KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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NXT TV TAPINGS
MARCH 7, 2018
ORLANDO, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
REPORT BY TOM STOUP, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
NXT event staff passed out Johnny Gargano signs before belltime. PWTorch was able to confirm the signs were produced by WWE NXT and not brought by a fan.
Fans were buzzing about having seen Bobby Fish on crutches outside. Jeremy Borash was spotted near the announce desk.
(A) No Way Jose defeated Marcel Barthel in a dark match. The pair worked their usual house show comedy spots, including Marcel shouting “Nein!” at the audience while working a headlock.
A Tommaso Ciampa promo from the Center Stage tapings was shown on screen. Instead of talking, Ciampa dropped the mic and took a Johnny Gargano sign from a fan. He then struck the sign with his crutch. The crowd chanted “We Want Johnny” and sang “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” as Ciampa exited without the crutch.
Tommaso Ciampa entered the arena to no music, with his knee brace but no crutch. The crowd harassed him with “Johnny Wrestling” chants, and he responded by yelling “He’s gone!” Ciampa prowled the ringside area, glaring at fans and tearing up their signs.
Johnny Gargano burst from the crowd and flew at Ciampa. After landing a few strikes, the desperate Gargano was pulled away by security.
(1) Pete Dunne & Roderick Strong defeated Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan to advance in the Dusty Classic.
No explanation was offered as to why Dunne & Strong have replaced Mustache Mountain.
The stiff British style affair concluded when Strong delivered an End of Heartache to Burch.
(2) Ember Moon pinned Aliyah.
Shayna Baszler appeared on the stage and joined the commentary team. After Moon hit the Eclipse, she and Baszler stared each other down from their respective positions.
-Andrade “Cien” Almas attacked Raul Mendoza as Mendoza was making his way to the ring. With Zelina Vega, Almas took the mic and demanded respect as the champion. He called Aleister Black a “piece of crap.” He handled the heckling audience better in this segment than in his prior promos, and Vega did not speak at all.
-Three members of the Oakland Raiders were introduced at ringside. An “XFL” chant broke out.
(3) Adam Cole pinned Kassius Ohno.
Ohno wore his “Rocky”-inspired robe from TakeOver: Philadelphia to the ring. On the run from Ohno’s offense, Cole feigned an ankle injury, suckering his opponent in for a pele kick. The Cole we’ve been hearing about from the recent NXT tour then showed up, in a hotly contested exhibition rife with signature high spots. Cole plummeted to ringside after eating an elbow strike, giving him enough time to to regain his wits and counter Ohno’s subsequent pin attempt for a near fall. He then sequenced a neckbreaker with multiple superkicks, and finally a shining wizard for the fall.
Seemingly after the cameras had cut, Ohno acted dejected, shoving the steps and then a referee on his way out.
-William Regal entered with the Dusty Classic trophy now on the stage. Regal cited a need to recognize standard bearers, and announced the introduction of a “North American Championship” at TakeOver: New Orleans. No reference was made to historic titles of the same name. As Regal listed United Kingdom division wrestlers, Ethan Carter III interrupted him. ECIII was met with “One Percent” and “NX3” chants, and called his new theme song a “banger.” He said he should be awarded the new title on this, his first night.
Regal retorted, saying nothing is given in NXT. He called ECIII “one of the best talents in this region.” He then announced the title bout will be a six-person ladder match. ECIII mocked the resulting “Thank You Regal” chant, and said he’ll win the title because he is “the top one percent.”
(1) Authors of Pain (with Paul Ellering) defeated Street Profits via pinfall to advance in the Dusty Classic.
Akam and Montez Ford jawed at the bell. Ford tagged the bulkier Angelo Dawkins in, and was confronted by Paul Ellering at ringside. He offered Ellering his beverage only for Ellering to slap it out of his hand, but while he was distracted Dawkins became overpowered by both Akam and Rezar for a quick finish.
Ford helped his partner after the bell, but was distraught with himself for dropping the ball in a big spot.
(2) Pete Dunne & Roderick Strong defeated Sanity (Alexander Wolfe & Eric Young) via pinfall to advance in the Dusty Classic.
With frequent tags, Sanity isolated Dunne and slowed the pace to their liking. Sanity mostly dominated, scoring their closest near fall after an elbow drop from Young. Dunne and Strong rallied, and eventually Strong hurled Young at Dunne, who smoothly transitioned the assist in to a Bitter End for the fall.
