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WWE NXT #449 (5.16.18) Play-by-Play and Review

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You can scroll to the end for a TLDR recap of the show. If you’re like me, this whole TakeOver Chicago II snuck up on you – it’s only exactly 1 month away on June 16th. Hell, it doesn’t even have an official name yet. Tonight, there is a big 6-man tag as Undisputed Era continues their feud with Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Burch. Also, Ricochet faces Velveteen Dream in what may be an unofficial #1 Contender’s match.

In-Ring Promo: Johnny Gargano’s music hits as Mauro sells disbelief that he’s back so soon. Sure enough, Tommaso Ciampa walks out as the music dies. He says Gargano won a battle, but Ciampa always wins the war. Ciampa continues to rub it in until Candice LeRae walks out without music to confront him. She says she no longer recognizes who Ciampa has become and she doesn’t understand why.

She says the only thing truly broken is Ciampa himself. She says she’s done shedding tears and Ciampa is a monster. She says Ciampa will live with knowing that Gargano was better than him. Ciampa picks up the microphone and says maybe he was better once, but that LeRae knows Gargano’s not half the man Ciampa is, which is why he sends his little cute wife out to confront him. Ciampa says LeRae has always been more of a man than Gargano.

Ciampa says during their wedding, he was thinking about how it was possible that this woman could be marrying such a big p… LeRae slaps him across the face before he could finish. They have a face-off before Ciampa waves good-bye and leaves the ring. Intense segment. Anyone else have a gut feeling that LeRae possibly turns on Gargano and joins Ciampa? Or is it too early into her debut/babyface run?

Match #1: Brandi Lauren v. Lacey Evans

Evans easily gets Lauren into the corner and puts the boots to her. After a handstand into a Bronco Buster, Evans lands a slingshot elbow drop. Evans showboats a little and delivers a nice moonsault off the second rope. She stands up and scores with the punch finisher, now called the Women’s Right. Creative name. That’s all for Lauren, by the way.

As Evans goes up the ramp, Kairi Sane levels her. Back into the ring, Sane wants the InSane Elbow, but Evans rolls to safety and gets out of there. 

Winner: Lacey Evans via pinfall

Thoughts: It was a basic TV squash match as Evans looks to continue tweaking and settling into her character. I think she’s doing okay. Do I think she’s championship material? No, not right now. She’s a solid mid-carder, though. I think Kairi Sane has a little more upside, but after what Vince did with Asuka, I’m not sure. 

Earlier Tonight Outside: NXT Champion Aleister Black is asked about both Velveteen Dream and Ricochet saying they want a shot at the title and he gives the solid babyface answer that he knows he has a target on his back and he’ll take on anyone. 

Earlier Today Outside: Dakota Kai is asked why she’s such a coward. Not really, she’s asked about Nikki Cross. None other than Nikki Cross shows up to ask when Kai will face Shayna. She tells Dakota to just face her fear and fight. So, Nikki Cross is the babyface here. 

Match #2: Velveteen Dream v. Ricochet

Dream and Ricochet try to one-up one another early as they trade moves. Ricochet goes for his roll-through back handspring head scissors, but Dream anticipates it and moves. Dream then does his own variation of Ricochet’s spot and sends Ricochet to the floor. The Dream wants a dive, but stops on the ring apron. Ricochet is already back in the ring to hit a springboard drop kick that sends the Dream to the floor. Ricochet now goes for a dive, but stops and back flips into the center of the ring as Dream slides in to meet him face to face. Dream’s face tells the story here. I feel like this match should have been saved for a TakeOver. What an opening 3-4 minutes. 

The two trade strikes, but then collide headfirst. The crowd gets all worked up and I’m not sure why until Lars Sullivan hits the ring to cause a no contest. Sullivan destroys both guys with his power offense and a pair of Freak Accidents. Sullivan says he wants the championship.

Winner: No Contest

Thoughts: These two have really good chemistry and I want to see a proper 15-20 minute match. I have zero desire to see Lars Sullivan in the picture here and I hope there isn’t a Triple Threat or something. Triple H isn’t stupid; he saw and heard the reaction to these guys early on in the match. 

