This week’s NXT opens with Nikki Cross off in her own little world—both figuratively and literally—talking to herself about how “games are fun” and the fun she had playing with Bianca Belair. In fact, she’s excited to play with her again; she just hopes that Belair’s not afraid to play this time, as they misbehaved (that whole post-match brawl) last time.
And speaking of bad behavior, Nikki Cross goes into another “I KNOW” trance that one can only assume is about the Aleister Black situation. Truly, nobody knows what Nikki knows.
Lacey Evans def. Candice LeRae
Candice LeRae has a new theme to go with her new attitude—a righteously frustrated attitude—in her match against Lacey Evans. While this is definitely a match with quite the height disparity, LeRae obviously has the experience factor over Evans. But “The Lady of NXT” isn’t fighting with the chip on her shoulder that LeRae is, and she does
The same goes for her calling LeRae a “pathetic wife” and “a loser”… just like her husband.
That last one causes LeRae to snap and just wail on Evans. But once the referee is able to calm her down, she walks right into a huge Woman’s Right from Evans.
Next week, Adam Cole gets the NXT North American Championship rematch he requested—only it’s in a triple threat match against defending champion Ricochet and WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne. All three men have their own reasons for wanting this championship around their waist:
- According to Cole, the North American Championship represents an era—his era—and the only reason anyone even cared about the championship in the first place is because he had it. The championship’s legacy starts and ends with him.
- Dunne is already a champion but sees this championship as the “next step” in his career. He wants to be a champion of two continents, as well as the face of NXT.
- Ricochet truly wants to be the one who builds the championship’s legacy. He’s essentially the only one who sees this as an opportunity to make the title mean something, not for the title to just be an accessory.
Privacy time with the Ciampa.
“When you’re at the top, they will always try to chop you down.” He’s talking about people continuing to point fingers at him, like Velveteen Dream. Apparently, Dream is “living in a dream world” where he pretends Ciampa is the one who attacked Aleister Black. So not only does Ciampa point the finger at Dream, he tells Dream to “be careful” and keep his name out of his mouth. After all, he defeated Gargano and Black, and he can do the same with Dream.
Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler, Wesley Blake, & Jaxson Ryker) def. Vinny Mixon, Cesar Rise, & Torry Kirsh (local talent)
So Steve Cutler actually did end up breaking nose in that Street Profits match, and now he’s wearing a nose protector to wrestle.
Anyway: You can probably guess how this goes for the local talent just based on their names (and then by looking at them). Not great, Bob.
Shayna Baszler reveals she’s been getting her mind and body right for Baszler vs. Sane IV (at WWE Evolution) by training old school, at a fight camp. You can read about this preparation here.
The opposite of Velveteen Dream referring to Cathy Kelly as “Queen Cathy” must be Bianca Belair forcing Cathy to call her “Miss Belair,” right?
Cathy brings up Nikki Cross’ request “to play” with Miss Belair again, but “The -EST of NXT” makes clear she doesn’t play games—so if that means Cross wants a rematch, then so be it. Belair is still “UN-DE-FEA-TED,” and now she’s going to have to put Cross away and “embarrass her.” So two weeks from now, it’s Bianca Belair vs. Nikki Cross II. (And next week, it’s Keith Lee vs. Kona Reeves, as well as that North American Championship triple threat.)
Johnny Gargano def. Tony Nese
205 Live’s Tony Nese has decided he’s coming to take over NXT, and he has eight reasons why he’s qualified to do so. (Those reasons are his abs. Because of his eight-pack. You get it.) And the first step in doing that is making his way through Johnny Gargano. After all, the “Johnny Failure” name is still fresh on everyone’s minds.
Unfortunately for “The Premier Athlete,” “Johnny Failure” has left the building, and with this match, “Johnny Wrestling” is officially back in action, ladies and gentlemen! But he certainly has quite the well-built wall to get through in the form of Nese.
To be fair, Nese looks like a million bucks during this match, but he’s also so clearly all about showing off in a way Gargano doesn’t need to.
There’s just so much back and forth athleticism between both men, with Nese as the flashier of the two and Gargano as the crisper and more polished. Except for when Nese hits a rough-looking buckle bomb to the bottom turnbuckle on Gargano: Ain’t nothing flashy about that. But finally, Gargano has enough of the back and forth attempts at one-upmanship and physical torture of this match, and he just turns it on. You know what “it” is. He’s fired up, and now it’s Gargano Escape time—which also means it’s all over. As Nigel McGuinness points out on commentary, “[Gargano] channeled his rage. He channeled his emotions in the right direction.” He did. And he proved he’s still got it.
Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan chronicle their story as a team and the journey it took for them to get that NXT Tag Team Championship match at NXT TakeOver: Chicago three months ago. They’re more than ready to get another championship match sometime soon.
Lars Sullivan def. EC3
EC3 is so ready to take down Lars Sullivan that he doesn’t even go through his whole entrance—once the “E” shows up in his tron video, he just charges toward the ring and jumps Sullivan. They end up taking things outside, where Sullivan keeps attempting to choke EC3… so EC3 repeatedly rams him into steps until the bigger man finally goes down.
EC3 celebrates after that, but once he goes back to work, Sullivan—whose back is terribly bruised and cut up from the steel steps assault—has slightly recovered. Amazingly, EC3 finds himself in a place where he doesn’t have the power and size advantage. So he has to use his brains to weaken Sullivan. That kind of works, but even when he’s able to hit a powerslam on the big man, that only gets a one-count out of the first pin attempt in the match. And EC3 has to know that the longer this match goes, the more time Sullivan has to recover, which is exactly what happens. Now it’s not just brains EC3 has to work with: He even busts out a missile dropkick to try to put Lars Sullivan down. When—besides this match—is the last time you saw EC3 hit a dropkick of any kind?
While this is definitely the most damage anyone has ever done to Lars Sullivan, all this damage mostly just makes the guy angry. Cue the vicious crossfaces to EC3’s face, which end up cutting EC3 right above the eye and making him angry too. Now he’s kicking out at one! And eventually, he’s able to hit a big German suplex on Sullivan, then a Stinger Splash, and a crossbody (again, going atypically high-risk)… only for a two-count. Somehow in all of this, his mouth starts bleeding too. But EC3 is feeling this… and then all of a sudden, he’s feeling a Freak Accident from Lars Sullivan—on the apron—and then a diving
You can watch this week’s NXT on the WWE Network.