Good (insert time of day) to you. Unfortunately, I watched some of Raw and SmackDown and feel conflicted about wrestling going in to NXT tonight. I had a fantasy booking idea that Lashley would beat Roman and then beat Brock. Scrap the whole Brock and Roman coronation moment and then have Roman go over Bobby at Survivor Series. It is a stupid plan that has BASIC levels of potential to do something that might make it work. When Roman Reigns came out Monday night, the f-----g sound was deafening. I get that all the dudes are booing and all the gals are cheering for him but it’s past being “cool” anymore. But it’s f-----g impossible to like Reigns when he is being poorly written to be the lead character. There are other guys we all want to see and if Roman was handled another way he could have been built to an amazing run to the belt. Put him with Heyman? Turn him heel? But maybe it’s over. Maybe not yet. Not for Vince, anyways. And the whole point of this rant is just to say that THAT is how I feel and what I’m thinking about when I watch Raw. I don’t even remember whatever I saw of SmackDown because everything is about “Evolution, the first ever all women pay per view event coming in October” for both shows. Big ups for that PPV but also it’s about time and realistically couldn’t there be an all women show by this point? ALL of this is to say that I’m stoked for NXT because I will just get to watch TV for an hour and not over think things. I can trust my guide in Triple H. Let’s begin the show.
This week’s episode starts with the sickest f-----g video package for Ciampa vs. Black. It is awesome. This seems like too big of a match for it to be happening tonight, weeks before SummerSlam. I am aware that there were NXT tapings within the past week of writing this and I avoided spoilers completely so I am f-----g STOKED for the next few weeks!
SHOCK THE SYSTEM! (The sound after that is like the sounds that starts Asuka’s theme…just sayin’) Out comes the f-----g man, Adam Cole BAY BAY! He looks perfect with a belt around his waist. Wait for it…BOOM! Hell YES. This s--t works like a f-----g charm every time so far. I f-----g LOVE this dude! And here comes his opponent…Sean Maluta…? Ahhhh, Cruiserweight Classic guy. Okay, well, this ought to be more than just a squash match to make Adam Cole look bigger than he is. I’m such a mark for Adam Cole that I don’t give a s--t about Maluta one bit and I just love to see Cole be a dickhead. There is some pretty nice back and forth and the match slows down a bit but then Maluta jumps off the top rope into a superkick and then The Last Shot and it’s f-----g over! “And your winner: Adam Cole (BAY BAY)” That s--t rules. Oops, Cole grabs the mic after the match. He is just putting himself over for f-----g ruling. Yeah, man, you DO rule, Adam Cole. (I just realized that he is Tom Cruise as a wrestler. Physically speaking.)
ONE AND ONLY. Ricochet cuts off the promo and this dude sound smooth as hell and natural tonight. He doesn’t sound like he is remembering his lines (too much that is). Ricky O’Shea calls him out, to his face, in the ring, for a North American Title opportunity at TakeOver: Brooklyn. Cole tells his that he is too good to give Rick a match and declines. And then the CLASSIC f-----g “cool man, walk away, I didn’t realize you were a coward” and now Cole is screaming “I don’t have to prove nothing to you!” Roddy and O’Reilly come out to back up Cole and just as some grade A s--t talking is starting up War Raiders’ music hits! The Era sneak off the ramp and over to in front of the announcers tables top reveal Mustache Mountain in silver jumpsuits! The Undisputed Era clearly have a HUGE target on their back.
Up next we have the contract signing between Shayna Baszler and Kairi Sane for the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver: Brooklyn. The scene is Sane, Regal and Baszler from left to right and Shayna cuts Regal off almost immediately and just puts herself over, sounding super f-----g awkward when she says the word “jugular” and she tries to come off like a bad ass yet somehow, in this moment, Kairi Sane seems like the badder ass. Shayna has studs on her jacket and a worn out KISS shirt on so she looks like a tough guy but Sane just has a serious presence. And just as I’m really feeling this the end of this s--t gets really bad with the back and forth camera shots. All in all that was a weird segment. Lots of breathing sounds from both women. ASMR fans would love the segment as a whole.
