PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
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NXT TV TAPING REPORT
JULY 18, 2018
ORLANDO, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
REPORT BY TOM STOUP, PWTORCH CORRESPONDENT
Outside, Jessamyn Duke could be spotted studying food truck menus. PW Torch inquired whether she would be in the 2018 Mae Young Classic, to which she replied, “If they let me!”
The merchandise truck offerings appeared unchanged from recent tapings, featuring shirts for all champions, popular acts such as ECIII, Johnny Gargano, Velveteen Dream, and Sanity, as well as several NXT logo shirts. Lacey Evans’ new shirt was not yet in stock.
As fans filed in, “NX3” signs printed at home remained a popular item to be passed around.
Mike Rome announced ECIII vs. Kona Reeves, Shayna Baszler vs. Candice LeRae, Aleister Black vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Championship, and appearances from Undisputed Era and Ricochet.
A newly signed female referee entered the ring to officiate the first match.
(A) Jeet Rama pinned Chase Adams in a dark match. Rama’s first name provided adequate fodder for many chants (IE “holy Jeet,” and “Too Le-Jeet 2 Queet”). Rama finished Adams with a German suplex he converted in to an uranage mid-maneuver.
A video package prefacing Aleister Black’s title defense against Tommaso Ciampa was shown.
(1) Adam Cole pinned Sean Maluta. Cole toyed with Maluta, and quelled the upstart’s early offense with a ground pound and multiple double axe handles. Cole superkicked Maluta as Maluta leapt from the top turnbuckle, and finished the affair with a Last Shot.
Adam Cole called himself the most buzzworthy wrestler in the world, citing multiple international defenses of his NXT North American Championship. He began to call out “anybody,” and was promptly interrupted by Ricochet. Ricochet sarcastically commended Cole on not running from the competition this time. He accused Cole of becoming nothing more than a coward in NXT, and challenged Cole to prove himself in a TakeOver title defense. Cole refused to “diminish [himself]” with an acceptance of the challenge. Ricochet egged Cole on as Cole walked up the ramp to leave. Ricochet hit his signature pose, and Cole was joined by Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong. The War Raiders appeared to scare off Undisputed Era, but as the Era tried to exit via alternate route Mustache Mountain appeared and began what would have been a brawl had the Era not successfully wriggled away soon afterward.
(2) Lacey Evans pinned Tenilla Price. Evans quickly lined up her handstand bronco buster on Price, and utilized official Jessika Carr’s full count to tug at Price’s hair. Price went for a handspring elbow but met a sudden Women’s Right. Evans took her time going for the decisive cover.
(3) Heavy Machinery pinned The Mighty. The Mighty entered with an updated tron graphic, and hurled their jackets at their opponents only to have the jackets hurled right back. Otis Dozovic feigned dizziness after spinning Shane Thorne in a suspended body slam position, then suffered a fierce dropkick from Nick Miller. Dozovic tried to withstand the assault of The Mighty as they confined him to their corner. Miller continuously taunted Tucker Knight. Knight tagged in and made easy work of the irritants, culminating with a cannonball from the apron. Thorne chopped Knight’s leg, but before he could take advantage the Street Profits appeared in the crowd, throwing NXT-branded drinking cups as their theme played. Heavy Machinery hit the Compactor to win, and Montez Ford air guitared to their theme. Ford and Angelo Dawkins danced with the crowd as The Mighty fumed.
(4) Moustache Mountain pinned State Line (Matthew Knox & Brandon Taylor). Tyler Bate & Trent Seven handily conquered their opposition, each getting in a fair amount of offense.
Trent Seven blew a kiss to the fans and declared, “We’re back.” He apologized to everyone for failing them against the Undisputed Era. He said he and Tyler Bate have spoken with William Regal and they have a plan. Bate explained that Seven’s health and wellbeing means the world to him, hence his throwing in the towel. He said Moustache Mountain is invoking their rematch clause to reclaim the NXT Tag Team Titles at TakeOver: Brooklyn.
