All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service
- NXT Tag Team Championships: The Undisputed Era VS The Authors of Pain w/ Paul Ellering; Undisputed Era win and and retain the NXT Tag Team Champoins.
- Kassius Ohno VS Velveteen Dream; Dream wins.
- NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon VS Shayna Baszler; Ember wins and retains the NXT Women’s Championship.
- Extreme Rules Match: Aleister Black VS Adam Cole; Black wins.
- NXT Championship: Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Johnny Gargano; Almas wins and retains the NXT Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
The NXT Preshow panel is joined by Samoa Joe!
The former NXT Champion, though out with a foot injury, is here in Philadelphia to watch and analyze all the action of his Alma mater in the WWE. He looks forward to everything tonight, and updates us that he’s “feeling strong and healing quickly.” The main roster should consider this a silver lining, since Joe won’t be in the Royal Rumble.
Corey Graves & Renee Young present the NXT Year End Awards for 2017!
Both alumni of NXT are back to honor the highlights and superstars of last year, as decided by the fans via social media and WWE’s official website.
The first award of the night is the Rivalry of the Year. The winner is: Aleister Black VS Velveteen Dream! The Patrick Clark Experience wanted the Embodiment of the End to acknowledge his enigmatic brilliance, and to #SayMyName! Aleister would refuse to do so, as Dream came off as “a child throwing a tantrum”, but in the end, both men would come to respect the other. Aleister made Dream #FadetoBlack, but still said his name. To accept the Golden Ring Bell is Velveteen Dream himself! He takes the bell and thanks God. Why? Because Velveteen Dream is the closest thing to the Light that NXT will ever have. However, tonight is not about the Light and the Darkness. Tonight is about a Velveteen Dream “guaranteed” 30 second KO of Kassius Ohno. Doubters can doubt but you’ll all still #SayMyName.
The second award of the night is “a very, very big one”, it is the Male Competitor of the Year. The winner is: Aleister Black! The Dutch Destroyer is still undefeated in 1v1 competition, so how does it feel to get the Golden Bell? “I set out to do something different.” Something unique and unconventional. The Golden Ring Bell validates that mission, so he thanks the fans for their support. And while he’s here, Renee lets Aleister know he’s also the Breakout Superstar of the Year, so he can expect a second golden bell soon for himself. The Embodiment has already dominated in three categories, will he dominate in tonight’s Extreme Rules match?
The Year End Awards continue after a break.
The third award is for Female Competitor of the Year. The winner is: Asuka! The Empress of Tomorrow was the natural choice after being an undefeated NXT Women’s Champion for 523 days and against many different opponents. Asuka accepts the Golden Ring Bell and reminds everyone that “No one is ready for Asuka!” She’s definitely Corey’s pick.
The fourth award is for Match of the Year. The winner is: Tyler Bate VS Pete Dunne in TakeOver Chicago’s WWE UK Championship match! Tyler Bate appears to accept, and recounts his 2017. “I’m absolutely honored and I’m really grateful for everyone that voted.” Bate even gives props to his rival, Pete Dunne, who is himself a great wrestler. What’s next for Bate? Another match of the year candidate, for sure.
Meanwhile, Pete Dunne joins the panel.
The British Bruiserweight also had quite a great 2017, such as when he won the UK Championship. What does this mean to him? Dunne had two objectives last year: become WWE UKC, and establish the WWE UK Division. His TakeOver: Chicago match accomplished both. Why does Pete Dunne think he and Tyler Bate were standouts from the UK Tournament? Because he and Bate both wrestled with chips on their shoulders as two men who were often overlooked. Joe acknowledges that Dunne and Bate are like wrestling ambassadors. Dunne agrees, because the WWE UKC is the end all, be all to him in wrestling.
What does Dunne have planned next? He wishes to further raise the prestige of the UK Championship and Division. Who would he love to face from outside the UK Division? “Anyone and everyone”, from NXT Champion to Universal Champion. If he had one thing to say to Bate right now, what is it? Dunne would tell Bate that he’s had his turn, “who’s next?”
The Year End Awards resume on stage.
“This is it,” the final award of 2017. The final category is the biggest of all, it is for THE Overall Competitor of the Year! Aleister was Male Superstar of the Year, Asuka was Female Superstar of the Year, but the winner here is: ASUKA!
The Empress claims her second Golden Bell of the night! Can Asuka continue her incredible domination in the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble match?
Zelina Vega appears on the Preshow panel.
She asks them “Do you guys see what’s wrong with the picture here?” They were talking about the NXT Year End Awards, but they forgot about “the only man that matters.” Andrade “Cien” Almas didn’t win a single category! But the fans decided who won those awards. Oh so it was losers voting for losers? Did anyone here count the votes? No? Then Zelina demands a recount! But, Almas only became champion at the end of 2017. Zelina takes a seat to properly represent her client. Almas went from zero to 100 in that little a time! He and Zelina “are this brand”! Then why didn’t fans choose him? “Because teh fans are losers.” More importantly, Almas will still have the championship after tonight. JOe says it’s easy to reach the top but harder to stay there. Gargano has momentum, and maybe if Almas stays “tranquilo” he can win. Zelina says Almas is the greatest star in NXT ever, even bigger than Joe! Joe doesn’t believe that, but will let Zelina have her opinion.
