NXT is suffering from a socks shortage. And it’s not for the first time. Last year Hideo Itami was sporting the shoes-only look. Now it’s the turn of Ricochet. Full Sail soon picks up on poor Trevor’s plight. After his cool trapped-in-a-neon-prism entrance, he cuts a nervy in-ring promo. Trev seems out of his comfort zone. The One and Only is visibly thrown by the odd ‘WHAT?’ chant and looks like he’d much rather be doing flips.
“There’s only one thing on my mind,” he says.
“SOCKS!” bellow the fans.
“No it’s not socks!” fires back the indignant indie darling. “IT’S THE NXT CHAMPIONSHIP!”
Velveteen Dream arrives. Huge babyface reaction for the heel Dream, much bigger than for Ricochet. Not to be outdone in the dubious fashion stakes, Velveteen is wearing a tea cozy on his head. He does have socks, though.
The former Pat Clark is miles more confident on the mic than Tricky Trev. His promo really isn’t going anywhere but the fans lap up his every word. They’re both just gabbing on and on but Velveteen is overshadowing Ricochet with his mere presence. Dream goes to attack Ric but instead drops to the canvas and backs off. Ricochet winks. So we’re getting a feud. They set up this new rivalry in 10 minutes when it could have easily taken two.
Then they made Trev do another promo.
Next up it’s Raul Mendoza. The jobber enters first! They’re learning. But why does Ricochet get a cooler entrance than the omnipotent EC3? Ethan is everything that WWE could want in a superstar but I get the feeling they’re keener to push the under-sized high flyer ahead of the charismatic guy with muscles. Just think back 30 years and ponder that statement.
The commentators aren’t impressed with Carter’s ego. “He thinks he’s Bruce Wayne without Batman!” I’m not entirely sure what this means, but at least Percy Watson said something. Most of the time I barely notice he’s there on the Mauro Ranallo Show.
EC3 doesn’t use the headlock driver any more. He pins Mendoza after a series of precise moves ending with a TKO. Shades of Marc Mero. The former Impact Champion then cuts a rampway promo and shows Ricochet how it’s done. “I have a body like a mythical deity!” Great line. EC3 promises victory after victory after victory after victory and has the fans eating out of the palm of his hand. Push this man.
We cut to backstage where Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan track down a scowling Pete Dunne. They don’t like the UK Champ but they’ll team with him against mutual enemies The Undisputed Era. Oney says to Pete: “You know you’re a piece of garbage!” Interesting recruitment method. The Bruiserweight seems to like being viciously insulted and agrees to join forces.
Dakota Kai comes out, wearing her blazer tied around her waist like schoolboys in summer. Vanessa Borne comes out wearing…well, this really has to be seen to be believed. I think she’s been shopping at Ann Summers. It’s basically a lace-up red leather basque with matching boots. I thought we were meant to be PG?
As Mauro shows his New Zealand wrestler knowledge with mentions for Tony Garea and The Bushwhackers, Borne starts well and beats down Dakota. “CHEER FOR ME!” she demands. “BOOOO!” replies Full Sail. Vanessa is a PROPER heel. But Kai wins quick with an impressive-looking somersault backcracker. Lock up your daughters, here comes Shayna Baszler. Dakota’s now scared. Frozen in fear, apparently. Shayna swaggers in, grins at Dakota than chokes out Borne right in front of her. Dakota flees.
Cathy Kelly is backstage. Dakota suddenly stumbles through the curtain like Eric Morecambe. Baszler isn’t far behind and challenges Kai to do something. But she won’t stand up to her tormentor. The champ smirks and leaves, and the camera cuts to Nikki Cross clutching some trussing, cackling her head off. I found this segment hilarious although I’m not sure I was meant to.
Now it’s Ram Man and Tuck versus the Download Festival’s favourite tag team. Otherwise known as Heavy Machinery vs The War Raiders.
Hanson and Rowe are “modern day Vikings” according to Mauro. That thing they do with their hands is catching on. You know, that rock music thing. As Vader and CM Punk would say, IT’S CLOBBERING TIME! And boy, do we get some clobbering. These two teams beat the hell out of each other with one big high impact move after another. The War Raiders’ double-team leg drop on Tucker Knight ends it far too quickly. I could have quite happily watched a bit more of that.
We see the Street Profits training on the basketball court. Last week I praised Angelo Dawkins for really upping his game in the personality stakes. This week was the first time I felt he actually had MORE charisma than Montez Ford.
Next week it’s Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch against Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong. That’ll be good.
Tommaso Ciampa vs Kassius Ohno is our TV main event.
Why can’t they just call him Chris Hero? It’s a great name.
The Sicilian Psychopath gets a 1980s Memphis reaction from the crowd. Jim Cornette must be salivating in delight watching this. “YOU SUCK! I HATE YOU!” yells one furious fella in the front row. Ciampa is a PROPER PROPER heel.
Ohno is fighting for the injured Johnny Gargano so he starts by forearming and booting the hell out of Ciampa all around ringside. The fans are loving it. After a hard suplex and senton inside the ring, Tommaso turns it around with a leg trip and a big knee. KO2 retaliates with a cravate into a sit-out power bomb for a two count. Ciampa then rips off his wrist tape and when the referee confiscates it, tries to gouge out Ohno’s eye. Mauro is incandescent. “SOMEBODY NEEDS TO STOP THIS MADMAN!!” Ranallo simply can’t hide his contempt for Ciampa. Ohno kicks out at two after a brutal knee to the back of the head but can’t survive an innovative face-first neckbreaker. “Oh NOOOOOOOO…DAMMIT!” hollers Mauro, like someone just pushed his car off a cliff.
After the three count, Tommaso drinks in the utter derision of the audience as Ohno slumps in a corner. Then he wallops Kassius with his knee brace and chokes him with it. “YOU’RE THE DEVIL!” chants a fan. No, that’s Conrad Thompson. Watch Bruce Prichard’s podcast on the WWE Network if you don’t believe me. The man is EVIL.
Ciampa vs Ohno was wonderful to watch. Ohno did a super job in the Hacksaw Duggan role as the mid-carder fighting the baddie on behalf of Hulk Hogan, or in this case Johnny Wrestling. And Ciampa is the best heel in WWE because he’s such a believably sick maniac and absolutely hated by everyone. Even the commentator loathes him.
And yes, he might even be the devil.
Do you hate Tommaso Ciampa too? And are you wearing socks?
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