Whoah, check out this on-time recap! I'd tell you not to get used to it, but, uh, you know. Also, I continue to have to make corrections to the episode numbers. I'm not real sure what's happened there, but at this point it's maybe just as well I'm not doing to many more of these, as my numbers are all over the map.
We kick this one off with a recap of last week's shocking title change. One last time: I know this is pre-tape, I know spoilers are always out there, but c'mon WWE.com, don't spoil the main event of a show on the page I have to click on to get to that show. Still a p. good match, but definitely not as good if you already know the finish.
Anyhoo, once that's out of the way, we head down to the ring. As we've seen in their cell-phone promos, Heavy Machinery are looking for some revenge against The Mighty. The Mighty are starting to look pretty polished out here, and I'm starting to see what Harley Race saw in them. The Mighty kick this off by throwing their cool coats at Heavy Machinery, who throw them right back and go on a rampage. They're looking good until Dozer does one of those spin moves that everybody loves, and when he gets dizzy Thorne pops him with a dropkick, and then another dropkick. Miller comes in so they can double-up on a back suplex, and from there The Mighty just lay in some solid tag-team wrestling. Dozer eventually fights his way out of a chinlock and makes the Hot Tag, and the highlight of Knight's fire sequence here is definitely his arm-trap suplex, although let's also give a shout-out to his senton off the apron. He's looking real good here, until Thorne clips him with a very nasty looking chop block. I mean it; Knight's leg buckles in a very uncomfortable way here. The Mighty look for the kill, but hey, it's the Street Profits! You may remember from their cell-phone promos that they would also like revenge on The Mighty. Of course, the Profits don't do anything here - they're just a distraction so that Knight can tag in Dozer, who hits the Compactor for the win. Match Rating: Too Many Hyphens In That Paragraph.
Hey, we're getting LeRae vs. Baszler tonight! Unexpected bonus. Also, Ciampa, which is significantly more expected.
Mustache Mountain are out to mangle Some Jobbers, and my notes actually read here "look at these motherfuckers." The jobbers look a bit...off. Anyhoo, MM do all your favorites here and get the win with a combination top rope knee drop/burning hammer. Match Rating: I Love Trent Seven, Because He's Great Even Though He Looks Like He Just Walked In Out Of The Crowd. Like, He Doesn't Look Like A Pro Wrestler At All. Hey, they've got the mic! Let's see if Tyler Bate's learned to cut a promo in-character yet. Trent starts by apologizing to Tyler and to the fans for letting the Era beat him. Tyler, though, gets on the mic and says it doesn't matter, because Trent means the world to him and it's actually really sweet. Tyler does manage to stay in character, even though he has to pause for a moment like he's trying to remember that we're suspending our disbelief and we all accept the idea that the Era were actually trying to hurt Trent for real, even though we all understand that they're co-performers telling a story. I know it's hard, Tyler, but you're doing great! Anyhoo, the rematch is in Brooklyn, obviously.
EC3 vs. Kona Reeves is this week, too! I'm still not big on Kona as a worker, but he's pretty fun in this gimmick. EC3, on the other hand, has always been fun, and he has dropped a ton of mass since they signed him, increasing his mobility accordingly. They start with some mat stuff, and EC3 keeps control throughout, moving into a shoulder tackle, countering a hip toss with one of his own, and nailing a body slam into an elbow drop. Kona trips him up on the ropes and hits a running boot for one, then just lays in some punches and kicks. He hits a suplex and then applies a tight cobra clutch, which Maura helpfully informs us he would like us to call the "Kona clutch." Sure, buddy, when it's your finisher. EC3 tries to fight loose and eats a back elbow for his trouble, then it's more clutch time. EC3 finally punches his way out of it, then hits a Stinger splash and a running neckbreaker before - hey, it's Velveteen Dream!
Wait a damn minute! You already did this bit in the first match! Did you think I wasn't going to notice? I'm literally writing it down! Hang on, hang on, let me compose myself. Okay. Okay.
Anyhoo. Dream invites EC3 to his Experience, and then snaps his finger to restore the NXT set dressing, which is really fun. But the match isn't over, and Kona tries real hard to use this distraction to his advantage. Unfortunately, the Hawaiian Drop only gets two (take that, your finisher!), and Kona makes the bad, bad decision to start taunting EC3. So EC3 just pops up and hits the 1% for the win. Match Rating: I, Uh, Think They May Have Lost Confidence In Kona Reeves.
We catch EC3 backstage, and sure, he'll meet with Velveteen Dream, why not.
