By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Taped in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Aired January 1, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] The show started off with a 2019 video montage narrated by someone who sounded like Pat McAfee…
Cathy Kelley, Pat McAfee, and Sam Roberts checked in from the studio set. Pat was wearing shorts this week. The panel hyped up the NXT Year End Awards. Cathy Kelley announced that Undisputed Era vs. Lorcan and Burch vs. Street Profits vs. Forgotten Sons for the vacant NXT Tag Team Championships at NXT Takeover Bridgeport…
They aired the Tag Team Title Four Way ladder match, starting from the middle of the match. (You can check out Jason Powell’s recap of the match HERE) [c]
John’s Thoughts: Happy New Year Dot Net Readers! Hope ya’ll had a happy holiday season! Anyway, It looks like NXT is going to be in “…Best of” and award mode, which I’m not going to complain. It is interesting to see what the fans picked as the EOTY award winners. Looking forward to that.
Back from the break, they continued airing the Tag Team Title Four Way match from Takeover: Bridgeport. [c]
They continued to air the Tag Team Title Four Way in-progress. Street Profits won the tag team championships…
John’s Thoughts: I actually forgot the Profits had a title run this year. I remember now. It was actually a well-told story that was cut short. NXT was telling the solid story where War Raiders were the tag champions, and every time they faced the Street Profits they would win, but the Profits would get closer and closer to taking a win from the Raiders, Hanson and Rowe. Due to the War Raiders becoming the Viking Experience on Raw, they had to cut that story short.
The show cut back to Kelley, McAfee, and Roberts who discussed the match they just saw. Roberts talked about the Profits being involved in a bunch of “ridiculousness” these days on Raw while at that Takeover the Profits had their defining moment as athletes. They cut to the announcement of the NXT Tag Team of the Year…
NXT Tag Team of the Year: “Undisputed Era” Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish…
They cut to Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, Adam Cole, and Roderick Strong making their entrance to an empty Full Sail Arena with their championships in hand. William Regal was already in the ring looking displeased at who he had to give the titles too. O’Reilly said that the awards say “Tag team” but the awards should be awarded to the entire collective of the era due to their comtined success. Fish and O’Reilly made more quips… [c]
John’s Thoughts: An easy decision here given the thin tag team roster of NXT (two of the nominees are Raw tag teams). The two NXT UK teams, Grizzled Young Vets and Andrews and Webster, had solid runs, but NXT didn’t get much viability to the fans that voted I would assume.
The panel discussed “Male Competitor of the Year”…
NXT Male Competitor of the Year: Adam Cole.
John’s Thoughts: Not shocking, especially given his run on Raw and Smackdown in recent months. If it were me, I would probably end up at Cole; but I would also consider Walter because I actually enjoyed his matches the most.
UE made their entrance to the empty Full Sail again to accept Cole’s award. Cole bragged about his run on Raw and Smackdown and said he had one of the most successful runs as a WWE wrestler. Cole continued to brag and ended his promo with bay bay. The UE shared a group hug after the promo…
NXT Female Competitor of the Year: Shayna Baszler.
John’s Thoughts: Interesting… Because I personally picked Io Shirai. Io Shirai is one of the coolest wrestlers on the entire WWE roster in terms of character and in-ring. I just really REALLY like her new crazy club girl persona.
Sam Roberts noted that you shouldn’t look past Io Shirai due to her transformation…
Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke made their entrance to the empty Full Sail. Baszler said “of course I won”. Baszler said she was the most dominant champion that WWE has seen. Baszler said you should think again if you think that’s still not going to be true after she lost her title.
The panel hyped more awards heading into break… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Yep. This is a skippable episode. I like the touch of the wrestlers making their entrance in Full Sail, but why not have a crowd there. Not of fans, but have NXT developmental guys wearing suits and stuff to treat this like an award show. They could tape it before the holidays and even close voting then too, it’s not tough. Anyway, I would personally recommend watching AEW Dynamite now if you are the person that switches between both. Just check my recap of the show via a smartphone or something because I’m taking one for the team for you guys.
The next award was “Rivalry of the Year”…
NXT Rivalry of the Year: Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano.
John’s Thoughts: Another good pick which I would have picked as well. To throw out an honorable mention, I would actually mention that Street Profits vs. War Raiders feud. Maybe I’m remembering that too fondly, but I do remember it being a nice slow build story. I could understand not considering that feud because it was cut off prematurely due to the War Raiders getting called up to become an Experience.
