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WWE NXT recap, reactions, video highlights (Sept. 19, 2018): Both these guys

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For a more detailed recap, check our live blog here.

Lacey Evans & Aliyah def. Dakota Kai & Deonna Purrazzo via pinfall after Evans hit Kai with A Woman’s Right. An interview with Velveteen Dream ends when he’s asked about something other than himself. Street Profits bring us the first episode of season two of Street Talk, explaining the significance of their chains and that they’re not done with The Mighty. Bianca Belair’s fallout video about Nikki Cross from after last week’s main event is shown.

- Nice win for the bad gals in a match I really thought could go either way. There was nothing particularly new or noteworthy from any of the four wrestlers, but I like the team of Evans and Aliyah, and the latter’s “performer’s personality turned up to 11” character tweaks. Coming out in Burberry gear (after repping House Versace during her other recent outings) is an instant visual tell about this new stuck-up fashionista gimmick. Her in-match trash talk felt less forced, and is less obviously stalling with a partner. The fallout video she and Lacey made with Sarah Schreiber is good, too. She’s never gonna be an internet fave, but I could see a Carmella-esque future for her, which isn’t something I thought even a month ago.

They continue to protect A Woman’s Right like nobody’s business, and your thoughts on that will mirror your thoughts on punch/strike finishers in general. Dakota’s streak of tough luck resumes, and if there’s any plan to elevate her on this brand, we haven’t seen it. Purrazzo looks solid as always, but needs some kind of formal re-introduction to separate her pre-signing enhancement talent days from her future. Unless her future is as an enhancement talent. I think that would be a waste, but it ain’t my territory.

- A “press conference” segment which does nothing but allow Velveteen Dream to remind us he’s cool as $#!+ by saying he’s cool as $#!+ is a pretty good indication of how high the brass is on the Velveteen Dream Experience.

- Really liked Montez Ford’s promo in the Street Profits’ bit, which allowed him to get serious and show some fire. It solidified my opinion on who the star is in that duo.

Jaxson Ryker def. Humberto Carrillo via pinfall following a springboard release powerbomb. General Manager William Regal’s meeting with Candice LeRae ends after she tries to implicate Tommaso Ciampa in the attack on Aleister Black and offers a half-hearted alibi for Johnny Gargano. After a hype video for Keith Lee, we’re reminded of the storyline between EC3 and Lars Sullivan. Sullivan will be in action next week, and Ciampa will face Otis Dozovic.

- Effective debut squash for Ryker, who played the part of dangerously intense person very well. The announce team continued to emphasize the ex-military aspect of The Forgotten Sons’ gimmick, and Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler didn’t accompany him out for this (not that he needed it to survive one boot in a two minute dismantling of fka Ultimo Ninja). The war veteran aspect is still the main thing which differentiates them from the SAnitY template, and that’s a confusing way to push heels. So they need to get some character stuff sorted, but I’m not against a singles push for old Gunner while they figure it out.

- They keep putting Candice in spots which require acting chops, and I keep being unimpressed by her acting chops. And at this point, they’re making it so clear Gargano took out Black that they’re making me start to doubt it’s him. I still totally think it was him.

Ricochet vs. Pete Dunne for the North American and United Kingdom championships ends in a no contest due to Undisputed ERA attacking both men; War Raiders chase Adam Cole, Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly off, leaving Ricochet and Dunne to warily stare at each other with their respective belts.

If you want to be mad about the non-finish, you can be. Not sure what the ERA gains by beating these guys up before one of them won as opposed to waiting until after there was a two-belt champ for Cole to focus on, but they can write it off to jealousy and that works for me.

Because I don’t want to get hung up on the rare NXT schmoz-y ending at the expense of the 20+ minutes of fantastic pro wrestling I’d been treated to en route to it.

The Bruiserweight and the King exceeded my expectations, and my expectations were high. This was a fantastic story from start to almost-finish. Ricochet’s decision to prove he could play Dunne’s game in the opening third immediately sent a message this would be different than your average indie dream match. It was also really well executed. The UK champ shined and Ric mostly held his own. Spots where he was overmatched were by design, and allowed him to show off his in-ring storytelling chops, as his frustration at being out grappled by Dunne was clear. If Matt Bloom and the coaches at the Performance Center can get Ricochet’s promo work up to the caliber of his non-verbal acting, there will be no stopping him, at any level.

A great stretch followed, with Dunne attempting to utilize the rest of his arsenal to end the match. Rather than throw a bunch of nearfalls at us - and this had those, too - we got a lot of counters which allowed Ricochet to show off his aerial ability while still selling the hand the Bruiserweight worked over in the opening part of the match. Spots like landing on his feet escaping the x-plex before hitting a standing shooting star press had me screaming “WHAT!?!?” And these guys were just getting warmed up.

The counters went both ways, too. Dunne answered high-flying offense with strong style strikes and even submission attempts. A springboard 450 into a triangle? Escaped via deadlift brainbuster? What the %#(& was I even watching!?!?

Now, back to that run-in. As I mentioned, it’s not a tool this show pulls out of its black-and-yellow toolbox very often. When they do, it’s in service of something big down the road. That sure looks like WarGames, and while a repeat of the three trios format isn’t my first choice, I’m not gonna complain about this collection of talent doing anything.

Often when any promotion cuts off a highly anticipated showdown like this one, they do it as a way to not give away too much of a future pay-per-view caliber version of the match. Maybe they did that here. But if they did, I’m not sure I can handle Ricochet and Dunne with the shackles off. I don’t feel deprived of anything other than a two belt champ, and I’m not sure I want one of those anyway.

But I do want to see these men battle again. It’s clear they will. And even the way they wearily stumbled around the ring with their titles, eyeing each other with respect but a renewed drive to find out who’s the better man, was pretty perfect.

It’s a one match show, but oh what a match.

Grade: A-