NXT – July 4, 2018

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

We’re well on the way to Takeover: Brooklyn with the NXT Title match pretty clearly set and that’s going to make for some interesting weeks ahead. NXT knows how to build up a card in a hurry and I’m looking forward to see what else we get on the upcoming show. Things are good around here and they could get even better so let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Dakota Kai vs. Santana Garrett

They shake hands to start and the bigger Garrett runs her over without much effort. Garrett grabs something close to a Black Widow and then switches to a Muta Lock. Since that can’t last long, Kai pops up with an enziguri. Some facewashes rock Garrett and the running sunset flip Backstabber gives Kai the win at 3:37.

Rating: C-. I could have gone for a bit more of this but Kai has a cool finisher and is adorable enough to hang around for a long time. You know, say to eventually take out Shayna Baszler for example. Garrett is someone who you would expect to be a bigger deal than she is as she has the skill, the size and the look.

Otis Dozovic was at the Performance Center earlier today, talking about wanting a juicy steak. He finds Tucker Knight down and holding his knee, which is a way to write Knight out for their match later. Knight had to miss the show due to his wife having a baby, but NXT is smart enough to come up with a quick story to cover that. Perhaps blaming it on their opponents tonight? As in unlike this week on Raw where WWE made sure to NOT blame the B Team for Bray Wyatt being gone.

Here’s Shayna Baszler for a chat. She talked about going rabid at Takeover to defeat Nikki Cross. Baszler wants more competition and isn’t scared of anyone like Bianca Belair, Kairi Sane or Candice LeRae. It’s so bad that they have to have another Mae Young Classic because she’s out of people to beat up. Not that it matters because the answer will always be the same. They’ll go to sleep and you’ll hear “AND STILL your NXT Women’s Champion!” Baszler is nailing the character as well as anyone I’ve seen in a long time and this was good, cocky arrogance.

Danny Burch gives an update on Oney Lorcan: he has a broken orbital bone but has already undergone surgery. They’re looking at about three months on the shelf but then it’s time for a run at the Tag Team Titles. The Undisputed Era comes in to say they’re coming for the Titles next week because they’re invoking their rematch clause. Oh and Burch is kind of a loser. Burch brings up their success against the Era and challenges Adam Cole to a match next week. Cole laughs and accepts.

Video on War Raiders.

We look back at Tommaso Ciampa challenging Aleister Black for the NXT Title. The match is in three weeks on TV. I’m hoping they don’t change the title and then rush a third Ciampa vs. Gargano match for Brooklyn.

The Mighty vs. Otis Dozovic

Otis wastes no time in running them both over and BLASTS Thorn with a right hand to the side of the head. Miller is sent face first into the buckle but Thorn gets in a cheap shot from behind to knock him to the floor. Some double teaming has Dozovic in trouble and we hit the neck crank. That’s fine with Dozovic, who suplexes both of them at the same time for a breather. Running splashes in the corner keep the Mighty in trouble but Dozovic misses a Vader Bomb. Miller shoves him into a clothesline to the back of the head for the pin at 5:52.

Rating: C-. That was as nice of a surprise as you were going to get with Dozovic working hard to survive on his own. What impresses me more though is how they came up with the short story about Knight being gone. They have their bases covered and spent what, maybe five minutes to film something that takes care of a problem? It really does show how organized this place is and how unorganized the main roster can be at times.

Bianca Belair is on her honeymoon and laughs off the idea of all these women trying to say they deserve to be #1 contender. I mean, are they Bianca Belair? Then they don’t belong at the front of the line.

Kairi Sane wants to face Vanessa Borne next week.

Velveteen Dream vs. Chris Dijak

Dream doesn’t seem impressed, not even looking at Dijak as he comes to the ring. Dijak doesn’t seem impressed when Dream strikes his pose and suplex throws him down with ease. A superkick makes things worse and Dream gets tossed away again in a great power display. Dream finally gets in a few shots and turns up the aggression, including a hip swivel neckbreaker. A chinlock doesn’t work as Dijak fights up with some hard rights and a discus big boot for two. Dream gets sent to the floor so Dijak heads up but gets pulled down, sending him face first into the steps. Back in and the twisting DDT ends Dijak at 5:02.

Rating: C+. Dijak continues to impress as an athletic freak and you can tell that they’ve got something planned for him. You don’t give him that much offense in his first two matches and not have something planned for him down the line. He has the look, the power and the work to go a long way, which makes the roster around here all the more impressive. It took him that long to get onto TV, just because there’s so much other good stuff around him.

Dream poses post match but EC3’s entrance for the main event cuts him off. Dream isn’t pleased.

Moustache Mountain is ready to defend the belts next week.

EC3 vs. Johnny Gargano

Gargano is all fired up and punches EC3 out to the floor so it’s a headlock to calm things a bit (EC3: “SETTLE DOWN!”) back inside. That just earns him a Thesz press and some forearms but EC3 chops his way to freedom. A running flip neckbreaker gets two and it’s off to a nerve hold on Gargano. EC3 sends him hard into the corner to bang up the neck again and it’s back to the nerve hold.

Back up and Gargano hits some shots to the head, followed by the slingshot spear. EC3 is rocked and a suicide dive makes things even worse. They get back inside and a hard clothesline drops Gargano again but he spins away and takes EC3 down. The Gargano Escape is broken up so Gargano tries a triangle choke. That’s reversed into a big sitout powerbomb for two but Gargano goes mega angry and kicks EC3’s head off.

The knee is exposed ala Ciampa but EC3 cuts him off. That’s fine with Gargano, who takes him down into the Gargano Escape. A rope grab breaks that up as well so Gargano puts it on again, still next to the rope (on purpose as he just wants to be violent). With EC3 basically done, a hanging DDT is good for the pin at 10:04.

Rating: B-. Gargano’s saga continues and I’m still hoping that we don’t get the match rushed straight to Brooklyn. Let it build up a bit and then let Gargano finally win the NXT Title to send Ciampa off to the main roster, where he hopefully isn’t sent to 205 Live to rot. EC3 loses his first singles match but there’s nothing wrong with being beaten by a whirlwind like Gargano, who is the top face in the promotion and can do no wrong at the moment.

Overall Rating: C+. Despite it being a holiday show, there was nothing that felt out of place here. Some stories were advanced and more stuff was set up for next week as we roll on towards Takeover, which could be a heck of a card if the lower stuff is built up well. It’s still not clear where some of the matches are going but there’s a lot of time to set those up. Another good show here, as NXT knows exactly how to time everything they need to cover.


Dakota Kai b. Santana Garrett – Sunset flip Backstabber

The Mighty b. Otis Dozovic – Clothesline to the back of the head

Velveteen Dream b. Chris Dijak – Wind up DDT

Johnny Gargano b. EC3 – Hanging DDT

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