WWE NXT Spotlight: 5/23/18 By Kurt Zamora

Welcome one and all to the latest installment of the NXT Spotlight here at TJRWrestling. I must admit that I’m writing this with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth regarding the brand as I fully expected to have a review of a live event I went to this past Friday. With all the hype I’ve been giving the brand and how stacked the roster is, it should’ve been a blast, right? Wrong. No Adam Cole. No Aleister Black. No Johnny Gargano. No Tomasso Ciampa. 8 matches and 4 of them had participants that have never been on TV and a 5th had Fabian Aichner. Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet was the main event and it was good, but it could’ve been better and with the rest of the show the way it was, it just wasn’t what I hoped for. With all that being said, the TV product is fantastic and we have another solid show this week so let’s get to it.

TM61 vs. Heavy Machinery

The Coach is in the crowd and claims Heavy Machinery as his guys. Otis Dozovic and Shane Thorne start things outs. Otis overpowers Thorne immediately and then tags in Tucker Knight as they hit a double shoulder tackle. Thorne misses a wild punch and Tucker drops him with a delayed atomic drop. Thorne scrambles to tag in Nick Miller but he’s not doing any better. Tucker with an avalanche splash in the corner and Thorne tries to come back in but gets Pounced by Otis. Miller is set up in the corner like Shattered Dreams and Heavy Machinery grab Thorne like a battering ram and send him into his own partner. Tucker is now toying with Miller, repeatedly banging his head into the top turnbuckle. Tucker doesn’t see a blind tag though so when he goes for a pin on Miller, Thorne comes in with a kick to the face and turns the tables. TM61 now working Tucker over in their corner. Miller tries a suplex that gets blocked so Thorne just comes in and lariats Tucker in the back of the head. Now they go for a double suplex but Tucker reverses it and shows off his power with a double suplex of his own. He gets the tag to Otis and he comes in running over both members of TM61. Big bodyslam on Miller. It’s time for the caterpiller into the elbow drop but Thorne breaks up the pin after. Tucker comes in and nails a great double underhook suplex on Thorne. Thorne and Tucker to the outside as Otis nails an exploder suplex on Miller. Otis to the second rope and takes one of TM61’s towels to wipe off his sweat and then throws it, which distracts the ref to get rid of it from the ring. Meanwhile, Thorne comes with a kick that knocks Otis off, Miller with a pin and his feet on the ropes to get the win.

Winners: TM61

K-Tank’s Take:I didn’t like the heel turn of TM61, but it looks like they’re going to be really good in that role. Heavy Machinery had one of their better outings in this match.

We get a preview on a Bianca Belair in depth video package that will air next week.

We then get an EC3 video package.

Lacey Evans vs. Kairi Sane

Lacey back to her old gear so they clearly don’t know what route they want to take with her. Kairi comes right at Lacey, but she shakes it off and then chops the hell out of Kairi. Kairi comes right back with a chop of her her own and then a headscissors into a flatliner. Lacey is in the corner but kicks Kairi right in the quad, followed by a springboard kick off the bottom rope right to the left arm of Kairi. Lacey now working over that arm. Lacey has Kairi seated in the corner and comes at her with her elevated bronco buster. Kairi turns the tide by catching one of Lacey’s kick and tripping her down. She follows that with a blockbuster and then a spear. Lacey is down in the corner and Kairi starts to walk the plank and comes with her sliding forearm smash. Lacey rolls out of the ring but Kairi comes off the steel steps with another forearm smash. She gets Lacey back in the ring and goes to the top rope. She comes off with another forearm but Lacey absolutely drills her with a right hand in mid air. She goes for the cover and Lacey picks up a huge upset victory!

Winner: Lacey Evans

K-Tank’s Take: Big win for Lacey as the heel side of the women’s division is certainly lacking. The match we got in Dallas was Kairi and Nikki Cross vs. Taynara Conti and Reina Gonzalez. One had never been on TV before and the other had been on maybe twice since her appearance on the Mae Young Classic. So that tells you how much the heel side is lacking. That makes this result make sense. Kairi probably deserves much better, but she’s going to be over no matter what.

Cathy Kelley is outside the arena now, looking for Johnny Gargano and Candice LaRae. She finds them and Gargano is wearing a neck brace. He’s asked how he’s doing and he says he’s seen better days. He and Candice sat down together and came up with a plan for the future. He’s going to tell the fans tonight what that is. It’s not something he wants to do, but it has to be done.

We get a recap of the six man match last week where Danny Burch scored a pinfall win over Kyle O’Reilly. Then we see an interview after the match where they say they should be the #1 Contenders for the NXT Tag Titles. After that, we go to the Undisputed Era and one of their group promos. They dismiss Lorcan and Burch and blame Pete Dunne for everything. They can’t believe Lorcan and Burch are going to be able to hang their hats on this victory for the rest of their life. It’s apparently signed for Takeover: Chicago that they’ll defend the tag titles against Lorcan and Burch. Roddy says he can’t wait though and he’s challenging Burch for next week to prove that they are so far out of their league now. Cole says that’s not just a fact, that’s undisputed.

