All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service
- Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round Match: Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch VS Roderick Strong & ???; Strong & Pete Dunne win and advance to the semifinals.
- Ember Moon VS Aliyah; Ember wins.
- Raul Mendoza VS ???; no contest.
- Kassius Ohno VS Adam Cole; Cole wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
NXT returns to Full sail, but so does Tommaso Ciampa!
The Psycho Killer who screwed Johnny Gargano over returns to the home of NXT. Even here, fans boo and jeer, chanting “You Suck! You Suck!” while holding up Gargano emoji faces. Ciampa’s already faced this reception twice before, he shuts it out as he enters the ring. He grabs a mic, but fans chant “We Want Johnny!” Ciampa waits for them to quiet down, but they boo harder as he lifts the mic to his mouth. The chant of “Johnny Wrestling!” returns, just like the other two times Ciampa’s tried talking. But Ciampa finally explodes with “HE’S GONE!” Gargano won’t walk down the ramp, because he’s gone! Fans still boo and jeer, and return to chanting “You Suck! You Suck!” Ciampa takes a moment to calm himself, though fans keep booing. Now the fans chant “Ciampa Sucks!”, and he embraces it with another mic drop.
Ciampa exits the ring, though still very frustrated. The fans keep up the boos and jeers, but Ciampa stares them down one by one. He snatches a Gargano emoji and tears it up to then wipe his ass with it. He also snags the extra large one, and tears that right in the face of the fan who was holding it. Ciampa even gets in the face of an old woman who is a big Gargano fan. Ciampa snatches another extra large emoji from a fan in a lucha mask, but reveal! The “fan” was Gargano!
And Gargano attacks! Gargano goes right at Ciampa and the fans are loving it! But Gargano isn’t allowed in NXT, the security guards go after him to keep him back.. The fans want to “Let Them Fight!” but the guards drag Gargano out of the ring. Ciampa is reeling while Gargano is rabidly resisting. The guards still get Gargano past the barriers and towards the back while Ciampa tries to see where Gargano went. The fans chant “Johnny Wrestling!” even as Gargano is brought all the way to the back door. Gargano ends up in the parking lot while Ciampa checks his face. What kind of consequences will there be to a man who already lost his job?
An update on the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
While three teams have advanced into the second round, there is some unforeseen changes to the final opening round match. NXT throws things to Charly Caruso from the NXT Control Center, where she recaps the first three matches. There is some sad news, however, as Tyler Bate was found to be injured and therefore unable to compete in the tournament. Bate’s bad knee is bad news for Mustache Mountain, and hopefully he recovers quickly to return to competition, but there is good news! The tournament is open to a new duo, and Roderick Strong stepped up to request that chance. NXT General Manager, William Regal, heard Strong’s words and granted the request. Now the Messiah of the Backbreaker can enter to face Lorcan & Burch, provided he finds a partner.
The Undisputed Era speaks.
Adam Cole asks if Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish heard the “nonsense” from William Regal. He’s adding Roderick Strong to the Dusty Rhodes Classic! Of all people, he’s adding Roddy? Earth to Regal, Roddy doesn’t belong anywhere near that. Roddy isn’t a tag team guy, he’s a loser. Who would even tag with him? Regal could himself, but it won’t matter, because winning the Classic only signs you up to lose to “the baddest team”, reDRagon. And speaking of what doesn’t matter, Adam Cole takes on the so-called Knockout Artist, “talk about a night off.” Cole is so confident, he won’t even need O’Reilly & Fish ringside. Trust him, it’ll be pretty, and #ThatisUndisputed.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round Match: Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch VS Roderick Strong & ???
This pair of brawlers, one from Boston and the other from Great Britain, have been looking for a breakout match to bring them higher in NXT’s Tag Team Division. However, they only know one of their opponents going into this. Roddy is a tough customer, but who did he find to fight by his side?
IT’S PETE DUNNE!! The WWE United Kingdom Champion joins the Messiah of the Backbreaker in the Dusty Rhodes Classic! Will this body-bruising team take the tag tournament by storm?
The match starts with Strong and Lorcan, and they tie up fast and furious. Lorcan gets the waistlock but Strong rolls him with a headlock takeover. Lorcan headscissors, Strong moves around to roll Lorcan, and Strong gets a Queen Angelito stretch. The fans rally while Lorcan endures the hold, and slips out to switch places with Strong. Strong endures the headlock, Lorcan changes it to a wristlock, and then tags in Burch. Burch takes the hand-off and wrenches the wrist. Strong turns it around to his own wristlock and takedown.
