All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service
- Shayna Baszler VS Dakota Kai; Shayna wins, via referee stoppage.
- Kassius Ohno VS Raul Mendoza; Ohno wins.
- Lars Sullivan VS Lio Rush; Sullivan wins.
- NXT Tag Team Championship: The Undisputed Era VS SAnitY; canceled.
- NXT Tag Team Championship: The Undisputed Era VS Roderick Strong & Aleister Black; The Undisputed Era wins and retains the NXT Tag Team Championships.
PLAY BY PLAY
“Welcome to 2018, boys and girls.”
The is the Year of the Undisputed Era. They closed 2017 “in style” by obtaining the NXT Tag Team Championships, but as far as Bobby Fish is concerned, they’re just getting started. The Undisputed Era will show the world why they’re the “baddest team on the planet.” The Era of the Undisputed shall dominate 2018, starting with tonight’s NXT Tag Team Championship rematch. Kyle O’Reilly promises SAnitY will be dealt with “once and for all.” As for “yours truly”, Adam Cole, he promises to end anyone who gets in the way of him become the NXT Champion. Ca the Undisputed Era solidify their legacy’s beginning here in NXT?
Shayna Baszler VS Dakota Kai!
The Queen of Spades and one-fourth of the MMA Four Horsewomen finally makes her in-ring debut in NXT! She’s already made an impact after she blindsided the woman who defeated her in the Mae Young Classic, Kairi Sane, and then went a little too far with Performance Center trainee, Jessie Jay. If that’s what she’s done before this in-ring debut, what will she do to her opponent here tonight?
Dakota Kai herself competed in the MYC, but didn’t get as far. Can the Captain of Team Kick avenge Jessie Jay while ruining Shayna’s debut?
The bell rings, the two circle, fans know “Shayna’s gonna kill~ you.” Shayna backs Dakota to a corner and doesn’t break until 4. Even when she does let Dakota go, Shayna trips her with a swift leg sweep. Dakota gets up and shoves Shayna, then gets around for a waistlock. The Submission Magician breaks free and uses a Japanese arm-drag to bring Dakota to the mat, then wrenches that arm in a modified hammerlock. Dakota resists but Shayna still wrenches that wrist and elbow around all sorts of ways. Shayna drags Dakota up, and serves that shoulder some Sole Food.
Dakota scrambles to ropes, but Shayna doesn’t care, she kicks Dakota right in the ribs. Shayna stalks Dakota, and stands on that bad hand to grind it into the mat. Then she stomps right on the elbow!
Dakota screams and writhes in pain, Shayna just grins. The referee keeps her back while he checks on Dakota. Fans boo and jeer, but Shayna embraces the heat as this match ends in a Referee Stoppage! Shayna raises her own hand in victory while the ref calls for medics.
And she’s not done with Dakota, either! She puts on the Kirafuda rear-naked choke just because!
Dakota fades into unconsciousness, and the referees cannot pry Shayna off her. Ember Moon appears to make the save!
Shayna lets go, laughing and grinning as she signals to Ember that she’s coming for the belt. Ember first checks on Dakota Kai, then turns her attention to Shayna. The referee manages to keep them apart, and Shayna is taking her leave anyway. If the Queen of Spades was this merciless in a debut, what will she do to become NXT Women’s Champion?
The Authors of Pain speak.
The AoP, “the most brutal force in NXT”, are coming for SAnitY and the Undisputed Era. It doesn’t matter who, where or when, whoever holds the NXT Tag Team Championships “will suffer”.
Backstage interview with Shayna Baszler.
It looks like Shayna broke Dakota’s arm, then continued to attack her after the match was stopped. Why? GM William Regal came in to change this from interview to a meeting with the boss. Shayna knows Regal’s resume, so he knows the game she’s playing. Ambushes, injuring other wrestlers, those tactics won’t get her a championship match. Is that all he has to say? Shayna leaves, will Regal’s message be ignored?
Kassius Ohno VS Raul Mendoza!
