WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Reaction from May 16
An enormous Six-Man Tag Team match between The Undisputed Era and the trio of Danny Burch, Oney Lorcan and Pete Dunne headlined an episode of NXT that did little to further many of the top rivalries and programs on the brand.
While the show was a solid reminder of the quality of NXT's product versus WWE's main-roster brands, it did little to capture the audience's full attention or make fans anticipate the next steps in any of the top storylines.
What worked and what did not? Find out with this recap of Wednesday's WWE Network broadcast.
Tommaso Ciampa Taunts Johnny Gargano
Johnny Gargano's music opened up the May 16 episode of NXT, but it was not the beloved hero who exploded through the curtain. It was, rather, Tommaso Ciampa, still riding a high from hospitalizing his former tag team partner.
Ciampa declared he had won the war despite losing the battle in New Orleans and then claimed Gargano was gone.
This brought out Candice LeRae, who was fearless as she confronted Ciampa.
She asked who Ciampa was and said the only broken thing in this equation was him. Ciampa laughed it off, saying that in the time he lived with the happy couple, the one thing he learned was that LeRae was a bigger man than Gargano.
LeRae cut off one last insult with a slap to the face. Ciampa smiled, waved and left to more boos.
The story between Gargano and Ciampa probably should have concluded in New Orleans, but the aftermath has been thoroughly entertaining, with superb heel work from Ciampa.
Candice was solid here in her role, standing up for her man. In doing so, though, she essentially made Ciampa's point for him. She was defending her man rather than having Gargano out there to do it himself.
That time will come, and the rematch between the former DIY teammates will be another epic. Given the build from one year to the next, one can only hope their story ends in fitting fashion.
Brandi Lauren vs. Lacey Evans
Lacey Evans looked to continue building momentum for herself as the second-most prominent villainess in NXT as she battled Brandi Lauren in singles competition. Lauren is familiar to fans of TNA Wrestling as Ava Storie.
Evans dominated en route to delivering her signature hard right-handed punch, now known as The Women's Right, according to the commentary team.
After the match, Evans celebrated triumphantly until Kairi Sane delivered an elbow from out of nowhere. Back in the ring, the Pirate Princess attempted the In-Sane Elbow, but Evans rolled to the safety of the floor.
Evans defeated Lauren.
The rivalry between Evans and Sane is a solid enough secondary program, but it feels like it has gone nowhere since its inception. At some point, it has to advance with one of the two women getting the upper hand but that has not been the case.
Instead, they take turns getting one over on the other, but there has been no real next step for fans to get behind.
With that said, Evans is a much better heel than she was a babyface, and it has been a joy to watch her embrace her inner baddie in recent weeks.
Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream
The battle between Ricochet and Velveteen Dream has been building for weeks, dating back to the ladder match for the North American Championship at TakeOver: New Orleans.
Their hotly anticipated match Wednesday night would be short-lived, though, as Lars Sullivan hit the ring and laid waste to both Superstars, leaving them on the canvas and standing tall to close out the segment.
He could be overheard exclaiming "the NXT champion is right here," suggesting he is targeting Aleister Black next.
Other than making Ricochet and Dream look like second-tier afterthoughts, what did this accomplish?
Is it the start of a Lars Sullivan push no one is asking for?
Sure, the guy has proved countless times he is a talented big man, with his showing in the aforementioned ladder match telling us as much. Unfortunately, he has been invisible in recent weeks. His feud with Killian Dain was hardly enough to warrant a shot at the most prestigious title the brand has to offer.
Hopefully the creative team follows up with strong booking ahead of TakeOver: Chicago or this could be one of the most lackluster title bouts in recent NXT memory.
Kona Reeves vs. Raul Mendoza
Kona Reeves returned to television Wednesday, battling the equally nondescript Raul Mendoza in singles competition.
Reeves dominated, hitting a nice reverse elbow from the middle rope and applying a Cobra Clutch. Mendoza countered, though, delivering a jawbreaker that he followed up with a flurry of strikes. A springboard was less successful, as Reeves caught him with a kick to the face.
The Hawaiian Drop from Reeves spelled the end of the match.
Reeves defeated Mendoza.
Reeves looks like a star, but there is something keeping him from coming across as one.
His move set is not all that dynamic, but he has a charisma that would seemingly overcome that deficiency.
Perhaps it is the presentation of the character or the lack of energy behind it, but something is not clicking.
Still, for a squash match, this was an acceptable sprint of a bout.
Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch vs. The Undisputed Era
WWE United Kingdom champion Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch sought to avenge weeks of torment at the hands of the Undisputed Era as they battled North American champion Adam Cole and NXT tag team champions Kyle O'Reilly and Roderick Strong in a Six-Man Tag Team main event.
The heels isolated Burch early, with none of the three taking him terribly seriously.
It backfired when the grizzled vet tied up Strong, made the tag to Dunne and watched as The Bruiserweight unleashed his frustrations on his bitter rival.
The Undisputed Era again gained control, working over Dunne. Lorcan received the hot tag, though, and exploded into the match, unloading on all three heels with a barrage of strikes that knocked the wind from them.
As the action broke down, O'Reilly inadvertently knocked out partner Strong, allowing Burch to deliver a wheelbarrow DDT and score a huge upset victory.
Burch, Lorcan and Dunne defeated The Undisputed Era.
This was a red-hot match in which the right team went over if there are any plans for a continuation of this program.
Burch and Lorcan have been cornerstones of NXT, guys who have repeatedly made others look good while waiting for their opportunity to shine. They have it now, and if they keep turning in performances against elite wrestlers like the Undisputed Era, they will receive that push they have deserved for so long.
The loss here does nothing to hurt the heels. If anything, it gives them stronger opponents going forward.