What Happened: Despite coming up short a few weeks ago in her quest to earn a shot at Shayna Baszler’s NXT Women’s Championship, Nikki Cross is still as dangerous as ever, and Amber Nova found that out the hard way. Nova did her best, but just couldn’t do anything about Cross’s unstable and psychotic rage of an offense, falling victim to the Purge.
My Opinion: There is no doubt that Nikki Cross is the most popular NXT female Superstar, and for good reason. No matter the opponent of spot on the card, Nikki entertains the crowd each and every time she shows up. If you look back at the opening segment of July 23 edition of RAW, you will notice that she is the only NXT Superstar on the stage during the Evolution announcement. That, to me, is a sign that Cross will be moving up to the main roster either at TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 or after Evolution, unless she is given a run with the NXT Women’s Championship.
Undisputed Era attacked Ricochet
What Happened: Adam Cole claimed that he wasn’t dodging Ricochet’s challenge for the NXT North American Championship. But now, his critics say that he is trying to avoid meeting Ricochet in Brooklyn. The One and Only was scheduled to compete, but never made it to the ring thanks to a savage backstage attack at the hands of the Undisputed Era. The Panama Playboy promises to leave TakeOver still the North American Champion, and with a four-on-one numbers advantage (Bobby Fish returned to Full Sail tonight, despite not being medically clear to compete), he very well may keep that promise without breaking so much as a sweat.
My Opinion: With both SAnitY and the Authors of Pain having moved up to the main roster, the NXT tag team division has grown dry and stale. WWE has been forced to rely completely on the Undisputed Era, and for me, the group has lost its wow factor.
Kassius Ohno def. Adrian Jaoude
What Happened: The resurgance of Kassius Ohno continued in brutal fashion tonight, as he decimated his opponent Adrian Jaoude. Jaoude, a prominent Performance Center prospect, had the Knockout Artist frustrated early, though, taking Ohno to the mat twice before being shut down for good with the Dream Crusher.
My Opinion: Kassius Ohno has been long overdue for a push. Hopefully, he gets to face more significant opponents in the near future with continued success.
Keith Lee def. Marcel Barthel
What Happened: For anyone wondering why the NXT Universe was so excited for Keith Lee to debut, their questions were answered in emphatic form. Facing another man making his NXT TV debut in Marcel Barthel, the 300-pound Lee showed remarkable speed and power leaving Barthel’s head spinning. The German did not surrender though, using his classic Euporean style to strike hard and often. The Limitless One got the final word in though, crushing Barthel with a modified Jackhammer for a crowd-approved victory.
My Opinion: On first thought, I get the sense that WWE is looking for their own version of Impact’s Moose.While I don’t think he fits that particular bill, I do think he can help elevate the brand and the company.
Taynara Conti def. Vanessa Borne (Mae Young Classic 2018 Qualifier)
What Happened: With the final spot in this year’s Mae Young Classic on the line, Taynara Conti and Vanessa Borne battled it out for the opportunity to build on the names they made for themselves in last year’s event. The Vision held the advantage early, squeezing Conti with a relentless bodyscissor. But when she outright slapped her opponent, her luck ran out as the Brazilian judo black belt took over, tossing Borne around the squared circle and slamming into the mat to earn the 32nd and final spot in the 2018 Mae Young Classic.
My Opinion: Neither Conti nor Borne made it out of the first round last year, being defeated by Lacey Evans and Serena Deeb respectively. As such, I would have liked to see them both return in this year’s event. Some would argue that 10 returning competitors may be too many, but I think it would be just right.
Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black ended in a No Contest after Tommaso Ciampa incited a brawl
What Happened: With plenty of bad blood to go around surrounding the NXT Championship, there was no doubt that tonight’s main event was bound to turn into all-out chaos and destruction. A week and a half before his championship rematch against Tommaso Ciampa, Aleister Black looked to official repay Johnny Gargano for costing him the title to begin with. Black and Gargano went after each other with such ferocity that the official almost had to call for the bell off the bat. But when a double clothesline put both men on their backs, he was forced to do so anyway because Tommaso Ciampa invaded the match and attacked both men, sparking a brawl that deployed every NXT referee to break up. Once some level of order was restored, NXT General Manager William Regal announced that he was modifying the NXT Championship match at TakeOver from a one-on-one match between Ciampa and Black to a Triple Threat including Gargano as well.
My Opinion: After NXT off the air, an ambush of Black was staged to write him off to begin healing a groin injury and the NXT title match has again been modified to make it a Last Man Standing Match between Ciampa and Gargano. This allows WWE to continue the Gargano-Ciampa feud while also keeping the no disqualification rule in place. Why is this important? I guarantee that Black’s “attacker” will be neither Gargano nor Ciampa, but someone else storylined to claim that they deserve an NXT title shot. Some have theorized that Candice LeRae will turn heel and cost Gargano the match, but it seems to me that WWE is intent on keeping them in separate storylines.
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