NXT – May 16, 2018

NXT
Date: May 16, 2018
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Nigel McGuinness, Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson

We’re a month away from Takeover: Chicago and that means we need a card. If there’s one thing NXT is capable of doing, it’s putting together a card in a hurry. There’s a bunch of stuff already set up and that’s enough to build a show in just a few weeks. If nothing else you can probably set up Gargano vs. Ciampa II. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Johnny Gargano’s music starts but it’s Tommaso Ciampa instead for a swerve. He says that he’s won the war with Gargano because Johnny has been broken and dispatched. Now there is only Ciampa. This brings out Candice LeRae to say that she’s done. She’s done putting up with the man who stood next to her and her husband on their wedding day. All Ciampa has to remember is that Gargano was better than him.

Ciampa says that Johnny may be better than him, but he’s more of a man than Gargano. That’s why Johnny sent Candice out here to do this for him. Candice talked about their wedding and it made Tommaso wonder how she was marrying Gargano. That earns him a slap to the face and Ciampa walks away. I know NXT is smart enough to not consider turning LeRae, but that’s what it felt like they were planting seeds for here.

Brandi Lauren vs. Lacey Evans

Lauren appeared in TNA as Ava Storie. Evans sends her into the corner for a chop and punches her down, setting up a picture perfect middle rope moonsault. A hard right hand (the Woman’s Right) is good for the pin on Lauren at 1:23.

Post match Kairi Sane runs out and spears Evans, who bails from the threat of an Insane Elbow.

We look back at Ricochet and Velveteen Dream’s exchange last week.

Aleister Black says if Ricochet thinks he’s the one and only, come prove it. He’s ready for them both.

Dakota Kai doesn’t know what’s up with Nikki Cross, who pops up with her own phone like a reporter and asks when Kai will be facing Shayna Baszler. As usual, Cross sounds like a psycho and says fight over and over.

Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet

The fans like both of these guys, even as Ricochet works on an armbar. Dream can’t nip out of a headscissors so they trade headlocks instead. Back up and Dream armdrags him to the floor but Ricochet slides in for an enziguri. The threat of a dive has Dream sliding back in and landing right in front of Ricochet in the superhero pose. They fight into the corner and here’s Lars Sullivan to jump Ricochet for the DQ at 3:43, though they’ll call it a no contest because he beats Dream up a few seconds later.

Rating: C. It was fun while it lasted but this was angle advancement instead of a big time match. I’m glad they went with this ending because this could be a big time match and they would be foolish to put it in the middle of a regular episode of NXT. Ricochet is so smooth in the ring and Velveteen is like a more athletic Goldust from the 90s (well, the PG version at least) and that’s a very interesting combination.

Lars beats them both up and, indeed, it’s announced as a no contest.

Kona Reeves vs. Raul Mendoza

Reeves cranks on the arm and runs Raul over before going more aggressive with a bunch of stomping in the corner. A falling middle rope elbow hits Mendoza (ala Ted DiBiase, who Mauro was comparing Reeves to at the time) and it’s off to a cobra clutch, which can’t be a coincidence. Raul breaks out with a jawbreaker and an enziguri but Reeves kicks him out of the air. The Hawaiian Drop puts Raul away at 3:47.

Rating: D. I still have no idea what they’re seeing in Reeves because it’s not coming out here. There’s no real edge to him and his work isn’t great, especially that rather bad finisher. If they went with the Million Dollar Man idea it would at least be something but this is just “hey he’s Hawaiian”. If nothing else have him use different people’s offense every week or something. Just….more than this.

Ricochet is trying to get into Regal’s office when Dream shows up to do the same. They both want Sullivan and go into the office together.

Heavy Machinery talked about eating steaks with their mothers on Mother’s Day when they ran into TM61, who make fun of Machinery eating too much. A match is set up for next week. Otis says anyplace anytime, but I think he means at Full Sail and he’s specified a time.

Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch/Pete Dunne vs. Undisputed Era

Strong bails from Dunne to start and it’s off to O’Reilly vs. Burch. Danny takes him to the mat without much effort and grabs a headlock. O’Reilly gets him into the corner and it’s time for the rotating villainous knees to the ribs. They start in on the arm but Burch slips out of a fireman’s carry and drags Strong to the corner for the tag to Dunne. It’s time to start cranking on the arm and goes for the fingers, even as everyone else comes in.

The Brits break all the fingers at once and Undisputed Era bails to the floor…for no break actually. Back in and Dunne gets double teamed to shift control again and NOW Strong is willing to come in and hammer away. Cole drives a knee into the back and O’Reilly comes back in to stay on the arm. Dunne finally flips out of a suplex attempt and it’s off to Lorcan for the fired up comeback. A running Blockbuster puts Cole down and there’s a running flip dive to take the others out.

Everything breaks down and Burch gets two off a clothesline. Dunne gets sent outside though and it’s a fireman’s carry backbreaker into a running kick to Burch’s chest for two. With everyone else on the floor, Burch snaps off a Crossface on O’Reilly. Everyone else comes back in and Dunne armbars Cole while Lorcan gets a half crab on Strong.

Roderick kicks Lorcan off and the domino effect finally breaks up the Crossface. Dunne and Cole fall to the floor and the regular teams slug it out inside. O’Reilly hits Cole by mistake though and Lorcan Blockbusters both of them at the same time. A wheelbarrow DDT ends Strong at 11:22.

Rating: B-. This feels like a preview for the British Strong Style vs. Undisputed Era match that has to be coming. If nothing else it sets up the Tag Team Title match at Takeover and you could probably make Dunne vs. Cole down the line (if nothing else, at Takeover as well) as a bonus. On the top of the list though, it’s NXT taking two people with talent but not doing much and turning them into something. That’s nice to see being done properly.

Next week: Dream/Ricochet vs. Sullivan in a handicap match.

The Brits want the belts to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. This was a storyline development show and it came at the right time. They needed to start setting things up for next month and that’s exactly what they did here. Instead of doing random matches that don’t get you anywhere or a week of stand alone stuff, NXT put together a show that addressed multiple stories at once and probably gave us three matches for Takeover that can be announced in the coming weeks. As usual, well done.

Results

Lacey Evans b. Brandi Lauren – Woman’s Right

Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream went to a no contest when Lars Sullivan interfered

Kona Reeves b. Raul Mendoza – Hawaiian Drop

Danny Burch/Oney Lorcan/Pete Dunne b. Undisputed Era – Wheelbarrow DDT to Strong

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