NXT TV REPORT
APRIL 4, 2018
TAPED IN ATLANTA, GA. AT CENTRE STAGE
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY JUSTIN JAMES, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
[Q1] Pre-credits, Charly Caruso is here to recap the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. She confirms the rumors that Bobby Fish has been injured and not cleared to wrestle yet. No word on the timeline or how this will effect Takeover: New Orleans. Tonight’s episode starts with Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong taking on The Authors of Pain in the finals of the tournament.
(1) THE AUTHORS OF PAIN (AKAM & REZAR w/Paul Ellering) vs. RODERICK STRONG & UK Champion PETE DUNNE – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Championship Final Match
The placement of this match suggests either a screwy finish or a very, very long match.
Akam immediately tosses Strong into the AOP corner and tags Rezar. Strong ends up on the mat and backs into the corner, Dunne is happy to tag in. Dunne manages to not get manhandled by Rezar heading into break. [c]
Dunne gets wrangled into AOP’s corner as the break ends. Dunne is struggle to get traction but ugly knees from Akam take Dunne down. Dunne is covering up on the mat, never looking this vulnerable ever on NXT TV. As Dunne takes traditional style tag team offense, Nigel McGuinness raises the possibility of Adam Cole defending the NXT Tag Team Championship at Takeover in Fish’s place. He doesn’t mention that Sanity frequently set th eprecedent for the Freebird Rule in NXT. Dunne finally gets a tag in to Strong. Strong goes on hot tag offense, looking brilliant against Akam and Rezar. Strong uses momentum off the ropes and his agility to rock rezar, and he keeps Akam out of the ring.
Strong is getting a good reaction, Olympic Slam to the monstrous Rezar nets two. Dunne has recovered and asks for the tag. Running enziguri from Dunne, he hits a top rope doulbe stomp to Rezar’s back for a nearfall. Dunne stomps the head, wants a triangle, Rezar picks him up, tags in Akam, double team move but Strong breaks it up. Strong low bridges Rezar. Blind tag from Strong, they deliver a team finisher, but Rezar makes the save. A high knee and enziguri combo takes Akam and Reza down, but they recover and both hit Big Boots to Dunne and Strong. Just when you think the match is about to head to an end, Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole run out to attack both teams and cause a no contest. Well, a “double disqualification” according to the ring announcer.
No Contest at 8:49. Super hot match until the dirty end. Would gladly see this in a 15 or so minute match. Remember when the idea of seeing a big man tag team in WWE prompted eye rolling, not the desire to see them in 15 minute matches? The Authors of Pain have re-written the book on big-men tag teams in WWE, much as the Four Horsewomen and Paige forced WWE’s women on the main roster to change dramatically.
William Regal’s music hits just as Cole and O’Reilly are backing up the ramp. Regal calls them “smart” but not “smart enough”. He books a triple threat for Takeover, and the winner is both the winner of the Dusty Rhodes Classic and the NXT Tag Team Championship.
[ J.J.’s Reax: Why should Undisputed Era potentially be the winners of the Dusty Rhodes Championship? ]
Video package on the new North American Championship, and the ladder match at Takeover to determine the first winner of it. Short speaking clips and wrestling samples from each to tell us what threats they are.
Hype package on Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano. Recap of their journey through NXT and how they came up together, the betrayal from Ciampa, Gargano’s rise then sudden fall from the top. And Ciampa’s rage against Gargano, and surprise return a few weeks ago, prompting the unsanctioned match where Gargano is either “banished” or gets his job back.
[Q2] Time for a change of pace, with Kairi Sane coming out. I just realized that the lyrics to her song are actually “yo ho, ho ho ho ho” like a pirate. She is facing Vanessa Borne. This is a good opportunity for Borne to make a few minutes, though Sane should be winning here (assuming Shayna Baszler does not decide to make her mark on the match).
