The Story So Far: NXT (10/03/18)

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Photo: WWE

Aleister Black’s mystery attacker, the NXT tag team, North American and Women’s championships dominated last week’s episode as General Manager William Regal made a few blockbuster announcements throughout the show.

Undisputed Problems

NXT kicked off with William Regal making his way to the ring to a warm reception from the Full Sail faithful. However, barely a sentence on the Aleister Black situation had left his mouth before being interrupted by Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong.

Cole stated that with regards to the ongoing hit-and-run attacks, the War Raiders needed to be stopped. Cole then went on to demand his one-on-one rematch for the NXT North American championship against Ricochet right now.

Regal, however, refused to give in and told the leader of the Undisputed Era that he knew what he was trying to do. Ricochet was not at a 100% after his battle with Pete Dunne the previous week and Cole wanted to take advantage of that. Instead, William Regal booked Adam Cole in a triple threat match for the North American title in two weeks’ time with Pete Dunne also set to be involved. Cole looked irate but the bad news for the Undisputed Era didn’t stop there.

The General Manager then turned to O’Reilly and Strong and informed them that, in three weeks’ time, the pair would be putting their titles on the line against the War Raiders on NXT TV. Kyle O’Reilly’s facial expressions were the star of this segment.

Women’s Division

After a pre-taped Johnny Gargano interview in the parking lot, he and his wife Candice LeRae were interrupted by “the Lady of NXT” Lacey Evans. Evans would get in the face of LeRae before touching her husband which set Candice off, needing to be held back by Gargano before the commotion got out of hand outside the arena.

Before things got heated, Evans claimed that Candice LeRae had been ducking her and how she’d been finding it hard to separate her personal life from her professional one. A match between the two women would later be announced for tonight’s show.

Nikki Cross, for some reason, was in GM Regal’s office while he was out making announcements. Just as Regal was about to enter his office, Nikki came out looking as deranged as ever. Upon seeing the GM, she said that she wanted to “play with Bianca”, referring to their unfinished business from a couple of weeks ago when things went out of hand in their one-on-one encounter.

Regal responded saying he’ll take it into consideration before Cross would walk off mumbling “I know, I know”. When a reporter would ask Regal what he thought Nikki Cross meant. He replied with “nobody knows what Nikki knows”. It’ll be interesting to find out what Nikki was referring to since it was insinuated that she may have been talking about the attack on Aleister Black.

NXT Womens’ Championship

NXT Champion Kairi Sane was in action in what turned out to be a relatively easy victory over Vanessa Borne. Borne didn’t register a lot of offence as Sane quickly hit her moves and got the pin.

However, as the Pirate Princess celebrated in the ring, Shayna Baszler’s music hit and the former champ made her down to the ring. Shayna told Kairi to enjoy her reign while it lasted because she was invoking her rematch clause.

The verbal exchange here came across as a little weird since Shayna’s the heel and the one with the rematch clause. But Kairi is the one who informed her when she’d be getting her rematch for the title and Baszler seemed satisfied. This segment could’ve been done better. Baszler and Sane will face each other again for the NXT Women’s championship at the WWE Evolution pay-per-view on October 28.

The Dream, Lars Sullivan, EC3

The Velveteen Dream was interviewed backstage by Cathy Kelley where he was at his narcissistic best. Referring to himself in third person, the Dream responded to a question about his knowledge of the Aleister Black attack by saying that he was not a snitch.

Lars Sullivan’s return to in-ring action was short-lived as his bout against Victor Orchant ended prematurely after a mid-match attack by EC3 on the Leviathon. EC3 caught Sullivan with his guard down and got the better of the monster.

On a side note, Sullivan’s opponent Victor Orchant (aka indie wrestler Vordell Walker) wouldn’t have looked out of place as a third Basham Brother on Smackdown about 10 years ago.

Also in a backstage segment, Keith Lee tried to introduce himself to “NXT’s finest”, Kona Reeves. Lee interrupted Reeves while he was getting his hair done. Kona seemingly angered “the Limitless One” by dodging a handshake. Lee would then joke about Kona having “the finest” set of losses in NXT.

Kona Reeves has very good facial expressions and could turn out to be an invaluable comedic character on NXT, one that it may be argued the brand has needed since No Way Jose. He could even be the NXT version of Curt Hawkins if done right.

Tag-Team Melee

The Mighty, Nick Miller and Shane Thorne, took on an all business-looking Street Profits in a rubber match. Miller and Thorne flaunted their stolen items from Dawkins and Ford in the previous weeks in their entrance. The match started in very entertaining fashion with Angelo Dawkins smacking Shane Thorne with a free shot right to the face with Thorne falling flat on his face

At one point, Montez Ford did an incredible leaping summersault from inside the ring to the outside which Ricochet would’ve been proud of. This match didn’t follow the usual WWE face vs heel tag-team formula. Ford got the hot tag deep in the contest but then lost control before the pace slowed and expectation built for another upcoming hot tag. However, the Mighty shocked everyone inside the Full Sail arena with Miller grabbing the leg of Dawkins on the outside and Thorne capitalizing on an injured Montez Ford to get a jack knife pin.

A very decent match, not your ordinary WWE tag-team bout. Good match psychology and fantastic character work from both teams.

Next Week

With the announcements of two huge title matches for the upcoming weeks on NXT, fans have a lot to look forward. Both the NXT North American and Tag-Team title matches should all be fantastic bouts. War Raiders finally get a chance to give the Undisputed Era what has been coming to them while it’s a final chance for Adam Cole to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to beating Ricochet.

Also announced for next week were Johnny Gargano vs Tony Nese. It will be Johnny Wrestling’s first match back since his loss to the Velveteen Dream a few weeks ago. Gargano talked about how he’s been seeing things clearly again after a very long time. It was time to be Johnny Wrestling again.

The Forgotten Sons were also announced to be in action this week’s NXT episode while another big clash that was announced for tonight’s show was EC3 against Lars Sullivan.

Main Event

Otis Dozovic, one half of Heavy Machinery, took on the NXT Champion, Tommaso Ciampa, in a non-title match. This match was every bit of a car crash one could’ve hoped for with the evil, sadistic champion going up against a behemoth of a man.

Ciampa’s new entrance theme fits his persona perfectly, however, for a man so hated, he almost came across as the underdog up against Dozovic who threw him around the ring early on. The Sicilian Psychopath came back into the match with a few vicious kicks to the side of Otis’ head and he would keep working on the big man’s head and neck throughout the bout.

Ciampa’s selling at times was impeccable, making Dozovic look like a million bucks. The NXT champion looked to hightail it at one point but Dozovic’s Heavy Machinery partner, Tucker Knight, would come out and force Ciampa to get back into the ring. Dozovic would then hit a sit-down power bomb on the champion for a very, very near fall.

The end came when Ciampa caught Otis and planted him with an apron, inside-out DDT, which is the hardest part of the ring as Michael Cole so often likes to remind us. The sadistic champion would finish Dozovic off with another apron DDT, this time inside the ring for the 1-2-3.

Big performance from Otis Dozovic, Triple H clearly has big plans for the big man with the love for steaks. Lets hope he isn’t as impatient with breaking up tag teams as his father-in-law.

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