After WWE’s Backlash event left a terrible taste in the mouths of the WWE Universe, fans have the opportunity to savor the best wrestling in World Wrestling Entertainment – NXT.
On the May 9 edition, fans saw the Full Sail debut of the War Raiders – formerly War Machine – as well as the NXT television debut of EC3.
EC3 vs. Raul Mendoza was a quick, showcase for the 1 percenter. Mendoza threw some offense, but it was EC3’s greatest hits. He also delivered a good post-match promo using impressive vernacular and solidifying himself as the “Top 1 percent of the industry.”
Dakota Kai defeated Vanessa Borne in a good match that saw Kai come back to get the win.
Kai’s victory was short as NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler came out and beat up Borne.
NXT has done a great job with the angle of having Kai be scared of Baszler and making the NXT Women’s Champion a competitor to be feared. This went to the back where after being confronted by Baszler, Kai found a laughing Nikki Cross.
Part of me hopes this leads to an angle or a moment where Kai finds the courage to face Baszler and the two have a competitive match.
War Raiders made quick work of Heavy Machinery. Simialr to EC 3 vs. Mendoza, both Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic got in some offense, but it was Hanson’s and Rowe’s time to shine.
In the main event, Tomasso Ciampa faced Kassius Ohno. Ciampa is perhaps the best heel in wrestling – the fans hate him and he was met with a chorus of boos on the way to the ring.
This was a hard-hitting contest that looked like a fight between two bitter enemies. The icing on the cake was how Ciampa and Ohno talked trash to each other – as well as commentators Percy Watson and Mauro Ranallo calling the action and how devastated they were when Ciampa won the match.
After the bout, Ciampa soaked in all of the hatred from the crowd before he attacked Ohno.
In addition to the matches, fans witnessed a battle of words between Ricochet and Velveteen Dream.
Ricochet opened the episode by setting his sights of NXT gold, Dream berated the high flyer for his moves and told the One and Only he should “go to the back of the line.”
Ricochet looked confident as he delivered his promo and Dream always delivers.
The two took their back-and-forth from social media and brought it to the stage in a promo that turned a banter between one of the best character-driven sports entertainers and one of the greatest wrestlers on the planet.
If these two have a match at Takeover, it’s going to be incredible.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) May 10, 2018
There was also a promo from the Street Profits, saying they want the NXT Tag Team Championships. It was a fun vignette, but it will be interesting to see who they face on their way to a title shot. The Profits are coming off a loss to TM-61.
One other thought I had regarding tonight’s episode:
In regards to War Raiders and EC3, I know fans are nitpicking saying “They’re War Machine” or “He’s Ethan Carter III.” Look I know we may think those names are dumb right now, but I’m sure many members of the WWE and NXT Universes thought the same thing in regards to Finn Balor and Kevin Owens. There are probably some fans who are still upset that Daniel Bryan had to switch his name when he came to WWE.
NXT’s Adam Cole Discusses Creative Freedom
NXT Champion Adam Cole is at the height of his success with the promotion, recently defeating Johnny Gargano in another instant classic to capture his first NXT Championship, and he is talking about how things go down in NXT.
Unlike much of the main roster, where promos are often scripted and comedy-acts are more common, Cole says that superstars in NXT get a bit more creative freedom, as he had with Gargano for their match.
“One of the coolest things about NXT is we have a ton of creative liberties to come up with the story and the vision we have for the match” Cole said, during an interview with TalkSport. “Of course, there’s input and advice given and there’s suggestions or, you know ‘we need something this way’ (but) we do have a lot of freedom, which is great.”
Cole added that he and Gargano came up with the format for their two out of three falls classic at NXT Takeover: New York.
Fandango, Apollo Crews, Killain Dain Make Returns to NXT
WWE is starting to allow superstars on their main rosters to transition back to NXT, much like they did with Tyler Breeze, who recently returned to NXT, where he had his most success, following around 2 years of meandering on the main roster following his callup.
Fandango, Apollo Crews, and Killian Dain made their returns to NXT tv at Winter Park, FL at Full Sail University for Thursday’s NXT TV tapings.
Fandango, also making his return from injury, made the save for his Breezango partner, Tyler Breeze, who was on the receiving end of an attack at the hands of the Forgotten Sons. Crews made his return to take on Kushida in singles competition, and Dain made a brutal attack on Matt Riddle following Riddle’s win over Arture Rass.
Fandango had been out of action after suffering a shoulder injury back in July 2018.
Tommaso Ciampa Undergoes Successful Surgery
Ciampa is expected to miss 3-6 months as he recovers from the surgery.
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