(3) Lars Sullivan pinned Johnny Silver.
Sullivan hit a flying headbutt before delivering the Freak Accident to chalk up an easy victory.
-On screen, Andrade “Cien” Almas (with Zelina Vega) was shown attacking Aleister Black behind Full Sail during Dakota Kai’s entrance. Maintaining the upper hand on his unsuspecting prey, Almas fought Black in to the arena. Kai bailed out from the ring as Almas taunted the prone Black with the NXT Title. Mike Rome was spotted trotting away declaring, “I don’t want any of that!”
-For the live crowd, Dasha Fuentes and Mike Rome announced Adam Cole, Killian Dain, Velveteen Dream, Lars Sullivan, and Ricochet as the other five participants in the North American Championship ladder match at TakeOver: New Orleans.
(1) Velveteen Dream pinned Trent Seven.
No context was provided, but it would be easy to presume Dream had attacked Tyler Bate backstage, eliminating Mustache Mountain from the Dusty Classic and leading to this match.
Dream ridiculed Seven by comparing their physiques. He revealed a new corn row hairdo, and Seven threatened to throw the removed do-rag to the crowd. Dream protested, and Seven donned the headwear himself. Following a brief flurry from Seven, Dream dismissed the nonsense and took charge. Seven enjoyed a comeback, but a damaged back allowed Dream to collect the victory with a cartwheel Death Valley driver.
(2) Killian Dain and Lars Sullivan wrestled to a no contest.
The two brutes clobbered one another, spraying the front row in sweat and saliva. They reenacted “King Kong” by climbing the turnbuckle like the Empire State Building, and then toppling from it to the outside.
Velveteen Dream entered, and looked to be about to attempt a Purple Rainmaker on one of the felled monsters before Adam Cole made his way to the ring. ECIII then entered as Dain and Sullivan recovered, and the five faced one another down.
Ricochet entered to his music, springboarded off the ropes in to a backflip and landed in his familiar superhero pose. The six wrestlers stood off before a brawl ensued. After dumping Cole through the ropes, Ricochet was left alone in the ring and dove over the top rope on to the outside fray. He reentered the ring and hit his springboard pose once more.
(3) Kairi Sane pinned Vanessa Borne.
Vanessa held up against the gamut of Kairi’s offense, but fell to the diving elbow drop.
-To hype the crowd for the Dusty Classic finals, Dasha Fuentes and Mike Rome announced they would give away eight autographed NXT shirts to the eight “loudest fans.”
(1) Authors of Pain (with Paul Ellering) and Pete Dunne & Roderick Strong wrestled to a double disqualification in the Dusty Classic finals.
The action was hot and heavy right away, and the Authors isolated Dunne just as Sanity had. Strong got in and, temporarily eliminating Akam, took to Rezar with his signature strikes. Dunne & Strong hit their assisted Bitter End on Rezar but Akam broke it up. Dunne & Strong showed off their newfound chemistry as the Authors looked to rally, but Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly interfered.
William Regal took the stage, mentioned Bobby Fish’s injury in passing, and credited Undisputed Era for their wiles in trying to evade their upcoming title defense. He went on to clarify, however, that Cole and O’Reilly hadn’t been smart enough. Regal decreed that the tag team title match at TakeOver: New Orleans would now be a triple threat between the teams in question, and the victors would not only be the champions but also the winners of the Dusty Cup.
(2) Ricochet pinned Chris Dijak.
Ricochet wasted little time before hitting his backflip pose that bears no offensive advantage. The two NXT newcomers went on to make a loud statement with a lengthy back-and-forth showdown of contrasting styles that set the crowd on fire. Dijak’s biggest reaction was earned when he hurled his competition clear out of the ring. Ricochet finally put things away with a 630 senton.
Outside, Johnny Gargano awaited the fans and said, “I can do anything I want out here! I may not work for NXT, but I am NXT! And all these people, they are NXT!” He then redirected the mob to a less obstructive area and announced, “I want to meet everybody here! Now, no pushing – I’ll be here all night; I have nothing else to do!”
NOW CHECK OUT THIS RECENT REPORT: 3/4 NXT in Indianapolis, Ind.: Fish apparently injured and helped to back, Gargano vs. Almas sendoff, Aleister vs. Cole shine in stellar match, plus Velveteen, Lars, LaRae, Pat McAfee