By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV on the WWE Network
Taped January 4 in Atlanta, Georgia at Center Stage
The NXT Intro theme aired. Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson checked in from Center Stage in Atlanta. Percy Watson mentioned how the Street Profits are having the biggest match of their career on this episode when they face the Authors of Pain. Heavy Machinry made their entrance and they were against the team of Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss. The commentators replayed the skit from a month ago where Otis tried to lift up Sabbatelli and Moss’s car…
1. Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic vs. Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss. Dozovic and Sabbatelli started off the match. Dozovic showed off his power advantage early on. Sabbatelli came back with his impressive dropkick. Dozovic shrugged it off and hit a shoulder tackle and body slam on Sabbatelli. Tucker Knight tagged in and hit a slingshot senton bomb which was impressive for a guy his size.
Tucker Knight hit Sabbatelli with a giant swing headlock. Nigel noted that Knight made a mistake after by allowing Sabbatelli to tag in Moss while Knight was showboating. After a skirmish, Knight hit the headlock giant swing on Moss. Moss and Knight hit some of their fun offense. Dozovic hit The Caterpillar on Moss. Moss broke up the next hold and managed to get the ground and pound on Dozovic.
Moss and Sabbatelli played isolation on Dozovic with quick tags and pounding strikes. Dozovic escaped a headlock with a back suplex. Dozovic made the hot tag to Knight who cleaned house. Knight made a choo choo train noise and tackled Moss while hip tossing Sabbatelli. Moss rolled up Knight and won with his feet on the ropes.
Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss defeated Heavy Machinery via pinfall in 4:37.
Nigel noted that in the replay we could see Moss keep his eyes on the ref so he could look to when the ref wasn’t looking at his illegal move. Mauro argued for instant replay in “sports entertainment”…
Cut to an Undisputed Era skit where Adam Cole told Fish and O’Reilly that Takeover was their’s for the taking. Cole said that Takeover has been all about the Undisputed Era since they debuted in NXT. Cole talked about “fighting” Aleister Black at takeover. He said he would mangle Black. Kyle O’Reilly talked about how everyone wants a shot at the tag titles. Fish said everyone is just living in their world. Fish said everyone is just stepping up to get dropped by the Undisputed Tag Team Champions. Mauro reminded the viewers in Takoever hype that Regal made the Black vs. Cole match an extreme rules match… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Good win for Moss and Sabbatelli and the loss doesn’t hurt HM. Moss and Sabbatelli have to pick up some steam sometime and here’s a good start. Sabbatelli looked a bit better in the ring than he has in the past too. As for the Undisputed Era, their promos come off as a bit formula and rehearsed, but I do like the old school feel to them and how it’s giving Fish and O’Reilly to get some words in as opposed to just Cole.
Mauro thanked Asking Alexandria for providing the music for the next takeover. They cut to an Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black video package which contained highlights from the feud, clips of Black training in his Gothic church, as well as ECW clips…
2. Roderick Strong vs. Fabian Aichner. Aichner and Strong traded hammerlocks in the opening chain wrestling sequence. Mauro noted that Aichner’s a heavyweight and has gained 30 pounds of muscle since the Cruiserweight Classic. Nigel said Aichner didn’t lose any of his agility. Aichner caught Strong flying and hit him with a powerslam. [C]
Aichner dominated Strong with power moves back from the break. Aichner stompped a mudhole in strong in the corner. Strong escaped a powerbomb and grounded Aichner with a leaping lariat. Strong had a rally with tackles and strikes. Aichner escaped the Angle Slam with an armdrag. Strong came right back with one of his signature backbreakers. Aichner came back with a European Uppercut and tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to even things out. Aichner went for a springboard lariat but right into another Strong backbreaker. Strong defeated Aichner with the “Stronghold” Submission (liontamer)…
Roderick Strong defeated Fabien Aichner via submission in 3:56 of TV time.
Nigel talked about the moment where Strong got the advantage and it was while hesitating during the springboard lariat which Strong exploited. Strong cut a promo about how someone was looking for a fight last week. Strong said he feels the same way about wanting a fight. Strong said he also saw a force he never ran into before which brought him joy and how it was a force he wants to destroy. Lars Sullivan called out Lars Sullivan…
John’s Thoughts: A good win for Strong with Aichner looking good in defeat. To take a comparison from Darren Gutteridge’s Progess review, I would say that Aichner is like a fusion dance combination of Cesaro and Apollo Crews. Moving along I like that they are putting Strong in a simple yet effective sidestory by mirroring Sullivan’s promo from last week and interjecting himself in the Sullivan and Dain feud. Having Strong randomly interjected into anything hasn’t hurt NXT so far and Strong has looked strong against Sullivan by manhandling the guy three times his size.
