Hard hitting action, diverse characters, and copious amounts of filler. That means it must be time for another exciting episode of NXT! As usual we have another night filled with action, drama and adverts. Can Johnny Gargano overcome the travesties of his past? Will anyone be able to beat the undefeated Aleister Black? How will Hideo Itami respond to last week’s lack of respect? These questions will be answered in the future, and it’s a good thing because the future. Is. Now.
Match 1: Johnny Gargano vs Raul Mendoza
Our inaugural contest for the evening is between Johnny Gargano and Raul Mendoza! Gargano is out first to his old DIY theme music but stops mid entrance and queues the sound guy, what’s this, he has new theme music! He is taking on former Cruiserweight classic competitor Raul Mendoza. Bit of mat wrestling by Johnny Wrestling to start off with. The two then run the ropes together with both competitors avoiding the other’s attempts at offense. From this the two transition into a very slick exchange of pinning attempts with neither man able to capitalise. That is until Gargano counters with a swift kick to the head. But he doesn’t have the advantage long as Mendoza hits a running dropkick to turn the tide in his favour. Mendoza then makes the mistake of attempting a springboard move, as Gargano is easily able to dodge and perform a slingshot spear from the middle rope. Not gonna lie, that looked cool. Mendoza gets his momentum back by hitting an impressive looking enziguri, but this would ultimately lead to nothing as Mendoza goes to the top and misses a diving corkscrew attack that leaves him prone for Gargano to lock in his variation of a cross face chicken wing for the submission win.
Winner: Johnny Gargano
Author’s notes: This was a fast paced, high flying well wrestled match. It showcased just how much potential Gargano has as a singles competitor. Mendoza himself looked very strong in defeat as he put up an impressive fight against the more experienced Gargano. This was an effective way to kick off this episode of NXT and sets the tone for a night filled with action.
Our first advert for the evening has the decency to wait for a match to be over before airing, it’s a WWE 24 advert looking at former NXT champion Finn Balor.
We also get a promo featuring a band I’ve never heard of. Turns out they are one of the official theme songs for NXT Brooklyn 3. I could not give a single fudge about them. Heck I didn’t even swear I’m that indifferent about them.
Authors of Pain issue a warning
We get a quick recap of the beating AOP gave Sanity at the end of last week’s NXT. We then cut to an undisclosed location (probably backstage) where we find the Authors of Pain complete with their manager Paul Ellering who issues a warning to Sanity regarding their upcoming tag title match at NXT Brooklyn 3.
Author’s notes: This was a short and sweet promo that displayed Ellering’s excellent promo skills. He managed to effectively hype up the tag title match in a number of seconds. The main roster could learn a lot from this.
Asuka returns to NXT
Back to the ring and out comes the longest reigning champion in NXT history and the longest reigning current champion in WWE, the undefeated Asuka! After taking 5 weeks off she is back on NXT and gets a warm reception from the WWE universe despite being a heel. Asuka goes onto cut a promo, cutting down her NXT Brooklyn opponent Ember Moon who consequently takes umbrage to Asuka’s words and comes out to confront her. For some reason she decided to wear her coloured contacts, seems pointless for less than 3 minutes of screen time. Ember claims that not only is she ready for Asuka but that Asuka is not ready for her. In response the champion offers a friendly handshake, but in a classic heel move she pulls her hand away at the last second and slaps Ember right in the face! Ember is having none of us this and responds accordingly with her own slap, and as a result we get a massive brawl between the two women which ends with Ember Moon standing tall after delivering a stunning total eclipse.
Author’s notes: This was a great segment. Asuka’s English has improved drastically as she seemed more comfortable on the mic than ever before. Ember looked phenomenal, for the first time in NXT we seem to have found Asuka’s equal, somebody who could be on the same level as the undefeated empress of tomorrow and I for one am looking forward to their clash at NXT Brooklyn 3.
A glorious statement
We cut backstage to find NXT champion Bobby Roode about to conduct a live interview. He takes his seat and proceeds to run down his two top rivals in NXT. First he dismisses the man he has already defeated, Roderick Strong. He insults him and his family by calling them trailer trash. Moving on he addresses his next challenger for his NXT title Drew McIntyre. He invites Drew to have a sit-down in the ring with him next week on NXT. Just as Bobby finishes up his interview however an angry Roderick Strong storms the set and has to be held back by several NXT talents as the champion escapes. Regal confronts Roddy afterwards and informs him he can’t have Bobby Roode as he has a scheduled title defence at NXT Takeover Brooklyn 3. Roddy storms off to end the segment.
