This week’s NXT begins with the self-proclaimed “greatest sports entertainer of all time” coming to the ring, as Tommaso Ciampa slowly makes his way down the ramp, all while pawing at his shiny (oh so shiny) NXT Championship. As the champ notes, the greatest sports entertainer of all time now comes complete with “the greatest entrance music of all time,” and while that music is playing, Ciampa takes his spot in the ring and whispers “I love you” to his championship.
Ciampa isn’t here to just whisper sweet nothings to his title though. No, he’s here to make a statement about the man who’s been putting his nose in his business the last few weeks: Velveteen Dream. He says that Dream is a guy just looking for attention, and is someone who needs to be different, and Ciampa is sick of it. He’s not afraid of Dream, but he thinks he’s a nuisance.
That bit of description brings out Dream, who’s quick to disagree with Ciampa’s assessment that The Blackheart is the greatest sports entertainer of all time. Dream believes he has a more apt description of the NXT Champion: “a bald little man hiding behind his insecurities.” Dream may be right; after all, Ciampa’s months-long battle with former tag team partner Johnny Gargano was certainly imbued with a sense of insecurity.
controls is a new Ciampa though, a Ciampa with gold over his shoulder. As he says, he may be a bald little man, but he’s a “bald little man with a shiny, shiny, oh so shiny title belt.” The two continue to take verbal jabs at one another, seemingly hoping the other man will eventually snap, but neither of them has time before someone completely unexpected comes to the ring: Nikki Cross. Just as out of her mind as last week, she freaks both Dream and Ciampa right out. More than that, she continually slaps the microphone out of Ciampa’s hands before making her statement. “I know what you did,” she says to Ciampa, over and over and over again as she heads back up the ramp. Ciampa looks shaken.
Could he be the one who attacked Aleister Black? When will Nikki Cross tell us what she knows? Backstage, later in the show, she tells Kassius Ohno that she knows what he did too, so there’s still more than a few suspects left to cross off.
The NXT Universe doesn’t have all that much time to ponder what Nikki means, because once she leaves the ring, it’s time for everyone to bask in Keith Lee’s glory. Kona Reeves has had his sights set on the Limitless one ever since he showed up in NXT and thought the man was trying to jump the line. Reeves, who sees himself as the finest talent that NXT has to offer, sees Lee’s presence and apparent “glory” as an offense to his own hard work, as if everyone should be focused on him and him alone.
Well, Reeves finally gets to take his shot against Lee this week, and it doesn’t end so well for him. Reeves controlled the match early, grounding the big man and doing his best to limit the Limitless. Before long though Reeves is taking too much time to pander to the crowd, which gave Lee the opening he needed. One massive Supernova later and Reeves was down for the count, and the Limitless one showed once again why he’s not to be underestimated.
With NXT Takeover: War Games only a few weeks away, a few champions and contenders are getting ready to do battle, and this week’s NXT gives us a little preview of what we’re in for. First up, we see that Shayna Baszler is beyond determined to take back the NXT Women’s Championship that she lost to Kairi Sane in Brooklyn. I say “lost to” because that’s how Baszler sees it. She says she slipped up at Brooklyn. She got cocky and complacent, and that gave Sane a sliver of opportunity that she capitalized on. Now though, Baszler’s been training differently. She’s angrier and more focused than ever, and she’s coming for her title. It’s scary to think what an angrier, more focused Baszler could be capable of, considering she became champ faster than anyone in NXT history.
Next up, we get a reminder that The Undisputed Era
Next week they share the main event with Nikki Cross and Bianca Belair, who are set to do battle once again after they brawled a few weeks back.
That brings us to the highly-anticipated main event for this week, with Ricochet putting his North American Championship on the line against the UK Champion Pete Dunne and Undisputed Era’s Adam Cole. With the triple threat the odds are always stacked against the champion, but it’s Cole who ends up on the receiving end of the numbers game to begin. Both Dunne and Ricochet have bad blood with Cole, and they team up at the start of the match to take out the threat.
It isn’t long before the two have to turn on each other though. They trade forearms and armlocks, their grapples equally matched for the first portion of the match.
That match is filled with one counter after another, all three men determined to come out on top. Cole, Dunne, and Ricochet don’t disappoint when they’re in the ring in singles matches, and the same is true here, with one crazy spot after another. Dunne locks in a single leg crab on both men at the same time, and Ricochet once again gets hit with a superkick during his springboard moonsault, much like he did back in Brooklyn against Cole, but this time it’s in stereo, as Dunne connects with his chin too.
Eventually, after Ricochet hits an insane double hurricanrana off the top rope on both Dunne and Cole, it looks like the champ has it sealed. But before long Cole’s tossed him to the outside again, and he hits his finisher on Dunne to reclaim the championship he first won. But it’s not over, as Dunne kicks out just before three, gets up and hits his own Bitter End on Cole, only to see his opportunity thwarted when Ricochet flies out of nowhere—he tends to do that— and hits Dunne with a springboard 450 for the win. An incredible match to end the night, and one that once again cements Ricochet’s legacy, even so early in his NXT career.
You can watch this week’s NXT on the WWE Network.