Mauro transitioned to taking about TM-61. They cut to a TM-61 video package where they were cutting a promo in front of a NXT backdrop. They showed a blooper reel and were cursing a lot. This cut to a TM-61 highlight package with highlights from before their injury. The video cut to a documentary package. Nick talked about meeting Shane in wrestling school at a young age in Australia. Nick Miller said that Shane Thorne started a few months after meeting him. Shane said they are two different people outside of the ring but they get along well. They showed them hanging out at Disneyland in some pictures. Nick said they did wrestles each others in singles before tagging up. They had some fun friendly banter. Shane talked about how being in the ring with a mate can help them enjoy everything.
Nick Miller talked about going into a Harley Race training camp. Shane Thorne said that Harley Race called WWE many times to get them their shot in WWE. They show TM-61 at a tryout. They said they attended the tryout whenq Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Xavier Woods were still in NXT and they weren’t ready. Miller talked about how in Japan there is the concept of the “young boy” (wrestling intern). Thorne talked about their experience as Young Boys in Japan. They talked about how Harley Race was at ringside for their title match in Pro Wrestling Noah for the GHC tag team championships. They showed pictures of them standing next to Kazuchika Okada and Shinsuke Nakamura with championship gold. Mauro hyped up “Part 2” of the TM-61 documentary for next week… [C]
John’s Thoughts: I’m glad they didn’t get rid of these after doing that strong two-parter with Roderick Strong. They take up a third of the show’s airtime but they are crucial in developing unknown wrestlers who have a lot of backstory. I liked how this one wasn’t as heart wrenching as the Strong documentary or even the Ember Moon one, but it was still very effective in developing an ethos for these two tag team wrestlers by laying out their background and showing their connection to the legendary Harley Race…
3. Aliyah vs. Lacey Evans. Mauro said Aliyah was the “Lady of NXT” while Aliyah is a cat lover. Evans wore a sailor themed version of her 1920s garb while wearing waist high booty shorts. The two women had a stalemate at the opening chain wrestling sequence. There was a bit of clumsy stumbling and bumbling during rollup attempts. Evans dominated the next sequence with shortarm drags and a slingshot hip attack. Aliyah came back with an uppercut. Evens came back with a strong right hand and picked up the win.
Lacey Evans defeated Aliyah via pinfall in 3:16.
Nigel recapped the moment where Evans hit the right hand on Aliyah. Evans cut a heel promo afterwards and called her opponents societal trash. Evans said it was time to show how a strong powerful woman cleans house. Evans said she’ll start with a classless psycho like Nikki Cross. She also talked down to Kairi Sane and Ember Moon. Evans backed away when Shayna Baszler walked into the arena.
Shayna Baszler entered the ring and choked out Aliyah with the Rear Naked Choke. After about 20 seconds in the hold, Ember Moon ran out for the save. Baszler looked back and flashed a smirk. Ember Moon said if Shayna wants to bully somebody she dares her to do that on Moon. Moon demanded that Baszler get in the ring so they can do this right now. Baszler said she’s not in her gear and will do it when it’s for the title. Moon said to name the time and place. Moon said to not forget her gear so she can beat her ass. I think a “beat that ass” chant ensued. Baszler yelled “Philadelphia” and to bring the title… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Not a good looking match with both women looking really green with the standard moves and minor botches. I’m surprised they went the heel route with the Marine Evans, but she didn’t cut a bad promo. She does have to work on her acting a bit more tough. The Moon and Baszler stuff was great and Baszler is showing that she’s a natural at this pro wrestling thing without trying too hard. Moon is looking better as a character after the documentary and saying the word “ass” always gets a crowd pop.