Author’s notes: Bobby Roode was excellent here. The man has many talents and talking is definitely one of them. The man is so smooth and confident on the mic it’s actually beautiful. The talking point of this interview was the reintroduction of Roderick Strong. NXT are keeping involved with Bobby Roode which indicates what their feud has yet to be concluded. Only time will tell where this ends up.
Street profits vignette
We get another street vignette of the new tag team Street profits who filmed their entire vignette through snapchat videos.
Author’s notes: Another week, another vignette. Just get in the ring already boys.
Match 2: Sonya Deville vs Jenna Van Bemel
Our women’s contest of the evening is between the MMA shoot fighter Sonya Deville taking on the relative newcomer Jenna Van Bemel. Bemel has the distinct size advantage standing at least 5 inches taller than Deville who doesn’t seem phased by it. Deville uses her speed to avoid and frustrate the larger Van Bemel who gets increasingly frustrated by her antics. Deville smack talks her opponent throughout the match whilst beating down her opponent. Van Bemel gets a brief flurry of offence in the form of a running avalanche splash, but it is all in vain as Deville locks in a rolling triangle arm lock for the submission win.
Winner: Sonya Deville
Author’s notes: This was a glorified squash match that did well to showcase Deville’s character. She seems to be a fusion of every fighting sports cockiest competitors, with bits of Connor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather’s personality mixed in. That being said it was a short boring match that didn’t interest anyone not even the NXT crowd. Seems like NXT is going all in with this Sonya Deville character which is weird as her strikes don’t even look like they could put a dent in a cream cake.
Hideo Itami demands respect
Backstage we get an interview with Hideo Itami who precedes to explain his actions, before he finishes speaking however he is told they need to cut back to the ring for the next match. This annoys Itami who heads to the ring and demands respect from everyone, however he is interrupted again, and this time by the undefeated Aleister Black. The two men stare off in the ring as the NXT audience swoons over the potential blockbuster match. Itami feigns leaving before turning around for a cheap shot, but it is futile as Aleister nails a black mass kick on Itami!
Author’s notes: Ok we just went from Itami feuding with Kassius Ohno about respect to Itami possibly igniting a feud between himself and Aleister Black. I am perfectly fine with this as both competitors will put on one hell of a show! One has to wonder though where this leaves Ohno and his feud with Itami.
Main Event: Aleister Black vs ???
We come back from the break and Aleister is sat in the middle of the ring in his Black Gaze. His opponent for this evening is… holy Shit it’s the one, the only, Kyle O’ Reilly!!! A veteran of the independent circuit who has won championships at every promotion he has wrestled, I cannot express enough my delight at seeing Kyle O’Reilly, known most notably for his tag team championship winning partnership with Bobby Fish 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 crowd is red hot for this match as each competitor feels the other out by attempting quick strike attempts. Neither man is phased by this as they both continue to jostle for positon, the two proceed to mat wrestle and lock in separate submissions, but neither are successful. Black manages to sweep the leg of O’Reilly and stares him down with the Black Gaze. Black takes control with a series of knees as we cut to our final adverts of the evening. It’s a WWE shop and Summerslam advert. Yay. We come back to see Black still in control as he hits a stinging lariat on O’Reilly. Kyle eventually fights back and begins a comeback in the form of a series of strikes. A flying forearm and a nice back suplex into an Achilles lock excites the NXT audience. Kyle remains in control as he wears down the larger Black. Eventually Black fights back after encouraging O’Reilly to hit him (almost Mel Gibson like) he begins his onslaught of offence including stiff kicks and his signature springboard moonsault to a standing O’Reilly. The two then go back and forth for a few minutes as neither is able to hit their finisher move, but Reilly comes close to beating the undefeated Black but he pulls through and hits his Black Mass kick out of nowhere for the well-deserved win.
Winner: Aleister Black
Author’s notes: This was the closest someone’s come to defeating Black since his debut but Black still looked dominant, but not as much as he did when he fought Bobby Fish 3 weeks ago. Kyle O’Reilly, meanwhile, 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. Maybe they’ll team him up with Bobby Fish again as they have flourished in the past as a tag team. Finally Black’s music may be the best in NXT right now.
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 main event was excellent with the introduction of Kyle O’Reilly a special surprise. The opener was fun and energetic and every promo executed tonight was excellent. Well that’ll do us this week, until next time this has been NXT.