12/20 NXT TV Report: Dunne vs. Bate makes this the must-see show of the year, plus Sanity vs. Fish & O’Reilly, Strong vs. Lars

By Justin James, PWTorch Contributor


DECEMBER 13,  2017

[Q1] Pre-credits video reminds us of the packed card with Pete Dunne defending the UK Championship against Tyler Bate, and Sanity defending the Tag Team Championship against Undisputed Era’s Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly.

In other NXT news, Hideo Itami made his main roster debut on Monday, though it is up for debate if being sent to 205 Live is either “main roster” or a “promotion” from NXT. It depends on how serious WWE is about 205 Live at this point; moving some big names like Finn Balor there will go a long way to making it a higher status show.

Eric Young and Killian Dain come out. No sign of Nikki Cross or Alexander Wolfe. Next out are Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. Adam Cole is absent as well. Proper NXT formal introductions with the darkened ring and spotlight.


Fish and O’Reilly outwit Dain until he uses his brute strength to overcome the odds. A quick step in the corner lets Dain and Young double team O’Reilly. Basic tag team action until the break. [c]

Young is isolated out of the break. Dain is reaching for a tag even though Young is across the ring. Slingshot senton picks up a two count for Fish. Leg sweep to Young lets O’Reilly cover for two. Young tries to fight off the turnbuckle but eats a knee on a double axe handle attempt.

[Q2] Young looks for a tag but O’Reilly gets to Fish. Fish cheap shots Dain, enraging Dain. The ref gets busy with Dain so Fish and O’Reilly double team Young illegally. Dain finally gets the tag and takes out Fish and O’Reilly at the same time. Dain uses Fish to hurt O’Reilly, two count. Young finally recovers, tag. Young powerbombs O’Reilly, Dain takes Fish out of the equation, but Adam Cole trips Young up when it sets up the top rope elbow. O’Reilly takes advatnage for a nearfall, Cross finally appears from the side and destroys Adam Cole. The refs are plenty hands-on with Cross hauling her off. Chaos at ringside, with Dain and Young bothering with Cole, which lets Fish and O’Reilly double team Young for the win.

WINNERS: Undisputed Era at 12:53. Weak match on the whole. Undisputed Era looks super weak. Adam Cole got his tail handed to him by a woman who is half his height yet more muscular than him, Fish and O’Reilly needed Young and Dain to be foolish enough to let Cole divert their attention. This is such a tired formula, this is exactly what Sanity was doing a year ago or whatever, and it was old then.

The Roderick Strong video has a new edit, including recent events. Tonight he faces Lars Sullivan in the final qualifying match to earn a ticket to the Fatal Four Way to determine the #1 contender status (wow, that’s a mouthful).

Shayna Baszler vignette.

Outside with Heavy Machinery as they discuss the food they want to eat. They come across a white Maserati. Otis Dozovic tries to deadlift it, but Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss come out. Apparently they call it “our baby”. They tell Heavy Machinery that with some hard work, they could earn one too. They start yammering, and Dozovic wants to fight right now.

[ J.J.’s Reax: I could have sworn that the Maserati was red last time? ]

Recap of the Sonya Deville – Ruby Riott feud.

“Earlier this week” with Deville. They acknowledge her main roster debut. She says she will beat Ember Moon next week. Deville points out that Moon never beat her, and beat Riott because of Deville’s ankle lock on Riott. Apparently it is a championship match.

Video package on Lars Sullivan.

[ J.J.’s Reax: You gotta think that Sullivan is going over Strong here. Sullivan is the one they need to push and keep strong in the heel-light NXT, especially with the other big name heels lacking in-ring dominance. Oh, and no heels being in the Fatal Four Way yet indicate that they will want Sullivan as a monster heel for the other three to bounce off of. Then again, NXT booking sometimes surprises. ]

[Q3] Recap of Aleister Black beating Adam Cole last week.

(2) RODERICK STRONG vs. LARS SULLIVAN – Qualifying Match for the #1 Contender Fatal Four Way Match

Strong charges Sullivan as soon as the bell hits, Sullivan weathers in, then clubs Strong in the head when he looks for a backbreaker. Clothesline just flips Strong over and ends the offense. Sullivan starts to pick Strong apart. Sullivan picks Strong up and throws him halfway across the ring like he is passing a basketball. Strong kicks at Sullivan from the mat, hits the ropes gets caught with a bearhug. Strong is fading out to the bearhug. He boxes Sullivan’s ears to get free, then hits a drop kick out of the corner. More kicks startle Sullivan. Strong dodges a charging kick and Sullivan gets ties up in the ropes. Strong manags to knock Sullivan out of the ring but Sullivan lands on his feet, gets to the apron, and catches Strong on the apron, knocks him down. Sullivan to the top, Strong hits a suplerplex and it is good for only one with a huge kickout. Sullivan is infuriated. Strong lands an Olympic Slam for two, Sullivan actually looks like he is challenged. High knee in the corner, Sullivan fends off an Olympic Slam, popup power slam, Freak Accident.

WINNER: Lars Sullivan at 5:36. Sullivan went over in relatively short order, but Strong got in lots of hard, beleivable offense. Strong looks good for lasting so long against the strongly-booked Sullivan and presenting so much fight, Sullivan got the win over a solid veteran to continue his climb to the top. Sullivan looks very credible as an entrant in the Fatal Four Way, though WWE booking formula is to never give the big man in the match the win.

Last week “Street Talk” with Street Profits. Last last time, they pull someone from the crowd outside FSU and have him talk them up.

