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The road to TakeOver: War Games marched on Wednesday night on WWE Network as the top Superstars of NXT continued to build rivalries ahead of the November 17 extravaganza.
Velveteen Dream battled Lars Sullivan in the night’s marquee bout, Johnny Gargano addressed his attack on Aleister Black and Heavy Machinery battled The Forgotten Sons in a match to determine future tag team title contenders.
Find out what happened, who emerged victoriously and what it means for all involved with this recap of the November 7 episode of NXT TV.
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Heavy Machinery battled The Forgotten Sons’ Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake, who were accompanied by Jaxson Ryker.
Cutler and Blake wasted little time isolating Tucker Knight from partner Otis Dozovic and working his arm. Knight made the hot tag and the massive babyfaces fought their way back into the match.
Dozovic delivered a big corner splash and followed up with the worm into an elbow drop. Cutler and Blake downed the big man and delivered a big knee drop for a count of two. Blake trapped Dozovic in a triangle but the massive competitor powered out.
Knight was tagged back into the match and immediately found himself at the mercy of the heels. Blake and Cutler delivered a big combo assault but Dozovic broke up the pin.
With Knight at ringside, Dozovic fought through a numbers disadvantage and scored the big win for his team.
Heavy Machinery defeated The Forgotten Sons
This was a much better match than expected.
The action was fast, hard-hitting and portrayed both teams as contenders to the tag titles.
With that said, it is interesting to see the Forgotten Sons lose so early in a run that started strong. It has cooled considerably thanks to a lack of screen time and after this loss, it does not appear to be heating up anytime soon.
Even with impressive showings, does anyone really buy Heavy Machinery and the Forgotten Sons as credible threats to The Undisputed Era? That is an issue that faces the writing team when you have champions as strongly booked as Undisputed Era.
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Dakota Kai returned to action Wednesday, squaring off with Mae Young Classic competitor Taynara Conti.
The Brazilian took the fight to Kai, taking her down in the corner and adding insult to injury with a bit of trash talking. She worked the right arm for the majority of the match before the kiwi Kai mounted a comeback with a series of kicks.
The outmatched Conti lowered her head for a backdrop and paid for it as Kai delivered her sunset backstabber, called the Kai-ropractor by Nigel McGuinness, for the win.
Kai defeated Conti
Watching Kai work makes you long for the days when the rivalry between Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler reaches some sort of conclusion so the native of New Zealand can enter the title picture and tear the house down with The Queen of Spades.
She is an energetic performer whose work has not been fully displayed thanks to matches with competitors not quite on her level.
Conti was fine here, and is clearly a star of the future, but Kai should be at the next level of competition, wowing fans and stealing shows.
Hopefully her time is coming sooner than later.
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In his first address since revealing it was he who attacked Aleister Black and left the former NXT champion lying in a heap on the campus of Full Sail University, Johnny Gargano spoke to the NXT Universe.
He said that Black stood between him and his goal of defeating Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT title. He said he is still the same guy he has always been. All that has changed is that he is willing to fight a little dirty to get what he wants.
Gargano said he is no longer afraid of the dark. In fact, he is starting to like it.
He sat by the very spot on which he left Black lying and said at TakeOver, he will do it again.
The explanation made absolute sense within the context of the story that has played out over the last year. Better yet, it featured Gargano in classic heel mode. The best heels believe in their actions. They believe everything they do is absolutely justified regardless of how horrific they may be and this was no different.
The more Gargano gets an opportunity to play the heel in NXT, the more he will be able to grow into the character.
The first promo in that role, though, was a solid one that sets up a hell of a grudge match for the upcoming pay-per-view.
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Just 10 days from his date with NXT champion Tommaso Ciampa at TakeOver: War Games, Velveteen Dream squared off with the monstrous Lars Sullivan in Wednesday’s main event.
Dream unsurprisingly found himself on the receiving end of Sullivan’s unbridled fury, beaten down and dominated for the entire first half of the bout.
Seizing opportunities to escape the clutches of NXT’s resident freak, Dream mounted a comeback that included him rolling out of the way of Sullivan’s trademark diving headbutt.
From there, he delivered the rolling death valley driver and set him up for the top rope elbow.
Ciampa appeared at ringside and Dream wiped him out, returning to the squared circle just in time to eat a Freak Ending from Sullivan for the win.
Ciampa watched on, a grin painting his face, as Sullivan departed. It backfired as Dream grounded him and stood tall, the NXT title in his hand to close the show.
Sullivan defeated Dream
The match was good enough for what it was but it was most definitely less about Sullivan and more about escalating the issues between Dream and Ciampa. On that front, it succeeded.
The only concern is that Dream has not really been established as a real babyface, despite assuming the role against Ciampa. Does that mean the match will suffer? Absolutely not, but it does hurt what might have been a red-hot feud other different circumstances.
And where does Sullivan fall in all of this?
No, this was not about him, but he continues to hang around the title picture just long enough that it would not be surprising at all if he was to show up during the TakeOver match and influence the main event.