Mauro and Nigel hyped up the End of the Year awards and how voting was open. Christy St. Cloud interviewed William Regal of the last segment in the ring. Regal said he didn’t like it but if Ember Moon wants it, he’ll book a match between Shayna Baszler vs. Ember Moon for the Women’s Championship. Zelina Vega walked in and demanded that St. Cloud stay to catch this as a part of the interview. Vega said that Johnny Gargano has zero chance because he was carried by the tag team and lost to Almas twice. Vega argued that Velveteen Dream had a good argument last week and he should put his title shot on the line next week. Regal said he advises Gargano to not do that. Vega agreed because since Gargano is a loser he would lose. Vega said if Regal wants Gargano to wrestle in the most embarassing match in NXT Takeover history, Regal can allow the match as is. Vega walked off…
A No Way Jose promo aired with Jose’s music in the background. No Way talked about it being a new year. He said it was all about fun. No Way said it was going to be the year of No Way Jose and next week begins the Conga line to the top. The bumper graphic aired for Baszler vs. Moon at Takeover…
John’s Thoughts: Vega is so good as a manager and has sky high potential in WWE as such. I am also a fan of Regal not automatically booking Gargano in a match against Dream with his shot on the line.
As the commentators were talking about the Baszler and Moon segment but were interrupted by Johnny Gargano in the ring. Gargano talked about seeing the Vega promo and how everyone is doubting his ability to beat Andrade Cien Almas. Gargano said he’s done being doubted, being a broken man, and being called a loser. He said this is not a fluke. Gargano said no one is going to stop him. Gargano fired up the crowd. Gargano said that if Velveteen Dream wants him to put the title shot on the line, he’ll get a chance for the title shot next week. Jonny Gargano said he was “Johnny Freakin’ Wrestling” and he was the next NXT Champion. Nigel and Mauro questioned wheather it was smart to put his title shot on the line…
John’s Thoughts: While most babyfaces look dumb for putting their title shots on the line, this one made sense as Gargano is on a quest to vindicate himself after the depression/PTSD of DIY. It also was a nice attention to detail with Vega demanding that they record the interview which made it look like Vega orchestrated Gargano blindly putting his title shot in the line.
The Mauro voiceover recapped Fish, O’Reilly, and Cole beating up Sanity last week to delay Sanity’s tag title shot.
4. Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins vs. Akam and Rezar (w/ Paul Ellering) to become number one contenders to the NXT Tag Team Championship. Mauro noted that Ellering managed a tag team in the Road Warriors who had a lot of success in the Atlanta territory. Ford had a serious look on his face which was different from his usual facial expression. Akam dominated Ford and Ford sold fear in his eyes. Akam caught a flying Ford and took him to Rezar so they can pummel him. Rezar dominated Ford with Muay Thai clinch strikes. The Authors cut the ring in half to keep Ford away from his tag partner. Akam had Ford locked in a full nelson which he turned into a chokeslam.
Mauro noted that Akam is an Olympic calibur wrestler. The Authors traded tags. Mauro pointed out that the Authors were showing more confidence in talking to each other as opposed to their usual silence. [C]
The Authors continued to destroy Ford with Dawkins not getting a chance. Rezar used a judo head hold and knees on the ground. Ford managed to make it to a vertical base. Rezar tried to gain headstart by knocking off Dawkins but Dawkins dodged and allowed Ford to tag him in for the hot tag. Dawkins hit Rezar with a 360 stinger splash and Ford hit an assisted dropkick on Rezar. Akam ran in and cleaned house with both profits. Ellering directed the Authors and got them to hit the Super Collider on the Profits. The Authors hit the Final Chapter on Montez Ford to win the match.
The Authors of Pain defeated The Street Profits via pinfall in 5:50 of TV Time to become the number one contenders to the NXT Tag Team Championship.
Mauro introduced the graphic which hyped up The Undisputed Era vs. The Authors of Pain for the NXT Tag Team Championships which closed out NXT…
John’s Thoughts: The right team went over here because the Authors are just a much more polished act. Just like Heavy Machinery, the winning streak wasn’t needed and their popularity will carry them for a while. My one criticism was the white ring gear because it did make Dawkins look a bit more out of shape than he was (or maybe he got in worse shape in the tapings?). The Authors vs. The Era should be a fun match.
Overall, this was a packed show with a lot of development to existing NXT storylines. NXT is a great show to watch weekly with just the right amount of content to leave you wanting more next week. The show also continues to book and hype following weeks. We know that we’re getting part 2 of TM-61’s documentary, No Way Jose’s return, and a possibly hot Gargano vs. Dream match next week. I’ll be by later on today for the Dot Net Members with my NXT Audio Review but to everyone else, thanks for reading along.