Moore’s NXT TV Live Review: Ricochet defends the NXT North American Championship in an open challenge, EC3 vs. Bobby Fish, Mia Yim vs. Reina Gonzalez, Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan vs. The Mighty

By John Moore, Staffer (@liljohnm)

Aired December 12, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped November 28 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

This week’s NXT Teaser was the ad for EC3 vs. Bobby Fish. The NXT Theme aired…

Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson were on commentary. Mauro made a handful of Christmas puns to start off the show. Nigel hyped Mia Yim vs. Reina Gonzalez in a fatal four way qualifying match. Percy hyped up the NXT North American Championship open challenge from Ricochet…

Undisputed Era opened up the show for Bobby Fish’s opening match…

Adam Cole cut a promo. He said how Bobby Fish embarrassed the top one percent of morons in EC3. Cole said EC3 was stupid enough to come to NXT to elevate his career. Cole said EC3 found out that NXT is the UE’s world. Cole said everything including Takeovers revolve around the Undisputed Era. Cole said 2018 is the start of an Undisputed decade of dominance. Adam Cole said he promises that in 2019 all of the UE will be draped in gold, and that is undisputed. EC3 then made his entrance wearing his odd fur vest…

1. Bobby Fish (w/Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong) vs. EC3. Percy noted that Ethan’s leg was taped up from Fish’s attack. EC3 dominated early on. Fish shameless kept aiming for Ethan’s leg to no avail. EC3 just responded with a powerbomb. EC3 took Fish outside with a lariat as he then roared to the crowd. EC3 continued to dominated Fish as Fish entered the ring. EC3 took down Fish with a hip toss. O’Reilly got on the apron for the first distraction of the night. Fish hit EC3 with a chop block on the injured knee to gain the upper hand.

Fish put the boots to EC3. Mauro pointed out Fish’s martial arts background. Fish hit EC3 with shortarm leg kicks into a dragon screw. Fish dodged the Stinger Splash from EC3 and then nailed Ethan with a Exploder Suplex. EC3 gained a moment of respite after countering Fish with a suplex. EC3 made a rally back with a series of punches. Fish had an odd whiplash against the ropes. EC3 hit Fish with a EC3 elbow. The rest of UE got on the apron for more distractions. Fish had the upper hand but EC3 rolled up Fish for the victory.

EC3 defeated Bobby Fish via pinfall in 5:30.

Undisputed Era put the boots to EC3 after the match. Suddenly Heavy Machinery ran out for the save. Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic were wearing casual jeans with Dozovic’s jeans looking like they were about to fall off. HM dragged Kyle O’Reilly in the ring after the rest of UE escaped. EC3 hit O’Reilly with a TK3 while Otis hit Fish with the Caterpillar.

Dakota Kai and Io Shirai were interviewed by an unseen interviewer. Dakota Kai was wearing a Kingslayer shirt (since she beat up Seth Rollins badly in League of Legends as Jinx during Survivor Series weekend). Kai brought up how Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke keep interfering. Io said she didn’t like Duke and Shafir attacking “my friend” as she did the same awkward hug as she did to Kairi Sane. Kai and Shirai challenged Duke and Shafir to a match next week… [c]

John’s Thoughts: The rollup finish is an underrated finish as it protects the person being pinned as it comes off as fluky. An okay match but nothing too special. It’s still a bit odd to see EC3 as a generic babyface when the guy is such a great main event heel. This was more to set up Undisputed Era vs. Heavy Machinery. It was simple, but effective in that sense.

2. “The Mighty” Shane Thorne and Nick Miller vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. Oney Lorcan took out both opponents with a suicide dive. Thorne landed a few good strikes on Lorcan but Lorcan did his usual fun stiff strike rallies. Thorne came back with a Saito Suplex to set up Miller for some isolation offense. Lorcan ducked lariats and tagged in Burch. Burch took down Thorne with a Theaz Press and punched Miller after saying something about Miller’s mother. Burch took down Thorne with a missile dropkick. Thorne escaped a doomsday device attempt.

