This week on NXT, Johnny Gargano puts his career on the line in order to get a rematch against NXT Heavyweight Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas.
From: Atlanta, GA
The program starts off with a video package promoting the feud between Andrade “Cien” Almas and Johnny Gargano over the NXT Heavyweight Championship.
Opening Contest: No Way Jose vs. The Velveteen Dream: Dream starts the match with a knee lift and uppercut to stagger Jose into a corner. Dream continues to pummel Jose with strikes in the corner and dances for the crowd. Jose decks Dream with a quick clothesline and works over Dream with strikes. Dream elbows Jose in the corner but is met in midair with a strike. Jose backdrops Dream and Jose dances for a moment before backdropping Dream over the top to the floor. Jose baseball slides Dream off the apron and hits a slingshot crossbody to the floor. We go to commercial.
Jose gets kicked as he returns to the ring. Dream drops Jose throat first over the top rope followed by a swinging neckbreaker. Dream heads to the top rope but Jose gets his feet up and nearly pins Dream with an inside cradle. Jose tosses Dream out of the corner and delivers a running forearm strike. Jose hip tosses Dream out of the corner and continues to hit Dream with body strikes. Jose hip tosses Dream upside down into the corner. Jose tries for a pop up but Dream dropkicks Jose. Dream plants Jose with a rolling Death Valley Driver. Dream climbs to the top rope and hits an elbow drop for the win. (**. Dream is one of the most entertaining characters in NXT and I’m onboard for this guy to get a huge push. He’s such a refreshing character and a lot of fun to watch in the ring. I can’t sing his praise enough.)
Velveteen Dream cuts a promo following his victory and says he’s the man in NXT. Nobody cares about Tyler Bate, Asuka or Allestair Black. Everyone loves the Dream.
Backstage, Zelina Vega is pumping Andrade Almas up for his title defense against Johnny Gargano.
NXT General Manager William Regal announces the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic will be returning in two weeks. The winners will win the cup associated with the tournament and earn a tag team title match during WrestleMania weekend.
Second Contest: Nikki Cross vs. Vanessa Borne: This is essentially a squash match for Cross. Cross wins with the Purge. I’d say it is safe to say that Cross is over with the NXT crowd and could be a future NXT Women’s Champion.
Video of the confrontation between Allestair Black and Killian Dain from last week is aired.
Backstage, Johnny Gargano is preparing for his match with his wife Candice LaRae.
Video of Shayna Baszler attacking NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon from last week is shown, as well.
Main Event: NXT Heavyweight Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Johnny Gargano: Almas tries for a few rollups to start the match, but Gargano is able to break free and rolls to the floor. We go to commercial.
Almas nails Gargano with a back elbow in the middle of the ring followed by a knee strike. Gargano ducks a clothesline and delivers a kick in the corner followed by a clothesline and leg lariat. Gargano sends Almas over the top to the floor. Gargano comes off the ropes and Zelina prevents a suicide dive. Well, Candice LaRae proceeds to take Zelina out and Gargano dives onto Almas off the apron. Candice beats on Zelina and they go backstage.
Gargano hammers away on Almas with left hands on the floor before rolling the champ back into the ring. Almas stops Gargano on the apron and drives Gargano back first onto the apron leading to a near fall. Gargano chops away on Almas and Almas ends up on the apron where Almas locks in a rope assisted armbar! Almas has to let go and hammers away on Gargano. Almas sends Gargano’s left shoulder into the corner. Almas wraps Johnny’s arm over the bottom rope to add some torque. Almas delivers a middle rope reverse DDT for a near fall. We go to a second commercial break.
Almas has kept control of Gargano’s left arm on the mat. Almas delivers a few knee lifts and attempts a suplex but Gargano is able to nail the champ with a rolling kick on the mat. Gargano boots Almas in the corner followed by a middle rope head scissors. Gargano hits a spear from the apron into the ring for a near fall. Gargano and Almas trade strikes until Gargano delivers a kick to the knee. Almas lifts Johnny up by one arm to hit a buckle bomb and a running knee strike in the corner for a two count. Almas is able to send Gargano shoulder first into the post. Almas is on the apron but is met with a superkick. They are trading strikes on the apron. Almas avoids another spear from the apron into the ring and has an armbar locked in. Gargano tries for a hammerlock DDT but Almas counters with a rollup, which Johnny counters as well for a two count. Almas hip tosses Gargano into the corner. Both men are exhausted. Almas hits a running double knee strike in the corner for a two count.
Almas puts Johnny on the top turnbuckle and attempts a hammerlock DDT. Gargano fights the champ off and gains his footing only to be tripped. Almas goes to the top rope but Gargano slides under the middle rope to send Almas to the floor. Gargano hits a suicide tornado DDT on the floor! Johnny rolls Almas into the ring and Gargano plants Almas with a slingshot DDT but Almas kicks out at two!
They trade strikes while on their knees in the middle of the ring. Almas chops Johnny, but Gargano comes back with a superkick. Almas knocks the referee down but Gargano gets the Gargano Escape locked in! Almas is right in the middle of the ring. Tommaso Ciampa enters the ring and whacks Gargano over the back with a crutch. Almas picks Gargano up and hits the hammerlock DDT for the win. (***1/2. I’d say this was toned down compared to their Takeover match, but it’s still a fun match. Gargano is a great underdog and is capable of getting fans invested in his offense. Almas is a great wrestler too. I’ve become a fan of his thanks to his matches with Gargano. It looks like the main point of this was to continue the Ciampa/Gargano feud. I’d have to think this is leading to a match between Gargano and Ciampa at the next Takeover event WrestleMania weekend.)
A good episode for NXT this week as Almas/Gargano delivered a quality match. Hopefully this isn’t the end of Gargano as I don’t want to see him on the main roster just yet.
Thanks for reading.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.