SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT TV REPORT
MARCH 7, 2018
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY JUSTIN JAMES, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
[Q1] Pre-credits package cover the start of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic to hype TM61 vs. The Authors of Pain. Post-91credits, the announcers tell is that Aleister Black will face Killian Dain tonight.
(1) TM61 (NICK MILLER & SHANE THORNE) vs. THE AUTHORS OF PAIN (AKAM & REZAR w/Paul Ellering) – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Match
Rezar takes over against Thorne immediately. Akam is in and hits a flapjack. Thorne gets to the corner and TM61 hit a double Russian leg sweep, but they let Akam take Rezar. Miller leaps over the top to take out AOP at ringside. Thorne rolls Rezar into the ring for one. Akam catches a crossbody, rams Miller into the turnbuckle, and Rezar tags in. Viscious offense heading into a break. [c]
Rezar is still dominating Miller. After a sweet takedown, Rezar’s ham-list fist bludgeons Miller. Double team draws only one for AOP. Akam slows things down on the mat. Thorne finally gets the tag and takes the fight to Akam. Rezar gets it too. Inside out suplex from Thorne to Rezar for a nearfall. Great looking move there on the giant Rezar. Big boot catches Thorne, Akam tags in. Double team move, but Miller breaks up the cover. AOP is thinking of some double team move, TM61 slips out. Miller with a moonsault off the top, Rezar breaks up the cover. Rezar powerbombs Thorne over the ropes and onto the apron, he collapses ringside. Exploder suplex into the corner on Thorne, the Last Chapter.
WINNERS: The Authors of Pain in 8:03. This was not the matchup that TM61 needed at this stage in their comeback. That said, AOP has really improved in how they sell for their opponents and make their opponents look strong while still dominating a match. The Authors of Pain
[Q2] “Earlier today” with William Regal. He is asked who the favorites are to win, he refuses to pick a favorite, then decks out. The interviewers catch Pete Dunne. He acknowledges that Roderick Strong took him to the limit, but he still has the title. Strong shows up, and congratulates Dunne. Undisputed Era show up and Cole asks if Strong was begging for another title shot. The jaw a bit, and it looks like we’re heading for a Teddy Long Special of Strong, Dunne, and a third man against Undisputed Era.
Backstage, Eric Young talks about making fists and chaos. Alexander Wolfe cackles. Nikki Cross cackles so he pets her on the head, then she jumps on his back. Killian Dain grabs Wolfe, then promises to defeat Aleister Black with chaos. Cross keeps cackling.
(2) BIANCA BELAIR vs. DRU RENEE
Belair starts with a trio of delayed suplex variants. Fallaway reverse powerbomb ends it.
WINER: Bianca Belair in 1:18. Belair has such swagger, a great look, unique presentation and character, and in-ring potential.
“Last weekend” with Lacey Evans. Evans says she is here to show what a classy girl can do, and Dakota Kai is classless. Evans dishes some dirt on Kai, then Baszler shows up, so Evans leaves. Baszler says that another week has gone without a word from Ember Moon. Baszler says that she keeps calling Moon out and getting nothing, so it is clear that Moon is scared.
Heavy Machinery are working out. Knight pulls a sled that Dozovic is standing on doing curls.
Tommaso Ciampa comes out draggin his cane. For the record, Ciampa looks completely jacked on his return, his arms look at least 2 inches thicker while he has dropped his body fat percentage quite a bit. He looks like Cesaro or John Cena now.
No music for Ciampa, but lots of boos and “you suck!” from the crowd. “We want Johnny” from the crowd, and Ciampa just absorbs it. The energy in this Atlanta venue is awful, they need to go back to FSU, which would be much louder right now.
Ciampa thinks about talking but gets booed. He looks at his crutch and raises his mic to his mouth to more boos. The crowd burts out into “we want Johnny” again. Ciampa loses his temper and throws the mic out of the ring, then goes and gets it and goes back into the ring. He drops it again and storms out of the ring. Some person in the ring is cracking me up with his mean mugging at Ciampa. Now Ciampa gets a “delete!” at him. “You’re so mean!” from someone ringside. Ciampa snatches a Gargano sign from someone in the audience, holds it up, and rips it. Gets his crutch and starts beating the shreds of paper until the crutch bends. Ciampa stomps off to the ramp as the camera surveys the bent crutch and shredding sign. More abuse is hurled at Ciampa, who holds his hands up.
[ J.J.’s Reax: This reminds me of the post-WrestleMania “promo” Roman Reigns did last year when he didn’t say a word and just got booed for about 3-5 minutes straight. Great work from Ciampa. ]
[Q3] Advertised for next week is Pete Dunne against Adam Cole for the UK Championship.
[ J.J.’s Reax: Why does Adam Cole deserve any kind of championship match? His record is a mess. ]
Next Week is Street Profits against Heavy Machinery and Sanity facing Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli in Dusty Rose Tag Team Classic matches.
(3) ALEISTER BLACK vs. KILLIAN DAIN – #1 Contender Match
Immediate dropkick puts Black into the turnbuckle and Dain covers for two. Percy Watson points out that regardless of who wins, NXT Champion Andrade Almas doesn’t want to face the winner. Black dodges inthe corner and his kicks then knees to drop Dain down. Moonsault off the turnbuckle to Dain ringside. [c]
Black is scoring points in the corner, but Dain pushes him off and flattens Black with a running crossbody, cover for two. Dain wraps Black in the ropes, hits a kick. Cover for two. Black tries to muscle out of a hold but Dain has a knee then a scoop slam. Splash for two. Another splash for two. Black starts to build some momentum. Springboard moonsault gets two. Black is heavily selling damage to his torso. Dain tries to throw Black out of the ring, but Black hands on and fights Dain off. Black of the top, gets caught in aclothesline from Dain for a nearfall. Black with some big kicks, but gets caught by Dain, then driven to the mat hard. Wasteland, senton, Vader Bomb, Black kicks out at the last moment. Dain can’t beleive it. Dain looks for an Electric Chair, Black rolls down, covers for two, Black Mass, and Black is the number one contender.
Winner: Aleister Black in 9:24. Black remains “undefeated as a singles competitor”. I feel like NXT is running out of things to do for Black, and I don’t think the time is right to take the title off Almas yet. This match was solid but it never really felt like it came out of second gear. There was a hot opening but the moment just was not sustained at all.
Despite it being about 10 minutes sooner than usual, NXT is done right at the end of the third quarter.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A rather limp episode here. It doesn’t feel like we are building towards Takeover: New Orleans at all, which should be the biggest or second biggest show of the year comparable only to Takeover: Brooklyn.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 2/28 NXT TV Report: Velveteen Dream vs. Tyler Bate, Kairi Sane vs. Baszler, Cole vs. Bononi, plus Andrade & Vega