This week’s NXT opens with a camera crew and legal counsel in NXT General Manager William Regal’s office, as well as a major announcement. It’s official: Regal has started an investigation into the Aleister Black situation. Who attacked Black? William Regal is on the case.
Johnny Gargano hobbles to the ring with a single crutch and “JOHNNY WRESTLING” chants from the Full Sail crowd, and he’s got something to say: He doesn’t know where he’s going to go from here. After losing to his former best friend, Tommaso Ciampa, again at TakeOver: Brooklyn IV, Gargano feels like he’s failed the NXT Universe, as well as himself and his wife. “And I thought I could fix it, and I thought I could make it right. But I didn’t. That’s the truth.” Also the truth? “In Brooklyn, I became Tommaso Ciampa.” He can’t get Ciampa out of his head, and he doesn’t know what the NXT Universe wants, but out comes someone who might have an answer, William Regal.
Actually, Regal has a question, one of whether Gargano attacked Aleister Black or not. The first time Regal asks, Gargano replies, “You’ve known me for a very long time. You tell me.” That’s not an answer though. The second time Regal asks? “Look into my eyes: You’ll know your answer.” Still not an answer, and before William Regal can press further on the matter—and he really should, if he’s doing his due diligence—The Velveteen Dream arrives to let everyone know it’s time to focus on “THE EXPERIENCE.”
And certainly not “Johnny Failure” or guys who aren’t even in the building right now.
Unfortunately for Dream, Gargano’s crutch—and visible sign of his status as a failure—was only something he needed to keep his weight off his knee for a few days, because he is 100% “good to go.” (You know, Gargano said he became Ciampa, and that’s exactly the kind of trick Ciampa would play.) Instead of allowing a full-blown brawl to break out, Regal ended up sending Gargano to the back—still not getting an answer on the Ciampa question—Dream to his office, and setting up a one-on-one match between the two for next week.
Dakota Kai def. Aliyah
After suffering through Shayna Baszler reign of terror and Lacey Evans’ version of in-ring etiquette school, Dakota Kai is ready to get back to business as “The Captain of Team KICK.” Her first roadblock is Aliyah, who actually took Lacey’s lessons to heart and now has a new edge and aggression to go with her already privileged attitude. Unfortunately, that new-found aggression—while it temporarily works against Dakota Kai—is no match for Dakota’s veteran in-ring ability, as it’s Aliyah’s showboating that opens her up to getting hit with Dakota’s finisher and a loss.
After deeming Dream’s testimony enough to clear him in the Aleister Black investigation, Regal’s faced with both clearing the Forgotten Sons and giving them an opportunity in NXT. They make their official in-ring debut in a tag team match next week.
EC3 was attacked backstage, before his match against Raul Mendoza. And blink-and-you-miss-it, but Lars Sullivan was the person leaving the scene: It seems someone didn’t take too kindly to EC3’s finger-pointing last week.
While EC3’s attacker may not be a mystery, the Aleister Black mystery rolled on with William Regal attempting to get a straight answer—or an answer of any kind—out of Nikki Cross about what she saw on the rooftop at the time of the attack. Instead, she preferred to spin around in a chair, throw pens, and answer a phone that wasn’t even ringing. (And also to request that Bianca Belair—who’s still waiting for a title shot at the NXT Women’s Championship—“play” with her.) But while she didn’t provide Regal with any answers, she might still have one hiding deep in her in psychotic little mind: “I saw it. It was beautiful. … I know who did it! … I know a secret!”
While Raul Mendoza expected EC3 as his opponent this week, he instead got Lars Sullivan in an NXT ring (aka “Lars Sullivan territory”) for the first time since NXT TakeOver: Chicago II. Not a match, just a quick beat down. And also an explanation from Sullivan about why he attacked EC3—which he had no problem admitting—which was in fact because EC3 couldn’t keep Sullivan’s name out of his mouth.
“Before I left, I made a promise. When I returned, Tommaso Ciampa would be the most dangerous SOB that NXT has ever seen. And I’ve surpassed all expectations. Not only did I end the Gargano fairy tale, but I captured the most prized possession in sports entertainment, the NXT title. I am exactly what I say I am. I am the greatest sports entertainer of all time, and this—this is my proof.”
Keith Lee def. Luke Menzies
Even against a big guy like former professional Rugby player Luke Menzies, Keith Lee is still the biggest man in the ring here. He’s also the man with the most limitless potential, which comes from a combination of his insane agility, his lethal strikes, and the fact that he just does things in the ring that a man his size shouldn’t be able to do. Menzies downfall is a combination of his rookie status and maybe a bit of the fact that he refused to bask in Keith Lee’s glory. It’s also the result of one gigantic Spirit Bomb.
In two weeks: Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch return to tag team action.
The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole & Roderick Strong) def. Ricochet & Pete Dunne
It probably wasn’t a good sign that Pete Dunne kept eyeing Ricochet’s North American Championship backstage before the match, but Dunne did say last week that he’s gunning for that title too. But the enemy of my enemy is my friend for this temporary alliance between the two, so titles can wait.
However, for TUE, strategy never waits, as at the last minute—even after the ring announcer said Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong as the tag team—Adam Cole entered the match as Roderick Strong’s tag team partner. And he of course entered with a chip on his shoulder about Ricochet carrying around “his” North American Championship. (According to Cole, Ricochet winning was a fluke.) This was a fast-paced, fast and furious, hard-hitting match between some of the best in NXT, and unfortunately for Ricochet and Dunne, TUE’s established tag team chemistry ended up getting the advantage in the end. And a miscommunication on the makeshift team’s end, as Ricochet accidentally suicide dived Dunne instead of any member of TUE.
Instead of winning with grace, TUE chose to attack their fallen opponents after the fact, stopped only by the War Raiders (who are closing in on TUE and their tag team titles).
You can watch this week’s NXT on the WWE Network.