NXT promises a double main-event to settle some scores! Will The EST stay Un-De-Fea-Ted against Nikki Cross? Will EC3 get even with Adam Cole, BAYBAY?
- Nikki Cross VS Bianca Belair; Belair wins.
- Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner VS Stanley Watts & Hector Kunsman; Barthel & Aichner win.
- EC3 VS Adam Cole w/ The Undisputed Era; Cole wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Johnny Gargano head to the ring!
And he seems to be in a great mood tonight. Full Sail is a bit conflicted, but Gargano still has fans cheering for him. Gargano picks up a mic and wishes everyone a Happy New Year! Gargano says 2018 was obviously a roller coaster for him, but he had plenty of time to reflect. He realized something: “Success around here is measured by two things: wins and championships.” It doesn’t matter how hard you try or how good you are, it only matters if you win and get titles. Therefore, Gargano vows to be better in 2019, he vows to win, and vows to become champion. Fans do like the sound of that. But fans also duel between “Johnny Wrestling!” and “Johnny Venom!” Gargano addresses Tommaso Ciampa, and fans chant “DIY! DIY!”
Gargano says he heard what Ciampa said, but don’t get it confused. That moment in the cage meant nothing! It was a one time thing that will never happen again. As far as Gargano goes, Ciampa’s still trash with the title Gargano wants. But again, it’s about wins and titles. And there’s another title out there. As soon as Ciampa put the idea out there, Gargano VS Ricochet for the NXT North American Championship, Ricochet fired at Gargano. Ricochet said that if Gargano wants the smoke, Ricochet’s right here. Gargano tells “Rick” that he doesn’t want smoke, he wants gold! And he’ll take it from Ricochet. Ricochet may fly like a superhero, but– Well here comes Ricochet to respond! The One and Only King of Flight has all the fans on his side as he joins Gargano in the ring. Fans chant “That’s a champion!”
Ricochet tells Gargano that all he had to do was ask. But Gargano says he’s going to take the title? Well then Ricochet asks Gargano, will it be face-to-face? Or will it be an attack in the parking lot? But Gargano talks all this talk that he’s “Johnny TakeOver” and all that. Ricochet reminds Gargano that at TakeOver, there will be one and only North American Champion, “and you’re looking at him.” Gargano is about to say something, when Tommaso Ciampa appears! The Psycho Killer wants them to wait just a moment. Wins and championships is what NXT is all about, right? Gargano tells Ciampa to shut up. This is about Gargano and Ricochet, not about Ciampa. Ciampa seems confused as to Gargano’s attitude, but then Aleister Black appears on the titantron.
“Tommaso, I sincerely hope you are more concerned with me than you are with grooming your little dog of war.” Because Aleister is an actual threat to Ciampa. They’ll meet in Phoenix, and Aleister will make Ciampa truly #FadetoBlack. The lights go down, and then they come back, to reveal Aleister is here! Aleister attacks Ciampa, and boots him off the stage! Ciampa scrambles to commentary but Aleister pursues! They fight on the table, but Ciampa escapes a dangerous suplex off the table! Ciampa goes running and Aleister pursues. Gargano SUPERKICKS Ricochet outta nowhere! “Johnny Venom” strikes again, but will he get the title win he wants in Phoenix?
William Regal makes a major announcement!
The War Raiders have been on the sidelines given Hanson’s injuries, but the Warbeard is back at 100%! Now Hanson and Ray Rowe will challenge the Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong for the NXT Tag Team Championships! Will the war finally be waged in Phoenix? Who comes out the other side with the titles around their waists?
Nikki Cross VS Bianca Belair!
The Loony Lass and the EST look to finally settle their score before Cross crosses over to the main roster. Will Bianca remain Un-De-Fea-Ted before facing the Queen of Spades for the title? Or will Nikki give Bianca a memento to remember her by in her first ever loss?
The bell rings and fans duel between the EST and the twisted sister of SAnitY. Nikki and Bianca stare down, then Bianca pie faces Nikki. Nikki laughs it, then eggs Bianca on. Bianca pie faces Nikki again, then Nikki shoves and tackles Bianca! Bianca swings her ponytail, but Nikki avoids it. Nikki swings her jacket around, then the two circle again. Nikki gets a leg but Bianca clubs her away. Bianca runs into an elbow, and Nikki tries rolling her up, but Bianca handsprings through to escape! Bianca dropkicks Nikki down then whips her to the ropes. Nikki dodges and runs back in to tilt-o-whirl headscissor Bianca down. Bianca gets to a corner and puts Nikki on the apron. Bianca knocks Nikki off, but Nikki trips Bianca up. Nikki traps Bianca in the apron skirt and clubs away! Fans fire up with Nikki’s frenzy as she puts Bianca back in.
