What’s in store for us this week on WWE NXT 08/08/18? Well, first off we’re getting the debut of Keith Lee. While that should be exciting, also raising the excitement bar will be “Ricochet in action”. I suspect Adam Cole and the Undisputed boys get involved to since Regal has made Ricochet vs. Cole official for TakeOver. Lastly, WWE has announced Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black. Aleister is currently listed as “questionable” for TakeOver due to a groin injury. But, due to the magic of NXT’s taping schedule, we’ll get to see him enact some revenge on Johnny Wrestling for costing him the NXT Championship. We’re just a few weeks away from TakeOver so I suspect the TakeOver Brooklyn 4 hype will be strong. Let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT 08/08/18 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a dramatic video package explaining how we’ve gotten to tonight’s main event of Aleister Black vs. Johnny Gargano.
Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped (originally taped 07/18/18) from Full Sail. Amber Nova’s music hits and Mauro welcomes us to the show. A lot of new talent debuts on TV tonight and Amber is working a “daughter of a mechanic” gimmick. “Theme from Nikki Cross” hits and wow, I didn’t expect to get see her again on NXT. I’ll take it.
Match #1: Amber Nova vs. Nikki Cross
Tonight’s theme seemed to be “let’s throw some people out there for their first TV matches” and this match kicked that trend off. Nova doesn’t do anything spectacular, but they mention on commentary she’s only two years into the business. She looks about right for that level of experience and I’m glad they’re already adding more talent to the role of “can get TV time on the weekly episodes in the women’s division”. Nikki is… well… Nikki. She screams a lot and goes over with The Purge. What more is there to say, really? Nikki Cross is great, but she’s already overdue to leave for the main roster. So, I’ll take any lingering squash matches she gets to do as icing on the cake of her NXT tenure.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Bonus Nikki Cross I did not expect is an automatic “Thumbs Up”. Also, Amber Nova has a good look so I’m sure we’ll be seeing much more of her.
Later tonight? Aleister Black takes on Johnny Gargano.
Also, later tonight? EC3 has accepted Velveteen Dream’s offer to “Experience the Dream”.
Up next? Ricochet. In action!
Next, a Keith Lee hype video airs. He debuts tonight!
Back from break, Ricochet’s music hits. Through the smoke during his entrance you can see the entire Undisputed Era is out and are standing over Ricochet’s body. Adam Cole cuts a promo on Ricochet saying Cole isn’t a coward, he’s right there, and he doesn’t hide behind anyone. Cole adds that Ricochet lays there battered and beaten, while Cole stands tall. After Cole mangles Ricochet in Brooklyn, he will remain the North American champion.
Since Ricochet’s “in action!” match won’t be happening, we’re sent to the announcers.
We’re then quickly sent backstage where Vanessa Borne is getting ready. She’ll be facing Taynara Conti in the final Mae Young Classic qualifying match later tonight. Borne isn’t too interested in talking and says that it will be her that takes the final spot in the tournament – sorry Taynara. Borne shoos the camera crew away and continues warming up for her match.
Later tonight? Vanessa Borne vs. Taynara Conti for the final spot in the Mae Young Classic.
Later tonight? Keith Lee is here!
Meanwhile, some random music hits and we learn it is Adrian Jauode’s theme. He’s dressed like Ryu from Street Fighter. Kassius Ohno’s music hits and he’s out next.
Match #2: Adrian Jauode vs. Kassius Ohno
For some reason I can never type “Jauode” correctly the first time. This is going to be fun. The match happens so we can continue the “Ohno is frustrated” storyline that I’ve seen many speculate will not just involve a heel turn, but Ohno joining up with the Undisputed Era. Rumors and speculation aside, Ohno is doing a superb job as “guy who is trying hard to keep it together”. The “heelish” tendencies come out when Ohno mocks Jauode’s footwork and after the match when he stalks the fallen Jauode but stops short of actually attacking him. Regardless, Jauode gets to show off his skills a bit before Ohno ends it with a Rolling Elbow.
Verdict: Thumbs Up -NXT is so filled with stories right now, but I’m low-key interested to see where this “edgy” Ohno goes.
Up next? When EC3 experienced The Dream.