(5) ECIII pinned Kona Reeves. ECIII grabbed a headlock and didn’t let go despite Reeves’ flailing. He signaled “E, C, 3” to the hard cam, and hit an elbow drop after running the ropes. Reeves pounded on ECIII in the corner and worked a submission hold. ECIII jabbed at Reeves, shouted “Top one percent” in to his fist and landed one more jab – another move clearly inspired by The Rock. Velveteen Dream’s theme played, and bathed in purple light ECIII listened as The Dream issue him an invitation to “talk.” Dream snapped his fingers to dismiss the purple lights, and the recovering Reeves hit a Hawaiian Drop for a close two. ECIII lifted Reeves in a fireman’s carry, found the hard cam and delivered a cutter for the win.
(6) Shayna Baszler submitted Candice LeRae. Baszler invited LeRae to forfeit, holding down the second rope and beckoning toward the ramp. LeRae instead shoved Baszler to the floor. LeRae found a one count after several arm drags. Baszler shoved LeRae from the top turnbuckle, and rammed her in to the steps. Ever nonchalant, Baszler looked disapproving as LeRae defiantly reentered the ring. Baszler worked LeRae’s left arm behind LeRae’s back, and chucked LeRae in to the corner. Baszler playfully kicked at LeRae and said, “I gave you a chance” LeRae wouldn’t give up, and found her left arm again at the mercy of Baszler. Using rights only, LeRae fired up and forced Baszler in to retreat, then hitting a swinging DDT from the top turnbuckle for one. After a suicide dive, LeRae repeated the swinging DDT for two. Nursing her arm, LeRae again climbed the turnbuckle, but found herself crashing down in to Baszler’s Kirifuda Clutch just as she did when she lost to Baszler in the 2017 Mae Young Classic. This time, however, LeRae found the rope. She chained several hope spots before Baszler swatted her with a boot and put her away with the Kirifuda Clutch. After the bell, Baszler sank the clutch back in on LeRae. As official Jessika Carr called for more referees, Kairi Sane ran in. Referees warded Baszler and Sane away from one another, but when Sane turned to check on LeRae she was kicked to the mat by Baszler. The two were again separated as fans chanted, “Let them fight!”
A shorter version of the earlier Aleister Black vs. Tommaso Ciampa video package was shown.
(7) Tommaso Ciampa pinned Aleister Black (c) to become NXT Champion. Ciampa condescendingly glared at Black as Black assumed his seated pose upon his entrance. Ciampa signaled “One, two, three,” before the wrestlers locked up. Mat grappling defined the quick opening sequence before Ciampa evaded a powerslam to show he’s been studying up. After kicking out of two roll-ups, Ciampa dodged a roundhouse kick and ran away from Black on the outside. Black caught up and delivered a knee to Ciampa’s chest. Black sprang from the ropes and assumed a seated position, then waving dismissively at the challenger to mock him. Ciampa took the full count to recover on the outside, then allowed himself another count after resetting. He unceremoniously dumped Black over the top rope, then drove him in to the steps. Ciampa grabbed an abdominal stretch, and used the ropes for leverage. He cried “No” on each number as official Drake Wuertz counted him up to five. Ciampa continued to weaken Black’s midsection with a cloverleaf that Black broke at the ropes. Black ascended the turnbuckle, and the wrestlers jockeyed to find a power move until Black simply resorted to kicking Ciampa from his position. The two traded roll-ups for two. Black punted Ciampa, setting up a bevy of strikes chained in to a springboard moonsault for two. Black continued to tee off on Ciampa, kneeing him in the head for another near fall. Black backed Ciampa in to a corner as Ciampa begged off, then tried to arrange Ciampa in his own hangman DDT. Ciampa blocked, and climbed to the top for a swinging DDT and the most believable two count of the match to that point. Ciampa ducked Blxck Mass, and clotheslined Black for two. Black connected with Blxck Mass but Ciampa managed to kick out. Black set up yet another Blxck Mass but got rolled up for two. He dropped knees on Ciampa from the top turnbuckle for two, then attempted a moonsault to the outside but crashed and burned. As official Drake Wuertz looked away, Ciampa nailed Black with a crutch from beneath the ring, but Black kicked out. A furious series of high spots and near falls ensued. Jeremy Borash could be seen filming with his own camera. Ciampa ripped up the padding by the ring, but Wuertz was the one who got knocked to the cement. As Wuertz was out, Johnny Gargano stormed in and grabbed the NXT Championship belt. Going for Ciampa, Gargano accidentally hit Black with the belt before getting dumped to the floor by his arch nemesis. Ciampa plastered Black to the mat with a new finisher, and picked up a dramatic three from a recovering Wuertz. After the bell, Ciampa insisted the belt be strapped around his waist by Wuertz.
