We are just 9 days away from what could be considered the biggest NXT show of the year!  Up until this week’s NXT if you didn’t look at spoilers you’d be looking at a pretty thing card, but tonight two HUGE matches were announced and that raises a few questions…

How Easy is it to Get Your Job Back Harassing Former Coworkers?

…pretty easy according to NXT!  I mean we’ve seen this before, obviously, and I would wager most people thought we would see this play out again here but damn does Johnny Gargano work fast!  After giving up his career in NXT following a loss to Andrade “Cien” Almas, Johnny Gargano just has not gone away!  To be fair – his loss was suspect as former friend turned bitter enemy Tommaso Ciampa was part of the outcome.  I guess that’s why Johnny has been a thorn in his side the past week.  What with the grand stage in New Orleans fast approaching I suppose we had to hurry.  Following last week’s attack on NXT TV, we were treated throughout the week to WWE video of Johnny waiting for Ciampa outside Full Sail and attacking his car and later Mr. Wrestling at The Psycho Killer’s home in the middle of the night.  I guess calling the police is out of the question and so Ciampa brought his issue to his boss William Regal.  As Mr. Regal is the General Manager of a wrestling program and not a police man he has only one solution to Tommaso’s problem – Tommaso Ciampa vs Johnny Gargano in an Unsanctioned Match at Takeover.  If Johnny wins he’s back in NXT.  If Ciampa wins Johnny is banned from NXT FOREVER!

I have to wonder how Zelina Vega and Almas feel about all of this since it was then that got Johnny out of here in the first place.  I guess since he’s not bothering them right now they don’t care, but the dust has barely settled on this banishment.  I think they HAD to have this match at Takeover because waiting for Summerlam would be too long in today’s “LET’S DO IT NOW” world, but this still feels really rushed to me.  I would have liked Ciampa to be around being an asshole for a little while longer and everyone wondering WHEN would Johnny show up at all?  I think the match will be great though, and I also think I can quit my job in a rage and then just bother someone into whining about bringing me back to harass me back.  What a world.

Who is Destined to be the FIRST NXT North American Champion?

Seeing as how their current secondary champ, UK Champion Pete Dunne is currently involved in a completely different type of match (which I’ll touch on next), the NXT Brass has decided to introduce another singles title – North American Championship.  It will be contended for at Takeover in a ladder match with SIX participants.  By the end of the night and THREE separate segments with Cathy Kelly in the back we are told who those participants are: Killian Dain, Velveteen Dream, Lars Sullivan, Adam cole (BAYBAY), and two debuting NXT stars – EC3 and Ricochet.  Both men make an appearance tonight – EC3 during Regal’s announcement of the belt expecting it to be handed to him and Ricochet in the final segment of the night, backstage.

We talked about this on the Pulsecast last week and I’ll discuss it more next week and leading up to Takeover, but these wrestlers involved are interesting.  I could see them giving it to 4 of the participants with Sullivan and Dain non factors in my mind.  The rest are all contenders – each has a different good reason for getting it, but NXT rarely does immediately strap a rocket to a new signing.  I am excited, but I worry about this title getting lost in the shuffle.  I do think a secondary title can really elevate talents people might think are floundering, and it can make the main title seem as a different level than just “everyone fight for this one”!  Ya know, since that UK Title doesn’t exist.  Speaking of..

What Tag Team is the Dusty Rhodes Classic Elevating?

I guess this a question we could have been asking since the first year of this tournament.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea, but I think a tag team tournament should be elevating a great tag team at the end as the winner.  Even the first year the winners were a slapped together tag team of big NXT names.  And I’m not knocking the wrestling, but when that tournament ended so did their partnership.

This year we’re headed for an Authors of Pain vs UK Champion Pete Dunne and RODERICK STRONG.  Yes, Authors of Pain are an honest to goodness tag team but they won this last year and really are basically done in NXT.  If they’re not on Raw or Smackdown within the next few months I’ll be shocked.  Pete Dunne and Roddy are NOT. a tag team and I cannot see them going much further with this partnership outside this tourney.  While I’m super happy for the exposure this is giving both guys, it’s exposure that should be used for TAG TEAMS.  I’m once again left flabbergasted that we’re left with this and the tag team they should have been building TM61 was out in the first round.  TM61 who are left with a lame interview segment in this show that gets overtaken by Ember Moon and Shayna Baszler.  It’s tough.  It’s tough because I think the match will be great, and I like everyone involved for the most part (eh Authors of Pain), but it just doesn’t make sense to me.

Some Notes:

Almas doesn’t seem so Tranquilo..

After last week’s tirade against Aleister Black, Andrade “Cien” Almas still wasn’t ready to go face to face with Black.  Instead he and his lady Zelina found Aleister backstage and attacked him from behind.  Almas manages to beat Black all the way to the ring ruining what was apparently supposed to be a Dakota Kai match.  I think they’re doing a good job building this match because I think they want the story to be how Almas is scared of Black and he should be.  I think this will be a great match, but I can’t see Almas walking out the winner.  With them playing up Almas avoiding a one on one confrontation I think they’re just spelling it out.  Black won’t be distracted by Vega, and it’s possible Candice LaRae still plays a part in that as well.

Who’s sad they didn’t walk by Regal tonight?

Outside Adam Cole who was simply announced by William Regal, the rest of the participants just seemed to fall into his lap.  Velveteen Dream just walked by and said he belonged in it, Regal asked Lars Sullivan after his match AND said he wanted Killian Dain too.  EC3 just came down to the ring and put himself in and I suppose Ricochet just set up a quick meeting.  Thank goodness Cathy Kelly was on the case.


Dusty Rhodes Classic Semifinal Match: Authors of Pain defeated Street Profits 

Dusty Rhodes Classic Quarterfinal Match: Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne defeated SAnitY

Lars Sullivan defeated (Long) John Silver

You can find me on Twitter at HM_Pufnstuf.  Happy Wrestling!