Welcome one and all to another installment of the NXT Spotlight here at TJRWrestling! Now that Brooklyn is in our rear view mirror, there is still a lot of uncertainty in the brand with a lot of feuds left unsettled. All eyes now turn to Los Angeles where War Games will be held again this year. Who will battle inside the two rings? Maybe tonight, we’ll start to find out. Let’s get to it!
We start the episode with William Regal outside his office, who is letting everyone know that he is starting an official investigation into who attacked Aleister Black, and that starts tonight.
As the announcers set the scene for the Black investigation, Johnny Gargano comes out sans music, with a single crutch as he limps his way down. The crowd chants “Johnny Wrestling”. Gargano gets a mic and tells the crowd that they’ve always had his back. He doesn’t deserve that right now though. He loves the Johnny Wrestling chants, but he doesn’t deserve them. He broke a promise to the fans. He’s made a lot a mistakes lately. He said that if he won the NXT Championship, he’d fix them. He didn’t though. He thought he could fix everything and make it right, but he couldn’t. He doesn’t know where he goes from here. He lost more than a match in Brooklyn, he lost himself. He’s done a lot of stupid things lately, and he doesn’t know how to fix it. He doesn’t know what to do anymore. Everything he’s been through, he doesn’t know what’s left. In Brooklyn, he became something he’s not proud of. He became Tomasso Ciampa. Ciampa is in his head and he can’t get him out. He doesn’t know what the fans want anymore. He wants Ciampa out of his head and he’s gotta be better for everyone.
Regal’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring. Regal says that before Black comes and burns the place down, he’s gotta ask everyone, including Gargano, did he attack Aleister? Gargano says Regal has known him for a long time, so Regal can tell him. Regal says his opinion doesn’t matter, he needs an answer from Gargano. Gargano tells him to look in his eyes and he’ll get an answer. At that moment, Velveteen Dream’s music hits and he comes out. Dream says he’s not in the mood anymore to hear “woe is Johnny”. This shouldn’t be about Gargano and it sure shouldn’t be about a man that’s not even in the building. It should be about The Experience. The Experience that stole Brooklyn, that had the world buzzing, and the trending topic of Takeover: Brooklyn, Velveteen Dream. It should be about him and not Johnny Failure. Gargano says the crutch was from his doctor to keep the weight off his knee for a few days, but he’s good to go. With that, he throws the crutch in Dream’s face. Regal breaks it up before anything happens and says Gargano needs to leave and Dream needs to go to his office. If they want to fight, it’ll be next week.
K-Tank’s Take: The most important thing here is that Gargano appears to be ok and avoided major injury at Takeover. There were a lot of rumors, even fueled by Triple H himself, that he dislocated his kneecap. That would’ve meant many months out. So I’m glad to see that’s not the case. Gargano was great in his emotions during the promo. If he vs. Dream isn’t just a set up for something else and actually get a good match in, that will be a lot of fun to watch.
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Dakota Kai vs. Aliyah
Dakota escapes a side headlock with a headscissors and then as both women get up, Dakota lands a dropkick. Dakota follows up with more kicks but Aliyah kicks out of a pin. Aliyah drops Dakota with a shoulder tackle and then avoids a second dropkick before driving Dakota’s face into the mat. Aliyah with a stomp to the spine and then a pin but Dakota kicks out. Back elbow in the corner by Aliyah and then comes at Dakora with a Thesz Press, followed by another two count. Aliyah now wearing down her opponent with a body scissors. Dakota eventually powers up with Aliyah on her back and drives her into the turnbuckles. Really nice high kick by Dakota and then two running face wash kicks. She drags Aliyah out for a pin but Aliyah kicks out. Aliyah comes back with a reverse facebuster off the ropes. Dakota trips Aliyah and then comes off the ropes with her sunset flip backstabber and that gets the win.
Winner: Dakota Kai
K-Tank’s Take: Dakota got some unfortunate news recently as her Team Kick partner, Nixon Newell, was injured severely during the 2nd Mae Young Classic. (I won’t discuss anything more than that for respect of people wanting to avoid spoilers) She hadn’t debuted on NXT TV yet, but was going under the name Tegan Nox. There were plans in place to get them to team together finally, but now those plans are thrown away obviously. Maybe in the meantime she’ll get back in the title picture.
Now we’re back in Regal’s office, who has officially dismissed Dream from his office. Dream thanks him for not wasting his time. Now, The Forgotten Sons come into the office. That would be Steve Cutler, Wesley Blake, and the former Gunner in TNA, who’s now known as Jaxson Ryker. They said they couldn’t have attacked Black based on the footage that was released. They’ve got Regal’s attention, but once again it’s for the wrong thing. They were just looking for him because they want an opportunity. Regal says they’ll get a tag match next week.
We then go backstage where EC3 has apparently been ambushed by Lars Sullivan as EC3 was on his way to the ring for a match.
Now it’s back to Regal’s office, who has Nikki Cross in. She’s spinning in her chair as he says that she was on the roof during the attack so is an eyewitness. Nikki says she knows who did it. Nikki acts as only Nikki can and answers a phone that isn’t ringing. Bianca Belair walks in now and says she’s been waiting all day while Nikki is in here doing this. Bianca tells Regal to focus on what’s really important. She deserves a title shot before anyone else. Nikki says she wants to play with Bianca. Bianca leaves disgusted. Nikki asks if Regal has any more questions and he says he has a lot of them. I can’t overexaggerate how great Nikki was in this.
