NEW NXT North American Champion, Johnny Gargano, promises to open the show! What will he have to say? Who will be first to challenge him for the title?
- Jaxson Ryker w/ The Forgotten Sons VS Mansoor; Ryker wins.
- Drew Gulak VS Eric Bugenhagen; Gulak wins.
- Drew Gulak VS Matt Riddle; Riddle wins.
- Six Woman Tag: Bianca Belair & The Sky Pirates VS The Horsewomen; Belair & The Sky Pirates win.
PLAY BY PLAY
Johnny Gargano starts NXT!
The NEW NXT North American Champion grins as he heads to the ring. Johnny Wrestling finally became Johnny Champion, and the fans even changed the signs to match. Gargano holds the belt up in the ring and gets himself a mic. Fans chant “Johnny Champion!” but also “Johnny Sucks!” Gargano likes how the former chant sounds, because it feels so great to be standing in Full Sail as North American Champion. Everyone’s been on this journey with Gargano for years, and most feel “You Deserve It!” Gargano agrees, “We deserve it!” TakeOver: Phoenix validated it all when Gargano won. Gargano is THE North American Champion, and Johnny Wrestling is back! But speaking of champions, here comes THE NXT Champion, Tommaso Ciampa!
The Psycho Killer has his own mic to tell Johnny, “I’m not out here to take away from your moment.” Ciampa’s here to celebrate the moment. TakeOver: Phoenix was when Gargano proved what Ciampa knew all along: Gargano knows how to listen, and knows how to follow Ciampa’s lead. And look at Gargano now! Gargano is North American Champion, Ciampa is THE Champion, they own the world! “This is everything we used to talk about.” The final shot at TakeOver, Gargano and Ciampa side-by-side again, that proved to the world that “this is OUR moment.” Fans chant “DIY!” but Gargano looks conflicted. Gargano says, “No. There is no ‘our’ moment!” The only reason Gargano came out at the end was to show Ciampa that Gargano will never need Ciampa! But now, Velveteen Dream appears!
The Patrick Clark Experience thinks “this is cute.” DIY, champions again. But let’s not all forget that tonight isn’t about their moment. It’s not about Gollum and Goldie nor Johnny Badass. This is about the man who stole the show by simply showing up. They know who that is, right? That’s Dream. But let’s also not forget that while DIY put the finishing touches on a fairy tale ending, Dream won the Worlds Collide tournament! And if they don’t know what that means, Dream has earned a championship opportunity of his choosing. And guess who Dream chose? Ciampa, please back away. Dream sees that “lust” in Ciampa’s eyes to share the spotlight again, but the Dream is over Ciampa. Dream doesn’t want that title. He goes to the ring and tells Gargano that Dream wants him. Gargano VS Dream for the North American Championship?
Fans chant “Take His Title!” But since Dream is so self-absorbed, Gargano will remind him of something. While Dream was in the crowd, Gargano put on another Match of the Year! Gargano was winning the title, and then he represented NXT in the Royal Rumble! Gargano’s on top of the world and feeling “a little dangerous.” If Dream wants to take his shot, go for it, because Gargano will win. Maybe Gargano will win. But the fans really want to know is when it’s 1v1, Gargano VS Dream, will it be Johnny Champion? Or Johnny Jackass?! Fans like the sound of “Johnny Jackass!” Dream and Gargano trash talk, but then Gargano backs down. Gargano leaves and Dream tells him it’s only a matter of time. Gargano and Ciampa then look at each other before leaving without a word. Will Gargano win when the Experience comes for his gold?
Jaxson Ryker w/ The Forgotten Sons VS Mansoor!
Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler won big against the Street Profits, but now it’s time for the trio’s Gunner to remind everyone what he’s capable of. Will he continue to #DoUntoOthers when facing one of the top prospects from Saudi Arabia?
For those who remember the inaugural Greatest Royal Rumble, Mansoor was one of the first signees from the region in WWE history, as introduced in front of the audience. Now “Manny” makes his NXT TV debut, but it’s against quite an intimidating opponent. The bell rings and Ryker powers Mansoor to a corner. Mansoor gets back with an arm wrench but Ryker elbows him down! Ryker drags Mansoor up for heavy knees to the head! Ryker drags Mansoor up for a back suplex lift, to put him on the top rope! He drags Mansoor into the Tree of Woe to club away! Ryker lets up at 4 then comes back to bring Mansoor up by his mane. He whips Mansoor into the corner again, but Mansoor elbows him away. Mansoor leaps but into a SPEAR! Ryker drags Mansoor up again, for a sit-out choke slam! Cover, Ryker wins!
