Moore’s NXT TV Live Review: Punishment Martinez vs. Matt Riddle, Shayna Baszler vs. Dakota Kai, NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa appears, Forgotten Sons vs. Raul Mendoza and Humberto Carrillo

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

NXT TV 
Aired December 5, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped November 28 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

Instead of the regular “In Memoriam”, WWE aired a crawler at the bottom of the screen in memoriam of Dynamite Kid during the NXT Theme…

Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson were on commentary…

Matt Riddle made his entrance. Mauro mentioned that Riddle is 2-0 in NXT. His opponent is former Ring of Honor Television Champion, Punishment Martinez, who came out to dark public domain music…

1. Matt Riddle vs. Punishment Martinez. Martinez dominated early on with his height. Martinez went for some strikes but Riddle dodged every strike. Riddle managed to get Punishment in the corner and hit him with a series of stiff roundhouses. Martinez caught Riddle with a cyclone kick for a nearfall. Percy Watson noted that Martinez’s father once beat Chuck Norris. Martinez got Riddle to the ground. Riddle came back with gut palms. Riddle showed off his dazzling CQC. Riddle slapped and pummeled Martinez on the ground. Martinez blocked it at first but after more pummeling Riddle locked in the Bromission for the submission win.

Matt Riddle defeated Punishment Martinez via pinfall in 3:08.

After the match while Riddle was celebrating on the ramp, Kassius Ohno appeared from behind wearing a Duke Blue Devil themed jersey. Ohno knocked out Riddle with a rolling elbow to leave him lying…

Percy Watson cut to a Ricochet video package…

John’s Thoughts: A short match, but a nice taste as to what makes Matt Riddle so fun to watch. I keep telling people that I’ve been waiting to see a pro wrestler who  would simply pummel a person on the ground with no remorse like Kurt Angle used to. Matt Riddle is that guy (Roderick Strong and Tessa Blanchard are two others with a similar style). The post match stuff was basic, expected, but solid because it wasn’t dumb as hell (as we see on Raw more often than not). Ohno and Riddle should have a great match coming up that last more than seven seconds…

Ricochet was outside wearing a suit interviewed by “the press”. Ricochet talked about coming to NXT to win and having the North American Championship. Ricochet said he hasn’t been pinned at Takeover. Ricochet said he was on his way out to ask Regal who’s Ricochet next NA Championship opponent is… [c]

A Heavy Machinery video aired. Tucker Knight chronicled their journey for the past few years while Otis Dozovic chimed in with his funny sound mannerisms. They talked about how they were coming for the Tag Team Championships…

The show cut to a William Regal tweet announcing that Bianca Belair qualified for a fatal four way match in three weeks for a title shot at NXT Takeover Phoenix. Mauro noted that Bianca qualified by beating Deonna Purrazzo at a live event this past weekend…

Humberto Carrillo and Raul Mendoza made their entrance…

2. “The Forgotten Sons” Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake (w/Jaxson Ryker) vs. Humberto Carrillo and Raul Mendoza. Cutler and Mendoza started off the match. Cutler quickly got Mendoza to the ground with a headlock. Cutler was no longer wearing a nose injury mask. Mendoza escaped and clipped Cutler with an enzuiguri. Carrillo tagged in and the two men hit Cutler with a wheelbarrow splash. Blake tagged in and dominated Carrillo. Mauro noted that Blake is a former NXT Tag Team Champion (w/Buddy Murphy).

Carrillo flipped out of the corner and managed to regain control for his team. Mendoza tagged in and hit Blake with a huracanrana. Mendoza went for Poetry in Motion but Blake caught him in the air and threw him like a basketball at Carrillo. The camera showed that Ryker was focused at ringside while Cutler dominated Mendoza. Cutler hit Mendoza with a rebound backbreaker for a two count. Mendoza escaped a lock from Cutler. Blake and Carrillo tagged in. Carrillo caught Blake with a crossbody. Carrillo took down both men with an armdrag.

