NXT – April 4, 2018

I apologize for the delay but I was driving to New Orleans all day yesterday.


Date: April 4, 2018
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, Percy Watson

It’s the final show before the big night in New Orleans and as usual, things continue to change around here. Last week saw the announcement of the six man ladder match for the North American Title and this week we have the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Things are picking up at the right time so let’s get to it.

We open with a video package on the Dusty Classic with various big names (Terry Taylor is included so take this with a grain of salt) showing up to watch the finals. Bobby Fish’s knee injury is confirmed for the first time on NXT TV though and he is NOT currently cleared.

Opening sequence.

Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Authors of Pain vs. Roderick Strong/Pete Dunne

After the Big Match Intros, Strong is sent straight into the corner so the Authors can start the beating early. It’s off to Dunne and the fans are VERY pleased as we take an early break. Back with Dunne in trouble with a hard knee to the ribs cutting him off. Akum comes in for a knee to the chest of his own and Dunne is rocked. The top rope stomp/side slam gets two on Dunne but he snaps Akum’s finger and grabs a faceplant for the tag off to Strong.

Akum gets knocked off the apron and some kicks to Razar’s head give Strong two. Dunne comes in for a running enziguri in the corner and top rope double stomp to the back gets two more. Akum is back in and Razar is low bridged to the floor. The assisted Bitter End gets two with Razar making the save but the Authors just run them over with raw power. Everyone is down and here’s the Undisputed Era for the double DQ at 11:53.

Rating: B. The ending feels like storyline advancement and that’s fine, though the match was rocking by the end. Dunne and Strong work well together and the Authors are great giants to slay. You can feel the triple threat coming because that’s how anything WWE related works, but at least the match was good to set it up.

Post match here’s William Regal to make the triple threat because champions attacking both challengers NEVER WORKS. As a bonus, the winners will also win the Dusty Classic.

We recap the ladder match announcement.

All six participants are ready to win the title. These are just quick sound bytes about how they should win but at least all six of them are getting TV time.

Long video on the rise and fall of DIY, leading to Tommaso Ciampa turning on Johnny Gargano. After rehabbing his torn ACL, Ciampa came back and screwed Gargano over, forcing him out of NXT. That set up Saturday’s grudge match, which has been built up for nearly a year. Ciampa said he carried the team but it was always about Gargano. For the first time, this is Ciampa’s moment. As usual, this was an excellent video to recap the whole thing and make you want to see the match.

Kairi Sane vs. Vanessa Bourne

Bourne goes simple by stomping on Kairi’s foot, only to get rolled up for a few near falls. A flapjack works a bit better for Bourne and she sends Kairi face first into the buckles over and over. Sane cuts her in half with a spear and the sliding lariat in the corner keeps Bourne in trouble. A top rope forearm looks to up the Insane Elbow but Bourne catches her on top. That just earns her the Alberto Del Rio double stomp and the Insane Elbow is good for the pin on Bourne at 4:17.

Rating: D+. Not quite a squash but Sane got in all of her major stuff and wins clean over a game opponent. There’s a good chance that we’ll get Sane vs. Baszler for the title at whatever the next Takeover is and that’s a very good thing. Sane certainly has the star power and look to make such a run work and the history with Baszler is already there.

Lacey Evans has shown us what a strong woman is capable of and doesn’t like Nikki Cross. She doesn’t like that complete psychos are getting chances instead of her. Evans doesn’t think much of the rest of the division either but plans to take Sane’s chance.

The Undisputed Era catches up with Regal (How hard can he be to find?) with Cole yelling about having to compete twice. Regal says there are three options: Cole wrestles twice, O’Reilly defends the titles on his own, or Cole drops out of the ladder match. None seem agreeable.

Video on Aleister Black vs. Andrade Cien Almas. Black says Almas is buying into his own hype and needs to get the monkey off his back by winning the NXT Title. Zelina Vega says there’s a monster in Almas that Black will soon meet.

We look back at Shayna Baszler and Ember Moon brawling last week. Thankfully TM61 isn’t cut off in mid promo this time.

Moon promises to end the war that Baszler started.

Next week: Kairi Sane vs. Lacey Evans.

Lars Sullivan vs. Killian Dain

They do the big shove off to start with Sullivan getting the better of it and knocking Dain out to the floor. Back from a break with Dain getting his neck cranked. That’s broken up and a backsplash sets up a Vader Bomb, which hits Sullivan’s raised knees. Lars goes up top with Dain trying a superplex but a headbutt knocks them both to the floor instead. With everyone down, here are Velveteen Dream, Adam Cole and EC3 for the staredown. Ricochet runs in and moonsaults into his pose as we’ll say the match is thrown out at 5:30.

Rating: C. This is a hard one to rate as they were there for the sake of beating each other up for a few minutes until all the run-ins started. As a way to set up the ladder match this was fine, but it wasn’t supposed to be any kind of a definitive match. I’m sure we’ll see these two have a longer match in the future, as they should.

A big staredown ends the show.

Overall Rating: B-. Most of that is for the video packages alone, as NXT knocked them out of the park yet again. The main thing here was they made Takeover look awesome and there’s even the issue of what Cole will do on Sunday about having to wrestle in two matches. The wrestling wasn’t the point here and now I’m wanting to see where things go on Sunday. Good stuff.


Authors of Pain vs. Pete Dunne/Roderick Strong went to a double DQ when Undisputed Era interfered

Kairi Sane b. Vanessa Bourne – Insane Elbow

Lars Sullivan vs. Killian Dain went to a no contest when EC3, Ricochet, Adam Cole and Velveteen Dream interfered

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