5/10 NXT TV Taping Report from Orlando: Takeover Chicago comes in to focus, UK Tournament qualifying begins, Pete Dunne defends, several wrestlers make TV debuts

Full Sail University (photo credit Jim Valley)

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MAY 9, 2018

Just as Marcel Barthel stepping out to take a call in a fashionable dress shirt seemed to become the new high bar for wrestler sightings outside Full Sail Live, Drew Gulak suavely sauntered by looking incredibly sharp in a blue pinstripe suit and reflective aviators. Kavita Devi was again spotted at the food trucks, this time accompanied by Kairi Sane, Zeda, and Xia Li. Security personnel surrounded the diners. Triple H was openly chatting with Matt Bloom near the ticket line as fans filed in.

Inside, fans passed around homemade “NX3” signs.

Kayla Braxton announced that Adam Cole would defend the NXT North American Championship against Lio Rush, 205 Live wrestlers Jack Gallagher and Drew Gulak would face off in a United Kingdom Tournament qualifying match, Pete Dunne would defend his WWE United Kingdom Championship, and that War Raiders, Ricochet, ECIII, and Aleister Black were also “in the house.”

When announcers Percy Watson, Nigel McGuinness, and Mauro Ranallo were introduced, they entered to Ranallo’s theme.

(A) Kona Reeves pinned Raul Mendoza in a dark match. Reeves booted Mendoza out of the air when Mendoza went for a springboard. Reeves hit a Samoan drop to put the match away, looking quite pleased with himself in victory. Reeves appears to be taking an important step in his development by working consistently in front of NXT’s cameras, and although this is purely speculation it is possible this match was restaged from last night’s tapings for editing purposes.

(B) Adam Cole pinned Lio Rush to retain the NXT North American Championship in what appeared to be a dark match. Rush wore a white robe to the ring. Cole entered by himself. Cole and Rush’s familiarity with one another was on full display during the early sequences. Neither would sell for the others’ showboating, and they chained many well-practiced spots with admirable fluidity. Cole took the upper hand with a snap suplex, and called Rush a joke. Rush mounted a fiery comeback, leading to a near fall. As Cole looked to regain dominance, Rush nailed him with two consecutive suicide dives. On a third dive, Cole countered with a pele kick and achieved a close near fall with a shoulder breaker. Rush hit his frog splash, but Cole got a foot on the rope. Cole yanked Rush’s kneepad down, and kicked Rush loopy when he went to adjust it. Cole lowered his own kneepad and hit the Last Shot for the win.

Shayna Baszler interrupted “NXT” chants, and said she had used Dakota Kai to demonstrate exactly what happens when someone in the locker room stands up to her. She went on to say that Nikki Cross, however, doesn’t seem to feel the rules apply to her. Cross entered in familiar Sanity fashion, with no apparent intention of talking. Security instructed fans to be seated while Baszler taunted Cross with the query, “Are you crazy?” Baszler said she could put Cross to sleep in a heartbeat, and threw her mic at Cross. Cross said, “Do it, Shayna,” and begged over and over for Baszler to “please, do it! Do it! Do it! Do it!” Cross side-stepped Baszler, Thesz pressed her, and stomped a mudhole. Baszler dumped Cross from the ring, but Cross cross-bodied her from the top turnbuckle. Cross tossed Baszler’s title to her on the outside, and beat her own chest as Baszler retreated. Cross continued to manically celebrate as two wrestlers took the ring for an upcoming match. She windmilled her jacket, startling the incoming referee.

(1) TM61 defeated a tag team via pinfall. Nick Miller & Shane Thorne confidently beat down their competition, shooting glares at the audience and jawing with the referee. Miller aided Thorne when the referee turned his attention, and tagged in to handily end the affair with a forearm to the back of his opponent’s head.

Thorne said TM61 has proven they are the best team in NXT. Miller said every other team should kneel down and call them ‘The Mighty.’

(2) Roderick Strong pinned Danny Burch. Strong entered alone to Undisputed Era’s theme. Danny Burch entered alone to Oney Lorcan’s theme. The two quickly took one another to the mat, Burch focusing on Strong’s left arm. Strong held Burch in a facelock, and went for the first pinfall attempt after a dropkick. Burch dodged a high knee in the corner and knocked Strong down with a headbutt. Burch hit a missile dropkick from the top, and his gained edge luring Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly to the apron. Pete Dunne and Oney Lorcan followed, attempting to nullify the heels’ interference. Burch let go of a convincing crossface to take out Cole, and Strong hit him with a backbreaker for the win.