The Mighty managed to hit Lorcan with a unique Powerbomb Superplex. Burch pulled Lorcan away form a Thunder Valley attempt. Miller powerslammed Lorcan so Thorne could jump off Miller’s back for Poetry in Motion on Burch. Miller got a nearfall off of Lorcan. Lorcan hit both Mighty members with a DDT. Lorcan hit his signature nosebleed slaps on both Mighty members. The mighty came back with stiff slaps themselves but then accidently slapped each other. Lorcan got rid of Miller so Lorcan and Burch could hit their double team finisher on Thorne to give Burch the win.

Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch defeated The Mighty via pinfall in 5:03.

A replay aired of last week’s main event promo segment involving Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, and Aleister Black…

John’s Thoughts: A really fun tag team match. This was short and sweet and the best I remember the Mighty looking in a long time. The only thing that didn’t look good for The Mighty was them losing. Maybe The Mighty need to be called up to Smackdown because they’ve been heavily damaged on NXT as enhancement tag team guys?

Nigel McGuinness advertised Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black in a steel cage next week…

Johnny Gargano cut a selfie promo. Gargano brought up Black absolving Gargano of his sins. Gargano said he did nothing wrong to begin with. Gargano said in order to get people cheering for Gargano’s final victory, he had to beat up a guy in a parking lot. Gargano said Black was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Gargano said Black can lock him up in a cage but Gargano is here to end the story the right way. Gargano said he’ll close the book on Aleister Black next week…

John’s Thoughts: Good promo. When WWE’s main roster overdoes the selfie promo it comes off as low budget, but when Gargano and Ciampa cut selfie promos it comes off as natural and reflects their unhinged nature. It reminds me of how Dean Ambrose did it with the Shield or Sami Callihan does with OVE.

A Donovan Dijakovic vignette aired which ended in Dijak saying “feast your eyes”. The video said Dijakovic was coming next week…

Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir were interviewed. Baszler said she’s confident she’ll beat the winner of the fatal four way match. Cathy Kelley tried to interview Duke and Shafir about Kai and Shirai, but they just laughed and Baszler talked for them, saying they were confident…

William Regal’s twitter announced that Lacey Evans qualified for the Number One Contender’s Fatal Four Way. They cut to a NXT live event from the past weekend where Evans defeated Xia Li to qualify. Evans was wearing her Marine themed gear…

3. Mia Yim vs. Reina Gonzalez to qualify for the number one contender fatal four way. Gonzalez was wearing assless jeans, and was acting like the female version of El Texano Jr (which translates to The Texan Jr). Mauro stressed that Gonzalez is a Texan. Mia Yim dominated early and went for an early Eat Defeat. Gonzalez countered with a Suplex. Gonzalez put the boots to Yim. Gonzalez hit a clubbing left hand on Yim and a running boot. Gonzalez told Yim to levantate. Gonzalez then put Yim in a backbreaker rack. Yim escaped.

Yim came back at Gonzalez with chops. Yim then went for CQC. Yim hit Gonzalez with Eat Defeat for the win.

Mia Yim defeated Reina Gonzalez via pinfall in 3:25 to qualify for the number one contender fatal four way match. 

Ricochet was doing resistance band bicep curls to prepare for his open challenge… [c]

John’s Thoughts: A solid enhancement match that doubled as a meaningful title implication match. Gonzalez looked a bit too try-hard and her offense was a bit rough, but they look to be heading in the right direction with her if they stick with it a bit. This is the first time I believe we’ve seen her on NXT in over a year.

Aleister Black was standing in front of a black wall where he said some rhetoric and acknowledged his upcoming match against Johnny Gargano. Black was standing in smoke. She said he feels nothing about next week’s match, he only has to deal with Johnny. Black said Gargano is beyond absolution and redemption. Black said Gargano needs annihilation. Black said they’re wont be ducking next week. Black said Gargano will simply fade to black…

John’s Thogughts: Huh. Black’s suddenly a natural and good promo now. Two weeks in a row and Black has cut solid longform promos when his strength at first was in short bursts. The black room and smoke was pretty cool, but I hope they go back to what they used to do with him and have him cut promos from his gothic church.

