NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa kicked off this week's NXT by responding to Velveteen Dream's accusation that Ciampa was behind the mysterious ambush on Aleister Black in August. The self-proclaimed Greatest Sports-Entertainer of All Time concluded that Dream invoked Ciampa's name solely to get the champion's attention and not because he believed The Blackheart was the assailant.
Velveteen Dream sauntered to the ring and made his intentions known, stating the NXT Championship deserves a “true experience” and not a guilt trip from Ciampa. After Ciampa suggested Dream might not be “tough enough” (an insult that Ciampa, who speaks to the NXT Championship, attributed to the title), Dream insisted that all he needs is one opportunity to prove The Blackheart wrong.
Before the war of words escalated any further, Nikki Cross crashed the party. NXT's Twisted Sister, who has repeatedly claimed to know the identity of Black's attacker, confounded both Ciampa and Dream, telling each Superstar, “I know what you did.” (Cross’ wild behavior, like playfully smacking Dream on the nose and defiantly knocking the microphone out of Ciampa's hands, didn't help matters.)
Once again, Cross held back from providing specifics, leaving the NXT Universe — as well as Ciampa and Dream — in suspense.
After giving Keith Lee a hostile reception two weeks ago, Kona Reeves received a lesson in respect from NXT's Limitless Superstar inside the ring.
Despite Lee's dominant track record, The Finest was characteristically arrogant throughout the contest, running his mouth any time the opportunity presented itself. Lee made Reeves pay early in the bout when he threw him out of the ring with a suplex, but Reeves soon gained the advantage by tossing the ring skirt over Lee's head, leaving the big man vulnerable to The Finest's fistic fury.
Reeves held onto the edge as long as he could, wearing down Lee with submission holds and giving the Limitless Superstar his toughest challenge to date. However, Lee came alive after weathering a series of blows by Reeves. Running on adrenaline, Lee pulverized Reeves with a pounce before finishing the job with his organ-jarring Supernova slam, claiming the pinfall and silencing (for now) NXT's Finest motormouth.
Still yearning for bigger opportunities and tougher competition, Kassius Ohno approached NXT General Manager William Regal outside of Regal's office, just as Regal was done updating reporters on his Aleister Black investigation. (The official line is that Regal's not ready to reveal his list of remaining suspects).
Recalling their conversation weeks ago, when The Knockout Artist cryptically asked Regal to let him know when his “shiny new toy” arrives, Ohno accused Regal of not appreciating his talent and implied that Regal's “bromance” was to blame. Ohno further suggested that the unnamed “shiny new toy” could be the same person who attacked Black.
Regal excused himself and returned to his office, but before cameras cut away, Nikki Cross appeared in the hallway and ominously told Ohno (who Regal had cleared of wrongdoing in the Black attack) that she knows what he did, too.
In an explosive Triple Threat Match for Ricochet's NXT North American Title, WWE U.K. Champion Pete Dunne came within inches of becoming a dual champion. The only thing stopping The BruiserWeight from notching the historic victory over Ricochet and Adam Cole was The One and Only's absurd athleticism and preternatural knack for being in the right place at the right time.
Given the fast-and-furious nature of the Triple Threat Match format, as well as the combustible elements involved, it's no surprise that the action was nonstop from the opening bell. Each Superstar left it all in the ring and looked poised for victory at various points. Cole was at his opportunistic best, picking and choosing his spots. Dunne stayed true to his vicious form, such as when he locked Cole and Ricochet in a two-for-one Boston crab. With his North American crown at stake, Ricochet was incredibly resourceful and innovative, even hitting Cole and Dunne with a stunning double hurricanrana off the top rope.
The match came down to a clutch play by the self-proclaimed Ace of NXT. As Ricochet recovered outside the ring, Cole and Dunne exchanged big hits inside the squared circle, none greater than when The BruiserWeight hit Cole with the Bitter End. Dunne went for the cover, but just before the referee could count to three, Ricochet flew onto the pileup with an impeccably timed Springboard 450 Splash to earn the pin on Dunne.
It might have been by the skin of his teeth, but Ricochet once again proved why he is The One and Only.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Keith Lee defeated Kona Reeves (3:59)
- Ricochet (c) defeated Adam Cole & Pete Dunne in a Triple Threat Match to retain the NXT North American Championship (18:29)
Other on-screen talent