12/27 Moore’s NXT TV Review: Fatal 4-Way to become No. 1 Contender to the NXT Championship, Ember Moon vs. Sonya Deville for the NXT Women’s Championship, Shayna Baszler debuts

By John Moore

NXT TV on the WWE Network
Taped November 29, 2017 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

After the WWE Signature, the NXT theme aired. Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson checked in on commentary. Nigel hyped up the number one contender four way. Street Profits made their entrance to start the show and they were facing enhancement talent…

1. Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford vs. Kris Starr and Riley Apex. Ford started off against the smaller of the two men. They had a flex off to start. Ford showed off his agility and then bodyslamed his opponent. Dawkins tagged in and dominated. The larger tag team partner tagged in and Nigel comically said “Here comes JBL” since the big guy looks like a young JBL. The JBL guy ate a hard lariat from Dawkins. Dawkins gave the big guy a 360 stinger splash and spinebuster. Ford tagged in. Nigel then yelled “NWO Bradshaw is prone in the center!”. Ford hit an impressive frog splash for the victory.

The Street Profits defeated Kris Starr and Riley Apex via pinfall in 1:48.

The profits cut a promo while standing in the upper seating section at Full Sail. Ford talked like a preacher and said in 2017 the Profits came and saw. Angelo Dawkins said in 2017 they conquered. They mocked the Authors of Pain. They also mocked Sanity for being crazy. They even called out Undisputed Era. Dawkins said in 2018 they’re coming for the titles and “we’re here”. Nigel McGuinness said the Street Profits are lit… [C]

John’s Thoughts: Same formula we’ve seen from the Profits with nothing new added. The highlight was Nigel McGuinness’ random quips regarding the larger of the two enhancement wrestlers looking like JBL. The two still seem to be a work in progress and still come off as a stereotype caricature. Dawkins in particular, in all these years he’s been in the system, comes off as the most uncomfortable on the microphone. Maybe that will take time, but he’s been here for a long, long time. Ford has “it” as far as personality but it looks like he’s still trying to put it together in the ring. Despite their promo, they don’t seem ready to move up in the tag division quite yet, not ahead of teams like TM-61 (who have been M.I.A for a long time) or even fellow rookie team Heavy Machinery.

Sonya Deville made her entrance. She still does that shadow punching that annoys me. Ember Moon then made her entrance wearing a webbed cape. Mauro dubbed Ember “The War Goddess”. No Mike Rome formal ring intro for this one…

2. Ember Moon vs. Sonya Deville for the NXT Women’s Championship. Deville made an early takedown and even countered Moon’s reversal into an legbar which caused Moon to scurry away. Ember hit an armdrag and then struck the Sailor Moon pose to taunt Deville. The two had a nice kicking stalemate sequence. Deville asked for a test of strength and gave Moon a cheap shot in the gut. Moon came back with a single leg dropkick. Deville rolled to ringside to recover. Moon kept pursuit and gave Deville a cannonball senton. [C]

Deville gave Moon a delayed spinebuster back from the break. Deville maintained the advantage with punches. Deville locked in a bearhug. Moon elbowed out and then did a body scissor whip into the bottom buckle sending Deville’s face into the bottom turnbuckle. Moon floated over and hit Deville with a Suplex. Moon hit a punch combo on Deville for a nearfall. Deville came right back with a knee lariat. Moon grounded Deville with a springboard missile dropkick. Moon set Deville up and hit her with The Eclipse for the victory.

Ember Moon defeated Sonya Deville via pinfall in about 6:30 of TV time to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.

Nigel said Deville has a future on NXT and then said “on Raw”. Pirate music played as Kairi Sane walked out wearing her ring gear and holding her telescope. She peered through the scope and then pointed at Moon to signify coming after the title. Sane pointed her elbow too. Out of nowhere Shayna Baszler walked up to Sane and locked in a really snug rear naked choke (maybe that’s why Nikki Bella can lock in a better STF than Cena based off of getting training from Baszler rather than Cena). The referees came out and Nigel pointed out that it took the referees about 10 seconds to rip her off. Baszler walked off wearing biker esque attire. Sane was lying knocked out on the ground…

John’s Thoughts: A bit on the nose there with one MMA fighter leaving and another MMA fighter taking her place but more on that in a bit. Good match between the two with Deville finally starting to find an in-ring identity after her surprisingly good feud with Ruby Riot(t). What hurt this match was some of the little things like Mike Rome not doing formal ring intros which framed it as just an Ember Moon squash despite Deville looking impressive on her way out. As for the post-match, I was afraid we were getting your formulaic Challenger pointing at the title scene but Baszler came in and spiced things up in a good way. Great debut from Baszler and looking forward to her being the strong heel that this division needs with Asuka gone.

Time for a Paul Ellering promo. He and the Authors of Pain were in a random alley between warehouses (they look like the warehouse that Matanza Cueto is being held). Ellering talked about how the Authors were undefeated and how they won the Dusty Rhodes Classic. Ellering called out Cole, Fish, and O’Reilly. Ellering said they won’t write the next chapter. Ellering said the Authors are the Law, Judge, Jury, and Executioner. Ellering said the Undisputed Era is on borrowed time…

John’s Thoughts: Looking forward to Fish and O’Reilly vs. the Authors and it seems that promo is a sign that the Authors are sticking around in NXT for a little while. They can always call them up anytime but as we’ve seen from Deville and Riott, that there can be a grace period during the callup.

