A mixed bag of new talent, old rivalries revisited and a main event full of twists and turns awaited the fans this week on NXT as Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir made their in-ring NXT TV debuts as did Dominik Dijakovic while Johnny Gargano and Aleister Black looked to settle their score one last time.
With Nick Miller of The Mighty now no longer part of the WWE, the tag division on NXT lost a great team. Additionally, with Heavy Machinery seemingly on their way to the main roster, it leaves next week’s NXT Tag-Title match perhaps a little too predictable.
Nevertheless, Heavy Machinery did their best to build up the clash, dismantling two enhancement talents in a tag-match. As Undisputed Era looked on from the entrance stage, Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic squashed their opponents, called Blake Howell & Danny D’Accardo, sending a message to the champions.
Donovan Dijakovic made his NXT in-ring debut against Aaron Mackey. The former ROH star’s offence was crisp and eye-catching, especially with him shouting “time to fly” before delivering a huge suplex to Mackey.
Dijakovic threw Mackey around before eventually picking him up in a torture rack position and delivering a kind of reverse-GTS for the win.
Two of the four horsewomen of MMA, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir also made their in-ring debuts against Dakota Kai and Io Shirai. The MMA duo were visibly very green and still far away from any Four Horsewomen of MMA vs Four Horsewomen of WWE scenario.
Io Shirai got the hot tag and got the win for her team with a gorgeous moonsault from the top rope on Shafir.
However, future plans for this storyline will probably have to be changed with Dakota Kai’s recent knee injury at a house show. The Kiwi star is rumoured to be out of action for at least six months.
Heavy Machinery are set to collide with Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly next week with the tag-titles at stake.
After Io Shirai impressed in the tag-team victory over Shafir and Duke, General Manager William Regal announced that she would be the fourth participant in next week’s #1 contender fatal-four way match for the NXT Women’s championship.
Matt Riddle also gave a pre-taped interview to discuss getting knocked out by Kassius Ohno two weeks ago. Riddle reminded that he knocked Kassius out in 7 seconds at TakeOver: WarGames II and that Kassius is right to be looking for any kind of advantage.
The majority of the show was devoted, and rightly so, to the main event. Gargano attacked Black before the match outside the cage. The two put on a hard-hitting, hellacious match with stiff kicks the main item on the menu.
NXT champion, Tommaso Ciampa, who has been announced as defending his championship against Aleister Black at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix next month, came out to ringside to get a better view.
Some incredible moves took place in the match which might be forgotten given what happened at the end of the match. Johnny Gargano delivered an unbelievable powerbomb on Black from a position on the top rope where it seemed impossible.
As both men lay broken and battered after a vicious fight, Johnny Wrestling got up first and managed to scale the cage and reach the top. Black, hurt and seeing no way to catch Gargano, opted to slither towards the cage door and into the awaiting arms of the NXT champion. Ciampa would smash the cage door into Aleister and enter the cage for the first time. Johnny Gargano, having seen what happened, climbed down from the top of the cage and stared down his former DIY brother.
If you have followed NXT over the past 12-18 months, what followed next was a bone-chilling moment. Both Gargano and Ciampa took positions on opposite ends of the ring and set up for their old tag-team DIY finisher. The crowd gasped and even Gargano looked shocked after delivering the kick to Black as he stared at Ciampa. But the champ, in his typical slow, methodical way, smirked and walked out of the ring, leaving Gargano to pin Aleister Black.
After the match, Gargano sat next to Black as his former brother, Tommaso Ciampa, stood applauding on the entrance ramp.