Raul Mendoza vs. EC3
EC3 isn’t going to make it because Lars Sullivan’s music hits and he comes out with a mic. He says unlike the Aleister situation, there’s no question who took out EC3. It’s simple, when Lars’ name comes out of someone’s mouth, Lars will rip them limb from limb. Lars says that Raul is standing in Lars Sullivan territory. Lars gets in the ring and Raul tries to springboard off the second rope but gets headbutted in midair. Lars now just clubbing Raul all over the ring. Lars destroys Raul with a pop up powerslam and then follows that up with a Freak Accident.
Winner: No contest
K-Tank’s Take: Good to see Lars back in action after the broken jaw he suffered against Aleister Black in New Orleans. Clearly by this episode, EC3 and Velveteen Dream are already moving on. That’s unfortunate but just seems to be how it is in NXT unless you’re Gargano vs. Ciampa. This would also lead to show that they’re keeping EC3 as a babyface.
We go to Tomasso Ciampa, who has found peace and quiet backstage. He says before he left for ACL surgery, he made a promise that he’d come back as the most dangerous SOB in NXT. He’s now exceeded all expectations. And now he has the NXT title to show for it. He’s exactly what he says he is. It takes a certain type of man to get to the top of the mountain but takes an entirely different man to build his nest there and stay. That’s the type of man he is. NXT is his home and this is just the beginning. No one will survive what’s coming next.
Keith Lee vs. Luke Menzies
Mauro says that Menzies is a former professional rugby player. Menzies tries starting out with some European uppercuts and Lee blows them off, comes off the ropes and HURRICANRANAS Menzies. My God. Lee mauls Menzies with some punches and then a forearm smash. Menzies fights back as Lee basks in his glory, and stuns Lee with some punches and European uppercuts. Lee leapfrogs Menzies in the corner and then Pooooooounce. Period. Avalanche splash in the corner, followed the double open hand slap to Menzies’ chest. Lee tosses Menzies up in the air with ease, and Menzies is not a small man, and Spirit Bomb! That’s going to get the decisive win.
Winner: Keith Lee
K-Tank’s Take: I don’t think anyone reading this expects me to be unbiased, but if you do, I apologize in advance for my biasedness towards Keith. I really want him to achieve everything in NXT and WWE. I was really happy to see a more decisive win for him this week compared to his debut win.
Non Title Tag Match
Pete Dunne & Ricochet vs. The Undisputed Era
It’s scheduled to be Strong and O’Reilly as they’re the champs, but Adam Cole at the last minute says that he wants a piece of Ricochet, so he tells O’Reilly to take the night off and go to the outside. So it’s Dunne and Strong to start off with. Strong gets Dunne in his corner and Cole makes the early tag. Dunne with a drop down and leapfrog on Cole, then lays him out with a lariat. Dunne starts the finger manipulation and tags in Ricochet. Cole manages to escape before Ricochet can get to him and Strong tags back in. Ricochet with a handstand headscissors takedown. Cole distracts Ricochet just enough for Strong to send him into the turnbuckle face first. Cole tags in and they try to double team Ricochet but to no avail. He gets rid of Strong and now lays into Cole. Cole comes off the ropes but Ricochet with a somersault lariat. Strong comes back in the ring and that allows Cole to come from behind. Ricochet doesn’t see a blind tag so as he goes back to Cole, Strong comes from behind with a backbreaker. The Era is now working over Ricochet in their corner. Cole with a running pump kick to Ricochet which leads to a two count. Strong with an insane standing dropkick, straight to the jaw of Ricochet. Ricochet was in trouble for quite awhile, but finally drops Strong with another lariat. Cole tags in but Ricochet avoids his attack and finally makes a tag to Dunne. Dunne sends Strong high in the air with a back body drop. Step up enziguri in the corner. Cole gets dropped and then Dunne X-Plex’s Cole on top of Strong but is only able to get a two count. Dunne tries for the Bitter End but Cole comes in. Ricochet drops Cole with a twisting suplex. Dunne avoids the Strong Hold and then hits a snap German suplex, followed by a sit out powerbomb for a two count. Dunne catches a Cole superkick and Ricochet flies off the top rope to take Cole out. Dunne sends Strong to the floor as well and then comes off the second rope with a moonsault to the floor to take them both out. Ricochet now wants to dive onto the Era but they pull Dunne in his way and he accidentally takes out his partner. They dispose of Ricochet, O’Reilly throws Dunne back in the ring, and Cole comes at him with the Last Shot shining wizard for the win.
Winners: The Undisputed Era
Post match, The Era aren’t done as they grab Ricochet and beat on him some more. Brainbuster over the knee by Cole and they look like they’re going to go after Dunne, but here comes the War Raiders to clear the ring! The Era clear the ring and mock the War Raiders for trying to get to them. There’s a staredown between the two teams as the show goes off the air.
K-Tank’s Take: Not the classic tag match you would expect, but there’s obviously more to come with all these participants. So I won’t complain. If Bobby Fish is cleared by November, I could see this being a 4 on 4 War Games match.
That’s it for this week. So be sure to join me next week here, and also join John and I on Patreon! Until next time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… but if you do, name it after me!