SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT TV REPORT
MAY 23, 2018
TAPED AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY JUSTIN JAMES, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
[Q1] No pre-credits video, but immediately after the credits the announcers remind us that tonight, Ricochet and Velveteen Dream team up against Lars Sullivan. In-ring action will be starting with Heavy Machinery. Jonathan Coachman is shown in the audience. Let’s see if he can make this broadcast miserable to watch too. Dozer and Scoop (listen to tonight’s FREE PWT Talks NXT podcast to get in on the joke) are facing TM61.
(1) HEAVY MACHINERY (TUCKER KNIGHT & OTIS DOZOVIC) vs. TM61 (NICK MILLER & SHANE THORNE) – Tag Team Match
Dozovic and Thorne start things. Dozovic out-wrestles Thorne then brings Knight in. Delayed Atomic Drop from Knight, but Thorne stumbles to the corner to tag Miller. Knight runs Miller over, then Dozovic keeps Thorne from interfering. Knight wraps Thorne up in the ropes as heavy machinery uses Thorne as a battering ram on Miller. Thorne is finally able to turn the tide and bring Knight into the corner. Thorne hilariously tries to suplex Knight, multiple times. They try a team suplex but Knight suplexes them both instead. Knight gets to the corner and Dozovix is on hot tag offense on Thorne and Miller. Dozovic does the work into the elbow drop, but Thorne breaks up the cover. Knight recovers and takes Thorne out. Massive release suplex. Thorne dodges Knight in the corner thought and they are both down. Released exploder from Dozovic sends Miller flying. Dozovic things Vader Bomb but an errant shirt distracts the ref, letting a cheap shot from Thorne, legs on the ropes from Miller, and Thorne holding those legs down to give TM61 the cheap win. Mauro Ranallo and Percy Watson show the appropriate disgust while Nigel McGuinness summons his inner Booker T shouting “a win is a win!”
WINNERS: TM61 in 7:09. Heavy Machiner was super protected, dominating much of the match, but giving TM61 the chance to show their heelish side.
Video package on Bianca Belair. Interview clips. She rolls her eyes at the idea that anyone would question her status. There will be a “Who is Bianca Belair?” package next week.
(J.J.’s Reax: Belair is a massive favorite of the PWT Talks NXT podcast, and this package illustrated why. She has that Sasha Banks charisma that is cocky in a way that is debatably heelish, but nothing she says is untrue and she is such a force in the ring that she backs it up 100%. The “Who Is…” packages have always been excellent in NXT and I look forwards to seeing Belair get the same treatment, even though she is already super-over.)
[Q2] EC3 package where he talks about how great he is. Talk about charisma, EC3 has it too. He needs a few tweaks (and a few big wins) but I am intriqued to see if he is a truly a heel or not.
(2) KAIRI SANE vs. LACEY EVANS
Hot start to the match from Sane, to sell her frustration with Evans and the cheap shots. Evans backs Sane to the ropes and clutches her face then lands a crazy stiff chop. Sane shows real fire then a nasty chop of her own. Sane isn’t foolish around. Cover by Sane for one. Quick back-and-forth and Sane is on the mat for two. Tight Cobra Clutch from Evans. Sane fights out of the hold but is clubbed right back to the mat by a kick. Big kick to the midsection and then Evans has strikes and holds in the corner. Sane is suffering. Evans lands stout kicks in the corner, then a big Bronco Buster. Cover for two. Evans stretches Sane across her knee. The crowd rallies Sane and a duo of knees break her free. Leg whip then a block buster, next an ace kick. The Interceptor takes Evans to the ropes. Sane calls for the end and stomps to the corner for the sliding elbow. Evans rolls out of the ring. Sane lands a flying elbow to the back on the outside, rolls Evans into the ring. Sane to the top, she jumps right into the Women’s Right.
WINNER: Lacey Evans in 5:00. I hate seeing Sane being turned into a gatekeeper, first for Shayne Baszler and now for Evans. But this was a good match that enhanced Evans. Sane perfectly understood the psychology here, dropping the fun and games approach to show her wrath.
Outside Full Sail University with Cathey Kelley. She sees Johnny Gargano (in a neck brace) and Candice LaRae walking around and holding hands. Gargano says that they have made a decision as a team, then says he can’t tell her right now, it will be later tonight. He doesn’t want to do it, but he has to do it. Good hook for the later part of the show since the handicap match is up next.
“Last week” interview with Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. They are happy to have beated Undisputed Era and say they will do it again.