Nikki climbs up top, but Bianca rocks her with a forearm. Bianca trophy lifts Nikki off the top rope, to then drop Nikki on the mat. Bianca moonsaults and covers, TWO! Nikki grits her teeth but Bianca grows frustrated as she stomps Nikki out. Cover, TWO! Bianca drags Nikki up and puts her in a standing abdominal stretch. Nikki resists with clasped hands but Bianca pries the arms apart. Bianca pulls and stretches Nikki but fans rally up. Nikki endures as Bianca hammers away. Bianca shifts to a scoop and backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Nikki crawls to ropes but Bianca toys with her. Bianca brings Nikki up and clubs away on her back. Bianca suplexes and holds Nikki up, but Nikki counters to a DDT! Cover, TWO! Nikki claws her away away as fans rally.
Bianca sits up and the two throw hands as they stagger about. Nikki tackles Bianca and thrashes about! Bianca gets away but Nikki roars as she runs in. Nikki hits the corner splash, then a bulldog! Nikki slaps herself before pulling Bianca up. Dragon sleeper, inverted DDT! Cover, TWO! Bianca survives but that only amuses Nikki. Fans duel as Nikki brings Bianca up. Bianca spins through the neckbreaker to buck Nikki off. Bianca SPEARS, covers, TWO!! Nikki survives and Bianca is shocked! Bianca rains down rights, then runs for the splash, but gets knees! Nikki hits The Purge! But Bianca rolls all the way out of the ring to survive! Nikki is furious as she stalks Bianca to the ramp. Nikki hops on for a sleeper! Flashbacks to their first encounter as Bianca drops Nikki with the backpack senton! Bianca crawls away as the ring count begins.
Nikki sits up as the count reaches 6. Bianca and Nikki crawl at 7, and get in at 9.5! Bianca thought she had this match won, but fans rally up as it continues. Nikki and Bianca fire themselves up and collide with furious fists! Bianca clubs and shoves Nikki to a corner. Nikki dodges to send Bianca into the post! Roll up, TWO!! Fans love this but Nikki grows frustrated. Nikki runs in but Bianca rocks her with a right! Both women are down and a standing count begins. Nikki get to ropes at 6 but Bianca stands at 7. Bianca runs in to tackle Nikki in the corner. She rams her shoulder in, puts Nikki on the top rope, and climbs up to join her. Nikki shoves Bianca down. Nikki leaps, but hits nothing but mat! Bianca lifts Nikki for the KoD! Cover, Bianca wins!
Winner: Bianca Belair, by pinfall
The Kiss of Death ensures the #1 Contender remains Un-De-Fea-Ted ahead of her first title match! Will Bianca be able to trump the Queen of Spades? Or will it take more than being the EST to defeat #ShaynaTwoTime?
The Street Profits are on the street.
Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford hang out at Full Sail to free style. They’re feeling fine, looking to take over in 2000 one nine. Happy New Year, secret handshake! The Profits did pretty great in 2018, they even evolved. But the doors are locked right now. Wait, they find one open! That’s what they’ll do in 2019: opening up doors. The tag divisions will all know that the Profits never lost. War Raiders, Raul & Humberto, but especially the Undisputed Era, they’ll see see the Profits come for that gold. Make sure to tune in to “season three” of Street Talk! The best show on the Network, the best show in the world, the best show of all humanity! Will the #CurseofGreatness only be that much greater in 2019?
Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner VS Stanley Watts & Hector Kunsman!
The European Union of the second generation German and the Italian Tank has had some early success on NXT UK, but now they come to NXT America to see if they can do the same! Will they be able to make an impact in two Tag Divisions at once?
The bell rings and Barthel starts against Kunsman. They circle and tie up. Barthel gets the standing chinbar and wrangles Kunsman down to the mat. Barthel grinds a boot in as he shifts around to a hammerlock. He grinds his elbow into Kunsman’s head, then goes after the other arm. Barthel hooks the chin and shifts to a facelock. Kunsman reverses and arm-drags, then wrenches again. Tag to Watts, and Watts kicks Barthel in the face! Barthel makes Watts pay for that with a chop and a clamping chinbar. Watts rolls and handsprings to arm wrench, but Barthel breaks free to throat chop Watts hard! Tag to Aichner, and Aichner chuckles at “the little guy”. Aichner throws his tooth pick at him a la Razor Ramon, but Watts makes him pay with CHOPS!