Carrillo got a ton of air with a flying delayed missile dropkick on Blake. Mendoza took Cutler outside but he ran right into a right hand during a Tope attempt. Blake hit Carrillo with a hanging Pile Driver. The Forgotten Sons hit Carrillo with a Scorpion Death Drop-Leg Drop combo for the victory.

The Forgotten Sons defeated Humberto Carrillo and Raul Mendoza via pinfall in 4:49. 

John’s Thoughts: While the first few matches the Sons had were rough and forgettable, the Sons have won me over as a really good tag team. There’s a little bit of Revival in them in their no-nonsense approach, but they are less cartoony in terms of  being heels. Blake and Cutler are a little bit bland as personalities but it looks like Ryker is there to take care of that problem because he does have some charisma. As for the other tag team, Carrillo and Mendoza are ready to move to that Tag Team main event scene. Mendoza is reliable and Carrillo is a sensation in the making.

Velveteen Dream was wearing a blouse and hairnet and was interviewed by Cathy Kelley. Dream stopped the interview so he could change the lights and have his theme music play. Dream talked about how the internet and NXT Locker Room are talking about the Dream. Dream said he even heard people ask Triple H about the Dream (I was in that press room with Hunter and JB when the question was asked). Dream said it was Dream Over…

The Undisputed Era cut one of their NWO-Style promos from the trailer of a Semi Truck (I guess in the same area as Ciampa?). Cole was paranoid and made sure the doors were locked. Fish addressed EC3 coming after him. Fish said Fish wasn’t just a guy. Fish said EC3 should be careful about swimming in the deep end which was infested with sharks. Fish slapped his steel chair. Roderick Strong bragged about injuring War Raiders. He also comically called “The Mighty” “The Weaky”. Kyle O’Reilly talked about how Heavy Machinery also doesn’t stand a chance. Adam Cole ended the promo with his Undisputed line…

Mauro said that Hanson from War Machine had broken ribs, a ruptured spleen, and other injuries gained from the War Games match. Mauro noted that War Raiders will be out for some time…

3. Shayna Baszler (w/Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir) vs. Dakota Kai in a non-title match. Baszler shoved Kai to the corner. Baszler got behind Kai but Kai slipped out and hit Baszler with a PK. Baszler rolled outside. Kai went for another PK but Baszler caught the leg and threw it into the ringpost. Kai entered the ring but right into Baszler’s joint manipulation. Baszler went for the elbow stomp but Kai got the elbow out of the way. Baszler then hit a Eat Defeat like move on Kai’s shoulder blade. Baszler went to taunt and toy with Kai.

Baszler kept Kai grounded with kicks. Kai came back with a surprise scorpion kick. Kai came at Baszler with a few shortarm kicks and then a few face wash kicks. Baszler got out of the way and caught Kai with a knee. Baszler hit another knee that looked like it might have really clocked Kai (ouch). Kai recovered and hit Baszler with a pump kick. Kai hit Baszler with a double foot stomp and got a great nearfall on Shayna. Kai tried to lift Baszler but it allowed Baszler to go back to the joint manipulation.

Baszler went for a Super Gutwrench but she shoved Baszler off. Baszler followed up with an enzuiguri to regain control. Baszler got back to the top rope and hit the Super Gutwrench Suplex. It also took the air out of Baszler. Kai recovered first and hit her rapid fire sortarm kicks. Baszler countered and locked in the Kirafuda Clutch. Right before Kai faded away, Kai slowly tapped out.

Shayna Baszler defeated Dakota Kai via submission in 6:05.

Duke and Shafir raised the hand of Baszler after the match. Duke and Shafir then beat up on Dakota Kai. Io Shirai ran out for the save. Shirai took out Duke and Shafir with a double shotgun dropkick. Io took out Baszler with a rising palm. Kai tried to follow up with a Face Wash but Shafir and Duke pulled Baszler away to go into retreat mode… [c]

John’s Thoughts: A really good women’s match. If given more time, this would have definitely been better than the Sane and Baszler match from Takeover. If I were booking things, I would have Kai qualify for the four way, win the four way, and beat Baszler in Phoenix because that’s a nice long story that NXT has. Duke and Shafir are really green and not ready for TV yet. In fact, they ran this exact angle in San Jose just with Sane instead of Shirai. Experience takes time, so it’s not too much to be afraid of. Plus, Duke and Shafir can really benefit from working with one of the best from Japan (who Baszler also has a lot of experience with due to Baszler’s work in Stardom).

