Hard hitting action, diverse characters, and copious amounts of filler. That means it must be time for another exciting episode of NXT!!!! What tales of valour and brutality will fill the squared circle tonight? Will the heaviest of machinery be able to give the Authors of Pain writer’s block? Can we handle the everlasting darkness of Aleister Black? Can the show make it 10 minutes without giving us vast amounts of filler? These questions will be answered in the future, and it’s a good thing because the Future. Is. Now.
Cold Open Recap
This week’s episode of NXT begins with a recap of the Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa feud. The video package reminds us of Ciampa’s betrayal and his injury he sustained during/before the match. The promo package goes onto remind us that Gargano is making his return to NXT tonight after 7 weeks away.
Author’s notes: Credit where credit is due. NXT has captured lightning in a bottle with this feud, and the fact that Ciampa’s injury will stall this feud for the foreseeable future only makes us want it that much more, once he returns from injury expect Gargano and Ciampa to put on match of the year performances.
Match 1: Aleister Black vs ???
Our opening contest of the evening features the ever promising Aleister Black taking on a superstar making his NXT debut. Holy Shit it’s the one, the only, Bobby Fish!!!!!!!!! A veteran of the independent circuit who has won championships at every promotion he has wrestled, I cannot express enough my delight at seeing Bobby Fish, known most notably for his tag team championship winning partnership with Kyle O’Reilly as part of reDRagon it is so exciting seeing the veteran make his WWE debut with NXT. I must say this is going to be one hell of a match. The two exchange holds to kick off the match and run the ropes before Black catches Fish by surprise by sitting Indian style in the ring which I will dub “the black gaze” kip up and martial arts kick by Black sends Fish reeling…before he returns the favour by outsmarting the less experienced Black. 7 minutes into the main show and we cut to our first advert, which is an ad for an all access tour of the WWE performance centre, before we move onto a WWE 2K18 ad featuring Kurt Angle. I really don’t understand how NXT is a WWE network exclusive show and still features regular ads. Back to the ring we go and Fish has taken control. He wears down Black’s leg using strikes and a single leg Boston crab, eventually Black makes a comeback and hits an impressive release exploder suplex into the corner. A series of kicks and strikes stun Fish as Black hots beautiful springboard moonsault onto a standing Fish. Before finishing Fish off with the Black Mass kick for the win.
Winner: Aleister Black
Author’s notes: This was the closest someone’s come to defeating Black since his debut but Black still looked overwhelmingly dominant. Fish is a welcome addition to a flourishing NXT. However, one has to wonder with all the main event level talent in NXT, whether he will be lost in the shuffle as the likes of Aleister Black, Drew McIntyre, Roderick Strong etc. Also Black’s music may be the best in NXT right now.
WWE.com exclusive video (No it’s not, I just saw it on NXT)
We get a quick recap of Hideo Itami and Kassius Ohno’s loss to Sanity from last week before we cut to a “not really” WWE.com exclusive video as Ohno berates Hideo for losing the tag team match before he tells him to stop blaming everything on everyone else.
Author’s notes: It’s funny how Ohno is blaming Hideo for losing the tag team match for not tagging in when he had the chance when it was Ohno that was out of position the first time Hideo attempted the hot tag. That being said we are heading towards an inevitable Itami heel turn and a potential show stealing match with Ohno at the next Takeover.
Street Profits vignette
We get a short vignette for a new tag team coming to NXT called the street profits who seem to be a cross between Cryme Tyme and current Uso’s. They seem to be babyfaces considering their happy go lucky gangster attitude.
Author’s notes: It’s nice to see a new tag team on its way to NXT as the division is baron. We have the champions AOP, heavy machinery and Sanity. That’s it, and the division is in need of a new face tag team since I don’t expect Heavy Machinery to beat AOP.
Velveteen Dream interview
We get a quick video of the Velveteen Dream being interviewed from 2 weeks ago, who after a few incoherent sentences walks away said interview.
Author’s notes: Patrick Clarke has come a long way since Tough Enough, transforming into the flamboyant and possibly LGBT Velveteen Dream. Not only does he have a character but also a standout gimmick that hasn’t been seen on WWE television yet. Only time will tell how this’ll work out.
Match 2: Vanessa Borne vs Jayme Hachey
Up next we have a Mae Young classic qualifying match between two relatively unknown competitors as Vanessa Borne takes on Jayme Hachey. Vanessa is the default babyface as she is the smaller happier looking competitor whereas Hachey is the default heel as she is the bigger, stronger and more muscular competitor who gives us the gun show, so super heel. The two go onto have a sloppy short match with no notable spots, the better of the two Vanessa Borne gets the win over her opponent after a sloppy proto bomb for the pin and win.
