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WWE NXT recap/review: July 4, 2018

Pro Wrestling

WWE NXT recap/review: July 4, 2018

Johnny Gargano snaps!

Welcome back for another week of unbridled enthusiasm and run-on sentences! I spent the better part of the last week goofing off on the top of Killington Mountain, riding mountain bikes, swimming in a heated pool and enjoying the newly legalized local growth. One of the attractions that was available at the resort was a Wipeout/American Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course called “Wreck Tangle.” After having mountain biked the day before with no gloves (resulting in bruised hands and brutal blisters) it only made sense that I crushed that obstacle course a full dozen times. My hands are hamburger and my joints feel like actual garbage. I can not possibly imagine how these folks do what they do every single week and a part of me wishes I had pursued it, but the rest of me is grateful that these folks do and that I get to watch them do it! Fuck any patriotism this week, lets just get to some fucking wrestling!

First up is my GIRL, Dakota Kai! She is such a bright presence and I like her so much. I didn’t see Bayley in the early days but I have to imagine this is a similar thing. She is a real treat and so fucking easy to root for which is a lot of fun. Santana Garrett is her opponent and she looks like she will be able to put on a good match. It’s such a relief to see Dakota Kai wrestle against someone who I believe will “wrestle” her rather than someone who seems like they want to damage her (e.g. Lacey Evans, Shayna Baszler). Kai is still fresh in the WWE system but she already has shades of Bayley/Sasha/Becky at various points throughout any given match. She is going to be a big star if the system works the way it has for many others. It’s just one of those things where I am drawn to root for her. Dakota Kai finishes the match with the “Kai-De-Gras” as Nigel dubs it. She is great. I love to know that babyfaces are still possible to sincerely love and root for!

WWE NXT recap/review: July 4, 2018

Heavy Machinery selfie promo of the boys working out in the performance center, talking about steaks and weights. As Dozovic is walking away you hear Tucker Knight get jumped. As the Blair Witch camera angle chases back to the scene of the assault, you can barely see Thorne and Miller running off. This has been a good sort of built with The Mighty somewhat stalking the bigger team of Heavy Machinery.

Out comes Shayna Baszler and it would appear that the NXT Women’s Champ has something to say. She looks like a character from True Blood and I kinda fucking dig it. She has a sort of androgynous thing going on where she is universally fucking intimidating. She starts name dropping other members of the roster trying to gets cheers or boos for them. I have started to turn on her as the champion because it just feels like there is nowhere for her to advance but she still scares me so I’m into it. She calls out the whole women’s roster and then just walks out of the ring. Meh. I don’t see any single woman on the roster taking that title from her just yet.

Cathy interviews Danny Burch in the back about Oney Lorcan getting his orbital socket broken and as a result he will be out for the next three months. That fucking sucks for those dudes because, even though the Hooligans are so-so, I still like to watch them wrestle and they are good at making other wrestlers look great! Undisputed Era interrupts and tells Burch that they are planning to invoke their rematch clause next week. They act like such fifth graders about it. Somehow, it is hilarious. After each member of Undisputed Era gets his carefully scripted one-liner in, Burch responds by challenging Adam Cole (BAY BAY) to a one-on-one next week and, after laughing as if Danny-Boy just signed up to fight Brock Lesnar, Adam Cole says “Yeah, okay man, that sounds great!” and they all walk off. They do such a classic job of being “cool” heels. They are the best version of the nWo since the Outsiders and Hogan themselves. Everything seems like a fucking joke to them and it’s as if there are no consequences for any of their actions, no matter what.

I don’t know much about indie wrestling but I know some names and I know War Machine. I am also aware of the other results for that term on the internet and as a result I understand why WWE decided NOT to use that name, but the fact that they just ran a segment about Heavy Machinery vs The Mighty and then a promo about War Machine makes it difficult to keep them separated, even as the NXT diehard that I am.

In a promo showing one minute of Ciampa taunting Aleister Black I am so ready for that match! They are gonna have the match in three weeks on regular NXT TV! That fucking rules!

Here come the newly repackaged The Mighty fka TM61 (I thought that name sucked too, HHH). I am becoming more interested in The Mighty as time goes on but they still generally stink. Otis Dozovic comes out to represent one half of Heavy Machinery for this handicap match and man, I love this dude. He is such a classically shaped wrestler. His voice is perfect, his hair is flowing and his ring gear is classic. He seems like one of those dudes who instantly went from being 11 years old to being his current size and shape. Dozovic handily fucks shit up for the entire first half of the match in the most entertaining of ways. He is a perfect wrestler. As the tides turn against him, the crowd turns to BOO The Mighty and start chanting “OTIS-OTIS-OTIS!” Dozovic sells as well as he dishes it out and despite all that I still have hope that he will get to tag out. The Mighty try to do a double suplex to Otis but Dozovic responds with a sloppy double suplex of his own to the Aussies! Dozovic hulks up and does the “Caterpillar” and then smashes the Mighty! It’s not long before they take back the upper hand and hit him with a pretty simple but crushing Northern Lariat and finish off the big guy for the 1-2-3. The Mighty sell the victory like they won the NXT tag titles and that’s actually pretty funny. They still stink.