Mike Rome danced to the music in a video advertisement that was shown.
(8) Nikki Cross pinned Amber Nova. Nova was no match for Cross’ manic offense. Cross picked up the win with The Purge.
Undisputed Era (including Bobby Fish) attacked Ricochet during Ricochet’s entrance. Adam Cole indignantly accepted Ricochet’s earlier challenge for a NXT North American Championship match at TakeOver: Brooklyn.
(9) Kassius Ohno pinned Adrian Jauode. Brazilian black belt Jauode showed off with cartwheels, causing Ohno to take him less seriously. After Jauode’s display, he managed a flurry of offense before Ohno’s heavy striking literally kicked in. Ohno set Jauode up for a neckbreaker, but decided to put him away with one of his signature elbows instead. Though Ohno had played to the crowd as per usual during his entrance, he donned a cockier strut as he departed up the ramp.
Mike Rome announced a Mae Young Classic qualifying match, as well as Tyler Bate vs. Roderick Strong.
(10) Keith Lee pinned Marcel Barthel. Barthel – a mainstay on the live event midcard nary if ever seen on NXT TV – was quickly knocked down with a single elbow. Lee wasted little more time displaying his athleticism with a leap frog and a dropkick. Barthel managed a series of kicks to Lee’s midsection, and achieved a two count. Lee landed a standing headbutt and a double chop to Barthel in the corner. Barthel dodged a splash, but got dropped on his head and shoulder tackled. Lee drove Barthel in to the mat from a fireman’s carry position for the victory.
(11) Taynara Conti pinned Vanessa Borne to qualify for the 2018 Mae Young Classic. The second Brazilian black belt on the card, Conti entered to a new theme with an updated tron. The wrestlers were evenly matched until Conti broke away from Borne’s leg scissors and chopped at Borne in the corner. Conti glared at her own hand and shouted, “Are you crazy!?” She swung Borne in to a slam for the win.
Velveteen Dream was shown in makeup backstage. ECIII issued a challenge for a fight. Dream insisted his invitation had been for a talk, not a fight, and he sprayed water on ECIII. ECIII squirted baby oil on Dream, and Dream was left displeased as he instructed his helpful makeup artist not to “touch him there.”
(12) Street Profits pinned The Mighty. Montez Ford clapped along with the crowd’s “Mighty jobbers” chant and said, “I like that!” The Profits did the Wakanda salute to hard cam before clearing The Mighty from the ring with team maneuvers. Nick Miller & Shane Thorne isolated Angelo Dawkins in their corner as Miller jawed at Ford, as is the Mighty formula. Dawkins willed his way to a hot tag, and Ford took it to The Mighty. Ford reversed a roll-up and pinned Nick Miller. He instructed a camera operator to hand him his cup, and he and Dawkins celebrated in the audience.
