What is up, readers, it’s your favorite wrestler’s favorite wrestling blogger back with another edition of the most electrifying review of any Wednesday night WWE programming on this or any site. The Black & Yellow Brand is still very strong (a shocker, I know) and the main event this week was Undisputed Era vs Pete Dunne and “Team 1-2”.
Team 1-2 is what we’re calling Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch now, because it really rolls off the tongue more smoothly than Team “We will shoot punch your face”, or Team “Nobody told us this stuff was fake”. Was that brief tangent necessary? Probably not. But that’s the kind of hard-hitting analysis you only get in these NXT reviews.
So we opened the show with Johnny Gargano’s entrance music hitting, truly remarkable to hear considering he was hauled off in an ambulance last time we saw him. Inspirational stuff. I was sure I was about to see a heartwarming promo from Johnny Gargano and then TOMMASO CIAMPA WALKED OUT INTO FULL SAIL!
Ciampa came out and started cutting a real nice heel promo, Candice Lerae interrupted him, they had a back & forth exchange that ended with Candice slapping Ciampa. That’s a little bit of an oversimplified explanation of events but that’s basically what happened. Ciampa is on another level as a heel right now, and it would be really enjoyable to watch if he wasn’t such a scumbag. At this point, it’s clear Gargano vs Ciampa isn’t over, but after watching their last match I would gladly watch them fight again.
Lacey Evans defeated Brandi Lauren
Next we got Lacey Evans winning a squash match, and in all honesty, the thing that stuck out to me here is that this has gotta be Lacey Evans’s 4th or 5th different gear combo since coming to NXT. And I don’t mean that as in “Oh the tights are a different color this week!”, I mean I’m pretty sure she has just changed gear entirely again. I don’t hate changing gear, I just think gear changes like the ones Evans has gotten, specifically on NXT TV, should be saved for after a significant character change. Dean Ambrose going to the jeans and jacket look after the shield breakup is a perfect example.
After Evans’s match she got jumped by Kairi Sane, apparently Kairi didn’t love that Evans was talking s**t about her on tv a couple of weeks ago. The logical move at this point would be a match between those two, but who knows. NXT is still a WWE-produced show, and we know how WWE hates logical booking.
After that, there was a brief interview style segment with Aleister Black, where he talked about having a target on his back as the champion. When asked about Velveteen Dream and Ricochet both saying they wanted title matches, Black mentioned that people who step in the ring with him become the target. If Ricochet wants to prove that he’s the “one and only”, Black says, he can get in the ring and prove it.
Sticking with the interviews, we saw a backstage interview with Dakota Kai. When asked about Nikki Cross, Dakota says she has no idea what’s up with her…which is fair. I mean, who DOES know what’s up with Nikki Cross? Speak of the devil, Nikki Cross walked in on the interview pretty much right that second, and started hissing at her “when are you gonna fight, Shayna? What about Shayna?” The big thing here was cross telling Dakota Kai to “Face [her] fear!” before exiting the shot. The segment ended with Dakota Kai looking, understandably, pretty confused.
Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream
Next we got Velveteen Dream vs Ricochet. The crowd was hot but split for this match, which is not the first time that Dream has gotten a ton of crowd support as a heel. It also won’t be the last, if I had to bet. Anyways, the early part of this match showed us that the electric chemistry between Ricochet and Velveteen Dream carries over to in-ring action. We got a classic pose-off spot, Dream did his “flip over the ropes into a pose on the apron” spot, and a sequence where bothe guys did backward rolls into hurricanranas. It was just the perfect taste of what these two can do in the ring together, and it’s good that the early action delivered so much…because that’s all we got to see.
Lars Sullivan hit the ring and beat down both of these guys, causing a no-contest finish. Christian has been saying for a long time that anybody who wants to stick out in NXT should try to be a pure heel, not trying to be cool, not trying to be funny, just hate-able. While Ciampa obviously has that, Lars Sullivan has it to a certain extent too. He’s getting the “monster heel” push, a push I can’t remember seeing from anybody in recent NXT memory, and to his credit he’s running with it. If I’m booking the show I’d say Lars gets a title shot either in Chicago or Brooklyn, but I’d bet it happens in Chicago.