(2) KAIRI SANE vs. VANESSA BORNE
Impressive waistlock takeover from Borne. Now a wristlock. Sane does some gymnastics to escape then throw Borne. Sane dazzles, looking very fluid and smooth. They trade pin attempt, slick jacknife cover. Sane runs into a flapjack. Cover for Borne gets one. Corner offense gets Borne two. Sane rallies and hits the Interceptor spear. Borne stumbles into the corner, Sane fires up her sliding knee to Borne in the corner, Sane up top to hit an elbow to Borne. Quick camera change disguises the poor hit. Borne cuts off Sane’s Insane Elbow and meets Sane up top. Borne almost in a Tree of Woe but holds the ropes, Sane double stomps her, Insane Elbow, cover, three.
Winner: Kairi Sane in 4:15. Good match, but Borne got a bit more offense than she needed to. It says something that my default assumption is that Shayna Baszler will interrupt any given women’s match on NXT now.
Backstage faux interview with Lacey Evans. She says she cannot do anything as long as “societal trash” is roaming NXT. She tells us that as a mother and former Marine she has worked hard to set the standard, but psychos like Nikki Cross are around. Evans disses Ember Moon, says that she has never shown the strength of a woman. She ignores Dakota Kai and Kairi Sane.
Regal is outside, and Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly yell at Regal. Cole wants to know why he is in both matches. Regal says that Cole can compete in both matches, O’Reilly can wrestle on his own, or Cole can withfraw from the ladder match. “You’re Undisputed Era, you’re small, you’ll figure it out.” Regal is so priceless. If Triple H is the father of NXT, Dusty Rhodes was the heart of NXT, Regal is the brain of NXT, he makes this thing work in so many ways.
Package on the NXT Championship match between Andrade “Cien” Almas and Aleister Black. Black says that he is deluded. Zelina Vega acknowledges that Black got into their heads, but just as she is trying to say they are past it, Almas explodes in anger at the interviewers.
[ J.J.’s Reax: There are a ton of things I don’t like about the booking here, but there is a lot of good stuff here too, showing how Black has been able to play mindgames with Vega and Almas. ]
[Q4] Quick recap of last week’s backstage fight between Ember Moon and Shayna Baszler. In a sit down setting Moon says that Baszler dissed a coach and she isn’t sorry for the fight. Baszler doesn’t do things right like the champion should, and Ember does. She ends the feud on Saturday.
Lacey Evans vs. Kairi Sane is billed for next week.
(3) KILLIAN DAIN vs. LARS SULLIVAN
Not much time at all in the episode for this match. Double countout or double DQ ending? Dain and Sullivan show off their size and strength. Sullican and Dain take big shots from each other with a grin. Monster strikes from Sullivan, big boot sends Sullivan outside, he drags Dain under the ropes and crushes him against the apron. [c]
Sullivan is beating Dain to the mat. “Dain attacking the body like it was filled with candy” – Ranallo. Belfast Blitz, Sullivan gets knees up on a Vader Bomb. Sick lariat. Sullivan to the top rope, Dain meets him here. Headbutt sends them both to the outside. Velveteen Dream runs out, with a new look of corn rows, heads to the top. Then Adam Cole comes out. Dream jumps into the ring and they pose at each other. EC3 is out in dress clothes. Dain and Sullivan come out to menace the smaller men. Ricochet runs out and flips into the ring. Cole seems annoyed. No match decision announced as the episode goes off air.
WINNER: No contest? Double countout? at 7:30. Really super fun action here. Dain – Sullivan could be a Takeover match for sure.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Well-executed episode to set up Takeover: New Orleans. This is looking like a typical Takeover with a couple of hot matches and some with less interesting booking, but the overall package will be surely impressive.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 3/28 NXT TV Report: Regal’s big announcement, debut of EC3 in NXT, AOP vs Profits, Dunne & Strong vs. Sanity, Lars Sullivan returns
CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S PWTORCH LIVECAST “MAKING THE LIST” FEATURING THE 7 BADDEST WOMEN IN PRO WRESTLING on STITCHER or search “PWTorch” on your podcast app.