And now, our main event. Candice LeRae takes on Shana Baszler in a non-title match. Baszler opens up with some absolute disdain for CLR as a competitor, telling her to get out of the ring, and even holding open the ropes for her. I yell for CLR to kick her in the face, which is what she does! Yay. CLR follows that up with a baseball slide to Baszler on the outside, and puts a shoulder in her midsection as Baszler tries to re-enter the ring. A pair of arm drags, a pair of dropkicks, and CLR tries to go up top for what looks like an Old-School. But Baszler shoves her, and CLR shows off her true signature maneuver: falling off the top rope and into oblivion. It's a bad-looking bump, but CLR gets no rest as Baszler hammerlocks her and then sends her shoulder-first into the steps. CLR barely beats the count, but manages to kick out of a pin at one. Now Baszler's all over that arm - armbar into wristlock into hammerlock (with extra tweak), and then Baszler sends the shoulder into the turnbuckle. After that, Baszler just mounts up on her and starts beating the shit out of her, but it's just to stun her long enough to deliver a nasty stomp to the elbow. The arm is pretty much gone at this point, but CLR is still fighting. She slaps Baszler hard across the face, but Baszler just comes right back with a kick, then a hammerlock into what looks like a double wristlock. Baszler eases up for a moment, and it's just enough for CLR to ever-so-gently send Baszler into the turnbuckle. To her credit, Baszler doesn't sell that one overmuch. But it's enough separation for CLR to set up an enzuigiri, and that one connects real good, y'all. CLR starts raining blows with her one good arm, pushing Baszler all the way back to the corner, where CLR lands a big running elbow strike. She sends Baszler over with a snap mare, and then follows it up with a top rope flatliner for a one count. Baszler powders out, but we all know it ain't safe out there, and CLR delivers a tope suicida before sending Baszler back into the ring, where she delivers a top rope DDT for two! CLR goes back to the top, but this time Baszler follows her up, and they trade punches for a minute. It looks like CLR is going for the Wild Ride, but Baszler counters into the Kirifuda Clutch! But CLR's in the ropes! It's basically the finish to their MYC match, but CLR hangs in with the escape. CLR tries goes for a rollup and gets two, but misses a kick. That allows Baszler to go for the Clutch again, but this time CLR rolls clean through and hits a double stomp. Then she follows up with the Unprettier, and now a Lionsault! But Baszler dodges that, and manages to lock in the Kirifuda Clutch good and tight. That'll draw the tap-out. Match Rating: Candice Was A Little Rough Starting Out In NXT, But Now We're Seeing What She Can Really Do. Baszler's pretty pissed that she actually had to fight for this one, so she goes back to the Clutch after the bell, drawing a bunch of referees, which does nothing, and eventually Kairi Sane. That encourages Baszler to take a walk, although she turns around and puts a boot in Sane's back the instant she looks away. Sane looks more angry than hurt, but the refs won't let us have any fun yet.
Great match, so much so that this was definitely an episode where I put my notes down and thought the show was over, only to remember that there's still a main-event promo coming. Whoops! But before that, we also catch up with Mustache Mountain real quick. They want us to know that they don't have any tricks up their sleeves, they're just really good at wrestling and that's how they'll win. They're interrupted by War (sigh) Raiders, who don't have anything interesting to say, but definitely don't sound like how you'd imagine two dudes that size would sound.
GM Regal chimes in to let us know that EC3/Velveteen Dream and Cole/Ricochet are locked in for Brooklyn. Thank's for showing up, Regal!
Also, Keith Lee debuts next week. That could be fun.
Finally, here's Ciampa. I feel like he should have music in Brooklyn. I think it's time. Anyhoo, he wants us to know that he deserves the title, and that he meant it when he said he only needed one moment. Hey, the old lady's back at the tapings! She's great - so great, that Ciampa makes sure to get in her face, specifically. He takes great pleasure in the fact that Johnny Gargano won him that title, because it means that one more time, Johnny loses and he wins. Now, he's untouchable. Aleister Black clearly does not believe this, because here he is. And in one of the absolute funniest things I've ever seen on this show, Johnny Gargano races past him on the ramp to assault Ciampa, who bails out and escapes through the crowd. Johnny's livid; he says four or five times that the only reason Ciampa has the title is because of him. I think we all see where this one's going, and sure enough, Johnny turns around into a Black Mass, as it turns out that Black agrees with Johnny as to who is at fault here. The crowd chants "you deserve it" and "one more time" at Johnny, which you could interpret as very cold of them, or possibly a real testament to the character work Gargano's been doing these last few weeks, but which I choose to believe is the result of Ciampa starting those chants from within the crowd.
WHAT WORKED: -Ending with about 8 minutes of Jim Cornette on the mic. In the last couple years, Iíve seen him make me an audience care about old man Heenan. Iíve seen him make a 2005 Thunderfeet turn seem compelling.