Women are at the heart of any a discussion headed into WWE Money In The Bank weekend. You have the performers involved in the third ever Money In The Bank Ladder Match for the women. You have Carmella defending her Smackdown Women’s Championship against Asuka (who she is presumably not ready for), and of course you have former UFC champion Ronda Rousey opposite Nia Jax for the former’s Raw Women’s Championship. Even in NXT you have Nikki Cross getting a shot at Shayna Baszler and the NXT Women’s Championship. But the woman you really need to keep an eye on is Candice LeRae.
Yes, that Candice LeRae.
— WWE (@WWE) May 25, 2018
As you can see in the video above, Candice LeRae the character is “done” with Johnny Gargano’s issues with Tommaso Ciampa, since he supposedly exorcised the demon at NXT Takeover: New Orleans.
But NXT Takeover: Chicago offers a unique opportunity for husband (real life and on-screen) Johnny Gargano. Gargano is signed to fight Tommaso Ciampa in a Street Fight.
That isn’t just any old Street Fight, it’s a street fight that takes them both back to the scene of the crime, the city (and arena) where Tommaso Ciampa turned his back on Gargano and DIY in a brutal attack after the duo lost a ladder match to The Authors Of Pain (remember them?).
LeRae has been by Gargano’s side through all of this, including his other battles with the likes of former NXT Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas (and Zelina Vega). But this time, she’s taking a different stance.
“You’re becoming the very thing that you despise.”
This line is so very telling. Johnny Gargano has been called the “last white-meat babyface” by Triple H himself, and even though he might have another one at his disposal in Dakota Kai, Johnny Gargano is the pure babyface the likes of which we haven’t seen since Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and Daniel Bryan, circa WrestleMania 30. And even then, Daniel Bryan’s “YES Movement” started as the fans’ reaction to his constant pleas of “NO!”
But there is one character–one person–more pure than Johnny Gargano. That person is Candice LeRae.
Candice is so pure, she cannot even fathom why her husband would put
himself them through more of this. That Gargano is so obsessed with revenge, he is becoming the very thing he despises.
They wouldn’t do that, would they?
Oh if you don’t think they’d do that, you’re dead wrong, pal!
Candice LeRae is an amazing performer, likely to retire with her best in-ring matches coming against (and teaming with) men. But she’s about to pull off her greatest performance ever, when she turns on husband Johnny Gargano at Takeover: Chicago.
It’s a simple story, really. She’s not falling in love with Tommaso Ciampa, she’s falling out of love with this new Johnny. The one more obsessed with vigilance and revenge than Disney World and butterfly kisses.
And look at the main man behind NXT: Triple H. The man basically booked himself into a real-life marriage with Stephanie McMahon, ruining the career (and maybe life) of Test in the process. Now he sits as the heir to the proverbial throne of the largest and most powerful pro wrestling entity in the world.
So yeah, they’d do that.
Candice LeRae and Johnny Gargano have a happy ending, right?
This one, in my opinion, does. Maybe it stretches all the way to Takeover: NYC for WrestleMania 35 weekend, or maybe it ends in Phoenix the night before the Royal Rumble.
But I believe this ends with Johnny Gargano winning the NXT Championship, likely from Tommaso Ciampa, and more importantly regaining the love of Candice LeRae.
Johnny and Candice have a relationship solidified at the Magic Kingdom, and this story will have an ending equally suited to their beloved Happiest Place On Earth.
NXT Minus 6: Too Early To Fantasy Book War Games?
Everyone loves fantasy booking. Right?
The answer is No. It’s not too early.
6. NXT teases us with a Matt Riddle-Arturo Ruas match that went 3 minutes? I know it’s not happening, but those guys deserve a Takeover spot. Kudos to NXT for playing up the mma aspect. Everything from Mauro’s commentary to the ref stoppage made this feel like it should have been in an octagon. If you haven’t already seen it, check out Ruas’ match from the Evolve 10th Anniversary show. Dude is a killer.
5. We got the final opening round match of the Dusty Rhodes Everyman Classic. Bronson Reed is good. He delivered what might be the biggest frog splash I’ve ever seen. There is always a place for athletic big men, but he’s not the story.