Bianca Belair sends the “E-S-T” selfie promo from her honeymoon and I must say, that 45 seconds of screen time just did a world of good for her in my personal standings. She is good. She could be great. Let’s see.

WWE NXT recap/review: July 4, 2018

Up next is Velveteen Dream vs. Chris Dijak! I’m fucking stoked to see my favorite NXT Superstar in action, even if it’s just against Mistah Wah-stah, the vanilla man Chris Dijak. Dream doesn’t seem to be phased by his pretty big defeat at TakeOver. I have not watched the second UK Tournament yet and Mauro and Nigel just made reference to a match that Dream already wrestled at Royal Albert Hall so I guess all is well and nothing has changed with my dude. As vanilla as Dijak is, the dude is TALL and makes Dream look less so than usual. The two of them do some great posturing and after some back and forth Dijak yells “TIME TO FLY” and fucking LAUNCHES Dream across the ring! HOLY SHIT THIS DUDE IS A BEAST! He is manhandling Velveteen Dream in a way I’ve never seen! This Wah-stah boy is operating on a Lars Sullivan level right now. I really like when you can hear the competitors talking shit in the ring and Dijak is certainly talkative. “LET’S GO FOR A RIDE!” Dream mounts a comeback but Dijak takes control yet again until Velveteen Dream pulls Dijak’s leg out from underneath him and sends him face first into the ring steps! After a 7 count from the ref, Dijak makes it back into the ring just to eat a DDT and lay down before the one and only Velveteen D-R-E-A-M! Before Sream is done celebrating his victory, he is interrupted by The 1% himself, EC3, and another reference to the match I missed from the Royal Albert Hall (EC3/Velveteen Dream vs Aleister Black and Ricochet). Okay, guys, I’ll fucking watch the match.

Backstage footage of Mustache Mountain being asked about the aforementioned rematch clause and Undisputed Era. I hate to say it, but Trent Sevens’ accent is so thick that I don’t have a fucking clue what him or Tyler Bate (by proxy) even just said, other than that they accept that they will defend the tag titles against Undisputed Era at Full Sail University.

WWE NXT recap/review: July 4, 2018

Back in the ring, EC3 finally receives his introduction and out comes his opponent, Jonathan G. Wrestling. I fucking HATE his theme song very much and I am certain that it is a part of why I haven’t liked him sooner. That said, I am officially a fan of this guy. It was a Cena-type path but here we are. Gargano starts off full of piss and vinegar and EC3 grabs him a headlock and yells “SETTLE DOWN”. Aww, this is awesome. Johny Wrestling is a great dude to show me what EC3 is/will be capable of over the next 5-8 years. Johnny is the second coming of Daniel Bryan but that fucking theme song stinks. It really is the thing that dates and stylizes him as a wrestler, but in a non-universal way. I’m mostly thinking of Dolph or Miz themes and how much they sound like 2007. Bryans’ heavy metal Flight of the Valkyries is almost comical but it’s also fucking sick. And instrumental. I hate that Coheed and Cambria singing shit, man. Anyways, back to the match. John G is taking the usual beating and EC3 looks like an early ’90s wrestling action figure the whole time. It really almost doesn’t matter what EC3 does in the ring with that physique. Gargano looks extra lean when he is next to EC3. Even if it isn’t the story the commentary is telling, the story of this match is experience vs. youth. It’s the tortoise and the hare. Gargano is built for distance and even though EC3 keeps fucking hammering him, Gargano keeps fighting. After a little breather, these two start kicking the fuck out of each other! They go back and forth but at one point Gargano seems to see Ciampa’s face superimposed on EC3 and he just fucking snaps! Johnny Wrestling puts EC3 in the Gargano Escape and after a 4 count rope break he finally lets off, then, without even pulling EC3 away from the ropes, puts it back on for another 4 count! A fucking switch has flipped inside this dude! Gargano reenacts the finish from his match with Ciampa at TakeOver (DDT off the ropes) and EC3 finally stays down. Gargano has believably lost his damn mind. It almost reads like a type of PTSD which resulted in Johnny becoming the demon that inhabited Tommaso Ciampa. Whoa.

That was a crazy fucking episode of NXT! The thing about it is, just as it gets going, it’s over. That is not a bad thing, though. If it was done THIS way, SmackDown could be a perfect show. The roster on SmackDown is deeper than it is on NXT and because of that it would be fine to fill out another hour of programming without having to put everyone on TV every single week. I know that the talent travel for the live events and everyone wants screen time but there is something to be said for keeping things special. As much as I bitch about it here, it’s a good thing that Undisputed Era isn’t on every single week. There is a line between the every-three-weeks booking from NXT and the every-three-months booking for Brock Lesnar (if we’re lucky). That dude used to command huge fucking respect and the upper management have really squandered it by not putting the title on Braun LAST summer and having used Brock differently over the past year. I know that Brock and Braun are on Raw. And I know that none of this is relevant except to say that 1) not seeing people on TV every week doesn’t make you forget them, but rather it makes you tune in next week to see them and 2) often times, less is more. Even if there isn’t anyone that I’m totally dying to see wrestle each other in NXT right now, I just had a totally awesome time watching wrestling for one full hour.

Wrestling Rules.

Fuck The World.

Party Hard.

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