The first NXT of 2019 will be a special Extended Edition! Relive the best moments of 2018 while Matt Riddle and Kassius Ohno have their TakeOver rematch!
- Matt Riddle VS Kassius Ohno; Riddle wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
WWE mourns the loss of “Mean” Gene Okerlund.
Cathy Kelly is in the NXT Control Center!
She will guide us through the NXT Year End Awards 2018 nominees! Who will win the prizes of Best Male, Best Female and Breakout Superstar?
But first, a sample of the huge NXT North American Championship crowning ladder match from TakeOver: New Orleans!
After such a hellacious match, it would be Adam Cole who reigned as the inaugural North American Champion. Cole would hold onto that title a long time, with help from his friends in the Undisputed Era. However, it would be in a match with another of the Six Man Ladder Match that would come back and take the title from him at TakeOver: Brooklyn 4. The One and Only Ricochet is only the second-ever North American Champion, but The Undisputed Era promises to be “draped in gold” in 2019. Will Cole or another member come back for the NXT NAC soon enough? Or will the King of Flight stay out of their reach?
Speaking of Ricochet, he is a nominee for NXT Breakout Superstar of 2018. Joining him are: Captain Kick, Dakota Kai; the Leviathan, Lars Sullivan; NXT UK’s Rhea Ripley, who is also the inaugural NXT UK Women’s Champion; War Raiders, Ray Rowe & Hanson; the Lady of NXT, Lacey Evans; The Top One Percent, EC3; The EST, Bianca Belair, who is still Un-De-Fea-Ted. Who do you think deserves to be name THE Breakout Superstar of 2018?
2018 was all but defined by DIY.
Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano waited years for their moment, traveled the world together for their moment, and fought so hard to get their moment. But then the Psycho Killer had to make it his moment. The team went from DIY to “DI Why Ciampa Why?” And from there, a war would be waged. Ciampa would blame Gargano’s selfishness, but Gargano told him that’s just Ciampa’s paranoia. But the reason stopped being what mattered. Gargano fought but failed to become NXT Champion, and Ciampa would return to make sure he never did. Fans still supported Gargano no matter what Ciampa said or did. Gargano would fail to end things with Ciampa in New Orleans in their Unsanctioned Match, and that would only serve to drive Gargano into the same darkness as Ciampa.
As for Aleister Black’s path to this point, he faced then NXT Champion, Andrade “Cien” Almas, at TakeOver: New Orleans. The Embodiment of the End was driven by the devil on his back, but El Idolo was driven by his manager, La Muneca, Zelina Vega. Almas and Aleister would battle to hell and back, and Vega would even try to sway things in Almas’ favor, but Almas would still #FadeToBlack. Aleister won the title he sought, but then things would be marred by the DIY Civil War. On July 25th, 2018, Gargano’s interference in wanting after Ciampa would cost Aleister his title. Ciampa would finally have his moment, and the wrath of the Dutch Destroyer would target Gargano. A decision was reached that it would be a Triple Threat for the title.
However, Aleister would be attacked in the Full Sail parking lot, and an investigation would begin. Only Nikki Cross knew the truth. And after weeks of questioning without results, Nikki would whisper it to Aleister. And Aleister had even MORE reason to unleash his wrath upon NXT! It was Gargano all along! Gargano was only the hero of this story in his own mind now. Aleister and Gargano would battle it out at TakeOver: WarGames II, but not even that would absolve Gargano of his sins. And now, it would seem “darkness” is what the D in DIY stood for all along. Ciampa would help Gargano defeat Aleister Black in an NXT Steel Cage match weeks ago, and now things are topsy turvy. Will Gargano follow Ciampa’s lead? Or is there still hope for redemption in Johnny Wrestling’s soul?
NXT shares the nominees for Tag Team of 2018!
Oney Lorcan & Burch are the scrappy One Two Combination that leads the way, followed by the Street Profits, Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford. Heavy Machinery, Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic, are headed to the main roster, but #SteaksAndWeights fueled them to a six month winning streak! Mustache Mountain are the crossover sensation between NXT America and NXT UK. Trent Seven & Tyler Bate already checked off the NXT Tag Team Championships, will they soon check off the UK equivalents? The War Raiders are also in this category, as they brought the fight to many teams from the moment they arrived. And of course, The Undisputed Era makes the list as the current NXT Tag Team Champions. Whether it’s Cole-O’Reilly, Fish-O’Reilly or Strong-O’Reilly, “We can’t be stopped!” But will Tag Team of the Year be the one award the Undisputed four don’t win?
NXT gives us just a sample of the tag team division’s abilities.
