Welcome one and all to another installment of the NXT Spotlight here at TJRWrestling. As the calendar has turned to May, we are building to our next Takeover event in Chicago during MITB weekend. Ciampa and Gargano are at the forefront but the roster is loaded and a lot of guys are looking for a spot, so let’s see what shakes out this week.
Ricochet in a Dream
Our show starts out with Ricochet dressed nicely, coming out to the ring for a promo. He says that wherever he was around the world, he wanted to make sure people remembered him. It was his mission after WrestleMania weekend that everyone be talking about him. NXT is about taking over and that’s exactly what he plans on doing. You can call it confidence or cocky, but every time he steps in the ring, he proves that there is one and only Ricochet. There’s one thing on his mind. The crowd asks “Socks?” as he is noticeably not wearing socks with his outfit, and he says it’s not socks. That pops the crowd and he says it’s the NXT championship. Velveteen Dream’s music hits now. He comes out and just says no over and over. He asks who’s giving Ricochet the authority to walk into the ring. Who gives him the authority to ask for NXT title opportunities? They need to get something straight, he calls himself the one and only and that he makes this look good. Dream agrees that he makes this look good, but Dream has to let him know that there is only one man and one experience, and Ricochet is looking at him. Dream says he can jump around the ring all he wants, no matter how he flips or flops, he better land at the very back of the line behind Velveteen Dream. Ricochet is amused that Dream thinks he deserves a title shot. He knows all about Dream and that he made the fans and current NXT Champion say his name. However, Dream may not have heard it since it was after he got his head kicked in. Dream says that Ricochet doesn’t have to get cute because if he keeps running his mouth, Dream Over won’t be a phrase, it’ll be a reality. Ricochet says what Dream has to worry about is him running circles around Dream. If Dream thinks this is his show and his spotlight, he better be ready, because Richochet is going to steal his show and his spotlight. Dream says the fans and the “candy doves” may believe him, but just know that whatever Ricochet can do, Dream can do better. Ricochet tells him to prove it. Dream thinks about it and fakes going after Ricochet, but slides down (one could argue he slipped, but I think he meant to do it) and just smiles before sliding out of the ring.
K-Tank’s Take: The crowd was being dumb getting on to Ricochet about his lack of socks. I don’t know why you’d try to trip up a babyface like that (unless it was Roman Reigns) but Ricochet rolled with the punches well. This could/should be the start of a really special rivalry. So much charisma between the two.
Raul Mendoza vs. EC3
Mendoza with the speed early to try and catch EC3 off guard. He hits a running hurricanrana and then a springboard dropkick. EC3 cuts him off though and lands a move that looks a little similar to Kofi’s SOS, just without the rotation. He shoots Mendoza off and catches him with a clothesline that turns Mendoza inside out. EC3 with a clothesline and snapmare in the corner that leads to the flip over neckbreaker that Mr. Perfect mad famous. Mendoza gets up and fights back with an enziguri. He gets EC3 in the corner but as he charges EC3, EC3 propels Mendoza over his head and Mendoza hits his head on the top turnbuckle. EC3 with a running knee lift and then hits a TKO for the win.
Post match, EC3 is interviewed on the ramp and is asked about getting a win after coming up short at Takeover. EC3 says so what? The only thing you’ll see of him going forward is victory after victory after victory until the point he rebrands NXT into NX3. That’s because he’s the best all around and the top 1% of the industry. He is EC3.
K-Tank’s Take: It’s still hard to say whether EC3 will be a heel or a face. He does certain things that leads you either way. I don’t know that it ultimately matters though. It’s still amazing to see how much he’s transformed himself since being Derrick Bateman the last time he was in WWE.
We go to a video at the PC where Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan run into Pete Dunne. They let him know that just because they helped him out, that doesn’t mean they like him. He knows he’s a piece of trash. But they all have an issue with Undisputed Era and since there’s 3 of them, there should be three here as well. Dunne nods his head in agreement as he walks off.
Dakota Kai vs. Vanessa Borne
Borne is easy on the eyes and it’s quite possible that her ring gear tonight is the best in WWE right now. Just my professional opinion. Dakota starts things off with a dropkick and then tries a Helluva kick but Borne moves just in time. Borne turns the table and starts pummeling Dakota. Borne with a rolling neckbreaker and a pin attempt but Dakota kicks out. Borne with a submission attempt but Dakota eventually gets out and then lays in her kicks that she’s known for. This time she is able to land her Helluva kick with a running start and then a face wash kick. Dakota then hits a really cool version of the backstabber and that picks up the win.
Winner: Dakota Kai
Post match, Shayna Baszler’s music hits and she’s coming to the ring. Shayna gets Dakota cornered before seeing Borne getting up and decides to lock the rear naked choke on her. Shayna stares down Dakota as Dakota backpedals away in fear.
