KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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NXT TV REPORT
MAY 16, 2018
TAPED AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY JUSTIN JAMES, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
[Q1] Hot opening with Johnny Gargano’s music starting the show. But no, it’s Tommaso Ciampa. Seriously, are they trying to get someone mad enough to jump a barrier? Ciampa cuts a promo saying that Gargano won the battle but he won the war. He talks about putting Gargano in a neck brace. Maybe we can have a brace vs. brace match? Candice LaRae enters the ring. She snatches the mic and asks who Ciampa is, that sh eused to think she knew who he was. While Gargano’s future is uncertrain, Ciampa knows that Gargano was better than him. She drops the mic. Ciampa picks it up to a “Johnny’s better” chant. Ciampa says that Gargano may be better than him, but he isn’t half the man Ciampa is, that’s why he sent his pretty wife out there. Ciampa says he lived with them for two years and knows that LaRae is more of a man than Gargano. LaRae finally has had enough and slaps Ciampa hard.
The announcers (welcome back Nigel McGuinness) remind us that Velveteen Dream faces Ricochet, and Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Burch face Undisputed Era tonight. Talk about a stacked card. They could give us just those two matches and this would be a fine episode.
Lacey Evans has new entrance music, which will be to the delight of many listeners of the PWT Talks NXT podcast, as well as at least three of the four hosts.
(1) BRANDI LAURENS vs. LACEY EVANS
Evans immediately asserts herself in the ring. She has clearly expanded her moveset to be more powerful and more graceful, with a slow, deliberate, “lady-like” manner. Slingshot elbow drop followed by a moonsault, then the “Woman’s Right” knockout punch.
WINNER: Lacey Evans in 1:21. Whatever they did with Evans in the time since the last taping, it’s a huge step up for her.
Post-match, Kairi Sane ambushes Evans in revenge for Evans’ attack on her previously. Evans rolls out of the ring before Sane drops the Insane Elbow on her.
Recap of how we ended up with a Ricochet vs. Dream match tonight.[Q2] “Earlier tonight” with Aleister Black in the parking lot. They ask about Dream and Ricochet declaring themselves in the contender spots. He gives the “being a champ means a target is on your back” line. He says that his history between him and Dream speaks for itself, and he’s happy to see Ricochet try to prove himself. But if either one faces him, the target is on them.
“Earlier today” with Dakota Kai. They ask her about Shayna Baszler and Nikki Cross interupting her promo last week. She says Cross is crazy and doesn’t know her deal. She says she is working on her strength and conditioning. Then Cross jumps in with a camera taping and wants to know when Kai will face Baszler for the championship, for the gold. Kai looks scared. Cross tells her that with fear comes opportunity, to face her fear and her fate.
Monster face reaction for Dream, and he has changed up his entrance once again. He just oozes raw sexuality and charisma and arrogance. Really big pop for Ricochet too. For booking purposes, I would consider this a face-vs-face match except that Dream truly is a heel. With them both in the ring, the crowd is 95 percent pro-Dream.
(2) RICOCHET vs. VELVETEEN DREAM
Lockup and a break, Dream poses. Lockup, Dream torques Ricochet to the mat and twists his hips, Ricochet does the same. Pacing and technique is on point for a 8 – 12 minute classic match. They continue to wrestle on the mat, then finally return to a vertical base. Enbow to the back from Ricochet adds some impact. Ricochet hangs onto a tight headlock, a sudden burst of activity leads to a one count. They show off agility on both sides. Dream sends Richochet to the outside, goes to jump out, Ricochet slides into the ring so Dream stops on the apron, poses. Ricochet wants a dive outside, so Dream slides into the ring and they stare down.
The match suddenly moves to strikes, with Dream’s longer arms give him an edge. Dream fights out of the corner. Lars Sullivan then interupts and ruins what was an amazing match.
WINNER: No Contest at 3:43.
[J.J.’s Reax: Look, I am a HUGE fan of Sullivan. But this match ending just earned real heat from me. They weren’t playing this match as “let’s stay in first gear until the no contest ending,” they were playing it as a straight up amazing match that got totally ruined by Sullivan. Great way to handle this, but… I can’t wait to see them square off again. Great three minutes here.]
Kona Reeves faces Raul Mendoza next in the definition of a bathroom break match.
[Q3] Reeves has a new jacket, dumping the Sonny Crockett knock-off look with a Tyler Breeze meets The Brian Kendrick knock-off look. Percy Watson says he updated from a single 14 karat gold chain to two 24 karat gold chains. Funny.
(3) RAUL MENDOZA vs. KONA REEVES
The crowd is killing Reeves. Reeves with work on the arm to start. When Mendoza goes to hit reeves, Reeves backs away and tells the ref to watch Mendoza. Mendola demonstrates his athleticism but Reeves kicks the stuffing out of him in the corner. Suplex then a fistdrop, and a falling reverse elbow drop off the ropes. Reeves with a sharp elbow to the face. Reeves locks in a Cobra Clutch, but Mendoza breaks free. Mendoza shows life tot he crowd’s delight. Running enziguri followed by a running forearm. Mendoza is in high gear, but a springboar lands him into a big boot. Reeves hits the Hawaiian Drop for the win.
