A great opening match. That said, the Sons losing so early in their run relegates them in the Tag Team Undercard division with teams like HM and The Mighty. Undercard heel tag teams lose all the time too and lack a lot of credibility. To fix this with the Sons, have Ryker be the x factor of the trio.

Replays from Aleister Black’s return were shown…

Off-screen, former Impact interviewer and lead commentator Jeremy Borash interviewed Candice LeRae about last week’s segment she had with Aleister Black. LeRae deflected and said she did not come to work to be exploited. LeRae then went on to talking about looking for answers from Nikki Cross. LeRae said she was challenging Nikki Cross to a match….

A “Johnny Gargano Exclusive” was hyped for after the break…

Lars Sullivan was shown doing squats. Velveteen Dream was also warming up (wearing a robe and sailor’s hat)… [c]

Cathy Kelley interviewed Shayna Baszler backstage on a couch (who was sitting with Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke). Cathy asked about Sane’s rematch clause. Regal cut in and booked Baszler vs. Sane for the Los Angeles Takeover show in a two-out-of-three falls match…

2. Dakota Kai vs. Taynara Conti. Joseph noted that Kai has been wrestling and impressing in the NXT UK Division. Conti wore a Judo Gi before the match. Conti went for a headlock but Kai rolled past it into her own armbar. Conti escaped and yelled “Are You Crazy!!!”. Kai caught Conti’s kick and tried to tell Kai that she was a friend. Kai countered and dropkicked Conti. Watson said Kai was more aggressive since wrestling Baszler. Kai landed a rollup and armbar. Conti kicked Kai out of the air and then put a few boots to Kai. Kai was selling the wrist. Conti landed a Judo hip toss. McGuiness tried to compare Conti’s offense to Ronda Rousey’s (a bit of a stretch).

Speaking of stretch, Conti locked Dakota in a elbow stretch. Conti tried to corner Kai. Kai shook up Conti with a Xiaoyu scorpion kick. Kai followed up with other kick variations. Kai hit Conti with a face wash kick. Kai followed up with a helluva kick. Kai hit her Code Red Backstabber finisher for the win.

Dakota Kai defeated Taynara Conti via pinfall in 4:49. 

John’s Thoughts: Good showcase and return to (US) TV for Kai. She carried Conti throughout the match. Conti has improved a lot but is still very green. Conti’s not ready for TV yet and comes off as Alicia Fox lite with over-reliance on acting “crazy”. She’s a Judoka and should be doing more Judo as opposed to wrestling like a 2000s diva. She also has this “little train engine that could” look about her that might work better as babyface.

Cathy Kelley interviewed Mia Yim about her NXT contract. Yim said she’s living the dream. Bianca Belair interrupted Mia Yim who called Yim a “chick”. Belair also was chewing gum during her promo about being “un-de-feat-ed” (great heat). Belair also told Yim to go back to where she came from. Yim said the “Est” hasn’t met the “head bad[die] in charge”…

Nigel McGuinness hyped next week’s War Game match… [c]

They aired a YouTube confrontation from last week between Keith Lee and Matt Riddle against Kassius Ohno…

John’s Thoughts: NXT is telegraphing the hell out of Ohno losing to both Lee and Riddle. There has to be some nuance to this?

Vic Joseph thanked the sponsors, the E-Sports juggernaut League of Legends. Nigel and Percy cut to a War Games video package…

Highlights aired of the Undisputed Era vs. Dunne, Ricochet, and War Raiders feud aired. The video contained sound bites from the feud…

The show cut to a Johnny Gargano selfie promo. Gargano said people are asking “why Johnny why?”. Gargano said Black talks about a patch. Gargano said he’s on a path too. Gargano said the end of his path is to beat Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Championship and Black got in the way. Gargano said the attack was just collateral damage. Gargano said that Black is running around the place freely. Gargano said Gargano is the good guy and hero of the story. Gargano said he only did one “evil” thing and everyone freaks out. Gargano said he hasn’t changed, he fights for whats right. Gargano said sometimes you have to fight a little dirty. Gargano said Black probably wants to kick Gargano’s face off and Gargano said he probably deserves it. Gargano said he’s not afraid of Black. Gargano said he lives in a dark place and is not afraid of the dark. Gargano said he’s actually starting to like it. Gargano put the camera on the asphalt and said that’s where he left Black lying before. Gargano said he’s going to leave Black lying at Takeover…

John’ s Thoughts: Good and well spoken first heel promo for Gargano. Gargano might be in line for more NXT time if this is the beginning of a huge heel run for him (or it could be like those temporary heel turns that Shawn Michaels used to do). I’m not usually a fan of selfie promos but it worked well here to add to the guerrilla feel that they were trying to sell with Gargano.