4. Dexter Lumas is creepy. The key to wrestling is to crank your personality up to 11. If this creepy thing is any part of Dexter Lumas, I don’t want to be in a room with him. I don’t trust him around my kids. I wonder how many crimes against humanity he’s already committed. Creepy in a way that Bray Wyatt can only hope to be.
3. Tyler Breeze enters the running for Savage Burn of the Year. He looked at Jaxson Ryker and asked “Weren’t you Buddy Murphy?” Brutal. That line alone is worth the return of Prince Pretty.
2. I finally got the moment I was waiting for: an interesting KUSHIDA match. I was ready to send him to 205 in exchange for Akira Tozawa. And if this is Apollo Crews, I will gladly take him back full time in NXT. Stellar matchup and worth watching. 4.4 stars.
1. Oh no, this cannot be happening. They’re turning Keith Lee into Kassius Ohno 2.0? He’s talking about getting passed over for the new guys? And he’s jobbing to Damian Priest next week? Been here a year and zero Takeover matches? The Ridiculous Keith Lee deserves better. THIS…CAN…NOT…BE…HAPPENING!!!
Bonus time: Old school versus new generation. Tyler Breeze heads up a cast of NXT OGs to take on Undisputed Era in (cue William Regal voice) War Games to determine NXT supremacy. Keep Apollo around. Throw in Cesaro and Harper, maybe even Samoa Joe, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a brawl. Either that or Undisputed Era versus the Club. I’m cool with both.
Tiffany’s Takes: WWE NXT (7-17-19)
Who will be the first to challenge Adam Cole for the NXT Championship?
Who will be the first to challenge Adam Cole for the NXT Championship?
Have I ever told anyone that I can’t stand Matt Riddle? I have? Okay. I don’t even know what it is, but he sets my teeth on edge. I will give him props for having a good match with Arturo Ruas, but I’m not sure what they’re doing with his character, except teasing a heel turn after that NASTY beatdown of Ruas. I am here for Killian Dain vs Riddle, that even sounds like fun!
Looks like we are going to Undisputed Era vs Street Profits at some point, but I’m waiting for UE to make a big deal about Street Profits being on the Main Roster for the last couple of weeks.
I love that Mia Yim is learning from everyone’s mistakes in dealing with Shayna Baszler and is going after Baszler’s friends, who are the real reason she’s stayed on top for so long. This feud is going to get nasty in a hurry and I can’t wait!
The next match of the NXT Breakout Tournament had a lot to live up to after two AMAZING matches and one not so amazing. I’m not sure what in the world Australian Strong Styles is, I’m guessing it’s like any ‘Strong Style’ in that it’s pretty hard hitting. I also didn’t know Australia had a Black Forest, it was never on ‘Crocodile Hunter’. I did like this match, however. I can’t say it was as amazing as some of the other matches, but it was really good. Bronson Reed won the match for Australia, so we’ll see what happens in Round 2.
Someone should tell Tyler Breeze that having a beard doesn’t make you a man. I’ve seen teenagers with better facial hair. I did love the little dig at Forgotten Sons, but I don’t think Breeze really wants to pick a fight with Jaxson Ryker, that’s not going to end well.
Well, it looks like we’ll likely get a confrontation between Io Shirai and Candice LeRae next week, unfortunately for Kacy Catanzaro, she’s going to be Shirai’s punching bag before that.
I wasn’t really into KUSHIDA vs Apollo Crews. I’m just not a huge fan of either guy. The match was really good, but I don’ t think anyone really thought Crews was going to beat KUSHIDA, who is getting built into a title contender, but it was a longer match than Crews has been having for most of his WWE run, so there’s that.
I’m still not into Keith Lee, I just don’t get it, but I’m super stoked about the prospect of Lee vs Damian Priest, that promises to be a wild match.
So, it’s officially official, we WILL be getting Adam Cole vs Johnny Gargano III and it sounds like it’s going to be the last one. I did like Gargano comparing his victory tour of trying to inspire young people in Cleveland with Cole’s obnoxious antics at the Gargano restaurant. Also, love the ‘Johnny Badass’ thing, very cool. NXT TakeOver: Toronto II is going to be a wild ride in that Three Stages of Hell match! Thank you, William Regal for booking that!
That’s it for Tiffany’s Belated NXT Takes! Tune in Monday for Monday Night RAW!