SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
This week’s episode was somewhat lackluster as there was not that much action that could constitute as explosive. We received news of the fate of the Tomasso Ciampa-Johnny Gargano feud to begin the show in addition to two Dusty Rhodes Classic Tag Team Tournament qualifying matches and a major announcement. The announcement of a new championship title was probably the highlight of the night as it really got the crowd fired up. We also saw a couple of altercations between some of the competitors for the upcoming NXT Takeover as well as the return of a major star, so with that being said, let’s proceed into this week’s hits and misses.
Announcement of Tomasso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano at NXT: New Orleans: As a frustrated Tomasso Ciampa made his way into Full Sail Arena at the beginning of the program, he approached William Regal expressing his frustration with Johnny Gargano stalking him, which is quite ironic and funny. We have seen on social media how Gargano is showing up at all different places to confront Ciampa, at “his work”, at his house at 3 A.M., etc. Regal then told Ciampa that they will have an unsanctioned match at NXT Takeover: New Orleans since Gargano is no longer employed by NXT and that if Gargano wins he would be reinstated, but if he loses, he will be banished forever (which I thought he already was). This is going to be interesting to see, as we really don’t know what will happen in this unsanctioned match, but from my guess anything goes and by the way these two have been going at it, it is surely to be fantastic.
William Regal’s announcement of the new North American Championship: This without a doubt was the highlight of the evening. Throughout the program various entrants were announced for a qualifying ladder match at NXT Takeover: New Orleans. The first entrant made his presence known as Ethan Carter III, also known as EC3, came to the ring to a big ovation, a catchy theme song and a stylish where he personally introduce himself to the Full Sail crowd. He arrogantly thanked William Regal for the opportunity to be apart of the NXT universe and for awarding him the North American Championship but was soon informed that nothing is given and that he would compete in the qualifying ladder match with five other competitors. EC3 went on to say that he would defeat the other competitors to prove why he is the best that NXT would have to offer.
The next competitor announced was Adam Cole and while doing so, Regal was interrupted by the Velveteen Dream who Regal also invited to participate as well. The Dream was quite pleased and left. After a squash match, Regal approached the returning Lars Sullivan and extended an invitation to him as well. Sullivan accepted but made it known that he wants to have at Killian Dain, who Regal announced would be the fifth competitor. It wasn’t until the end of the program that the last entrant was announced when Regal was asked who it would be, out from his office came none other than Ricochet, who did not have much to say as the crowd went wild chanting his name.
Overall it will be good to see NXT adding a secondary title (not considering the European Championship) to where it would not only add validity to some of the talent on the roster, but also give aspirations for some of the up and coming wrestlers to reach for, in addition to not having everyone compete for one title.
Andrade “Cien” Almas-Aleister Black Altercation: Following up on last week’s highly emotional and explosive promo, Andrade “Cien” Almas made right on his promise to make Aleister Black pay for “disrespecting” him. Almas beat Black from the parking lot all the way back into the arena to the ring where he continued his assault with a chair all the while being encouraged by Zelina Vega. I don’t believe we have ever seen this side of Almas to where it was definitely the opposite of “tranquilo” as he yelled insults at his soon to be championship opponent. This was good to see as it serves as a really good set up for their upcoming showdown to where it makes one wonder how Black will respond to this ferocious beat down.
Street Profits vs. Authors of Pain: This match was mainly disappointing due to its length, but also because of the action, or lack there of. It was very short and one would expect different as we just saw these two teams compete not too long ago. There were glimpses of hope when the match started with the testy exchange between Montez Ford and Rezar and the exchange between Angelo Dawkins and both members of AOP. But after being distracted by Paul Ellering, Ford was unable to come to his partner’s aide as AOP took advantage with the Final Chapter ending the match. As good as AOP are, it would have been great to see some new faces in the finals match of the Dusty Rhodes classic as they just won it last year. In fact their tenure in NXT is long overdue, as they should have already been called up to the main roster. This is where new fresh teams are desperately needed (especially Raw where they would fit right in). The Street Profits would have made great finalists as they are on a hot streak and are really over with the crowd.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: NXT HITS & MISSES 3/21: Tommaso Ciampa speaks, Adam Cole vs. Ohno, Dusty Rhodes Classic Tournament