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WWE NXT #441 (3.28.18) Play-by-Play and Review

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You can scroll to the end for a TLDR recap of the show. Tonight, both semi-final matches will take place in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic as we rapidly approach TakeOver New Orleans in a mere 10 days. Additionally, Lars Sullivan returns to TV, Aleister Black is here, and William Regal promises a huge announcement.

Earlier Today: Tommaso Ciampa rolled up to Full Sail to a small crowd of boos. An interviewer tries to get a word with him, but Ciampa is there to confront William Regal regarding Johnny Gargano’s recent actions. Regal says that at TakeOver, since Gargano is no longer employed, Ciampa will face Gargano in an unsanctioned match! If Gargano wins, he gets his job back. If Ciampa wins, Gargano is gone for good.

In-Ring Promo: William Regal is out here first to deliver his announcement. He says at TakeOver New Orleans, NXT will introduce the new NXT North American Championship. Regal is interrupted by a debuting EC3 and it looks like he’s retaining the 1% gimmick. EC3 acts like the North American Championship must have been created for him to be awarded to him. Solid promo by EC3.

Regal says he’s happy that EC3 is an NXT competitor now, but no one is handed anything in NXT. Regal says at TakeOver, EC3 will be able to compete for the title with 5 other competitors in a ladder match. EC3 isn’t fazed and he’s confident that he’s walking out the champion.

Earlier Today/Backstage: TM61 is asked about their loss to the Authors of Pain in the Dusty Classic. As they are talking, Ember Moon and Shayna Baszler start to brawl behind them in the Performance Center.

 Match #1: Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Finals: Street Profits v. Authors of Pain (w/ Paul Ellering)

Montez Ford and Rezar start things off with some trash talk. Ford has second thoughts and he tags in Dawkins. Dawkins gets beat down in the corner and Akam gets a tag. Dawkins lands a drop kick and an uppercut to take down Akam. Akam eats a spine buster and Montez Ford celebrates at ringside. Ford offers Ellering a drink from the cup, but Ellering slaps it away. Ford backs Ellering up the ramp, but the Authors attack Dawkins in the ring. Dawkins gets leveled with the Last Chapter and that’s already the end!

Winners: Authors of Pain via pinfall

Thoughts: That sure doesn’t paint Street Profits in a good light. Montez Ford comes off as a complete moron that cost his team the match. I’m not sure why that was done or where the Profits are headed after that. I can’t imagine Dawkins can be too pleased with Ford. Anyway, the Authors just keep on chugging along. I’ve written them off as main roster bound for months, so I give up predicting their departure.

Backstage: William Regal is interviewed backstage. He announces the second competitor in the 6-man ladder match for the North American Championship as Adam Cole. The Velveteen Dream rolls into the frame and pitches his name – and Regal says absolutely!

Match #2: Lars Sullivan v. John Silver

Sullivan quickly beats Silver down and throws him into the corner upside down a few times. Silver absorbs a corner avalanche and Sullivan does a press slam into a powerslam. Sullivan hits a diving head butt off the top rope followed by the Freak Accident for the win.

Winner: Lars Sullivan via pinfall

Thoughts: This was the same Lars Sullivan squash we’ve seen a dozen times. I have nothing else to add.

Backstage: Regal is standing by to confirm more people for the ladder match. He names Lars Sullivan, ugh. Also, Regal says Killian Dain is in the match. Next week, Lars Sullivan will face Killian Dain as well.

Backstage: As Dakota Kai makes her entrance for a match, cameras shift to outside where Andrade Almas is beating the hell out of Aleister Black. Almas beats Black into the arena and to ringside. Almas gets a chair and cracks Black across the back. Almas stands tall after dishing out a major beating. I guess Dakota Kai has the night off.

Match #3/Main Event: Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Finals: SAnitY (Eric Young & Alexander Wolfe) v. Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne

Wolfe and Strong start things out and I expect this match to last longer than the other semi-final match. After a stalemate, Young and Dunne get respective tags. After a stalemate, Young gets the advantage and tags in Wolfe to deliver a double team abdominal stretch / kick combo. Wolfe is in control heading to commercial. Back from break, Young is working over Dunne. Dunne manages to nail Young with a forearm and tag in Strong.

Strong and Dunne land insanely loud chops to Young. A double team move gets a near fall on Young. Dunne starts to work over Young’s hand and arm. Dunne locks in a double wristlock, but Young powers him up for a suplex to break it. Wolfe and Strong get tags and they trade strikes. Wolfe catches Strong with a German suplex and a Death Valley Driver for a near fall. Young tags in and lands a wheelbarrow neckbreaker, but Dunne breaks up the pin attempt. Wolfe jumps off the top rope and lands on Dunne’s fist.

Young clears Dunne from the ring, but gets caught by Strong on the top rope. Strong wants a superplex, but Young drops him on his face and nails the top rope elbow for another near fall. Strong kicks Young away and nails a half Nelson backbreaker. Wolfe breaks up the pin and tries a German suplex on Dunne, but Dunne lands on his feet and kicks Wolfe in the head. Strong hits the End of Heartache on Wolfe. Strong delivers a high knee to Young in the corner. Dunne tags in and they hit a double team finisher on Young for the win!

Winners: Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne via pinfall to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic

Thoughts: It was a decent TV match, but nothing special. There wasn’t a lot of chemistry in this one and I think it came across that with the crowd as well. Either way, I think the right team won. Overall, there was just a lot to process on this episode and the TakeOver card is mostly set aside from the tag team title match. Next week will be the go-home show.

 Backstage: Regal is standing by one more time and says the final competitor is… Ricochet!

 TLDR

  • William Regal books Ciampa versus Gargano in an unsanctioned match at TakeOver. If Gargano wins, he’s rehired. If he loses, he’s gone for good
  • William Regal announces a brand new NXT title called the North American Championship.
  • EC3 debuts and is announced as a competitor in a 6-man ladder match for the new championship
  • Authors of Pain beat Street Profits to advance to the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
  • William Regal announced Adam Cole, Velveteen Dream, Killian Dain, Lars Sullivan, and Ricochet as the 5 other competitors in the TakeOver ladder match
  • Lars Sullivan beat John Silver
  • Andrade Almas attacked Aleister Black in the parking lot and gave him a beating
  • Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne beat SAnitY to advance to the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic

Advertised for Next Week

  • Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Authors of Pain v. Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne
  • Lars Sullivan v. Killian Dain

NXT TakeOver New Orleans Card (as of 28 March 2018)

  • NXT Championship: Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas © v. Aleister Black
  • NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon © v. Shayna Baszler
  • NXT Tag Team Championship: Undisputed Era © v. Dusty Rhodes Classic Winners
  • Unsanctioned Match: Tommaso Ciampa v. Johnny Gargano
  • NXT North American Championship Ladder Match: EC3 v. Adam Cole v. Velveteen Dream v. Lars Sullivan v. Killian Dain v. Ricochet
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