WWE NXT 05/02/18 will feature Pete Dunne getting his sweet, sweet revenge on Roddy Strong from TakeOver in their advertised match. In addition, the Street Profits will be taking on TM61. Last, but not least, Kona “The Finest” Reeves is set to re-debut on this week’s show. Last week’s show was really weird, so let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT 05/02/18 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Cold open on the Undisputed Era hanging out backstage. Adam Cole speaks first and says they’re “givers”. In fact, he gave Oney Lorcan a story to tell his grandkids after last week. Oney can reflect upon being the first man to get beat in a NXT North American title defense. Kyle O’Reilly calls out Danny Burch for sticking his nose in “Era” business last week and defies him to try it again. Bobby Fish says he’ll spread the word in rehab that the “Era” will be sending rehab a bunch of new clients. Lastly, Strong says that what he did to Dunne at TakeOver will pale in comparison to what he’s going to do to Dunne tonight.
Updated NXT opening credits (bye bye SAnity & Almas, hello a lot more of Nikki Cross oddly enough) and we’re taped (originally taped 04/11/18) from Full Sail. Nigel McGuinness is still on “new daddy duty” since NXT tapes a month of shows at once. Mauro welcomes us to the show and is joined by Percy Watson.
Later tonight? Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong in a non-title match.
Kairi Sane’s music hits and she’s out. Shazza McKenzie’s music hits and she’s out next.
Match #1: Kairi Sane vs. Shazza McKenzie
A Kairi Sane squash victory. NXT has used Shazza in the past as developmental talent, so I thought this might be more than a squash – but those thoughts went out the window when Kairi hit the Interceptor Spear very early on. There is a fun moment at the opening bell when Shazza makes a heart symbol with her hands and tosses an invisible heart at Kairi. Sane catches the invisible heart, tosses it into the air, and then looks at it with her invisible spyglass. Great stuff. Needless to say, Kairi goes over clean with the elbow drop from the top.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – I’m not normally a fan of squashes like this, but as we’ll see throughout this week’s show, NXT is making a big effort towards attempting to get multiple women over at once.
Post-match, Sane celebrates until Lacey Evans’ music hits and she’s out. Lacey wants to apologize to Kairi and admit that she was wrong. From the Mae Young Classic to Sane’s victory tonight – Kairi’s proven she belongs at NXT. Lacey offers a hand. The crowd chants “no” and Kairi ponders it. Before she can respond, Lacey hits Kairi with a KO punch. As Evans leaves, the camera picks up a fan loudly saying “no one likes you”.
Last week? Ciampa ruined the main event – here, let’s watch his beat down on Gargano again.
Meanwhile, Cathy Kelley is backstage with Candice LeRae. Candice is emotional and keeps breaking down during the interview. She doesn’t know why Ciampa is doing what he’s doing. She thought they were family. Candice cries again and says she has to get ready for her match.
Later tonight? Candice LeRae vs. Bianca Belair.
Next, a Lars Sullivan hype video airs.
Back from break, the Street Profits are out. TM61 are out next.
Match #2: Street Profits vs. TM61
A relatively standard tag team match. The wrinkle here is when Montez Ford gets the hot tag, his run is ended by Shane Throne countering a sunset flip. Thorne puts his feet on the ropes and Miller holds the feet down for additional leverage. The ref doesn’t see it and TM61 have just cheated to win. Interesting. They’ve been positioned as white meat babyfaces since debuting and even more so after their return from injury. I’m actually curious to see what an opportunistic heel TM61 is capable of.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – What looked like a standard “mutual respect” tag match delivered something more than I expected. I’ve been looking for a reason to be invested in TM61 since they debuted, so this could be the start of something.
Post-match, the Street Profits are irate about the cheap victory by TM61.
Next, we see a “tale of the tape” between Heavy Machinery and War Raiders. A “TakeOver quality” hype video about the two teams airs next.
Next week? War Raiders vs. Heavy Machinery!
After that, another Kona Reeves hype video airs. He’s up next!
