Moore’s NXT TV Live Review: Aleister Black vs. Johnny Gargano in a cage match, Io Shirai and Dakota Kai vs. Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke, Dominik Dijakovic vs. Aaron Mackey, Heavy Machinery in action


By John Moore, Staffer (@liljohnm)

Aired December 19, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped November 28 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

NXT started off with the weekly ad hyping Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black in a steel cage match followed by the NXT theme…

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

1. Io Shirai and Dakota Kai vs. Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir. Shafir and Duke wore camo/olive drab colored gear. Dakota Kai eluded Duke early on until Duke caught Kai by the waist. Kai gained a little bit of an advantage but Shafir got a cheap roundhouse in. Shafir and Duke traded quick tags for some ground a pound. Kai tried to escape a guillotine choke with overhead kicks but Shafir laid down the forearm. Duke tagged in and caught Kai with a weak looking running kick. Duke then locked in a chinlock. Kai got a window of opportunity on Duke with a Scorpion Kick. Kai managed to tag in Shirai for the hot tag. Shirai took down Shafir with forearms and a 619. Shirai hit a running meteora on Shafir. Duke tried to distract Shirai but Kai took care of Duke so Shirai could hit Shafir with her cool looking moonsault for the win.

Io Shirai and Dakota Kai defeated Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir via pinfall in 4:26.

A vignette said that Dominik Dijakovic was arriving after the break… [c]

John’s Thoughts: A bit surprising that Duke and Shafir would lose their first time out on television. While the match still wasn’t all that great, it wasn’t as ugly on Shafir and Duke’s side as it was when they tried this match out in San Jose (Kairi Sane was supposed to be Kai’s tag team partner but she was suffering from illness during this taping).

A replay aired of Matt Riddle vs. Punishment Martinez from two weeks ago. NXT spotlighted the post match attack by Kassius Ohno…

Matt Riddle was interviewed by “the media”. Riddlesaid he wasn’t happy about being attacked from behind but he can’t blame Ohno because Ohno needed an advantage after getting knocked out in seven seconds. Riddle said he’ll knock out Ohno in seven seconds again… bro…

A guy looking like an enhancement wrestler showed up…

John’s Thoughts: By the way, they’re pronouncing Dijakovic differently then you would naturally think. It’s pronounced “Dijak” “Kovic” like it’s two different words. That’s going to take a little bit of getting used to.

2. Dominik Dijakovic vs Aaron Mackey. Mauro said if you came up with a “sports entertainer” (wrestler) in a lab, you would come up with Dijakovic. Dijak easily clubbed down Mackey. Dijak taunted Mackey while also ramming him in the corner. Dijakovic kneed Mackey and tossed him aside. Dijakovic hit Mackey with a Burning Hammer GTS, now dubbed the Feast Your Eyes, for the win.

Dominik Dijakovic defeated Aaron Mackey via pinfall in 1:46. 

Highlights aired from the match…

John’s Thoughts: Took a while for the former Ring of Honor stud to get a spotlight, but with the large amount of call-overs to Raw and Smackdown I guess now is a great time to introduce new talent and new regulars. Good

A Heavy Machinery vignette aired that featured the team’s highlights as well as them cooking meat… [c]

William Regal’s twitter announced that Io Shirai is the final participant in next week’s Women’s Fatal Four Way for a title shot at takeover. The match is now Io Shirai vs. Bianca Belair vs. Lacey Evans vs. Mia Yim…

Nigel McGuinness hyped Heavy Machinery vs. Undisputed Era for the tag titles next week…

3. “Heavy Machinery” Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight vs. Blake Howell and Danny D’Accardo. Dozovic and one of the enhancement guys started the match. Dozovic tossed the guy around easily and even dragged in the other tag partner in. Knight treated one guy like a battering ram and had his way with him. The Undisputed Era quartet stood at the top of the stage to taunt Knight. The enhancment guy tried to take advantage but Knight was able to shrug the guy off. HM hit one guy with The Compactor but didn’t pin them on purpose. They hit the other guy with the Compactor. HM then hit both guys simultaneously with a One Man Powerslam Compactor for the win.

Heavy Machinery defeated Blake Howell and Danny D’Accardo via pinfall in 2:22. 

John’s Thoughts: Standard and effective way to hype next week’s title opportunity for Heavy Machinery. That said, and I don’t know the spoilers, HM aren’t long for the NXT roster so I don’t expect a tag team title win for them.

Aleister Black was shown shadow kickboxing backstage while Johnny Gargano was at a different part of Full Sail doing resistance band training… [c]

The steel cage was set up in Full Sail with 30 minutes left in the hour…

Nigel McGuinness hyped Tommaso Ciampa vs. Aleister Black for the NXT Championship at Takeover: Phoenix…

Kayla Braxton (I think, could be Sarah Schreiber) handled the formal ring introductions and laid out the rules for a WWE cage match…

4. Aleister Black vs. Johnny Gargano in a steel cage match. Black was in the middle of his entrance but Gargano jumpped Black during his entrance. Black regained composure and then took down Gargano with his precision roundhouse kicks. Gargano tossed Black into the steel steps for a moment of respite. Black regained control with a roundhouse. Black dragged Gargano in the cage to officially start the match. Mauro brought up Samoa Joe vs. Finn balor as a legendary NXT cage match.