Sam Roberts brings up Almas needs to keep his championship and have more defenses to establish himself, but Zelina is confident that’s how it’ll happen tonight. Zelina ignores Gargano’s parallels to Almas, because Almas has won twice already and will win the third. But that’s a difficult thing to do, and Joe says it’ll be difficult for Almas. This is also a different Gargano he’s up against. Zelina still doesn’t care. She explains that “we are the NXT Champion”. Her guidance and his focus, they will win again. Joe uses his experience to make sure Zelina understands it is tougher than anyone can imagine to stay on top. Zelina says Almas will show rather than tell. Is Zelina being defensive? Zelina has no time left, but promises Almas will win and retain. She takes her leave, will her words carry through the night?
The Road to Wrestlemania starts tonight!
Philadelphia has always been the land of extreme. “But this isn’t about dwelling in the past. This is about creating the future.” The revolution is growing, and the revolution is N X T!
NXT Tag Team Championships: The Undisputed Era VS The Authors of Pain w/ Paul Ellering!
Akam & Rezar want those titles back and they want them NOW! Does the duo known as reDRagon stand a chance of surviving?
Perhaps Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish don’t, as Akam & Rezar are upon them the moment they hit the ring!
O’Reilly & Fish manage to escape the ring, but the AoP are rabidly waiting. The champions regroup and prepare themselves while Ellering calms his pair of behemoths. The bell rings, Fish starts with Rezar, Fish runs but gets run over! He bails out of the ring again to walk it off, but Akam keeps him from going too far. Fans chant “Shock the System!” while Fish slowly reenters. He stays by the ropes then tags in O’Reilly. O’Reilly circles, and manages to stick ‘n’ move with kicks to Rezar. He goes for a leg, but Rezar uses power to push him off. They each dare the other to bring the fight, Kyle kicks Rezar’s legs. Rezar grabs those feet and rolls O’Reilly but misses the clubbing ax handle. The two men get up, Rezar tackles O’Reilly right down!
Fist after fist hammer O’Reilly but O’Reilly grabs the triangle hold! He rolls Rezar but can’t extend the arm so he hammers away with palm strikes. Rezar shoves him off, O’Reilly narrowly avoids the boot and escapes the ring. The champions regroup again while Philly applauds and the referee counts. O’Reilly walks up the steps and takes his time reentering. He backs up and tags Fish back in. Fish evades Rezar and kicks at the leg. Rezar catches one kick and brings Fish to the AoP corner to tag in Akam. Akam & Rezar drive knees into Fish, then a fireman’s carry takeover before a big stomp. Akam glares at O’Reilly before going back to Fish. Fish drives in a knee then tags in O’Reilly, O’Reilly comes in but gets thrown to the mat. Akam runs him over with a shoulder, reDRagon has to regroup again. The champions want to walk out on this match, but they get run over around the corner instead!
Akam & Rezar coordinate, and throw Fish right into steel steps. They go after Kyle with haymakers from all sides. Kyle tries to get away but flops right off the apron and back to the floor. AoP put Fish in the ring, Fish tries to run away again, but Akam grabs him in a wheelbarrow to slam him into the barriers!
Fish slumps to the floor while Akam grabs O’Reilly. Akam tags in Rezar, they mug Kyle in their territory. Another tag, and they give O’Reilly the side slam stomp. Akam’s knee bothers him, so the referee checks on him. He’s good to go, he whips Kyle, but Kyle dumps Akam to the apron. Akam fights back, Fish sweeps that bad leg! Rezar runs Kyle over, but then Fish tackles Rezar right out of the ring!
They topple to the floor hard, and O’Reilly goes over to Akam. Akam fights back but O’Reilly unloads various strikes before sweeping that bad leg. Fish returns, tags in, and they both go after Akam with sharp kicks. Fish tags O’Reilly back in, they keep Akam offbalance by going after those legs. Akam tries to fight back but Fish tags back in to hold that leg open. O’Reilly runs in, but Akam elbows him away. Fish tries but Akam puts him on the apron. O’Reilly returns but gets thrown down, Fish yanks that bad leg to also crotch-shot Akam on the ropes. Akam can’t defend himself from Fish’s kicks, or the body splash to the bad knee. Fish wrenches the knee, then drags Akam up and around. He gives body shots and tags in Kyle, Akam tries to fight back but Kyle chop blocks the leg. Kyle then pulls on that leg to turn Akam over, but Akam kicks him away. The fans duel while the two men crawl, Kyle gets the bad leg in a kneebar!
Akam endures while Kyle adds on an Achilles lock, and even clubs at Kyle’s back, but it doesn’t get Kyle to let go. Akam drags himself to ropes and gets the break, Kyle is forced to let go. Kyle tags in Fish, Fish stomps that bad knee. Fish tags Kyle back in, they both go after Akam with knee strikes, and even a table top trip back into the kneebar. Akam grabs the ropes again, but Fish tags back in, slingshot senton! Cover, TWO, reDRagon is frustrated. Fish drags Akam up for forearm strikes and kicks to that bad knee. He gives a cheap shot to Rezar, but that only pisses Rezar off. Akam gets a big body drop on Fish! Hot tags to Rezar and O’Reilly, Rezar rallies on reDRagon! He slams Fish with a trophy slam, then slams O’Reilly with a spinebuster! Rezar won’t slow down, and the Philly fans love it! Rezar scoops O’Reilly but Fish hops on with a sleeper. This doesn’t stop Rezar, he just slams them both!
