Wednesday, November 7th
RESULTS: Heavy Machinery over Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake, Dakota Kai over Taynara Conti, Lars Sullivan over Velveteen Dream
-The main event featured Lars Sullivan defeating Velveteen Dream following a distraction by Tommaso Ciampa. The match was heavy on Dream’s selling until his comeback near the end. Regardless of where you see Dream’s in-ring skillset, the audience sees him as a top babyface. Both Sullivan and Dream are improving, but I would peg Dream as the frontrunner between them. Sullivan missed a top rope headbutt, Dream climbed to the top when Ciampa appeared and he leaped onto the floor. Dream returned to the ring and was caught with the Freak Accident as Sullivan won.
-The result of the match would suggest adding Sullivan to the main event or be in line for the winner after TakeOver. There was a post-match attack by Ciampa onto Dream, but Dream fought off Ciampa and hit the swinging DDT onto the NXT title. The officials tried to stop Dream, but he climbed to the top and hit the Purple Rainmaker. The pop when Dream grabbed the title and held it in the air was massive. While the timing doesn’t feel right for Dream to win the title, he feels like a credible challenger for Ciampa in the eyes of this audience and there is no doubt how popular he’s become.
-Johnny Gargano cut the first quality selfie promo. He was outside Full Sail University and ended up in the same spot where Aleister Black was laid out by Gargano. He maintained he’s the good guy and the hero in this story in his ultimate quest to defeat Tommaso Ciampa with Black serving as “collateral damage”. Gargano isn’t afraid of Black or the dark. It was a good promo and it’s a shining example of long-term storytelling playing itself out and the audience having faith that the destination will be worth it.
-Dakota Kai defeated Taynara Conti with the Kaio Driver, which is a sunset flip into a back cracker. Conti’s offense is different than most of the women on the roster as she can incorporate her judo and it works for her. Conti has been wrestling less than two years and is starting to put together good, short television matches. Kai had her right wrist injured and had to fight back with one arm as she hit a face wash and running boot into the corner before the Kaio Driver.
-They set up a match between Bianca Belair and Mia Yim for next week’s show. Belair confronted Yim backstage and introduced the most annoying heel tactic in years by loudly chewing her gum while speaking. Yim called herself the HBIC, the “Head Baddie in Charge”. No one should ever refer to themselves as a “baddie”. There will also be a singles match with a member from each side of the War Games match and the winner’s team gets the advantage at War Games.
-It’s an interesting contrast between Candice LeRae and Renee Young where both are such likable characters, whose husband have turned heel. It’s a different scenario with one being an active wrestler and the other is a commentator, but they could easily ignore the Gargano heel turn with LeRae and instead are addressing it because it’s a natural question from Gargano’s turn.
-They announced that Kairi Sane will invoke her rematch clause against Shayna Baszler at TakeOver in a 2-of-3 falls match for the NXT women’s title.
-The best match on the show was the opening tag match with Heavy Machinery defeating Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake. It felt like a throwaway tag match to open the show but turned into a really well put together match. Cutler has a face guard because he’s working with a broken nose. I thought the team of Cutler & Blake gelled well and they’ve obviously been working a lot together at live events and work their matches as a tag team, rather than two guys doing their own thing. Cutler hit a back cracker onto Tucker Knight, held him in place while Blake came off the top with an elbow drop and they did the old Power & Glory superplex & splash combo. It ended with Knight shoving Cutler off the top onto Jaxson Riker on the floor and Otis Dozovik hit a pop-up slam to pin Blake. It wasn’t the best match I’ve seen this week, but it was a nice showing, specifically from Cutler & Blake.