By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT Takeover: Phoenix Pre-Show
Aired on WWE Network
Phoenix, Arizona at Talking Stick Resort Arena
-The pre-show was hosted by Charly Caruso, Sam Roberts, and Pat McAfee. The hosts ran through the Royal Rumble lineup.
-A video package aired on the NXT North American Championship match between Ricochet and Johnny Gargano.
-The 2018 NXT Award for Breakout Star of 2018 went to Ricochet, who was interviewed backstage by Sarah Schreiber as he held the award. He said his highlight of 2018 was winning the North American Championship. He said he hoped to raise the bar by beating Johnny Gargano.
-The 2018 NXT Match of the Year award went to Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade Almas at the Takeover: Philadelphia event. Gargano was interviewed backstage. He was interrupted by Zelina Vega, who ripped him by questioning what he’s done since the match. Vega said Andrade beat Rey Mysterio and asked if Gargano has been laying people out in parking lots.
-A video package showcased the Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno match.
-The 2018 NXT Male Competitor award nominees were Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Ricochet, Aleister Black, Velveteen Dream, Andrade Almas, Adam Cole, and Pete Dunne. And the winner is… Tommaso Ciampa. He appeared on the interview set and held up the award and the NXT Championship belt and looked at them both. Ciampa gave the award back to Schreiber and walked away.
-The NXT Female Competitor award went to Kairi Sane, who beat out nominees Nikki Cross, Shayna Baszler, Ember Moon, and Bianca Belair. Sane was interviewed briefly.
-The panel discussed Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong vs. War Raiders for NXT Tag Titles. Bobby Fish showed up on the set with an NXT Award and rang the bell. Fish said Undisputed Era were named the NXT Tag Team of the year.
-A video package spotlighting the Shayna Baszler vs. Bianca Belair match.
-The panel talked about the Baszler vs. Belair matchup. McAfee said he knows about being undefeated due to being on an undefeated team that decided when they were going to lose for the first time. Things got awkward for a bit when Roberts lines flubbed.
-Between Kairi Sane and Tommaso Ciampa, Kairi sane won the overall competitor of the year. Sarah Schreiber interviewed Kairi Sane who asked “are you sure?”. Sane couldn’t keep it together and was crying. Sane said she was going to eventually win the NXT women’s championship. Sane ended the segment yelling “I love you” several times.
-The video package aired, spotlighting the Tommaso Ciampa vs. Aleister Black championship match.
-The panel ran through the Tommaso Ciampa and Aleister Black feud and both men’s career highlights. They sent it over to the main show.