Cover on O’Reilly, TWO! Ellering looks worried, but Rezar gets up and goes after O’Reilly again. He brings O’Reilly up for a powerbomb but O’Reilly counters with a guillotine. Rezar tosses him off all the same, but then takes knees to the stomach and shoulders! He staggers to the Unidsputed corner, Fish tags in. O’Reilly and Fish run a corner strike train! Fish goes for an overhead suplex but Rezar reists. O’Reilly kicks out Rezar’s leg and Fish gets the suplex!
Cover, TWO! Fish is shocked, but he doesn’t stop. He drags Rezar over then tags O’Reilly in. O’Reilly grabs Rezar in a sleeper but Rezar fights out to boot Fish down and clobber O’Reilly with a clothesline! AKam returns to the apron, even with his bad leg. The fans rally while Rezar tags in Akam. Akam walks over and drags O’Reilly up. Rezar gets running, but runs into Fish’s leaping knee strike! O’Reilly rolls Akam into the kneebar! Fish subdues Rezar with a sleeper hold!
Rezar gets up while Akam endures, Rezar throws Fish onto O’Reilly! The two holds break at the same time and all four men are down while the fans applaud. The fans rally and duel while the competitors stir. Rezar rolls out one side of the ring while Fish rolls out the other. O’Reilly and Akam stand up in the ring, and O’Reilly kicks away at the bad leg. Akam gets up each time, despite the pain. O’Reilly shifts to hitting Akam in the head but that only fires Akam up. He catches O’Reilly in a one-leg overhead suplex!
Akam rams knees into O’Reilly, then clobbers Fish off the apron! He lifts O’Reilly and gives him a buckle bomb before returning to those massive knees. Rezar returns to boot Fish right down, and now they hit their favorite, the Super Collider!
However, O’Reilly reverses and throws Akam at Rezar with a huricanrana! Then he rolls Akam up in a school boy, Undisputed Era win!! The champions retain by the skin of their teeth and once again #ShockTheSystem!
Kassius Ohno VS Velveteen Dream!
This match was made because the Knockout Artist said “I told you so” to the Patrick Clark Experience after he failed to defeat Johnny Wrestling on last Wednesday’s NXT. Dream promises to not only defeat Ohno, but do it in 30 seconds or less. Will Dream get to say “I told you so” back to his opponent tonight?
Dream is ready for Ohno to the point that he even has a special mouth guard to protect against Ohno’s devastating elbow strikes. Meanwhile, Ohno represents the Pittsburgh Pirates with the black and yellow.
The fans are already fired up before the bell rings. They count those 30 seconds to keep Dream to his word, but Dream struggles as Ohno gets him against the ropes. Dream turns it around to throw body shots in a corner, but the referee backs him down. Dream gets the haymaker, and he wants the ten count! The referee checks on him, the fans count for Dream, but Ohno gets up to knock that mouth piece out!
The fans boo and jeer, they thought Dream was gonna do it. Dream picks up his mouth piece, but Ohno kicks him right in the face! Then boots him out of the ring! Ohno goes out to fetch Dream, bringing him up and into the ring. Dream hits Ohno with a sucker punch back elbow, then runs, only to run into Ohno’s boot! Ohno runs, into Dream’s spinebuster!
Both men are down but Dream springs up to pose for a second. The fans are loving this match already as they cheer for “Vel-ve-teen!” Dream stomps and punches Ohno, Ohno staggers to a corner and Dream keeps up the boxing. Dream whips OHno corner to corner while the fans keep up the chanting. He toys with Ohno, then drags him up for a big suplex. Cover, ONE, so Dream kicks Ohno in the back and clubs him in the head. Ohno is down, so Dream swivels his hips over him. Dream drops knees into ribs then kicks Ohno while he’s down. The referee reprimands Dream, but that doesn’t stop Dream from choking Ohno on the ropes. Dream stomps Ohno and demands he quit already. Ohno stands up and chops Dream back, so Dream rocks him with an uppercut. Dream snapmares Ohno down and into a modified abdominal stretch. The fans rally while Dream puts pressure on the ribs. The fans duel while Dream shifts to a camel clutch, but Ohno uses power to get up and carry Dream into a corner. Dream turns it around, then takes off his arm band before unloading on Ohno in the corner. The referee has him back down, but Dream shouts that tonight is “Dream Over!” He kicks Ohno in the face, but that only fuels the fire. Dream climbs up and hits a double ax handle, TWO. He keeps on Ohno with more ax handles and frustrated kicks to the ribs. Dream wants Ohno to quit, or #SayMyName. Ohno refuses to do either, he endures the clutch to power up again. Dream keeps him down and on the ropes, then lifts Ohno with a fireman’s carry. Ohno elbows his way out, but Dream boots him in the face. Dream tries a suplex but it is Ohno countering with a suplex toss! The fans applaud while both men are down again. A ten count begins, and the two men stir. The count climbs past 6 before Dream stands up. He clubs Ohno, Ohno rock shim with a forearm. Dream gives Ohno a European Uppercut, Ohno retaliates with an elbow. Ohno then chops Dream, boots him, and runs for a lariat. Ohno keeps moving with another boot, then the back senton! He isn’t done there, either. He takes aim, spins and boots Dream down!
Cover, TWO! Ohno grows frustrated, but he keeps his focus. He calls for his killer elbow, and fans rally as he stands up. Ohno brings Dream up, brings him around, but Dream counters with a backslide, TWO. Dream’s kick is blocked, Ohno spins around, but Dream gets him with the second SUPERKICK! Dream then drives Ohno down with the sidewinder DDT!