WINNER: Kona Reeves at 3:46. Whoever improved Evans’ ring-game in between tapings did double duty with Reeves. This match was a massive improvement over the previous appearance.
Cathey Kelley is outside William Regal’s office talking about the no contest ending. She spots Ricochet banging on Regal’s door. Then Dream shows up. Ricochet says he wants Sullivan. Dream says he does too. Ricochet agrees. Then they open the door.
[ J.J.’s Reax: Part of me was hoping they would go to the “Ricochet and Dream end up respecting each other” well, part of me didn’t want it. Let’s see where this goes. ]
“Earlier today” Heavy Machinery is doing a selfie video. Otis Dozovic talks about eating a super rare steak with his mom for Mother’s Day. They bump into TM61. They say they don’t hang out with cheaters, TM61 gives a “a win is a win” and talk about the sweet taste of victory, the only thing HM hasn’t tasted lately (funny, HM’s record is pretty good while TM61’s is awful). HM challenges TM61 to a match next week.
[ J.J.’s Reax: Smart booking to give TM61 another cheating victory over a redmeat babyface team that the audience likes. ]
(4) UK Champion PETE DUNNE & ONEY LORCAN & DANNY BURCH vs. UNDISPUTED ERA (NXT Tag Team Champions KYLE O’REILEY & RODERICK STRONG & NXT North American Champion ADAM COLE) – Six man Tag Team Match, non-title
This crowd can’t tell who to cheer for more here, but Dunne seems to be the favorite. Dunne and Strong start, but Strong tags to O’Reilley. Dunne tags Burch, and Burch wrangles with O’Reilley on the mat. O’Reilly with a kneebar, Burch gets a rope break. They chain wrestle some more. These two could be a clinic in a one-on-one setting. O’Reilley drags Burch tot he corner and Cole tags in. Cole calls Burch a “joke”. Cole continues to jaw at Burch. O’Reilly tags back in and delivers stiff knees and kicks to Burch, picks up an almost-one. Strong tags in. Backbreaker for one. Strong mocks Dunne, giving Burch a chance to wrestle Strong to the corner and Dunne is in.
[Q4] Dunne unloads on Strong. Dunne holds Strong’s head on the mat with a boot, punches Strong’s side then tries to break Strong’s fingers. Strong begs for help, Undisputed Era enter the ring, Lorcan and Burch jump in, grab the hands of Cole and O’Reilly and snap their fingers too. Strong uses the delay to recover, then gets Dunne isolated.
Cole lets loose on Dunne, then the rapid tags keep Dunne down. Strong tries a Cobra Clutch (when did this move come back into style? I could go years watching WWE never seeing one and twice in one night?). Very unusual to see Dunne at such a disadvantage here. Dunne tries to swing the momentum against Cole but a big boot puts him down. O’Reilley continues to show himself to be the most versatile, believable player in his corner. Dunne fights out of the corner, tags Lorcan and Lorcan is a crazed man.
Chops and uppercuts everywhere. Lorcan hits everyone in his path, and then a corkscrew plancha. Lorcan feeds Strong to Burch, Cole breaks up a cover. Dunne hits Cole so hard Cole flies off his feet. Strong clears Lorcan and Dunne, then a backbreaker to Burch. Burch is staggering. Burch is in trouble, The Last Shot from Cole, big kick from O’Reilly but buch kicks out. Burch to his feet, then dumps Cole, then Strong, but O’Reilley is behind him. Burch transitions to a crossface, then Lorcan puts Strong in a single leg crab, double wristlock from Dunne to Cole, but they stumble around to break the holds. Crazy match. 50/50 chants for UE and Dunne. Dunne suplexes Cole out of the ring and then falls out himself. Burch and Lorcan tee off on Strong and O’Reilley. Double blockcuster from Lorcan, wheelbarrow DDT move from Burch and Lorcan let Burch pin O’Reilly in what is easily the upset of the year in NXT.
WINNERS: Pete Dunne & Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch at 11:26. Hot hot hot action here, as you would expect from these six men with a good beef between them. Lorcan and Burch looked like a million dollars, finally getting a win and holding their own against the Tag Team Champions.
The announcers tell us that next week we will get Sullivan facing Dream and Ricochet in a handicap match.
FINAL THOUGHTS: the in-ring action was outstanding tonight. Very disappointed to not get an end to Ricochet and Dream, and a handicap match doesn’t make up for it, and I truly hope to see a 10 – 15 minute match with no stipulations, just pure ring excellence, happen soon. The women’s divison continues to impress with two separate sets of storylines at once. Hopefully we will see Burch and Lorcan get a match against Strong and O’Reilly in the near future.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 5/9 NXT TV Report: Ciampa vs. Ohno, Heavy Machinery vs. War Raiders, Ricochet-Velveteen conflict, plus EC3, Dakota Kai