With Killian Dain getting called up to Smackdown there’s really nobody I could see Sullivan having a non-title Takeover match with. Understandably, both Ricochet and Velveteen Dream were unhappy about the whole “getting beat up by a very big guy” thing. And after they both went to talk to William Regal about it, it appears we’re getting a Ricochet and the Velveteen Dream vs Lars Sullivan handicap match next week. That decision puzzles me a bit, because I don’t see an outcome that helps anybody involved. Let’s say Lars wins. That makes Velveteen Dream and Ricochet look like chumps, because they couldn’t beat a guy 2-on-1. And if Lars loses, well then your monster heel takes a loss a month before a takeover where he’ll presumably have a high profile match.
Kona Reeves defeated Raul Mendoza
Following an electric match between two incredibly talented wrestlers that got cut far too short, we got basically the opposite of that. In other words…we got Kona Reeves. Of all the wrestlers that have come through NXT, from Rollins to Ricochet, Kona Reeves is technically one of them. And that’s about as positive as I can get when talking about Kona Reeves. I don’t want to completely bury the guy, but I don’t like him, in or out of kayfabe. jokes/memes aside, he just doesn’t interest me. He’s what happens when a c-list club promoter decides to dress up as a wrestler for Halloween. He looks like the result of a mad scientist trying to mix Hiromu Takahashi and the Velveteen Dream, except instead of getting a cross between the two he got neither. Kona Reeves has the moveset WWE 2K gives your create-a-wrestler that you completely change as soon as possible. Except Kona Reeves kept that moveset. And it looks downright clunky. Reeves beat Raul Mendoza with a “Hawaiian drop”, which is a Samoan drop but it lands the recipient on their face instead of their back? I don’t even know what’s going on at this point. The match was like 3 minutes long but it felt like 3 times that.
Luckily we rebounded with everyone’s favorite beefy boys, Heavy Machinery. Tucky and Dozer were walking through the hallways at full sail talking about…taking mama Dozovic out for steaks (cuz, of course, that was Otis Dozovic’s mother’s day plan) when they ran into TM61. This was a funny interaction to watch because both guys from Heavy Machinery look like they could eat Nick Miller or Shane Thorne in between steaks. Anywho, TM61 vs Heavy Machinery next week.
Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch defeated The Undisputed Era
Finally we got to the main event. Undisputed Era vs Dunne, Lorcan, and Burch. The thing that struck me in this match, which also stood out to me in the last Roderick Strong vs Pete Dunne match, was Pete Dunne working babyface. Steve Austin has said on his podcast multiple times that what comes across as a “mean streak” in a heel is the same thing that gets called “fire” when a babyface does it. And truth be told, I never really got this until I saw Pete Dunne wrestle as a babyface in NXT. Dunne showed so much fire in this match it’s hard to see him not becoming an absolute star down the road. The one issue I did have in this match was how cohesive Lorcan & Burch were while working with Pete Dunne, but the match was so well done that I can overlook that. I saw a lot of people saying that this was the exact opposite of a main roster 6-man tag team match, and I couldn’t agree more.
Where a main roster 6-man tag team match is usually put together as “hey we have three babyfaces and three heels, let’s just throw them together and boom! we have a match!”, this match had story behind it that went beyond the “I’m a good guy and so are you, let’s work together”. Lorcan & Burch had to team up with somebody they didn’t like (Pete Dunne) to beat the people they liked even less (The Undisputed Era). It gave everybody involved more depth, and it was awesome. Lorcan Burch & Dunne won, which I feel like would have to mean Lorcan & Burch challenge for the tag titles at takeover? if that is the case…who faces Adam Cole? Does Pete Dunne make the card? I can’t imagine they face each other, because having one of them lose would devalue the titles they hold.
So that does it for the episode that was in NXT this week, tune in next week for Lars Sullivan vs Ricochet & Velveteen Dream and Heavy Machinery vs TM61.