This week’s episode of NXT was jam-packed! Check out my reactions Velveteen Dream’s breakout face performance against Lars Sullivan and an interfering Tomasso Ciampa! Also, find out what I believe the implications will be to Johnny Gargano’s shocking explanation of his heinous attack on Aleister Black!
This week’s episode of NXT felt more action-packed and eventful than usual, given the fact that nearly every major angle was addressed in some form or another on the show.
On top of the growing Velveteen Dream and Tommaso Ciampa rivalry getting some major attention, we also saw Kairi Sane and Shayna Bazler booked for a 2 out of 3 falls match for the NXT Women’s Championship at Takeover: WarGames II. Additionally, the WarGames match itself was featured in a rather sizable video package to hype up the match.
Those storylines, while all important, still couldn’t deliver the emotional impact of Johnny Gargano’s promo explaining why he attacked Aleister Black.
This was by far Gargano’s best mic performance yet in NXT. He legitimately held a spark of madness in his voice as he explained how Black was simply collateral damage in his blood feud with Tomasso Ciampa.
The fact that Gargano still believes he’s the “good guy” makes this story all the more chilling and compelling. Gargano genuinely sold to the audience that he has to beat Ciampa, no matter the cost, because of all the anguish the NXT Champion has put him through these past months. If that means falling to the dark side for a little while, then so be it in Gargano’s eyes.
This actually crafts Gargano’s heel turn into something more in-depth than we usually see from WWE. Gargano snapped because of Ciampa, and now feels he needs to do whatever it takes to beat him. The whole angle makes Gargano a bit of an anti-hero, given how easy it is for fans to sympathize with his desire to beat the tar out of Ciampa.
Ultimately, I think we all know this storyline will have to feature Gargano getting his hands on Ciampa one last time. Unfortunately for any Velveteen Dream fans out there, that means Dream won’t be getting his hands on Ciampa’s title anytime soon. The final showdown between Gargano and Ciampa has to be with the title hanging in the balance. It’s too essential to telling the story of all that Ciampa took from Gargano for it to end up in the hands of another competitor before the two face-off one last time.
Speaking of Velveteen Dream however, I think this rivalry with Ciampa has cemented his place as the hottest face in NXT. Dream really shined on this week’s episode, and not just because of his bedazzled Hugh Hefner jacket.
Dream’s match with Lars Sullivan was a brutal bout highlighted by Dream nearly matching the impressive strength of Sullivan by leveling him with a Dream Valley Driver, a spectacular name for that move by the way, before Ciampa came to the ring to interfere.
Although Ciampa cost Dream the match, Dream would end the show with the upper-hand after he crashed the champ’s skull into the NXT Championship with an impressive DDT after Ciampa attempted to beat him down.
Besides showing off just how amazing Velveteen Dream is at getting rapturous cheers from the crowd, as well as how impressive his Captain & Tennille and Hugh Hefner evoking outfit game continues to be I might add, this episode highlighted how far Dream has come in developing into a face that’s ready to be rocketed to the top of WWE.
It honestly feels like this week showed that Dream is somehow even more ready than ever to make the jump to the main roster. Perhaps after his soon to be crowded match with Ciampa at Takeover concludes, we will get a post-Survivor Series call-up for Dream.
Wait, crowded match with Ciampa, you say? Yes, that means I believe its fairly clear that Lars Sullivan is going to be added to the match at Takeover. Sullivan will almost assuredly rampage to William Regal’s office next week to demand his addition to the match after he dispatched Dream, leading to a triple threat match at WarGames II.
Fortunately, there’s no muskrat love lost between Dream, Sullivan, and Ciampa making Sullivan’s inclusion at Takeover more welcome than it may initially sound. Their triple threat will surely be worthy of its likely main event slot.
At the end of the day, you don’t oftentimes find episodes of NXT as impactful as this week’s. Lars Sullivan looks set to join the title match at Takeover, Velveteen Dream somehow came out even better than he was before, and Johnny Gargano delivered his most captivating performance on the mic yet. Next week’s episode has a lot to live up to if WWE wants it to come close to this spectacular hour of NXT action!