Winner: Vanessa Borne
Author’s notes: This match gave me pre women’s revolution flashbacks. It was just over a minute long, was sloppy and both competitors looked inexperienced and had no idea what they were doing in the ring. Hopefully the women’s tournament is a huge success as there are very talented women out there that deserve the spotlight.
“Quick Battleground promo “
Drew McIntyre meets Sanity
In another video from last week we see Drew McIntyre get into an altercation with Sanity as he finds Wolfe lying on his car. He is blind sighted by Killian Dain as he valiantly fights back against both men before succumbing , being beaten down by Sanity.
Author’s notes: This did nothing more than to hype up the following announcement by William Regal
William Regal announces Bobby Roode’s next challenger
Backstage we find Regal and Roode discussing the undefeated Drew McIntyre and Killian Dain and their collective interest in the NXT championship. Roode suggests the two face off next week, which Regal accepts before informing Roode that the winner will face him for the title at NXT Takeover Brooklyn.
Author’s notes: This was short and to the point and to establish the next challenger for Bobby Roode’s title. One thing though, Killian Dain is nowhere near credible enough to be considered a contender for the NXT championship, he’s greener than grass and isn’t that good of a performer. But the obvious setup here is for McIntyre to get a flukey win and go one to face Bobby Roode in what can only be a great match at Takeover.
Johnny Gargano returns
We get the long anticipated return of Johnny Wrestling himself, Johnny Gargano, as he comes out to his DIY music. He soaks up the chants of “Welcome back” and “Johnny Wrestling” before telling the audience he missed them. He goes onto explain how excited he would get hearing his entrance music because he knew the crowd would be in for something special. He explains how hurt he was being betrayed by his brother Tommaso Ciampa, but despite this he says he is moving on with his life and this is the start of his career as a singles wrestler in NXT. The segment ends with his new music playing.
Author’s notes: This was a powerful promo that got across the pain Gargano was going through and his resolve to move forward. When Ciampa returns from injury expect the best feud of the year to happen.
Adverts: NXT book (take a look at our review!)
Hype for next week
We get quick messages informing us of the previously announced number one contenders match between McIntyre and Dain plus a first time ever match between Ember Moon and Ruby Riot.
Main event NXT Tag Team Championship: Authors of Pain vs Heavy Machinery
Pre-match we get a nice little weight in statistic screen showing us that whilst AOP has the slight height advantage, the challengers have a near 100 pound weight advantage over the champions. The match begins with Akam and Tucker Knight squaring off before tagging in their respective partners who attempt a battle of strength with each other, Rezar failing to shoulder barge Otis but Otis managing to knock down Rezar as we go to the last break. It’s an ad for 205 live…and another one for WWE Shop. We come back from break as the AOP have taken control over their challengers. Lots of quick tags and double team moves by AOP wear down Tucker Knight as the NXT universe attempts to will him back into the match. AOP continue wearing him down as Akam hits a devastating knee for a 2 count. AOP hit a middle rope double team move for another near fall as the audience continues cheering for Knight to make the tag. Eventually Knight hits an explosive clothesline on Akam before making the hot tag as the crowd pops big, Otis hits power move after power move on AOP before hitting double team move after double team move. However, as they go for this big finish, Rezar hits Otis with a big boot as Akam hits Knight with a DDT before nailing the last chapter on Otis for the win and a successful title defence. Post-match Sanity come out and stare down AOP as pages from a book drop down from above, with that the screen fades to black and we are done!
Winners: Akam and Rezar, the Authors of Pain
Author’s (not AOP) notes: The match was decent which not only put over AOP as the dominant tag team in the division but also made Heavy Machinery look intimidating, being the first team to essentially manhandle the AOP. What happened after the match is the talking point. Sanity have made it clear that they have plans for the NXT tag titles, which means that AOP may be interfere in Killian Dain’s match next week.
Final thoughts: All in all, this was a good episode of NXT. Of the three matches the women’s contest was the only disappointment. The opener was excellent with the introduction of Bobby Fish a special surprise. The tag team main event was fun and the post-match provided a fun tease. The promo from Gargano was good and provides us with another exciting competitor in the singles division. Well that’ll do us this week, until next time this has been NXT.