Burch gets up but Dunne tags in, and he takes the hand-off to wrench that wrist. Dunne grabs the fingers and brings Burch down to torture him from hand to elbow. Dunne makes that a double wristlock cover, ONE, then a kip-up. Burch turns things around, trips up and rolls Dunne but misses the stomp. Dunne whips Burch but Burch catches that leg to drop Dunne. Burch wants the facelock, Lorcan and Strong rush in, and we end up with a tense stand-off between all four men. The referee works to keep the peace while we go to break.
NXT returns, and Dunne has Burch on the ground, holding the hammerlock in place with one leg and standing on Burch’s head with the other. Dunne grabs the free arm and bend sit back, along with the fingers. Burch writhes and shouts, but Dunne just turns things into a modified crossface. Cover, ONE, but Dunne keeps Burch from Lorcan. Dunne slaps Burch then shoves him, and tags in Strong. Strong stomps Burch, then brings him out, for the backbreaker! Cover, TWO, but Strong keeps on him as he tags in Dunne. They both suplex Burch for the gordbuster, then, double chops! Cover, TWO, but Dunne keeps his cool.
Dunne drags Burhc up, fans want that duolbe chop “One More Time.” Dunne chops Burch alone, but runs into a boot. Burch hops up and hits a big missile dropkick. Fans rally as both men crawl for their corners, hot tags to Strong and Lorcan. Lorcan chops, Strong forearms, and back again, neither man slowing down. Strong shoves Lorcan but Lorcan boots him back. Lorcan runs, dynamic dropkick! He keeps going, running European Upperct! Cover, TWO, so Lorcan runs to run Strong over with a wicked lariat. TWO, so Lorcan runs again, for the Blockbuster!
Another cover, TWO! Lorcan keeps fired up, and the fans join him. He drags Strong up, tags in Burch, and together they suplex Strong. Strong slips out and shoves Burch into Lorcan. Lorcan tumbles out while Burch runs into Strong’s boot and enziguri. Dunne tags in while Strong staggers back, to then hop up, and stomp out Burch’s arm! Dunne throws Burch with the X-Plex and covers, but Lorcan breaks it in time. Strong throws Lorcan right out, then tries for the wrecking ball dropkick, but Lorcan dodges to retaliate with a big EuroUpper! Dunne has Burch and slaps him, so Burch slaps back. Dunne slaps, Burch slaps, Dunne slaps, Burch SLAPS! Then Burch headbutts! The fans fire up while Burch stalks Dunne. He waistlock and German Suplexes, then Strong and Lorcan come in. Lorcan catches Strong for a Half ‘n’ Half suplex onto Dunne!
Burch covers, TWO, but into a Crossface! Strong returns but Lorcan is there, tackling Strong down into the Half Crab! Dunne endures while Strong turns over, Strong shoves Lorcan onto Burch to break the Crossface. Everyone is down, but Strong and Lorcan head for their corners while Dunne and Burch stand up. Burch throws a haymaker, Dunne retaliates with an enziguri! Dunne goes to chop, but Burch catches and counters into an exploder! Burch fires up but Strong tags in. Dunne catches Burch and tosses him to Strong for another backbreaker! Then, End of Heartache!
Dunne keeps Lorcan out of the ring with a sleeper hold, Strong covers, Strong & Dunne win! The unlikely duo wins in their first ever match together to advance into the semifinals. Can the Bruiserweight & The Back Breaker make it all the way to the end to earn an NXT Tag Team Championship match?
A star is coming to NXT.
The king of speed and master of flight, THE Richochet is coming soon. How fast will this human rocket rise to the top? Who will he topple over to get there?
Ember Moon VS Aliyah!
While the Prophecy of Flames has the Queen of Spades to worry about at TakeOver: New Orleans, Canada’s Catwoman wants to show up the #Shenom and make a name for herself. Can Ember keep from looking too far ahead and focus on the opponent right in front of her?
The bell rings, and the two share a quick but respectful low-five. They tie up, Ember arm-drags Aliyah but Aliyah arm-drags back. Aliyah gets the headlock takeover but Ember headscissors. Aliyah pops out and flicks her hair and Ember grins while the fans applaud. The two circle again, Aliyah gets the waistlock but Ember counters with a throw. Aliyah headscissors now and Ember pops out to put on a headlock of her own. Aliyah powers out but Ember goes to boot, only to be turned around and thrown down by her hair! The referee reprimands Aliyah, but The Cat’s Meow covers, TWO. But wait, Shayna Baszler is walking down the ramp.
