1/6 NXT in Charlotte report: Velveteen Dream vs. Johnny Gargano, Bianca Belair and Shayna Baszler vs. Aliyah and Ember Moon, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly vs. Aleister Black and Kassius Ohno for the NXT Tag Titles, Lars Sullivan vs. Roderick Strong

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NXT Live Event
Charlotte, North Carolina at Grady Cole Center
Report by Dot Net reader Gregory Livengood

My girlfriend and I have been to see NXT all three times they’ve looped through North Carolina, but this was the first show they’ve done in Charlotte proper. Previous shows were done in the Cabarrus Arena, which is two minutes from the middle of nowhere. This one was in the Grady Cole Center, which is a small gym for the local community college. I only bring it up because the staff and facilities were not prepared for volume of people attending. The will call line was stretched all the way up the street and the overflow parking was about a mile away. As a result, it took some time for the building to fill, but it was at capacity by the end of the second match. (Just an FYI to anyone going to these events – WWE is no longer allowing medium to large bags which includes diaper bags. I only point that out because there were a couple of unhappy mothers at the door.)

Mike Rome handled ring intros and hype man duties. You could tell he had fun with the ‘One Fall’ chants from the audience. I don’t know how that became a thing, but it’s fun every time.

1. No Way José defeated Fabian Aichner. José is still over despite a few months off TV. He went into the crowd and streamed his entrance on Facebook Live, periodically posing with kids. Aichner played the heel and showed great fire. He looked even better than his match with Andrade a couple weeks ago. Jose gets his usual offense and wins with the pop-up punch.

2. Nikki Cross beat Lacey Evans. There was a small pop for Lacey, but a huge reaction for Nikki. A decent back-and-forth with Lacey doing some good heeling on Nikki before Nikki came back and won with her swinging fisherman neck breaker.

We got a video from ‘earlier in the day’ of the Street Profits hyping their new Maserati. Apparently, they won it at the previous show. Moss and Sabbatelli show up and beg for the keys back. The Profits refused.

3. Lars Sullivan over Roderick Strong. People got loud when Roddy came out and gave Lars good heat. He is a great monster heel and him versus Braun Strowman will be money a couple of years. They worked snug with Roddy doing great from underneath. He went for an Angle Slam twice but couldn’t get it. Late in the match, he finally landed it for a great near fall. Sullivan shook it off and hit the Freak Accident for the win.

4. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly defeated Aleister Black and Kassius Ohno to retain the NXT Tag Titles. Good reactions all around here, with Black getting the loudest. People yelled along to his music. No comment. Rome announced that ‘Mr. Regal’ told him that the match was for the tag titles. The Undisputed Era lost it and almost walked out. Fish was hilariously over the top, yelling ‘you make the rules’ at the ref after the title announcement. Really stiff, hard-hitting match. Great flow. Kassius moves so well for a big guy. Fish and O’Reilly win with a roll-up. Afterwards, Ohno asked the crowd if the want to see he and Black tag again. The reaction was in the affirmative. They had great chemistry, so it’d be fun to see them feud with the Era.

5. The Street Profits over Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss. Man, do people love The Street Profits. If Montez Ford isn’t a top babyface in the next five years, something has gone horribly wrong. Sabbatelli and Moss wave off their intro. Sabbatelli puts up Roddick Moss’ car as a double or nothing. Moss screamed that he just put new spinners on his minivan and doesn’t want it on the line. The Street Profits accepted. Rome introduced the match like it was a title match, emphasizing the minivan with spinners, which was over huge with the crowd. Big ‘minivan’ chants in the early going. This match was as good as what we saw on TV from these teams. We got a fake out three count when Moss stacked up Ford and grabs the ropes, but noticed just after the count and waved it off. The Profits got the win. Rome announced them as ‘still the owners’ of the Maserati and ‘new owners of a minivan with spinners’ which got a big pop. Just as a cherry on top, a minivan with (I assume) intentionally poor photoshopped enhancements, was shown on the tron.

6. Bianca Belair and Shayna Baszler defeated Aliyah and Ember Moon. It’s a testament to how hot the crowd is that even Aliyah got a decent reaction. She’s getting better but still has a long way. Bianca has her character down and it’s just a matter of time for her. Shayna and Ember were intense and worked really well together and told a great story with Shayna working the knee. Ember hot tagged Aliyah, who showed good fire on the comeback. Shayna ended up hitting a Falcon Arrow-type maneuver and transitions it into a rear-naked choke. Aliyah tapped. Ember played to the crowd a bit before walking out.

7. Johnny Gargano defeated Velveteen Dream. Dream got a good reaction at first, but removed the pajama-top shirt he was wearing to reveal a New England Patriots t-shirt. That got the crowd booing, because why not boo the Patriots? Gargano got a monster pop. He’s got a Daniel Bryan-style babyface run in him – it’s the same kind of reaction, minus the ‘Yes’ chants. Gargano desecrated the Patriots shirt (including an elbow drop, Woo!) and threw it out of the ring. They had a great match with Dream getting some good spots and antics in. He got a near fall off his finisher, got frustrated, and went to the top for an elbow. Big counter for Johnny, who fired up and went on the attack. Cue the ‘This is Awesome’ chants. Some great back and forth with Johnny’s big spots that ended with Dream tapping to the Gargano Escape. After the match, Johnny got the crowd chanting NXT, then he made the rounds, slapping hands, signing shirts, and taking selfies. Dude’s a great top face and seems genuinely happy to work with everyone. Good on him.

Once we got past the cluster that was getting into the building, it was a really good show. NXT always brings the energy.

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