The Knockout Artist is looking for a way back to the NXT Championship picture, but the Cruiserweight Classic competitor is still looking for his breakout moment. Which man will get a step closer to what they want here tonight?
The fans are strongly behind Ohno as the bell rings. The two circle, and shake hands respectfully. They tie up, Mendoza gets behind with a waistlock to headlock, but Ohno just stands up tall to lift Mendoza off the ground. Mendoza brings Ohno back down so both men can touch the ground, but Ohno powers him back up. Mendoza sunset flips, TWO, Ohno gets the high stack but Mendoza rolls through to sit for a pin, but then Ohno counters that with a roll. ONE, Mendoza runs in but Ohno trips him up for another cover, ONE. Ohno throws Mendoza to a corner, Mendoza hops up and over to the apron. Mendoza shoulders into Ohno’s stomach, then climbs up top. Ohno yanks him down, but Mendoza makes that into a swinging headscissors!
Oklahoma roll, TWO! Mendoza goes after Ohno with kicks, but Ohno blocks one to flip Mendoza, then boots him right into another corner! Fans fire up as Ohno stalks Mendoza. He drags Mendoza up, and gives him a sharp chop in the corner. Fans want “One more time!” so Ohno gives Mendoza a stiff elbow strike. Cover, TWO, but Ohno is not frustrated. He toys with Mendoza, then drags him up into a Gory Special!
Mendoza endures the stretch, and pops out! Victory roll, TWO, and Ohno is right on Mendoza with a flipping knee smash. Back senton added on, cover, TWO. Ohno looks a bit annoyed, but the fans are cheering him on. He yanks Mendoza up but Mendoza lands on his feet to arm-drag Ohno away. Mendoza gives Ohno a big forearm, Ohno responds with a chop. Ohno whips Mendoza, Mendoza slips to the apron and kicks Ohno away. Springboard flying arm-drag! Mendoza gets running, springboard enziguri!
Cover, TWO! Mendoza is shocked by how close he got. The fans rally for Ohno, who pops Mendoza up onto his shoulders, for an electric chair hotshot and then a boot! Ohno gets running, and leaps for the High Tension elbow!
Ohno wins! Mendoza’s moment will have to wait. Can Ohno’s NXT Championship dream still come true?
NXT Paparazzi interviewed Zelina Vega.
Andrade Almas and Vega are “more on the same page now than we’ve ever been before.” He understands now that while it takes a lot of work to become champion, it also takes a lot of work to stay champion. Vega vows that Almas will stay champion through TakeOver: Philadelphia.
They ask Vega about Johnny Gargano earning the right to challenge Almas, what are her thoughts? “Earned”? Is that what he did? No, Gargano got lucky. He is no fighter, he is an opportunist. Gargano let three other men beat the hell out of each other and then took advantage. Does that sound like a champion? Almas has beaten Gargano twice already, Philadelphia will be no different. Plus, in DIY, it was his tag team partner who was successful, not Gargano. Just like Cinderella stories and fairy tales, “Johnny Wrestling” is not real. But the reality is Andrade “Cien” Almas.
As Vega said, Almas beat Gargano twice before, but what will it take to win this third time? Vega would not be this successful if she gave secrets away. She will never give away her secrets, but she promises Almas is more prepared than ever. Almas will make sure Gargano understands there is no getting around him. Vega is confident, Almas is confident, but can Gargano shock them both?
Backstage interview with Johnny Gargano.
How is the #1 contender feeling this close to his TakeOver NXT Championship match? Winning that right in a Fatal 4 Way, when no one thought he would, “words can’t describe”. However, the Velveteen Dream appears!
“Say it.” Say what? Say “thank you”, for not being in the NXT Championship Contender Series. Gargano got lucky by beating “a guy” named Kassius Ohno; and he says “guy” because Ohno does NOT look like a superstar. And then it took Gargano 20 minutes to do it? Velveteen could’ve put Ohno away 30 seconds tops. They all know it. Gargano was also lucky to have pinned Aleister Black, which shouldn’t have happened. They all know it. And Gargano won’t beat Almas for the title. They all know it. Oh, and Gargano didn’t earn Velveteen Dream’s spot. Velveteen deserves his spot. They all know it. Will these mind-games affect Gargano this close to TakeOver?