After a commercial, we go backstage to Dakota Kai being interviewed about what just happened. She said she wanted to run away but just froze. She can’t explain what happened. Baszler shows up again and dares her to do something but Dakota is just frozen. Baszler laughs and says that’s what she thought. She walks away and then we hear someone laughing and Dakota turns around to see Nikki Cross.
K-Tank’s Take: I am really enjoying this brewing storyline between Baszler and Kai. It’s a bully storyline that has actual realism and doesn’t come across phony. I’m interested to see if they’ll give Dakota a title shot at Takeover, if they think that highly of her already. I think this angle has some legs to it.
Heavy Machinery vs. War Raiders
Rowe and Dozovic are starting us up. Rowe taunts Dozovic before they both just start hammering each other. It doesn’t take long for Hanson and Knight to get in and do the same. Rowe nails knight with a forearm and then a running knee to Dozovic. Dozovic is down in the corner and Rowe picks up Hanson and then basically spinebusters him into the down Dozovic. Dozovic manages to get Hanson up in a massive t-bone suplex though and both men make tags. Knight with a dropkick and hiptoss to Rowe. Hanson comes in and avoids Knight so he can dive through the ropes to take out Dozovic. Meanwhile, Rowe with a Dominator on Knight and then a massive knee to the face. Rowe manages to pick Knight up and Hanson comes off the top rope for Fallout and that’s the match.
Winners: War Raiders
K-Tank’s Take: Welp, that was fairly decisive. I’m a big fan of War Raiders, but in situations like this, I really wish they would book the developmental people to look stronger against the indy stars coming in. You take time creating and building a team like Heavy Machinery, which is a fun team and can help the division, and then just destroy them to push the new guys coming in with the War Raiders. I don’t expect them to win, but I’d like them to look like they can hang with them. I’ll get off my soapbox now.
We get a recap of the cheap win that TM61 got over The Street Profits last week. We then get a video the Street Profits put together, training for an NXT Tag Title shot. They want it by any means necessary.
Next week it’ll be Undisputed Era vs. Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, & Danny Burch.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Kassius Ohno
Ciampa comes out to no music again, just the boos of the crowd. There’s a guy in the front row who was turning beet red yelling at Ciampa. That was kind of funny. Ohno isn’t messing around tonight and goes right for Ciampa as the bell rings. 12 minutes left in the show. They almost immediately go to the outside, where Ohno is all over Ciampa. Ohno with a wrecking ball dropkick. They get back in the ring, where Ciampa is able to catch Ohno with a kick. Ciampa’s right leg has a clear bandage on it, which underneath is a GNARLY looking bruise/scrape. I can only assume he somehow got that on his attack on Gargano two weeks ago (this was taped the same night). Ciampa is now the one all over Ohno and he hits a running knee lift on the apron and then just unmercifully stomps away at Ohno. Ciampa with a running seated dropkick and then proceeds to talk trash. He gets a strong headlock on and then eventually lets go to chop away at Ohno. Ohno with a stiff forearm shot and then a bicycle kick. Another forearm and then digging his boot in the face of Ciampa in the corner. He lands a pump kick out of the corner and then takes off his elbow sleeve to drive it into the forearm and injured eye of Ciampa. Now it’s the right knee he exposes completely and a knee drop into that eye. Ciampa is in the corner and Ohno slaps the hell out of him before locking on a weird neck wrench and then turning it into a slam. Ciampa manages to kick out of a pin though. Ohno screams “is it worth it?” before kick Ciampa straight in the face. Ciampa hides behind the ref enough to get a cheap shot in. Ciampa takes off his wrist tape but the ref stops him from using it. Ciampa just uses that opportunity to rake at the eyes though. Ohno comes back with a kick, but Ciampa moves from his flying elbow smash and then comes from behind with his running knee. Ohno kicks out. Ohno up with another bicycle kick and then goes for a roaring elbow but Ciampa counters with a rolling clothesline. Ciampa gets up Ohno for a Neckbreaker and then turns Ohno over for a Diamond Cutter on the way down. Ohno is down for the three.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa
Post match, Ciampa takes off his heavy knee brace and then attacks Ohno with it. He has Ohno trapped in the ropes and is pulling on Ohno’s face with the brace, much like Gargano did to Ciampa when he tapped out at Takeover. Ciampa leaves proud of himself as our show ends.
K-Tank’s Take: This may have been the best Kassius has looked in NXT. He had a really good match against Bobby Roode a while back, but this was up there with it. Serious approach, and really hard hitting. I always say he gets lost in the shuffle on NXT but his work has been really good. Ciampa was masterful as he’s been all year and now we just wait to see what the next domino is to fall in his rivalry with Gargano.
That’s it for this week. Until next time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, but if you do… name it after me!