Mauro advertised some of next week’s segments…

Tommaso Ciampa made his entrance at Full Sail. Ciampa bragged about leaving another Takeover as “NXT’s MVP”. He talked about how he ended the fairy tale (Gargano), exposed the mystique (Black), and turned the Dream into a nightmare. Ciampa then went at the fans who don’t believe in him. Ciampa called out specific fans. Ciampa called out the old lady that hates him at every show. Ciampa also called out Mauro Ranallo for not believing in him. Ciampa said his title reign will go down as the biggest championship reign in NXT History.

Ciampa said children will study this run in the future. Ciampa said he was 2018’s sports entertainer of the year. Ciampa’s promo was cut off by Aleister Black’s highly produced entrance. Mauro noted that there was an interesting web of connections between Aleister Black, Tommaso Ciampa, and Johnny Gargano. Black got a huge reaction from the Full Sail crowd. Black talked about absolving Johnny Gargano from his sins, the sins made from the Puppetmaster Tommaso Ciampa. Black said he sees original sin in Ciampa. Black then said he was going to invoke his rematch clause.

Johnny Gargano interrupted and called Aleister “Al”. Gargano comically said “thank you for absolving me of my sins”. He also said it’s not over until he says it’s over. Tommaso was giddy and he said he loves it when Johnny Wrestling stays in the back and brings out Johnny Badass. A Johnny Badass chant ensued. Tommaso Ciampa then stood on the ring apron and then put in extra effort to stir the pot. Ciampa said he thinks that Black and Gargano should have been the ones in the War Games cage in Los Angeles.

Ciampa said they have to finish this story right, in a steel cage. Tommaso Ciampa then hyped up Full Sail and the two men in the ring for a Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black steel cage match. Johnny Gargano said “let’s do it”. Black yelled that Johnny Wrestling is dead and he’d even fight Gargano in the parking lot. Gargano said the parking lot didn’t work well for Black last time. Gargano talked about beating Black in a steal cage. Gargano slipped out of the ring to avoid a Black Mass. Black then gave Ciampa a Black Mass. Black’s theme played as Johnny acted cocky backtracking up the ramp…

John’s Thoughts: Amazing promo work by everyone here. This was a multi-stage promo segment. The first was well done with Ciampa going right after the fans to draw heat towards himself. That did a good job to get everyone behind Aleister Black. The next step was Black’s promo. Aleister is usually best when he says less and when he says more he’s more humanized (less mystique). Black talked a lot here with a lot of passion and that passion made it Aleister Black’s best longer promo in NXT. Gargano took this segment to another level by redefining the traditional WWE Chickens–t heel. It didn’t stop there because this segment was made even more compelling when Ciampa acted like a shark who just smelled blood when he jumped at the chance to stir up the pot and take away Black’s rematch by tempting him into a cage match against Gargano. Well done segment by all players.

After two rest weeks of NXT, NXT came back to Full Sail University with a very strong and jam packed episode. Because NXT has a stacked roster, they are starting to pull back on the backstage segments and documentaries. That said, the in-ring stuff is top notch and the NXT characters are firing on all cylinders. Seeing teams like the Forgotten Sons start to finally click adds to the joy gained from watching this show. I’ll be by tomorrow with my NXT Hit List followed by my Members Exclusive Audio Review…

 


Readers Comments (1)

  1. Great show all round. I am really see who gets into the women’s fatal 4-way, I agree Dakota Kai is the way to go, although I think a video package or something needs to be done to first to let fans know more about her. I have said since she started that she could be the next Bayley if handled right.

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