NXT JANUARY 17TH 2018
Heavy Machinery vs. Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss
This stemmed from three weeks ago, when Heavy Machinery interacted with Tino and Riddick’s Maseratti, earning them a feud. Given that this is the bottom of the NXT tag team food chain, this was a pretty hot little match. The crowd were into both teams, the actual action was good, this was promising stuff. Dozovic and Knight still seem like they’re trying to get a set routine down, they’re trying different things every time out and seeing what sticks, although Dozovic did bust out the worm again so I guess that’s staying. Moss and Sabbatelli ended up picking up the win with Moss rolling up Tucker and putting his feet on the ropes. Presumably the feud continues and after this, that’s fine by me. Give these teams something to do and let them develop.
Undisputed Era cut a promo backstage, with Cole saying they’d made Takeover their event since showing up. Cole said he’d beat Black and Fish and O’Reilly discussed AOP and Street Profits in fairly vague terms. They’re still doing the camera cuts and playing their music over these and I’ve gone from unsure to not keen.
Hype video of sorts for Cole and Black, which involved a recap of Black and Cole’s interaction last week, some brief clips from ECW and a short Black promo.
Roderick Strong vs. Fabian Aichner
Aichner has the seedlings of a gimmick now, a nickname and some hand signals, so he’s finding some footing. This was competitive, but ultimately a win for Strong with the Strong Hold. Some good action, but pretty short. The real story here was Strong comparing himself to Lars Sullivan and quoting his promo from last week, about facing a force he’d never dealt with before and wanting to face it again. Odd that Sullivan would challenge Dain last week and that would set up Strong challenging him instead. Between this, them being attacked last week and the #1 contenders match later, it did feel like Sanity were being phased out of NXT this week.
Speaking of which, we got a video for a soon to be returning TM61. This was part hype video, but turned into what was mostly a profile piece and sitdown interview. It covered their time in Australia, going to the US to train under Harley Race, a WWE tryout and them going to NOAH. Between the sitdown interview and footage of them goofing around while shooting a promo from this first run, they came across as funny guys and actual mates, which is probably as important as telling their backstory. I hope enough people see this and get behind them that their second run has a bit more momentum behind it than their first did, because they’ve got obvious top team potential if it all clicks. There’ll be a part 2 next week, which from the looks of it will cover their NXT run and Shane’s injury.
Aliyah vs. Lacey Evans
Evans played the heel here. Aliyah seems to have switched back and forth so much in her sporadic appearances, it’s hard to tell. Evans probably looked the better of the two here, the potential and the look are there with her. This ended pretty much out of nowhere, seemingly by design, as Evans KOed Aliyah with defensive punch that seemingly surprised herself and got the pin.
Evans cut a promo afterwards, calling Aliyah trash and said it was time for a sophisticated woman like herself to clean house. She started running down the rest of the roster, getting to Nikki, Ember and Sane, before she was interrupted by Shayna Baszler coming out. Wisely, Evans left, while Baszler got in the ring and choked out Aliyah. Ember made the save again and dared Shayna to try bullying her, but Shayna said she didn’t have her gear and she’d do it when the title was on the line. Ember told her to name the time and place and not to forget her gear, because she was going to beat Shayna’s ass. Shayna said Philadelphia and told Ember to bring the title. It’s only been two actual segments, but they’ve built this really well.
Christy spoke with Regal backstage and Regal made Ember/Shayna official, against his better judgement. Zelina then came in and claimed Gargano had zero chance of winning at Takeover, where-as Velveteen Dream deserved the opportunity far more. She suggested Gargano put the number one contendership on the line in their match, with Regal saying he’d advise Johnny not to do that. Zelina took that as proof Regal thought he would lose and if he wanted Gargano to compete in the most humiliating match in Takeover history, Andrade would oblige.
No Way Jose cut a promo, saying 2018 would be his year and it started next week.
As the commentators discussed Takeover, Gargano came out to the ring unscheduled. He said he could hear everyone talking behind his back, including Regal, doubting his ability to beat Andrade. Gargano said he was done being doubted, he was not a loser and him winning was not a fluke, it was his time and no-one was going to stop him. Gargano volunteered to put the contendership on the line against Dream next week and ended saying he was the next NXT Champion. Johnny did a particularly good job here.
Undisputed Era’s attack on Sanity was replayed before the main event.
#1 Contenders Match
The Authors Of Pain vs. Street Profits
Winners here got the Tag Team Title shot at Takeover. They kept this short and they kept it simple. It made sense too, Street Profits had done enough to deserve to be in a number one contender’s match, but they could, in theory, lose to the AOP without it hurting them too much since they’re not at that level yet. That said, this was essentially a squash. Street Profits barely got out of the blocks, AOP dominating against Ford early on. Dawkins fared better after getting the hot tag, but Ford ended up getting tagged back in quickly for a double team and it cost them. AOP hit the Super Collider and then the Last Chapter to Ford for a decisive win. I’m not sure if this will take the shine off of Street Profits or not, because they really were taken care of pretty easily here. AOP now face Fish and O’Reilly at Takeover, which I’m interested in seeing how it turns out.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING: All around, this was another strong show to build up a Takeover and again it was made all the better by being at Center Stage. I’d definitely recommend watching the TM61 profile video, as well as Heavy Machinery versus Sabbatelli and Moss, plus Gargano’s promo and the segment with Baszler and Ember for strong Takeover build.
NXT WEEK: Johnny Gargano versus Velveteen Dream for the #1 contenders spot at Takeover, No Way Jose’s return and part 2 of the TM61 feature.