K-Tank’s Take: So there you have it, Roddy & O’Reilly vs. Lorcan and Burch at Takeover: Chicago is the first match signed on the card. As a HUGE fan of Lorcan and Burch, this is really exciting to see. I don’t know (or really think) if we’ll get a title change, but just the opportunity is great. I know these four will try to steal the show.

Handicap Match
Lars Sullivan vs. The Velveteen Dream & Ricochet

This of course stems from last week when Lars attacked both of these men during their match. Dream starts for his team and Lars immediately tosses him aside. Ricochet tags in to try his luck, but same result. Dream comes in the ring and now they try double teaming Lars. They hits a double dropkick that doesn’t drop Lars, but then Dream grabs Lars’ ankle as Ricochet springboards off the top rope with a dropkick and that drops the big man. Dream manages to continue the offense and Ricochet comes back to continue the double team effort in the corner. Ricochet tries a monkey flip but Lars catches him and launches him into the corner. Ricochet comes out with another dropkick and tags back in Dream. Lars runs through a double clothesline but Ricochet and Dream come at him with multiple kicks. They get him down and do a double pin but Lars still kicks out. They go for a double suplex but Lars blocks it. Lars tosses Ricochet out of the ring and gives Dream one hell of a lariat. He gets Dream up in a back suplex and then just tosses him across the ring. Lars now beating down Dream. Big crossface strikes to Dream. Lars with a Tour of the Islands slam but Dream manages to kick out. Lars now going to the top rope and lands a diving headbutt right to the small of Dream’s back. Ricochet comes in to break up the pin and now dares Lars to chase him. Ricochet manages to get Lars into the ring in position for Dream to land an elbow drop off the second rope. Ricochet tags in legally now and is trying to kick the big man down. 619 over the top rope to Lars, and then Dream comes off the top rope with a cross body. Ricochet with a standing shooting star press. Lars kicks out. Dream makes a blind tag and after they get Lars down, Dream tries to springboard senton splash Lars, but as he goes up, Ricochet makes a blind tag of his own and it makes Dream stumble off the ropes and come crashing down hard. Lars took a lot of that still and you could see it in his face. Ricochet now does a springboard 450 splash. Lars rolls to the floor and all of the sudden, Dream lands his carthweel DVD on Ricochet! Dream screams at Ricochet for trying to screw him with that blind tag and then slides out of the ring as Lars gets back up. Lars now of course just manhandles Ricochet and drops him with the Freak Accident for the win.

Winner: Lars Sullivan

K-Tank’s Take: So we’re all excited for this feud with Dream and Ricochet, which rightfully so, but they proved in this match that if either one wants to join the other for a tag team, damn they’d be good! This was a lot more fun than I anticipated it to be, considering the result was obvious.

We now go to Dakota Kai, who is getting an NXT Women’s Title match next week. She says the opportunity is insane to her and she can’t believe it. Unfortunately though, it’s against Shayna Baszler, who is in her head now. She’s the biggest bully she’s ever seen. Shayna shows up and taunts Dakota. She tells her that she doesn’t stand a chance. Dakota tries to find some strength and tells Shayna that we’ll see about that.

Aleister Black returns next week as well.

Johnny Wrestling Returns

Johnny and Candice come out looking a little somber, Johnny still with the neck brace. The crowd gives him a hero’s welcome as expected. Candice is holding Johnny’s hand as he talks about the last time he was in Full Sail. It was supposed to be an NXT title match but then he ended up on a stretcher. Now his body reminds him of that moment every day. It reminds him of having his head driven into the LED board by a knee. It reminds him of getting driven through a table off the stage. He’s been doing this his whole life but after talking to Candice, it’s time to start thinking about the future. He’s gotta ask now is it worth it. With injuries adding up and the toll it’s taken on his friends, family, and wife, is it worth it? Johnny pulls the mic away and tells Candice he’s sorry. Candice is trying to talk him out of whatever he’s about to do, but Johnny rips the neck brace off and says it’s absolutely worth it! He’s calling out Tomasso Ciampa right now. Ciampa walks out as Candice sprints to the back. Ciampa tells him that if Johnny is still in the ring by the time he gets there, he’s going to finish this for good. Candice has brought the refs and they get Gargano and separate him from Ciampa. Ciampa is left in the ring as Candice is pulling on Johnny and begging him to stop. Gargano looks like he’s going to listen but Ciampa mocks him for being a good boy and listening to his wife. Gargano storms the ring and jumps on the apron but Ciampa meets him and shoves him right back off, which in turns sends Johnny right into his wife, who takes a fall onto the rampway. Candice is out cold and Ciampa immediately leaves the area as Johnny now is concerned for his wife. The show ends as doctors tend to Candice and they wait for more medical help.

K-Tank’s Take: The best feud in wrestling just keeps getting better. The acting of everyone was perfect, timing was great, and the result just upped the ante for the rivalry another level. I would expect these two to main event their second Takeover. I just don’t know where you go from an unsanctioned match.

That’s it for this week, so until next time… don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, but if you do, name it after me!