Last week on NXT: Velveteen Dream interrupted Sad Johnny’s promo about being a failure and William Regal made a match for this episode, Dakota Kai beat Aliyah, Lars Sullivan came back from injury with a broken jaw with a win over Raul Mendoza, we basked in Keith Lee’s glory, The Undisputed Era defeated Pete Dunne and Ricochet in a tag match and William Regal questioned random members of the locker room about the Aleister Black attack. Whole lot went down in the span of one hour.

Cold Open

Kassius Ohno vs. Kona Reeves

No cold open this week, no storyline reminders or opening promo. That is the finest way to open an NXT.

Kona Reeves has been getting a lot of hate since his character debut. I’ve like him since day one and I feel that the more people are exposed to him the more they will like him. NXT has the ability to add dimensions to one dimensional characters and I feel like that is what will happen to Kona.

Kassius is wrestling with a very pissed off demeanor. Kona was playing around and taunted Ohno by saying “I’m the Finest.” Kassius lost his shit and hit Kona with a thousand pounds of pressure slap that made me jerk back and the whole earth crack. Kona tries to fight back but couldn’t really get anything going after that. Reeves didn’t have the strength to do the Hawaiian Drop on Ohno and Kassius turned that into Rolling Elbow for an Ohno victory.

Kassius cuts a promo in a serious voice. He is a bit winded and says when he first came back there was so much buzz until he became an after thought. “Now I get it, there is always going to be someone new. There is always going to be someone fresh. To whoever the next guy is, the next guy with buzz, Kassius Ohno isn’t going anywhere and he is going to be right here. The first one to welcome you and to knock you to the back of the line.” I like the new Gatekeeper gimmick. It’s good for Kassius to have his place in NXT and exciting because now we can expect an Ohno vs. Riddle match.

A Wild Samoan named Afa visited NXT and interacted with some people backstage. Terry Taylor doesn’t seem to have social skills.

The Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake) w/ Jaxson Ryker vs. The Street Profits

First, Chad Lail changed his name to Jaxson Ryker. That is the MOST pro wrestling name ever. The spelling is atrocious too. Jaxson? It should be Jaxon. It’s this generations Dolph Ziggler.

Street Profits make their entrance with so much swag. They are rocking white outfits and Montez Ford steals everyone’s attention. He is a charisma magnet and I could honestly watch this man just exist for hours. He is even rocking the Michael Jackson glove, but it’s GOLD.

I’m not sure what The Forgotten Sons gimmick is based off of first impressions. I imagine some sort of suburban older millennial motorcycle gang. Like a scooter gang, they all have scooters and decided to bro out and buy some vests with their cool new tattoo’s. They also come across as big butt rock fans. That’s just off of appearance though.

The match starts with Montez Ford in control of the crowd and the match. He wrestles with his gold glove and necklace. This man put a wrist lock on and had the crowd reacting to his each and every body movement.

Wesley Blake came in and clotheslines the charisma right out of Ford. Wesley Blake is doing his best Buddy Murphy impression by being a juggernaut in the ring with some aggressive offense.

Dawkins is pacing on the apron trying to get a tag from Ford, but Montez can’t even catch a breath in between Forgotten Son attacks. Ford is showing so much heart in his efforts to get the tag to his partner. After some ducking and dodging and diving and dipping and dodging, Ford gets the tag.

Dawkins comes in with a lot of energy but the crowd isn’t into as much as previous Profit matches. Dawkins and Ford go for their finish but Cutler is able to break the move up. Ford makes the most of it and is beginning to gain some steam when two masked men run in and steal some of the Street Profits items. Ford runs after the masked men and is able to catch one. The Scooby Doo reveal shows that the man in the mask is Shane Thorne from The Mighty.

Ryker takes Ford out from behind and after a double team move by Blake and Cutler that is all she wrote. Fun match with a lot going on but it succeeded in telling the story it wanted to. Forgotten Sons get a debut win. It took three extra men to take out The Street Profits and now the Profits and Mighty feud is continuing.

Heavy Machinery are questioned in the back by William Regal. Otis Dozovic is acting very suspicious and when it seems like he admits to attack Aleister Black he actually admits to breaking a toilet because he pooped out warm coffee. Tucker said Ciampa was in the bushes near Aleister’s body.

A rehash of the video from last week about Pete Dunne and Ricochet fighting about how they are better than one another. Ricochet’s voice cracks a lot which is unfortunate. It would be nice if he had someone to talk for him maybe.

Kairi Sane vs. Trish Adora

Our new NXT Woman’s Champion arrives and has her title in a damn treasure chest. She found the One Piece of gold she was looking for. Live the gimmick girl because that treasure chest full of gold is one of the greatest things they could have done for her. On top of that Kairi throws out gold coins to the crowd as she carries her championship to the ring.

Trish is a newcomer and Percy tells us who Adora is. An eight year army vet that trained with the Dudley Boyz after her tour in Afghanistan. She has an African Warrior vibe to her character with some face paint on her cheak and a yellow green and red top.

Adora is bigger and gets some offense in but Kairi is having none of it and hits kicks to the head. She follows that up with rolling neckbreakers that she transitions into a stretch muffler attempt. Kairi is vicious right now.

