Three matches announced for tonight’s NXT. Tyler Bate and Roderick Strong face off to decide who gets a shot at Pete Dunne’s UK Championship. Nikki Cross get a chance to show Lacey Evans what she thinks of being called a ‘classless psycho’. And TM61 will be back in an NXT ring for the first time in over a year. The rest of the show will probably be full of TakeOver recaps. I’m a little surprised that neither Johnny Gargano nor Tommaso Ciampa are scheduled to appear, but maybe they’re saving that for next week.
Nikki Cross def Lacey Evans
TM61 def The Ealy Brothers
Roderick Strong def Tyler Bate
The show opened with a TakeOver montage, and some housekeeping for tonight’s show, before we got into the first match.
Nikki Cross vs Lacey Evans
Evans said some unpleasant things about Nikki Cross. Judging by the start of the match, Cross took offence. She leapt at Evans and, well she appeared to mess her hair up more than anything. Lacey Evans kneed Cross in the face and knocked her out of the ring, but when she tried to follow Nikki Cross pulled her face first to the apron and beat her under the ring skirt.
Back in the ring, Lacey Evans took control. Whatever offence she put forward, and even the near falls, couldn’t wipe the smile off Nikki Cross’ face. When Evans missed with a moonsault Cross took over. A couple of quick takedowns later, Nikki Cross won with the swinging fisherman’s neckbreaker. The ref had to stop her attacking Evans after the match was over.
Very short match, at around four minutes. It would have been nice to see it go a bit longer. Fun to watch though.
Recap of the TakeOver tag title match next. No interviews after it though.
Shayna Baszler’s post-match interview was shown after the extended recap for her match against Ember Moon. Baszler said Ember Moon didn’t beat her, she survived, barely. Then suggested the interviewer go down to medical and check on Moon to see which one of them is acting like a winner. Ember Moon’s appearance in the Royal Rumble was shown to wrap the segment.
Undisputed ERA were shown, with Fish and O’Reilly supporting Adam Cole between them, after the highlights of Cole’s Extreme Rules match with Aleister Black. They were questioning what went wrong, and came to the conclusion it was SAnitY, with Cole saying SAnitY would pay for this. We’ll see, and sooner rather than later. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly have a match with SAnitY next week, for the NXT Tag Championships.
In Velveteen Dream’s post-match interview, he was asked if he’d underestimated Kassius Ohno, as it took him longer than the 30 second he’d said it would take to beat him. Velveteen blamed Ohno knocking his mouthpiece out. He said you know what the NXT universe knows, and asked the interviewer to read his trunks – they say Dream Over.
TM61 vs The Ealy Brothers
It’s good to see TM62 back in an NXT ring. The reintroduction package NXT showed over the last couple of weeks has done the job of getting people reinvested. They got a great reaction from the crowd.
Apparently, the way to tell the Ealy Brothers apart is that Gabriel has the tattoo on the right arm, and Uriel has it on the left arm.
Shane Thorne was eager to show he’s all better, and a moonsault from the ring onto the Ealy’s on the outside happened within a minute of the match start.
The Ealy’s pulled a twin magic at one point but the match result was a forgone conclusion.
Fast and fun match, but another one that was too short. Around three minutes in, TM61 hit Thunder Valley and that was that.
Quick pictorial rundown of the NXT Year End awards. You can find the full results on WWE.com, or in my TakeOver Review here.
TM61 said, in a backstage interview, that they are so much more than TM61 now. They are The Mighty, and The Mighty don’t kneel. Interesting to see they’re going back to that.
The final recap of the night was the NXT Championship match between Johnny Gargano and Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas. There were a lot of highlights, including Candice LeRae dealing with Zelina Vega, but there should have been because it was an excellent match. And, of course, the attack on Gargano at the end of the match by Tommaso Ciampa was shown. The press backstage were shown trying to get a comment from Ciampa, but he said nothing and just kept walking. His leg still appears to be heavily protected so I’m guessing he’s not quite ready to come back. Almas’ entry into the Royal Rumble was shown, followed by and interview with him and Zelina Vega. Vega said this was her plan all along, for people to see the real Almas. Almas added that it was just the beginning. Then they finished off by asking where ‘Johnny Wrestling’ was, and suggesting he watched the rumble on tv.
It seems that all of Undisputed ERA will be in action next week. In addition to the tag title match between Fish and O’Reilly and SAnitY, Adam Cole has a match with Killian Dain.
Roderick Strong vs Tyler Bate
Decent main event, if a little short (yeah, that’s the theme of the night it seems).
Bate got the airplane spin in early but, at the start of the match at least, Strong just seemed to want it more. I guess that makes sense. Roderick Strong has a lot more to prove than Bate. Strong had an up and down year whereas, despite losing the UK Championship, Bate is forever being told what an exceptional talent he is.
Tyler Bate took a lot of backbreakers in the early part of the match, then it evolved into a proper back and forth contest.
The damage caused by the backbreakers began to show when Tyler Bate couldn’t get Strong up for the Tyler Driver 97.
Roderick Strong hit Bate with a couple of knees to the face, slammed him into the mat, then hit a final massive backbreaker and pinned him.
Strong will now get a UK Championship match against Pete Dunne, with the opportunity to become the first American to hold the UK title.
Not the best NXT episode of recent weeks. I know the recap shows are a thing, but the segment on the Almas versus Gargano match was longer that the TM61 match and the Nikki Cross match combined. I’m all for the celebratory stuff, but not at the expense of matches. Even the main event got less than ten minutes tonight.
However, we do have the promise of two matches for next week, and both will be good. Looking forward to finding out when they start the build to introduce War Machine, EC3, Ricochet, and Candice LeRae into the roster as well.