KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (11/14)
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NXT TV REPORT
MARCH 28, 2018
TAPED IN ATLANTA, GA. AT CENTRE STAGE
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY JUSTIN JAMES, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
[Q1] “Earlier today” shots of Tommaso Ciampa getting out of his car and just leaving it in front of FSU. Fans boo him. He stonewalls a reporter, then catches up to William Regal. Ciampa berates Regal for letting Johnny Gargano show up at NXT and even blames Regal for Gargano show up at his house. Regal apologizes. Ciampa wants to know what he has to do to get rid of Gargano. Regal books a match at Takeover: New Orleans, but of course it is unsanctioned. Regal adds the stipulation that if Gargano wins, he is back in NXT, and if Ciampa wins, Gargano is “banished” from NXT, but Ciampa has to do it himself.
Mauro Ranallo starts his spiel with a crowd-pleasing “Mama Mia!” in shock at the news.
NXT officially starts with William Regal coming to the ring. He talks about NXT being the best in-ring competition around the world. NXT needs the best from around the world. As a result, he is introducing the NXT North American Championship at Takeover: New Orleans. He talks up the UK Championship having shown the best of the UK. Then EC3 comes out in a suit, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. He is definitely not here to talk about “chicks, and America” that’s for sure. Huge reaction for EC3. He chooses to “bask in the moment”. EC3 gets the cheap “hottest brand in sports entertainment” pop. He thanks Regal for the lucrative contract and great theme song. But he didn’t know that Regal was so logical to create a new championship and give it to EC3 on is very first day. “NX3” chant from the crowd. He keeps thanking Regal. And of course North America is the best region in the world.
Regal eventually cuts EC3 off and says that no one at NXT is handed anything. He recognizes EC3’s talents. He calls EC3 “one of the very best in this region” as he has already proven, and puts EC3 in a 6 man ladder match for the new North American Championship. EC3 doesn’t seem to thrilled, but the crowd is. They thank Regal. EC3 says he will prove why he is the top 1% of the industry, and shakes Regal’s hand.
[ J.J.’s Reax: I loved him when he was Derrick Bateman, and I haven’t seen him since then. But I can’t quite quite get his character here. He comes off as a heel in so many of his mannerisms, but then presents as a face at the last moment. ]
Charly Caruso summarizes the current status of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Dunne and Strong face Sanity tonight. Up next, The Authors of Pain face Street Profits.
[Q2] Backstage, TM61 talk about what they need to do to succeed. There is an altercation in the Performance Center in the training area, a brawl between Shayna Baszler and Ember Moon. Baszler gets the better of it until they are pried apart.
(1) THE STREET PROFITS (MONTEZ FORD & ANGELO DAWKINS) vs. THE AUTHORS OF PAIN (AKAM & REZAR w/Paul Ellering) – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Finals Match
Let’s hope Ford is smart enough to not offer a sip of his drink to Akam or Rezar this time. Ford jaws at Rexar, who paintbrushes him and shouts in what is likely Dutch (his home country). Dawkins tags in so Rezar nails him with stiff needs to the middle. A dropkick gives Dawkins a sudden burst of momentum. Popup spinebuster to Rezar. Ford goes nuts ringside, but is nowhere near in palce for a tag. Ford and Ellering have a staredown. Ford sips his cup and jumps, then offers it to Ellering. Ellering teases taking it and sipping, but slaps it out of Ford’s hand. Ellering warns Ford away, and as Dawkins is engrossed by the drama, he gets ambushed by Akam and Rezar, they land the Last Chapter to win the match.
WINNERS: The Authors of Pain in 2:31. With Ford’s antics almost costing them their match against Heavy Machinery and costing them the match tonight, is it time to see a more serious Street Profits? I’m strongly pulling for Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong to win against Sanity, because seeing them face AOP sounds great.
Post-match, Ford looks contemplative as Dawkins checks his jaw.
Cathy Kelley is outside of Regal’s office. Regal books Adam Cole as the next entrant in the ladder match. Velveteen Dream comes in, “you look well.” “I know.” Great interaction. Dream talks about how adding him to the match would make it a great match. Regal agrees that Dream has done well and adds him to the match. Dream says that Regal broke ground by introducing a new championship, and “set the stage” by adding Dream.
