Tonight we get two women’s division matches. Taynara Conti and Xia Li take on Vanessa Borne and Aliyah, and Shayna Baszler faces Mia Yim in the main event (non-title match). The other advertised match is Keith Lee versus Dominik Dijakovic, which should be awesome. Johnny Gargano will tell us what’s next for him. And we’ll find out who the final entrants in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic are.
Vanessa Borne & Aliyah def. Taynara Conti & Xia Li
Dominik Dijakovic vs Keith Lee ended in a double count-out
Shayna Baszler def. Mia Yim
Johnny Gargano opened the show. He said it’s been an interesting past couple of weeks. Not only has he shown the WWE universe what NXT is all about as one of the newest members of RAW and SmackDown Live. But last Wednesday he had one of the toughest matches of his career against Velveteen Dream. After he won the NXT North American Championship in Phoenix he came out and told the world that Johnny Wrestling was back, and he was He was on top of the world. He introduced the world to Johnny Champion, but when he had his first test as champion, he failed. He failed himself and he failed all of us. The crowd started chanting Johnny Failure and he said he prefers it when they chant Johnny Champion. He still feels like a champion, but he doesn’t have a championship. He’s come to realise that the only reason he’s had any success…
We didn’t get to hear the reason because Tommaso Ciampa turned up.
Ciampa said that over the week and a half they both learned that Johnny Gargano is at his best with Tommaso Ciampa in his life. When they’re together on RAW and SmackDown they win. Any time they step into the ring together they win. Last week Ciampa offered to help him against Velveteen Dream, Gargano refused and lost.
It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It took a year and a half but Gargano has finally realised they need each other. It’s destiny. While he’s standing there holding the NXT title, Gargano hasn’t got a title but it doesn’t have to be that way. Last week Regal announced the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. That’s where it all began. They’ve been through a lot and it’s been a long road but that’s where the magic started, that’s where the dream started. And this year the winner gets an NXT Tag Team Championship opportunity at TakeOver New York. It could be their moment. Just like TakeOver Phoenix, TakeOver New York ends the same way – the DIY chants stated again – it could end with them, side by side, champions.
Ciampa held out his hand, Gargano took it and nodded. Ciampa left the ring smiling.
Ricochet was asked about his unfinished business with Undisputed ERA. He said that he and Aleister Black have been making noise on RAW and SmackDown Live, they haven’t forgotten what Undisputed ERA did to them. That’s ok because recently he’s started to understand that when you fight one member of Undisputed ERA you have to be prepared to fight all four of them. With Aleister by his side, he feels for comfortable whether it’s two on two, two on three, or two on four. As for how he’s going to take care of that business, he’s going to ask Mr Regal to put him and Black in the Dusty Classic.
Candice LeRae saw Gargano leaving the building with Ciampa. She waited for Ciampa to leave and asked Gargano, ‘Again, really?’ He tried to tell her to trust him, but she wasn’t in any mood to listen and told him she hopes he knows what he’s doing, then left.
Vanessa Borne & Aliyah vs Taynara Conti & Xia Li
Conti and Li should make a great team. Their styles should, in theory, complement each other, and they could do worse than teaming them up.
Borne and Conti started things off, and what Conti gave up in power, she made up for in skill and agility, for a while anyway. Conti took a moment after she’d hung Vanessa Borne up on the ropes by her leg, to pull Aliyah off the apron. Aliyah grabbed her foot and Borne took control of the match by kicking Conti repeatedly to stop her getting up.
Aliyah came in when Conti was very much subdued and picked up where her partner left off. It took a couple of attempts, but Conti eventually created enough separation to get to Xia Li. Li came in with fast strikes and kicks that Aliyah had no answer to. Unfortunately for Li, she didn’t spot Aliyah’s tag so Borne took her by surprise with a smack in the face. Borne took Conti down with another blow so she wasn’t there to break up the double team pin on Xia Li.
Velveteen Dream’s interview was interrupted by Undisputed ERA. Adam Cole is planning to take the title. Velveteen Dream was unimpressed and asked Cole how big his mouth was when his entourage wasn’t around. While Undisputed ERA were protesting, he told them he’s the North American Champions and he doesn’t have time for them.
Bianca Belair and Io Shira were caught, during a Cathy Kelley announcement segment, having an argument in a corridor. They were separated before it became physical, but as they both believe they have a claim for number one contender status, this is going to escalate.
