1/27 Moore’s NXT Takeover: Philadelphia Pre-Show Report, The NXT End of the Year Awards

By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)

NXT Takeover: Philadelphia Pre-Show
Aired on WWE Network
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Wells Faro Center

Charley Caruso, Sam Roberts, and WWE Raw Wrestler Samoa Joe checked in from the pre-show panel as the Wells Fargo Center was filling up. Joe gave an injury update and said he’s feeling good but not good enough to do anything physical this weekend. Sam Roberts said this NXT Takeover has a high chance of multiple title changes even though NXT doesn’t do quick title changes often. Joe said anything can happen at any time since he won the title at a house show. Charley did some Royal Rumble plugs…

Renee Young and Corey Graves announced that they were going to be handing out the NXT End of The Year Awards backstage. Corey Graves wore a flower pattern shirt. Charley cut over to the Aleister Cole vs. Adam Cole video package which also comically cut off what Samoa Joe was about to say…

Samoa Joe talked about following Cole’s and Black’s career. Joe said he thinks Black has a technical advantage with his Kickboxing experience. Joe and Roberts agreed that Cole has an advantage with the Extreme Rules match. Roberts talked about Cole being in hardcore wars outside of WWE. Sam Roberts predicted Adam Cole by saying the viewers are going to see an Adam Cole that hasn’t been seen in NXT yet. Joe predicted Adam Cole as well with the Undisputed Era on his side, but he said it’s still a toss up…

They cut to Renee and Corey. Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Dream won feud of the year. Velveteen Dream accepted the award. Dream said he would like to give thanks to God because the Velveteen Dream is the closest thing to the light. Velveteen Dream said he is guaranteeing a 30 seconds or less knockout win over the knockout artist. Dream said people will be saying his name after the match…

John’s Thoughts: I was afraid that I was on an island in thinking this was the best feud in pro wrestling, but I’m glad as hell that I didn’t sound crazy and that the majority agrees. I’m not sure if it’s him or the NXT writers, but I love his attention to detail. The 30 second claim was a claim he brought up a few weeks ago to set up Gargano vs. Dream where he said Ohno doesn’t have the body of a star… [C]

They cut to Kayla Braxton who was in the sea of fans. Braxton quickly cut to Corey and Renee who were about to give out the “Male Competitor of the Year”. Aleister Black accepted the award. Black had a mic and said he set out to do something different, unique, and unconventional. Black said this award validates what he set out to do. Renee Young also said that Black just won the “Breakout Star of the Year”. Charley Caruso pointed out that Aleister Black has won all three awards so far…

Samoa Joe said that Velveteen Dream might not get a 30 second knockout win but he’s going to use that to get into Kassius Ohno’s head. Sam Roberts pointed out how Velveteen Dream vs. Aleister Black stole the show on a WarGames show with WarGames in the title. Roberts predicted Velveteen Dream due to his momentum, but not in 30 seconds. Joe said he has respect for Ohno’s experience but there’s no denying that Dream has momentum on his side…

The panel had a discussion on the Authors of Pain and Undisputed Era. Roberts predicted Undisputed Era due to their experience. Joe said his gut picked the Authors of Pain because the Authors have Paul Ellering to match the strategy of The Era… [C]

The show cut back to Renee Young and Corey Graves with their award show. The next award was Women’s competitor of the year. There’s no way Aleister Black can win this one. Asuka won this award. Asuka declared that at the Royal Rumble match, no one is ready for Asuka. Corey Graves said Asuka is his personal pick to win the whole thing. The next match was “Match of the Year”. They didn’t even mention the other possible winners because Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne from Takeover: Chicago won the award. Tyler Bate walked in to accept the award. Bate joked that his goal in 2018 would be another match of the year.

Pete Dunne joined the pre-show panel. He had a sports coat and scarf. Dunne said he had two goals this year and it was to win the title and put the UK division on the map and he did both of that at Chicago. Sam Roberts talked about how he and Bate really connected with the crowd. Dunne said he and Bate had a chip on their shoulder for being under the radar. Bate said the title is everything to him and not going anywhere. Dunne said he’s going to continue to put the UK on the map with the title. Dunne also brought up how he doesn’t care who he faces. He’ll even wrestle Brock Lesnar…

Mauro Ranallo and Percy Watson checked in from ringside. Mauro noted that Nigel McGuinness was under the weather and will be missing the Takeover show. Mauro and Watson ran through the advertised card. Johnny said that Philadelphia is the home of Rocky Balboa and wondered if Johnny Gargano will have his Rocky moment. Sam Roberts said he’s looking forward to the women’s match while Joe said any match can be a standout… [C]

Charley Caruso thanked Asking Alexandria for providing the theme music of the show. Charley cut to the hype video for Ember Moon vs. Shayna Baszler for the NXT women’s championship. The clip had clips of Ember Moon’s pre-NXT history as well as Shayna Baszler’s bullying. Charley Caruso noted that Baszler doesn’t have much [Wrestling] experience. Roberts agreed. Joe said the MMA is what brought her to the dance. Joe also noted that it’s also tough to come up with a gameplan to someone you haven’t faced. Roberts agreed and said that Ember Moon has more tape to analyze than Baszler which give Baszler an advantage. Roberts and Joe predicted Baszler to win…

Corey Graves and Renee Young moved over to the entrance ramp to give out the award for the top award “Overall Competitor of the Year”. The video package focused on only Asuka and Black as they won their respective gender specific awards. Asuka beat Aleister Black for the award. Asuka made her entrance to celebrate her award award as she danced to her entrance music. Sam Roberts congratulated Asuka for winning the award even though she was gone for a huge chunk of the year. Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega were shown entering the arena from the parking lot. Gargano was taping himself up in the locker room. The panel cut to the Almas vs. Gargano video package which also featured Tommaso Ciampa …

Samoa Joe was cut off by Zelina Vega. Vega tried to ask what she would call a rhetorical question, that Almas should have won an EOTY award. Roberts said that it was a fan vote. Vega said it was losers voting for loser. Vega demanded a recount. Roberts said it’s understandable given that Almas only won the title a few months ago. Vega continued to call the fans losers. Samoa Joe talked about Johnny Gargano having momentum but if he has tranquillo, he’ll be fine. Vega mocked Joe for not rolling his “L’s” and said that Andrade Almas is a bigger star than Joe ever was. Roberts proposed if this is a different Gargano compared to the Gargano that Almas beat twice in a row. Joe tried to ask for the gameplan and Vega did what she told everyone that she wouldn’t be successful if she gave away her plans to everyone. Sam Roberts said that Vega was acting super defensive. Vega quickly cut the interview off and walked away…

Charley and the panel did more Royal Rumble plugs…

John’s Thoughts: Vega is such a strong throwback manager. This was your usual WWE Pre-Show which served it’s purpose. A lot of people don’t watch the weekly NXT show so this did a good job getting the viewers up to date with the storylines. The show’s much improved over last year so I’d definitely recommend that viewers dedicate one hour of their week to this show. Join me on the other page for my live coverage of NXT Takeover: Chicago.



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