Lars Sullivan attempts to “remove” Velveteen Dream from the TakeOver War Games NXT Championship match on WWE NXT 11/07/18. Let us all hope he is not successful. Additionally, we’ve been warned that Lacey Evans will be “live”. Does that mean a match? A promo? The NXT Women’s Championship match for TakeOver War Games has not been announced yet. Will the 2nd First Lady of NXT issue a challenge to Baszler? Will Kairi get a rematch? Will Bianca Belair convince Regal to give her a shot? With Nikki Cross seemingly being sent to SmackDown Live to get squashed by Becky Lynch and rejoin her faction that rarely gets TV time, it feels like the women’s division is going to shift again soon. Let’s see if that even gets addressed on this week’s show!
WWE NXT 11/07/18 Recap
Then. Now. WWE Forever. Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped (originally taped 10/17/18) from Full Sail.
We open on Heavy Machinery’s entrance and Vic welcomes us to the show. Heavy Machinery head to the ring and Forgotten Sons are out last.
Match #1: Heavy Machinery vs. Forgotten Sons (w/ Jaxson Ryker)
I was pleasantly surprised with this one. Heavy Machinery typically runs through their opponents, but that doesn’t happen tonight. The Forgotten Sons start slowing things down, and working Otis’ arm, which led me to believe they’d go over with some “finish sequence shenanigans”. But, not so fast. Heavy Machinery pulls this one out, but they have to really work for it. After “things break down”, Otis manages to hit a pop-up slam to get the hard-fought win.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – My “match of the week” and bonus points that they didn’t do the cliché “numbers game” finish as Ryker really didn’t factor into the match at all.
Last week? Candice confronted Nikki Cross and then Aleister Black confronted Candice.
Earlier today? Candice shows up for work and is bombarded by people with smartphones wanting to know Johnny’s deal. Candice says she’s not “here to be exploited” which… well, considering her role at NXT thus far where she’s been cast as “Gargano’s wife” I’m not so sure about that. Since Nikki Cross didn’t answer her questions, Candice wants a match with Nikki. I guess she thinks that in the throes of an athletic contest the feral woman who speaks in riddles will suddenly be ready to have some discourse. Regardless, I’m interested to see this since it feels like Nikki’s time at NXT is numbered once again.
Later tonight? NXT has received an exclusive statement from Johnny Gargano.
Meanwhile, Lars and Velveteen are preparing themselves for the main event. Lars is slapping himself and Dream is stretching while wearing a sequined bath robe and a ship captain’s hat. Sounds about right.
Later tonight? Lars Sullivan attempts to “break” Velveteen Dream ahead of TakeOver War Games.
Back from break, Cathy Kelley is interviewing Shayna Baszler (and company) on a couch. Shayna buries Kairi Sane and puts herself over as the first two-time women’s champ. Regal enters and Duke & Shafir step up like they’re going to brawl with him. Shayna backs them off and Regal tells Shayna that Kairi has cashed in her rematch clause for TakeOver. But, due to Shayna’s “history” with Sane, Regal has made it a two out of three falls match. Shayna seems annoyed by this and tells Cathy to leave.
Meanwhile, Dakota Kai is out. Taynara Conti is out next.
Match #2: Dakota Kai vs. Taynara Conti
NXT is high enough on Kai that they keep booking her to win and are using her on NXT UK. Conti has been used sparingly outside of the Mae Young tournaments. So, about what I expected to happen here is what goes down. Conti gets in some nice strikes and few judo tosses, but Kai goes on a kick run and puts Conti away with her “flip over backstabber” finisher. We learn that this finisher is called the “Kai-ro-practor” which sounds like a pre-“I’m the Man!” Becky Lynch named it for her.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Not bad. I’d like to see them start using Conti more as she appears to have an upside that can’t develop with her losing a match every six to eight weeks on TV.
Meanwhile, Mia Yim is backstage with Cathy. They discuss how excited Mia is to be at NXT until Bianca bursts in and starts her patented form of trash talk. She calls Mia “this chick” and reminds us that she is still “un-de-feat-ed”. Mia says she might be the “est” but she’s never faced the “hbic” which I guess means “head ‘baddie’ in charge”. Bianca is not impressed. As a hilarious side note – all WWE branded social media hyped this interaction and the (spoiler) ensuing match next week by replacing Mia Yim with Dakota Kai. It’s like they got a pre-“we signed Mia Yim” version of the script for the November 7th show.
Later tonight? Gargano. The still image they’re using of Johnny is lit like he’s going to tell us a ghost story around the campfire.
Also, later tonight? A closer look at the War Games match.
Back from break, last week? We had some “bro time” with Matt Riddle.
Next, we get a “WWE dot-com” exclusive video. Riddle and Keith Lee are backstage doing bro things – like talking and… walking. They happen upon Ohno who calls Riddle a “shiny new toy” and tells him that shiny new toys are fun to break. Riddle and Lee are unimpressed and keep doing bro things.
After that, we get a War Games match hype video.
This is followed by Gargano’s “self-shot” video that NXT somehow obtained. Johnny films this on the “path” he took to attack Black that fateful night and finishes the promo at the very spot where Black was left laying. This promo is really well done and shows us that while Ciampa is a sadistic heel, Gargano is equally unlikable but because he’s so delusional and misguided he’s lost himself. Johnny’s explanation focuses on Black “being collateral damage” and it “not being personal”. Aleister was simply in the way of Gargano’s path to being the “hero” and beating Ciampa for the title. It’s a strong promo from Johnny and it still blows my mind how they took the most pure babyface tag team and made them into unique heels that have completely different motivations for their turns.
Up next? Main event time.
Next week? Mia Yim (or Dakota Kai if you’re WWE social media) vs. Bianca Belair.
Meanwhile, Regal chimes in to tell us that next week we’ll get a “one on one match between two members of the War Games teams” and this will decide which team gets the advantage in the War Games match at TakeOver.
Back in the arena, Velveteen Dream is out. Lars Sullivan is out last. I guess Lacey Evans “live!” got cut out of this week’s show?
Match #3: Velveteen Dream vs. Lars Sullivan
Meh. I’m not a big Sullivan fan and beyond Dream getting in some insane spots (like a DVD on the monster), this did little for me. At best, it gives them a chance to add Sullivan to the Dream / Ciampa title match which I’m not really interested in seeing. At worst, it gives them an out to have Ciampa run over Dream at TakeOver which I’m also not interested in seeing. The point here seems to be to establish Lars a monster (how novel!) and allow Dream to get worked over ahead of TakeOver. Dream goes on a run, but Ciampa heads out and Dream opts to take him out on the outside instead of hitting the Purple Rainmaker on Lars. One Freak Accident later and Lars gets a pin on Dream which… yeah.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – I knew I wasn’t going to like this when it was announced and, surprise, I didn’t like it.
Post-match, Lars leaves victorious and Ciampa hits the ring. He attacks Dream and sets him up to eat a DDT on the belt. Dream counters this, hits a superkick, and gives Ciampa a Sister Abigail onto the belt. As Dream goes up for the Purple Rainmaker, refs flood the ring to protect Ciampa and hold Dream back. Dream eventually breaks free and delivers the elbow drop to Ciampa.
We go off the air on Dream holding up the NXT Championship. I’ve watched enough of WWE’s product to know this means there’s now a 98-99% chance that Ciampa will retain a week from Saturday.