Christy St. Cloud found Ember Moon backstage and asked her about what just happened. Moon said she has a target on her back. Moon said it doesn’t matter if it’s Kairi or Baszler, Moon’s not hard to find. Moon said to make a statement they have to step in the ring with her, simple as that. Nigel hyped up the main event four way. A highlight video package aired to set up the four way… [C]

Mauro Ranallo announced that next week’s NXT was going to be a “Best of 2017” episode with an Ember Moon video package. Mauro also hyped that Sanity will get their tag team rematch against Fish and O’Reilly in two weeks…

Killian Dain was out first. Mauro pointed out that Dain had a good showing at War Games and even had a main roster debut in the Andre Battle Royal. Johnny Gargano was out next. Mauro said Gargano was the most surprising to see in this match and how he wasn’t supposed to be here due to Velveteen Dream being pegged for this spot. Lars Sullivan came out to his newer cool ass entrance. Gargano had fear in his face while Dain was nodding in approval. Speaking of cool ass entrances, Aleister Black was out last. Nigel said Black might be the favorite. Mauro said you can put your money on black…

3. Killian Dain vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Aleister Black in a fatal-4-way to become No. 1 Contender to the NXT Championship. Dain scoped out his opponents. Dain and Black paired off with Lars and Gargano doing the same. Black dominated by kicking both giants. Black teased a tope and did his feint meditation pose. Lars caught Black off the Asai Moonsault and gave him snake eyes on the apron. Lars did the same to Gargano. He couldn’t do the same to Dain who hit an impressive Tope Suicida for a guy his size. [C]

Sullivan crushed Gargano in the corner with a splash. Sullivan whipped Dain into the steps with a whip. Black came at Sullivan with kicks and kicked him up the ramp. Sullivan tossed Black into the production area and Gorilla Pressed Gargano into Black. Sullivan’s eyes met the announcer’s and they cleared from the table. Nigel yelled “Get out of there!” to Mauro and Percy. Sullivan cleared the announce table. Sullivan tried to power bomb Gargano through the table but Gargano held on to the NXT advertisement scaffolding. He superkicked Sullivan onto the table. Dain came out of nowhere and gave Sullivan a splash through the table, knocking both big men out. Killian Dain was busted open from the elbow.

John’s Thoughts: Some people may say that they are a heavyweight that flies like a Cruiserweight, but 300+ pound Big Damo/Dain really does.

Black and Gargano had a standoff in the center of the ring with a hot dueling chant. Mauro reiterated that Gargano wasn’t even supposed to be here. Black caught Gargano with a front kick when Gargano was flying in his slingshot spear. Black used his feet to escape a hold. Gargano hit Black with a superkick. Gargano then hit La Mistica into the GargaNo Escape. Dain broke up the submission with a running Senton. Dain hit the Fireman Carry Slam Senton combo on Black. Dain gave Gargano a Jackknife and elbow drop. Dain went for a Superplex on Black but Black escaped. Black and Gargano teamed up to double power bomb Dain.

The camera cut to Sullivan who was recovering from the table splash. Sullivan was seething on the way to the ring. Sullivan took down both Black and Gargano with a double lariat. Sullivan hit Gargano with a delayed power slam. Mauro said we were watching the Infinity War here. Sullivan disposed of Black and Gargano to have a faceoff with Dain. The two men traded punches. Sullivan gained the upper hand with a lariat. Dain came right back with a lariat of his own. The giants both roared and ran right into each other. Black joined the fray and kicked both giants. Black took down Dain with a kick combination.

Black hit Sullivan with a leg sweep and lionsault. Black kneed Sullivan and called for Black Mass. Black hit Black Mass on Sullivan. The Undisputed Era ran in and pulled off Black from the pinfall. Black brushed off Fish and O’Reilly. Cole came in and gave Black his signature knee brainbuster. Gargano caught Cole with a suicide dive. Gargano tossed Black into the ring. Gargano sidestepped Sullivan sending him into the steps. Dain punched Gargano. Gargano gave Dain a huracanrana into Sullivan. Gargano hit Black with a slingshot DDT to pick up the surprise victory.

Johnny Gargano defeated Aleister Black, Killian Dain, and Lars Sullivan via pinfall in 12:44 of TV time to become the number one contender to the NXT Championship.

The crowd popped huge for Gargano picking up the win over the undefeated/unpinned Aleister Black. Gargano sold the surprise in the ring. Nigel said people were writing him off just about a month ago and now he’s the number one contender. Mauro said Gargano doesn’t want to be the man known for being in good matches, he wants to be the man. They cut to the replay that showed that The Undisputed Era stole the win from Aleister Black after Black hit his finisher on Sullivan. Mauro said Gargano is the heart and soul of NXT and he just beat three of NXT’s top stars. The show closed with Mauro saying that Gargano ended 2017 as the number one contender to the NXT Championship…

John’s Thoughts: This four-way lived up to the hype with all four men looking strong in victory and defeat. I knew the spoiler going into it that Gargano was going to win but I kinda expected him to pin Dain since Sullivan and Black are the ones being protected at the moment. Thankfully NXT found outs for Sullivan, Black, and Dain. Sullivan wasn’t involved in the finish, Black had the visual victory but was screwed heavy-handedly by Adam Cole, and Dain was sidestepped with Gargano taking advantage of Cole’s interference in a not-so-shady way. Why is it that shows like WWE Raw, Smackdown, or 205 Live can’t figure out how to build a person in defeat yet NXT does it so routinely? This was a stellar encounter and it wouldn’t have been out of place on the mid-card of a Takeover show.

Overall, this was a fun episode. NXT closed out the year with a strong set of shows with Takeover-worthy matches. Sure beats the holiday crap that we receive from WWE on occasion. I’ll be back later on today with my all access audio review for this show.

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