It’s the last NXT of 2017, and it looks like they’re finishing off on a high. There are only two advertised matches, but they should be good ones. There is an NXT Women’s Championship match, Ember Moon defends her title against Sonya Deville. And there is the intriguing fatal four-way number one contender’s match between Johnny Gargano, Killian Dain, Lars Sullivan and Aleister Black. It’s such an odd combination of fighting styles and storylines that it’s definitely going to be interesting, and has the potential to be excellent.
Street Profits def Kris Starr and Riley Apex
Ember Moon def Sonya Deville
Johnny Gargano def Aleister Black, Killian Dain and Lars Sullivan
Street Profits vs Kris Starr and Riley Apex
If it weren’t already obvious Street Profits are being built for big things, here was a squash match to showcase them
Starr and Apex got nothing in the ‘match’. Street Profits are entertaining, but take too long to deliver their moves sometimes, because they’re too busy delivering their image.
After the match Ford and Dawkins went up through the crowd and said 2018 was going to be their year, and effectively called out the entire NXT tag division.
Ember Moon (C) vs Sonya Deville – NXT Women’s Championship match
Good match for Moon’s first title defence. This was a battle with one of WWE’s legitimate tough girls. Deville may be less experienced, but she’s already had her main roster call up, and she’s in a position where she needs to prove she was ready for it. Ember Moon just needs to prove she’s a fighting champion, and capable of defending her title.
I said it was a battle, and it was. There was more of a strike, and power base to the match, which played into Deville’s hands, and accentuated her oft cited MMA background. But Ember Moon is comfortable playing that game as well, with a few extra flying manoeuvres thrown in for kicks. It made for a fun contest.
I think we all knew that Ember Moon wasn’t losing the belt on a weekly episode, on her first defence, to someone who had already been called up to RAW. After an enjoyable match Ember Moon hit the Eclipse for the win.
During Moon’s celebrations, Kairi Sane came to the stage to make her intention to be Moon’s next challenger clear. Ember Moon looked happy enough with the prospect. Suddenly, Shayna Baszler appeared behind Sane, slapped on a rear naked choke, and kept it on until Kairi Sane passed out.
Paul Ellering told the story of the Authors of Pain in NXT. They were undefeated, they became tag team champions, they won the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Then came WarGames. He addressed Undisputed Era saying that Authors of Pain will write the next chapter. It’s their house, they are judge jury and executioner, Undisputed Era are on borrowed time.
Ember Moon was interviewed about what happened after her match. She said she knew she would have a target on her back when she won the title, and it doesn’t matter if it’s Kairi Sane or Shayna Baszler. She’s not hard to find. But, if they want to make a statement, maybe they should step in the ring next time.
Next week NXT will be a two-hour week in review. The week after, there will be a tag title rematch between Undisputed Era and SAnitY.
Johnny Gargano vs Killian Dain vs Aleister Black vs Lars Sullivan – Number one contender’s fatal four-way match
This was the final NXT match of the year. The lead into it was a video package of the tournament, and William Regal’s reasons for announcing it. Johnny Gargano did a superb job of looking terrified while watching Killian Dain and Lars Sullivan before Aleister Black came out.
As expected, this was a chaotic match from the start, and it didn’t take them long to take it to the outside. Lars Sullivan caught Aleister Black when he launched himself off the top turnbuckle, and dumped him face first into the apron. Then he did the same to Johnny Gargano as he came flying over the top rope. Funnily enough, when Killian Dain flew between the ropes, Sullivan was flattened to the ramp.
There was so much going on, and there was a noteworthy moment every few seconds for most of it. You’ve got to end the year on a high note I guess.
Sullivan launched Black off the ramp, then threw Gargano at him. He followed them and tried to put Gargano through the announce table. Johnny Gargano clung to some scaffolding, and between him and Black got Sullivan onto the table. Killian Dain then launched himself through the table and took himself and Sullivan out.
Gargano vs Black is a match we all need to see, and we got a bit of it here. Going into the match, Aleister Black was undefeated, and Gargano running a road to redemption storyline. When Gargano locked in the Gargano escape it looked like those storylines might change, until Killian Dain reappeared by landing on them.
Lars Sullivan was showing signs of life by this time, and made his way back to the ring. Gargano and Black once again teamed up to deal with him, but he took them both out, throwing Black from the ring. When Killian Dain broke up his pin attempt of Gargano, Sullivan chucked Gargano out too, and squared up to Dain. A one on one between those two could be a lot of fun.
Undisputed Era had to come along and spoil a good match. Fish and O’Reilly pulled Aleister Black out of the ring as he was about to pin Lars Sullivan, and Adam Cole did plenty of damage before Johnny Gargano saw them off.
Johnny Gargano rolled Aleister Black back into the ring. He sent Sullivan into the steps, then Dain into Sullivan. One slingshot DDT later, Gargano pinned Aleister Black to get the win. Gargano now faces Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas at TakeOver at the end of January.
The finish to the main event annoyed me. Undisputed Era interfering, Aleister Black taking the pin, all bad. That’s Black’s first defeat in NXT, and although he’s still undefeated in singles competition, it takes some of the shine off it. Gargano taking a step on his redemption storyline is cool though, I imagine they’re expecting Ciampa to be fit in time to mess up his title shot. Apart from the ending, I thought the main was great. If they’d had Gargano pin Dain (he had the least to lose from being pinned), and not had the interference, I would have pushed the great to excellent. But the storylines need to be kept moving I suppose.
The women’s title match was fun, if predictable in outcome. Shayna Baszler has now arrived, and I can’t wait to see the impact she has on the division.