Cover, TWO! Now Dream is the one surprised. The two men stand up, Dream climbs up top. He jumps, into Ohno’s boot! Ohno keeps going with a stiff elbow, then runs for the high– Rolling Death Valley!
Dream rolls Ohno to a cover, TWO! The frustration grows in Dream, but he stands up and calls for the end. OHno gets him in the wristlock, ripcord, roaring elbow! TWO! Ohno doesn’t know how Dream survived, but Philly loves it all the same. They’re thunderous as Ohno brings Dream up. He spins him around, but Dream evades the elbow for another fireman’s carry, and another Rolling Death Valley!
Dream hurries to the top rope, and from the post he hits the Purple Rain Maker elbow!
Dream wins!! It wasn’t in 30 seconds, but it was still a win. Can Dream use this momentum to rise to the top?
NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon VS Shayna Baszler!
The Prophecy of Flame fought for so long and finally achieved her dream. However, the Queen of Spades quite literally bullied her way onto the scene. Will the underdog reign already come to an end?
The bell rings and the two tie up, Shayna gets the waistlock and slam. Ember gets up and gets the standing switch but Shayna puts her in a corner. She grinds a forearm in Ember’s face before honoring the break, then trips Ember anyway. Ember goes after Shayna, but Shayna uses the ref as a shield. Shayna then takes Ember down and grinds her palm into Ember. Ember shoves Shayna away, Shayna just grins at Ember. Ember ducks under Shayna’s kick then kip-ups. Shayna blocks a kick and goes for her signature Kirafuda but Ember throws her off and sweeps the legs! Shayna stands up with a frustrated grimace, but Ember dropkicks her down! She does it a second time! And a third time! Shayna gets out of the ring and walks off her frustration, but Ember runs and DIVES!
The champion knocks her challenger over and Philly fires up. Ember drags Shayna up and into the ring, then stalks the Queen of Spades from behind. Shayna gets to a corner, Ember handsprings but into Shayna’s takedown, where she repeatedly knees Ember in the face! Shayna lets her hair down and then gives Ember one last big kick before the cover, TWO! The fans cheer Ember on while she slowly gets up, but Shayna shoves her back down. Shayna stands on Ember’s hand before stomping on her arm!
Ember’s arm bent just like Dakota Kai’s did weeks ago on NXT! Shayna just laughs it off while Ember writhes. She goes after that arm with a seated keylock that shifts to a torturous wristlock. Shayna drops a knee on it, and Ember continues to writhe. Cover, ONE, but Shayna is still all smiles. She toys with Ember while she stomps on the injured arm. Ember endures the kicks and the wrenching while the fans continue to support her. Shayna bends and twists the arm again, then pulls it as hard as she can while she keeps Ember down. Ember rolls and escapes the hold but Shayna just kicks her down. Shayna uses the ropes now, and only the referee’s count gets her to let go. Shayna keeps toying with Ember, daring the champion to try something. Ember uses her good arm to slap Shayna, then she evades Shayna’s strike to slap her again. Ember keeps retaliating with kicks and that one good arm. The fans fire up while Ember springboards for the crossbody!
TWO! Ember and Shayna stand up, Ember runs in for a forearm smash on Shayna. The champion climbs up with one arm, wanting her finish. She takes aim, jumps and hits the Eclipse!!
That bad arm hurts Ember, she can’t make the cover. Shayna is out cold but Ember can’t do a thing about it from the pain! The referee checks on her, and asks for medics to come out. The fans boo, they don’t want it to end this way. Ember doesn’t want that either, but she can barely do anything with that arm. The fans call “Bullshit!” Ember stands up, she drags Shayna up, but SHayna catches her in a modified armbar!
Ember resists while she reaches with her legs, but Shayna has that bad arm locked. Ropebreak! Shayna lets go, then staggers to her feet. She drags Ember but Ember’s good arm holds the ropes. The grip lets go, Shayna puts the lock back on! Ember claws at Shayna, but she cant’ get free. Shayna keeps the lock, even as Ember flails and rolls! Ember runs out of steam, Shayna keeps wrenching the bad arm. Shayna goes to hook a leg but Ember keeps flailing. Ember endures another wrenching of the arm, rolls but cannot escape! Ember doesn’t need to escape, she just rolls and covers, SHE WINS!! No one can believe this, least of all Shayna! Ember’s savvy helped her survive, but what is teh state of that arm?
Forget the arm, Shayna goes after Ember’s throat with her Kirafuda Lock!
She brings Ember down on the ramp and chokes her out! The Queen of Spades is a sore loser to say the least. She lets go when more referees appear, only to put the back on! Shayna wants Ember to pay for escaping defeat, but what will the consequences of this attack be?
Extreme Rules Match: Aleister Black VS Adam Cole!
It is an understatement to say that this grudge has grown as intense as possible. The Embodiment of the End transforms into the Embodiment of Extreme, will he make the Undisputed Leader #FadetoBlack?
Anyone unfamiliar with Extreme Rules should know, that there is only one rule: win! The bell rings, the two men stare at each other from across the way. Cole trash talks while fans already declare “This is awesome!” The two run at each other and trade off forearms! Cole gets an advantage but then gets kicked right out of the ring. Aleister runs, but fakes Cole out to then sit down. Cole doesn’t hesitate to grab a chair! He paces while fans chant “E C Dub!” but Aleister calmly watches. Cole gets on the apron and says Aleister should be afraid. Instead, Aleister ducks the strike, kicks Cole low and takes the chair from him. Cole bails out of the ring again, so Aleister simply sits and waits for him to reenter.
