WWE NXT Spotlight: 3/28/18 By Kurt Zamora

Welcome one and all to what promises to be a loaded edition of the NXT Spotlight here at TJRWrestling. We only have two episodes left before Takeover: New Orleans. All the title matches are accounted for and all we need now is the undercard to fill it in. Will we find out what those matches are tonight? Let’s find out. We also have both semifinal matches in the DRTTC. Let’s get to it!

We start the show with Tommaso Ciampa arriving to the arena “earlier today” as the crowd that has gathered boos him. Ciampa catches up to William Regal and asks Regal about Gargano constantly coming after him even though he doesn’t work here anymore. Regal says he won’t let that happen anymore so the only thing to do is put Ciampa in a match against Gargano at Takeover: New Orleans. But seeing as how Gargano doesn’t work in NXT anymore, it’s going to have be an Unsanctioned Match. Ciampa asks Regal if he understands what that means by making it unsanctioned. Regal says he does. In this match though, if Gargano wins, he gets his job back. If Ciampa wins, Gargano is gone forever. Regal tells Ciampa in order to get rid of Gargano for good, he’s going to have to do it himself now.

K-Tank’s Take: Well, there you have it. You knew the match had to happen and now it’s unsanctioned, which means anything goes. This is going to be be the battle of all battles and I cannot wait. This realistically could be the main event, but if it isn’t, it may be impossible to follow.

Regal’s Huge Announcment

Regal has made it to the ring now. He says as NXT grows and expands, he wants NXT to determine the measuring sticks and who is the very best in all the regions around the world. It is with that, that he is happy to announce that at Takeover: New Orleans, there will be a match to introduce the North American championship. Much like in Europe where the UK Title has brought us the likes of Wolfgang, Bate, Andrews, Seven, & Dunne, the North American Champion will hold the title with pride. All the sudden, “I am in the top 1%” comes over the speakers and that can only mean one man. EC3 has arrived!! The crowd gives him a huge reaction. His theme is no, “Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble” but it’s pretty good nonetheless. (I LOVED his TNA theme for it’s simplicity) EC3 says that this too much. He knew he was in for an opportunity to come into the hottest brand in sports entertainment, NXT. He knew Regal was a reasonable man to roll out the red carpet and give him a lucritive contract. Not to mention a banging theme. What he wasn’t prepared for though, was for Regal to create a new championship and give to him on his first day. Regal is a smart man because there is only one man who can carry the title of the greatest region in the world, North America. That guy is the best here, the best guy there, the best guy everywhere, a literal money printing machine… that man is EC3! Some may say Regal went too far, but he digresses.

Regal says he’s happy that EC3 is here in NXT, but no one is handed anything. He knows EC3 is capable or else he wouldn’t be here. At Takeover: New Orleans, EC3 will compete for the North American Title against 5 other competitors, with the title hanging high above the ring, in a Ladder Match!! EC3 says you can line up the entire NXT roster and it won’t matter because he’ll show everyone why he’s the top 1% of this industry.

K-Tank’s Take: I know a lot of people were clammoring for a secondary title in NXT with how much talent the roster has now. To me, it’s the most talented roster NXT has had since it’s debut on the WWE Network. It’s that good. This makes all the sense in the world. EC3’s debut couldn’t have gone any better. He was gold on the mic and came across as a massive star. We’ve come a long way since Derrick Bateman.

We go outside the arena to see if Andrade Almas has arrived yet and then follow that up with a DRTTC recap from Charly Caruso.

We then go to TM61 who’s asked about their loss in the DRTTC. They say they need a new plan and need a change of attitude. They are the Mighty and the Mighty Don’t Kneel. Meanwhile, behind them, Ember Moon and Shayna Baszler are having a confrontation. Cameras go to them just as they come to blows and they start to brawl until being pulled apart.

Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega have now arrived to Full Sail.

Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic – Semi-Finals
The Street Profits vs. The Authors of Pain (w/Paul Ellering)

Montez Ford and Rezar start the match. Ford starts trash talk and Rezar pie faces him. Rezar screams at Ford and now Angelo Dawkins tags in. Rezar gets Dawkins in the corner right away and works him over. Akam tags in and continues the punishment. Dawkins manages to land a dropkick and comes at Akam with forearms and a back elbow. He knocks Rezar to the floor and then nails his version of the Sky High on Akam. Ford start celebrating around ringside until he comes face to face with Ellering. He offers Ellering his drink. Ellering ends up slapping it out of his hand. Meanwhile behind Ford, AOP lands The Last Chapter on Dawkins and that’s it. Wow.

Winners: The Authors of Pain

K-Tank’s Take: To say I’m disappointed, would be an understatment. The Street Profits deserved way better than that. The semi-finals are not the time for a glorified squash match. They needed to be shown that they can at least hang with AOP. That’s now twice that AOP has absolutely decimated them. It doesn’t lend any credibilty to The Profits, which is a damn shame because they are uber talented. I have nothing against AOP but I do not like how they’ve been booked in this tournament. They should’ve been used to make another team.

