By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV Live Review
Taped April 10, 2019 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Streamed April 24, 2019 on WWE Network
The Slipknot NXT intro theme aired…
Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson were on commentary. There was a new unnamed ring announcer handling the ring introductions…
1. Jaxson Ryker (w/Wesley Blake, Steve Cutler) vs. Humberto Carrillo. Ryker manhandled Carrillo early on. Mauro noted that Carrillo has GQ looks. Carrillo used his flips to elude Ryker. Carrillo hit Ryker with a Beautiful Disaster kick. Carrillo then sent Carrillo to the mat with a flying back elbow and moonsault. Ryker kicked out at one and then he did a cool one handed hip toss to Carrillo. Ryker gave Carrillo clubbing blows while Carrillo was trapped in the Tree of Woe. Ryker hit Carrillo with a sitout Uranage. Ryker didn’t pin Carrillo and instead decided to just ragdoll and toss around Carrillo at ringside. Carrillo was tossed over the barricade. Carrillo sandwiched Carrillo’s head between the guard rail and his knee to invoke the ref to call for the bell.
Jaxon Ryker vs. Humberto Carrillo ended in an apparent no contest (or DQ) in 3:00.
Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan ran out with steel chairs to save Carrillo and fend off the Sons. The Sons held back Ryker…
John’s Thoughts: This might be Ryker’s best showing in NXT. That’s not saying much, but it’s an improvement over being forgettable. Still rooting for Gunner because he did show promise late in his Impact run plus the guy has a military background which could equal a good story. I wonder if the Sons need least a Velveteen Dream style soft reboot.
Adam Cole was interviewed after a photoshoot about Roderick’s match in the main event. Cole said he thought Gargano was brave and would challenge “the leader”. Matt Riddle was chuckling on the side. Riddle said it was his turn to take photos next and he’s shocked that Strong challenging Gargano would get to Cole’s head so much. Riddle then threatened Cole and set out a challenge. Cole walked away while Riddle ended up taking over the photoshoot… [c]
2. Aliyah and Vanessa Borne vs. Candice LeRae and Kacy Catanzaro. Kacy Catanzaro is most well known for being a winner of American Ninja Warrior. Aliyah landed a knee drop on Catanzaro. Catanzaro showed off cool parkour with a twisting slingshot handstand strike. She then hit Aliyah with a Koppu Kick. Borne tagged in and the heels regained control. Borne stomped a mudhole on Catanzaro. The heels traded quick tags. Aliyah locked Catanzaro in a modified reverse surfboard. Catanzaro escaped a double suplex with a double neckbreaker. LeRae tagged in for the hot tag. She hit Borne with a missile dropkick and hit Aliyah with a baseball slide.
Lerae hit Borne with a jawbreaker. LeRae then ran on Borne’s back to a senton. LeRae hit a nice looking lionsault on Borne for the pinfall win.
Candice LeRae and Kacy Catanzaro defeated Aliyah and Vanessa Borne via pinfall in 4:25.
John’s Thoughts: Catanzaro has a ways to go in the ring but it’s smart of WWE to have her showcase her unique offense in short spurts. Her athletic abilities as a Ninja Warrior allow her to do things other wrestlers can’t. She has similar upside to that of John Morrison back in the day because of the Parkour background. Good showcase. Aliyah needs a hard reboot as opposed to soft because she’s been established as the most fodder of cannon fodder.
Cathy Kelley interviewed Io Shirai about Shayna Baszler’s attack on Kairi Sane. Before Shirai could say anything, she was blindsided and beat down by Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir. The duo held her in place so Baszler could run in with a running knee. The trio left Io lying… [c]
A video package played of KUSHIDA signing with NXT…
William Regal was interviewed about Kushida. Regal said this deal took a long time to put together. Regal said this may be the most exciting signing in NXT. NXT UK star Kassius Ohno walked into the office wearing a NXT UK shirt. Ohno bragged about how he’s teaching the Brits about the authentic UK style. Ohno then talked about how he really knows the Japanese style too. Ohno proposed a Kushida vs. Ohno match as he walked out. Regal told the interviewer that he has just booked Kassius Ohno vs. Kushida…
John’s Thoughts: As much as I would like to see Ohno on the main roster, at least NXT is leaning into the metta reputation of Ohno being the gatekeeper. He’s now a gatekeeper for both NXT and NXT UK.
The commentators are calling the Raiders “The War Raiders” on this episode since it was taped before The Viking Experience and Viking Raiders were a thing. They were also still Hanson and Rowe at this point.
John’s Thoughts: Now the Viking Raiders is a terrible name too because of how generic it is. Did WWE just name them Viking Experience because they wanted Viking Raiders to sound better by comparison? Probably not. I am going to miss calling them Viking Experience though because that name was so meme-tastic.
3. “The War Raiders” Hanson and Ray Rowe vs. “The Street Profits” Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford in a non-title match. Ford attacked the Raiders with a flip dive early on. After the bell rang the Profits set up Rowe to get hit by a Ford Five Star Frog Splash for a really good nearfall. Rowe escaped the electric chair and ran through both profits. Hanson tagged in and hit Dawkins with a side slam and basement crossbody.