Cole gets up and in, but Aleister throws the chair out to then throw Cole out. Aleister pursues and rocks Cole with a right hand! He keeps up on Cole, but Cole hits back and bumps Aleister off the apron. Cole brings chairs out from under the ring, kicks Aleister and bounces him off the barriers, then brings out a trash can. The can is tossed into the ring while Cole boots Aleister down again. Cole puts more chairs in the ring, but Aleister comes back with strikes. Cole knees low again to throw Aleister into a barrier! The fans love it while Cole looks for something. He fetches a kendo stick! However, Aleister grabs one for himself. The two men get in the ring, armed with the bamboo swords. Aleister then reconsiders, he wants Cole to come at him! Cole laughs, and says Aleister is stupid for this. However, Aleister dodges each of Cole’s swings to then swing away with forearms and kicks! Aleister runs and springboards but Cole SMACKS the Quebrada out of the air!
Aleister writhes while Cole catches his breath and the fans lose their minds with “Holy Shit!” Cole stands up, still armed with the kendo stick. He walks over and SMACKS Aleister across the back. “You don’t know how you’re dealing with!” Cole uses the stick to bend Aleister back. Aleister stands up but Cole brings him down with a backstabber!
Cover, TWO! Cole grows frustrated, but he keeps on Aleister with a rain of right hands and stomps. The fans wants Cole to “Get the Tables!” Cole rolls out of the ring and obliges! He drags out a table and Philly goes wild! Cole brings the table around while Aleister flounders in the ring. Cole sets the table up while fans cheer “Too Sweet! Woop Woop!” The table is placed at an angle near a post while fans serenade themselves with “Oh~ We Want Some Tables~.” Cole lets them know they’re gonna get tables while he drags Aleister over. They go up to the top rope, but Aleister resists. Aleister fights back and crocks Cole with rights, to then throw him down onto the trash can!
Now Cole writhes while Aleister recovers. The Dutch Destroyer stands up and runs in for a running knee! TWO! Aleister does not lose focus, he just formulates a new plan. He goes outside and brings out a second table! The fans love what they see as Aleister sets his table up next to Cole’s. Aleister thinks about it, and it seems if two tables are better than one, then a ladder will only make it that much better! However, Cole dropkicks that ladder into Aleister, and Aleister hits the announce desk. Cole takes that ladder and sets it up in a corner. He then fetches Aleister and brings him back into the ring. Cole drags Aleister up and over to the ladder, but Aleister resists the suplex. He turns thigns around on Cole but COle resists. Aleister evades a punch but Cole gives him an enziguri! A dazed Aleister ends up in a corner, Cole stomps and punches away on him. COle climbs up to give corner punches, but he stops at about 6 to hit his “BAYBAY” pose. He continues but Aleister turns it around to an Electric Chair, to fling him at the ladder!
Both men are down but the fans are fired up as they lose their minds again. The referee checks on both men, but they’re somehow still okay to compete. The fans rally and Aleister starts to stir. He crawls over to Cole, Cole clutches his own hand. The medics must check on him, which upsets the fans a bit. Aleister manages a cover, TWO, but that doesn’t deter Aleister. He stands up again, and picks up one of those chairs. Aleister stands it up, then brings Cole over to place his head there. Aleister runs, but Cole revives to bring that chair up and ram it into Aleister’s stomach! Cole catches his breath before grabbing another chair and standing it up. He hobbles over to Aleister and brings him over now. Cole wants a repeat of NXT from weeks ago but his back gives out in the fireman’s carry. ALeister tries to grab Cole but Cole elbows him away. Cole goes for the Shining Wizard but Aleister ducks under to roll him up. Cole dodges a kick, but not the double stomps!
Aleister drags Cole over to that chair, sets his head down and gets to the apron. He climbs up top, but Cole gets up and throws the chair at Aleister. SUPERKICK knocks the chair into Aleister’s face, and then Aleister falls back to fall through the tables!!
Philadelphia loses their minds harder than ever with that crash landing! Cole recovers in the ring while the referee checks on Aleister. The fans chant for “NXT! NXT!” while Cole slowly makes his way out and over. He drags Aleister’s limp body up and around the wreckage before putting him in the ring. Cover, TWO!? Cole has no idea how Aleister survived, but fans know “This is awesome!” Cole brings a chair back over and sets it up again. He then brings a second chair over and sets it up with the first. Cole thinks for a moment, and decides to invert the chairs. He grins an evil grin before bringing Aleister up, but Aleister reverses and throws Cole onto the chair edge!!
Cole clutches his break as he writhes in pain and the fans hit an all time high. They even tell Cole “You deserve it!” Cole crawls his way around to the chairs and makes one into a crutch. Aleister knees that chair into Cole!
Cover, but then the rest of the Undisputed Era appear to disrupt it!
Kyle and Fish drag Aleister out, and hit an unfortunately legal Total Elimination!
Aleister goes down at the hands of the banged-up reDRagon, but there’s nothing the referee can do to stop them. Philly calls “Bullshit!” on this as reDRagon drag Aleister over and around the ring. They coordinate to take the announce desk apart, as well as position Aleister on spare production trunks. SAnitY appears to make the save!
