The familiar opening chords of “Rebel Heart” opened NXT, but instead of Johnny Gargano making his heroic return, the NXT Universe was greeted by a grinning and gloating Tommaso Ciampa. Noting that he is often reminded of his loss to Johnny Wrestling at TakeOver: New Orleans, “Tommy Sports-Entertainment” told the NXT Universe that while Gargano may have won that battle, Ciampa will always win the war against his former best friend, pointing to Gargano’s current injured state as supporting evidence.
Fed up with Ciampa’s taunts, Candice LeRae interrupted the Superstar who has tormented her and her husband. She declared that Gargano’s career might be in question following Ciampa’s latest heinous attack but added that Ciampa knows that Gargano is the better man. LeRae also said she is done trying to reconcile how The Blackheart turned into such a monster. Ciampa showed no remorse, instead accusing Gargano of hiding behind his wife and saying Johnny Wrestling isn’t half the man that he is. Before The Blackheart could finish his tirade, LeRae finally snapped and slapped him in the face.
Ciampa backed off, and although the sting of her slap left a red mark on his face, he looked satisfied as he waved goodbye to Candice, perhaps realizing that his diabolical plan to torment the Garganos has played out to perfection.
Lacey Evans def. Brandi Lauren facebooktwitter Tumblr Pinterest Email WWE NXT photos: May 16, 2018 After sucker-punching Kairi Sane two weeks ago, Lacey Evans was full of confidence as she headed into battle against Brandi Lauren. The Lady of NXT dominated Lauren and showboated while doing so, saluting the NXT Universe before nailing Lauren with a picture-perfect second-rope moonsault. Instead of pinning the outgunned Lauren, Evans lifted her to her feet only to drop her again with the punch that Evans calls The Woman’s Right. The result was academic.
As a celebratory Evans exited up the ramp, she was cut off by The Pirate Princess. Looking for retaliation for Evans’ unladylike behavior last week, Sane forced Evans into the ring, but before she could set sail with the InSane Elbow, Evans skirted out of harm’s way and searched for high ground.
Even though she didn’t land her dagger of an elbow drop, safe to say this round belonged to The Pirate Princess.
Ricochet and Velveteen Dream consider themselves worthy top contenders to NXT Champion Aleister Black, but they’re not alone. Enter Lars Sullivan.
The Freak made his presence felt and his title ambitions crystal clear in the middle of a dazzling showdown between Ricochet and Dream. Before Sullivan’s cruel intrusion, The One and Only and the ever-polarizing Velveteen Dream were gearing up for a classic in the making. Trying to outdo each other at every turn, Ricochet and Dream traded one jaw-dropping reversal after another. Both men feinted dives to the floor, only to put on the brakes when the other got out of the way.
After several athletic exchanges, Dream and Ricochet collided heads, paving the way for The Freak to storm down to the ring. As the referee called for the bell, Sullivan dismantled both Superstars with slams, avalanches and the Freak Accident, and then barked that the NXT Championship is his.
With a 24-karat gold necklace dangling from his neck, Kona Reeves continued to flaunt his finest fashion as he readied for battle against show-stealing luchador Raul Mendoza. Yet, as soon as the bell rang, Reeves’ opulence gave way to aggression. Giving Mendoza little daylight, Reeves pounced on the Mexican Superstar and rubbed his face into the mat. Mendoza mustered a brief comeback, rattling Reeves with a flurry of offense, but it was too little, too late, and NXT’s Finest eventually grounded the high-flyer with his signature move, the Hawaiian Drop.
Concerns about WWE U.K. Champion Pete Dunne being unable to keep the peace with unlikely teammates Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch turned out to be exaggerated, as the trio stood united — and triumphant — against their common enemies, Undisputed ERA.
The thrilling Six-Man Tag Team Match was all action from bell to bell. Though Roderick Strong anxiously avoided tangling with Dunne at the start, he was eventually forced to deal with the teammate he wronged at TakeOver: New Orleans. The BruiserWeight made him pay, ripping his knuckles apart with his tried-and-true joint manipulation (which Lorcan & Burch executed in triplicate with Dunne, targeting Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly).
Cole & O’Reilly later distracted the hard-hitting U.K. Champion, allowing The Messiah of the Backbreaker to take over and Undisputed ERA to cut off the ring. Dunne eventually broke free, and Lorcan roared into the fight, unleashing on all three members of Undisputed ERA. The battle raged on from there, and after The Panama City Playboy and The BruiserWeight both fell to the floor, Lorcan & Burch and the NXT Tag Team Champions were left to duke it out.
O’Reilly miscalculated his axe-and-smash combo on Burch at a pivotal juncture: The axe kick connected, but Burch dodged the forearm smash just as Strong leapt toward him, causing the champions to collide. Lorcan dropped O’Reilly & Strong with a double Blockbuster and then teamed with Lorcan to drill O’Reilly with a wheelbarrow DDT, snaring the victory for their team and notching a massive win over the reigning NXT Tag Team Champions.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Lacey Evans defeated Brandi Lauren (1:21)
- Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream ended in a No Contest (4:00)
- Kona Reeves defeated Raul Mendoza (3:45)
- Danny Burch, Oney Lorcan & Pete Dunne defeated The Undisputed ERA (Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly & Roderick Strong) (11:23)
Other on-screen talent