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NXT TV TAPING REPORT
MAY 9, 2018
ORLANDO, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
REPORT BY TOM STOUP, PWTORCH CORRESPONDENT
Security’s presence in the sweltering direct sunlight outside Full Sail Live has already tapered compared to last month, but fans are still buzzing about the “superfan” disruption that preceded the March tapings.
Ricochet’s new shirt has been added to the most prominent display at the merch truck alongside shirts for the current champions, Johnny Gargano, the Velveteen Dream, and the NXT brand.
It’s always fun to spot wrestlers at the food trucks. In the past it’s been common to see an Ealy brother buying a sandwich. This month Kavita Devi was spotted filling up prior to the event.
Inside, a fan passed out “NX3” signs he printed himself. The referees took the stage for a group picture. Speculation prevails that Drake Wuertz will join the main roster following these tapings.
Before introducing Percy Watson, Nigel McGuinness, and Mauro Ranallo, Kayla Braxton announced that we would see Ricochet vs. the Velveteen Dream, as well as Oney Lorcan, Danny Burch, & Pete Dunne vs. “all three members of the Undisputed Era,” ECIII “in action,” Shayna Baszler defending her championship, and Aleister Black “in the house.”
(A) Lio Rush pinned Marcel Barthel in a dark match to become the #1 contender for the NXT North American Championship.
Rush did not enter with Babatunde. He began the match mocking Barthel, who repeatedly declared, “Nein!” Barthel hung as well as he could with Rush’s agile offense, eventually falling to a frog splash.
Tommaso Ciampa entered to Johnny Gargano’s music, declaring Gargano won the battle but he himself had won the war. He went on to say Gargano is sitting at home in a neck brace, his spirit and body broken. Candice LeRae entered in casual attire to no music, and asked Ciampa who he is. She said she is done shedding tears because of him, and the unforgivable monster he’s become. She declared, “You know Johnny is better than you,” and dropped the mic. Ciampa said she may be right, but he is twice the man Gargano is. He mocked the crowd’s derision. He left after LeRae cut his continued insults off with a slap, waving and mouthing, “I win.”
(1) Lacey Evans pinned Brandi Lauren.
Evans entered to new music, and dominated her opponent. She looked to have victory in hand with a moonsault, but broke her own pin to fit in one final devastating forearm.
As Evans celebrated, Kairi Sane attacked her. Sane tried to hit an insane elbow but Evans rolled out of the way and escaped.
(2) Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream ended in a no contest.
Ricochet mocked Dream’s gyrations amidst a feeling out process that breached the controversial territory of Ricochet’s showy repertoire.
Lars Sullivan charged in, avalanching both Ricochet and Dream in to a turnbuckle. He hurled Ricochet across the ring, and slammed Dream to the mat. Sullivan posed for the hard cam, motioning for a belt around his waist.
(3) Kona Reeves pinned Raul Mendoza.
Reeves entered to new music. He took his time removing his jacket and jewelry – including an earring. He worked Mendoza’s left arm, frequently reminding everyone that he is “the finest.” Mendoza tried to fight through Reeves’ mat game, but Reeves kept his resilient opponent grounded. Reeves shut down Mendoza’s comeback and hit a Samoan drop before twirling to find the hard cam for his victorious pin.
(4) The team of Pete Dunne, Danny Burch, & Oney Lorcan defeated Undisputed Era via pinfall.
Burch & Lorcan entered with a new team tron graphic, assuredly triggered by Burch’s official signing this past week. Burch and Kyle O’Reilly started things off with competitive mat work after Cole and Dunne tagged out to delay their encounter. Undisputed Era tagged in and out, isolating Burch in their corner. Roderick Strong taunted Dunne, and paid the price when Dunne managed to tag in and take it to his former partner. The four on the apron charged the ring, and each of the British wrestlers simultaneously snapped the fingers of their opponents. As order was reestablished, the heels managed to isolate the WWE UK Champ. Dunne finally fought through the onslaught and gave the hot tag to Lorcan. Lorcan relentlessly struck O’Reilly and Strong, and dove on to Cole on the outside. Following a wild brawl, Burch found himself alone. Burch kicked out of a close near fall, and instigated a scenario in which all members of the Undisputed Era were caught in submission holds. Strong broke free from a single-leg Boston crab and kicked Lorcan in to the other four wrestlers to break out of the predicament. Dunne suplexed Cole to the outside, but Cole hung on to the Bruiserweight and snapped Dunne’s neck on the rope. Headbutts from Lorcan and Burch rained down upon O’Reilly and Strong, and Burch pinned O’Reilley after an assited DDT. Burch & Lorcan enthusiastically celebrated the hard-won, long-awaited victory.