Backstage with Undisputed Era. Adam Cole says that the win was a fluke and it will be the highlight of Lorcan and Burch’s careers. Strong says no way that it will happen again. O’Reilly and Fish pile on. Strong says he wants to face Danny Burch next week. There are allusions to Lorcan and Burch facing Undisputed Era at Takeover: Chicago for the Tag Team Titles.
[Q3] I am going to guess that Dream and Ricochet can’t get on the same page, argue, it costs them the match and we get a Triple Threat booked. Notably, Dream seems to have a shirt of his own now.
(3) RICOCHET & VELVETEEN DREAM vs. LARS SULLIVAN – Handicap Match
Cautious fist bump between Dream and Ricochet to start. Dream looks to pick Sullivan’s legs and gets sent to the corner. Ricochet tags in and foolishly tries a lockup. Sullivan just shoves him to the mat. Dream tags in and they double team Sullivan. Double drop kick staggers Sullivan. Team work gets dream a one. Top rope axe handles to the dome three times, Ricochet in and they use team work to keep Sullivan in the corner. Sullivan catches double knees and hoists him up. Ricochet sends Sullivan into the corner, Sullivan tries to fight out but again the double team works. Superkicks and big boots and both Dream and Ricochet cover Sullivan who still kicks out. Sullivan crushes Dream like an empty beer can. Sullivan grinds Dream down. Dream is desperate for a tag, but Sullivan delivers a huge powerslam for a close nearfall. Sullivan to the top rope for a flying headbutt. Ricochet barely breaks up the tag, then invites Sullivan to chase him. Sullivan catches Ricochet but Ricochet kicks away, letting Dream hit the Purple Rainmaker and tag Ricochet. Richochet unloads on Sullivan with strikes all over. 618 over the top rope, Dream with a crossbody, shooting star press from Ricochet for a nearfall. This match is too much fun. Dream blidn tags, Ricochet lays Sullivan Ricochet and Dream work together, but after a miscommunication around a tag, Dream hits the Death Valley Driver on Ricochet and yells “what’s my name!” and leaves the ring. Sullivan nails Ricochet with the Dream Accident.
WINNER: Lars Sullivan in 9:51. The in-ring action was great. I loved that Ricochet and Dream showed no signs of disasgreement or friction until Dream suddenly turned on Ricochet.
[Q4] The announcers tell us that Dakota Kai challenges Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship next week.
Interview with Kai. Kai is excited. Then she turns tot he fact that she is facing Baszler and gets nervous, then talks about Baszler being a bully. Baszler shows up. Baszler asks if this is about Kai’s dreams coming true, then asks why Kai has nothing to say whn Baszler’s around. Kai looks like a hurt puppy, then says “we’ll see about that!” Baszler looks surprise.
Aleister Black will be “live” next week. That doesn’t say if it will truly be a live match, a live promo, or something else.
Candice LaRae and Johnny Gargano come out. Big reaction for Gargano who looks a bit down. Gargano takes the time to share hand slaps and a few words with the kids in the audience. Gargano truly gets the redmeat babyface role.
Gargano responds to a male “I love you Johnny” with “I love you too!” Gargano talks about how he got beat up a few weeks ago on his way to the ring. He talks about how his hurting body reminds him of the beating Tommaso Ciampa gave him. He has been wrestling his whole life, he has talked to Candice, and it is “time to start thinking about my future, it’s time to start thinking about our future.” He has to ask himself if wrestling is worth it. “Yes!” chants from the crowd of course. He says that this career has hurt his body, friends, and family, “is it worth it?” More “Yes!” chants. Gargano and LaRae talk off mic, like maybe they are thinking about changing their minds. He says “yeah, yeah, it’s worth it!” He rips off his neck brace. LaRae is angry, this clearly isn’t what they had decided. He calls Ciampa out. LaRae starts yelling at him. Ciampa comes out. LaRae goes running out of the arena. Ciampa vows to give Gargano a beating a finish it. Referees pour out the back to protect Gargano. Referees and LaRae try to keep Gargano away from Ciampa. LaRae begs Gargano not to do this. Ciampa has the neck brace. Gargano seems to calm down and let LaRae pull him away as Ciampa does his little wave. Ciampa mocks Gargano on the mic for listening to his wife. Gargano charges the ring, Ciampa elbows him of the apron and he lands on LaRae. LaRae looks like she is knocked out and the referrees call for the trainers to check on LaRae. Gargano looks crestfallen. It looks like McGuinness may be checking in on the situation as well.
Final Reax: Really outstanding episode from top to bottom. Good in-ring action, storylines are advancing nicely, and we are starting to see some set up for Takeover: Chicago.
NOW CHECK OIUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 5/16 NXT TV Report: Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream, Undisputed Era vs. Lorcan & Burch & Dunne, Mendoza vs. Reeves