TakeOver: Chicago II was a memorable event and another outstanding moment in NXT history. The Undisputed Era proved why it is one of the best tag teams in the business. Ricochet and Velveteen Dream put forth a candidate for match of the year. Aleister Black overcame a different kind of obstacle than any other he'd faced before as part of the NXT roster. And, to close it all out, Tommaso Ciampa found a way to squeak out a victory after a vicious street fight against Johnny Gargano, despite being handcuffed.
As good at that event was, the train never stops and the product is only as good as the present. On Wednesday night, it was time to shift gears toward one of the biggest shows of the year, TakeOver: Brooklyn IV.
While the big show in Brooklyn is still about two months away, there's a lot of work to be done in shaping its course with so many of the stories heading into Chicago seemingly wrapped up on that night.
- WWE (@WWE) June 28, 2018
One of the essential questions coming out of Chicago was who would step up as Black's next challenger for the NXT championship. We didn't have to wait long to find out whose hat would be thrown into the ring first, so to speak.
As Black took to the ring to address his victory over Lars Sullivan in Chicago, he was interrupted by Ciampa.
"You stood face to face with adversity. Now, it's time you stand face to face with the devil," Ciampa proclaimed. "Aleister Black, you have something that I want."
While a showdown between Black and Ciampa for the NXT championship is not yet set in stone, especially because Ciampa's business with Gargano is seemingly unfinished -- as was clear in a Gargano promo on Wednesday night -- Ciampa would make for a satisfying foe for the immensely popular Black. Throughout his year-plus feud with Gargano, Ciampa has transformed into the vilest heel in the history of NXT. Pairing such a hated heel with one of the faces of the brand would make for an electric atmosphere.
- WWE (@WWE) June 28, 2018
From an in-ring perspective, the bout would be night and day compared to Black's war with the gargantuan Sullivan. Ciampa's swift, strike-heavy style is comparable to Black's and we'd likely be in store for a high-energy affair.
Where Gargano, who has split his last two matches with Ciampa, fits into the equation remains to be seen. Perhaps the Gargano-Ciampa war slides right into the NXT championship picture, or perhaps the paths of Gargano and Ciampa fork into separate programs before inevitably meeting again in one final showdown.
The tag team division heats up
The Undisputed Era's championship celebration didn't last long after Chicago. Just a couple days after a successful title defense at NXT TakeOver: Chicago II over Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, Kyle O'Reilly and Roderick Strong took on Moustache Mountain's Tyler Bate and Trent Seven on the second night of the United Kingdom Championship Tournament in London.
The crowd at Royal Albert Hall was treated not only to a fantastic bout, but a win for the hometown heroes as Bate and Seven captured the NXT tag team championships for the first time.
The Undisputed Era wasted no time in responding. As Bate and Seven were set to take on a Dave Dixon and Carl Axelrod on Wednesday night, Strong, O'Reilly and NXT North American champion Adam Cole beat them to the punch, literally. Before the match began, the Undisputed Era emerged and battered Moustache Mountain's scheduled opponents.
To even the odds, Ricochet made his way out and aligned himself with Bate and Seven -- and as is often the case, a six-man tag team match was soon underway.
After an entertaining back-and-forth, Cole secured a pinfall victory over Ricochet -- and just like that, a possible future between Cole and Ricochet, who have actually had limited match experience as opponents prior to their NXT careers, could be brewing. That's a battle we'd all pay to see.
- "The Finest" Kona Reeves continued his winning ways with a victory over Max Humberto. Reeves' "Finest" gimmick is designed to display arrogance. So far, his execution has been solid; time will tell whether he can take it to the next level, but the potential is there.
- Candice LeRae found the win column against Lacey Evans. LeRae did a masterful job selling a left arm injury throughout the match and executed a flawless springboard moonsault to pick up the win.
- We already have something fantastic to look forward to next Wednesday, with a marquee matchup set between Johnny Gargano and EC3.