Jonathan Coachman, in an NXT shirt, welcomed adulation as he was shown to a front row seat.
Kayla Braxton announced a rematch between Lacey Evans and Kairi Sane, and a handicap match between Lars Sullivan and the team of Ricochet and the Velveteen Dream.
(1) TM61 defeated Heavy Machinery via pinfall.
Otis Dozovic cut off the ring to nullify Miller & Thorne’s quick tags. Knight tied Thorne’s legs up in the turnbuckle, and he and Dozovic drilled him using Miller as a human battering ram. Miller & Thorne managed to recover and isolate Knight. Dozovic managed a hot tag and cleared house, hitting the worm in the process. Nevertheless, Miller & Thorne managed to fell the brutes by pinning Dozovic in the same manner they defeated the Street Profits – Thorne leveraged his pin attempt with the ropes with an assist from Miller on the outside.
(2) Lacey Evans pinned Kairi Sane.
Sane wasted no time bringing the heat to Evans, who responded with a sickening chop. Kairi chopped in turn, and shouted defiantly in Evan’s pained face. Evans worked Sane’s left arm, wringing the smaller competitor about as she pleased and causing Sane to lose a hair extension. Sane fought back, hitting an interceptor and losing a second hair extension in the process. She applauded the referee for clearing the ring of the hair. Sane hit a kabuki elbow to the outside, but back in the ring when she went for a second elbow Evans countered with her powerful forearm. Evans easily collected the pinfall, and Sane remained down for an extended period as the referee checked on the defeated Sane while keeping Evans at bay.
Candice LeRae led a dejected Johnny Gargano to the ring. Gargano wore a neck brace, and calmly addressed the extreme physical pain he feels from his recent encounter with Tommaso Ciampa. He said he’s wrestled his whole life, but it’s time to start thinking about his and his family’s future. He questioned whether it’s all worth it, and hid the mic behind his back to quietly consult with his wife. He tore the brace off and said, “You know what, yeah, it’s worth it!” He called out Ciampa to finish things right then and there. Ciampa entered, swearing he would indeed finish it. Referees held Gargano back as Ciampa took the ring, and LeRae pleaded with him to relent. Ciampa egged Gargano on once more, saying, “Be a good little boy, Johnny!” From the ramp Gargano ran to the apron, ate an elbow from Ciampa, and fell backward on top of LeRae. Doctors, along with Nigel McGuinness, tended to the fallen LeRae as Ciampa slinked away.
(1) Vanessa Borne pinned Stephanie Newell.
As soon as Borne found an opening, she repeatedly slammed the rehabbed Newell’s head in to the mat. Newell retaliated with arm drags and a head scissors. Borne viciously targeted Newell’s left arm. Newell mounted a comeback, favoring her arm, and scored a near fall with a splash from the top turnbuckle. Borne hit her finisher for the win.
Dakota Kai appeared on screen being interviewed about an upcoming championship match, and her history with Shayna Baszler. She discussed the bittersweet feeling of achieving this milestone but having to achieve it against a bully like Baszler. Baszler confronted Kai, assuring her the story will end with Kai unconscious.
(2) Lars Sullivan defeated the team of Ricochet and the Velveteen Dream via pinfall.
Ricochet appeared skeptical as he permitted Dream to start the match. Sullivan quickly chucked Dream back to Dream’s corner, and Ricochet was tagged in. As the partners conferred, Sullivan welcomed both of them at once. The referee tolerated the double team for a short time, but nothing seemed to keep the big man prone for long. Dream and Ricochet looked like first-time lumberjacks trying to fell a centuries-old redwood. Sullivan had his way with Dream, clubbing him to the mat each time he clamored for a tag. Sullivan began going for pins, drawing Ricochet back in to the action. Sullivan’s sights on Ricochet, the diversion finally allowed Dream to tag out. A mostly fresh Ricochet reversed the match’s momentum, scoring a near fall from a running shooting star press. Ricochet cleared Sullivan from the ring with a 450, but Dream sacrificed his partner by hitting him with a cartwheel Death Valley driver and leaving him to eat a Freak Accident from Sullivan for the decision. As Sullivan celebrated, he yelled, “Who’s the man, Full Sail?”