Dunne cut Strong’s celebration short, but O’Reilly took the Bruiserweight out at the knees with his tag title belt. Strong landed an End of Heartache on Dunne, and Undisputed Era departed victoriously.

(3) Dakota Kai & Kacy Catanzaro & Stephanie Newell defeated Vanessa Borne & Taynara Conti & Reina Gonzalez via pinfall. Gonzalez mocked Catanzaro’s height, and tossed her around the ring. Catanzaro attempted a hurricanrana, but Gonzalez simply rotated her in to a backbreaker. Conti and Newell tagged in, and Kai whiffed on an assisted senton attempt. Newell nearly spiked herself when attempting a head scissors takedown on Conti. The heels isolated Newell. Gonzalez verbally lashed out at the crowd’s harassment. Newell kicked out of several pinning predicaments. She evaded a leg drop from Gonzalez, shoved Borne away, and hot-tagged Kai who immediately took to Borne with her patented kicks. The faces slung their illegal opponents from the ring, and Newell leapt on them from the top turnbuckle. Kai picked up the win on Borne with her sunset flip lumbar check.

Tommaso Ciampa entered, and perched atop a turnbuckle. As the crowd chanted, “you tapped out,” he accused them of giving up on him long before he gave up on them. He said he’s going to talk whether the fans chant or not. He addressed the few fans chanting in his favor, saying, “Spare me your ‘psycho killer’ bullcrap.” He said ‘Johnny Wrestling’ has become ‘Johnny Badass,’ then congratulated himself when the crowd obediently chanted “Johnny Badass” in response. He went on to ridicule Gargano of injuring Candice LeRae two weeks prior. Ciampa claimed he had only been defending himself. He recommended that Gargano not show up to Chicago, and promised he would end the Gargano fairy tale by breaking Gargano just like Gargano broke LeRae. An enraged Gargano appeared, referees trying to hold him back. He dove at Ciampa repeatedly, losing a shoe to his own fury as officials tried to keep the two apart. Ciampa locked Gargano in a crossface as more officials poured in. Gargano recovered and busted Ciampa’s forehead open hardway against the tron. Gargano wiped Ciampa’s blood on his own face, and locked a Gargano Escape on his archenemy. Gargano left as a doctor tended to Ciampa’s wound. Event staff mopped blood from the stage, and disinfected the area. When Ciampa finally rose after some lengthy patchwork, blood could be seen staining his shoulder and upper arms. Gargano appeared once more and locked in another Gargano Escape before being shooed by officials. Ciampa flipped off the crowd as he stumbled away.

(1) “Gentleman” Jack Gallagher pinned Drew Gulak to qualify for the United Kingdom Tournament.

Gallagher and Gulak exhibited an enrapturing technical showcase, always remaining mindful to keep their shoulders from the canvas. One would practically need a master’s degree to name the bevy of holds hypnotically cycled through. Gallagher graduated to strikes, and landed a massive headbutt to put the contest away shockingly early.

Kayla Braxton encouraged “NXT” chants between matches, as opposed to after the break. The back-to-back tapings schedule has allowed the usual order of production to be tweaked for convenience and practicality.

(2) War Raiders defeated a tag team via pinfall.

After decimating their competition, Hanson & Rowe said in tandem, “They call themselves ‘The Mighty?’ We’ll show them ‘mighty.’”

(3) ECIII pinned Kassius Ohno. ECIII and Ohno got in each others’ faces before spilling to the outside. ECIII stomped away at Ohno in the corner. He motioned the letters ‘E,’ and ‘C,’ and the numeral ‘3’ to the hard cam before dropping an elbow. Ohno took to ECIII with his calling card of hard strikes and impactful sentons. ECIII dazed his opposition when he ducked a charge and Ohno bounced off the ropes. He hit a cutter to win. Ohno appeared upset as he made his way to the back.

