4/22 NXT in Johnstown, Pa.: Aleister & Ricochet vs. Black & Dream, Kairi & Nikki Cross vs. Baszler & Evans, plus Ciampa, No Way Jose, EC3

Velveteen Dream arrested again
Velveteen Dream (art credit Joel Tesch © PWTorch)


APRIL 22, 2018

Opening video featuring Triple H welcoming us to NXT.

(1) No Way Jose beat Chad Lail. Basic opener.  No Way Jose was quite over.  They both looked good, and Jose won with his toss up knockout punch, which is about as impressive a finisher as Bad Luck Fale’s Grenade.  So not in the slightest.

(2) Candice Le Rae beat Bianca Belair. This was surprisingly my favorite match of the night.  Both of these women looked great, and Belair can hold her military press slam forever.  Candice picked up the pin, I believe after a top rope missile dropkick.

A backstage promo was shown with EC3 making an open challenge.

(3) EC3 beat Kassius Ohno. Decent match.  EC3 won after a Diamond Cutter.

(4) The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) beat The Forgotten Sons (Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler). Really good tag team match.  Street Profits won after Dawkins powerbombed both of the Forgotten Sons who were attempting to superplex Ford, followed by Ford with a frog splash.

Backstage promo with Zelina Vega, Andrade Cien Almas and the Velveteen Dream promoting their tag match later, which the ring announcer explained was against Aleister Black and a mystery partner.

(5) Kari Sane & Nikki Cross beat Shayna Baszler & Lacey Evans when Sane pinned Evans. Wow, Nikki Cross is over.  Like, Johnstown went crazy for her.  (Fitting.)  All the women got respectable pops.  This match was good while it lasted, but the ending seemed to come out of nowhere as Sane pinned Evans.  Baszler was lying on the apron right in front of me, partially blocking my view, but it seemed like perhaps Evans didn’t kick out when she was supposed to causing a premature end to the match.  It really came out of nowhere, much like an RKO.  Shayna was catching her breath on the apron and I really don’t think it was the scheduled finish.  After the three count you could hear the ref saying “No, that’s it” while signaling for the bell.  Afterwards, Nikki and Kari did Sane’s corner periscope pose, then Cross tried to get Sane to go crazy with her, but Sane broke down laughing at the idea.  Fun, but really short.

(6) Tommaso Ciampa beat Oney Lorcan. Ciampa had some serious heat.  Good, hard hitting match up, and Oney got in a lot of offense, including his half and half suplex.  Ciampa got the win, and continued going after Oney after the bell, with the bell, causing Johnny Gargano, in a neck brace, to make the save.  The locker room partially emptied to separate the two mortal enemies.  One note, Oney got helped to the back during the post match angle, and I’m not sure if he was still selling or if he actually got his bell rung pretty good.

(7) Aleister Black & Ricochet beat Andrade “Cien” Almas (w/Zelina Vega) & Velveteen Dream. Vega is stunning in person, and has a great act during matches, even when she isn’t interfering.  Everyone got star pops, but Ricochet was in a class of his own.  The match was short for a main event.  Good work, but wasn’t much too it.  Black won with the Black Mass.  Post match, Ricochet and Black shook hands, and Ricochet motioned that he wants the NXT title eventually.  He then left the ring, leaving Black to soak in the last cheers of the night.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I paid about $100 for my ticket in the second row.  The six seats in front of me at ringside were empty until intermission, when I moved up along with half my row.  Hopefully some scalper got stuck with them, since no ticket closer than the 5th row was available for purchase at bell time.  Bell time was at 5 p.m. and there was an intermission, yet I was still in my car driving home at 7:45 p.m., another thing that makes me think the women’s tag match ended early.  Was a bit disappointed not to see Undisputed Era or War Machine, but quite happy Almas and Vega were there after being called up to Smackdown.  I had a good time, and I’ll definitely see NXT live again, but I really wish we would have gotten the other house show line up that is alternating with this one, with Ricochet vs. Dream and Black vs. Almas.  It was a decent crowd that was lively, but there was an obnoxious drunk in my section that really detracted from the experience, especially with insults towards Belair and the Forgotten Son, and inappropriate love for Lacey Evans.  I think he made a homophobic comment at Dream as well, but I just caught Dream’s come back at him, not the original comment.

NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS REPORT: 4/21 WWE in Johannesburg, South Africa: Reigns and Strowman team together in main event, Miztourage, Asuka vs. Banks vs. Bayley, Matt Hardy & Bray vs. Gallows & Anderson

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