Black prevented Gargano from escaping the cage. Black got a nearfall after a vertical suplex. Gargano staggered Black with a roundhouse and then tried to escape. Black went to the top rope, but his “bells got jingled” (Mauro’s quote) when Gargano crotched Black on the top rope. Gargano followed up with ground and pound. Mauro pointed out that Gargano was the first person to get a pinfall win over Black in NXT (Neville got a TV win over Tommy Tommy Tommy F’n End earlier if you’re keeping score). Black used his educated feet to escape the corner. Gargano tried to catapult Black but that only put Black in a position to escape.

Black did a tightrope on the top rope and hit Gargano with a nice moonsault. Nigel noted that Black might have rotated too much and got the worst of the moonsault on his knee. Black manhandled Gargano by tossing him against the cage walls. Black went into his Muay Thai clinch strikes followed by a running high knee on  Gargano. Gargano and Black brawled on the top rope. Gargano took Black off the top rope with a nice lateral Sunset Flip bomb.

And epic striking exchange ensued on the ground. Gargano caught Black with a superkick with Black coming back with a knee. Black trapped Gargano between the cage and ropes to hit him with a few face wash kicks. Black tried to hit Gargano with a running knee but Gargano fell through the door and Black went to prevent Gargano from escaping. Black hit Gargano with shortarm strikes. Gargano caught Black off the top rope with a Side Russian Legsweep. Gargano locked Black in the GargaNo Escape. Black overpowered Gargano and slammed Gargano to the cage but Gargano kept the GargaNo Escape locked in.

Black went for the same counter but Gargano used this to get to the top of the cage. Black met Gargano on the top rope and prevented Gargano from toppling over. Black managed to get Gargano back on the top rope. Gargano went for a Super Cutter but Black shoved Gargano away and hit Gargano with a top rope meteora. Black got a two count on Gargano. Black used his foot to lift the head of Gargano. Gargano trapped Black in the second rope to crotch him several times. Gargano gave Black a few lawn dart snake eyes. Gargano lifted Black up and said “I absolve you of your sins”. Black responded by giving Gargano a Black Mass.

Black was also knocked out on the ground with Gargano showing more movement. Nigel noted that it was unusual to see Black be on the ground longer after executing a successful Black Mass. Gargano tried to escape over the cage while Black crawled over to the cage door. Tommaso Ciampa ran out to slam the cage door on the head of Black. Ciampa entered the cage to ground and pound on Black. Gargano had the visual victory, but he decided to not put his feet on the ground and instead enter the cage. A “DIY” chant ensued as Ciampa and Gargano stood over Black. Ciampa and Gargano then posed and hit their DIY knee and foot sandwich finisher on Black. Gargano did a sly smile and then slowly walked away. Gargano got the pinfall win over Black.

Johnny Gargano defeated Aleister Black via pinfall in 17:50. 

Ciampa did a slow golf clap as he backtracked up the ramp while Gargano had a conflicted/puzzled look on his face while staring at Ciampa. Gargano then sat next to Black in the indian pose (just like Ciampa used to do with Gargano after their DIY losses). NXT closed…

John’s Thoughts: A great match as expected with a fun twist ending. Now that Gargano and Ciampa are heels, this creates a fun “DIY full circle” opportunity for the creative team to work with. This is very intriguing in all the good ways. Ciampa vs. Black is already confirmed for the next Takeover. Might they insert Gargano in it since he got the pinfall win over Black? Might we see a Gargano and Ciampa heel-DIY run? This was a smart way to initiate a reunion as opposed to the “reunion tour” comebacks that the main roster usually has. The only problem here is Ciampa is such a strong heel and teaming up with Gargano would babyface him to the crowd. I am intrigued to see where they go.

NXT is such a good show in the one hour of allotted time. As I said, there tends to be more storyline progression and development in one hour of NXT than three hours of Raw. There were decent matches to start. The Re De Butt of Dominik Dijak-kovic. Then the show ends with a Takeover-worthy cage match with a mind stimulating ending. If you want more, check out 205 Live right before for a really good Gulak/Gallagher vs. Kendrick/Tozawa street fight that was more hardcore than you would expect on WWE’s live shows. I’ll be by tomorrow with a Hit List for this show as well as a Members Exclusive Audio Review…




Readers Comments (1)

  1. “The only problem here is Ciampa is such a strong heel and teaming up with Gargano would babyface him to the crowd.”

    Yep, and this is why it shouldn’t happen (also, it’s way too early for it to happen). At least for viewers on television like me, the crowd cheering for DIY instead of booing them will badly damage the experience. My hope is that this is all a ruse by Ciampa.

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