Moore’s NXT TV Live Review: Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly vs. Heavy Machinery for the NXT Tag Titles, Lacey Evans vs. Io Shirai vs. Mia Yim vs. Bianca Belair in a four-way to become number one contender to the NXT Women’s Championship match

By John Moore, Staffer (@liljohnm)

Aired December 26, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped November 28 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

The NXT weekly ad aired featuring the two big matches from this episode. The NXT theme aired…

Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson were on commentary as Mauro wished everyone a happy holidays on Boxing Day…

John’s Thoughts: Happy holidays everyone! Hope everyone had a great Christmas season.

1. Io Shirai vs. Lacey Evans vs. Bianca Belair vs. Mia Yim in a four way number one contenders match for a Women’s Championship title shot. Lacey Evans wore her Olive Drab Marine gear (which I always point out as way better than her pin-up cosplay). Yim and Belair jawed at each other. Shirai broke it up. Evans decided to hide out at the apron. Yim hit Belair with a sorta botched Tope but it wasn’t a disaster. Shirai hit a innovative crossbody Tope through the middle rope. Evans tried to interject herself but got double teamed by Shirai and Yim. Evans managed to cause Yim to strike Shirai to get the upper hand.

Evans hit Yim with a slingshot elbow. Evans hit Shirai with a drop toehold into Yim. Evans hit both Shirai and Yim at the same time with a single bronco buster. Belair got back in the match and used Shirai’s body as a battering ram against Evans. Shirai got rid of Belair. Evans took down Shirai with a single leg takedown. Evans went for a few pin attempts on Shirai. Mauro noted that Evans was the most dominant woman in the match. Belair got in the ring to jaw at Evans. Evans and Belair then formed an alliance. Shirai and Yim teamed up with a crossbody dropkick combo. Many pin attempts ensued with the alliances breaking up.

Evans and Belair had a shoving match. Shirai broke up the squabbling with a slingshot shotgun dropkick. Belair tried to scramble with several pin attempts on the grounded opponents. Belair locked Shirai in a Full Nelson and went for a Glam Slam. Shirai reversed into a stomp. Shirai hit Belair with a 619. Shirai hit a top rope dropkick and got a two count on Belair broken up by Evans. Yim hit a combo on Evans but Evans pulled out the Women’s Right. McGuinness sold the finish greatly. Shirai hit her beautiful moonsault on Evans. Belair  broke the pin up with her hair weapon. Belair got rid of Yim and Shirai. Belair hit Evans with the Burning Hammer DDT for the victory.

Bianca Belair defeated Lacey Evans, Io Shirai, and Mia Yim via pinfall in 9:13.

Replays of the match aired… [c]

John’s Thoughts: A great TV match with an awesome build into the closing sequence. Mia Yim kinda faded in the background, but you would expect that given the number of people in the ring at the same time. Evans looked really good in what might be her last match on NXT and I hope she does well on the main roster (especially with that finisher that was built up SO well in NXT). Belair is a great winner, but I wonder how NXT is going to handle a heel vs. heel encounter with Baszler?

The band Alien Weaponry’s song  “Holding My Breath” was announced as one of the theme songs of NXT Takeover: Phoenix…

Generic looking enhancement wrestler Mitch Taverna made his entrance…

2. Jaxson Ryker (w/Wesley Blake, Steve Cutler) vs. Mitch Taverna. Ryker destroyed Mitch in the corner. Mitch tried to throw in a chop but Ryker responded with a power bomb. Ryker hit Mitch with a series of knees. A methodical sequence of destruction ensued. Ryker hit a rebound power bomb for the victory.

Jaxon Ryker defeated Mitch Taverna via pinfall in 2:04. 

The show went to commercial after Gunner’s win…[C]

John’s Thoughts: A longer than expected squash. I was distracted thinking that my Network feed was messed up so I pulled out my phone to double check. There was odd technical issues with the commentary being turned off the entire portion after the commercial break.

A Velveteen Dream vignette aired. He bragged about being 23 years old (which Triple H did as well). This was a similar promo he did a few months ago where he would whisper the highlight words of the promo. Dream brought up the Twitter of Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle, and Triple H as people tweeting about Velveteen Dream…

Yay! Commentary’s back! Nigel McGuinness cut to highlights from last week’s Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black cage match. The highlights focused on DIY teaming up to get the pinfall win over Black…

The show cut to Tommaso Ciampa cutting a promo from the back of his semi truck. Ciampa said he feels like a broken record sometimes when he delivers on his promises. He said last week was his vindication. Ciampa said somebody finally is listening and it seems like Gargano is listening to Ciampa and following Ciampa’s lead. Ciampa said Ciampa’s lead led to a win for Gargano. Ciampa said he’s happy for Gargano. He said Gargano can’t have a chance to get the NXT title but maybe he should go after the North American Championship. Ciampa chronicled their journey as DIY from coming into NXT without contracts. Ciampa said at Phoenix DIY can takeover and the possibilities are endless…

John’s Thoughts: Great promo and I love Ciampa continuing to play puppetmaster. He’s obviously just trying to fend off Gargano and Black from his championship because they are his biggest threats, but he’s doing it in a logical way. The hamfisted line of “you can’t come after my title” was a great heel line to add to lock in Ciampa as a heel.

