NXT Recap: Episode 481

Last week on NXT: Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch defeated The Mighty, but go beat up after the match by said Mighty. EC3 got a win over show stealing Marcel Barthel and then cut a promo on Bobby Fish. Mia Yim picked up the victory over Vanessa Borne. Keith Lee and Lars Sullivan had a hoss fight. Lars got the win in what is most likely his last match in NXT.

Cold Open

The theme song kicks right in. Mauro and Nigel welcome us to the show while hyping Ciampa!

Matt Riddle vs. Punishment Martinez

  • Very surprising to see Punishment Martinez on the show already. He was only signed just recently, and I would have imagined that he would have spent more time in the PC.
  • Punishment’s music is bass heavy and menacing. It heightens my anxiety! Couple that with Punishment’s wet ass hair and I am very impressed by the presentation.
  • Crowd already split “Let’s Go Riddle/ Punishment!”
  • Some nice back and forth wrestling with Riddle showing levity while staying agressive with chokes and kicks. Punishment shows that he can still overpower Riddle by fighting out of a rear naked choke. Martinez doesn’t capitalize though, instead smirking to himself for a job well done.
  • Percy Watson says Punishment Martinez’ dad beat Chuck Norris in the 70’s and that might be my favorite wrestler fact of all time. Percy has tons of Punishment’s dad facts and it’s tremendous. “His dad would sometimes fight six men at the same time.” “If you want to learn to survive, you need to learn to defend yourself. That’s where the name Punishment came from!”
  • Riddle and Martinez get in a strike battle, but Riddle is a former cage fighter so Punishment is brought down quickly.
  • Riddle applies his finishing submission and repeatedly punches Punishment in the ribcage to get Martinez to tap to the Bromission.

And I’m Like… That was a hot five minutes! Really enjoyable. Punishment seems ready made for a feud with Aleister Black and I’m really excited for his future. Matt Riddle has an amazing theme song and is a pure babyface. The charisma is unparalleled and the dude is just real. That is something special.

Kassius Ohno attacks Matt Riddle after the match.

Ricochet video package about how great he is.

Ricochet answers questions like “how does it feel to be the highlight reel of NXT?”. Ricochet also states that he hasn’t been pinned at Takeover. Next week we find out who is the next contender for Ricochet’s North American Championship. Also, Nigel McGuinness called him the Highlight Reel. So that’s the name.

Heavy Machinery promo of them lifting weights but not eating steaks. They brought up how they faced AOP for the NXT Tag Championships last year. I can’t believe these two are already a year into their tag team. Heavy Machinery challenge The Undisputed Era for the Tag Team Championships.

Raul Mendoza and Humberto Carrillo vs. The Forgotten Sons

  • I just DO NOT LIKE The Forgotten Sons. They seem like horrible people to talk to. If they were in a bar they would change the energy of the room for the worse. They are dressed like bikers and seem dirty. I mean they are clean and shiny like any wrestler but just give off a filthy vibe.
  • The match isn’t on the YouTube page though, so I don’t think it’s that important.
  • Mendoza and Carrillo are very good at wrestling, they just have no character. They have no separate identity, let alone one as a team. I hope there is more to this team than ‘great enhancement talent’.
  • Once Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler got control they DOMINATED. Innovative offense by Cutler, like a rope rebound backbreaker. The hot tag sequence had to happen though and Humberto Carrillo came to show out. He is the Montez Ford of this tag team. Meaning when he wrestles, you can’t take your eyes off him. Dude is buttloads of talented and Raul Mendoza makes a perfect Angelo Dawkins.
  • Cutler and Blake win the match with a top rope stomp/reverse DDT combination.

And I’m Like… Why WWE doesn’t have this on their YouTube page is beyond me. Humberto was hot fire during this match. Everyone did their part and it turned out to be a lot more fun than I expected. If only there were some character development to get the fans to care more.

Velveteen Dream gets a backstage interview. Dream snaps his fingers and the lights turn purple and his music starts up. Velveteen is asked “what’s next for Velveteen Dream.” Dream said everyone is still talking about him. Then doesn’t really tell us what’s next.