They clobber the NXT Tag Team Champions mostly for what they owe the Undisputed Era from weeks ago. They throw reDRagon all around ringside, and Big Damo is in the ring with Cole. He wants Cole to watch as he DIVES onto everyone!
Damo takes out reDRagon AND SAnitY, and though Cole is frightened, the fans eat it up. HOwever, Aleister is still prone on the trunks, and Cole takes advantage! He goes over and brings Aleister up, but Aleister blocks. Aleister knocks Cole away, then takes aim, to double knee drop Cole through the announce desk!
The fans again chant for “NXT! NXT!” while Aleister drags himself over to Cole. He brings Cole up and into the ring, and fans chant “MAMA MIA!” Cole SUPERKICKS Aleister outta nowhere! Cole crawls back to a chair, and he vows to use it to end this. He brings that chair up but BLACK MASS outta nowhere!!
Aleister wins!! This match went to the extreme, but it is still Aleister’s win! Can anyone hope to stop the Embodiment of the End?
NXT Championship: Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Johnny Gargano!
El Idolo does not believe Johnny Wrestling is a match for him, but Johnny FREAKING Wrestling refuses to be doubted ever again. Can Gargano dethrone El Campeon this soon into his reign?
The fans are already thunderous for Johnny Wrestling before the bell. The bell rings and the two men stare down while they slowly circle. The tension builds and then they tie up. Almas powers Gargano aruond and into a waistlock, but Gargano keeps up with Almas in technical back and forth. Gargano gets the facelock but ALmas gets loose, fans applaud. They circle again, the cheers continue, Almas gets the waistlock again. Gargano gets a wristlock and then the arm wrench, bringing Almas ot his knees. Almas stands up and tries to pry hsi way out, but instead slips around to another waistlock. Gargano feels his way through the hold to reapply the wristlock and into a hammerlock. Gargano gets the headlock takeover, Almas headscissors but Gargano pops out. Almas turns the tables but cannot pop out of Gargano’s headscissors. He still finds a way out and the two go seated switch for seated switch. Almas stands up and the fans applaud again. Mrs. Wrestling, Candice LaRae, watches from the front row as Gargano and Almas go again. Almas brings Gargano in for a headlock but Gargano powers out, only for Almas to rum him over with a shoulder. Things speed up, but Almas fakes Gargano out. Almas grabs Gargano and has the hammerlock but Gargano denies the DDT. Gargano goes for his submission but Almas slips out, he goes for the hammerlock again but Gargano reverses. Gargano still wants his submission hold but Almas continues to resist. The two separate once more, and the fans are loving it. Both men grin, Gargano because he knows he’s always close but Almas because he is still ahead. The two walk and circle again while the fans cheer “This is Wrestling”. The two go again but Almas kicks low, then drives Gargano to a corner. He whips corner to corner but Gargano goes up and over and side steps the hit a running headscissors and dropkick!
Gargano arm-drags Almas to an armlock, and fans applaud again. Zelina doesn’t like what she sees. Almas keeps from being caught in a cover, but Gargano puts more and more of his weight on Almas. Gargano keeps on an arm, but ALmas pulls on hair to put Gargano in a corner. Almas whips Gargano corner to corner again and fakes Gargano out, for a STIFF chop!
The chop gets Gargano across the face and chest, but Almas keeps on him with stomps. He drags Gargano up and around to a corner for another stiff chop. Almas whips Gargano back into the corner but Gargano boots back. Gargano hops up and throws ALmas with a flying huricanrana! He clotheslines Almas out then slingshots, but Almas evades. Gargano alley-oops Almas up but Almas lands on the apron. Almas asais but Gargano evades, Gargano hops onto the apron. Gargano jumps to evade Almas’ leg sweeps, then mule kicks Almas away. Gargano takes aim and jumps for the cannonball, but Almas side-steps!
Johnny Wrestling hits nothing but floor! Candice is concerned but Almas drags him up and into the ring. Cover, TWO, and Almas grows frustrated. Zelina keeps him focused as he stomps on Gargano. The fans continue to cheer for “Johnny Wrestling!” while Almas brings him up. Gargano revives to give southpaw forearms, but Almas shoves him away. Gargano turns that around to throw Almas at ropes, but Almas goes Spider-Man on the ropes. He then shifts and blocks Gargano’s forearms to then put Gargano in a dragon sleeper on the ropes!
The referee counts, Almas lets go at 4. He then sits Gargano up for a dropkick right to the head! Cover, TWO, and Almas grows further frustrated with Gargano. He puts Gargano in the chinlock. The fans rally, which upsets Zelina. Gargano endures the squeeze, but he starts to fade just a bit. The fans keep cheering while Zelina calls Gargano a loser. Almas shifts to put Gargano into a deeper chinlock stretch, but Gargano does not quit. The fans rally stronger now, and Gargano feeds off the energy. He wills himself up and fights back to free himself. Almas slips out of the scoop but Gargano denies the dragon sleeper. Gargano tries to suplex but his back won’t let him. He slips out of Almas’ suplex and rolls him for the schoolboy kick! Almas crawls to a corner, Gargano gets up and gives him a running chop. They go corner to corner, Almas reverses but Gargano puts him on the apron. Gargano kicks but Almas blocks and hangs him up in a Tree of Woe! Almas climbs up, takes aim, but Gargano leans back to avoid the draping stomps! Gargano gets out and throws Almas into the buckles!
