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    Thursday, April 12, 2018

    The NXT Grapevine: April 2018

    It's a new year, yes it is!

    After tearing New Orleans down with one hell of  a show, NXT kicks off the new (wrestling) year with a fresh set of tapings at Full Sail University. With new champions crowned, some of the old faces moving up, and new wrestlers debuting, we're in for a lot more insanity and good times with the yellow brand.

    As is usual, we'll put in our SPOILER WARNING right here. The matches and segments you will be reading about below have yet to air, so don't look at them if you want to be surprised. Also, we'll be trying something new with the Grapevine this time—rather sharing our thoughts on each episode, instead we'll take a look at everything that happened first, then take a look at the major takeaways/feuds being built up. Also note that matches are often filmed out of order, so the order you see below may not be how they play out on air.


    Airing April 18:
    • Lio Rush (w/ Babatunde Aiyegbusi) def. Chico Adams. This was likely a dark match to kick off the night's tapings.
    • Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae kick off the main tapings. Gargano said that it's good to be back in NXT and thanks his wife for all the support, but says that there's still unfinished business to take care of. LeRae vs. Zelina Vega is announced for later in the show, while Gargano declares his intentions to challenge NXT Champion Aleister Black.
    • Ricochet def. Fabian Aichner, then cut a promo after his match.
    • War Raiders (Hanson and Rowe) def. Metro Brothers (Chris and JC Metro).
    • No Disqualification Match: Lars Sullivan def. Killian Dain.
    • Candice LeRae (with Johnny Gargano) def. Zelina Vega (with Andrade 'Cien' Almas) via submission. LeRae locked in the GargaNo Escape to win, while Gargano had the same submission on Almas to prevent him from interfering. After the match, Gargano made his challenge for the NXT Championship official. NXT Champion Aleister Black came out and accepted the challenge, setting the match for next week!

    Airing April 25:
    • Undisputed ERA come out to cut a promo. Strong is now billed as one-half of the NXT Tag Team Champions, and he says that joining the Undisputed ERA was the best decision he ever made.
    • NXT North American Championship Match: Adam Cole (c) def. Oney Lorcan to retain the championship after both Strong and O'Reilly interfered. Danny Burch ran out to try and save Lorcan but was beaten down by Cole, Strong and O'Reilly.
    • Heavy Machinery def. Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss. Sabbatelli left Moss alone in the ring, which resulted in the loss. Afterwards, Heavy Machinery cut a promo and call out the War Raiders.
    • Kairi Sane def. Shazza McKenzie. Lacey Evans then came out to apologize to Kairi, then hit her with a microphone.
    • TM61 def. Street Profits with their feet on the bottom ropes.
    • WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne def. NXT Tag Team Champion Roderick Strong (w/ Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly) in a non-title match via DQ after Cole and O'Reilly interfered. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan came out to make the save for Dunne.

    Airing May 2:
    • Kona Reeves def. Patrick Scott.
    • Bianca BelAir def. Candice LeRae.
    • Ricochet came out and cut a promo about setting his sights on the NXT Championship, but was interrupted by the Velveteen Dream. Dream told Ricochet that he wasn't good enough, leading to a back-and-forth promo between the two.
    • EC3 def. Raul Mendoza.
    • Dakota Kai def. Vanessa Borne. NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler then came out, scared Kai into a corner, and beat up Borne.
    • Johnny Gargano came out for his NXT Championship match, but was blindsided by Tommaso Ciampa! The two brawl all around the ring and end up outside the arena. Ciampa beats up Gargano so badly that he had to be tended to by medics and carried out on a stretcher.

    Airing May 9:
    • War Raiders def. Heavy Machinery.
    • Tommaso Ciampa def. Kassius Ohno. Ciampa continued to attack Ohno after the match, choking him out with the knee brace.
    • Aleister Black (c) def. Eric Young (w/ Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain) in a non-title match. Black then laid out Wolfe and Dain, standing tall to end the night's tapings.

    That's a lot of matches to break down. Let's take a look at some of the more significant events here:
    • Who is Aleister Black's first challenger? Former champion Andrade 'Cien' Almas showed up once the whole tapings, which seems unusual given that you'd expect him to go after the championship he just lost. Johnny Gargano put out his challenge, but that was interrupted, because...
    • Fight Forever 2! Tommaso Ciampa isn't done yet with Johnny Wrestling, and he seems intent on derailing his path to the NXT Championship once again. Could we end up with both of these guys in the title scene? If their previous matches are anything to go by, this looks like it'll be a blast. 
    • Tommaso Ciampa is still a dick. In other news, water is wet, the Earth is round, and the San Antonio Spurs are making their 21st consecutive NBA Playoffs.
    • Undisputed ERA clashes with British... Not-So-Strong Style? Okay, I'm not making fun of Burch and Lorcan here, but you can't say you expected them to come to Pete Dunne's aid after all that went down at TakeOver: New Orleans. Maybe they're just there until Trent Seven and Tyler Bate come down from Moustache Mountain.
    • The Women's Division is Shayna Baszler's yard, for the time being. With Ember Moon and the IIconics moving up to the main roster, there's no question now as to who runs the Women's Division in NXT. 
    • Ricochet's about to get the Velveteen Dream Experience. After that Velveteen Dream feud with Aleister Black, only good things can come out of this.
    • Notable Debuts: The War Raiders are here, instantly filling the big boy tag team the Authors of Pain just left open. Hanson and Raymond Rowe are fun to watch, and that matchup against Heavy Machinery looks to be a good one. Shazza McKenzie is an Australian wrestler notable for her success in SHIMMER, but whether this is a one-off appearance or the start of a regular gig in Full Sail remains to be seen. Finally, Babatunde Aiyegbuesi is a former Polish football player with a really cool name.
    • Notable Absences: A one-off appearance in a manager role seems unusual for a former champion, but that's exactly what Andrade "Cien" Almas just did here. He wasn't part of the post-WrestleMania call ups, and Drew McIntyre still has a score to settle with him, so maybe we'll continue to see El Idolo a little while longer. Nikki Cross also seems to be nowhere, given SAnitY only appeared in the end of the tapings and there was no mention of her being there.


    What are you looking forward to from the next few episodes of NXT? Let us know in the comments!
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    Item Reviewed: The NXT Grapevine: April 2018 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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