An enthralling episode of NXT took place in the Full Sail arena, just days before TakeOver: Phoenix. An unexpected showdown at the end of the show between four of the top stars in NXT was preceded by a stellar in-ring show main event in a first-time ever bout.
The Brit-American alliance of Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan were in action this week against the newly-formed European Union, Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel.
This was a very hard-hitting contest as you would expect with these two teams. Some unbelievable displays of power and athleticism from both teams. These two teams definitely bring something very unique to the tag division.
Aichner and Barthel actually do not look bad as a team together, there definitely seems to be more than a little chemistry brewing between the Italian and the German. It also has to be added that Mauro Ranallo and Nigel McGuinness on commentary were noticeably putting in the effort to put the Europeans over as a tag-team.
Burch and Lorcan got the victory in the end in quite an even match. Burch held Barthel out of the ring as Lorcan rolled Aichner up for the pin and a decent pop from the crowd.
NXT’s latest female Japanese stars Io Shirai and Kairi Sane took on the duo of Tanea Brooks (formerly Rebel with IMPACT Wrestling) and US indie star Amber Nova.
The former NXT Women’s champion, Sane, and the 2018 Mae Young Classic finalist, Shirai, showed a lot of tandem offense during the match. They finished their opponents off with an assisted flying elbow from Sane and then an assisted standing moonsault from Shirai for the pin.
The Velveteen Dream: An Undisputed Confrontation
The Velveteen Dream kicked off this week’s NXT coming out to the ring to talk about how he planned on replacing the sparkle of championship gold in his eye with some championship gold around his waist. However, the dream was soon interrupted by the leader of the Undisputed Era, Adam Cole, and alongside him was Bobby Fish.
Conspicuous by their absence were Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong, who, it now has to be believed, will be the two who step inside the ring at TakeOver to defend the NXT Tag-Team titles against the War Raiders.
Cole reiterated his assertions from a few weeks ago that the Undisputed Era would be covered with gold in 2019. Bobby Fish would then get on the mic and tell the Dream to start living in reality – the Undisputed Era’s reality. The Dream would then goad Fish into entering the ring and trying to attack him but would throw, first, Fish then Cole out of the ring and get out of dodge before posing on the entrance ramp.
A match between Bobby Fish and Velveteen Dream was made official for later on in the show.
After their win this week, the team of Kairi Sane and Io Shirai were booked to face one half of the Four Horsewomen of MMA, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, in a tag-team match next week on NXT.
In the tag division, after last week’s ambush of the Street Profits, Ford and Dawkins get their chance at revenge on the Forgotten Sons as they taken on Blake and Cutler in a tag-team match next week.
Throughout the show, various video packages were played, hyping up all the matches at TakeOver: Phoenix. NXT’s top-notch storytelling, combined with WWE’s fantastic production team always makes for a great all-around narrative and induces emotional investment from the viewer. During the promo vignette for Shayna Baszler, there was even a little quote from Last Word on Pro Wrestling…
Bobby Fish, with Adam Cole at ringside, took on the Velveteen Dream in this week’s main event.
Cole, as you’d expect, was often involved in proceedings, whether it be verbally or physically causing distractions. Fish often called for timeouts, getting out of the ring to regroup with his Undisputed Era teammate.
The Velveteen Dream took it to Bobby Fish with McGuinness on commentary even referring to last week’s video package about Dream in which legends like John Cena, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels talked up the Velveteen Dream’s abilities.
The technician Fish successfully grounded the Dream, weakening the legs of the eccentric one. However, as Fish pulled Dream into a half-Boston crab submission, Cole got himself ejected from ringside after pulling the bottom rope away from Velveteen Dream.
This would be the opening the Dream needed as he, first, threw Fish out of the ring on top of the exiting Adam Cole, before hitting the Purple Rainmaker flying elbow on Bobby Fish for the 1-2-3.
Johnny Gargano is seen entering the arena.
Ricochet’s music hits inside the arena and the One and Only comes out to the ring.
Ricochet grabs a mic and talks about how in 2018, Johnny Gargano showed everyone his true colors. He hasn’t forgotten the superkick Gargano delivered to him a few weeks ago and intends to pay it back with interest. The NXT North American champion was interrupted by Johnny Wrestling who made his way down to the ring.
Gargano tried to get another cheap shot in but Ricochet was ready this time and sent his challenger on Saturday out of the ring. However, from behind as always, NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa attacks Ricochet with a clubby forearm to the back of the head. Johnny Gargano, after one look at Ciampa, continues the beat down on Ricochet.
Hell To Pay
But wait! Aleister Black is in the ring and taking the fight to Tommaso Ciampa. Gargano turns his attention to Black and delivers another thunderous superkick to the former NXT Champion.
The crowd chants DIY as Gargano and Ciampa exchange glances. In an incredible sequence of events, Gargano exits the ring almost together with Ciampa. One fan in the front row can even be heard shouting “don’t make a deal with the devil, Johnny”. Terrific stuff.
At the entrance stage, the Sicilian Psychopath, Ciampa, extends a hand to Gargano as the crowd chants “hug it out”. However, Johnny Gargano’s babyface wife Candice LeRae makes her way out and, before Johnny can make a decision, she pushes her husband away while pointing at him and saying “that is not you, you’re not doing that again”.
An incredibly emotional end to the go-home show before NXT TakeOver: Phoenix.