Ford dodged a cyclone kick but Hanson followed through with a cartwheel into a lariat. The Raiders dominated Dawkins for a sequence. Rowe body slammed Hanson on Dawkins. Dawkins gained a window of opportunity after clocking Rowe with a right hand. Ford and Hanson tagged in. Ford ran at Hanson and staggered him with myriad punches. Ford got Hanson to a knee with a single leg dropkick. Ford then managed to lift and land Hanson with a back suplex and a standing moonsault. Ford and Dawkins hit Hanson with 360 lariats and got a nearfall on Hanson.
Hanson took down both Profits with handspring elbows. Rose took down Ford with a shotgun dropkick. Hanson body slammed Hanson on Ford. Hanson and Rowe hit Dawkins with a modified Hart Attack. The Raiders hit Thor’s Hammer (now renamed “The Viking Experience” on Raw) on Ford for the victory.
The War Raiders defeated The Street Profits via pinfall in 5:44.
John’s Thoughts: A match that caught me off guard in a good way. The Profits were really good and the Experience were really fun in this match. This was a nice adrenaline rush of a match and hopefully the Profits continue to grow from here. If given more time to plan things out, might they have The Profits be the ones to dethrone The Experience (a small part of me still wants to call them The Experience)…
The Undisputed Era were shown discussing strategy outside of Full Sail while Johnny Gargano was doing his resistance band training heading into the main event… [c]
Mia Yim was interviewed by “Dennis” about Shayna Baszler’s rampage. Mia Yim brought up Bianca Belair being defeated despite being defeated. Yim said she’s the one that should be going up against Baszler…
Mauro Ranallo announced Kushida’s NXT debut next week…
4. Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong in a non-title match. Roderick Strong was out by himself (at least for now). Strong started off the match with a single leg takedown. Strong maintained control over Gargano in the ground game. Gargano escaped and initiated a series of counters to lead to a stalemate. Both men struggled to lock in holds during the next chain wrestling sequence. Strong rolled to ringside for a moment of respite. Gargano hit Strong with a dropkick and then tossed him to ringside. Gargano then hit a thrust kick from the apron on Strong.
Strong countered a baseball slide into a wheelbarrow half nelson backbraker on the apron. Strong then dominated Gargano with a chop. Strong hit Gargano with a gutbuster for a one count. Strong then hit Gargano with one of his signature backbreakers. Strong locked Gargano in an innovative but illegal rope hung liontamer. Strong chopped Gargano but Gargano kept asking for them out of fighting spirit. Nigel noted that Gargano is getting Strong exhausted and frustrated.
Strong locked Gargano in the Gory Guerrero Special. Gargano escaped. Gargano ran through Strong with right hands. Strong caught Gargano again in the wheelbarrow but Gargano used an armdrag to reverse the apron backbreaker. Gargano hit Strong with his signature slingshot spear for a two count. Strong and Gargano traded more strikes and holds. Gargano landed the Listo Kick on Strong. Strong dodged a Gargano plancha. Gargano dodged a front dropkick dive and hit Strong with a cannonball from the apron.
Gargano caught Strong with a Superkick around the 9 minute mark of the match. An NXT Chant ensued after the latest Gargano nearfall. Gargano gave Strong stiff chest chops in the corner. Gargano even slapped the ever living spit out of Strong in the corner. Strong escaped a lawn dart attempt. Gargano escaped one backbreaker attempt. Strong countered the slingshot spear seamlessly into a Butterfly Backbreaker for a nearfall. Strong and Gargano staggered ach other with kicks. Gargano hit Strong with a discus clothesline. Strong reversed the DIY kick into a backbreaker toss into the turnbuckle. Strong then hit a backbreaker into a flapjack slam on Gargano for a nearfall.
Gargano escaped Strong’s Boston Crab into the GargaNo Escape. Adam Cole ran out to distract on the apron. Gargano payed attention to Cole saying that Gargano is not a champion. The Undisputed Era tried to assist Cole. Matt Riddle ran out to take care of Fish and O’Reilly. Adam Cole accidentally (?) kicked Roderick Strong with an enzuigiri because Riddle was distracting Cole. Gargano took down Cole with a suicide dive. Gargano hit Strong with a slingshot DDT for the victory.
Johnny Gargano defeated Roderick Strong via pinfall in 13:36.
The commentators recapped the commotion and noted how it looked like Cole hit Strong by accident. Cole, Fish, and O’Reilly tried to talk down Strong but Strong just walked away first looking frustrated to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: A really good match and a really intriguing storyline layer they’re adding between Strong and Cole. The finish was a bit overbooked, but it was calculated enough to combine Matt Riddle, Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, and Johnny Gargano into one storyline web. Back to the match, it was good seeing Roderick Strong back in singles action because the guy does wrestle differently than almost everyone in WWE with his power moves and backbreaker counters (combined with his shorter stature). If you take away the finish, this match technique-wise was Takeover worthy but as presented it wouldn’t be on Takeover given how Strong needs to be reestablished as a singles star in the eyes of the fans after spending about a year in a tag team.
Another enjoyable episode of NXT as always. The main event was good and the subsequent tag team match was surprisingly fun. Make sure to check out my Hit List tomorrow as well as my Member’s Exclusive audio review of NXT…
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Will Pruett on the Roman Reigns whodunnit angle, WWE heading into SummerSlam, AEW's October 2 premiere on TNT, the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax Tournament through Day 11, and more (77:45)...