Tonight, NXT Tag Team Champions Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish defend the tag titles in the main event. Adam Cole is in for a surprise in regards to his NXT Takeover match. Lars Sullivan is preparing for a war. Johnny Gargano is confronted by a Dream. All this a more on NXT!
From: Atlanta, GA
Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, NXT Tag Team Champions Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) start the show backstage cutting a promo. Cole welcomes us to the year 2018, which is the year of the Undisputed Era. Fish says they will prove why they are baddest tag team going. O’Reilly promises to end Sanity once and for all. Cole is confident that he’ll be the next NXT Heavyweight Champion.
NXT takes place at Center Stage, the home of WCW Saturday Night for many years in the 1990s.
A video from last week is shown where Shayna Baszler mocked a few NXT wrestlers trying to learn submissions. She decided to put a submission hold the student to “show her how it feels.” The student taps out quickly and Shayna refuses to let go.
Opening Contest: Shayna Baszler vs. Dakota Kai: The fans aren’t giving Kai much of a shot as they suggest that Kai is going to get killed. Shayna quickly takes Kai down and gets control of the left arm. Shayna delivers a stiff kick to the ribs and stomps on the left elbow. The referee stops the match. (NR. I could totally get behind Shayna being the next badass female heel in NXT.) After the match, Shayna puts a choke hold on Kai because she doesn’t care. NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon comes out and protects Kai from a further attack.
Backstage, Authors of Pain and Paul Ellering cut a promo on Sanity and Undisputed Era. They don’t care when or where, but they want their tag titles back.
Backstage, William Regal walks put o Shayna Baszler and tells her that attacking people from behind will not get her an NXT Women’s Championship match. Shayna asks if they are done and walks off.
Second Contest: Kassius Ohno vs. Raul Mendoza: They shake hands to start the match showing respect for each other. They trade a few rollups but neither man can get a three count. Mendoza heads to the top and takes Ohno over with a head scissors and nearly wins with a rollup. Mendoza kicks Ohno several times but is flipped by Ohno followed by a big boot. Ohno drops Mendoza with a forearm strike managing a two count. Ohno gets a reverse Gory Special but isn’t able to get a submission. Mendoza counters with a rollup for another near fall. Ohno slams Mendoza cut first to the mat followed by a senton splash getting a two count. Mendoza arm drags Ohno but is met with a chop. Mendoza kicks Ohno from the apron and hits a corkscrew arm drag followed by a springboard kick for a two count. Ohno drops Mendoza over the top rope followed by a boot. Ohno comes off the ropes and hits an elbow strike to the back of Raul’s head for the win. (**. That was a rather entertaining extended squash match with Mendoza getting a few exciting moments thrown in there. I remember being annoyed with Ohno’s wrestling on the independents, but he did fine here. It looks like he isn’t so focused on just throwing elbow strikes like he had prior to his NXT return.)
Earlier today, Zelina Vega had a press conference with the media to discuss the NXT Heavyweight Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas. She says they are on the same page and they both know how important is to stay champion. Almas will be retaining the title at NXT: Philadelphia. Vega doesn’t think that Johnny Gargano earned the number one contender spot and instead considers Gargano to be an opportunist. She recalls that having beaten Gargano twice already. Vega isn’t going to tell her secrets on how to beat Gargano a third time.
Backstage, Johnny Gargano is interviewed regarding his number one contender spot and opportunity at Takeover. Gargano can’t describe what he feels. Velveteen Dream enters the scene and wants Gargano to thank him. Gargano doesn’t understand why. Dream says that Gargano got lucky and says that he beat Ohno, who doesn’t look like a star. Velveteen believes he would have beaten Ohno in thirty-seconds. Dream knows that Gargano isn’t going to win at Takeover. He also knows that Gargano didn’t earn his spot. Dream tells Gargano to think about that.
Backstage, Street Profits are having fun before entering William Regal’s office. They are wanting a tag title shot. Regal puts them in a number one contenders match against the Authors of Pain. They like the way Regal thinks.
