The Story So Far: NXT (9/26/18)

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NXT has been tremendous at storytelling and match psychology over the last few weeks and months and last week’s September 19 episode was no different. From the females gaining a new edge to their characters, to the ‘who attacked Aleister Black’ mystery being built up in its own way, the show stayed true to its unique methods with another compelling episode.

Women’s Division

Lacey Evans and the recently repackaged Aliyah were booked strong, picking up a tag-team victory over indy darling Deonna Purrazzo and the eternal babyface, Dakota Kai.

It was the manner of the duo’s victory that particularly caught the eye. Evans and, particularly, Aliyah showed new layers to their character that we hadn’t seen before, pulling out all the classic heel tactics in the book to gain the upper hand. Aliyah’s body language and the way she carries herself indicates that she may have what it takes to be a good heel in the NXT women’s division.

The match saw a lot of hard-hitting as well as technical wrestling from Lacey Evans and Deonna Purrazzo. Dakota got the hot tag before her show was stopped by Evans hitting the Women’s Right for the pin. It’ll be interesting to see what Triple H has planned for both women in the lead up to TakeOver: WarGames in November.

In other news, Candice LeRae was interviewed by General Manager William Regal regarding the attack on Aleister Black. LeRae denied the involvement of her and her husband, Johnny Gargano, while also insinuating that current NXT Champion, Tommaso Ciampa, may have been the one behind it.

Next Week

The return of Lars Sullivan to in-ring action was announced for tonight’s show. This would be Sullivan’s second match back from injury after decimating Raul Mendoza a few weeks ago. He was involved in a backstage beat down of EC3 a couple of weeks ago as well after the latter said to Regal that Sullivan may have been the one behind the attack on Aleister Black. It will be interesting to see whether either story is revisited upon Lars’ return to the ring next week.

The show also saw the debut of Jaxson Ryker, formerly known as Gunner in TNA. Ryker is a part of the new stable called the Forgotten Sons alongside Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake. Ryker was facing Humberto Carrillo, fka Ultimo Ninja.

WWE also put up a video of Matt Riddle on their YouTube channel, hyping up his TV debut for NXT. Riddle talked about making his debut at an NXT live event and how excited he was to be on NXT.

NXT Champion, Tommaso Ciampa, was also announced to be going one-on-one with Otis Dozovic. It would be a nice change and a fresh, never-before-seen match-up between the larger Dozovic against the sadistic Ciampa. The pair have been going at it on social media over the last few days.

Main Event

Ricochet and Pete Dunne have been an interesting pairing ever since teased as a team against the Undisputed Era a couple of weeks ago. And the “Champion vs Champion” tagline to their match made it even more interesting. The winner-takes-all stipulation was a giveaway, however. It was obvious the company would not unify the titles, at least so soon after their introduction to the mainstream, casual audience. With that in mind, the outcome of the match may have been predictable.

Nevertheless, the predictability didn’t stop you from enjoying what was a tremendously athletic back-and-forth and hard-hitting match between Dunne and Ricochet. This would definitely be in my top five matches to recommend this week in pro wrestling.

The finish, unsurprisingly, was ruined by interference from the Undisputed Era. Bobby Fish is still not cleared for such physicality so he was conspicuous by his absence. The War Raiders then came out and chased off Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong before the show ended with Ricochet and Dunne standing in the ring with their respective belts in hand and looking at each other with begrudging respect.

Hopefully we get to see a rematch somewhere down the line with higher stakes and more suspense. It’ll be interesting to see whether the duo reunited to fend off the Era or do they go their separate ways.