Johnny Gargano made his entrance first to accept his award. Regal smiled as he gave Gargano the award. Adam Cole made his entrance next. Regal gave Cole a frown, as you would expect. Gargano talked about this being the second year in a row winning this award and how he gets involved with horrible people. Cole talked about how he won the rivalry and how everyone is talking about the matches. Gargano said that Gargano’s dad should have punched Cole in the face when Cole sent an Ultimatum to Johny at the Gargano Pizza Restaurant.
The panel discussed the rivalry of the year a bit. Cathy Kelley announced the Women’s War Games Match as the number-two match of the Year candidate…
You can check out my recap of the Women’s War Games Match HERE… [c]
John’s Thoughts: That was the best match of that show. They managed to tell a good and believable two-vs-four handicap match story, which hard to do. My favorite part is still probably the Dakota Kai heel turn and bonus points to Tegan Nox for her crying during the beatdown.
[Hour Two] They aired more of the NXT Women’s War Games match, featuring my favorite part (and most likely Dot Net Staffer Haydn Gleed’s worst wrestling moment of the year), the Tegan Nox beatdown by Dakota Kai… [c]
The show aired the closing moments of the NXT Women’s War Games match. My favorite moves from this portion were the Io Shirai moonsault from the top of the cage, and Rhea Ripley using a trash can to whack Kay Lee Ray mid air with the Home Run God technique (I’m a huge fan of the God Hand video game and it was a treat to see that move in real life)…
The panel discussed the last match. Roberts and McAfee agreed that the women’s match stole the War Games show. Roberts said the current NXT women’s roster may be the best women’s roster in the history of “sports entertainment”. The Panel then cut to the nominee montage for “Future Star of the Year”…
NXT Future Star of the Year: Dakota Kai.
John’s Thoughts: A good pick, but as I said last week, I’m all-in on Arturo Ruas being the next big WWE Star due to him starting off very green and looking really good with his hybrid martial arts and capoeira style. Sucks he wasn’t nominated. While I said it was a good pick, I’m guessing people are just seeing “bad Dakota” as cool because I saw a lot of the other nominees like Isaiah Scott being a solid pick.
Dakota Kai accepted her award in the empty Full Sail. Kai said that everyone that voted for her is just late to the party and she’s going to make her own opportunities now…[c]
WWE announced the tag teams for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. It was four NXT and four NXT UK teams…
Dusty Rhodes Classic Teams:
Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish
Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler
Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne
Kushida and ? (nope, it’s not “The Question Mark” even though that would be AMAZING!)
Grizzled Young Veterans
Mark Andrews and Flash Webster
The next award was Takeover of the Year…
NXT Takeover of the Year: NXT Takeover – War Games III.
The next award was NXT Breakout Star of the Year…
NXT Breakout Star of the Year: Keith Lee.
Paul “Triple H” Levesque awarded Keith Lee the award bell backstage. Lee thanked the fans for their passion, pride, and love… [c]
NXT 2019 Match of the Year: Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano best-of-3-falls Match from NXT Takeover New York.
You can check out Jason Powell’s recap of the match HERE. [c]
They aired more of the Cole vs. Gargano best of three falls match. [c]
[Overrun] The closing moments of the Cole vs. Gargano match. Johnny Gargano won the NXT Championship..
The panel discussed the match they just saw. The next award was “Overall Competitor of the Year”…
NXT Overall Competitor of the Year: Adam Cole
Undisputed era made their entrance again with their five award trophies, about to pick up their sixth. Cole cut a promo about how there is not a superstar in NXT who can touch Adam Cole’s status. Cole said the UE is NXT. Cole said that he’s going to promise everyone that this is just the beginning, not the end, because the Era of Undisputed has just begun. The UE theme played as the four men shared a group hug. The UE posed for a photo shot of their six trophies to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: Did they really have to do an overrun this week? Anyway, that was a great match though and it was a good reminder as to how great the Gargano vs. Cole feud was. Yes, there was a lot of no selling, but the no-selling was done in the right position to both tell a good story, but also build up the in-ring credibility of Adam Cole who wasn’t presented as so strong up to this point. Good pick. I also like the visual of Undisputed Era having all the awards because it matches Cole’s prophesy of they having “all the gold”. I’m assuming you’re not getting a hit list from Jason this week because this was essentially WWE’s hit list edition of NXT. I may do an audio review. I’ll try to include some of my alternate picks and end year thoughts.