Since their debut as a group at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, the trio of Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly have been the biggest focal point of NXT's storytelling. They wreaked havoc on multiple occasions over the last month, laying out many of NXT's major players on multiple occasions and imposing their will unimpeached.
In Brooklyn, they took out NXT champion Drew McIntyre, tag team champions SAnitY and one-half of the former NXT tag champs, The Authors of Pain. They laid out SAnitY a second time in an unseen parking lot attack at Full Sail, beat down McIntyre in the ring again and they made another statement last week at the expense of U.K. champion Pete Dunne and his challenger, Wolfgang.
After going unchecked for so long, two-thirds of the group now being called the Undisputed Era was finally put into a match to allow some reputation. For the first time as a team (and second match overall in NXT), Fish and O'Reilly teamed up with U.K. standouts Trent Seven and Tyler Bate, the latter being the former U.K. champion. The Moustache Mountain allies were seeking revenge for the dismantling of their U.K. comrade Wolfgang last week.
Not surprisingly, we witnessed a solid main event despite the seemingly obvious outcome of Fish and O'Reilly coming out on top. While the pair formerly known as ReDRagon kept control for much of the match, it boiled down to Cole, posted on the outside throughout the match, superkicking Bate behind the referee's back. Fish and O'Reilly made short work of Seven to pick up the victory.
Afterwards, McIntyre stalked down to the ring and chased the trio off into the crowd. But there would be some retribution on this day, as SAnitY walked up behind Cole, Fish and O'Reilly to get some payback for weeks of attacks. The sent Cole, Fish and O'Reilly towards the ring, with McIntyre getting some licks in on O'Reilly before the trio successfully retreated again.
Who's next for the "Undisputed Era"? They certainly have a lot to answer for, and Wednesday was only the first taste of what's to come. As both a trio and a tag team, there's SAnitY and possibly the Authors of Pain to handle, and Cole is seemingly positioned to go straight to the top with a showdown against McIntyre.
From a U.K. perspective, perhaps the two straight impressive outings put forth by Dunne, Wolfgang, Bate and Seven will lead to more regular TV time. It has become quite obvious that the U.K. stars improve the quality of NXT television, and with little else to do in the interim, it makes sense to keep some of the bigger names fresh in the minds of WWE fans.
Velveteen Dream gets up-close-and-personal
Aleister Black's journey took a bizarre turn as he took to the microphone for the first time.
Coming off of a big win over Hideo Itami at TakeOver: Brooklyn, Black was in need of a new objective as he continues to ascend the NXT ladder. The unconventional Black found himself face-to-face with someone just as unusual, though undeniably different than himself, on Wednesday night.
"15 years ago, I started a journey that led me here to NXT. In those 15 years, I traveled the world and I saw a lot of things. I experienced a lot. I put all those experiences on my skin in the form of these scars," Black said, referring to his many tattoos. "But my journey in NXT is far from done. And I know now what I need to do, because the next step..."
Before Black could finish that sentence, he was interrupted by the flashy and unique Velveteen Dream.
"Aleister, the Dream doesn't see scars. What I see is a man who's hurt. I see a man who's in pain," The Velveteen Dream said. "You seem afraid to show emotion, but most importantly, you're afraid of the light. I know you have a heart. It's just in the wrong place."
Black used his Black Mass spinning heel kick to knock the microphone out of the Velveteen Dream's hand, and fell to his comfortable cross-legged position in the middle of the ring, abruptly ending the promo. But Velveteen Dream had one more point to take as he became the first person to directly challenge Black in that moment, dropping to all fours and getting into Black's face before slowly crawling backwards out of the ring.
It's not the headline-worthy rivalry that Black appears to be ready for, but it's one that's filled with potential. Black has become one of the more popular acts in NXT and could serve as the catalyst in getting the Velveteen Dream, someone with a well-rounded skill set and a ton of charisma, to a much higher level.
In other action
- One week after getting back on track following his TakeOver loss to Andrade "Cien" Almas in Brooklyn, with a win over Riddick Moss, Johnny Gargano faced off with Moss' tag team partner, Tino Sabbatelli.
Like last week, Gargano completely zoned out at times during the match. Using a similar format to last week's match, Gargano withstood some aggression and offense before mounting a successful comeback and picking up the victory, this time by submission.
Gargano's conflict with Almas seems as though it still has some legs, especially with the way the match in Brooklyn ended. Getting Gargano a couple of victories under his belt was a smart way to build him back up in the interim.
- Lars Sullivan continued his crusade of carnage this week in a one-sided affair against No Way Jose, who has played the role of the punching bag in this rivalry.
Sullivan is clearly being positioned as NXT's version of Braun Strowman, which is obviously high praise and confidence from a creative perspective. Week after week, he's destroyed anything and everything in his path in supremely entertaining fashion. It's clear he's destined for a big opportunity, and it's only a matter of time before Sullivan gets his shot at something big.
- Two Mae Young Classic competitor, Lacey Evans and the hair-whipping Bianca Belair, went one on one; Belair came out on top after using her braided hair to her advantage and finishing Evans off with a reverse powerbomb. The vacant NXT women's championship has left the door wide open in terms of potential contenders, making all wins within the division big ones. The next few weeks should be crucial.
- After his win over Bobby Roode, Roderick Strong gets a second chance at Drew McIntyre and the NXT championship in two weeks.