Appearing unannounced and for the first time since losing to NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa at TakeOver: Brooklyn IV, Johnny Gargano entered Full Sail Live seemingly a shell of his former self. Still showing the effects of the Last Man Standing Match, in which he dislocated his knee, Gargano used a crutch to walk to the ring, and he arrived without his trademark “Rebel Heart” entrance song.
Despite the NXT fans’ chants of “Johnny Wrestling,” Gargano said he deserved no fanfare. Visibly disheartened, Gargano admitted he made “a lot of mistakes,” said he let his supporters down and conceded that he can't shake the specter of Ciampa.
NXT General Manager William Regal interrupted Gargano and quickly changed topics to his investigation into Aleister Black's attack, asking Gargano point-blank if he was involved. Gargano didn't answer directly, instead telling Regal to look into his eyes to find his answer, at which point Velveteen Dream sauntered into the arena.
Still flying high after his victory against EC3 in Brooklyn, Dream lamented Gargano's “Woe is Johnny” speech and demanded that attention be paid to The Experience. Clarifying that his crutch was a precautionary measure only, Gargano threw the crutch at Dream, then nearly threw down with The Experience until Regal stopped them. The NXT GM then announced the two would have to wait to settle matters next week, in action on WWE NXT.
Dakota Kai isn't the only Superstar in the NXT Women's division with newfound confidence. On the heels of her loss to Kairi Sane two weeks ago, Kai's opponent, Aliyah, looked dangerously aggressive as she battled The Captain of Team Kick.
Though Kai plastered The Cat's Meow with stomps and kicks from every angle, including consecutive facewashes in the corner, Aliyah remained resilient. She displayed plenty of bad attitude, too, yanking Kai to the canvas by her hair and calling Kai “stupid.” Aliyah's hubris, caught up to her, however, and as she prematurely celebrated her success, Kai tripped her up and hit her with a flipping backbreaker to score the pin.
Lars Sullivan is back, and he's not happy.
The Freak's first act since returning from a broken jaw was to take out EC3, who previously implied Sullivan was behind the attack on Aleister Black. (Black was, after all, the Superstar responsible for Sullivan's broken jaw.) Angry that The Top One Percent invoked his name, Sullivan sieged EC3 backstage prior to his scheduled match against Raul Mendoza.
Sullivan then took out his frustrations on Mendoza, who was unaware of the mayhem that transpired behind the scenes. As The Freak marched to the ring, he denied any wrongdoing in the assault on Black, took full credit for the beatdown on EC3 and warned Mendoza that he was standing in “Lars Sullivan territory.”
After viciously headbutting and cross-facing Mendoza, Sullivan sent him crashing to the mat, first with a pop-up powerslam and then with the Freak Accident. As the match was never official, there was no bell to ring — only a flattened Mendoza to peel off the canvas.
As a former pro rugby player, new NXT signee Luke Menzies of Leeds, England, has experienced his fair share of scrums and scuffles. Yet, none of the bone-rattling blows that Menzies gave and received on the pitch could prepare the muscular rookie for what it's like to be in the ring with “Limitless” Keith Lee.
The 320-pound Lee opened the contest by confounding Menzies with a high-flying hurricanrana. Though Menzies tried to fight his way back into the match with uppercuts and clubbing blows, he was no match for the more experienced Lee. The Limitless Superstar sent Menzies flying with a pounce, crushed him with an avalanche and demolished him with the Spirit Bomb for the pin.
After two astounding outings on WWE NXT, the question must be asked: Who will be the first Superstar to give Keith Lee a legitimate challenge between the yellow ropes?
With WWE U.K. Champion Pete Dunne already making it clear that Ricochet and Pete Dunne cross paths after Undisputed ERA's confrontation: WWE.com Exclusive, Aug. 18, 2018, the alliance of The BruiserWeight and The Only and Only seemed to be facing headwinds before the bell even rang for their non-title match against NXT Tag Team Champions Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong. Complicating matters further was Adam Cole's last-second declaration that he was taking O’Reilly's spot in the match. (The Panama City Playboy was overheard telling O’Reilly that he wanted to “get a piece of” Ricochet, who bested Cole for the NXT North American Title at TakeOver: Brooklyn IV.)
Despite their uneasy union and Cole's curveball, Ricochet & Dunne functioned as an effective combination, united by their mutual disdain for Undisputed ERA. Cole & Strong successfully prevented Ricochet from tagging Dunne for much of the bout, but The One and Only couldn't be contained for long, and once The BruiserWeight was tagged in, the match quickly broke down into an all-out melee.
Late in the contest, Ricochet proved his mettle as a teammate as he took a bullet for Dunne, pushing the U.K. Champion out of the way of Strong's forearm smash and eating the strike as a result. The BruiserWeight then took out both Cole & Strong with a moonsault to the floor. Ricochet followed with a tope suicida, but Cole & Strong pulled Dunne in the direct line of fire, causing The One and Only to crash into his own partner. Back inside the ring, Cole was quick to exploit the miscommunication, clocking a dazed Dunne with the Last Shot for the pin.
Undisputed ERA continued their attack after the bell, with O’Reilly, Strong & Cole taking turns going after Ricochet. However, their post-match onslaught was cut short by the arrival of The War Raiders. Having made their NXT Tag Team Title ambitions crystal clear, Hanson & Rowe fired into the ring with bad intentions, causing Undisputed ERA to scramble.
Undisputed ERA's strategy may have resulted in victory tonight, but it remains to be seen if they have a solution for the looming threat of The War Raiders.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dakota Kai defeated Aliyah (5:12)
- Keith Lee defeated Luke Menzies (3:01)
- The Undisputed ERA (Adam Cole & Roderick Strong) (w/ Kyle O'Reilly) defeated Pete Dunne & Ricochet (9:47)
- The Undisputed ERA were the NXT Tag Team Champions at the time of this match.
Other on-screen talent