Ricochet made his entrance for his upcoming open challenge. His opponent got his full entrance, Tyler Breeze. Kayla Braxton let out a nice surprised smile when Breeze’s music started. Drake Younger was the referee for the match.

4. Ricochet vs. Tyler Breeze for the NXT North American Championship. A “welcome back” chant ensued for Breeze (I would rather chant “Welcome home!!!”). A dueling “Tyler’s Gorgeous” and “Ricochet” chant ensued. Breeze landed an armdrag and then did the tranquilo pose on the top rope. Breeze was rocking a beard of sorrow (which I would assume comes from being underutilized on Raw. Mojo Rawley has one too). Ricochet came back at Breeze with one of his usual quick opening rallies. Breeze used a body scissors to transition Ricochet into a half crab. Ricochet escaped and hit Breeze with a rolling lariat.

Breeze dodged a flip dive but Ricochet hit the brakes. Ricochet tried to dive from the apron but Breeze came back with a jumping enzuigiri. Breeze put the boots to Ricochet and was separated by Drake. Breeze yelled “don’t touch me!” at Drake to pop the crowd. Ricochet used punches to stop Breeze’s superplex attempt. Ricochet hit Breeze with a rolling shotgun dropkick. Ricochet went for a Tiger Feint but Breeze escaped. Ricochet landed on his feet during a German attempt and hit Breeze with a Tiger Feint. Ricochet hit a high flying shoryuken and then a running Shooting Star on Breeze for a nearfall.

Tyler Breeze dodged Ricochet’s Phoenix Splash. Breeze and Ricochet traded punches. Nigel noted that Ricochet is a superior striker but Breeze has a Supermodel Kick. Ricochet blocked a superkick but Breeze took down Ricochet with a running crossbody. Breeze and Ricochet traded punches from the kneeling position. Ricochet got higher ground first. Breeze and Ricochet used their weight to block suplexes. Ricochet missed a lionsault and walked right into a superkick and reverse rana from Tyler. Breeze and Ricochet staggered to the center of the ring. Breeze gave Ricochet a gut kick and some punches. Ricochet came back with a straight kick. Ricochet blocked the Beauty Shot and hit Breeze with the Michinoku Driver finisher (shades of “Dark” Prince Puma) for the victory.

Ricochet defeated Tyler Breeze via pinfall in 9:46 to retain the NXT North American Championship. 

Nigel recapped the nearfalls and the exciting points of the match. Ricochet stood tall with his championship after the match. Ricochet got down from the apron and then shared a polite handshake with the returning hero in Tyler Breeze. Ricochet posed with the championship on the ramp to close the show…

John’s Thoughts: Not only was this a really fun match, but the funness of the match was overshadowed by the joyful and melancholic return of Tyler Breeze to NXT. The beard of sorrow says it all, Raw sucks and a lot of promising talent are buried on that show for no good damn reason. The real story here was Breeze showing up and feeling like a long lost son who has finally returned home. Welcome home Tyler Breeze and I hope that this isn’t a one off. Get paid main roster money, but have them treat NXT as a bullpen where you can be shuffled in and out. Sadly, I think this might be a one-off for now, but I hope that Paul Levesque comes through with what he’s brought up in conference calls in the past, and that they bring people back to NXT to be utilized better (while getting paid main roster money)

I talked so much about Breeze that I forgot to give Ricochet the credit he deserves for putting on good weekly main events. This “Open Challenge” is something I’ve been hoping for since Ricochet debuted due to Ricochet handling the “weekly TV Champion” role well in Lucha Underground by making the show appointment viewing just to see his stellar main events. I do miss Ricochet wrestling in The Temple though since he had a lot of cool walls and railings to run off of, but that’s just the nostalgia in me talking. Here’s hoping for more “Open challenges” and I’d even take someone like NXT “legend” Rhyno showing up or something.  Good match and a part of another good jam-packed NXT show. This show had minimal commercials and even cut close to the 6:00 mark PST. I’ll be by tomorrow with my NXT Hit List and Members Exclusive Audio Review…



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