Date: March 28, 2018
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, Percy Watson
We’re almost to New Orleans and that means we’re getting closer to the official announcement of Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano. Earlier today, WWE posted a video of Gargano coming to Ciampa’s house at 3am, prompting Ciampa to say he would have to talk to William Regal about this. That’s a very encouraging line. Let’s get to it.
Earlier today Ciampa arrived but wouldn’t talk to reporters. He came up to Regal and asked what kind of place Regal is running here. Regal agrees that it’s on him so the solution is Gargano vs. Ciampa in an unsanctioned match at Takeover. If Johnny wins, he’s reinstated in NXT. Regal: “This time, you’re going to have to do it yourself.” This was a quick segment but it felt like a conversation these two might have. It didn’t feel scripted and it felt natural. Why does that NEVER happen on the main roster?
Here’s Regal in the arena for his big announcement. This is the place where we determine the best in the world so it’s time to announce a new championship. At Takeover: New Orleans, the first NXT North American Champion will be crowned. Regal talks about how this will be a counterpart to the United Kingdom Championship but here’s the debuting EC3 (called that with no Ethan Carter III ever mentioned).
Mauro asked him what EC3 stood for and apparently it’s the formula for success. The fans chant for him and EC3 says it should keep going because he deserves it. He brags about his theme song (which mentions his name several times and says that he’s in the top 1%) but thinks Regal has gone above and beyond to create a brand new championship for him. Fans: “NXTHREE! NXTHREE!”
That’s a step too far for Regal but EC3 will be competing for the title. It will be EC3 and five other competitors in a six man ladder match to crown the first champion. EC3 isn’t sure about that one but the fans thank Regal. That’s cool with EC3 because you can put the entire locker room against him and he’ll prove that he’s the top 1%. EC3 is already one of the most charismatic guys NXT has ever had so this was a very successful debut segment.
Charly Caruso updates the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, which is down to the semifinals:
Authors of Pain
Roderick Strong/Pete Dunne
TM61 is frustrated that they can’t win and keep having to go back to the drawing board. The interview is cut short as Shayna Baszler and Ember Moon are in a fight in the next room. Referees break it up as they’re trying everything they can to make it seem like Ember has a chance.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinals: Street Profits vs. Authors of Pain
Ford yells at Razar to start and gets shoved in the face. Dawkins comes in instead and gets pummeled in the corner for his efforts. The Profits actually take the big guys down and Ford takes a sip from the cup before offering it to Paul Ellering. That’s a no as the cup is knocked out of Ford’s hands, allowing the Authors to jump him. The Last Chapter ends Dawkins at 2:34. This was nothing.
Charly talks about the other semifinal match tonight.
Regal announces Adam Cole as the second competitor when Velveteen Dream comes up. Dream: “You’re looking well.” Regal: “I know.” Dream wants in the match to give the fans an experience. Regal agrees so Dream is the third entrant.
Lars Sullivan vs. John Silver
Back to back tosses into the corner and a military press powerslam sets up a top rope headbutt. The Freak Accident ends the slaughter at 1:42. In this case, better to be Quick Silver than Long John.
Regal runs into Sullivan and offers him a spot in the ladder match. Sullivan says that sounds fantastic and he will bring the destruction unequivocally and categorically. He imagines a ladder in his hands to inflict more punishment. For next week though, he wants Killian Dain. Killian is in the ladder match as well but Regal makes the match too.
Dakota Kai comes out for a match but we cut to the parking lot where Andrade Cien Almas attacks Aleister Black, including shoving his face into a cooler. Almas drags him into the arena and throws him into the ring for a chair to the back. The title is held up as Almas shouts about being the champion.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinals: Sanity vs. Roderick Strong/Pete Dunne
Strong and Wolfe start things off with an early slam putting Roderick down and drawing the partners in for a staredown. Young and Dunne go into the corner and it’s another staredown to annoy the referee. Wolfe takes over on Dunne and we take a break. Back with Dunne in more trouble and Young getting two.
This time it’s Young getting caught in the wrong corner and having his chest ripped off with chops. A middle rope knee gives Dunne two and we hit a hammerlock. It’s time to go after the arm with a double wristlock but Young powers him up with a suplex for the break. That’s enough for the tag to Wolfe and a Death Valley Driver gives him two. Everything breaks down and Dunne punches Wolfe out of the air but gets caught with a neckbreaker.
Young throws Strong off the top and drops the elbow for two of his own. Dunne and Wolfe are back in and Pete kicks Young down, setting up End of Heartache on Wolfe. It’s back to the legal Young, who gets caught in Strong’s belly to back faceplant into a Downward Spiral from Dunne (good idea, not the best execution) for the pin at 10:26.
Rating: B-. Good match here and a smart idea to give Dunne and Strong another win over an established team. I know it’s not a long tournament but it’s enough to make them look like a big deal in a hurry. The fans love both guys and a match between the two of them and the Authors could be fun. Nice match here, as Sanity continues to be a great pair of hands for something like this.
Regal announces the final competitor, who happens to be in his office. That would be…..Ricochet. In case the crowd wasn’t hyped up enough.
Overall Rating: A-. Sweet goodness NXT is great. In an hour they set up the grudge match of the year, introduced a new character, set up a six man ladder match for a new title, had a good match and sent the fans out with a big debut. I’ve said this many times but they come in with a plan and execute it to near perfection. This show breezed by and I’m WAY more excited for Takeover than I was. Great show, which happens quite often.
Authors of Pain b. Street Profits – Last Chapter to Dawkins
Lars Sullivan b. John Silver – Freak Accident
Roderick Strong/Pete Dunne b. Sanity – Double faceplant to Young
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