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NXT Episode #401 (7.12.17) play-by-play & review



You can scroll to the end for a TLDR recap of the show. Tonight, NXT Tag Team Champions The Authors of Pain defend the titles against Heavy Machinery. Before the open, there’s a somber flashback of the Ciampa/Gargano saga that has led to Gargano’s return tonight.

Update: A brief clip of Roderick Strong backstage after his match with Roode last week is shown (This was also shared on the NXTBooth Facebook page).

Match #1: Aleister Black v. Bobby Fish

ROH’s Bobby Fish is making his NXT debut here tonight. Poor guy. They have a tentative start, trade wristlocks, and end in a stalemate. Black manages to hit a big kick to the chest that flattens Fish. Fish responds by blocking some strikes and knocking Black back into the ropes with a kick of his own. Fish gets a little cocky and tells Black to bring it and he does with a series of strikes and a knee to the face that sends Fish to ringside. Black fakes the springboard and takes a seat in the ring.

Fish hits a leg sweep from outside the ring and Black is down headed into commercial. Back from break and Fish is laying into Black. Fish hits a slingshot senton for a 2-count. Fish targets the leg of Black and scores with more strikes and a leg whip. Fish locks in a single-leg Boston Crab, but Black quickly counters into a pin attempt. Fish tries multiple sleeper holds, but Black escapes. Black charges right into an exploder suplex into the corner, but Fish only gets a 2-count.

Fish starts to slap Black around again, but Black fires up with some huge kicks and a springboard moonsault. Fish staggers right into a jumping knee to the face and he’s out of it. Black uses his foot to stand Fish back up and just murders him with a Black Mass. Good lord, that move is amazing. You could count to 20.

Winner: Aleister Black via pinfall

Thoughts: That was a fun and pretty good match since they have very similar styles. What’s next for Aleister Black? I personally wouldn’t mind a rematch between these two. Not that it needs to be said, but it was a great debut for Bobby Fish as well and I’m looking forward to seeing more from him.

Recap: Last week, Hideo Itami was a really crappy tag team partner and it led to a loss against SAnitY. cameras caught up with them (Also see NXTBooth on Facebook) and Itami blamed Ohno for the loss. Ohno tells Itami to stop blaming other people for his problems and storms off.

Vignette/Promo: Street Profits are coming soon. They kind of remind me of Cryme Tyme.

Promo: The Velveteen Dream was caught leaving the building and he shoots down an interview attempt.

Match #2: Mae Young Classic Qualifying Match: Vanessa Borne v. Jayme Hachey

Jayme Hachey was formerly known as Jayme Jameson and her biggest career achievement was as one half of the SHINE Tag Team Champions for just over a year. Young used to be known in NXT as Danielle Kamela and is a WWE PC talent. Percy says that Hachey works out 5 days a week at 6AM. I’m pretty sure almost every wrestler on the roster does that, Percy.

Hachey goes for a sunset flip, but Borne rolls through, jumps over Hachey, and kicks her in the back. Yikes, that took a while to develop. Hachey cuts Borne off with a knee to the stomach and hits a side slam for a 1-count. Borne kind of fires up with a double chop and a low drop kick. Borne hits a sort of swinging side slam and that is good for the win.

Winner: Vanessa Borne via pinfall

Thoughts: Well, that was possibly the worst televised NXT match I’ve ever seen. Borne only has a handful of matches under her belt in her career and it shows. Whew, I’d have maybe not aired this one.

Backstage: Another exclusive from last week recaps SAnitY assaulting Drew McIntyre outside the building. NXT Champion Bobby Roode is backstage with William Regal, who then announces that Killian Dain and Drew McIntyre will wrestle next week to determine the #1 Contender for the NXT Championship at TakeOver: Brooklyn. Well, there goes Roderick Strong’s shot.

In-Ring: Johnny Gargano’s music hits and he’s back! Gargano takes a slow walk to the ring and it just feels appropriate. There’s a big Johnny Wrestling chant. Gargano thanks the crowd for the reception. He says he never saw it coming in Chicago and still doesn’t quite understand why Ciampa did what he did. Gargano says he’s here to move forward, though. Gargano says he needs to be at TakeOver: Brooklyn and he needs to be Johnny Wrestling again. A new theme song plays for Gargano’s exit, replacing the old #DIY music.

Main Event/Match #3: NXT Tag Team Championship: Authors of Pain © (w/ Paul Ellering) v. Heavy Machinery

Akam and Knight start with an aggressive tie up. Akam and Knight trade control until both guys make tags. Rezar and Otis have a face-off and Otis no sells a big Rezar clothesline and then a second. Otis turns the tables and levels Rezar with his own clothesline, to Rezar’s disbelief. All four guys are in the ring facing off going into commercial.

During the break, AoP took control after they caught Knight with a low bridge, which sent him to the floor. Akam and Rezar cut the ring in half and take turns beating on Knight. Knight briefly tries to make a come back, but ends up eating a double team reverse curb stomp. Rezar gets a little careless and gets turned inside out by a Tucker Knight clothesline. Otis gets the hot tag and takes Akam down with 3 clotheslines. Rezar runs into a huge overhead belly-to-belly suplex.

Otis sandwiches both Authors in the corner with an avalanche. Rezar gets sent out of the ring and Otis power slams Akam. Otis body slams Knight on top of Akam, but can only get a 2-count. Heavy Machinery goes for their finisher, but Rezar hits the ring to cut off Knight with a boot to the face. Akam spikes Otis with a huge DDT followed by the Last Chapter that that’s the end of Heavy Machinery.

SAnitY’s music interrupts, though. Killian Dain, Alexander Wolfe, and Nikki Cross come on out the stage as papers fall from the ceiling. The papers apparently represent the pages from the Book of Pain.

Winners: Authors of Pain via pinfall to retain the NXT Tag Team Championship

Thoughts: Not a terrible match by any means. It was a different role for AoP, at least. I prefer to see them work as the favorites against an underdog team, though. It’s no secret that I’m not a Heavy Machinery fan. That doesn’t mean I won’t be one down the road. As for SAnitY, I’m not too pumped at the prospect of that tag team match. Who would work as the heels? Then again, who else is there until TM-61 returns?


  • Aleister Black beat Bobby Fish
  • Vanessa Borne beat Jayme Hachey to qualify for the Mae Young Classic
  • Johnny Gargano returned and said he wants to be at TakeOver: Brooklyn
  • Authors of Pain beat Heavy Machinery to retain the Tag Team Championship
  • SAnitY interrupted to seemingly challenge the Authors of Pain

Advertised for Next Week

  • #1 Contender Match: Killian Dain v. Drew McIntyre
  • Ember Moon v. Ruby Riot