We go to Cathy Kelley who has caught up with William Regal and is asked about who else will be in the Ladder Match he just announced. He says the second participant is Adam Cole. The Velveteen Dream shows up and tells Regal he looks well. Regal says he knows. That popped me. Dream talks about deserving a spot in that ladder match, to which Regal agrees, so The Velveteen Dream is now the third participant. TVD says that Regal broke ground with the announcement of the new title, and now with TVD in the match, he’s set the stage.

Lars Sullivan vs. John Silver

Silver isn’t even half the size of Sullivan. Sullivan clubs away at Silver. He tosses Silver head over heels into the turnbuckles and then crushes him with a massive avalanche splash. He gorilla presses Silver into a powerslam. Sullivan now goes to the top rope and lands a headbutt, which leads to the Freak Accident.

Winner: Lars Sullivan

After a break, we’re back to Kathy and Regal, as Sullivan walks by. Regal says he’s glad to see Sullivan has the appitite for destruction still as he wants Sullivan in the ladder match. Sullivan says that sounds fantastic. He will bring the destruction to the ladder match, but that’s at Takeover. He wants Killian Dain now. Regal says Dain is also in the ladder match, but he likes what Sullivan is thinking so next week it’ll be Dain vs. Sullivan.

K-Tank’s Take: Obviously just a reintroduction for Sullivan, who has been out injured. Clearly they still have big plans for him as they put him in this ladder match right away. I thought the headbutt was completely random and unncessary, but I do like a lot about Sullivan.

As Dakota Kai is making an entrance for her match, we go outside the arena where Aleister Black is getting pummeled by Andrade Almas. Black’s clothes are all torn as Almas dunks his head in a cooler and then starts to drag him backstage to continue the beating.They’re now ringside and Almas throws a helpless Black into the ring. Almas grabs a chair and damn near bends it in half over Black. Almas stands over Black and then finally leaves as the refs come to check on Black.

Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic – Semi-Finals
Sanity vs. Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne

No Dain or Nikki Cross at ringside with Sanity. Wolfe and Strong to start things off. Strong outwrestles Wolfe to start but Wolfe catches him and bodyslams Strong. Dunne and EY come into the ring and we have a brief staredown. Dunne and EY get out and tag in leagally. EY avoids Dunne’s offense to the arm but Dunne with a quick pin and EY kicks out, but gets caught with a kick to the arm. Wolfe and Strong come in and another staredown. Dunne with a stiff clothesline off the ropes and goes for a pin but only a one count. Dunne comes off the ropes but this time EY catches him. Wolfe tags in and he hits a bicycle kick on Dunne as EY has him held in the abdominal stretch. Wolfe works over Dunne as we go to commercial.

We come back to EY tagging in and double teaming Dunne again. Dunne catches EY with a forearm and is able to tag in Strong. Strong works him over in the corner and tags back in Dunne. Both men chopping the hell out of EY and then hit a double team backbreaker/stomp. Dunne works over the left arm of EY, who tries his best to fight Dunne off. Dunne with a double wrist lock but EY manages to power him into a suplex position and drops Dunne. Both men get the tag to their partner. Both men trading shots until EY comes in and hits Strong from behind and then Wolfe lands a German suplex. He follows that with a Death Valley Driver but Strong is able to kick out. EY tags back in and hits Strong with his wheelbarrow neckbreaker but Dunne breaks up the pin. Dunne and Wolfe start brawling and Wolfe goes to the top rope but gets caught with a straight right hand in midair. EY takes out Dunne and goes to the top rope himself, but Strong cuts him off. Strong tries a superplex but EY fights him off and sends him to the mat before coming off the top rope with his elbow drop. Strong able to kick out. Strong catches EY with a boot and then a single arm backbreaker but Wolfe breaks up the pin. Dunne comes in and escapes a German Suplex before Strong hits with Wolfe the End of Heartache. Strong gets EY up in a back suplex and tosses him over to Dunne, who catches him in the Bitter End and that gets them the W.

Winners: Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne

K-Tank’s Take: Well hopefully Strong and Dunne can at least beat AOP, which would make sense storyline wish with their story with Undisputed Era. The finals will obviously be next week. As for Sanity, I really think they’re main roster ready. They have a ready made gimmick. I’d even love to see Bray Wyatt come back with these guys as his new “family”. I think the fit would be great. The only question is, with 4 distinct personalities (EY the veteran, Dain the star in the making, Wolfe the developmental talent still being groomed, and Cross being the wild card and an interesting addition to the women’s division) do they have room for all of that on the main roster?

We’re back to Cathy Kelley who wants to find out who the 6th member of the Ladder Match is. Regal says he’s just finalized who that is and let him go get that person. He goes back in his office and then the door opens and out walks Ricochet!! He winks at Kelly and says, “See you at Takeover”. That ends our show.

K-Tank’s Take: WOW! What a ladder match this is going to be. A great way to debut for EC3 and Ricochet. Another breakout opportunity for Velveteen Dream, Cole is a star and a no-brainer pick for this match, and then what could be a coming out party for Dain and Sullivan. Man, if Black and Almas do close this show, they are going to have one hell of a task on their hands.

That’s it for this week. Next week we have the DRTTC finals and the clash between Sullivan and Dain. I will also have the Takeover: New Orleans preview up next week. I can confirm I’ll be covering Takeover live and I cannot wait to write about that show for you guys. Until next time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… but if you do, name it after me!