Back from break, “earlier today” EC3 heads to Velveteen Dream’s pool to meet with him. We get a nice pink tinting to the video and Velveteen Dream’s “teaser / coming soon” vignette music plays. They take a walk and Dream fakes like he’s going to shove EC3 into the pool, but was just kidding. Dream puts over EC3 as the “top 1%” and says EC3 gets treated better than just getting shoved into a pool. EC3 puts himself over to Dream and Dream takes this as disrespect. Dream drops his glasses and EC3 ducks down to pick them up. In the process he Fireman’s Carry tosses Velveteen Dream into the pool. Dream flails and yells “help!” until EC3 points out he’s in three feet of water. It’s as bizarre as it sounds and worked perfectly.
Next week? Velveteen Dream will be live!
Meanwhile, some music hits and Marcel Barthel is out working a “German” gimmick. I’m not sure who this guy is just yet, but Full Sail boos the Hell out of him so he must have some sort of indie rep. Some more new music hits and Keith Lee is out to a pop.
Match #3: Marcel Barthel vs. Keith Lee
I’m assuming Barthel’s deal is that he is a striker, because that’s about all he does in this match. I’m not sure if that has something to do with being so undersized compared to Lee. Keith Lee is amazing and shows off both his power and his speed. He reminds me of a somehow more agile version of Samoa Joe. We get some back and forth between Lee and Barthel before Lee runs through Barthel and puts him away with a Fireman’s Carry into a Jackhammer finisher.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Barthel already has good heat at Full Sail by just showing up. Keith Lee is the real deal and an excellent addition to the yellow brand.
Later tonight? Black vs. Gargano.
Meanwhile, Taynara Conti is backstage… walking! She’s up next!
Next, we get another “Street Talk” episode from Street Profits next to an ATM. They cut a promo on The Mighty.
Next week? Street Profits vs. The Mighty.
Meanwhile, Vanessa Borne is out for the Mae Young Classic qualifier. Taynara Conti is out next to some new music.
Match #4: Vanessa Borne vs. Taynara Conti (Mae Young Classic Qualifying Match)
A lot of mat wrestling to start and some quick pin attempts as you’d expect from a tourney qualifier. Conti eventually snaps towards the end of the match and hits a swift kick to Borne’s arm. Borne tries for a crucifix but Conti counters into a pin and heads to the Mae Young Classic.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Not a whole lot to this match. Since they’re clearly trying to rebrand Conti with the new entrance I imagine it makes more sense to send her to the tournament. Borne, a miserable heel, can use losing this match as promo fodder and to justify beating someone up.
Meanwhile, Johnny Gargano is outside… walking! He’s up next.
Back from break, we see footage from last week of Kairi Sane coming out to intervene in Baszler’s attack on Candice LeRae.
Next week? Kairi Sane vs. Aliyah.
Also, next week? Tyler Bate vs. Roderick Strong.
Oh, hi Cain Velasquez!
Aleister Black’s music hits and he’s out for the main event. Gargano is out last. During the entrances we learn Black vs. Ciampa for the NXT Championship has been booked for TakeOver. It will be interesting to see how they book themselves out of that if the rumors that Black is now officially not cleared for TakeOver are true.
Match #5: Aleister Black vs. Johnny Gargano
If you had “Ciampa interferes” as your guess for the finish – you’d be right! Sure enough, Ciampa eventually shows up to toss Gargano out of the ring and attack Black which gets the match thrown out. Prior to that, Black and Gargano beat the crap out of each other with kicks and strikes.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – I’m into the triple threat premise, but that clearly won’t be happening now so… yeah.
Post-match, Ciampa beats down Black until Gargano gets back in the ring. The three trade off beating each other up while the crowd chants “triple threat”. Ciampa escapes and refs flood the ring to pull Gargano and Black apart. Eventually Regal’s music hits and an irate William Regal finally addresses the title situation. He says he won’t try to control it, or prevent it. In fact, he’s going to let it happen. The title match at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn is now a Triple Threat.
We go off the air on Ciampa looking shocked and sliding up the ramp.
Wonder how they’ll fix this next week with an episode already in the can and TakeOver less than two weeks away?