The Submission Magician joins commentary while Aliyah runs Ember over with double ax handles. Cover, ONE, but Aliyah keeps on the champ while Shayna lets everyone know that while Ember’s champ, we all know Shayna is the real top woman in the division. Aliyha covers, TWO, but she puts Ember in a modified chinlock. The fans rally for Ember, and Ember fights her way out of the hold. She arm-drags Aliyah, then gets around for a waistlock roll up, ONE, but Ember keeps moving to hit a sliding complete shot!
Aliyah gets herself to a corner and Ember runs in but into boots. Aliyah hops up, crossbody, but Ember catches her! Ember looks over at commentary and says, “This is for you, Shayna!” before hitting a Samoan Drop! Ember roars at Shayna before hitting Aliyah with a handspring corner clothesline. She then climbs up, takes aim, and leaps for the Eclipse!
Cover, Ember wins! Shayna isn’t impressed, because she knows everyone else knows Ember is weak. Ember climbs up to hold up her NXT Women’s Championship, and Shayna stands on top of commentary to stare her down. Both women are ready to rip into each other, but who will be the one still standing atop the Women’s Division?
Raul Mendoza VS ???
The Cruiserweight Classic competitor is looking for that break-out moment, but instead, he gets attacked by the NXT Champion, Andrade “Cien” Almas!
El Idolo tosses Mendoza off the stage and leaves him writhing on the ground while he and Zelina Vega walk to the ring. Almas grabs a mic to call out Aleister Black for his comments last week. Almas speaks in Spanish that being champion makes HIM the best in NXT! But since Aleister didn’t respect Vega, he didn’t respect Almas. And Almas calls Aleister out, “you piece of shit!” Face Almas next week, Aleister, and pay for that disrespect! El Campeon is furious, but will he be able to get the revenge over respect? Or will he just #FadetoBlack even before Takeover: New Orleans?
NXT Universe, brace yourself for Lars Sullivan’s return.
An “abnormality of human genetics”, and a sheer force of destruction in human form, the Leviathan will return next week! Who will be set up in his path to be run over?
NXT General Manager, William Regal, speaks.
While the main event is up next, Regal would like to inform us that next week, he will have an announcement that will “change the landscape of NXT forever.” What could Regal be planning that is so powerful as to alter NXT?
Kassius Ohno VS Adam Cole!
This match came about via social media, where the Panama City Playboy declared himself “an uncrowned champion” in NXT, to which the Knockout Artist replied that if Cole wants some crowns, Ohno’s elbows and knees could knock out some teeth for him. Even so, Cole is so confident that he doesn’t need reDRagon by his side. Will Cole end up eating his words along with a few stiff strikes?
The bell rings and fans already duel between the two men as they circle. They tie up, Cole goes for the arm and gets the wristlock. Ohno reverses and throws Cole, then brings him up for a wristlock and lift. Ohno wrings Cole then wrenches, but Cole grabs hair. Cole shoves Ohno and knees him on the rebound, to then kick and forearm Ohno into a corner. Cole knees again, then runs and runs Ohno over, “BAYBAY!” The fans keep dueling while Cole runs, but Ohno hops up and over. Ohno runs, Cole ducks under to then jump up, only for Ohno to boot him out of the air! Cole gasps for air while the fans applaud, Ohno adds the back senton! Fans are fired up as Ohno brings Cole up for a stiff chop.
The dueling chants continue while Cole jawbreakers Ohno back to a corner. Cole runs in but Ohno puts him on the apron, but Cole’s leg jams and he stumbles down. Cole hobbles off, angry, and the referee checks on him. Ohno doesn’t care, he reaches for Cole through the ropes, but Cole leaps up to enziguri Ohno away! Cole was faking, and gets into the ring to rain down rights. He stomps Ohno out, as well, showing that his leg is just fine. Ohno is in trouble with Cole right on him while we go to break.
NXT returns and Cole keeps on Ohno at the ropes. He stalks Ohno around, wrenches the arm and whips, then back elbows Ohno. Ohno stays up so Cole bicycle kicks him down, cover, TWO! Cole keeps his cool, this is “too easy” as he hits a neckbreaker. Cover, TWO, but Cole still grins. He drags Ohno up and kicks him in the back to then stomp him on the mat. Cole kicks Ohno in the head but fans rally for Ohno. Cole brings Ohno down in a chinlock, but Ohno endures. Ohno feeds off the fans’ energy, then gets up, so Cole uses a backstabber! Cover, TWO, but Cole keeps his cool. “Forget it, Kassius, you’re a joke.” Cole says Ohno is a loser, because he’s Adam Cole BAYBAY! But no, he doesn’t like the fans using his catchphrase this time.