Scene backstage of Tommaso Ciampa walking deep into a storage container that also has some work out gear at the end of it…weird setting. The guy comes off as such serious f-----g creep and I’m still very on board. I feel like Aleister Black will retain because that’s how it goes sometimes but I’d love to see Ciampa wearing that strap going into Brooklyn.
Tanilla Price comes out and her name appropriately rhymes with vanilla. Her degree in criminology is not going to save her from Lacey f-----g Evans. I’m thrilled to watch this lady kick the s--t out of someone other than Dakota Kai tonight. “I LOVE YOU LACEY” “I DON’T LOVE YOU!” Lacey starts off by whipping Tanilla by her hair and then proceeds to pick hair out of her fingers. Evans makes such a good show of wrestling. This is basically just a run of the mill enhancement match. There are some bits of wrestling but then, suddenly, The Women’s Right! That s--t looks pretty f-----g stiff. Lacey Evans rules. She is a badass and I think she will look great with the title someday. I imagine that she and Bianca Belair will have a good feud once the current crop gets harvested.
Right on cue, a backstage interview with Bianca Belair and she really makes the most out of 20 seconds of air time! She gets the point across that she is undefeated and when she returns from injury she doesn’t feel like she needs to f--k around and just deserves a shot. I’M UN-DE-FEAT-ED. Ok, dude. Let’s see about that. Oh f--k, up next is the main event: Tommaso Ciampa vs Aleister Black.
Quick backstage moment of Shayna walking out of her dressing room being asked about whatever and then Candice LeRae comes at her and is all “Why don’t you say s--t to my face?” and she rules. Nothing happens but it plants the seed and I want Candice Wrestling to be the champ for sure.
Here we f-----g GO! Out comes Tommaso Ciampa, no music, just a choir of drunk Florida a------s booing him and chanting YOU SUCK YOU SUCK. Ciampa is wearing the serious version of the Miz’s jacket and it kinda stinks, actually. (Maybe not because maybe its just a real heel move but I don’t think it fits whatever my interpretation of his character is) I’m pretty sure Aleister Black’s entrance is gonna be f-----g awesome on SmackDown or wherever he ends up. He came walking off the “sit-up” gimmick walking like a troll of sorts. Holy s--t I love this guy. This seems the most like the OG Aleister Black, pre-mic time and before the crowd sang his theme all the way through. These f-----g dudes are right in each other’s faces and this s--t rules. NXT f-----g rules because they are going to give us an NXT Championship match in the middle of a PPV cycle, not just doing title matches/changes at those events. This is awesome already. Ciampa is such a f-----g dickweed and I find myself suddenly very torn as the match begins. I like Aleister Black a lot. I don’t want him to lose the title suddenly. Tommaso Ciampa freaks me out for real. It seems like Ciampa has actually gotten under Black’s skin, though, and that makes me feel that Tommaso has the advantage.
This match kicks off with some high quality grappling and a little bit of wearing down of each other. Ciampa gets a solid 2 count and when they break apart Tommaso is staring at Black, wiggling 2 fingers saying “I got 2”. What a f-----g CREEP. The match picks up speed and it’s really mesmerizing. These dudes are getting pretty brutal but still pulling off some impressive maneuvers. They do a lot of back and forth before Ciampa escapes the ring quickly as Black does his little ring flip where he sits in the middle of the ring…you know, the “thing” that Aleister Balck does? Anyways, he does THAT but then puts up his hand and waves a la Ciampa. It’s awesome. It’s not long before Tommaso Ciampa dumps Black out of the ring and immediately pounces on him like an actual predator and tosses him around like an idiot and then smashes him into the steps. Black is selling it all pretty well but I can already feel like Black will have his awesome comeback. It feels forgone that Black retains.
