Welcome one and all to the latest installment of the NXT Spotlight here at TJRWrestling. We are back at Full Sail this week after a successful venture into Chicago. It does not appear there will be another Takeover between now and Brooklyn, so it’s all eyes on SummerSlam weekend now. Of course the news that came down after these tapings wasn’t necessarily good as Tommaso Ciampa had to go to Birmingham for what’s being reported as an ACL injury. Severity and time gone is unknown at this point, but needless to say I’m sure this is not how the brand wanted it’s storyline with he and Gargano to start.

NXT has another new theme song already and new video package. This one isn’t any better than the last one. All I hear them saying is “resistance”. What was wrong with the original?

Why Ciampa Why?

The show starts with Tommaso Ciampa coming to the ring with no music, using crutches to get to the ring. He’s looking dispondant as the crowd boos him. Some in the crowd try to cheer for him, but it’s not much. Ciampa says he wants to call Johnny Gargano out to the ring as he feels he owes him an explanation. Gargano obviously doesn’t come out and Ciampa perks up and tells everyone that Gargano isn’t here tonight. He asks the fans if they want to replace Gargano? He’s going to tell them a little something about being replaced. Over the last two weeks of his life, he’s learned more life lessons than he had in the 32 years before that. He mentions the injury he suffered at the live event on the Thursday before Takeover. Questions started circulating whether he’d be ready for Takeover. He didn’t have those questions. He knew would be ready to fight. That’s what DIY was all about, two kids who were going to fight. Ciampa then accuses the fans of thinking of dream replacement partners for Gargano. It took less than one day to replace him and him become an afterthought. He’s not a damn afterthought! He put it aside and looked at Gargano and told him they’d fight because that’s what they do. No one’s better when the lights are bright and they were bright in Chicago. So they fought AOP and yeah they lost. Ciampa took a fall during the ladder match and he felt the knee pop. He’s done this long enough to know the difference between hurt and injured. He knew it was serious and he was going to be gone for a long, long time. He decided at that moment that he had to keep fighting for the fans and for his best friend. It wasn’t enough but they fought. At the end of the night though, he looked across the ring at his best friend and out to the fans, and he realized they’re all alike. He knew that if he went away, Gargano wouldn’t hesistate to replace Ciampa. He wasn’t going to let that happen. In that moment, he made his decision and knew what had to be done. It’s not his fault, it’s the fans fault. It’s Gargano’s fault. They had something special in DIY but they ruined it. So if Ciampa was going to go away for a long time, Gargano was going to go away for a long time. This isn’t what Ciampa wanted. DIY was supposed to be special. It was the fans and DIY together from the ground up. He and Gargano would talk every night for the last two years about their moment and Chicago was supposed to be that moment. It wasn’t though. Chicago was Ciampa’s moment. He’s 32 years old and there’s something he knows in his heart, the ring for him is not replaceable. Tommaso Ciampa is not, nor will he ever be, will be replaceable. You know who is replaceable? The fans are. He doesn’t need them now nor did he ever. He’s not going to tell the fans a sob story about how he’s going to get bigger and better than ever. What he’s going to do is promise every single one of us that when he returns, he will be the most dangerous son of a bitch in NXT! He is professional wrestling whether you like it or not!

That was a tremendous promo. Wow. It was so good, it blurred the lines on whether either of his injuries were/are legit. I know they are, but that promo was so intesne and so believable that I can easily believe they “planted” those injury stories to get to this point of the storyline. All I can say is I hope it’s not 4-6 months before we see either guy again and the next step in this angle. For what it’s worth, Ciampa was walking around the ring without the crutches but did had a limp.

We see a video package for Danny Burch who is taking on Pete Dunne later tonight.

We get footage from “earlier today” where Bobby Roode talks about that we need to have a GLORIOUS celebration. The only problem is, we’re not invited. This is for an exclusive crowd. Don’t worry though, he’ll be back next week.

Pete Dunne vs. Danny Burch

I don’t believe this is for Dunne’s UK Title. Dunne gets a huge reaction when he comes out, I’m talking people jumping out of their seats level. Dunne gets a wristlock to start and goes to manipulate the fingers of Burch. Burch reverses and gets Dunne in a crossface that eventually turns into a side headlock. Burch ends up snapping the wrist of Dunne, similar offense to what Dunne is known for, and Dunne has to regroup. Dunne ends up slapping Burch in the face, who returns the favor and then drops Dunne with a shoulder tackle. Dunne lays out Burch with a forearm and Burch kicks out of a pin attempt as we go to commercial.

We come back to Dunne wrenching on the neck of Burch and then stomping on the back of his neck. Burch kicks an incoming Dunne in the corner and then comes off the second rope with a dropkick. Burch tries to come off the ropes but Dunne cuts him off. That doesn’t last long as Burch connects with an exploder suplex and then a straight right hand. He goes for a pin but Dunne kicks out. Burch connects with a knee strike and then a headbutt, but Dunne kicks out again. Dunne comes back though and hits a snap back suplex followed by a kick in the corner. Dunne lands the X-Plex but Burch is able to kick out. Burch gets a crossface again but Dunne escapes and hits an enziguri. Burch doesn’t stay down and comes back with a lariat. Dunne ends up on the apron and tries a springboard but Burch punches him in mid-air. Burch grabs Dunne in Randy Orton’s draping DDT but somehow Dunne kicks out. Burch misses a kick and Dunne nails a German suplex into the turnbuckles. He pulls Burch out and goes for the Bitter End and he gets the win.