The Street Profits bring Street Talk backstage to NXT.
As great as they feel, both Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford feel they need to “step the gold game up.”
Speaking of gold, they can just go right into William Regal’s office. Wait, no, they can’t just barge in, they’re better than that. They must have manners. They knock on his door, enter inside, and say hello. The Profits compliment him on his suit, and politely decline water bottles. Dawkins & Ford have been thinking that, given how they promised to bring “the gold to the streets” in 2018, and given how they’re undefeated as a team… When are the Street Profits getting their shot? Regal tells them that yes, they are undefeated, and they do need to start 2018 with a bang. Next week on NXT, they will compete in an NXT Tag Team Championship #1 contender’s match. It will be The Street Profits VS… The Authors of Pain. The Street Profits like the sound of that. They fire up with Regal, and promise not to disappoint. “Street Talk: we out!”
Lars Sullivan VS Lio Rush!
The Man of the Hour is back on NXT TV, but does he have a chance against the Leviathan?
The bell rings, Lio barely avoids Lars rushing in. Lars swings but Lio dodges, Lio kicks but Lars blocks. Lio slaps Lars, then evades his wrath, a big grin on his face. They cat ‘n’ mouse, Lio hits Lars with a handspring heel kick! But, Lars doesn’t fall! Lio keeps going, Lars grabs him with one hand and yanks him against the ropes. Lars gets in the ring while Lio gasps for air. Lars whips Lio corner to corner HARD!
The Leviathan roars as Lio crumples to the floor. He rushes in, Lio manages to jump up and over! Fans rally for Lio but Lars is upon him, and barrels him into a corner. Lio dodges again, Lars goes into the post! Lio runs, but gets clobbered with a clothesline! Lars drags Lio up, for the Freak Accident!
Lars wins! Lio shouldn’t feel too bad for losing, no one has slowed the Leviathan down. Though, will Lio feel much of anything after such domination?
Lars Sullivan takes to the mic.
“I faced opponent after opponent, sometimes two at once, and they’ve all fallen by my hands.” Lars keeps thinking back to that Fatal 4 Way, when he “dealt with a force” he’d never felt before. And he liked it. “Because it’s a force that I want to destroy!” The Leviathan calls out Killian Dain! When behemoths collide, who will survive? Not Lio! Lars hauls his limp body up to the top rope, for a SUPER FREAK ACCIDENT!
Lars Sullivan’s love of destruction will not be satisfied until he faces the Beast of Belfast. Who will come out the superior monster in NXT?
BREAKING: A Backstage Brawl Between SAnitY & Undisputed Era!
Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish put out Eric Young using the walls and spare fencing, Adam Cole clobbers Dain with a lead pipe! Alexander Wolfe has also been decimated nearby. “We make the rules, you follow the rules!” With SAnitY out, is the NXT Tag Team Championship match canceled?
NXT Tag Team Championship: The Undisputed Era VS SAnitY!
After laying out their opponents, is there even a need for the duo known as reDRagon to come out here? O’Reilly, Fish and “Adam Cole, BAYBAY” took care of Young, Wolfe & Dain, there is no one to challenge for the NXT Tag Team Championships now. The UE take to the mic with mix reactions from the fans. “Hey, Champs, I kinda got a weird feeling that maybe we’re missing something right now.” Yeah, where is SAnitY? Bobby, weren’t they supposed to challenge for the titles? Maybe SAnitY forgot. No, they “kicked the chaos” out of them! And will do so to any team that thinks they– Speaking of chaos, Nikki Cross is rabid on the stage!
The UE taunt her and her fury as referees drag her away. Cole has a good laugh, even as Cross gets a second wind. The fans want her to get her hands on Cole and his team, but it doesn’t happen. “Now, before I was so rudely int”– another interruption from NXT GM, William Regal!