Later in the show, they were given a match in two weeks’ time. The winner becomes number one contender and faces Shayna Baszler at NXT TakeOver New York.
Dominik Dijakovic vs Keith Lee
If big lads wrestling is your thing, chances are you’re already a fan of one or both of these guys, as well you should be.
This was such a fun match. The initial attempts to outpower each other came to nothing, as did the initial attempts to outmanoeuvre each other.
Keith Lee landed on his feet from a monkey flip and Dijakovic looked stunned, then cross, but the resulting chop exchange didn’t result in clear domination either.
That was the issue. Both men are used to having a power advantage and/or an athletic advantage over their opponents, but this was just stalemate of the best kind. Everything that landed, landed hard, but no overall match control was gained.
Dijakovic choke-slammed Lee into the mat, Lee kicked out. Lee slammed Dijakovic into the mat, and he kicked out.
It could have gone on all night with them looking for the decisive blow, except Dijakovic kicked Lee off the apron then moonsaulted from the second rope to the outside and drove Lee, and himself, into the ramp. They were both counted out.
They were both clearly the worse for wear but wanted to continue. It took three officials to persuade them otherwise.
Dijakovic later tweeted that it wasn’t over.
The final four teams for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic are;
- Ricochet & Aleister Black
- Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
- Moustache Mountain
The first-round matches are;
- Moustache Mountain vs Street Profits
- #DIY vs Undisputed ERA
- Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs Forgotten Sons
- Aleister Black & Ricochet vs Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel
The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection visited NXT. After the ‘Welcome Back’ chants and a huge ovation (Izzy was crying), Banks asked if they missed them and said it’s good to be home. This is why you don’t forget where you came from. Their journey to become WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions started right there.
Bayley said the last time she and Sasha were in an NXT ring together, it was NXT TakeOver Respect in the main event, the first ever women’s ironman match. So it was important to them to come and share the titles with the NXT universe.
Their journey with the titles has just begun and they want them to be the most sought after titles in all of WWE, so they want the ladies to take a real good look because they’re taking them all over the world and to RAW, SmackDown, and NXT. So, to all the ladies in the back, they better step up because maybe the next time they come they might defend the titles.
Shayna Baszler vs Mia Yim
Baszler went after the leg Yim had previously broken. It’s odd that during almost every other Mia Yim match they talk about the fact it was Baszler that Yim trained with after her injury. In this one, they didn’t talk about it, which is strange because it’s a much more layered story.
Baszler didn’t seem to be taking Yim particularly seriously at the start of the match, until Yim dodged a punch so Baszler punched the canvas, then kicked her in the head and tried to roll her up. Baszler took a break on the outside, and Mia Yim followed via suicide dive. She got a couple of good shots in on the outside, including throwing Baszler into the steps and standing on the hand she punched the canvas with. Baszler dodged a kick from Yim though and Mia Yim kicked the steps, hurting her leg and giving Baszler a target to work with.
Shayna Baszler with a limb to target is very dangerous indeed, and commentary mentioned it was the limb Yim had previously broken. After a bit of punishment to Yim’s leg, Baszler went for the Kirifuda Clutch, but Yim broke it by manipulating Baszler’s hurt hand. Baszler went back to working over Yim’s leg, forcing her to get to the ropes to break a hold.
Mia Yim got something back with a tornado DDT, but she couldn’t capitalise and when she tried to stand, she couldn’t. She tried to roll Baszler up when she charged her but failed and found her feet enough to deliver Eat Defeat (I preferred Seoul Food), but she couldn’t cover in time to make the pin stick. She even managed a powerbomb, lifting Baszler without putting weight on her leg, but only got two.
Baszler got the Kirifuda Clutch on and locked in tight. Mia Yim tried to manipulate Baszler’s hand again, and held on for as long as she could, but in the end, she had to tap.
The ongoing Gargano and Ciampa storyline is interesting. While there is a ring of truth to Ciampa’s words, it’s very clear he’s trying to keep Gargano’s mind off taking his title from him. That said, if the plan is to send them off to conquer the main roster together as #DIY, I’m all for that, they really do make a great team. I guess the Dusty Classic will give us the answers.
This year’s tournament is stacked to the point it’s kind of hard to predict. Somehow, Undisputed ERA usually seem to find a way, but it’s easy to make a case for any of the eight teams. And it’s hard to see #DIY going out in the first round unless Ciampa’s injury turns out to be serious.
The build to TakeOver is starting to look interesting.