Third Contest: Lars Sullivan vs. Lio Rush: Hey, it is good to see Lio Rush still has a job with WWE despite his miscues on Twitter. Rush uses his speed to avoid Lars at the start. Rush slides to the floor and tells Lars to bring it on. Rush gets back in the ring and nails Sullivan with a handspring kick. Lars tosses Rush throat first into the top rope from the apron. Sullivan sends Rush hard back first into the corner. Sullivan misses a running strike in the corner. Lars misses another strike and hits the ring post shoulder first. Lars turns Rush inside out with a lariat and plants Rush with the Freak Accident for the win. (**. An enjoyable squash match. Lars comes across like a complete star and I’d like to see him as a dominating heel on the main roster. I’m expecting big things from Lars in 2018.)
Lars Sullivan gets a microphone and cuts a promo saying that all his opponents have fallen to him. He keeps going back to two weeks ago when he dealt with a force he never felt before. However, that brought him joy and wants to destroy the force. He’s talking about Killian Dain. Sullivan proceeds to attack Rush some more. Lars hits a middle rope Freak Accident.
Backstage, the Undisputed Era has attacked Sanity and that looks to have impacted the main event.
Undisputed Era comes out and they joke around about where Sanity could be for the title defense. Nikki Cross comes out but is held back by officials. William Regal comes out and makes it evident that he isn’t very happy with the trio. Thus, a tag title match will still be happening tonight. In fact, the team of Roderick Strong and Aleister Black will be teaming up for the title shot!
Main Event: NXT Tag Team Champions Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish vs. Roderick Strong & Aleister Black: Black and Strong avoid being hit with the tag titles and knock the champs to the floor with strikes. Black and O’Reilly kick off the title match with Black working over O’Reilly with kicks to the chest. Fish distracts Black but that doesn’t help O’Reilly. Black delivers a back fist and a kick to the face for a near fall. O’Reilly bails to the floor to regroup. Strong sends O’Reilly into the ring where Black connects with a dropkick to the knee of keep control of the match. Strong gets tagged in and nails O’Reilly with a heel kick for a two count. Strong continues to chop O’Reilly followed by a backbreaker for a two count. Black enters and gets kicked by Fish on the apron causing Black to hit the apron face first. Strong is livid on the apron as NXT goes to break.
O’Reilly works over Black with several kicks in the corner to keep control of the title match. Fish tags in and delivers knee strikes. O’Reilly kicks Black’s legs to take him down and Fish hit a senton from the apron for a two count. Black fights out of the corner with right hands but O’Reilly stops him with palm strikes. O’Reilly kicks Strong off the apron and they deliver kicks on Black. Fish nearly pins Black after an exploder suplex. Strong breaks up the cover to keep the match going. Black nearly pins Fish with a sunset flip and stops Fish with a knee to the face. Strong and O’Reilly get tags with Strong cleaning house on the champions. Strong nails O’Reilly with a dropkick. Strong drops O’Reilly with a backbreaker and tosses Fish overhead landing onto O’Reilly. Strong drops O’Reilly face first to the mat but Fish breaks up the cover. Strong gets stopped by O’Reilly with a kick, but Strong hits a leaping strike causing both men to fall to the mat. Black sends Fish into the ring steps with a kick to the chest. Black rolls Fish into the ring but Adam Cole comes out and forearms Black. Cole bails through the crowd as Black chases after him. O’Reilly and Fish finish Strong off with Total Elimination for the win. Black is in the crowd shocked that his team lost. After the match, Black attacks the champions but Adam Cole sends Black into the ring post shoulder first. Cole gets several shots on Black telling him that he won’t ever beat them. Black is left laying after another Total Elimination. O’Reilly brings a chair into the ring and Cole drops Black onto the chair with a Death Valley Driver. Undisputed Era stands tall over Black to end the program. (**1/2. The tag match was solid but nothing overly memorable. I was hoping there would be more drama of a tag title change, but that wasn’t the case. The main point of this appeared to be continuing Cole vs. Black. It was a fine bout to end first show in 2018 for NXT.)
Oh, wait, William Regal comes out and has something to tell Adam Cole. Regal announces that Adam Cole’s match with Black at NXT Takeover: Philadelphia is now an extreme rules match! Cole gets in Regal’s face but backs away and smiles.
This was the first time I’ve ever watched an NXT TV show in full. I was quite impressed not by the wrestling necessarily but rather that every segment served a purpose. They continued feuds and the action was pretty solid throughout. WWE programming can be tough to get through, but this was an easy hour of TV. I think I’ll find myself hooked on NXT rather quickly.
Thanks for reading.