Last week on NXT: Nikki still knows who attacked Aleister Black. Candice LaRae was overcome with anger and walked right into the fist of Lacey Evans. The Forgotten Sons had a forgettable match. Gargano picked up a hard fought victory over Tony Nese. A bloodied Lars Sullivan defeated a bloodier EC3.
A hype video for the main event. A triple threat match for the North American championship between Adam Cole, Pete Dunne and champion Ricochet.
Tommaso Ciampa starts off the show with an in ring promo. He puts himself over as the greatest sports-entertainer of all time and his entrance music as the greatest theme of all time.
The real reason why Ciampa is out here is to talk trash about Velveteen Dream. Ciampa says that Dream should not have accused Tommaso of attacked Black. Dream comes out to stop this tirade.
Dream comes out in black and white. A leather coat with tassles, a bandana that is more like a scarf and some cat sunglasses. Out here calling Ciampa an angry little bald man with insecurities. That actually seemed to rattle Ciampa a bit.
Ciampa turns it around on Dream and says Velveteen is only here for attention. Ciampa says the NXT championship said Dream is not tough enough. Dream started in wrestling at 19 when he was cut from the WWE reality show Tough Enough, so that was a pretty good dig by the championship belt.
Velveteen says he is more man than Ciampa can handle. All he needs is a moment. Turns out that moment is Nikki Cross interupting. This is pretty sweet. Not too often is a woman in the NXT Championship segment. This makes Nikki feel bigger than a division. The crowd chants “Triple Threat” and holy shit, NXT gonna hop on the intergender bandwagon soon, just not now.
“Nikki knows a secret” chant takes over as Nikki shows pure excitement, she is antagonizing both Dream and Ciampa. It’s kind of amazing because neither men know how to react and the crowd is responding to her every move. Nikki acts like she can hear the title. I can’t put this over enough. This is one of those classic NXT moments, a watershed moment for Nikki. A time you realize that leaving her on NXT is the best thing that could happen to her. No way would main roster know how to handle this character. The segment ends with Nikki saying she knows and the crowd chanting with her. Great stuff!!
Keith Lee vs. Kona Reeves
Both men have a green theme to their entrance. I know we should bask in Lee’s glory but got dang does Kona ooze charisma. I’m all on this Reeves train, this man has something special about him. I don’t know what it is but I can just feel it when Kona comes out.
Kona starts yelling at Keith and the crowd stops chanting just to hear what Reeves has to say. Kona says he is NXT’s Finest and Keith just laughs it off. Really enjoy the character work before the match starts. Lee barely reacts and gets a huge chop in. Keith Lee wrestles like he is just having the time of his life. Doesn’t take things to seriously and doesn’t seemed phased by much. These men are polar opposites in some ways. Hyper aggressive peacock in Kona and the chilled laid back monster like Keith Lee. Kona is a jackal and Keith is a lion.
After some antagonizing Keith roars and puts Kona to rest after a pounce and a super nova. This match was fast but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Some hype for the upcoming NXT Woman’s championship mach at Evolution.
Kairi says she is so excited for the great opportunity at Evolution. Kairi says Shayna can train all she wants, Shayna still knows that Sane will beat her again.
William Regal says he has a list of suspects for the attack on Black but he knows Nikki Cross knows something. Kassius Ohno shows up to ask Regal where Matt Riddle is. Ohno doesn’t say Riddle by name but he alludes enough to it. Ohno is very cartoony in his way of acting in this segment. It’s no Kassius vs. Ricky Steamboat that’s for sure. Nikki shows up to laugh at Kassius.
I still laugh that the Undisputed Era symbol is a combination of C,O,F for Cole, O’Reilly and Fish. Even though Roderick Strong is a member and most frequent wrestler. Just not focused in the Undisputed Era merchandise at all.
North American Championship
Ricochet vs. Adam Cole vs. Pete Dunne
It’s interesting that when the men are introduced. Ricochet is from Kentucky, Dunne is from Birmingham and Cole is representing Undisputed Era. I’m guessing that is because Cole is billed from Panama City, Florida and this is a Florida crowd and Cole is the only heel in the match.
Cole does this great thing where he verbally reacts to whats happening in the ring. When Dunne and Ricochet look to wrestle each other, but stop and look at Cole, Adam just says “why are you both looking at me?”. It’s a normal thing a normal person would say and not some over expressive wrestling reaction. It adds to the realism of what is happening in the match and something I really appreciate.
The same thing can be said for Pete Dunne’s facial expressions. When an opportunity presents itself, Pete will sometimes look into the crowd and shrug his shoulders. Like he is looking to the crowd to confirm the moment that happened just happened and then reacting to the way we react. Something that draws us closer into the performer.
There is a fun spot that happens where Dunne is attempting to surfboard Cole and Ricochet watches on. Ricochet is letting Cole get worn down but is close enough to break up the submission if Cole can’t handle it. Then Ricochet dropkicks Cole’s face, tries to celebrate the double team with Dunne, who gives a quick look to the crowd before punching Ricochet in the face.
Ricochet tries to prove he can submission wrestle just as well as Dunne. While attempting a submission Ricochet shows that his fingers are still in pain from when Dunne worked on them earlier in the match.
The match is starting to get into the two in the ring-one out of the ring rhythm. This let’s all the guys get some shine and spotlight after some offense. Letting us know that each men have enough strength in certain aspects of their wrestling where they can conceivably win the match. At the same time showing that there is always a third competitor that can derail the plans for victory.
Ricochet gains advantages from high flying manuevers, Cole through conniving and trickery and Dunne through pure brawling. It’s like a human version of paper, rock and scissors.
A triple strike battle had the crowd laughing and applauding for the sheer absurdity of three dudes throwing blows without attempting to block. Ricochet and Cole end up in the ring and when Ricochet goes for a moonsault, he remembers Cole superkicked his face before, so Ricochet feinted and Cole went for the kick. That left an opening for Dunne to forearm the sleeze right out of Cole. After a bit of a sequence Ricochet does go for a moonsault and Dunne and Cole BOTH land the superkick.
The crowd is loving the match and chant “Mamma Mia”. What’s great is Mauro is the one who invented that phrase for wrestling and doesn’t react to the chant at all. True professional right there.
Pete Dunne traps Coles hand upside down and inside out on the steps, then he shows us folks what it’s all about by stomping on Cole’s hand. There is some more innovation with all three men ending with all the men laying in the ring. This match is tremendous.
ALL THREE MEN are fighting on the top rope like some suped up version of a 205 Live match. After a hurricanrana by Ricochet off the top rope on both men they get a well deserved “Fight Forever” chant.
This match is slowing down the spots and focusing on single moments to make you believe that each moment is the finish. Each move feels special. Each counter seems like the last. Each pinfall feels like the end and each submission feels like it will lead to a tap. Finishers are flying, shoulders are going up without pins being broken. Men are being broken both physically and mentally while the crowd is giving every last bit of energy they can to show their appreciation.
Dunne goes for a Bitter End on Cole and connects. While Dunne has the pin and Adam dead to rights, Ricochet does a springboard 450 landing on Pete mid pin. Ricochet goes for an immediate pin and gains the pinfall victory. FUCKING TOP NOTCH STUFF HERE FOLKS!
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