This week’s episode of NXT started off in typical WWE fashion, with an in-ring promo. This time though it was Johnny Gargano on the stick, who soon found himself interrupted by former tag team partner Tommaso Ciampa. But Ciampa wasn’t here to fight, instead, the current NXT World Champion came out to celebrate Gargano’s victory at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix. He told Gargano that they are now on top of the world, hinting at a DIY reunion. Gargano, though, felt differently advising Ciampa that by him winning the NXT North America Title, he doesn’t need Ciampa.
The back and forth was eventually interrupted by Velveteen Dream who came out and told both men that he stole the show at TakeOver even though he wasn’t in a match. He also announced that since he was the winner of the World’s Collide Tournament, he would be challenging Gargano for his North American Title in two weeks. As some of you may know, the WWE has already recorded this match, but bizarrely chose to film BOTH endings – one with Gargano retaining and another with Dream winning the title. I guess we’ll find out which one they use in 2 weeks – and whether Velveteen Dream is headed to the main roster in the next Superstar Shakeup.
The first match of the night was former TNA wrestler Jaxson Ryker vs Mansoor. Ryker made quick work of Mansoor with a chokeslam powerbomb for the win. Ryker’s group The Forgotten Sons have really lived up to their names in NXT, so it’s nice to see them building some momentum.
After the match, Cathy Kelly was trying to get a word with Ricochet after a photo shoot but was interrupted by the Undisputed Era who described the former 3-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion as a one-trick pony. Ricochet was quick to respond saying that he beat Adam Cole for the North America Title, and would be challenging him to a match next week. We can not wait for this rematch!
The next match was a surprise showing of 205 Live’s Drew Gulak against the debuting Eric Bugenhagen. It has to be said, in the 30+ years of watching wrestling, we’ve never seen a jobber get the crowd excited like this guy did. He came out playing the air guitar, singing high pitched, and playing the piano on the ropes. The crowd was eating it up. And so were we. To put the cherry on top, the crowd asked for an encore. Which he delivered. The match though was pretty much all Gulak. It didn’t take long until he won with his Gu-lock submission. We really really hope we see more Bugenhagen in the future. Pretty please?
After the match, Gulak was upset that he’d been given an opponent that he compared to Ben Stiller from Dodgeball – which got a good laugh from the audience. Gulak claims he is the best submission specialist in WWE and asked for someone in the back to challenge him. Enter Matt Riddle. Nobody knew what to expect from this match. Riddle hasn’t been in NXT for that long and hasn’t really had any top tier matches, but tonight was different. Gulak and Riddle put on an exceptional technical match. In the end, though, Riddle came out on top with the Bro-mission. Easily the best match of the night.
The main event of the night consisted of Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, and Kairi Sane vs Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir. This match got off to a slow start. Duke and Shafir are new to NXT, and we got a lot of them in the ring tonight, to the point where the crowd was begging them to tag Baszler in the ring.
The match ended with Io doing her top rope moonsault on Baszler for the win. Io and Kairi celebrated but Belair didn’t seem as thrilled. This will probably lead to a match with Io and Belair. Or maybe Io and Baszler for the Women’s Title. Maybe even both?
So that wraps it up for this week’s edition of NXT. Next week we get treated to Ricochet vs Adam Cole. My fingers are crossed for another Bugenhagen sighting. And let’s not forget Gargano vs Dream in two weeks for the NXT North American Championship. Thanks for reading and long live wrestling!