Cole goes to suplex Ohno but Ohno suplexes him, Cole slips out and gets a waistlock. Ohno bucks him off at the ropes, to ROCK him with a swift right! Cole goes down, eyes glazed, and fans rally while Ohno drags himself to a corner. Cole is up first but walks right into a knee. Ohno boots Cole’s clothesline away, then runs to rally with the ax bomber and another boot. He scoops Cole and slams him, then runs for the leaping leg drop! Cover, TWO, and Cole rolls to ropes. Ohno stalks him, rocking him with another right. He whips Cole but Cole reverses, so Ohno tumbles to the apron to boot back in. Cole is dazed, he gets the cyclone kick!
Cover, TWO, and Ohno can’t believe it. The fans applaud, though, they’re loving this. Cole stirs while the dueling chants start up again. Ohno looms over Cole and brings him up, but Cole blocks the suplex. Ohno rocks him with a forearm, but Cole asks “Is that all you got?!” Cole takes of his elbow pad and fires off forearms of his own! Cole runs, but into another boot from Ohno! Ohno goes to suplex, but Cole counters with the LAST SHOT!
Cover, TWO!! Ohno survives the brainbuster, and fans are loving it, chanting “NXT! NXT!” However, Cole is shocked and frustrated as he backs away to a corner. He watches Ohno stir while the fans rally again. Cole brings his knee pad down then runs, but Ohno counters and rolls Cole all the way into powerbomb position, to hotshot him on the ropes, then smack him with the forearm! Ohno takes off the elbow pad and runs, to hit Cole with the High Tension Elbow!
Cole tumbles all the way out of the ring and even to the stage. Ohno fetches Cole, dragging him up and over in the fireman’s carry. They return in the ring, Ohno covers, but Cole countrs to a crucifix! TWO, for a SUPERKICK! Then another SUPERKICK, then a third, AND a second Last Shot brainbuster!
But that’s not all, Cole still hits the Last Shot Shining Wizard!
Cover, Cole wins! It was tougher than he expected, but Cole still did it without the help of Fish & O’Reilly. Will this win help Cole go from uncrowned champion to undisputed champion?
Another packed episode for NXT, it’s really quite impressive. Opening with Ciampa’s third attempt at his promo was another stroke of genius. As I expected, he basically explodes and finally says anything, but Gargano appearing the way he did was done so perfectly, I think I marked out. Gargano going after Ciampa despite being “fired” is great, because it could lead to an “unsanctioned” match (aka No Disqualification) and these two can go all out with the brutality. I’d expect Gargano wins that to finally get back at Ciampa before they both move on from NXT. Then to go right into the Dusty Rhodes Classic was a nice surprise, especially with Strong’s surprise partner. Strong-Dunne did great as a team against Lorcan & Burch, and might even overcome SAnitY next week.
Great to see Ricochet is ready to debut soon, and keeping his name. Lars Sullivan is also returning, and just in time given Regal’s announcement. Word is that the announcement will be a new men’s title, and superstars like Lars, Ricochet and so many others are more than ready to hold that new title. Speaking of ready, Shayna Baszler is very ready to be NXT Women’s Champion. She’s already confident as a character, though her commentary might need work, but she seems primed to take that title from Ember now that it’s been a couple months. Then poor Mendoza, he wasn’t even a jobber but fodder for Almas. Almas was great being a heated Heel, and Aleister will show up next week, perhaps that will be the brawl we thought would happen at the contract signing.
That main event was great once again. It wasn’t as long as I expected but it was as competitive and hard-hitting. When Cole faked his bad leg, I thought that would be the moment for a new Undisputed Era member to attack, using the loophole that Cole only told Fish & O’Reilly to stay backstage. Instead, it was just a clever ruse for Cole to get a momentary edge. Same for when Ohno sent Cole out with the High Tension, but Cole toughed it out to turn things around. I also liked that Cole piled on Ohno with the old Last Shot and the new Last Shot, shows both Ohno’s toughness and Cole’s aggression. Cole himself is probably a shoe-in for the new NXT men’s title, but him having matches with guys like Lars, Ricochet, etc. will be great for that belt’s legitimacy out of the gate.
My Score: 8.5/10