Winner: Jaxson Ryker, by pinfall
The Forgotten Sons are all rolling on this Road to Wrestlemania Weekend! Ryker’s eyes show no remorse, and so do his actions! He gives Mansoor another sit-out choke slam!! Cutler and Blake get Ryker to leave Mansoor alone, but these three are far from through with the NXT roster. Will Ryker find himself in contention for a title soon enough?
Cathy Kelly waits backstage for an interview with Ricochet.
The One and Only updates the WWE photo gallery with a new shoot, but the Undisputed Era come over. They can’t believe Cathy seriously wants to interview a loser when she could interview Adam Cole. Ricochet’s a one trick pony while Cole is championship material, baybay. Ricochet hears all this trash talk, but Cole wants Ricochet to keep his cool. Cole was just saying that as far as the North American Championship, Ricochet’s back of the line. That title has Cole’s name on it. Did Ricochet knock a couple screws loose? Ricochet took that title from Cole. But if they want to prove who is more deserving, have a match. Cole accepts, and even looks forward to it.
As for Ricochet, he’ll find the opening to get that title back. Will Cole get one over on the One and Only? Or will Ricochet skip ahead of Cole in line to go after the winner of Gargano VS Dream?
Drew Gulak VS Eric Bugenhagen!
The Cruiserweight Division’s Philly Fury makes his NXT TV debut in a match! Full Sail loves to see Gulak, but will Gulak simply bring his same Laws of Drewtopia to NXT? Or will the debuting Wisconsin wild man win the with power of rooock~~?
Full Sail rocks out with Eric rocking out in the corner, but Gulak is not amused. The bell rings as Eric goes into an encore, but Gulak goes right at him! Eric dumps him with a spinebuster and shouts “Let’s rooooooock~~~!” But Gulak dropkicks Eric! Gulak gives Eric springboard stomps and kicks, then stomps a mudhole into the corner. Gulak scoops Eric to dump him into ropes on the far side. Fans rally for “Bugenhagen!” but Gulak CHOPS him! Gulak bumps Eric off buckles then drags him up for a snap suplex. Float over, TWO! Gulak slaps Eric around then drags him up into a chinlock. Eric gasps for air while fans rally up again.
Eric powers his way up and throws body shots, then whips Gulak to a corner. He rams his shoulder into Gulak then throws heavy haymakers. Eric whips but Gulak reverses. They go around but it’s Eric who gets the abdominal stretch! “Let’s rooooock~!” Air guitar on Gulak’s ribs! But Gulak elbows out stiff to belly2belly Eric overhead! Gulak throws Eric again and drags him up into the GuLOCK! Eric taps, Gulak wins!
Winner: Drew Gulak, by submission
Party’s over! Gulak wins but still glares down at Bugenhagen. Gulak grabs a mic and tells Full Sail that while he represents in 205 Live as the best submission specialist, he comes here and gets BUGENHAGEN!? This is disrespect! He doesn’t want Ben Stiller from Dodgeball, he’s THE BEST submission wrestler in all of WWE! If there’s someone man enough to step to Gulak, then he gives them a chance to #GetStretched! “Bro…” Matt Riddle answers the call!
Riddle tells Gulak “Bro… Is that what you really think of NXT?” Everyone here sets the bar day in and day out. How about Gulak get out of the ring and out of NXT, or Riddle make Gulak tap out. Fans are fired up for the Original Bro, but Gulak tells Riddle he should take those flip-flops off and make his day. A wise chose, bro. Riddle kicks off the sandals and heads right to the ring! Gulak has a second debutt, but will it be successful?
Drew Gulak VS Matt Riddle!
NXT returns and fans are fired up for “Bro! Bro!” The bell rings and Gulak circles with Riddle. They approach and feel out the grapple. They end up on the ropes and Gulak presses Riddle in. Riddle shoves him away and the two go again. Riddle shoots in and gets the leg, but Gulak keeps his guard up. They go around and around, and Riddle gets an armbar! Gulak blocks quick and slips out to a heel hook! Gulak grabs hair for a headlock, Riddle dumps him up and over, but Gulak rolls over. Riddle powers up and slams Gulak! But Gulak keeps the gut wrench grip. Riddle slips out to another armbar! Gulak resists so Riddle slaps his stomach. Riddle wants a leg but Gulak gets free. Gulak gets a waistlock, slaps Riddle, and has a chicken wing.
