SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
This week’s episode unfortunately seemed lackluster. There was not the usual energy level that one would expect from a NXT show. The crowd was into it, but not the performers. It seemed rather rushed with only three matches, only one promo/interview, and half of the show was the main event. It was surprising that one of the matches this week was a championship match, which was rather irrelevant. Hopefully this is because it was the end of the year show and there is more exciting things to come in the New Year.
The Fatal Four-Way Qualifying Match for the No. 1 Contender Match for the NXT Championship (Lars Sullivan vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black vs. