By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Aired February 14, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped February 1 in Atlanta, Georgia at Center Stage
The intro teaser focused on the advertisement that was played during the week which was Roderick Strong vs. Pete Dunne and Shayna Baszler vs. Ember Moon in two title matches. The NXT Theme aired…
Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson. Mauro compared getting two title matches to getting some nice Valentines Day chocolate. Pete Dunne entered the ring first to a huge “Bruiserweight” reaction. Roderick Strong also got a favorable reaction. Mauro reminded viewers that Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate had won the NXT Match of the Year voted by the fans. Percy Watson reminded viewers that Strong called out Lars Sullivan for a feud (before he was injured). Kayla Braxton handled the formal ring introductions…
1. Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong for the WWE UK Championship. Drake Wertz was the referee for the match. Dunne and Strong had a rough scuffle to begin the match. Nigel noted the clash of styles with Strong going for fast paced and high impact moves while Dunne prefers torture and slow paced offense. [C]
Dunne dominated back from break and focused on the left arm/hand of Strong. Mauro compared Dunne’s relentless joint attack to Shayna Baszler. Strong escaped Dunne and slam dunked Dunne on the steel steps for a backbreaker variant. Strong barely got a two count and then kicked up the pace. Strong locked in a high guard cravat. Strong kept the momentum with one of his signature backbreakers. Strong and Dunne traded impact blows on each other. Strong got another one of his backbreakers on Dunne. Strong went for a super Angle Slam but Dunne twisted the fingers of Strong to jar him away from the corner.
Dunne hit Strong with a single leg stop to the outside. Strong came back with apron enziguris. Strong hit Dunne with Gorilla Press onto the apron from the apron. [C]
Strong dominated back from the break but was countered by a Dunne enziguri. Dunne did a cool wall run and enziguri. Dunne hit Strong with a sitout scoop slam into an cross armbreaker into a finger snap. Strong caught a diving Dunne but sold his tweaked fingers so he couldn’t execute one of his signature backbreakers. Mauro asked Nigel on his thoughts of having a United States born UK Champion. Nigel thought the championship should be held by someone from the UK.
John’s Thoughts: If only New Japan could get a US Born US Champion. I kid I kid…
Strong caught Dunne with a midair dropkick to lead to a good nearfall. After some unique rollups, strong came up on the upper end with one of his signature cradle backbreakers. Dunne blocked another Angle Slam and hit a half and half suplex. Dunne got another close nearfall after a spinning roundhouse. Strong reversed a Dunne gogoplata with a catapult to the bottom rope. Strong finally hit the Super Angle Slam to get a nearfall on the UK Champ.
Strong used a knee to set up a rally ending in a flapjack slam to get another nearfall. Pete Dunne reversed a suplex into the X Plex. Strong came back with a high knee after a strike exchange. Strong got a nearfall but used it to set up the Stronghold (Liontamer). Dunne escaped the hold before Strong could get Dunne over by using the finger snap. Dunne hit the Bitter End to pick up the victory.
Pete Dunne defeated Roderick Strong via pinfall in 14:08 to retain the WWE UK Championship.
Nigel pointed out that Strong would have picked up the championship if he could have gotten to Dunne quicker after the Super Angle Slam. The replays showed the finger break escape setting up Dunne’s victory…
John’s Thoughts: This was expected right? A great UK Title match. Strong never loses anything in loss and he’s WWE’s ultimate utility player at the point. I can see Strong becoming the next Kurt Angle Wrestling Machine in the future and that’s not only due to him using the Angle Slam, it’s due to how he can have great matches with people of all sizes and look like a machine. Dunne is still a great heel in the ring, if only they allow him to go back to being such a dastardly prick outside of the ring.
A highlight package aired to set up Andrade Almas vs. Johnny Gargano in a Title vs. Career match. The match is set to happen next week. An Aleister Black segment was advertised for after the break… [C]
The press caught Velveteen Dream Patrick Clark in the hallway. He was asked about No Way Jose. Dream said Jose will bring the fiesta but the Dream will bring the Experience. Velveteen Dream then randomly called out Tyler Bate. The “Press” people wondered if this was a challenge but Dream walked away leaving them with the vague tease…
Aleister Black made his cool as hell entrance from a different part of the arena. He emerged from the fog from the locker room entrance. Black wore a nice all black suit (no pun intended). Black cut a promo and said this path has led one way. Black said he goes face to face with an sensation all of the time. Black said there is a devil on his back now and that devil is driving him. Black said that devil is the NXT Championship. Black said the devil is driving him to possess something. Before he could say what was possessing him, Killian Dain’s entrance cut him off.
Mauro noted that Killian Dain was in the contendership match with Black which Black dominated until Adam Cole screwed Black out of his victory. Black and Dain had a face off in the ring with Dain holding a microphone. Dain said the Devil isn’t on your back, I am. Dain said he wasn’t going to stop until the NXT Championship is around his waist. Dain said if Black has a problem with that, he is warning black that his path will be stopped by chaos. Dain tried to walk away but was called back by Black. Black said Dain crossed Black so not Dain must fade to Black. Dain backed down as Black’s entrance theme played… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Simple, effective, and ultimately logical. Of course, Dain was set up for a feud with Roderick Strong and Lars Sullivan as I mentioned in the prior match but this isn’t a bad alternate. Black and Dain aren’t the most affluent on the microphone but their legend enhances their status and promos.
2. Nick Miller and Shane Thorne vs. John Skyler and Andrew Duckworth . Nick Miller started off against John Skyler. We’ve seen Skyler before. TM-61 easily dominated Skyler with lariats. Duckworth ate a Thorn back suplex. Skyler escaped a shortarm and focused his kick on the surgically repaired knee. Duckworth tagged in and ate a Thorne dropkick. Miller tagged in and cleaned house. McGuinness noted that Miller was the first Australian NWA Champion. After more dominance TM-61 hit Thunder Valley on one of the enhancement guys for the win.
TM-61 defeated John Skyler and Andrew Duckworth via pinfall in 2:12.
John’s Thoughts: I like the slow reintroduction of TM-61. It seemed like their first run had them too high too fast but this time they are getting the viewers acclimated to their offense. Looking forward to their eventual clash with Fish and O’Reilly down the road.
Shayna Baszler made her entrance first or the upcoming title match… [C]
Kayla Braxton handled the formal ring introductions.
3. Ember Moon vs. Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship. Ember Moon quickly went for the ground and pound with Baszler fishing for a kimura from the low guard. Moon went for the Eclipse early on but Baszler saw it coming and rolled outside. Ember Moon hit Baszler into the announce table with a suicide dive. Moon sold more pain as she used her “injured” shoulder to hit the Tope. Baszler tossed Moon back in the ring to pick up the scraps. Baszler stomped on the injured arm of Moon. Moon tried to pick up the win with the surprise rollup like at takeover but Baszler’s facial expression sold that she saw it coming.
Moon blocked the subsequent armbreaker with her fingers and a rope break. Baszler inflicted more damage on Moon by tossing her into the turnbuckle. Baszler trapped Moon’s arm in the barricade bars and pummeled the injured arm of Moon. Kairi Sane ran in on Baszler to end the match in disqualification.
Shayna Baszler defeated Ember Moon via DQ in 4:46. So Ember Moon retains the NXT Women’s Championship.
After some set up, Sane hit her signature spear on Baszler to send Baszler into retreat at ringside. Kayla Braxton announced that Baszler won the match with Moon retaining the title from the DQ. Sane stared down Baszler who was on the stage. Sane then went to carry Ember Moon out as the show closed.
John’s Thoughts: It’s very cool seeing Baszler and Dunne on the same episode because these two wrestlers really know who to make their offense look painful. I mentioned the word logical in my thoughts on the Black segment and I say that this match finish was logical too. Baszler had that match won and it was one sided. Baszler hasn’t won one match in NXT yet but already comes off as the biggest/strongest shark in the pond. Ember Moon does come out weak but I like the story of her being drunk with pride which put her in this terrible situation. Kairi Sane’s interference made a lot of sense. It was Baszler who took her out of action and she was trying to prevent Baszler from doing career-ending damage to Moon. Again, logical.
NXT is the best all around show in WWE now. If you want pure workrate you can watch 205 Live (which became a good workrate show all of a sudden), if you want something that should be important you watch Raw, Smackdown is kinda in a rut now. NXT has good matches and good storytelling and it all happens in a nice one hour package (which would be 90 minutes on USA as we found out). I’ll be by tomorrow with my NXT Audio Review for the Dot Net Members.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ricky Starks on his NWA run, doing enhancement work for WWE, leaving NOLA due to Hurricane Katrina, the January 24 NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, his relationship with Nick Aldis, and much more...