WWE NXT Spotlight: 7/4/18 By Kurt Zamora (Gargano vs. EC3)

Welcome one and all to an Independence Day edition of the NXT Spotlight here at TJRWrestling. If you are so inclined to celebrate the 4th of July in America, I hope you had a fun day of food and fireworks. We have plenty of fireworks in store for us in this episode as not only do we have Johnny Gargano vs. EC3, but The Velveteen Dream is in action as well. Should be another strong show, so let’s get to it!

Dakota Kai vs. Santana Garrett

Two great competitors in this match. Show of sportsmanship with a handshake to start. Strong chain wrestling from both laides to start and Santana finally drops Dakota with a shoulder tackle. Dakota comes back with a single leg dropkick though. Two arm drags by Santana and then an Octopus Hold. Dakota fights out of it but ends up turning into a Russian Leg Sweep. After a pin attempt, Santana hooks Dakota in the Muta Lock. Dakota is able to get to the ropes. Santana tries for Eat Defeat but Dakota blocks it and lands a step up enziguri. Dakota unleashes some kicks and then a couple running face wash kicks in the corner. Dakota comes off the ropes and lands her sunset flip backstabber for the win.

Winner: Dakota Kai

K-Tank’s Take: I really enjoy both ladies. I’m surprised Santana hasn’t been signed yet. Dakota has been teaming with her Team Kick partner, Nixon Newell, on live events so potentially that is something in the works for her on TV. I would assume her angle with Shayna is over, even though the announcers did bring it up during the match.

We see shots of Johnny Gargano and EC3 entering the arena as they prepare for the main event

We when go to the PC “Earlier Today” with Heavy Machinery. Otis has the camera and then hears something behind him and as he goes to investigate, The Mighty are seen running away as a chain has been wrapped around Tucker Knight’s knee.

The NXT Women’s Champ is making her way to the ring for a promo. She talks about how everyone was asking her how she’d deal with Nikki Cross. When a dog is rabid, you put it to sleep. Everyone asked the questions and in Chicago, she answered. It doesn’t matter how many times you ask the question, the answer will always be the same. She lists some of her potential challengers and says the only reason they’re having a second Mae Young classic is because they have to search the world to try and find a challenger for her. So she will put anyone to sleep and all we will hear is “and stll NXT Women’s champion!”

We go to Danny Burch with Cathy Kelley to get an update on his partner Oney Lorcan. Danny says that Takeover was 25 years of hard work coming to fruition, and they were this close to becoming tag champs. Lorcan has had surgery for the broken orbital bone and they’re looking at 3 months before he’s back and they’re gunning for the tag titles again. The Undisputed Era show up and mock Burch for being being by himself and how when Lorcan comes back, they’re at the end of the line. The Era are at the front of the line though and next week they get their rematch against Moustache Mountain. Cole says that Burch and Lorcan have developed an ego ever since he gave Lorcan a North American title match he didn’t deserve. Burch then challenges Cole to put his money where his mouth is and give him a title match next week. Cole is dumbfounded by this, but ends up agreeing to it.

K-Tank’s Take: Random promo by Baszler. Nothing wrong with it, you just typically don’t see singular promos in-ring for NXT. I find it hard to believe that her fued with Nikki is over. Really tough news on Lorcan. I’ve been tooting his horn with Burch for months, so it’s a real shame to see them get a push and then a freak injury like this happens. He took some gnarly bumps during that Takeover match and it was physical as hell, so an injury like this isn’t terribly surprising. Just a shame though.

We now get a vignette hyping the War Raiders.

We go to last week with a recap of Tommaso Ciampa confronting Aleister Black. It’s announced that in 3 weeks, Ciampa will get his title shot against Black.

The Mighty vs. Heavy Machinery

The Mighty are sporting new looks that they debuted in Chicago, trenchcoats and long tights for both. Otis Dozovic comes out by himself as we’re following up from the earlier clip of Tucker Knight being attacked. Shane Thorne starts for The Mighty. Thorne throws a towel at Otis and Otis just bowls him over. Otis brings in Nick Miller and takes out both men and sends them over the top rope to the floor. The Mighty try to team up on Otis but he cuts them off and crossfaces Thorne across the ring. Miller tags in now. Otis in control but Miller grabs the ref and Thorne is able to dump Otis to the floor from behind. Both members of The Mighty work over Otis in the ring and eventually hit a double back suplex for a two count. They continue to wear down Otis until he manages to block a double suplex attempt and suplex both of them himself. Miller technically had to flip himself cause Otis lost him, but oh well. Otis makes his comeback and ends up splashing both men in the corner. He lays both men next to each other and it’s now time for the Catapillar. Elbow drops for both men and then he sets up for a Vader Bomb on Thorne, but Miller pulls him out of the way. Miller shoves Otis back into Thorne, who lariats Otis in the back of the head and that’s enough for The Mighty to win.

Winners: The Mighty

K-Tank’s Take: The tag team division is really strong again in NXT, noted by the fact that Street Profits are hardly on TV anymore. The heel turn has done well for The Mighty but it’s clear that War Raiders are in line for the next big push so the rest of these teams will just be in secondary roles.

We go to earlier this week where Bianca Belair is on her honeymoon. She runs down the rest of her counterparts in the division who thinks they deserve the next NXT women’s title shot. She says none of them deserve it, but she does because she is undefeated. No one can touch her. She’s gonna stay on her honeymoon though and maybe the other women will catch up to her level, but she doubts it.