Regal will make Fish & O’Reilly defend those titles tonight. And Roderick Strong appears to add on. “I’ll fight these guys.”
In fact, Strong can go find a partner. He won’t have to, a partner finds him! It’s ALEISTER BLACK!
The Embodiment of the End has his own grudge against the Undisputed Era, and the fans are fired up to see him. Black volunteers to join the fight! He and Strong rush the ring, and brawl with reDRagon!
Strong gets O’Reilly out of the ring, Aleister kicks Fish out. The Undisputed Era regroups on the outside while this chaos calms down over a commercial break.
NXT Tag Team Championship: The Undisputed Era VS Roderick Strong & Aleister Black!
NXT returns and the bell rings, with O’Reilly and Aleister starting for their teams. The two circle, Fish tries to swipe at Aleister. Aleister scares him off, but is still able to thwart Kyle’s sneak attack. Aleister kicks Kyle towards his corner, but Fish comes in and takes a back elbow. O’Reilly tries to counter attack but Aleister unleashes a strike fest! Cover, ONE, Aleister is back on Kyle right away. Kyle gets out and regroups with Fish, Strong comes in to wreck Fish with a wrecking ball dropkick!
Strong then feeds Kyle back into the ring, Aleister sweeps the legs! Oklahoma Roll, TWO, but Aleister brings Kyle down with an arm-drag. He puts on an armbar, Kyle endures the wrench. Tag to Strong, Strong and Aleister double whip Kyle, Kyle runs into Strong’s calf kick! Cover, TWO, but Strong stays on Kyle. Fans cheer on Roddy as he whips Kyle into the corner and gives him a stiff chop. Strong lifts Kyle up, and gives him a pendulum backbreaker, TWO! Strong keeps on Kyle with a half-clutch stretch. Kyle crawls around and works his way to his feet. Strong gives him a knee, then tags Aleister back in. Aleister whips Kyle, Kyle grabs ropes then dumps Aleister to the apron. Aleister knocks Kyle away, but that gives Fish an opening to sweep the legs, and Aleister crashes onto the apron edge!
Fans boo while Aleister slumps to the floor. Strong protests but reDRagon is back in control as we go to break.
NXT returns again, and fans rally for Aleister while Fish tags in Kyle. Kyle unloads strikes on Aleister until the referee backs him off. Tag back to Fish, and reDRagon mugs Aleister in their corner. Tag back to Kyle, he sweeps the leg then puts on a leg lock. Fish tags in, to then slingshot senton in!
Cover, TWO! Fish keeps focus as he brings Aleister up and unloads body shots. Tag to Kyle, Aleister fights back. Kyle takes him down and unloads palm strikes. Fans boo and jeer while Kyle taunts Strong. Kyle brings Aleister up and puts him in the reDRagon corner. Tag to Fish, then a cheap shot to Strong, Kyle runs in for a forearm smash, Fish follows up for a knee smash, then Kyle comes back around for the running roundhouse. Kyle feeds Aleister to Fish, Fish gives Aleister an exploder! Cover, Strong breaks the pin. Strong coaches Aleister up and fans rally, but Fish puts Aleister in a chinlock. Aleister feeds off the fans’ energy, and fights out of the hold. Fish clubs him and whips him, but Aleister sunset flips over, TWO! They get to opposite ends, Fish walks over but Aleister gives him a knee strike right to the head. The fans rally again, Aleister and Fish crawl for their corners, hot tags to Kyle and Strong! Strong rallies, corner Shining Wizard for Fish and a flurry of strikes for Kyle! He whips and dropkicks Kyle, then fires up! Strong bumps Kyle off Fish, chops Kyle, repeat! Another whip, but Kyle reverses, only to end up in a half-nelson backbreaker!
Fish returns, Strong throws him overhead and onto Kyle!