Percy Watson advertised Mia Yim vs. Bianca Belair next week. Vic Joseph said William Regal has a Takeover announcement next week…

They cut to William Regal who booked a singles match for the man advantage in War Games…

Velveteen Dream wore his sparkling robe and sailor cap to the ring before the match. Lars Sullivan is all business as usual with his cool eclipse and silhoutte entrance….

John’ s Thoughts: The sick and sadistic wrestling fan in me wants to see Lars Sullivan vs. Kevin Kross for some reason. It’ll be a unique palette swap mirror match.

3. Velveteen Dream vs. Lars Sullivan. Dream went straight for gut punches but Sullivan plowed through and then started tossing around Dream with his sheer power. Dream fought out of a power bomb and fended off Sullivan with a shove. Dream sent Sullivan outside and got Sullivan grounded with a running plancha. Dream wouldn’t relent and then slammed Sullivan’s head into the steel steps.  Sullivan regained his composure and tossed Dream into the hardest part of the ring like Dream was a basketball. Sullivan hit a strong clubbing blow on Dream in the corner. Sullivan went back into manhandling Dream around the ring.

Dream tried to Sunset Flip Sullivan but Sullivan maintained a stiff base. Sullivan turned Dream inside out with a Rainmaker. Sullivan tossed Dream over the top rope with a strong Irish Whip. Sullivan went back to the nerve holds on Dream. McGuinness noted how this move can cause sciatica. Dream escaped with a jawbreaker. Dream fought back with a punch and kick combo. Dream went for a few face wash kicks. Dream hit Sullivan with a pop up dropkick. Dream then took down Sullivan with a missile dropkick. Dream couldn’t lift up the larger Sullivan. Sullivan planted Dream with a pop up power slam. Dream kicked Sullivan on the top rope to prevent Sullivan’s signature headbutt. Sullivan shoved Dream off and missed a diving headbutt (it looked like a safe front bump though).

Dream shoved Sullvian into the second rope and then hit Sullivan with the Dream Valley Driver. Tommaso Ciampa ran to ringside. Dream dove right into Ciampa. The slight distraction allowed Sullivan to plant Dream with a Freak Accident for the victory.

Lars Sullivan defeated Velveteen Dream via pinfall in 8:59. 

Ciampa went into the ring to taunt and pummel the fallen Dream. Ciampa included some ground and pound in there. Dream escaped a Project Ciampa attempt and hit Ciampa with a twisting DDT on the title belt. Dream went for the Purple Rainmaker but the entire NXT referee locker room got in Dream’s way and pulled him to the back. Dream broke away and hit Ciampa with the Purple Rainmaker. Dream held up the title belt to fire up the crowd. Dream stood tall to close the show…

John’s Thoughts: Sullivan’s matches are very similar, but as a person that likes watching brutal fights this was very entertaining to me and I’m sure a lot of other people watching. One reason I bring up the Killer Kross comparison earlier is because both wrestlers wrestle a innovative and violent style. Where most wrestlers make a chinlock look like time-filler, Kross and Sullivan make the chinlock look devastating. Both men had to be protected to I’m fine with the dirty run-in finish.

As for the close, it was also included in the match, but NXT was really performing a litmus test here on evaluating crowd reaction to Velveteen Dream as a full-on people’s champ babyface. So far so good because the guy managed to raise the crowd volume up several levels with his immense charisma. Going into Takeover, I was almost 100% sure that Ciampa would be winning the title, but this match and closing segment sold me on Velveteen Dream winning in Los Angeles next Saturday. Could you imagine how unglued the Staples Center crowd is going to be when Dream picks up the title? That might be a crowd reaction that WWE might be tempted to go after? This was a good show with two really good in-ring performances bookend-ing the show. I’ll be by tomorrow with my Hit List and then an Audio Review for the Dot Net Members…



Readers Comments (3)

  1. I am the only one who finds Bianca Belair’s “…feat…ed” increasingly annoying, and not in a good ‘heel heat’ way? Still, her match with Mia Yim could be really good.

    • nah, you’re not the only one. I find it annoying too (just like a lot of NXT wrestlers having forced catchphrases)…

      I did think Bianca chewing gum during her promo was good heat though

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