Aicher shoves Watts and then pops him up high! He catches Watts, swings him around, but Watts sunset flips! Watts avoids a stomp and tags to Kunsman! Things speed up but Barthel tags in. Aichner catches Kunsman but Kunsman slips out. Kunsman throws hands on both EU, but runs into the spinebuster and Penalty Kick! Cover, TWO! Barthel drags Kunsman over to stomp in a mudhole and throw heavy hands. Tag to Aichner, and Aichner picks Kunsman up for a tackle into buckles. Aichner stomps his own mudhole, then tags Barthel. Aichner puts Kunsman into a post, then holds him there for Barthel’s baseball slide! The EU soak up the heat before putting Kunsman back in the ring. Barthel drags Kunsman but Kunsman fights back! Enziguri rocks Barthel! Hot tag to Watts and Aichner!
Watts rallies with swift kicks! Watts runs and calf kicks, but Barthel tags in. But Watts sees him coming and intercepts with a corner forearm. Aichner runs into Watts’ boot, and Watts hops up, only for Barthel to rock him with a right roundhouse! Barthel then feeds Watts to Aichner’s brain buster! Barthel hits Kunsman away, and then Aichner feeds Watts via powerbomb to the German Suplex! Bridging cover, the European Union wins!
Winners: Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel, Barthel pinning
NXT America, NXT UK, both Tag Divisions better watch out for this heavy hitting duo. Which titles will the EU get a shot at first in 2019?
Cathy Kelly gives us an update on the opening altercation.
After all that went down between Aleister Black and Tommaso Ciampa to start the night, both men have been sent home to avoid any further fighting. However, Cathy spots Ricochet and starts an impromptu interview. How does the One and Only feel about what happened? Ricochet told Gargano straight up to ask for a match. But now it doesn’t matter, because Ricochet will go after Gargano with everything he has. Gargano superkick’d away any respect Ricochet had for him. Gargano thinks he’ll take the title, but Ricochet says he’s going to take Gargano down. What will it take for one to defeat the other at TakeOver: Phoenix?
Backstage interview with Keith Lee.
What is the Limitless One’s response to Kassius Ohno’s vicious beat down of Matt Riddle? “Matt Riddle is someone I have traveled this world with, and the attack by Kassius Ohno was… unsettling.” Lee dares Ohno to show up and learn a little something about respect. Lee assures Ohno will have no choice but to #BaskinMyGlory. Will Ohno man up to take on the Limitless Lee?
EC3 VS Adam Cole w/ The Undisputed Era!
The Top One Percent still owes each member of the Undisputed Era for that attack on him that kept him out for a couple months in 2018. He got the better of Bobby Fish before the New Year, but can he make #VictoryAfterVictory more than a catchphrase against the Era’s charismatic leader in the New Year?
The bell rings and EC3 talks trash with Cole as they circle. Fish says “Don’t waste any time with this goof.” EC3 and Cole tie up as fans duel. Cole wrenches the arm but EC3 reverses to a headlock. Cole powers EC3 to a corner but Cole backs off to hit his catchphrase, BAYBAY. EC3 shrugs it off but Cole gets a waistlock. Cole gets a headlock but EC3 slips to a hammerlock. EC3 puts the headlock back on but Cole powers them back to a corner. EC3 lets go but says his name, “E! C! 3!” Cole grabs EC3 in a headlock but EC3 powers out. EC3 runs Cole over, then things speed up. EC3 fakes Cole out to CHOP him off his feet! He scoops and slams Cole but Cole rolls out. So EC3 blasts Cole to the barriers!
Fish protests but EC3 comes out to fetch Cole. The Era backs off and EC3 puts Cole back in. Cole rolls out the other side, but EC3 pursues. Cole leaps to hit a BIG enziguri! Fish asks the fans if they heard that, as Cole throws EC3 into the steel steps! Cole leaves EC3 behind to take a little bow. He then fetches EC3, and puts him in a corner to stomp a mudhole. Cole dropkicks the bad arm, and EC3 writhes in the corner. Cole snapmares EC3 to then drive in elbow and go after the bad arm. EC3 endures as fans rally up. EC3 gets up but Cole knees low. Cole drops EC3 with a neckbreaker, but is in no rush to end this. Cole toys with EC3, but EC3 throws Cole out! EC3 pursues but Cole rocks him with a right.
Cole wants to suplex EC3 but EC3 resists. They fight, and EC3 suplexes Cole into the ring! The Era is upset but the fans are strongly behind EC3! EC3 counter punches Cole, then whips to run Cole over with an elbow. EC3 scoop slams Cole again, and “Say My Name, BAYBAY!” Elbow drop! EC3 picks Cole up but Cole fights out. Cole wrenches and whips but EC3 reverses into the STO DDT! Cover, TWO! Cole rolls to the apron but EC3 keeps after him, only to get a hotshot on the arm! Cole bicycle boots EC3 down, covers, TWO! The Era keeps Cole’s head in the game but fans rally up to keep EC3 in the match. Cole fireman’s carry but EC3 fights out. EC3 shoves Cole but Cole boots and backstabs EC3! Cover, TWO!! Fish protests that “slow” count, but Cole gets up and pulls the knee pad down.
