Wednesday night means it’s time for the black and gold brand! This should be an interesting night, considering the main roster visit some of our friends down here in NXT made earlier this week.
Aleister Black vs Roderick Strong
We start the night off with what any other week could have been a Main Event. Roddy definitely made his triumphant return to singles action tonight. As expected, it was a hard-hitting and technical matchup. I am always in awe of how quick Black is for a man his size.
Throughout the match, I was impressed to see all of the unique ways that Roddy would work the back. Not only did he utilize multiple different variations of backbreakers, but he did multiple throws and onto the stairs and apron. The one that really got me was a torture rack on the apron that turned to a throw onto the apron.
Despite all of the work on his back, Aleister was able to make the comeback and win via the Black Mass. After the match the Undisputed Era came out for the beatdown. Ricochet came out for the save, a sort-of “Thank You” for Black coming out to save him last week. Presumably Black and Ricochet are pulling double (or maybe triple) duty over the next few weeks, so it looks like there might be something big coming for Takeover between these two groups.
Last week I declared that Tag Team Wrestling was alive and well in NXT, and it shows, as in two weeks we are getting the return of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic! This week we got the first four teams revealed. They were The Undisputed Era (Fish/O’Reilly), The Street Profits, The Forgotten Sons, and Aichner/Barthel. Next week we will get the other four teams. The winner of the tournament will get a title shot against the War Raiders. I’m always a fan of the Dusty Classic and I’m glad we are getting another installment this year!
Mia Yim vs Xia Li
WWE seems to have a lot of faith in Mia Yim, as we have seen a lot of her lately. Between NXT and NXT UK, she has been busy. This was a fun match with a lot of hard hitting action. Yim picked up the victory, and as you could guess, got attacked by Baszler, Shafir and Duke. The entire Women’s locker room came out to defend Mia Yim but were quickly ousted. Duke and Shafir held Mia Yim down while Shayna taunted her and asked for respect. When it wasn’t given, she got a running knee as a reward.
I’m intrigued to see where the women’s division is going, as Baszler and company are running train on everyone right now. Presumably Io Shirai will be getting a title shot for pinning Baszler in the tag match a few weeks back, but we haven’t gotten confirmation.
We get a clip of Johnny Gargano getting ready, and Candice coming to wish him good luck. Ciampa shows his face much to Candice’s chagrin. Johnny says he is going to do this on his own just like he did at Takeover.
Jeremy Borash is interviewing Matt Riddle in a fun segment about his career. Always nice to see Borash. The main portion of what they showed was that Matt Riddle is after whatever championship he can get his hands on. The full interview looks like it is on YouTube, but from what they showed of it tonight it definitely looks like it’s worth checking out.
Velveteen Dream vs Johnny Gargano
Would it be foreshadowing that the some of the fans in the front row with “Johnny Champion” signs tore them in half as he walked by?
This match started out as a very slow, methodical and technical match. Dream changed the pace for a minute with a slap right to the face of Gargano. From then they turned the dial up on the match. Dream got in all of his signature taunts. I always find it amusing when he does his taunt on his belly, and his opponent’s face looks like they saw the Undertaker sit up. It speaks wonders for Dream’s charisma!
This was another strong match that was almost Takeover-worthy. In the third act of the match, both superstars kicked it into the gear we have come to expect from Takeover matches. Dream had some very creative counters, including some VERY close calls to Johnny’s quick kicks. It looked like it was all over when the Velveteen Dream nailed a Dream Valley Driver from the top rope, but Gargano kicked out at 2.8. Gargano rolled out of the ring and started a counter-display of his own, eventually nailing his slingshot DDT and getting a long 2 count. Dream eventually hit a Dream Valley Driver, rolled it into ANOTHER Dream Valley Driver, followed by a Purple Rainmaker Elbow. After a three-count, we have a NEW North American Champion.
We get a quick shot of a disgusted Tommaso Ciampa watching from the rafters. This was a VERY quick reign for Johnny Gargano, lucky for him he is getting his call up to WWE. It was certainly a hard fought match between the two, and a match that could have been worthy of a NXT Takeover match.
This week was a pretty easy choice for #NeXTlevelperformer. Having watched his career from his debut on Tough Enough, it has been amazing seeing the maturity of the man who has become the Velveteen Dream. This is the first of many championships he will have. Since the show has ended, I have replayed that double Dream Valley Driver to Purple Rainmaker. That is straight talent, and to do it after a 20+ minute match is something else to say the least!
Thanks for checking out this week’s recap. If you don’t yet, follow me on twitter @TJoftheJK, as well as the rest of the Jobberknocker team.