NXT – April 25, 2018

Date: April 25, 2018
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson

After a few weeks of insanity on the main roster, it’s rather nice to see how things are going down in NXT. This week we have the first defense of the North American Title as Adam Cole defends against Oney Lorcan, but there’s a slightly bigger title match. Tonight we have Aleister Black making his first defense of the NXT Title against Johnny Gargano. The shenanigans should be high with this one. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here’s the Undisputed Era to open things up, with Roderick Strong officially announced as a Tag Team Champion. Adam Cole talks about how much gold the team has, which is what happens when you back the team into a corner. NXT has fought against them from the start but ladies and gentlemen, here they stand.

Bobby Fish talks about having the deck stacked against them every time but they’re always winding up in front. Strong says he isn’t here to pat himself on the back so everyone else can do it for him. For once he did something for himself by taking the safer long term prospect. All Pete Dunne cares about is the United Kingdom Championship so how long would it be until he turned on Strong?

During the match, Strong had an epiphany: it’s always Roddy vs. the world, but why fight on your own and come up short? They are done being backed into a corner and now they can’t be stopped. Cole is ready to defend the North American Title on his own, just like he won it. It’s not like he needs any help defeating Oney Lorcan. Now why is it so hard to get an explanation for actions like the one Strong just gave us?

North American Title: Oney Lorcan vs. Adam Cole

Cole is defending and has heavily taped ribs. Lorcan is smart enough to go for a waistlock to send Cole bailing to the floor. Mauro’s analysis: he doesn’t think Cole is at 100%. On the way back in, Lorcan shoulders him in the ribs to keep the champ in trouble. Cole comes back and stomps him down before hitting a chinlock.

The fireman’s carry neckbreaker plants Lorcan again but he’s right back up with a running elbow. The running Blockbuster gets two and Cole gets dropped ribs first onto the top rope. Cue Kyle O’Reilly with a trainer to throw up the X, followed by a belly to back suplex to put Lorcan on the apron. Cole is just fine and the Last Shot retains the title at 5:54.

Rating: C-. They did the smart path here with the Lorcan staying on the bad ribs. Having someone come out and throw up a fake X is a smart idea and something I don’t remember seeing before. The Undisputed Era could be around for a long time and that’s going to make things interesting in the future. These first few title defenses aren’t the most thrilling but the logic was sound.

Post match Danny Burch runs in for the save but gets superkicked down.

Video on Shayna Baszler.

We look at Candice LeRae defeating Zelina Vega last week.

Video on Bianca Belair, who faces Candice next week.

Heavy Machinery vs. Tino Sabbatelli/Riddick Moss

I don’t say this often (if ever) in NXT but yes, again. Knight headlocks Moss to start and double shoulders put Sabbatelli and Moss on the floor early on. Back in and Heavy Machinery rams them into each other before standing on their chests to pose. Things finally settle down and Moss hammers Dozovic into the corner to take over. It’s back to Sabbatelli to throw some punches but Dozovic launches him to the floor. Moss comes back in and slugs away but Sabbatelli walks away, leaving Moss to take the Compactor for the pin 4:07.

Rating: D+. Good. Not only is the team finally done after not having any chance to go higher than they were, but now we don’t have to watch this match anymore. There’s nothing left for Sabbatelli and Moss to do as they’re not all that interesting as so many of their stories were about that car. Sabbatelli could be ok on his own, but neither is exactly jumping off the page at me. Splitting the team is the right move, even without much upside.

Post match Heavy Machinery calls out the War Raiders, saying they’re going to eat all the steaks and lift all the weights. If the Raiders are ready to face them, Heavy Machinery is ready for war.

Video on the women’s division.

Dakota Kai doesn’t want to talk about Shayna Baszler and her injury. Baszler comes in and demands that Kai looks at her. Kai came all the way here but needs to understand that the women’s division under Baszler is Kai’s worst nightmare. If they go through with this, Kai rising up to fight Baszler could be money.

Kona Reeves is coming.

Video on Lacey Evans. Dang there are a lot of these tonight.

Next week: TM61 vs. Street Profits and Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong.

NXT Title: Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black

Black is defending.

Hang on though as Tommaso Ciampa, now with face paint (or maybe tape), jumps Gargano from behind. Johnny fights out of White Noise through a table though and dives onto Ciampa. The beatdown is on until Ciampa gets in a low blow. White Noise through another table leaves Gargano laying. A stretcher is brought out with Candice LeRae out to help her husband too. We follow the stretcher to the back with Kassius Ohno (in a Larry Sweeney shirt) holding Gargano’s hands. The ambulance leaves and Ciampa is shown standing on a production truck, watching it leave. Heck of an angle here and the rematch will rock.

Back in the arena, here’s an angry Aleister Black to take a mic. Black calls out Ciampa but gets….Sanity? Eric Young says Gargano provided hope in the chaos. Out of the chaos we will find sanity but Black cuts him off, asking if Young is looking for the title. If so, let’s do this.

NXT Title: Aleister Black vs. Eric Young

Young is challenging. They take each other down and Young grabs a headlock. That goes nowhere so Young elbows him down instead. Black knocks him to the floor and moonsaults into the seated pose to remain calm. Back in and Young gets caught in an armbar but Alexander Wolfe offers a distraction to get him out of trouble. Some choking has Black down and Young gets two off an elbow.

Black fights out of the chinlock and hits a big boot for a breather. A running knee knocks Young silly and more strikes make things even worse. Black gets two off a Lionsault to a standing Young and grabs something like an Octopus hold, albeit with Young standing straight and Black hanging to the side. A Death Valley Bomb gets Young out of trouble for two and he goes to the top. That’s broken up so Young tries his slide through the legs into the sunset flip, only to eat Black Mass to retain the title at 8:51.

Rating: B. It’s amazing how much easier Young is to watch in this role. He has more than enough skill to make the matches work and keeping his talking short is the best idea NXT could have for him. Black was strong here as well, showing that he can work with anyone and hitting Black Mass is going to get him out of any trouble. Good match here and better than I was expecting.

Post match the rest of Sanity gets Black Mass as well to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. This show was about setting things up for the future and oh my did they do a good job with that. On top of the great angle with Ciampa and Gargano, there’s the potential for War Raiders vs. Heavy Machinery, someone coming up to challenge Undisputed Era and Kai vs. Baszler (that’s more long term). I’m interested in all of those things and that’s a rare feeling to have. Takeover: Chicago should be a lot of fun and as usual, I fully believe NXT can pull that off.


Adam Cole b. Oney Lorcan – Last Shot

Heavy Machinery b. Tino Sabbatelli/Riddick Moss – Compactor to Moss

Aleister Black b. Eric Young – Black Mass

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