Cole runs, but misses his Last Shot! EC3 hits the German Suplex and a BIG lariat! Cover, TWO!! EC3 can’t believe Cole survives, but the Era coaches Cole back up. EC3 drags Cole up, suplexes, but Cole resists. Cole wrings out the bad arm, then lifts EC3, for the Last Shot brainbuster! Cover, TWO!! EC3 survives but Cole isn’t done, he puts on an armbar! Cole fights EC3’s grip, but EC3 still holds on. THe hands come apart but EC3 rolls to deadlift powerbomb Cole! THe Era rushes the ring but EC3 fights them off! SUPERKICK from COle! Lash SHot shining wizard!! Cover, Cole wins!
Winner: Adam Cole, by pinfall
Cole gets the victory, but give huge assists to the Undisputed Era! EC3 and Cole are tied 1-1, but will EC3 be around to break the tie?
The Undisputed Era add insult to injury as they beat down EC3 like a pack of wolves! But here come the War Raiders! It’s 2v4 but the Raiders don’t care! Rowe clubs away but Fish tackles him out of the ring. Kyle and Roddy coordinate, but Hanson cartwheels out of harm’s way! Hanson grabs both of them, shoves Strong away and rips at Kyle’s shirt. Hanson wrecks them with heel kicks while Rowe wrecks Fish and Cole. Rowe rushes the ring and picks up Strong, and Hanson picks up Fish. Hanson stacks Fish onto Rowe’s shoulders, powerbomb powerslam combo! But the Raiders aren’t done here, as Hanson climbs up top. Rowe picks up Kyle, for FALLOUT!! Rowe and Hanson are coming for the gold, is there any stopping these war machines?
A great episode, even with two matches that had very predictable finishes because of the call-ups Raw and SmackDown have been hyping for weeks now. At least Bianca VS Nikki III finally got a finish, after a great match. Bianca also needed to win to keep that Un-De-Fea-Ted streak going and be strong going up against Shayna Baszler. There is still a lot of time before TakeOver: Phoenix, but I don’t think Bianca is going to lose a match before then. Shayna might get in her face, punk her out, beat her down, but Bianca won’t have her first loss before their title match. And as for Nikki, she’s obviously going to SmackDown to join SAnitY, especially since Lacey Evans was on Main Event, aka Raw’s dark match preshow. And at this rate, Shayna won’t lose until Wrestlemania, to then put her and the other Horsewomen on main with Ronda.
EC3 VS Cole was pretty fun, what with The Undisputed Era roaming around. Fish is so easy to hear even when he’s not on mic, and he had some great banter. Like with Nikki Cross, EC3 loses because he’s headed to main, and it leaves Cole looking strong. There is surely still time before we can actually expect him on Raw, so maybe we’ll get the Six Man Tag of EC3 and War Raiders against any three Undisputed Era members to lead towards TakeOver. Lee VS Ohno and Street Profits making their return next week will make for great stuff, too. Just not sure how likely it is Profits are going to get those titles if War Raiders are getting their shot, too. If Raiders aren’t going to take those titles, I can’t see Ford & Dawkins doing it, either.
One thing NXT does really well is make a jobber/squash match not seem like a jobber/squash match. However, they still fail to give us the names of the jobbers before the match is over. That aside, Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner got a great match out of Watts & Kunsman, which makes all four guys look great, but especially the winning Barthel & Aichner. Dakota Kai (when she was healthy), Deonna Purrazzo and now the “European Union” are some great crossover stars right now, and I would love if they decided to make any one of those superstars a crossover threat to the titles. While they didn’t do this with the North American and United Kingdom titles, I would love if someone like Deonna Purrazzo was able to have both and perhaps bring about a crossover TakeOver, USA VS UK.
Gargano VS Ricochet for the North American Championship is going to be great, and I really liked the subtle things in how we got to that match. Ciampa did a good job conveying that Gargano’s behavior confused him. Perhaps in Gargano’s mind, he’s still his own man, but clearly accepting the idea of challenging Ricochet says otherwise. If Gargano wins the title, I have a feeling it won’t be clean. And I really hope we get Ricochet & Black VS “totally not reunited” DIY. That match is great just on paper, so I hope we get to see it as the go-home for both these stories. Then the interactions of the four can tease possibilities for post-TakeOver stories. Ricochet VS Ciampa or Ricochet VS Black would be great, titles or not, but I wonder if they’d at least tease a midcard VS main title Champion VS Champion story.
My Score: 8.6/10