NXT Results and Recap: The Ballad of Johnny Failure

LaToya Ferguson
Johnny Gargano, Velveteen Dream (source: WWE)
NXT – September 5, 2018

Kassius Ohno def. Kona Reeves

This week’s NXT gets right into the action, with Kassius Ohno—the smashmouth “Knockout Artist—putting his current win streak up against (a still delusional) Kona Reeves—the self-proclaimed “Finest” of NXT. Ohno gets an early advantage in this match, and Reeves doesn’t do much to get past that; instead, he starts running his mouth about being the finest and how he’ll be the one to knock Ohno out. And that’s a promise that causes Ohno to punch the taste out of Reeves’ mouth. While that doesn’t finish Reeves off, the subsequent rolling elbow does.

Post-match, Ohno gets on the mic to talk about the buzz that surrounded him when he first returned to NXT, that just plain disappeared once someone new came along. And then another new person came along. And then another. Ohno claims he finally understands things now: “There’s always going to be someone new. There’s always going to be someone fresh. And whoever the next guy is—the next guy with buzz—Kassius Ohno isn’t going anywhere.” It’s time to consider Kassius Ohno the NXT welcoming committee, one that will knock the next new guy on the black-and-yellow brand right to the back of the line.

Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake) def. Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)

As promised, the Forgotten Sons get a chance to prove themselves in tag team action this week. Jaxson Ryker is the odd man out on the team, standing on the sidelines as his teammates make their official NXT debut. (Well, technically both Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake have been on NXT TV before, especially Blake—he’s a former NXT Tag Team Champion, after all. But this is both men’s new beginning as the Forgotten Sons.)

Obviously, the Street Profits come to have fun, which sticks out even more when you consider that the Forgotten Sons look like they’ve never had fun a day in their lives. It’s almost like… they’ve forgotten how to have fun. (Please, hold your applause.) But despite the status of their son-hood, Cutler screams “FORGOTTEN NO MORE” after Blake clotheslines Montez Ford onto Cutler’s knees. This ends up being just the impressive outing the Forgotten Sons need, as with The Undisputed Era/War Raider feud heating up, the rest of the tag team needs to step up to stick out. (The Forgotten Sons stick out in other realms too, as Steve Cutler somehow ends this match with a bloody nose.)

Another team that wants to stick out is The Mighty, as they appear in makeshift ninja gear to steal the Street Profits’ cup (with their chains inside) and cause enough of a distraction for the Street Profits that Ryker is able to finally strike from the sidelines and provide Ford to his teammates on a silver platter.

William Regal’s investigation into Aleister Black’s attack continues, this time with two breaks (one in the case and one for a different situation that plagues the NXT roster):

  1. According to Tucker Knight, they saw Tommaso Ciampa lurking in the bushes near Black’s body that night—the cameras didn’t catch that.
  2. Otis Dozovic is sweating—literally—because he broke the toilet in the Performance Center.

Later, Regal meets with Lars Sullivan, who surprisingly apologizes for… probably the first time ever. He’s sorry he didn’t tell Regal that he’d be returning, but he is medically cleared and good to go. But Regal mostly cares about the fact that Sullivan had all the motive in the world to attack Black. While Sullivan confirms he did plan to see Black that night and get back at the man for breaking his jaw, before he could get to him, he heard Black scream; all he actually saw was TUE driving away from the crime scene.

Sullivan also adds that if he’d actually been the attacker, he’d have still been standing over the body when Regal got there, which is something EC3 can attest to. But considering we saw Sullivan immediately flee the scene after sneak attacking EC3 last week, how can you really trust his excuse? Then again, at least he answer Regal’s questions, unlike Johnny Gargano. As for the other man Sullivan attacked—Raul Mendoza—they’ll have a match next week on NXT.

After last week’s tag team match against TUE, Ricochet and Pete Dunne got into verbal blows, blaming each other for their loss. So now that they don’t have to be partners anymore, they can get right down to it: In two weeks, Ricochet and Dunne will face off in a Champion vs. Champion match, with both the North American Championship and the United Kingdom Championship on the line.

Kairi Sane def. Trish Adora

With this match, Kairi Sane is appearing at Full Sail for the first time since she defeated Shayna Baszler at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn IV. And she’s brought her treasure along with her: Yes, she actually keeps her NXT Women’s Championship in a pirate treasure chest full of doubloons. (While Shayna Baszler is of course a friend of RondaRousey.com, you’ve got to admit: Kairi Sane is just cool.)

NXT newcomer Trish Adora—an Army vet who got her initial in-ring training from the Dudley Boyz—has one heck of challenge and opportunity in front of her here. But sadly for Adora, while she is definitely the bigger competitor, she can’t keep up with the quicker, more aggressive Sane. After some pretty dominant offense from the new champ, an InSane Elbow eventually puts the rookie down. Kairi Sane stands tall once more, with a celebratory pirate dance to end it all.

Of course, Shayna Baszler has something to say about that, which you can read about here.

Another week, another message from Tommaso Ciampa in a dark, undisclosed location. Why hasn’t he made an appearance in Full Sail since NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn IV? Well, without a #1 Contender, he has no reason to be there but also because he’s tired of hearing the NXT Universe’s opinions. He is the true last man standing—just ask Aleister Black and Johnny Gargano—and while some members of the Universe may understand where he’s coming from, he knows the majority are sheep. “I do not want to be the voice of the voiceless. I have no interest in leading a bunch of mindless sheep. … The champ leads wolves. … Follow the lead of Tommaso Ciampa. Follow the lead of your NXT Champion.” If you want to imagine the opposite of a champion who carries their title in a treasure chest, it’s probably Tommaso Ciampa.

Velveteen Dream def. Johnny Gargano

Velveteen Dream comes out first, rocking a Johnny Gargano—well, “Johnny Failure”—shirt and right arm sleeve that features a crying version of Gargano’s logo. Gargano is, understandably, not amused; but that really just means he’s falling into the Dream’s trap. Most of Dream’s opponents are able to get past these mind games, but Johnny Gargano is such a broken man now, who knows if he’ll be able to. (Spoiler alert: He’s not able to.)

While Gargano gets an early advantage in the match, he’s still fueled by his own demons, which Dream is obviously able to capitalize on. Gargano takes his pent-up anger out on Dream, but Dream is also able to bide his time and get in some dominant—although still pretty desperate—offense of his own. The Full Sail crowd is split 50/50 on both men, but this far more aggressive Gargano isn’t exactly the same man these people fell in love with. In fact, tt more than one point, there are dueling “JOHNNY WRESTLING”/“JOHNNY FAILURE” chants.

Regardless of their stance on either competitor, the Full Sail crowd at least acknowledges that this match is, in fact, , of course,—and eventually, it’s even harder to pick a winner because both men end up getting pretty even later on in the match. But the combination of Gargano’s still-not-100% right knee, Dream’s killer instinct, and Gargano’s identity crisis—as he can’t quite reconcile the man he’s supposed to be and the man Ciampa arguably turned him into—allows Dream to get the win. It also gives him the satisfaction of proving his “Johnny Failure” point right, as Gargano walks out of Full Sail, not believing he deserves any consolation cheers.

You can watch this week’s NXT on the WWE Network.

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