It was TakeOver: Chicago 2018 that Strong & O’Reilly defended the titles against the One Two Combo of Lorcan and Burch. It was incredible to watch as the crowd started solidly on the side of Strong & O’Reilly, and then shift to duel between both teams. Lorcan & Burch did not win the titles, and are still grinding it out to earn another shot. Can Lorcan & Burch make 2019 the Year of the Brawlers?
NXT presents the nominees for Rivalry of the Year:
- Gargano VS Almas
- Baszler VS Moon
- Gargano VS CIampa
- Undisputed Era VS Mustache Mountain
- Velveteen Dream VS Ricochet
- Aleister Black, Nikki Cross, Ciampa and Gargano
- Kairi Sane VS Bianca Belair
Any one of these feuds and the matches therein are amazing, but which one do you think deserves to be deemed THE Rivalry of 2018?
NXT also has nominees for Future Star of NXT!
Fans have their choice between Matt Riddle, Mia Yim, Keith Lee, The Forgotten Sons, Candice LeRae, Io Shirai, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir of the MMA Four Horsewomen, and even Kona Reeves and Dominik Dijakovic. Who has your vote as THE brightest star of NXT’s 2019?
Let’s not forget Match of the Year 2018!
WarGames II, Ciampa’s July 25th title win, and more are on the list, visit WWE’s official site for them all! What amazing match will you choose as THE very best?
One match that’s also great, especially for the superstars involved, is when Bianca Belair defended her Un-De-Fea-Ted streak against The Virtuosa, Deonna Purrazzo. It was August 22, after TakeOver: Brooklyn 4, and The EST did not expect to be challenged by Deonna like she was. In the end, Bianca would win and keep her streak alive, even to today. Neither woman has held gold just yet, but Bianca has her shot at TakeOver: Phoenix against #ShaynaTwoTime. Can the Un-De-Fea-Ted streak continue and make Bianca the EST Women’s Champion?
Exclusive footage of Gargano’s backstage interview from 12/19/18.
Did DIY working together against Aleister Black a sign that they’re a team again? Gargano ignores that question to ask “Why is Gargano such a good guy?” Gargano beat Aleister Black in a cage and absolved him of his sins. Johnny Wrestling is still the hero, in his mind. What will Gargano do next in the New Year?
NXT presents the nominees for Male Competitor of 2018.
Adam Cole vows the Undisputed Era is only getting started. Pete Dunne still reigns as WWE UK Champion for almost 600 days! El Idolo may be on SmackDown now, but Andrade “Cien” Almas was still an exceptional NXT Champion. The One and Only Ricochet is a human highlight reel like no other and is the reigning NXT North American Champion. Velveteen Dream brings the Experience to every match he’s in, and promises that 2019 will be #DreamForever. Johnny Gargano, both as hero and as villain, gave classic after classic because good or evil, he’s still “Johnny Freakin’ Wrestling”! Aleister Black has walked through “rain, fire and hell” to get here and is determined to make everyone in his way #FadeToBlack.
And of course, THE NXT Champion, Tommaso Ciampa, is still the Psycho Killer. “I am the greatest sports entertainer of all time!” But will Ciampa be THE Male Superstar of 2018?
And of course, NXT has the nominees for Female Competitor of 2018.
The War Goddess may be on Raw now, but she Eclipsed opponent after opponent and became NXT Women’s Champion in 2018. SAnitY’s Twisted Sister is also on her way out, but Nikki Cross brought chaos and fire inside and outside the ring. The Pirate Princess, Kairi Sane, is the inaugural Mae Young Classic winner, and checked off the NXT Women’s Championship in her war against Shayna Baszler. Bianca Belair is of course part of this category, as she has her title shot next, and is still Un-De-Fea-Ted. But speaking of, “no one else has fear as their ally” like The Queen of Spades. Baszler is the first ever Two-Time NXT Women’s Champion, and isn’t about to stop there. Will Baszler have both title and award to hold high in 2019?
Matt Riddle VS Kassius Ohno!
The King of Bros’ “debutt” was a huge success, but the Knockout Artist was only annoyed by the “shiny new toy”. Ohno would taunt Riddle for weeks after that, so Riddle did something about it. Riddle challenged Ohno to a match at TakeOver, and Ohno accepted, to then be knocked out in seven seconds! That obviously didn’t sit well, so Ohno sucker punched Riddle after a match weeks later. Will Riddle get even with Ohno for that cheap shot? Or will Ohno even the score now that he knows not to underestimate the King of Bros?