Percy Watson said the nominees for the NXT Year End Awards will be announced next week. It wasn’t a full on “Best of…” episode though because they also announced Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno for next week…

Kayla Braxton handled the formal ring introductions for the upcoming Tag Title match…

3. “The Undisputed Era” Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly  vs. “Heavy Machinery” Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic for the NXT Tag Team Championship. Knight and Strong started off the match. O’Reilly tried to distract Knight but Knight overpowered Strong with his amateur wrestling moves. Dozovic kept yelling “Oh yeah Tucky!” at Knight. Strong countered and tagged in O’Reilly. Knight escaped the corner with a double lariat on both opponents. Dozovic tagged in. Dozovic splashed and lariat’ed Strong in the corner. Heavy Machinery traded tags for tandem offense in their corner. Nigel McGuinness said he’s pretty sure that Heavy Machinery ate very well during Christmas.

Heavy Machinery hit both opponents with Belly to Belly suplexes. O’Reilly tried to run away to set up Knight for Strong but Knight just ran through both opponents. After a distraction, Strong managed to lift up the much larger Knight and hit him with a backbreaker on the apron (he’s lifted up Lars Sullivan too, so this is not shocking). O’Reilly staggered Knight with a knee strike. O’Reilly and Strong gave Knight shootfighting chops and kicks in the corner. Knight managed to fight off both opponents but couldn’t get to his corner because UE worked on his knee for a extended sequence. Strong hit Knight with an Angle Slam for a two count.

Strong got Knight in a leg lock with O’Reilly pulling them away from the ropes. Knight fought his way out with punches. Strong went at Dozovic to try to get him off the apron but had no success. Knight hit a desperation lariat on Strong which allowed Knight to get the hot tag on Otis. Otis hit Roderick with the Caterpillar (the worm). UE avoided the Compactor. Heavy Machinery hit O’Reilly with the Hoss Toss (catapult power slam combo). Knight went high risk and missed a moonsault because O’Reilly got out of the way.

Dozovic took down Strong with a comeback lariat and got a nearfall on strong. Otis then decided to go for a moonsault but Undisputed Era attacked him before he could get to the top. Strong and O’Reilly hit Dozovic with a Tower of Power for a nearfall. Undisputed Era hit Dozovic with a Axe and Knee attack for a nearfall. Undisputed Era followed up with Total Elimination on Dozovic to pick up the win because Knight couldn’t make it for the breakup.

Undisputed Era defeated Heavy Machinery via pinfall in 11:30 to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.

Knight went to sit with his fallen tag partner. Adam Cole and Bobby Fish joined O’Reilly and Strong at the top of the stage to taunt their opponents with the UE hand signs and close out the show with about 10 minutes left in the hour…

John’s Thoughts: NXT usually has fun tag team matches (in their tag team main event scene) and this match was no exception. This was one of Heavy Machinery’s better matches to date and their growth has shown. Otis in particular had that mini singles push in the main event which did wonders for his in-ring selling in a big match. The right team went over clean as HM is on their way out. Heels don’t always have to cheat to win and NXT gets that.

NXT continues to roll on with strong episodes. This was the usual “Paul Levesque formula” episode with opening match, enhancement match (which featured technical difficulties), and a main event. The technical difficulties were forgettable so that wasn’t a problem. The opening and closing match would have stood out as TV main events to any TV show so overall this was a good show. I’ll be by tomorrow with my Hit List and Members Exclusive Audio Review…



Readers Comments (2)

  1. Hope you had a great Christmas John! My three thoughts on this show:

    1. Jeez, I thought Io Shirai had almost killed Bianca Belair with that dive at the beginning. Couldn’t believe Bianca was ok.

    2. A question – why was there suddenly a huge cheer when Jackson Ryker hit his finisher? Did I miss something there?

    3. Tommaso Ciampa’s promo was just brilliant again. He is the only wrestler worth listening to when it comes to these gimmicky pre-taped promos.

    • 1. yeah. both those Topes (Io’s and Mia’s right before) looked scary. Mia caught her leg on the top rope on her’s.

      2. I just found this out recently, but I heard that the finish of this match was botched (maybe several times) and they had to reshoot so the crowed cheered Gunner finally getting the move right. I didn’t catch most of the match because I was distracted at my cell phone trying to figure out if my PS4 was screwing up.

      3. Oh yeah! Ciampa really understands his character. His semi-truck promos and his interactions with the old lady in the front row are some of his heel highlights of 2018.

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