It’s the 4th of July, but barring a reference from Mauro on commentary I’m not expecting a special show since WWE NXT 07/04/18 was taped weeks ago. This week William Regal has forced Johnny Gargano to “move on from Ciampa” by taking on EC3. Also on tap, Heavy Machinery will put the Independence Day grilling on hold to take on The Mighty. Let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT 07/04/18 Recap
10 bell salute for my Dad who passed away last night. He took me to my first wrestling show – a WWF house show. He endured a four-hour Saturday Night’s Main Event / WWF Superstars taping with me and a bunch of my friends. And, he got back into WWE and WCW during the Monday Night Wars and would tape PPVs for me since they were a bitch to get on the crappy cable system I had access to in college. If it wasn’t for him, I’d probably not be doing this website. We’ll miss you!
But, the show must go on.
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped (originally taped 06/21/18) from Full Sail. Dakota Kai’s music hits and Mauro welcomes us to the show. Mauro puts over America’s birthday while Kai heads to the ring. Some random music hits and Santana Garrett is out.
Match #1: Dakota Kai vs. Santana Garrett
WWE still seems pretty high on Dakota Kai and this win helps rebuild her after the loss to Baszler. Garrett makes it interesting and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see her again in this year’s Mae Young Classic. After selling for Garrett a bit, Kai goes on a run of strikes, and puts Garrett away with a new finisher. It’s a pretty awesome finisher too. Kai flips over her opponent and then catches them with a backstabber.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Even though this was clearly a spot to get Kai some heat back, it felt more competitive than the typical NXT squash match.
“Earlier today”? EC3 arrives at the arena, is high energy, and slaps hands with people waiting in line.
Also, “earlier today”? Johnny Gargano arrives at the arena, is somber, and keeps to himself.
Later tonight? EC3 vs. Johnny Gargano is our main event.
Up next? Shayna Baszler is here… and she’s… live!
“Earlier today”? Heavy Machinery are lifting weights at the PC. Otis leaves to go check on their steaks “grilling out back” and hears a commotion. He runs back into the weight room to see a heavy chain wrapped around Tucky’s leg and two guys running out of the room. It couldn’t be The Mighty… could it? I bet those steaks were ruined too.
Meanwhile, Shayna’s music hits and she’s out. She cuts a promo on Nikki Cross and says when “the dog goes rabid, you put it to sleep”. Cold. She calls herself the most dominant force the division has ever seen, which makes Full Sail chant for “Asuka”. Baszler briefly runs down the division – ending with Candice who she says should “stay at home and take care” of Johnny Gargano. Shayna’s the reason they must have another Mae Young Classic because WWE has to scour the globe to find competition for her. Shayna says it doesn’t matter who they find, the result will be the same, and we’ll hear “And still… your NXT Women’s Champion”. Mic drop.
Next, the announce team reminds us that Oney Lorcan is injured. We’re sent backstage to Cathy Kelley. She’s with Danny Burch and we get an update on Lorcan’s condition. Burch says that Oney will be recovering for about three months. Enter the Undisputed Era. Strong tells Burch that even if Lorcan recovers that Burch & Lorcan will be at the end of the line for a title shot. The Undisputed Era is at the front of that line and they’ll be invoking their rematch clause against Moustache Mountain. Cole adds that Burch is a “loser” and that he should just “get”. Burch turns around and reminds them that they lost the titles in the UK and points out he pinned Kyle O’Reilly in their singles match. Kyle has great facials during this segment – the guy is just next level. Cole fires back that the whole issue with Lorcan and Burch getting “big heads” began when Cole gave Lorcan a North American title shot. Burch challenges Cole to a one on one match. Cole laughs and accepts. William Regal has been missing in action for a while now, so I assume this is confirmed?
Later tonight? Velveteen Dream vs. Chris Dijak.
Up next? The Mighty vs. Heavy Machinery?
During the break? A hype video for the War Raiders airs.
Last week? Ciampa challenged Aleister Black to a NXT Championship Match.
In 3 weeks? Aleister Black vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Championship.
William Regal’s whereabouts? Unknown.