The bell rings the two go right at each other! Ohno dodges Riddle but Riddle dodges Ohno. Riddle fires off strikes and kicks in the corner, then runs side to side for a forearm smash. He runs the other way for another smash, then wants to throw Ohno with an exploder. Ohno resists with elbow after elbow, but Riddle still throws him overhead! Riddle hits a big back senton, a move Ohno usually uses. Riddle rams knees into Ohno’s ribs, then stomps him down with an ax kick. Ohno gets up and Riddle rams his knees in again. Riddle chops Ohno to ropes, but Ohno throat chops! Ohno suplexes Riddle and tosses him! Riddle crawls to a corner but Ohno is on him with a rocking right forearm! Ohno stomps away and then traps Riddle’s leg in the ropes before booting him down!
Fans duel as Ohno stomps Riddle again. Ohno drags Riddle up for a snapmare and then a somersault senton! A cocky cover, TWO! Ohno keeps on Riddle but Riddle hits back. Ohno boots Riddle down and Riddle sputters to ropes. But Ohno doesn’t let up, he hauls Riddle up for an atomic drop! Fans duel as Ohno looms over Riddle. Ohno puts on a cravat and wrenches Riddle’s nick. Riddle fights but Ohno puts him on the ropes to snap him backwards. Fans boo Ohno as he pulls Riddle up by his hair. Ohno CHOPS Riddle, but Riddle CHOPS back! Riddle strikes again and again, then gets around for a BIG German Suplex! Bridging cover, TWO! Fans rally up for Riddle as he aims at Ohno.
Riddle kicks Ohno from both sides, then again. Ohno stands and blocks, and goes after the toes! Then he reels Riddle in for a pump knee, and the cyclone boot! Cover, TWO!! Ohno can’t believe it but Riddle survives! Ohno eggs the bro on and then grinds his boot into Riddle’s face. He drags Riddle up to club him, but Riddle CHOPS. Ohno punches but Riddle grits his teeth as he comes back with more palm strikes! Riddle rocks Ohno with a roundhouse, then roars, only to run into a bicycle boot! Ohno hits another back senton, and then another! Ohno gets big air, but his senton ends up in body scissors! Riddle rams elbow after elbow in, and gets the Bromission!! He hammers away on Ohno, Ohno taps!! Riddle wins!!
Winner: Matt Riddle, by submission
That was the most intense match of 2019! Well, it was also the first new match of 2019, but the bar is set high already! Ohno almost looks to be in tears while Riddle celebrates with the Full Sail fans. Riddle asks for Ohno to fist bump it out, but Ohno refuses. But then Ohno returns to the ring, promising to be peaceful. Ohno and Riddle stand together and fans want “Brohno! Brohno!” Ohno kneels, and now he offers the fist bump! Riddle gives it, but then Ohno whips Riddle into a post! The Knockout Artist couldn’t help but use that old trick. And then he throws Riddle into a post!
Fans boo and jeer but Ohno keeps on Riddle by throwing him into steel steps! Fans tell Ohno “You Still Tapped!” but Ohno drags Riddle up to throw him into steel steps again! Riddle writhes and spasms, but Ohno drags him up. “Do you know what I’ve done, bro!?” Ohno gives Riddle a roaring elbow! Fans tell Ohno “You Suck!” but Ohno mockingly gives the fist bump. Is this only the beginning of a new Feud of the Year in Ohno and Riddle?
I didn’t expect this episode to be two hours, and I didn’t expect it to be 7/8ths review, but it was still a good episode to start 2019. They made great selections for the matches sampled. The Six Man Ladder Match, the history of DIY and Aleister Black, and the TakeOver: Chicago II tag title match were amazing matches from this year. I was really surprised to see them feature Belair rather than Baszler. Perhaps this is a sign Bianca will turn Face and will get that belt off of Shayna to freshen things up in the Women’s Division. If anything, Baszler loses so that she can bring Jessamyn and Marina with her to main roster to join forces with Ronda, and we get that Horsewomen VS Horsewomen match for maybe Summerslam or Survivor Series 2019.
For the categories given, the easiest choice is that Kona Reeves is NOT going to win Future Star. The Forgotten Sons probably won’t either, but The Finest is not good enough just yet other than being jobber to the stars. I’d probably give that award to Matt Riddle myself. He and Ohno had a really great rematch tonight in the only match of the two hour show. This was roughly 15 minutes but it was incredible. And just when I thought this was Ohno’s farewell moment, he ups the Heel heat with that attack. Of course, the fact he’s not part of the call-up packages on Raw or SmackDown was another clue. I really hope they get their third match at TakeOver: Phoenix to give us a 20+ minute instant classic that ends up on next year’s Match of the Year nominee list.
My Score: 8.1/10