Sane has an answer to everything Adora does and that answer is Kairi’s five moves of doom ending with an Insane Elbow for the quick victory. The Pirate Princess is our champion and this was a good reminder of her talents.

Kairi is doing a dance in the ring while ONE guy sings her theme song in the crowd. We just need the rest of the crowd to do it. During her entrance and during her match please. Shayna Baszler shows up, knocks over Kairi’s treasure chest and makes a bunch of pirate puns about beating up Sane. Shayna gets in the ring and takes out Kairi rather easily. The crowd chants “Kairi” and Sane rises to her feet with a no nonsense¬†look on her face. Kairi attacked Shayna and was able to come out on top of that scuffle.

Lars Sullivan was interviewed about the Black attack. Sullivan says he went there to take out Aleister but by the time Sullivan got close enough Black was already taken out. All Lars saw was the Undisputed Era driving away. Lars says if he took out Black, Aleister would be out a lot longer.

Johnny Gargano vs. Velveteen Dream

Mauro called this match mouth watering. Dream has a “Johnny Failure” shirt on to further penetrate the head of Johnny Gargano.

Sad Boy Johnny comes out and doesn’t acknowledge the crowd like he used to. He stares at one kid, in a Johnny Wrestling shirt with a sign that reads ‘Johnny Freakin Wrestling’ and then Johnny seems to embrace the crowd a bit more after that.

Dream out wrestles Johnny while simultaneously talking trash. Gargano can’t take the taunting and strikes Velveteen square in the jaw. Johnny is straight up wrestling like a heel and Nigel is picking up on it. Nigel says “this is not the Johnny Gargano we are used to.”

Johnny has everything well in hand but is too angry and leaves himself open for Dream to attack. Johnny doesn’t seem to be focused on winning, he seems to just want to inflict pain. Gargano doesn’t revert to counter wrestling, he just uses strikes. Those strikes don’t do enough damage to Dream so Velveteen is still able to hit moves on Johnny. Gargano is wasting more energy than his opponent and that is what gives Dream the advantage.

Getting later into the match and Johnny is still trying to go blow for blow with the bigger and strong Velveteen Dream. Johnny starts to get into desperation mode and his body begins to auto-pilot. That leads to Johnny busting out actual signature moves and actually getting the upper hand in the match. The beautiful thing is that Nigel is telling the same story beat for beat. He is giving us simple lyrics to understand the music to the song and its gorgeous.

Dream and Johnny are going move for move and strike for strike. Even though Johnny wasted more energy in the match he has a longer stamina. Dream and Johnny are both spent and each move done to them takes everything out of their bodies. The crowd does a short “This is Awesome” chant and they aren’t wrong.

A yay/boo spot happens on the apron but the crowd is supportive of both men. Which means it ends up being a back and forth strike fest that takes you more into the match because the crowd isn’t doing their typical spots. Gargano is pushed into the steel aluminum steps and Dream capitalizes with a DDT for a two count and a “NXT” chant from the crowd.

Velveteen goes for a top rope elbow drop onto the apron but Johnny moves and then dives onto Dream. Velveteen is put into the Garga-no Escape and starts tapping. The ref nears the count of ten and both men make it in the ring in time. Gargano drapes Dream on the ropes and kicks Velveteen’s mouth. Gargano loses his shit and tries to DDT Dream on the concrete. He reminds himself that he isn’t that monster though. Johnny decides not to do it. Gargano walks over to his Izzy, the kid in the Johnny Wrestling shirt. Gargano reclaims his humanity.

Gargano gets into the ring as Dream yells “Johnny Failure” and Johnny sets up the running knee that he used to knock out Ciampa. Dream ducks the knee and hits a rolling Death Valley driver for the three count. WOW! If that happened at Takeover that would be an absolute classic. This match is still an absolute classic but since it happened on a random NXT it will be one of thos hidden gems.

The crowd chants “Johnny Failure/Johnny Wrestling”. Everytime we hear Johnny Wrestling the camera cuts to children in the audience. Johnny slowly walks through the crowd to some light applause. The camera cuts to the evil Johnny Wrestling logo signs held by members of the crowd. As Johnny walks away there are boo’s and “na na na hey hey hey goodbye” chants. Those turn into “Johnny” chants.

This floors me. Johnny right now is going through a struggle in his head. He hates himself for what he has become but he also has some good in him. The crowd knows the story and are the soundtrack to his own head. Half the crowd boo’s him and acknowledges Johnny as a failure and a monster. The other half of the crowd adores him and want to will him back to the Gargano of old. The war in Johnny’s head is also the war in the NXT Universe.

Full Sail gets a bad rap for the type of crowd they became. Keven Owens once cut a promo calling out the crowd for their actions. They have grown since then. They went from smarks with tongue in cheek chants and the love of irony. To a crowd that understands the story and know they play a part in the story. They know if they play the right part the story will be even better. That’s why Ciampa has no music but is ferociously booed. Main roster tried that with Ziggler and he came out to barely any reaction. That is the gap. NXT has smart fans that are smart enough to know their actions can make a product better. Thank you for growing up Full Sail.

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