(4) The team of Heavy Machinery & Yanbo Wang defeated the team of Forgotten Sons & Chad Lail via pinfall. Wesley Blake worked Wang’s left arm before the former Big Boa tagged Otis Dozovic, who cleaned house. Dozovic and Tucker Knight used Wang as a battering ram against Steve Cutler, and the trio went for a chest bump that nearly sent Wang reeling. The heels isolated Dozovic, who eventually found Knight for a hot tag. Knight cleared the ring, and tumbled on to Cutler and Lail on the outside. Heavy Machinery lifted and threw their partner on to Cutler and Lail for good measure. Heavy Machinery hit their team finisher on Blake to secure victory.

(5) Ricochet pinned Chris Dijak. Ricochet ducked Dijak’s hurried offense and dove at the big man, who caught him by the neck and slammed him on the apron. Ricochet recovered, and chained a scissor kick in to a roll-through double suplex. He hit a 630 for the win in a much briefer match than these wrestlers’ prior (dark main event) encounter at Full Sail.

Ricochet said he understands the Velveteen Dream’s desire for the spotlight, because Dream is one of the most entertaining superstars to come through NXT. He said he’s seen how much of a punk Dream really is, however, and he began to challenge his rival to a TakeOver match before the Dream himself hit the stage to interrupt. Ricochet called Dream a coward for not coming to the ring. Dream said, “As epic as you and me would be, the Dream can only think of one spotlight big enough to contain the two of us. The Dream will see you in Chicago. Oh, and when that spotlight hits your beautiful face, you will truly know anything Ricochet can do, the Dream can do better.” Ricochet flipped out of the ring to meet Dream, and said in to Dream’s microphone, “Then show me.”

Kayla Braxton said the “loudest fans” would receive autographed Ricochet shirts after the show.

(6) Bianca Belair pinned Aliyah. Aliyah was barely recognizable at first, entering in completely new gear with a head scarf. Belair wrapped her braid on top of her head before silencing Aliyah with a shoulder tackle. Belair plowed Aliyah in to the turnbuckle, and ran in place to keep driving her shoulder forward. On a second attempt, Belair deadlifted Aliyah in to a Gorilla press, and chucked her in to the turnbuckle. Belair slammed her opponent from an inverted fireman’s carry position to pick up the win.

Aleister Black admitted Lars Sullivan catching his roundhouse kick startled him, but that Sullivan will feel the full force of the Black Mass and fade to black at TakeOver. Sullivan charged the ring and, after absorbing some strikes from Black, drove the champion to the mat with three consecutive Freak Accidents. He fumbled with Black’s title, and hurled it away. Sullivan arranged Black on the announce desk, and posed with the belt.

Kayla Braxton reminded fans to stay loud as Jeremy Borash showed off autographed shirts.

(1) Pete Dunne pinned Kyle O’Reilly to retain the WWE United Kingdom Championship. Dunne bore tape on his left thigh as a result of O’Reilly’s prior attack. He worked over O’Reilly’s right arm, eventually snapping it behind O’Reilly’s back. He utilized a strong clothesline, practically imprinting the canvas with O’Reilly’s outline. O’Reilly finally found a window to gain advantage by attacking Dunne’s taped thigh. Dunne slapped O’Reilly’s face, and took him down with a pele kick that put his full body weight on his injured leg. Dunne continued to power through the pain and went for a powerbomb pinning combination, but O’Reilly converted it in to a triangle hold. O’Reilly scored a close near fall with a suplex. The house lights remained up as the crowd stayed hot for the duration of the contest. O’Reilly rolled to counter an armbar in to an ankle lock. Dunne escaped and called upon all of his remaining energy to endure O’Reilly’s blows and deliver his own. He then switched to playing possum, and snapped O’Reilly’s fingers. He put O’Reilly away with a Bitter End.

Adam Cole and Roderick Strong ran in, closely followed by Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan. The United Kingdom connection got the better of a furious brawl. As they exited, Burch and Lorcan signaled for title belts around their waists.

Jeremy Borash handed out shirts as fans filed out. Zeda could be seen leading Kacy Catanzaro, Kavita Devi, and Jessamyn Duke to the ringside area to help break down the set.

Outside, ECIII greeted and took selfies with fans.

NOW CHECK OUT THIS RECENT REPORT: 5/9 NXT TV Taping Report from Orlando: Black’s Takeover challenger named, Lacey Evans and Kairi Sane feud, latest Gargano developments, Baszler defends

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