Bobby Fish cuts a promo with Undisputed Era in the back of an 18-wheeler. It’s weird. They aren’t in their usual space. Roderick Strong calls ‘The Mighty’ ‘The Weaky’ and it’s so bad it’s good. The UE talks shit on the entire tag team division.

Mauro tells us the War Games was two weeks ago and I am blown the fuck away. So much has happened between those two weeks. I miss how special wrestling was, I mean there is so much wrestling and it’s fantastic, but nothing resonates anymore.

Dakota Kai vs. Shayna Baszler w/ Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke

  • I absolutely LOVE Dakota Kai’s theme song and absolutely loathe that it isn’t on Spotify or Apple Music.
  • The UFC women have a PRESENCE about them. They are obviously having a great time, look bad ass and add an aura of authenticity that not many women or men can add.
  • Dakota is in over her head so she lays the attack on thick on Shayna. Kicks and knees at Baszler until Shayna catches Dakota’s left leg and slams it into the ring post.
  • Then we get the gross arm work. The limb and joint manipulation that makes me cringe and gag.
  • Dakota is full of fight and is Captain of Team Kick so having an injured arm doesn’t hurt her as bad as it would other wrestlers.
  • Kai hits some innovative kicks and has Shayna in trouble until Shayna knees the holy hell out of Kai.
  • Dakota will not stop fighting and is hitting everything in her moveset. Even a top rope double stomp. The camera keeps zooming in on Jessamyn and Marina.
  • Dakota has the match well in hand but Baszler is able to just grab at Kai’s arm to regain control.
  • A superplex from the top rope lets everyone breath a bit before the final act of the match. Shayna wouldn’t let go of Dakota’s hand so Kai just kicked Shayna in the head repeatedly. Just as quick as Dakota had what looked lie the momentum, Shayna locked in the Kirafuda clutch for the win.

And I’m Like… That was f’n fantastic. That match told a great story. Dakota giving every thing she had and Shayna able to withstand it while locking in her submission for the win. The camera zoomed in on Duke and Shafir so much that I thought for sure there would be interference. Afer the match there was and Io Shirai came out fo sav the day. Io took out Duke, Baszler and Shafir all on her lonesome. It was pretty badass. In the Four Horsewomen of UFC, Jessamyn Duke is either the Paul Roma or the Lex Luger.

Another Dijakovic vigenette. He is totally filling the Lars Sullivan role. That is totally fine with me.

Tommaso Ciampa Promo

  • Full Sail is starting to sing Ciampa’s theme song. I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing. Ciampa is so committed to being a heel. It’s a true test to see if a true heel can work in wrestling in 2018.
  • Ciampa tells the crowd and specifically Mauro Ranallo that no one believes in him.
  • Children will grow up and study his work. Which makes me sad for when Ciampa leaves NXT. This is the best work of his career and will probably never be topped.
  • Alesiter Black arrives
  • “Aleister” chant from the crowd.
  • Black says he absolved Johnny Gargano of his sins. The sins that Ciampa created. Black calls Tommaso the “Pupper Master”. He evokes his rematch clause against Tommaso.
  • Johnny Gargano interrupts
  • Johnny doesn’t let his music even play, also calls Black “Al”.
  • Ciampa sneaks out of the ring when Gargano gets in the ring.
  • Ciampa on the outside of the ring gives Gargano the nickname “Johnny Badass”
  • Tommaso talks both men into having a cage match to end their feud once and for all.
  • They both agree to it while screaming at each other and dropping bombs. This is fire, straight fire. Such a tremendous segment.
  • Aleister hits the Black Mass on Ciampa then locks eyes with Gargano.

And I’m Like… Holy crap are these men good at their jobs. The hatred feels real and the aggression is out of control. I already can not wait for this cage match. Tommaso squirreled himself out of having to defend against Black. Which opens the door for a new challenger. NXT is off to a great start post Takeover War Games. Which is saying a lot because usually it’s about a month of build before things get this good!

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