Back from break, Cathy is backstage with Kassius Ohno. Kassius says he’s known Johnny Gargano for a long time and knows what kind of person Johnny is. He also knows what kind of person Ciampa has become. Ohno calls Ciampa a “scaramouch” (I had to look it up) and says he’s the guy who can make Ciampa feel as helpless as Gargano felt.
Meanwhile, Patrick Scott is running around the ring all hyped up. Kona Reeves is out next. So, my biggest takeaway from Reeves so far is he loudly exclaims he is “the finest” multiple times during a match and has the “important rich guy” character they tried to give Roman Reigns at NXT right before the Shield became a thing. Man, I hope Reeves can pull this off.
Match #3: Patrick Scott vs. Kona Reeves
So, this is a Reeves squash victory which is no surprise. His finish is a Samoan Drop he calls the “Hawaiian Drop”. Other than that, he taunts Scott a bunch and keeps yelling about how he is the “finest”.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Look, I’m going to give Reeves a chance to get comfortable with this character. I couldn’t stand No Way Jose or Heavy Machinery when they debuted and eventually ended up liking them – so I’ve been wrong many times in the past when I made a snap judgment about a NXT character after their debut.
Later tonight? Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong.
Up next? Candice LeRae vs. Bianca Belair.
During the break? An EC3 hype video airs where he claims he’s going to turn NXT into NX3.
Next week? EC3 makes his in ring return to Full Sail.
“Earlier today”, the “press” is outside talking to Dakota Kai. Dakota puts over the Ember Moon and Iconic Duo call ups, but doesn’t want to talk about Shayna Baszler. Vanessa Borne cuts into the “press conference” and declares that Dakota has been pathetic in her handling of Baszler. Borne would have slapped the Hell out of Shayna. She’s not scared of Shanya OR Dakota. Kai responds she’s not scared of Borne, either.
It’s almost like NXT isn’t quite sure who their next breakout women’s division star will be so they’re giving a bunch of women programs all at once. It’s pretty awesome. We have Dakota / Shayna, Dakota / Vanessa, Kairi / Lacey, Bianca as a monster, Nikki Cross still there as a wildcard, and really none of those programs are explicitly about the title. Good times.
Back in the arena, Candice is out for her match. Bianca Belair is out next to a new entrance theme.
Match #4: Candice LeRae vs. Bianca Belair
Wow, this match is worth it alone just for the visual of Bianca deadlifting Candice. Bianca is seriously strong. Anyway, the story here is that Candice is pre-occupied with the Gargano / Ciampa situation so she’s not prepared for the match. Sure enough, she comes across as tentative during the match and Belair eats her alive. Belair counters a tornado DDT and hits her Alley Oop bomb to get the win.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – I’m not a huge fan of Candice still being so tied to Johnny or potentially adopting his underdog gimmick. However, I’m all in on Bianca Belair being pushed as the next unstoppable woman in the division and getting the win here over Candice keeps that train rolling down the tracks.
Post-match, Bianca celebrates and we linger on Candice looking forlorn.
Up next? Main event.
Next week? Raul Mendoza vs. EC3.
Also, next week? Kassius Ohno vs. Tommaso Ciampa.
Back in the arena, Dunne’s music hits and he’s out. Strong is out to his own music – temporarily – as eventually the Undisputed Era music hits and Cole and O’Reilly follow him to the ring.
Match #5: Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong (w/ Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly)
Match of the week. We got super close to this even having a clean finish – before the expected Undisputed beat down. Dunne and Strong have good chemistry and keep trading off their signature spots in this one. Strong with backbreakers and Dunne is able to fire off a X-Plex and even seemingly putting Strong away with the Bitter End. Of course, at two and a half, Undisputed Era are in to break up the count and get the match thrown out.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – With no titles on the line, this didn’t need to have a definitive winner. Especially since it really feels like Dunne vs. the Undisputed Era is just getting started.
Post-match, Cole and O’Reilly beat Dunne down. Burch and Lorcan are out to even up the sides and help out Dunne. O’Reilly loses his shoe and as the Era flee the ring, Dunne tosses Kyle’s shoe at Cole.
We go off the air on the Undisputed Era slowly backing up the ramp to the stage.