Fans rally and Riddle gets up. Riddle sweeps a leg, covers, ONE! Gulak sweeps and covers, ONE! The two stand off and fans applaud. The grapplers go again and Riddle gets a headlock. Riddle gets the takedown but Gulak gets the headscissors. Riddle works to pop out but Gulak holds tight. Fans rally up and Riddle moves around. Riddle pops out and Penalty Kicks Gulak! Then drops a back senton! Gulak gets to a corner as Riddle goes side to side, super forearm! Riddle goes again but gets a boot! Riddle reels away but Gulak runs over for a shotgun dropkick! Gulak drags Riddle from the ropes to trap one arm, then the other while pulling Riddle’s head. Riddle endures and fans “Bro! Bro!” again. Riddle rolls to a cover, TWO!
Gulak keeps his grip but Riddle endures. Riddle headscissors but Gulak fights him off. They both stand up and Riddle powers out. Gulak runs Riddle over and covers, ONE! Gulak throws Riddle, cover, ONE! The chinlock returns and Gulak digs his chin into Riddle’s head. Riddle pries at the hands but Gulak brings the arms back for a stretch. Gulak bends Riddle down to the mat and makes him kiss it! Riddle endures even as Gulak bends the arms all the way back! He even gets the fingers! Riddle pops out and crawls away, but Gulak’s right on him. Fans duel as Gulak snap suplexes and covers, TWO! Gulak traps the arm in a hammerlock then gets the other arm. Riddle endures as fans rally up again.
They both stand and Riddle throws body shots! And palm strikes! Gulak hits back but it’s Riddle who suplexes and drops Gulak! Both men are down but fans fire up. The referee starts a standing count and Riddle is up first. Riddle gives Gulak some Bro Kicks! Gulak catches one, for a dragon screw! Riddle gets to ropes but Gulak is on him again, only for Riddle to toss him out. Riddle drags Gulak back up, for a sleeper hold through the ropes! And he drags Gulak in, but Gulak fights out. Gulak waistlocks but Riddle standing switches to a bridging German Suplex! TWO, FUJIWARA! Riddle endures as Gulak goes after the arm from elbow to fingers! Riddle gets up but Gulak is on him with another sleeper.
Fans rally again as both men stand. Riddle fights out and CHOPS Gulak! Gulak throws a heavy forearm, Riddle CHOPS, repeat! Riddle kicks but Gulak ducks to roll him up. Riddle slips out to deadlift and powerbomb!! Then flips over for the Bro Trigger!! Cover, TWO!! Gulak lives, but Riddle’s on him with endless elbows! And the BROMISSION!! Gulak taps, Riddle wins!!
Winner: Matt Riddle, by submission
The King of Bros is undefeated in NXT, and even proves who WWE’s best submission wrestler really is! Gulak gets up, but not to fight. He offers a handshake, and Riddle accepts it. Gulak respects the Bro, but will Gulak be back in NXT? Will Riddle take this victory to head for a title on the Road to Wrestlemania?
Six Woman Tag: Bianca Belair & The Sky Pirates VS The Horsewomen!
The EST is no longer Un-De-Fea-Ted, but not because she was weaker or slower than Shayna Baszler. It was because the Queen of Spades got help from Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir! But now, Bianca will have help from Kairi Sane & Io Shirai! Will these brightest stars soar high and sail right through Shayna and her cohorts? Or will they each #TapNapandSnap in turn to #ShaynaTwoTime?
Teams sort out and Shayna starts against Bianca for a TakeOver: Phoenix rematch. They circle and tie up, and Shayna gets the arm. She yanks on it and brings Bianca down, but Bianca powers up to scoop Shayna. Shayna slips out but Bianca standnig switches to yank Shayna’s arm. Bianca whips Shayna but Shayna reverses. Bianca goes up and over and handpsrings, but Shayna just casually evades. She tags to Marina, and Marina runs into a dropkick! Jessamyn tags in but she gets duoble chicken wings and facebuster! Bianca tags to Kairi! Bianca loads up the cannon and launches the Pirate Princess onto Jessamyn for the elbow! Cover, TWO! Kairi grins as she has fun grabbing Jessamyn. But Jessamyn powers Kairi to the Horsewomen corner and tags in Marina.
