Two title matches on the card for tonight. Velveteen Dream defends the North American Championship against SmackDown’s new call-up, Buddy Murphy. And Shayna Baszler defends her title against Kairi Sane, with a stipulation that would have held more intrigue two days ago. If Sane loses the match she can never have another NXT Women’s Championship slot, a terrifying prospect had she not been drafted to SmackDown yesterday to team with Asuka. Oh, and Johnny Gargano is popping in for a visit.
Velveteen Dream def. Buddy Murphy
Dominik Dijakovic def. Aaron Frye
Shayne Baszler def. Kairi Sane
Velveteen Dream (C) vs Buddy Murphy – NXT North American Championship match
The first post-WrestleMania tapings episode began with one of the title matches. It’s kind of sad that they both have an air of redundancy about them, but I guess they’re a nice mark of respect for the superstars moving on, even if it has been a while since Buddy Murphy has been an NXT superstar.
There was a very gradual build in this one. They took plenty of time testing each other out, exchanging holds and trying to find the advantage. In the end, Murphy got the first advantage, with a head scissors takedown that had Velveteen Dream sliding out of the ring.
Velveteen Dream tried some games, sliding into the ring when Murphy was preparing to dive to the outside. Buddy Murphy kneed him in the face. Murphy got chance to do that dive after smashing Velveteen Dream’s face into the ringpost.
Double knees from the top got Murphy a two count and a good period of dominance, which was ended by a superkick from Velveteen Dream.
They both ended up on the outside, having punched each other off the corner. Both made it in at nine. It had to be early over. Murphy got a close two from a DDT then went to the top. Velveteen Dream followed him and twice failed to superplex him. Velveteen rolled through Murphy’s sunset flip and delivered the Dream Valley Driver, but only got two.
A superkick and powerbomb got Murphy two and three quarters. A knee to Velveteen Dream’s face on the apron appeared to knock him out on the outside and they almost got counted out.
Velveteen Dream was playing possum. A famouser followed by a Dream Vallet Driver followed by a Purple Rainmaker was the magic combo to keep Murphy down and retain the title.
Highly entertaining match, very ‘anything you can do I can do better’. Murphy undoubtedly had the best of the offence and the chances, and it was a nice send-off to the main roster.
NXT keep advertising the Performance Center YouTube channel, and it really does look good.
We got a Street Talk segment with the Street Profits. They went to visit William Regal. They knocked on the door but it was War Raiders (now RAW’s The Viking Experience) who answered. Rowe and Hanson (now Erik and Ivar) said they’d heard what Street Profits have been saying so they’d sorted it for them and they’d see them in the ring next week. That’s going to be interesting.
Johnny Gargano took in the ‘Johnny Champion’ and ‘You Deserve It’ chants and said he’d waited a very, very, long time for this. Last time he addressed the crowd he talked about being rejected from his tryout and standing there now, four years later, is what happens when you refused to take no for an answer. It’s been a long journey, but he’s finally Johnny Champion.
TakeOver New York was the toughest match of his career…
That’s about as far as he got before Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish turned up on the stage. Cole shouted for their music to be cut and said he won’t stand there while Gargano has another love-fest with the NXT universe. This isn’t about not taking no for an answer, it’s about getting lucky. Because Cole beat him in the middle of the ring in New York. If it was any other match, he’d be standing there as the new NXT Champion.
The crowd helpfully reminded Cole he tapped out.
Cole called Gargano an idiot and said he, Adam Cole, is the uncrowned champion.
Gargano said Cole was being very emotional and asked if there was trouble in his ‘little boyband’ and if he wanted to talk about it. Cole’s right, he did beat him in the first fall, then he beat Cole two falls straight, made him tap in the second fall, then again in the third fall. That makes him the NXT Champion. It’s not just definitive, it’s Undisputed.
Cole didn’t like that, but ‘shut up’ was his best comeback.
Gargano said if he’d lost he wouldn’t be out there whining and complaining like some spoiled baybay, but as Cole is out there, if he wants to step in the ring he’d be happy to put a few more points on the scoreboard.