Strong is all fired up, as are the fans! He runs in at Kyle, corner Shining Wizard and running slam! Fish breaks the cover, then knocks Aleister back off the apron. Strong throws Fish out, but Kyle gets him with a low kick. Kyle hits the Axe, but Strong hits the Smash with that knee strike! Both men down, the fans are fired up. Fish is furious, but then Aleister blasts him into the steel steps with a boot!
The Dutch Destroyer isn’t done there. He puts Fish in the ring, but then Cole appears and attacks Aleister!
However, Aleister stays standing. He scares Cole back with a glare, then pursues up into the bleachers.
Cole asks Aleister calm down, even as Cole backpedals and Aleister stomps his way up the steps. However, without someone watching Strong’s back, reDRagon hits TOTAL ELIMINATION!
The Undisputed Era win and retain! Fish & O’Reilly are ecstatic, Aleister is flabbergasted!
Aleister will not stand for this, he storms down back to the ring. He strikes Fish with a roundhouse and then clobbers Kyle with one. Cole returns to throw Aleister right into a post! Cole has reDRagon drag Aleister out and add on knees before Cole gives Aleister right hands. “You’ll never be us! You’ll never beat us!” He then backs up and gives a bicycle boot right to Aleister’s face! Then, Cole mocks Aleister by lifting him up with his foot, and feeds him to TOTAL ELIMINATION!
The fans boo and jeer the Undisputed Era, but they don’t care. Cole has Kyle prepare something even worse. Kyle goes out, and grabs a chair. Fish drags Aleister up while Cole takes that chair and sets it up. Fish feeds Aleister to Cole’s fireman’s carry, Ushigoroshi to the chair!
The referee calls in help while Cole asks Aleister, “Have we made it clear?!” The Undisputed Era stands over Aleister and poses with the belts.
Fans continue to boo and jeer as the Undisputed Era sees themselves out. However, William Regal meets them at the stage.
“Philadelphia has an extreme history.” Regal tells Adam Cole that he’ll be facing Aleister Black at TakeOver: Philadelphia, in an Extreme Rules match!! Cole glares at Regal, but then he backs off, and grins. He already gave Aleister a taste tonight, will he finish the Embodiment of the End in the City of Brotherly Love?
This was a great night, and almost a full hour! I was shocked to see Shayna win from referee stoppage, but that actually goes a long way towards her character. She could be like the Samoa Joe of the Women’s Division with her lack of remorse, and I kinda felt bad for Dakota Kai being her victim. Dakota already hasn’t been used all that much in NXT, and now she’ll be kayfabe injured and off TV again. As for Shayna, she is coming out as a front-runner for Ember Moon’s #1 contender, despite what Regal said. And if Ember VS Shayna happens, it will make complete sense if Shayna takes that title from Ember the first try. Ohno-Mendoza was a great, competitive match (though it was technically filler) and builds Mendoza up a bit in the mid-card. Both men are just waiting for something, I’d think Ohno will go to main roster finally via the Royal Rumble. Mendoza can then rise up in a story similar to Tye Dillinger or Johnny Gargano, winning over fans over time and being a workhorse to help elevate others.
It was great to see Lio Rush back on NXT TV, too bad for him it was against Lars Sullivan. Lars-Lio was still a great match, like a not-squash squash match. Lars calling out Big Damo is great, their match is going to be great, and the winner will look exponentially stronger for it. The NXT Tag Team Championship #1 contender’s match of AoP VS Street Profits is going to be fun, and both teams did great promo work tonight. While the AoP is heavily favored, I anticipate the Street Profits surprising us. This will, at the very least, give the AoP their way out onto the main roster. The Undisputed Era attacking SAnitY to weasel their way out of the title defense was a nice surprise, and then the last-minute slapdash team of Strong & Black was incredible. Of course, Undisputed Era was going to retain, they need to lose those belts to an established tag team, but it was a masterful way of building to it. Cole-Black in Extreme Rules is going to be insane, but I can’t see them using it as a way to end Aleister’s singles undefeated streak, that’d just be cheap. It will also be the first time Aleister gets extreme in WWE/NXT, I want to see what he’s capable of.
My Score: 8.5/10