(3) Kassius Ohno pinned Chad Lail.
The former Gunner kept things even with the hard-hitting Ohno until Ohno chained together several signature power moves – including an incredibly impactful senton – and won with an elbow to the back of Lail’s head.
(4) War Raiders defeated a tag team via pinfall.
Hanson & Rowe treated their competition like crash test dummies, hitting power move after power move. Their signature double team finisher mercifully put the one-sided affair away.
Lacey Evans appeared on screen to address Kairi Sane having requested a rubber match. She said she will appear before the dirty people at Full Sail once more, and deliver one more “women’s right.”
(5) ECIII pinned Fabian Aichner.
Aichner mounted an encouraging assault, but was shut down when ECIII toppled a springboard attempt.
Johnny Gargano stormed in, grabbed a mic, and held up a contract. He declared, “This is a signed contract for Ciampa/Gargano II! A street fight at TakeOver: Chicago!”
Aichner sprang from the top rope to the outside on to ECIII, soaring startlingly high. In the ring, ECIII hit a spinning cutter and rotated to face the hard cam and polish off his victory.
(6) Kairi Sane pinned Lacey Evans.
Evans feigned the offer of a handshake at the bell. Her outfit changes throughout her busy night did not go unnoticed, and Sane sported a fresh get-up, as well. Sane again brought the aggression straight to Evans, targeting that dangerous right forearm. Evans wore Sane down, going after the left arm again and even swinging Sane in circles while maintaining a submission hold. Sane’s wily offense continued to come up short against Evans’ power. Evans attempted a cocky near fall while doing a push-up on Sane. Evans impressively springboarded to the top rope and missed a moonsault when Sane rolled out of the way. Sane rallied with interceptors, and scored a near fall with a kabuki elbow before locking a hold on Evans’ right arm. Sane put away the trilogy against her latest rival with an insane elbow.
Aleister Black said his life since winning the NXT Championship has “been a trip, man.” He knows there is a dispute over his next challenger, but he only needs one shot to make whomever it is fade to black. Lars Sullivan entered to declare the dispute is over, and that William Regal has named Sullivan as Black’s challenger for TakeOver: Chicago. Sullivan presented a detailed claim that he is unlike anyone else Black has faced in Black’s 16 years wrestling around the world. Sullivan thrust his mitt upon Black’s neck, and deftly caught the resulting Black Mass attempt. He looked hungrily at Black’s foot, pulled the champion in and delivered a thunderous Freak Accident. Sullivan held the title belt high over the fallen Black. Once Sullivan departed, Black struggled to his feet and exited with a sour look on his face.
Kayla Braxton hyped Dakota Kai challenging Shayna Baszler, and threw an autographed NXT shirt to “the loudest fan.”
(1) Shayna Baszler submitted Dakotai Kai to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.
This was Baszler’s first match at Full Sail since the Mae Young Classic. Baszler tormented Kai, and stomped on Kai’s left foot. Kai slapped Baszler, but took a knee to the face in response. Baszler worked an ankle lock, but Kai found the rope. Kai finally found an opening to deliver a variety of kicks, but when she went for the sunset flip set-up for her finisher Baszler slid her in to a chokehold for the win.
As Baszler went to inflict further damage on her victim, Nikki Cross ran in and stared Baszler down. Baszler left, but Cross ran after her and swiped the title from Baszler’s shoulder. Cross said if Baszler wants the belt back, the two of them could wrestle for it right then and there. As Baszler tried to translate Cross’ crazy suggestion in her mind, Cross hit a neckbreaker, covered the champion, and had Dakota Kai count to three. Cross wildly celebrated all over Full Sail Live – in the stands, up the ramp, on the announce desk – as if she had actually won the title. She finally laid the belt down and took her leave. Baszler went to collect her title, and glared at the audience trying to pinpoint hecklers.