A show which was devoid of the likes Johnny Gargano, Lars Sullivan and EC3, but you wouldn’t know it given the quality of the episode NXT put out last week. The mystery of the attack on Aleister Black was one of the main focuses of the broadcast while the NXT North American championship was defended in a pulsating triple-threat match in the main event between champion Ricochet, the UK Champion Pete Dunne and the leader of the Undisputed Era, Adam Cole.
Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler’s NXT Women’s Championship rematch was built up through a video promo of Shayna talking about why she lost the last match against Kairi and what she’s been doing to refocus before the rematch at Evolution. A video vignette of the heel working out and explaining how the loss was their shortcoming, not down to the babyface’s own talents has been done before. But the reason that it’s redone is because it always comes across as so effective.
Kairi was also seen in a pre-recorded outdoors interview where she was asked about her match with Shayna. Upon being asked about whether she was vary of the challenger and her new gameplan going into the rematch, the champ responded by saying that Shayna can train all she wants but she will beat her, again.
The first match of the night was Keith Lee’s clash with Kona Reeves. This was slightly more than a squash match. “NXT’s Finest” did get a few shots in before Lee fired up Hulk Hogan-style and finished him with a spinning Attitude Adjustment.
The match had a few interesting spots with the crowd chanting “Keith Lee-woot woot” at one point. It should also be added that the “Limitless One’s” facial expressions are almost always on the mark.
The Champ, the Dream
NXT the past week started with the NXT Champion, Tommaso Ciampa, coming out to his new entrance theme and commenting on how the greatest sports-entertainer to ever live now had the greatest entrance music of all time. Ciampa, as ever, would be on the receiving end of scathing boos from the Full Sail crowd.
Ciampa would then turn his attention the Velveteen Dream, saying he had his attention. The crowd would start a ‘Velveteen’ chant. Ciampa then started talking about how the Dream had stuck his nose into business that did not concern him before being interrupted by the former Tough Enough competitor’s music.
The Velveteen Dream would come out and respond to the champ while standing on the entrance aisle. Dream, speaking in an always hilarious first-person style, said he found Ciampa’s claims to be the greatest sports-entertainer to ever live quite amusing. Ciampa and the Velveteen Dream would trade insults with the latter calling the champion an “angry, bald man” at one point to cheers from the Full Sail audience. Ciampa would then refer to the Dream in third-person, saying that he understood that the Dream wanted what the champ has – the NXT title.
Ciampa put in an incredible final jibe at the Dream’s past, saying that the Dream not having the title maybe meant that he was not “Tough Enough”. That remark would be received loudly by the NXT crowd. People in attendance could be seen bowing down to Ciampa, in acknowledgement of the fantastic heel work by the NXT champion. At this point, the Velveteen Dream would finally through the ropes and into the ring.
NXT’s Twisted Sister
Right after the Dream would ask for a moment from Ciampa with him, his NXT championship and the Velveteen Dream, SAnitY’s music would hit and Nikki Cross would come out, appearing to be as deranged and dishevelled as ever. Nigel McGuinness on commentary would call her “NXT’s twisted sister”. Cross would walk to the ring with a sick smile on her face.
In a hilarious few moments, Cross would get in the ring, take off her jacket, start flinging it around before hopping up and down on the ring canvas. The crowd appropriately started chanting “triple threat” presumably implying that they would like Nikki Cross to be added into the NXT title picture.
Cross would then start ruffling the Velveteen Dream’s jacket with the crowd enjoying her antics. She would then try to lean towards and come close to Ciampa and his NXT championship but the champion would pull it a little further away from the deranged one. The crowd would then start a timely chant of “Nikki knows a secret” in response to which Nikki would just fidget excitedly. Nikki Cross is without doubt one of the best characters and one of the best-handled characters in the entire WWE.
Nikki would finish the whole thing off by smacking the microphone out of the hands of the champ before dropping down and speaking into the fallen mic on the ground, saying that she knew what both of them did. Her antics would cause the Velveteen Dream to jump out of the ring and look for high ground. She would then start chanting “I know”, in response to which the crowd would start their own “she knows” chants.
Aleister Black’s Attacker
General Manager William Regal was interviewed right before the main event and asked about the status of the ongoing investigation into the attack on the former NXT champion, Aleister Black. Regal responded by saying that he would not divulge his information just now but added that he is keeping an eye on proceedings and was interested with the opening segment on the show with Nikki Cross again insinuating that she possesses knowledge on the incident.
However, the segment would not end there. Regal would be intercepted by Kassius Ohno who reminded the NXT GM about their last conversation. Kassius wants to be informed when Regal’s “shiny, new toy” arrives in NXT. It’s an interesting dynamic that is being built up here between Regal, Kassius and an alleged third-party. Ohno further alleged that Regal was perhaps not appreciating his talent sufficiently enough and his “BroMance” with this mystery superstar is to blame. It’ll be interesting to see who the mystery arrival is, bro.
The segment wasn’t over here, however. As Regal moved past Kassius into his office, Nikki Cross came into the picture with a smirk on her face. As Kassius stared at her, Nikki said “I know what you did” to him before laughing maniacally. Kassius looked perplexed.
A reminder that the star of NXT lately, Nikki Cross, would be in action against Bianca Belair tonight. Also, the tag-team titles would be defended by Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong against the War Raiders.
An excellent video package featuring both teams was shown the past week building-up to the tag-team bout. The two matches are being marketed as a “double main event” for tonight on NXT.
Last Week’s Main Event
Mauro Ranallo did a good job of making it clear during the entrances that the NXT UK Championship would not be up for grabs in the match.
The three superstars told an interesting story early on. Pete Dunne and Ricochet formed an on-and-off alliance, teeing off on Adam Cole on occasions. After one such occasion, Ricochet offered his hand for a handshake but Dunne knocked him down to the ground with a stiff-looking right-hand.
Ricochet was at his high-flying best, performing a second-rope moonsault to the outside before following it up with a springboard European uppercut on the prone Adam Cole on the inside. Dunne wasn’t one to be left behind in the high-flying department, performing his own version of the moonsault to the outside, a spectacular looking one indeed on Adam Cole.
Pete Dunne’s strikes sounded and looked like a cannonball being shot out of a cannon. There was a moment where the Bruiserweight put both his opponents into a single-leg Boston crab. Cole was at his sneaky, heel best, making use of the no DQ stipulation well once, trying to pin Pete Dunne with his feet on the ropes but only getting a two.
In one of the best moments of the match, Dunne hit the Bitter End on Cole before catching Ricochet in the air as he came down from an attempted shooting star into a triangle choke. The finish came with Dunne hitting a second Bitter End to Cole, trying to pin him but the pin was interrupted by a springboard 450 from Ricochet on top of his two fallen opponents, followed by the 1-2-3. The end felt a bit rushed. Even the crowd appeared to not be expecting Ricochet to get the pin from that final sequence. But a stellar match overall.