Cole said ok, but be careful what you wish for, then Roderick Strong attacked Gargano from behind. Gargano was already on the mat when the rest of Undisputed ERA arrived to the ring. They held Gargano still for Cole to kick him in the face.
Kushida will debut in two weeks.
There was a quick rundown of the Shake-up superstars next. I still think that qualifies as a spoiler for the main event.
Dominik Dijakovic vs Aaron Frye
Dijakovic has apparently been asking for more competition. I’m not sure Aaron Frye is what he was looking for. It was a one move wonder. Dijakovic kicked him in the face and pinned him.
After the ‘match’ Dijakovic said he’s only in NXT because his family gave him that opportunity. They took the opportunity to come to the United States and that spirit is coursing through his veins. His blood drives him to opportunity. He sees the North American Championship, ‘so feast your eyes, Velveteen Dream’.
Cathy Kelley asked Undisputed ERA about the tension between them after TakeOver and asked if it was resolved. Cole said what we saw tonight was the difference between Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano. Gargano gets caught up in the emotion of the moment, only to get caught in their trap, because the Undisputed ERA don’t let emotions…
William Regal arrived then and told them he’s had a wonderful conversation with Johnny Gargano and he definitely wants to face Undisputed ERA. Cole said of course he does and asked when he was fighting him. Regal said, no, it would be Roderick Strong who faces Gargano next week. Adam Cole was not impressed, Strong was though.
Aliyah and Vanessa Borne said Candice LeRae got lucky last week, they weren’t in any condition to compete, they were busy leading the New York life. They weren’t ready then, but they’ll be ready next week so they challenged LeRae to ‘find another lower’ and meet them in the ring.
Shayna Baszler (C) vs Kairi Sane – NXT Women’s Championship match
With the stipulation in place that Sane can never compete for the NXT Women’s Championship again if she loses, there was a big match feel. Actually, despite the fact this was recorded before the Shake-up, it had a farewell match feel, right down to Sane coming out last. She came alone, unlike Baszler who had Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir with her.
No need for a feeling out process for this pair, straight in like licking up where they last left off.
Baszler got the first near fall with a kick to Sane’s face and another with a knee to the face that left Sane holding her jaw. San dodged another knee in the corner and hit Baszler with a spear that put them both down.
Kairi Sane got her Anchor submission locked in but Baszler managed to get to the ropes. She landed an InSane elbow to Baszler’s back and went up for another, but Baszler got up, kicked her in the head and climbed up to try to prise Sane off the turnbuckle, but her back gave out and a headbutt put her in the perfect position for a double stomp to the chest.
Sane missed with an elbow to the outside and hit her elbow on the barricade. Baszler now had a target limb and she went straight for it. Sane was left screaming on the canvas, but Baszler couldn’t pin her even after a slam. Baszler went straight back to the elbow and Sane got to the ropes then rolled out of the ring crying in pain.
The ref called for a medic, who tried to talk Sane out of carrying on. Io Shirai ran down to try to talk her out of it, but Baszler grabbed Sane and dragged her back into the ring. She was about to stomp on the injured elbow when Shirai invaded the ring and pushed her away.
Kairi Sane was disqualified.
Shirai stood to argue with Baszler but was dragged from the ring by Duke and Shafir and slammed into the barricade and apron. They forced her to watch while Baszler stomped in Sane’s elbow anyway.
Not quite the farewell to Sane we could have hoped for, but I guess she didn’t take a pin or submission. Hopefully, she’ll get a better goodbye later.
I’m very sad about the predictability of the title matches, especially as they were both great matches. It does seem it could have been slightly better thought out.
Other than that, great episode. Gargano messing with Undisputed ERA is going to be fun, and things are setting up nicely for Io Shirai to get a proper run at the women’s title. It’ll be an unsettled few weeks while the call-ups work their way out and new storylines get established, but they’d have to try really hard to go wrong with that roster.