Next, the Mighty’s music hits and they’re out. We learn this is now a handicap match. Heavy Machinery’s music hits and Otis Dozovic is out alone.
Match #2: Otis Dozovic vs. The Mighty (Handicap Match)
Otis hangs in there for a while, but it’s a handicap match against an established tag team… so… yeah. Good luck, Otis. Dozovic does get his crowd pleasing “caterpillar” spot in, but flew too close to the sun when he tries a Vader Bomb. From there, the Mighty dissect him with double teams until a lariat to the back of Otis’ head puts him away.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – The Mighty sell this like they just won the titles and it gets good heat from Full Sail. So far I’m on board with these guys as heels way more than I was for them being vanilla babyfaces.
“Earlier this week”, Bianca Belair was on a cruise for her honeymoon. NXT cameras were there. Bianca runs down the division, again focusing on Candice being distracted by her husband. I’m glad this is a plot point that multiple women are bringing up because it was a huge frustration to watch Candice be wasted as a plot point. Anyway, Bianca reminds everyone that she’s still undefeated and she’ll just relax on her honeymoon while all of the other women catch up to her.
Later tonight? Gargano vs. EC3.
Up next? Velveteen Dream vs. Chris Dijak.
Back from break, “earlier today”? Kairi is outside speaking to the “press” and cuts a promo on Vanessa Borne saying she’ll make her “walk the plank”. Kairi is after pirate treasure and that treasure is the NXT Women’s Championship.
Next week? Kairi Sane vs. Vanessa Borne.
Next, someone operating William Regal’s Twitter account thinks that Danny Burch vs. Adam Cole is a great idea and makes the (non-title) match.
Back in the arena, Velveteen Dream’s music hits and he’s out. Chris Dijak’s music hits and he’s out next. Damn, they’re giving Dijak quite the welcome to TV – first match is Ricochet, the second is Dream.
Match #3: Velveteen Dream vs. Chris Dijak
Well, this one was fun. Dijak’s “thing” this match is to have a running commentary. He starts by posing for Dream and telling him to “Feast your…” but Dream shushes him. They grapple for a bit and Dijak starts hitting some offense on Dream and narrating it as it happens. “Time to fly”, says Dijak as he hits Dream with a vertical suplex. As Dijak tosses Dream he tells him to “go for a ride”. Dijak continues to look great and Dream has to hit a desperation DDT to pick up the win. WWE clearly has plans for Dijak after bringing him in like this.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Great second opponent for Dijak and these two had some great chemistry in the ring.
Post-match, Dream poses in the ring… until EC3’s music hits and he’s out. I haven’t watched the UK special yet, but commentary says that Dream bailed on EC during a tag match. Nice continuity there for people who have the time to consume all of the various things that WWE is putting out on the Network. EC3 hits the ring and Dream bails out looking really annoyed. Break time!
Moments ago? Moustache Mountain are backstage reacting to Undisputed Era invoking their rematch clause. Bate and Seven seem nonplussed and Seven says they beat them in their homeland, so it’s time they “bang them out” at Full Sail.
Next week? Moustache Mountain vs. Undisputed Era for the NXT Tag Team Championship.
Also, next week? Aleister Black will be live.
Meanwhile, EC3 is still posing in the ring to his entrance theme. Gargano’s music hits, he’s out, and he looks pissed.
Match #4: EC3 vs. Johnny Gargano
This one was interesting. Gargano starts out on fire, pounding on EC3 to the degree that EC3 grabs him and tells him to “settle down”. We then move to a sequence where Gargano is clearly distracted and EC3 exploits this. However, after EC3 counters a Gargano Escape into a sitout powerbomb – well, Gargano just snaps. He starts dishing out superkicks, won’t break the Gargano Escape on the ropes, and even hits EC3 with an exposed knee strike. Gargano hits the same draping DDT that Ciampa hit on him to win at TakeOver. 3 count. Rage Gargano just ended EC3’s singles match winning streak.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Rage Gargano is interesting and this Ciampa / Gargano program is still paying out dividends over a year later.
Post-match, Gargano looks angry and sits down in the ring.
We go off the air on Rage Gargano aimlessly wandering around the ring.