Marina kicks away on Kairi but Kairi kicks and CHOPS back! Marina eggs Kairi on so Kairi CHOPS her again! And again, and again! Kairi backs Marina but Marina keeps up her guard. Io jumps in and the Sky Pirates double elbow and whip! Io feeds Marina to Kairi’s double chops! Kairi ax kicks and facelocks Marina. Fans echo “Ahoy!” for Kairi as she drags Marina around. Marina powers Kairi to an open corner and the top rope. Marina throws hands and climbs up, but Kairi fights her off. Kairi boots and headbutts Marina in her face guard. Shayna distracts Kairi, Marina gets Kairi with a forearm and super arm-drag! Marina drags Kairi over and tags in Shayna! Shayna drags Kairi around for a cover, hammerlocking an arm underneath. TWO, but Shayna’s on Kairi’s legs.
Shayna pulls Kairi back while fans rally up. Shayna hammers Kairi down then dares her to tag out. But Shayna puts Kairi in the Horsewomen corner to tag in Jessamyn. Jessamyn rams her knees in but Kairi hits back. Jessamyn clubs Kairi down then drags her up to throw her to ropes. She roundhouses Kairi on the rebound! Cover, TWO! Jessamyn puts Kairi back in the corner and tags in Marina. Marina drags Kairi up for a judo throw! Marina sits on Kairi just to troll her. Then she drags Kairi back to tag Shayna. Shayna kicks Kairi then taunts Bianca. Shayna whips and foraerms Kairi, then pushes her down for a heel hook! Kairi endures as Shayna even stands on her head. Shayna lets her hair down to stomp Kairi’s head! Marina tags in and drags Kairi around for a cover, TWO!
Fans jeer Marina as she drags Kairi up into a dragon sleeper. Marina bends Kairi against her knee but fans rally up more. Kairi fights out but can’t get away before Marina grabs hair. Jawbreaker! But Jessamyn tags in to tackle Kairi down. Jessamyn goes to throw Kairi but Kairi throws her! Kairi crawls as Shayna tags in, hot tag to Io! The Genius of the Sky rallies on Shayna! Io runs but has to deal with Marina. Io uppercuts Marina, then meteoras Shayna! She also meteoras Marina! And then tiger feint to Shayna! Io boots and tiger feints Jessamyn, then springboard missile dropkicks Shayna! Cover, TWO! Hot tag to Kairi, and Kairi screams all the way to the top rope. Anchors aweigh, InSANE Elbow! But Marina kicks the cover apart!
Fans boo, but then rally as Shayna and Kairi crawl. Bianca snipes the tag and hits the Horsewomen! Bianca wants after Shayna, torture rack to KOD!! Cover, but both Jessamyn and Marina break it up. They go after the Sky Pirates but get dumped out! And then Kairi climbs for a HUGE crossbody! IO tags in, springs up, ASAI MOONSAULT! Cover, Bianca & The Sky Pirates win!
Winners: Bianca Belair & The Sky Pirates, Io Shirai pinning
Bianca’s happy the team won, but Io’s even happier that she got to pin the NXT Women’s Champion! Does this mean the Genius of the Sky will be the next to challenge the Queen of Spades? Or is there still a way for the EST to earn a second chance?
What an incredible episode! Gargano does start the show off as advertised, and while Gargano got to gloat, this was also to set two things up. Ciampa again insists DIY is back together, but Gargano says that’s never happening (which means it’s totally happening), and Dream chooses the championship he wants in the North American Championship! Obviously internet leaks and spoilers give away what happens, but even without them, we all know Gargano VS Dream II will be an amazing title match. Ricochet VS Cole II is also happening, and I wonder if this will serve as an unofficial contender’s match. Winner moves on to face the North American Champion at TakeOver: New York.
Gulak showing up was quite the surprise, and I was even more surprised he had two matches! He does great against debuting Bugenhagen, and then Gulak VS Riddle was astounding! That was probably Gulak’s greatest match in the WWE, and maybe even Riddle’s. I have a feeling this was a one night thing for Gulak. It’s rather a shame, because Gulak hasn’t had a singles match this great on 205 Live since the Cruiserweight Championship tournament last year. Then we got the Six Woman Tag I was hoping for, and it went the way I hoped for, too. The Faces win but it’s Shirai who pins, and now the story should be Shirai VS Bianca to determine Shayna’s next challenger. I’m thinking it’ll be Shirai, or else we wouldn’t be getting this story at all. Then Shayna VS Shirai will dictate what happens after Wrestlemania.
My Score: 8.7/10