Match #3: Kona Reeves v. Raul Mendoza

Kona is in here with someone who can really work, so let’s see if this is any better than his first match. Reeves locks in an arm bar, but eats a back elbow. Reeves goes to a side headlock and then a shoulder block to level Mendoza. Mendoza gets caught with a vertical suplex. Reeves pays tribute to Ted DiBiase with a fist drop. Reeves now locks in the Million Dollar Dream because why not? 

Mendoza counters with a jawbreaker and some right hands. A step-up enzuigiri levels Reeves. Another step-up kick staggers Reeves, but Mendoza springboards right into a big boot. Reeves delivers the Hawaiian Drop for the victory. 

Winner: Kona Reeves via pinfall

Thoughts: Well, it was better than his first effort. A lot of this was Mendoza, though. I still don’t think Kona Reeves is comfortable as this character. We’ll see where it goes, but I don’t think it’ll be far.

Backstage: Ricochet is pounding on GM William Regal’s door. Cathy Kelley asks for his thoughts about earlier, but Velveteen Dream shows up as well. Both guys are there to say they want Lars Sullivan. They go into the office to presumably ask Regal for a match. 

Backstage: Heavy Machinery is doing their shtick until they encounter TM-61. The newly heel and arrogant TM-61 talks some trash and I believe there will be a match next week. 

Match #4/Main Event: Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, & Danny Burch v. Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, & Kyle O’Reilly)

There’s no sign of Bobby Fish here tonight. Strong runs from Dunne and tags in O’Reilly. Burch tags in, but gets caught in a knee bar. O’Reilly lands some leg kicks and tags in Cole. Cole talks trash and kicks Burch around. O’Reilly is back in the ring with knee strikes and a near fall. Strong tags in and delivers a backbreaker to Burch. Burch tags Dunne, who finally unloads on Strong.

Dunne twists Strong around and tries to break his fingers. Cole and O’Reilly try to intervene, but Lorcan and Burch send them to the floor. Undisputed Era regroups outside and use a distraction that lets Strong take Dunne down. They take turns hammering away on Dunne in an extended sequence. Dunne gets a hot tag to Lorcan, who chops and uppercuts Strong and O’Reilly. Lorcan lands a half-and-half suplex and a running Blockbuster. Lorcan flips over the top rope to take out Strong and O’Reilly on the floor. 

Back in the ring, Burch levels Strong with a lariat. Dunne forearms Cole out of his body. O’Reilly tries to German suplex Dunne, but Dunne lands on his feet and kicks him in the head. Strong clears the ring and gives Burch a backbreaker and a high knee. Cole delivers a Tye Breaker, but Burch kicks out at two. Burch fights back and locks in the Cross Face on O’Reilly. Lorcan locks Strong in a single leg Boston Crab at the same time. Dunne then locks in a standing kimura to Cole. Lorcan gets kicked away and all the moves get broken up.

Dunne suplexes Cole to the floor and takes himself out in the process. The two tag teams start to brawl. Lorcan hits a double running Blockbuster and then a devastating double-team wheelbarrow DDT on O’Reilly for the win!

Winners: Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, & Danny Burch via pinfall

Thoughts: That was a pretty decent match. It still looks like the goal is for Lorcan and Burch to challenge for the tag team championship. Possible, Dunne will face Cole? If so, will it be title for title?

TLDR

  • Tommaso Ciampa and Candice LeRae cut promos on each other
  • Lacey Evans beat Brandi Lauren; Kairi Sane attacked Evans post-match
  • Velveteen Dream and Ricochet ended in a No Contest after Lars Sullivan attacked both men
  • Kona Reeves beat Raul Mendoza
  • Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, & Danny Burch beat Undisputed Era

Advertised for Next Week

  • TM-61 v. Heavy Machinery
  • Handicap Match: Lars Sullivan v. Velveteen Dream & Ricochet

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