[Q4] Backstage interview with Tyler Bate. I think he must have listened to our podcast last week, because he has trimmed up that mustache and bear a bit and has gone to a less scraggly look. He also isn’t wearing his Mustache Mountain ring gear. Pete Dunne does everything right as a heel, yet gets big cheers on his entrance. He may be smaller, but he has the same gravitas as Samoa Joe, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Brock Lesnar, where it doesn’t matter what they do, they are such an unstoppable force of nature you want to cheer for them.

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(3) UK Champion PETE DUNNE vs. TYLER BATE – UK Championship Match

This match is starting very late in the episode. Dunne immediately moves to the join manipulation on the mat. Bate gets his feet under him to reverse and settles into a wristlock. Pacing is for a fifteen minute match with less than 10 minutes left on the clock. Dunne wraps Bate’s head in his legs. Bate slips out and lands on his feet and waves at Dunne. Lockup, Dune manages to step on Bate’s hand while locking a wristlock, transition to a surfboard of sorts. Bate slips out. These two are just so good on the mat. Dunne tortures Bate on the mat, even grabbing the nose. Keylock, cover for two, another cover for two, Bate bridges, Dunne jumps on him for two, then again. Bate bridges a third time, Dunne jumps off and kicks him. Dunne hides in the ropes to anger Bate, smirks, then twists Bate’s ankle. Bate starts to slip out, Dunne cartwheels, Bate kips up. Dunne gets surprised by Bop & Bang for two. Bate grabs an ankle, Dunne gets to the ropes and lands an ugly forearm off the break. Bate gets a knee up in the corner, knee strike to the jaw, flying European uppercut sends Dunne outside. Dunne has a big forearm on the outside, then stops Bate’s hand on the steps. Bate returns it. Suplex from Dunne off the stairs to the floor, unique, painful looking spot. Dunne rolls into the ring. Dunne starts to humiliate Bate in the ring with paintbrushes and weak kicks, then puts a side chinlock on. Bate gets to the ropes, Dunne kicks his arm. Bate tries to fight off the mat, Bate grabs his face and hits him, then goes back to the fingers. Dunne stomps Bate’s fingers, the ref gives Bate room to pull his fingers back into place. Dunne continues to rip on the fingers, another stomp the hand in a keylock. Dunne shrugs like it is no big deal. The ref needs to keep Dunne away from Bate.

Bate with kicks to fight off the mat, Dunne puts him in a headlock and blasts his face with a right. Bate is bleeding from the ear, tells Dunne to bring it, hits an exploder suplex then flexes his fingers. Bate is such a Zayn-level red meat babyface, and Dunne is a Kevin Owens heel. Bate with amazine offense, standing SSP, deadlift belly-to-back gets Dunne two. You can build an entire promotion off of these two, and their combined age is something like 45. Bate wants the Tyler Driver 97, Dunne slips down, locks in a triangle. Dunne is close to being pinned while holding the triangle, Bate gets up, deadlifts Bate, powerbomb, Dunne refuses to release the hold. Bate deadlifts Dunne again, moves to the ropes and catapults him into the ropes to get Dunne off of him.

[Q5 – Overrun] Ranallo tells us that he are going into an overrun. Airplane spin from Bate. Then he reverses it. This is like watching Daniel Bryan fight Daniel Bryan. Weird, Izzy is in the front row facing the hard camera, instead of her traditional spot on the corner of the ramp. Cover, Dunne kicks out and crawls to the ropes, looking queasy. Dunne on the apron, Bate looks for an exploder suplex off the middle rope and over the top rope, hits it, crawl to a cover, nearfall. They move to a test of strength of the mat, Dunne gets to his feet and just kicks the suffing out of Bate while holding the hands, Bate gets to his feet and does the same. Dunne looks like he is knocked out under the kicks, comes alive, Bitter End from nowhere, Bate kicks out! Has anyone kicked out of the Bitter End before?

Huge back and forth sequence and they reset on the mat. They trade strikes from their knees, then their feet, massive crazy swing knocks Dunne down, but Bate is on the mat grabbing his hand. Dunne rolls under the ropes to the apron, so does Bate. Dunne seems to beg off onthe apron, wants to try Bang and Bop, Bate has him first. Rolling kick from Bate knocks Dunne down, but Bate falls outside. Dunne rolls in the ring, Bate crawls to him, then heads to the top. Dunne is on his feet, Bate flies and eats a big fist, X-PLex into powerbomb, Bate kicks out again!

Dunne’s lip is bleeding, he is near tears. Bate is outside, Dunne tries throwing him in the ring, Bate hits the ropes with his head, bounces back and knocks Dunne down. Dunne is down outside, Bate is in the ring, ref has a count going, huge top rope dive to break the count, throws Dunne i, Tyler Driver 97, kickout just at three. We are over the twenty minute mark now and this match should be a top contender for Match of the Year.

Bate heads up top again, corkscrew dive, much of it misses Dunne, nearfall. Bate thinks superplex, Dunne lands on his feet, Bitter End again, that is it.

WINNER: Pete Dunne at 22:44. It has been a very, very long time since I liked a match this much. Perhaps the last time was when Dunne beat Bate for the title about a year ago. These two are just so good, and the chemistry they show with each other is crazy. The comparison to Owens – Zayn is super apt, considering how many times these two have faced each other both on and off screen. I would definitely take this as my Match of the Year pick.

FINAL REAX: An okay tag team title match, the very strong Sullivan vs. Strong match, and the insanely good Dunne vs. Bate match made this one of the best NXT episodes of the year. The Bate vs. Dunne is “must watch” for any wrestling fan.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 12/13 NXT TV Report: Aleister Black vs. Adam Cole, Andrade vs. Aichner, Ember vs. Royce, AOP vs. Lordan & Burch

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