Lars Sullivan is up next. One has to assume that he will be in that ladder match too.
I feel like they have tweaked Sullivan’s entrance a bit to make him look even more intimidating.
[Q3] (2) LARS SULLIVAN vs. JOHN SILVER
Sullivan just picks Silver apart. He throws Silver into the corner like a softball. silver is dead weight. Overhead press into a powerslam. Sullivan to the top, diving headbutt. Freak Accident.
WINNER: Lars Sullivan in 1:35. Sullivan hasn’t lost a beat. In fact, he has come back looking even more dangerous and vicious. The press into the body slam was especially impressive. Sullivan continues to be one of my favorites on the NXT roster.
Cathy Kelley walking in the hallway, and she sees Regal again. She asks if he has any other names. There’s Lars Sullivan. Regal congratulates him on the win, and invites him to the ladder match. Sullivan says it sounds great, and uses some big words to assure destruction. Not just with his hands, but with a ladder. Sullivan wants Killian Dain before then. Regal says that Dain is in the ladder match too, and books Sullivan to face Dain next week on NXT. Sullivan is thrilled.
Dakota Kai comes out to some nice applause. The camera cuts to the parking area, where NXT Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas is beating the tar out of Aleister Black, and being encouraged by Zelina Vega. Black is pretty messed up and his clothes are ripped. Almas tries to drown him in a chest of ice water, smashes him into numerous doors, and beats him into the arena. Almas rolls Black into the ring and gets a chair.The ref bails as Almas beats Black with the chair. Almst sets the chair on top of Black and holds the championship in Black’s face. Black looks knocked out. As Almas storms off, referees pour out from the back to check on Black. Black slowly recovers in the ring.
So much for Dakota Kai’s match.
[Q4] Sanity makes their entrance. It’s just Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe tonight.
(3) SANITY (ERIC YOUNG and ALEXANDER WOLFE) vs. UK Champion PETE DUNNE & RODERICK STRONG – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Finals Match
Wolfe and Strong lockup, but Strong gets the advantage on the mat. Wolfe shoves out of a headlock. Body slam from Wolfe, Dunne comes in and Young does too. The referee kicks them out. They both tag. Dunne gets the better of Young, sharp kick to the arm, drawing Wolfe and Strong in. Wolfe blind tags in, and boots Dunne as Young has Dunne in an abdominal stretch. [c]
Wolfe and Young are double teaming Dunne out of the break for a two count. Strong tags in. Loud chops from Dunne and Strong. They deliver some double team offense of their own. Dunne starts to work Young’s arm in his special way. Young slips away from Dunne for a moment, but a leaping stomp on the arm, then a body scissors into a wrist lock on the arm, but Young transitions to a suplex to break Dunne off. Double tags. Strong and Wolfe land a big series of strikes. European uppercut to Strong, Strong slips out of a fireman’s carry, but a distraction from Young lets Wolfe get a big German Suplex, Death Valley Driver for a very close nearfall. Tag to Young, some sort of weak souble team move, but Dunne makes the save. Dunne and Wolfe brawl a bit, Wolfe to the top, but he eats a big right from Dunne. Running jumping neckbreaker from Young to Dunne. Young up top, Strong meets him there. Strong sets up a superplex, Young blocks and hits a gordbuster, then the big elbow from the top, Strong kicks out. Strong is selling severe pain as Young argues with the ref. Strong kicks Young off him on the ropes, backbreaker, cover but Wolfe breaks it up. Wolfe ducks an enziguri from Dunne,the action gets a bit nuts. Double team move from Dunne and Strong to Young wins the match.
WINNERS: Pete Dunne & Rodering Strong. This match never felt like it was telling a story. Didn’t really care much for it, but the right team won here.
Cathy Kelley knocks on Regal’s door, and he emerges. She asks who #6 is. He says that he finalized the last competitor, closes the door, and out comes Ricochet.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Really strong episode here, packed with the big announcement of the new championship and the 6 man ladder match. All of the right people are in it, and a strong case can be made for any of them holding a new title and giving it credibility and legitimacy. My one concern: is NXT a long enough show to have a secondary men’s title?
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 3/21 NXT TV Report: Adam Cole vs. Kassius Ohno, Aliyah vs. Ember Moon, Dusty Rhodes Classic Tag Team Tournament