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WWE NXT recap, reactions, video highlights (Aug. 15, 2018): Never ever false metal

For a more detailed recap, check our live results post here.

Street Profits def. The Mighty via pinfall following a roll-up with a handful of tights. Backstage, Shanya Baszler is shown preparing Aliyah for her match with Kairi Sane and Undisputed ERA are shown ‘earlier today’ bragging on themselves and running down their opponents for Brooklyn.

- Largely impossible to not have fun with the Profits, especially with them added small wrinkles to their act like the “Wakanda Forever” greeting, Montez Ford flexing in response to Angelo Dawkins shadow boxing against his chest, Ford making the cameraperson give him his cup after the match and film a P.O.V. shot of them doing it, etc, etc, etc.

Similar to how Otis Dozovic got an extended comeback sequence in Heavy Machinery’s last match, Montez got that chance here. He pretty much nailed it. I’m glad to see the producers and agents giving Dozer and Ford more of a chance to shine in these tag bouts. Not that HM and the Street Profits aren’t a blast, because they are. But they likely have a limited shelf-life or will be undercard fodder at the next level. If Triple H and team think Dozovic and Montez are stars, this is how you showcase that.

When it comes to Shane Thorne and Nick Miller? I have no idea, y’all. There’s nothing new to say here beyond what was said when they lost to Dozer and Tucker Knight, or War Raiders before that. They looked great and the heel turn suits them... and they’re being treated like midcard enhancement workers.

As a spinebuster aficionado, I will say Miller’s looked phenomenal. So there’s that.

Overall, you have to acknowledge their efforts to build up the division. But you also have to recognize that none of these teams could hang with Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly, or look like realistic threats to War Raiders.

- Showing the heel champion coach up her rival’s opponent was a great touch, and really built Baszler’s character without saying anything or taking up much time. A prime example why I and so many others love this brand/show.

- Undisputed ERA n.W.o.-style promos 4 life. Bobby Fish’s homemade Dusty Classic trophy 4 longer than that.

Kairi Sane def. Aliyah via submission with The Anchor.

As a match, this week’s women’s outing was fine. As an angle, it kicked all kinds of ass.

Baszler was on commentary for the match, and while it wasn’t her greatest mic work ever, she only had to sell one line - that she doubted Sane’s “killer instinct”. That was the set-up for the story of the match, which is that when you piss off or doubt the Pirate Princess? She will mess somebody up.

The sailing schtick has left me and others wondering what Kairi’s ceiling is, but at least for this writer, the build to Brooklyn 4 has done a great job removing doubt. The story and the performer have gradually shown a more violent side of her character, and it all paid off here. I thought pulling Aliyah up rather than pinning her following the THIRD InSane Elbow was a great moment. Then she slapped on her alternate finisher while arching all the way back so she could lock eyes with the champ while making her opponent tap, and for the first time, Kairi terrified me.

As far as Aliyah goes... she did her job. Her new floral print outfit is something like her 96th look/gimmick. It stands out more than black gear and Ariane Grande cat ears. So, that’s good, I guess.

Adam Cole and Ricochet’s North American Title match gets a hype video. A promo duel between Velveteen Dream and EC3 gets physical, and EC3 lands the final blow. We see Cathy Kelley’s investigation into the attack on Aleister Black, and Saturday’s main event gets a great video package.

Coming into this episode, I was most concerned about Dream and EC3’s match getting lost in the shuffle on Saturday in New York. Now, it’s Cole/Ricochet I have the least enthusiasm for.

Both matches have similar, basic builds. But EC3 and Dream have a little bit more charisma and a lot more chemistry. One of the many impressive things about young Mister Patrick Clark is his commitment to playing the heel, and all that that entails. Here he was mocking the fans for cheering them, waiting out their chants and seemed to be working to ensure he didn’t land any cooler/funnier lines than fka Ethan Carter III.

Or maybe EC3 really is that freaking suave. He’s pulling off being a babyface by just playing his heel character but being willing to fight fair. The rant about “building theme restaurants in people’s heads” was standout stuff in an overall top notch promo. Velveteen resorting to an underhanded trick like throwing his jacket at The One Percenter in order to land a cheap shot belied the finesse with which he took off the fanny pack EC3 and the audience was taunting him for, and showed that his opponent is working on that “fixer upper” between Dream’s ears.

This probably won’t be nearly as good a match as the North American Championship bout, but I think it will be more enjoyable, if that makes sense. And I really like Cole and have high hopes for Ricochet as a WWE Superstar.

But they’re not clicking for me, and the Reigns/Lesnar-lite storyline isn’t doing them any favors.

- Really glad they didn’t reveal the guilty party or telegraph anything in the Black whodunnit. Somebody knows the value of suspense. Also, it was Johnny Gargano whodunnit.

Bianca Belair is shown rehabbing her injury at The Performance Center, and a UK Title match between Champ Pete Dunne and challenger Zack Gibson is announced for next week’s show. Tyler Bate def. Roderick Strong via pinfall following Tyler Driver ‘97.

The main event was a case study in how to have a good match without giving too much away. All four men know they have to top a pair of really good-to-great tag title bouts in Barclays on Aug. 18, so they reminded us what they’re capable of without knocking our socks off. It’s a very smart approach for something that has a high likelihood of being the best or second best match on Saturday night.

Strong and Bate delivered a fast-paced ten minute affair that managed to not feature much in the way of “holy $#!+” spots or moments. O’Reilly and Trent Seven largely remained on the sidelines, save for brief interaction at the end that didn’t factor into the outcome. The announce team reminded us throughout about the issues between the two sides and the quality of their previous encounters.

Mission accomplished.

If there’s a problem with this program, it’s that all signs - including the clean win here - point to Undisputed retaining at TakeOver. But if there’s a foursome who can overcome lack of suspense with in-ring storytelling and crisp wrestling, it’s these guys.

There was probably a bit of scrambling which went into putting this episode together in the wake of Aleister Black’s injury and the change to the NXT Title match, but it hardly showed. It provided a good mix of pre-produced videos and in-ring drama, almost all of which was designed to get us more excited for Brooklyn.

Grade: B

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