NXT – August 29, 2018

NXT
Date: August 29, 2018
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Nigel McGuinness, Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson

Every now and then you get a match that sounds so awesome on paper that it has to be great no matter what they do. That’s what we have tonight in the form of Pete Dunne teaming up with Ricochet to face the Undisputed Era in an all champions match. Other than that, the hunt for Aleister Black’s attacker continues. Let’s get to it.

William Regal is outside his office where a bunch of people are working. Tonight, he’s starting the investigation into who attacked Black. They’re being very smart by not just having Tommaso Ciampa do it and making an angle out of that. On the main roster, it would have been “Aleister is injured and he’ll be back in a little while.” Here, it’s turned into a big angle because it’s an opportunity presented to them. I know WWE loves to tout its own brilliance, but if you’re handed something like this, run with it and enjoy the free chance.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Johnny Gargano on a crutch for a chat. Gargano says the fans have always had his back and a JOHNNY WRESTLING chant cuts him off. He doesn’t deserve that right now and it’s a dueling YOU DESERVE IT/NO YOU DON’T chant. Johnny made a lot of promises like bringing the NXT Title back but he didn’t live up to his words. He lost both the match and himself and now he doesn’t know what to do.

After everything he’s been through, he doesn’t know what’s left. In Brooklyn, he became Tommaso Ciampa and now he’s in Gargano’s head. Johnny doesn’t know how to get him out and he has to be better for everyone. As Gargano is about to snap, here’s Regal to interrupt. Regal gets straight to the point: did Johnny attack Aleister Black? Gargano says you tell me so Regal asks him again.

Cue the Velveteen Dream to say he’s tired of hearing Woe Is Johnny. Tonight shouldn’t be about Johnny because it should be about the experience. It’s the experience that stole Brooklyn and tonight should be about the Velveteen Dream instead of Johnny Failure. That’s not cool with Johnny, who says his knee is just fine and throw the crutch at Dream. Regal says they fan fight next week. I completely support this.

Dakota Kai vs. Aaliyah

They lock up to start with Aaliyah using the hair to take her down. Kai kicks away and gets one off a double stomp but Aaliyah is right back up. Some shots to the back set up a camel clutch as the fans are split on Aaliyah here. Aaliyah runs her over for some more right hands, followed by the bodyscissors. Kai powers up and drives her into the corner for the break and hits some running kicks to the face. A hair takedown drops Kai again though and Aaliyah calls her stupid. That’s just rather mean so Kai hits her sunset flip Backstabber for the pin at 5:13.

Rating: C. I liked this more than I was expecting to as Aaliyah has found something with the aggression. She’s been around for a long time now and this is the closest she’s gotten to being anything. Kai is still around but she’s nowhere near as hot as she used to be. Not a bad little match though and Aaliyah looked stronger than usual.

Regal clears Dream in the Black situation for now. The Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler, Wesley Blake and Jaxson Ryker) come in and say a security guard saw them in the parking lot at the time of the attack. That’s ok with Regal, who says they’ll have a tag match next week. Of note: Regal has his brass knuckles in a display on his desk.

Lars Sullivan seems to have attacked EC3.

Regal asks Nikki Cross what she saw from the roof during the attack. She says she saw it and knows who the attacker was but stops to answer the phone. The phone wasn’t ringing, but Cross talks into it anyway. Bianca Belair storms in to complain about being kept waiting and yells at Nikki for trying to touch her hair. Belair deserves a title shot and tells Regal to let her know the right decision when he’s done with his pet. She leaves and Regal says he has lots more questions for Cross. As usual, Cross comes off as actually nuts instead of the scripted nuts.

Raul Mendoza vs. Lars Sullivan

Sullivan is taking EC3’s place. Mendoza jumps Lars before the bell and gets destroyed, including a pop up powerslam. The Freak Accident leaves Mendoza laying. No match.

Tommaso Ciampa is in the back and says when he left about a year ago, he promised to come back as the ultimate SOB. He’s exceeded his own expectations though and is the greatest sports entertainer of all time. The title is his proof and it takes someone special to climb to the top of the mountain. It takes something even more to stay there though and that’s why he’s the main event.

Keith Lee vs. Luke Menzies

Menzies has some size to him and used to play professional rugby. Lee wastes no time with the hurricanrana and tells Luke to stop so he can bask in the glory. A few right hands have Lee rocked but he runs through Menzies in an impressive pounce. The Spirit Bomb (sitout Last Ride) is good for the pin on Menzies at 3:02.

Rating: C-. Lee is a crazy talented guy and there’s little reason to not push the heck out of him in short order. You don’t have someone who can do hurricanranas and sitout Last Rides and not do something with him. Thankfully NXT seems to get that idea and there’s some serious potential there.

Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan are back in two weeks.

Ricochet/Pete Dunne vs. Undisputed Era

Non-title. Actually hang on as Adam Cole wants Ricochet and asks Kyle O’Reilly to sit this one out. Fans: “EVERYBODY!” Dunne clotheslines the heck out of Cole to start and goes for the fingers, meaning it’s off to Ricochet vs. Strong. With Cole shouting that his loss was a fluke, Strong sends Ricochet face first into the middle buckle to take over. Ricochet is right back with a jumping neckbreaker to Strong and a rolling clothesline to Cole.

Since Dunne is fine with letting Ricochet do this on his own, Strong sneaks in with a backbreaker to take over. Cole hits a neckbreaker of his own and Strong adds a gutbuster to keep Ricochet in trouble. Strong grabs a cobra clutch as the fans are split between Ricochet and Cole. It’s back to Cole, who simplifies things with a chinlock. Ricochet fights up and kicks Cole away, allowing the hot tag off to Dunne.

Everything breaks down and it’s an X Plex to Strong but the Bitter End is broken up. Dunne’s triangle attempt is countered into a failed Stronghold attempt, with Dunne hitting a sitout powerbomb for two instead. Strong takes out Ricochet but Dunne takes out Strong, followed by the middle rope moonsault to take the Era out. That leaves Ricochet alone but he dives onto Dunne by mistake. O’Reilly throws Dunne back in and the Last Shot gives Cole the pin at 9:51.

Rating: B-. Well of course this was pretty good and setting up Ricochet vs. Dunne is a great idea. There are multiple options for where this story could go with Cole seeming to be a challenger as well. No one seems capable of beating Dunne one on one so doubling up on the challengers is as good of an idea as they have.

Ricochet gets beaten down as well but the War Raiders chase the Era off to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. This was a show where they were setting up things for the future instead of doing things now and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m really interested in seeing where the Whodunit story goes as there are almost endless suspects, including people who might not have even been around when the attack happened in the first place. Other than that we could be in for some very good TV in the next few weeks as there’s no Takeover for nearly two months, meaning a lot of this will play out on the regular shows. In other words, things are going to be getting even better.

Results

Dakota Kai b. Aaliyah – Sunset flip Backstabber

Keith Lee b. Luke Menzies – Spirit Bomb

Undisputed Era b. Pete Dunne/Ricochet – Last Shot to Dunne

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