Recap time! Sort of. Regular life stuff kind of got in the way this week, so expect this to be thoroughly half-assed. Still, the nature of this week's show made me feel like it had to be commented on. Away we go!
Show opens with the build for Almas/Gargano, beginning with a full recap of Almas' introduction as a plucky babyface, through his decent into mediocrity, and then his rise to the top as an arrogant heel champion. It's a pretty great package, as these often are.
The opening match is Velveteen Dream against No Way Jose. You know, these crowds usually love NWJ, but with Dream out there, they ain't got no time for him. Dream is a super-duper-star at this point, so the match itself is no real surprise. Still, I'll acknowledge that NWJ is a pretty good project guy for NXT. He's come quite a way since his debut, and I have to say he's got great punches. Dream hits the Purple Rainmaker for three. Match Rating: Good Enough For What It Was. After, Dream gets the mic to talk himself up.
GM Regal announces the return of the Dusty Classic this year, which we already kind of knew about.
Vanessa Bourne takes on Nikki Cross next, and it goes exactly like you'd think. The swinging fisherman's neckbreaker is being called The Purge now, for the record. Match Rating: Cross Is On A Roll!
We get an edited recap of the Black/Damo promo battle from last week, and they manage to make Black sound half coherent. You know what Black needs? Paul Bearer. Or, you know, a living equivalent of that guy. Because he can't do it on his own. Vega's been such a great help for Almas - there must be somebody we can get to do the same thing for Black.
Anyhoo, it's time for the big match. Almas puts his belt on the line against Gargano's NXT career. I'd love to give you guys the play-by-play for this one, but I just don't have the time for it. It's another great match - not quite as good as the Match of the Year they just had a few weeks ago, but man, how could it be? The match starts with Candace chasing off Vega; they don't return until after the finish. Almas works over Gargano's arm and shoulder, including a sweet spot where he grabs Gargano out of the air into a Fujiwara armbar. Gargano battles back (as he does), ultimately getting an advantage with a dive over the top rope into a swinging DDT on the floor. It's nuts. He comes back in with the springboard DDT, but only gets two off of it. You know, if that's his strike finisher, he needs to finish some guys with it. Anyhoo, it all builds to a ref bump, and you know what's coming. Gargano locks in the Escape, but here's Ciampa with a crutch to the back. Almas hits the Hammerlock DDT, the ref comes around, and Gargano is done. Match Rating: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! It's Too Sad!
The crowd cheers wildly for Gargano, and Candace tries to console him. It's an amazing sendoff, but I don't think Gargano's quite done just yet. Why? Because the final shot of the episode is an amazing one of Ciampa in the crowd waving goodbye to Gargano. I can't imagine Johnny takes off before they close the rivalry out in New Orleans. My best guess? Next week Regal makes the announcement that, while he can't invalidate the stipulation regarding Gargano's career, he can give him one last match against the man who betrayed him. That's what I'd like to see, anyways.
Again, apologies about the sorry state of this recap. I'll do better next week! Probably!
Originally posted by Tenken347My best guess? Next week Regal makes the announcement that, while he can't invalidate the stipulation regarding Gargano's career, he can give him one last match against the man who betrayed him. That's what I'd like to see, anyways.
From what I recall, Gargano & Ciampa wrestled on NXT television for at least a couple of months before they actually signed contracts. It would be hilarious if Gargano just kept wrestling on NXT and any time someone complained about it, Regal just stated that he was no longer an employee of NXT and was simply working as an independent contractor.
I was really hoping Matt would show something here, and not blow it. I'm a huge V1 mark and really want him to make something of this angle, but it really seems like he's going to blow it, and come off entirely too fake to be believable...