Another great showing for Dunne. That was a hell of a match and Burch’s best showing in NXT by far. Obviously Dunne’s reputation has been built on being a heel, but the crowd was solidly behind him. Will be interesting to see that dynamic moving forward if HHH and/or the writers work to ensure he comes across as a heel.

Winner: Pete Dunne

Post match, Dunne grabs a mic and says that since January, he’s had to watch some BOY carry a championship that rightfully belonged to him. At Takeover, it was his pleasure to take it from Tyler Bate. History will remember that the WWE UK brand truly started when the title was owned by the Bruiserweight Pete Dunne.

The Velveteen Dream is backstage and asked about his debut last week. He cuts off the mic and says the ambiance isn’t right. When you’re the Velveteen Dream, you need everything perfect. So let’s fix that and the interviewer and then maybe, just maybe…

We then get a video package for The Authors of Pain with Paul Ellering narrarating their run in NXT thus far.

Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Cezar Bonani

The story behind Almas is still that he’s not focused on what happens in the ring but what happens in the nightlift afterwards. Almas starts immediately with a dropkick into the corner and then connects with his running double knees. He lands a massive chop on Bonani and then a knee strike. Bonani starts to fight back though and nails some knee strikes of his own. Almas reverses a slam attempt into the Reality Check. Almas hits a seated Yakuza kick on Bonani. He hits a running clothesline in the corner and then sets up for his running double knees again but this time just slaps the hell out of Bonani. Almas goes for a suplex but Bonani blocks it and turns it into a small package and he actually gets the win!

Winner: Cezar Bonani

Post match, Almas starts to act irate but then turns his mood into, “oh well” and doesn’t seem to care at all.

I’m not sure what to make of this direction they’re taking Almas. Is this just a way to explain why he has good matches but always loses? Is this going to turn him babyface again? Very confusing.

We go back to “earlier today” in the Performance Center where we catch up with Billie Kay and my new favorite Peyton Royce. I have to move on from Eva Marie somehow. They’re filming something where they’re looking for an iconic wing in the PC. Ember Moon walks through the shot though and ruins it. They both taunt Ember for being hurt but then the trainer comes out and gets Ember to sign her medical release form. Their moods change as Ember smiles and tells them she’ll see them soon.

We find out that in two weeks, it will be a Takeover: Chicago rematch between Asuka, Ruby Riot, & Nikki Cross for the NXT Women’s Title. This time though, it’ll be an elimination style match.

We go back to the footage from after Takeover where Hideo Itami loses his cool in the locker room after his loss to Roode and Kassius Ohno trying to calm him down to no avail. We then go back to “earlier today” where we see footage of Itami and Ohno talking in the parking lot. We can’t hear anything but Itami offers to shake Ohno’s hand to seemingly bury the hatchet and Ohno returns the handshake. Next week it’ll be Itami vs. Oney Lorcan.

Sanity vs. Roderick Strong and Kassius Ohno

It will be Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe competing for Sanity with Killian Dain on the outside. No Nikki Cross. Roddy and EY start the match. Both men trade blows until Strong connects with a urinagi backbreaker. EY scrambles to his corner and tags in Wolfe. Strong hits a leg lariat and then tags in Ohno. Both men nail Wolfe in the corner with forearms and then Ohno nails a seated kick. Wolfe manages a right hand shot on Ohno, just enough to tag in EY. EY tries to take advantage but Ohno hits a bicycle kick. Ohno gets shot into the ropes where he flips over and ends up on the apron. He kicks EY through the ropes, takes out Wolfe, but Dain trips him from the floor and Ohno lands face first on the apron. Wolfe and EY double team Ohno back in the ring with a gutbuster elbow drop but Ohno kicks out of a pin attempt by EY. Ohno gets thrown to the floor where Dain takes a cheap shot as we go to commercial.

We return to EY on top of Ohno, working on the neck. Wolfe tags in to take a couple shots on Ohno and then EY is right back in. More double teaming in the corner and then Wolfe hits an underhook suplex. Ohno does his best to fight out of Sanity’s corner but Wolfe hits a bicycle kick of his own. He goes for a pin but Ohno kicks out. EY tags back in and comes off the top rope with an ax handle smash. He connects with neckbreaker but Ohno kicks out again. Ohno connects with an enziguri and even though Wolfe tags in first, Ohno still manages to get the tag to Strong. Strong lays out Wolfe with a flurry of punches and then a running clothesline. He lands the Angle Slam and then a knee strike. He then drops EY on the apron. He gets back in the ring and hits a reverse Angle Slam and goes for a pin but Wolfe gets his foot on the bottom rope. EY makes a blind tag and connects with a jumping neckbreaker on Strong as he tried to suplex Wolfe. EY holds Strong for Wolfe to hit but Ohno comes in the ring to even the sides. Ohno and Wolfe go to the floor and EY holds up Strong again, this time for Dain to hit him but here comes No Way Jose! He takes out Dain, Ohno nails the Roaring Elbow on Wolfe, and Strong connects with the suplex into the double knee backbreaker, which is being called The End of Heartache, and that gets the win.

Winners: Roderick Strong and Kassius Ohno

I’m glad that Roddy changed his finisher, the Sick Kick was obviously really similar to Drew McIntyre’s Yakuza Kick and with Roddy being the “Messiah of Backbreakers”, it only makes sense for his finisher to be one of those variations. I mentioned in my lead-up to Takeover that the last thing I wanted to see is Roddy just become Tye Dillinger and we continue with these 3 on 3 battles with Sanity. Tonight’s result makes me a little leary that that’s where we’re headed, but hopefully not. That’s two clean pins on EY for Roddy, so it should be time to move on now.

That’s it for this week so until next time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… but if you do, name it after me!