Both men are down, but Zelina is the most concerned. The champion and challenger stir, and then they brawl with sharp elbows back and forth. Fans cheer for Gargano but boo Almas. Gargano gets an edge with short lariats. Almas shoves Gargano, he returns with a big forearm! Gargano rallies with forearms from both arms and then rocks Almas with an enziguri. Almas staggers to a corner, Gargano runs in for a forearm smash. Gargano hops up, takes aim, and hits a tornado downward spiral!
Cover, TWO! Zelina breathes easier, but she still wants her man to get back into this. Gargano brings Almas up. Almas revives, misses, but elbows his way out of Gargano’s move. Gargano kicks back and throws Almas to the ropes. Gargano knows he’ll Spider-Man so he slips under to the outside. Almas knocks Gargano back with a forearm then gets running, but into Gargano’s slingshot spear!
Cover, TWO! Zelina panics but Gargano keeps his cool. Gargano gets space before standing back up. He runs at Almas in a corner for a big kick, then runs for the tilt-o-whirl, but Almas makes it a facebuster! TWO, and Almas again grows frustrated. Zelina coaches her man, he rams a right forearm into Gargano’s head. Almas then climbs up to the top, moonsault but Gargano evades, Almas lands on his feet to immediately moonsault again! Cover, TWO! Zelina is furious and Almas is shocked. Almas drags Gargano up and gives him more stiff elbows. Gargano responds with his own elbows, then runs but into a big back elbow! Cover, TWO and three quarters! Almas runs, but into Gargano’s SUPERKICK!
Cover, TWO! Gargano and Almas get moving again, going lariat for lariat and slap for slap! The two fall down but the fans applaud this instant classic. The two men stir and get to opposite ends of the ring. The fans hope they “Fight forever!” while Almas gets to a corner. Gargano runs in but into a boot. Almas hops up, Gargano grabs a leg, so Almas enziguris him with the other leg! He brings Gargano up and onto the top rope. Almas climbs up to join him, hammerlock and facelock, but Gargano resists. Gargano slips out but Almas denies the powerbomb with punches. Gargan slips outs and SUPERKICKS Almas upside-down!
Almas is stuck up there, and Zelina panics all over again. Gargano climbs up again, and goes to sunset flip Almas but Almas springs out and lands on his feet! CIEN KNEES!
Almas goes corner to corner, but Gargano evades and Almas hits buckles! Gargano gets to the apron, slingshots in, but Almas catches him for a draping facebuster and clubbing forearm! Almas keeps going, inverted tornado DDT!
Cover, TWO! Zelina looks this close to ripping her hair out over this but Philly gives a standing ovation! Gargano and Almas drag themselves to the apron while the fans are thunderously cheering. Almas brings Gargano up, wants the DDT but Gargano hooks a leg on the ropes. Almas clubs Gargano and lifts with a fireman’s but Gargano slips out. Gargano rocks Almas with a forearm, Almas forearms back. They brawl like this, Gargano enziguri Almas but he stays on. Gargano sees his opening, slingshot DDT to the apron!!
Both men slump to the ground, the referee checks on Almas. They’re both okay to continue, so the referee starts a ring count. Gargano drags Almas up and over at about 4, and they both get in at 7. Cover, TWO! Zelina keeps coaching, but Gargano slips around and slowly applies his hold. Almas revives just in time to resist the final phase. The two struggle and stand up, jawbreaker from Almas. He then wrenches Gargano’s arm but gets a forearm for it. Almas swings but Gargano spins him, the back elbow comes in from the other end. Zelina shouts orders, Almas runs, but into Gargano’s lariat! Gargano keeps moving, scooping Almas for the long dart! Gargano isn’t done there, and the fans know it. He takes aim, Zelina swipes at him, Almas dropkicks in the distraction! Almas hurries to do anything, but Gargano counters with a small package! TWO!! super feint to mule kick, then killer mule kick! TWO!! The fans still applaud this insanity and want them to “Fight Forever!” while repeating that “This is awesome!” Gargano gets up and crawls over to a corner. Almas chases at a crawl while Gargano climbs up. Almas anchors a foot but Gargano punches him away, but Almas sweeps the legs. Gargano hangs on as Almas climbs up now and keeps up those elbows. Almas reaches the top, draping stomps to the apron!
Gargano topples down and his eyes glaze over. Almas drags him up to shove him back into the LED board! He won’t let up, he keeps bouncing him off the board. The referee backs him off but Almas wont’ stay back. Almas drags Gargano up and in, then watches him in the corner. CIEN KNEES again!!
TWO!? No one can believe Gargano survived, but this is how much winning the NXT Championship means to him! Gargano’s eyes still look dazed, but fans still hope they “Fight Forever!” Almas and Gargano fight as best they can on the ground. Almas slaps Gargano, and fans boo the disrespect. He does it again, but Gargano keeps moving. They stand up, Gargano revives to throw a left haymaker. Then another, and another. Gargano keeps going, slapping Almas back. Almas chops Gargano, Gargano SUPERKICKS, then POISONED RANA!!
The fans fire up all over again, as does Gargano! Almas is the one dazed, Gargano gets running, tilt-o-hwirl into GargaNO Escape!!