Tommaso Ciampa entered, telling the loud audience, “It’s about me.” As the crowd chanted “No,” Ciampa mimed listening to his new title belt, and said, “What’s that? I deserve you? We make a beautiful couple!” Ciampa said it is his NXT now, and it is now the ‘A’ show. He said he only needed one shot, and he’s a man of his word. In the front row Ciampa found the so-called “Stunt Granny” who had notably scorned him earlier in the year, and singled her out to tell her he was now her champion. Ciampa said his win was even better than he’d imagined because not only did he end Aleister Black’s mystique, he also ended the Johnny Gargano fairytale and proved Gargano is a failure. He said never before has there been a wider gap between number one and number two, and he is untouchable. He mocked Black’s seated pose, and called himself the greatest sports entertainer of all time. Black entered, but Gargano ran past Black and tackled Ciampa. As Ciampa tumbled from the ring, Gargano took a mic and said, “The only reason you’re champion is because of me!” Gargano then ate a Blxck Mass and received a “you deserve it” chant. Black said, “I guess you’re right; the only reason he’s NXT Champion is because of you.” As Gargano revived and clutched his jaw, he evaluated the scenario and said, “Okay. Okay.”
(13) Kairi Sane submitted Aliyah. Sane looked approvingly at fans replicating her new dance as she entered. Shayna Baszler entered before the action could commence and took a spot at commentary. Sane glared at Baszler from the ring as she hit many of her signature moves on Aliyah. Proving a point, she refused to go for a cover after one Insane Elbow, then two. She went for a third Insane Elbow and covered, but lifted Aliyah’s shoulders from the mat after two. She then leaned back in to her Anchor hold to both make eye contact with Baszler and force Aliyah to tap. Sane and Baszler stared one a other down to lead in to their TakeOver match, conjuring memories of their prior encounters as we look forward to the second Mae Young Classic.
(14) Tyler Bate (with Trent Seven) pinned Roderick Strong (with Kyle O’Reilly). O’Reilly tried to distract Bate early as Bate & Strong flew at one another with boots and chops. Much of the bout remained at an evenly matched high energy. Incredibly, Bate fully flipped his way out of an End of Heartache backbreaker and gained an upper hand before O’Reilly meddled once more. Seven eliminated O’Reilly, but the distraction had already paid off in Strong’s favor. Bate overcame the odds, however, soon winning with a Tyler Driver.
Velveteen called the fans “funny” for cheering for The Dream. He called ECIII funny, as well, and smart, and charming. When the crowd repeatedly interrupted Dream, he said, “I don’t come to your McDonald’s and interrupt you there! Full Sail, I know you’re used to having it your way but this is The Dream’s time! Don’t cheer for The Dream, The Dream didn’t need you a year ago and he doesn’t need you now!” Dream tried to officially challenge ECIII, and came again at the disruptive fans, “I’m serious, shut up!” He threatened to leave, but ECIII entered. ECIII looked pleased with himself as he encouraged the fans and said, “So this is what it sounds like when doves cry?” He told Dream not to try to get in his head, because he owns real estate in people’s heads, and builds condos in people’s heads. ECIII went on to day they don’t need to wait for Brooklyn, and the fight was on. ECIII ended the segment with a cutter to Dream.
Mike Rome announced Aleister Black vs. Johnny Gargano as the main event. No “loudest fan” contest was announced, perhaps as a result of how distracting the audience became as they tried to win prizes at the last taping.
(15) Aleister Black vs. Johnny Gargano ended in a no contest. Both wrestlers heated over the prior events, Black and Gargano soared at one another with strikes and dives. Tommaso Ciampa ran in, dumping Gargano from the ring and going after Black. Gargano reentered but Black kicked him down. The three rivals continued to brawl as referees spilled in to the arena. William Regal returned to Full Sail Live to say he was not going to try to control the chaos and instead would let it happen. He announced that the NXT Championship will be decided in a triple threat match between Tommaso Ciampa, Aleister Black, and Johnny Gargano at TakeOver: Brooklyn. Gargano turned to the fans and could be seen saying, “One more shot. I’m not going to let you down. Not this time.”
Mauro Ranallo took pictures with fans as the night concluded.
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