It’s the final NXT of 2018, and it should be quite an episode. The tag titles will be on the line when Undisputed ERA take on Heavy Machinery, The number one contender for the NXT Women’s Championship will be decided in a fatal four-way between Bianca Belair, Lacey Evans, Mia Yim, and Io Shirai. Jaxon Ryker will be in action against an unnamed opponent. And we ‘might’ hear from Tommaso Ciampa about the ending to Johnny Gargano and Aleister Black’s steel cage match last week.
Bianca Belair def. lacey Evans, Io Shirai, and Mia Yim
Jaxon Ryker def. Mitch Taverna
Undisputed ERA def. Heavy Machinery
Io Shirai vs Mia Yim vs Lacey Evans vs Bianca Belair
It was fairly obvious that there would be an alliance between Mia Yim and Io Shirai as the two babyfaces in the match. It happened almost immediately. Lacey Evans excused herself from the opening moments and left the other three to get on with it. Yim and Shirai ganged up on Bianca Belair until she got out of the ring then landed suicide dives on her, with Shirai’s being accidentally assisted by Lacy Evans. Shirai’s suicide dive looked terrifying.
With Belair temporarily out of the picture, and the ring, Yim and Shirai turned their joint attention to Lacey Evans. Evans ducked Mia Yim’s kick, which connected with Shirai’s head, and took over the match.
Is Bianca Belair still carrying an injury, or not at one hundred percent? She wasn’t involved in a long portion of the match after those suicide dives. When she eventually made it back to the ring she was quickly thrown out again by Io Shirai.
Belair and Evans allied for a few moments after arguing about whose match it was. They started to double suplex Yim, but Shirai appeared in time to lower Yim safely to the ground. Shirai launched herself at Belair and Evans, they caught her and Mia Yim kicked them all down. Shirai got a two count from that and rolled out of the ring after the kick out.
Lacey Evans almost pinned Mia Yim after a Woman’s Right, but Io Shirai broke it up and hit a moonsault on Evans. Bianca Belair broke that up with her hair whip then picked Shirai up onto her shoulders and threw her over the top rope onto Mia Yim.
Bianca Belair hit the KOD on Lacey Evans and got the pin. It will be Bianca Belair vs Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver.
Jaxon Ryker vs Mitch Taverna
Standard squash just to remind us the Jaxon Ryker exists. He does and he pinned Mitch Taverna after toying with him for a while with Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler shouting encouragement from the sidelines the whole time.
Huge hype package for Velveteen Dream next. It was just him talking about how brilliant he is and citing sources including John Cena, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels, who clearly agree with him. He seems to think next year will be his year. I have to agree.
Tommaso Ciampa delivered another backstage hidey-hole promo. He said he is a man on his word. When he makes a promise he delivers, but sometimes he feels like a broken record, a man sitting alone talking to a wall. Last week was his vindication. Last week proved that somebody has been listening the whole time. Johnny Gargano listened and followed his lead and pinned Aleister Black. So, where does that leave Gargano? He can’t have a shot at Ciampa’s title because it’s taken but maybe he should get a shot of the North American Championship. He spoke as if to Gargano and said this was everything they’ve always talked about. Two kids coming into NXT without contracts and in every hotel room and on every car ride they talked about the day DIY took over NXT. This is their TakeOver/takeover. TakeOver Phoenix could end with Tommaso Ciampa as NXT Champion and Johnny Gargano as North American Champion. Two kids taking over the world. The possibilities are endless.
Ricochet had already tweeted by the end of the show to say he was up for fighting Gargano.
Kassius Ohno gets the opportunity to try to last longer than seven seconds against Matt Riddle next week. Next week’s show is the year end award nominations show.
Undisputed ERA (C) vs Heavy Machinery – NXT Tag Team Championship match
This match felt more anticlimactic than it should have. Heavy Machinery are main roster bound, They’re not likely to be going up as tag champs, so a win seemed unlikely. Suspiciously, Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong came to the ring alone. It’s always suspicious when you can’t see where Adam Cole and Bobby Fish are.
Double team distraction was the early tool used by Strong and O’Reilly. That and quick tags, but they didn’t manage to isolate Tucker Knight from Dozovic for long. Undisputed ERA might have the technical advantage and the speed advantage, but they can’t match Knight and Dozovic for power. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are if you’re being thrown around the ring and squashed into a corner.
Tandem suplexes followed by a chest/belly bump with Roderick Strong’s head trapped between them, put Heavy Machinery in charge and had Kyle O’Reilly take to the outside with Tucker Knight giving chase. Roderick Strong tried for the ambush, and Knight ran right through him. O’Reilly distracting the ref so Strong could slam Knight back-first into the apron, gave the match control back to Undisputed ERA.
Despite being trapped in the undisputed ERA corner, Knight proved hard to put away. He managed to throw Strong over the top to the outside, but nearly got pinned by O’Reilly. Strong was tagged back in and Knight took a lot of punishment before he made it back to his corner to Dozovic.
Dozovic came in fired up and got a Caterpillar before he tagged Knight back in. The Hoss-Toss, catapult into powerslam, double team was probably Heavy Machinery’s best chance to get the win
Tucker Knight missed O’Reilly with his moonsault but was able to tag in Dozovic. After some back and forth, Dozovic went to the top. We’ll never know what he was planning to do from there because he took a step-up enziguri from Strong, then got superplexed back to the mat by the combined efforts of Strong and O’Reilly. It still only got two.
Kyle O’Reilly kicked Knight off the apron and he and Strong beat Dozovic down. It took two double team finishers, but Roderick Strong pinned Otis Dozovic to retain the titles for Undisputed ERA.
Adam Cole and Bobby Fish met Strong and O’Reilly on the stage. My suspicious mind was not correct, there was no interference.
Good episode of NXT to finish the year. The tag title match felt like a foregone conclusion, I wish it had happened before it was announced that Heavy Machinery are leaving NXT.
The women’s division number one contender’s match was interesting. Bianca Belair was the right choice to face Baszler. Io Shirai will be champion. Mia Yim will probably be champion too (although I think hers will come on the main roster, I don’t think she’ll stay long in NXT), but it’s Bianca Belair’s time to join the title picture. She’s come so far so fast and she really has earned it.
NXT End of year award nominations will be revealed on next weeks’ two-hour special. Check in next after next week’s show for a full list of nominations.