Now we go to Kairi Sane speaking to the media “earlier today”. She challenges Vanessa Borne to a match. She says she’ll make Borne walk the plank and then will go after her treasure of the NXT women’s championship after that. We then find out that the match was accepted for next week and then the Adam Cole vs. Danny Burch match is also made official, but it doesn’t appear to be for the title.

The Velveteen Dream vs. Chris Dijak

Dijak tries to overpower Dream in the corner and tells Dream to feast his… but Dream puts his finger to Dijak’s lips to shut him up and poses in the corner instead. Dijak gets fired up and both men spend the next couple minutes taking some big time shots at one another. Dream gets on the second rope but Dijak superkicks him and then gets him in a standing backbreaker before just ragdolling him across the ring. Dream goes to the apron and Dijak tries to superplex him back into the ring, but Dream is able to trip him up and go back on the offense. Dijak tries to block a Rude Awakening but Dream is able to get him over. Dream comes off the ropes with a legdrop but Dijak kicks out at one. Dijak starts fighting back again and lands a cyclone big boot, but Dream kicks out at two. Dream rolls out to the floor and Dijak goes to the apron and wants to climb the turnbuckles, but Dream grabs a leg and sweeps Dijak face first into the steel steps. Dream grabs Dijak as he gets back in the ring and hits his DDT that starts in the Sister Abigail position and that gets the 1-2-3.

Winner: The Velveteen Dream

Dream is still posing and celebrating in the ring as EC3’s music hits and he’s coming out for his main event match. Dream is incredulous. The announcers are making a point that in Royal Albert Hall, Dream walked out on EC3 when they were tag partners against Black and Ricochet. Dream decides to leave the ringside area but still can’t believe what EC3 has done.

K-Tank’s Take: Even though Dijak is 0-2 so far, I love how strong they’ve made him look in both matches. He is an uber talented big man. He had some wars with Keith Lee on the indy scene, and also teamed with him, so hopefully those two can hook up again soon. Looks like we’re in the middle of a tease for Dream vs. EC3 next, which I am all for. Another charasmatic pair that I think can play off each other well.

We go to commercial after that and then when we return, we go to Moustache Mountain, who are asked about their match against Undisputed Era next week in a rematch for the NXT Tag Titles. They say their win was not a fluke and everyone saw it. They did it in their home country and it’s only fair to do it again in Full Sail.

EC3 vs. Johnny Gargano

About 11 minutes left in the show as the bell rings. Gargano comes out charging as the bell rings and forces EC3 to the floor with his right hands. They both get back in and EC3 grabs a headlock as he yells at Gargano to settle down. That was funny. EC3 shoots Gargano to the ropes and Gargano comes back with a Thesz press and punches. Gargano continues the brawling in the corner but EC3 comes back with his modified STO. Dueling chants from the crowd as both men trade shots. EC3 with a clothesline in the corner and then a somersault neckbreaker. EC3 locks on a nerve hold to try and wear down Gargano. Gargano gets out and throws a couple punches but EC3 lands a nasty back elbow off the ropes. Avalanche splash by EC3 in the corner and then back to the nerve hold. Bodyslam by EC3 and then jumping elbow drop. Gargano gets up and fights back once again. He ends up on the apron and lands a kick to the head and then comes through the ropes with his spear. EC3 goes to the floor and Gargano comes diving through the ropes. EC3 avoids Gargano charging him in the corner and EC3 comes off the ropes with a lariat in return. Both men trading shots once again. EC3 looks for maybe a piledriver or something in that position but Gargano fights out. Gargano off the second rope but EC3 catches him. Gargano slides out of the catch though and tries to get EC3 in the Gargano Escape. EC3 ends up gripping Gargano with one arm and lifting him up, then planting him with a sitout powerbomb for a near fall. Good sequence there. Gargano sits up and his demeanor changes completely, which catches EC3 by surprise. Gargano with massive punches and then two superkicks right in the face. Gargano to the corner and he pulls his kneepad down, setting up for Ciampa’s running knee. EC3 catches him and tries for the 1% but Gargano gets out and turns it into the Gargano Escape. EC3 crawls to the ropes but Gargano doesn’t break the hold until the last second. Gargano locks it on again and once again last second before he breaks it. Gargano with a running knee to the side of EC3’s head as EC3 rolls to the apron. Gargano sets him up for the DDT in the ropes, much like how Gargano lost to Ciampa in Chicago, and that’s enough to keep EC3 down for the 3 count.

Winner: Johnny Gargano

Post match, Gargano acts like a man possessed or a man who can’t believe what he’s just done. Maybe a little bit of both. That ends our show.

K-Tank’s Take: Really strong storytelling by Gargano in this match. I think some people might feel EC3 was fed to Gargano here and deserves a little better. I wouldn’t exactly disagree with that, but if he’s in line for a feud with Dream next, this match will become inconsequential to him, so it’s ok ultimately. Ciampa vs. Black in 3 weeks should be very interesting since Gargano is clearly not done with Ciampa.

That’s it for this week. Next week is lined up to be another loaded show as the talent continues to shine. It’s a fun brand to cover, that’s for sure. Until next time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… but if you do, name it after me!