Tommaso has slowed this match to a grinding halt and is shredding up Black, wearing him down. Ciampa is working the back of Aleister Black and Aleister tries to reverse with a German suplex but sells that he can’t pull it off because his back is too f----d. That’s awesome. Tommaso puts him into a Texas Cloverleaf and FUUUUCK that looks painful! It’s amazing, for as much of a f-----g beating as Black is taking, when he manages to throw those kicks it seems as if they are spring loaded and unaffected by the beating he has been sustaining. They do a back and forth, roll up, reverse, etc. thing to a point where they bounce up and just crash into each other! Ciampa is up first and right back to work. Black takes back the upper hand and these kicks are gonna f-----g kill Tommaso if he connects. Aleister Black kicks Ciampa in the f-----g throat and it hurt ME to watch it. Hot DAMN Black lights Ciampa up with some serious f-----g kick and it sounds like punching a slab of beef. TWEET ABOUT THIS! Aleister Black yells before he kicks his f-----g head in three times!
After those kicks though, Ciampa manages to do the craziest top rope DDT and gets a 2.99 count but Black saves it! This match just hit that gear of four amazing near falls in a row and I’m completely out of breath just watching this s--t. I just realized I haven’t been breathing for the past minute. Aleister Black almost eats s--t on his guiding foot superkick move but Ciampa only gets a 2 count. There is a spot outside the ring where the cameraman gets bumped into and that distracts the ref. OH F--K Ciampa hits Black in the throat with crutch! Ciampa goes for the draping DDT but Black reverses, tosses his ass out of the ring and finally does his top rope jump out of the ring dealie. I do not understand how this match seems to not have any count out but thats clearly the deal. Ciampa just peeled up the floor protection and is trying to f-----g kill Aleister Black. The whole thing turns into a spot where the ref is the one who takes the bump onto the concrete just as Black hit Black Mass on Ciampa and the crowd proceeded to count the pin to 10. Black gets the ref and tries to wake him. Ciampa grabs Black by the eye and, OH F--K IT’S JOHNNY GARGANO! After some fuckery with Gargano grabbing the belt and trying to smash Ciampa but OBVIOUSLY hits Black (inadvertently) with the belt, Ciampa hits black with his finisher and HOLY F-----G S--T THIS GUY DID IT. This isn’t nearly as loud as it will be when Roman finally wins, but its pretty f-----g deafening. This is so awesome! The crowd is so f-----g pissed! I am so pissed. This is awful! Aww man even Izzy is bummed! Tommaso has the ref put the belt around his waist and then raise his belt to be declared the 14th NXT champion in history. I love that Johnny is basically the reason for it to have happened, too.
Holy f-----g hell. That was stressful and exhausting. F--k, I don’t wanna see Gargano win the title because I still don’t LIKE like him, but he HAS to beat that f-----g a-----e Tommaso Ciampa. I truly hope that it can happen at Brooklyn and just move on and not cheapen the feud (until the main roster, of course, where it will go over like a fart in church). My goodness I am so f-----g worked up right now from that match. I couldn’t even write about the last seven minutes of the match because it was just so much f-----g awesome s--t happening back-to-back-to-back-to-back that it’s not even worth trying to poorly write about. GO WATCH IT. Obviously it ruled.
This entire episode was awesome. They gave reminders and mentions to other characters who weren’t on this episode, like mentioning Kona Reeves and EC3 for next week as well as mentioning Lars Sullivan and his broken jaw. It’s great that they are still mentioning the guy because old Barrel Chest still has some havoc to cause before being shipped off to Raw. This was another great episode where I’m almost bummed that it’s only once a week and only an hour but, honestly, in the day and age of being able to binge everything, it makes it more of a communal thing to watch a show when there is a limited distribution. Yes, most of us know the results for NXT for months in advance and sometimes the results are just a given, but even still, the journey is the best f-----g part. Triple H and his crew at Full Sail University do one hell of a job of getting me out of reality and into a world where I give a huge s--t about the characters I see each week.
Wrestling Rules. F--k The World. Party Hard.
If you’d like more wrestling news, opinions and hot takes-be sure to check out our new podcast, Poor Taste Wrestling. New episodes are available every Friday and you’ll get to listen to us break down RAW, SmackDown, NXT and more every week. You can also follow our wrestling Twitter @AiPTWrestling for all the latest news and match play-by-play.