Almas crawls and reaches, but fans chant “TAP! TAP!” The champ rolls but Gargano keeps a hold of him! Zelina reaches out for Almas and keeps him from tapping. The referee goes over to her, and in that time, Almas scratches Gargano’s eyes and gets him to let go! Almas goes over to Gargano, wants the hammerlock but Gargano power shim to a corner. Gargano shoves Almas over and out of the ring, then runs to DIVE!
He puts Almas in the ring, but then Zelina finds an opening to get on the apron and hit Gargano with a flying headscissors! Gargano is sent into steel steps!
Zelina shouts for Almas to fetch Gargano and he does. They return into the ring, Almas brings Gargano up, and hits the Hammerlock DDT!!
Almas covers, TWO!?!? Gargano lives!? Philly chants “YES! YES!” for the unofficial heir to Daniel Bryan’s legacy! The fans will not give up on “Johnny Wrestling!” but Zelina has hit her limit. She gets on the apron and shouts at the referee. Gargano rolls away in the meantime. Zelina storms her away around the ring, headed right for him, but in comes Candice to defend HER man!
Mrs. Wrestling unloads on La Gerente, then throws her right into the barriers!
The assault continues but Zelina retreats through the crowd! Candice gives chase, and now Almas is alone against Gargano. The fans say “Thank you, Candice!” while Gargano gets himself onto the apron. Almas comes over but Gargano kicks him away, to hit another slingshot DDT!!
TWO!? Even so, Gargano puts his GargaNO Escape back on! He bends Almas back and Almas endures, his legs get a ropebreak. Gargano lets go and Almas gets to the apron. Gargano goes out to join him, Almas shoves him into the post! The referee checks on Gargano as he slumps down, but Almas gets to the opposite ends. CIEN KNEES NUMERO TRES, and into the ring post!!
Almas leaves Gargano down and out on the outside. The referee checks on Gargano again, but Almas comes back over. Gargano somehow pulls himself up but Almas brings him the rest of the way. The fans keep cheering for Gargano as Almas drags him over the top rope, for a SUPER DRAPING HAMMERLOCK DDT!!
Almas covers, Almas finally wins. As Mauro Ranello puts it, “You could not ask for more out of an NXT Championship match.” Whether by hook or by crook, El Idolo inches out a win against Johnny Wrestling to remain NXT Champion. Zelina even returns to celebrate with her man. Has Almas earned a place in the conversation of top superstar in NXT?
As for Gargano, his wife, Candice, returns to check on him.
Mrs. Wrestling consoles Mr. Wrestling, he did nothing wrong in this match. Philadelphia also cheers for him and his superhuman effort. The chant of “Thank you, Johnny!” mixes with the others while Candice helps Gargano up the ramp. He turns around to give Philly one last look.
But then Tommaso Ciampa attacks from behind!!
The Psycho Killer returns to make Gargano’s loss even worse! Gargano writhes on the ground, and his former friend simply stares at him. Philly calls Ciampa an “Asshole!” but he doesn’t care what they think. Ciampa simply wants to make good on his promise to bring Gargano down with him. When will he strike again?
NXT just raised the bar on everything else in WWE with this special alone. Everything was brilliant from start to finish, and with no complaints from me. The NXT Year End Awards were fun to see presented in the preshow, and they truly went to the most deserving nominees. The NXT Tag Team Championships opening was a great surprise and completely works within story given the attitudes of the Authors of Pain. Obviously reDRagon were the underdogs despite being champions, and they played it up well. That said, they managed to exploit the one weakness all humans have, and that is the joints. There was great storytelling with going after Akam’s leg, and though it technically didn’t lose AoP the match, the leg came into play enough to help reDRagon come away with a win and those NXT Tag Team titles. This defeat likely means AoP could show up on the main roster as soon as Monday to do whatever they want to the main roster’s tag team divisions. Likewise, Ohno losing in a stellar match with Velveteen Dream could mean he’ll finally make his way to the main roster and perhaps freshen up the mid-card. If I had to choose, I’d put Ohno on SmackDown to challenge Bobby Roode for the US Championship.
The NXT Women’s Championship match was also incredible, and it felt like Philly legitimately disliked Shayna Baszler. Shayna played up her Heel persona perfectly, and there was again great storytelling through Ember’s arm injury. Ember’s character may not have gone the way it should have but she still impresses with how she persevered and found a way to win. Of course, Shayna ups the ante with a Sore Loser Heel move, she is not through with the Women’s Championship scene just yet. Aleister-Cole was the first Extreme Rules match for NXT, and probably the best one of those in the history of WWE as a whole. There was innovation in the destruction as well as legitimacy in the storytelling, such as reDRagon coming out to legally interfere on Cole’s behalf only to be thwarted by SAnitY. SAnitY are still owed NXT Tag Team Championship rematches, but Wrestlemania Weekend is so far away that the rematch will likely happen long before then. Either team could come away champions, but both teams will definitely give an amazing match. And probably the most amazing match ever was properly saved for last as Almas and Gargano tear it up and tear it down for the NXT Championship. I still can’t believe they went as long and as hard as they did even after it’s all said and done. I was also glad to see Candice get involved to stop Zelina from interfering, as she’s super close to making her own NXT debut. Almas still wins in this microscopically close match-up, so that he isn’t a transitional champion. While it means Gargano is swept 0-3, that in itself feeds his ultimate underdog story, and allows him and the returning Ciampa to feud over personal pride and disdain rather than the gold. And in which case, Ciampa VS Gargano in the feud we’ve been waiting for is going to be full of instant classics itself.
My Score: 9/10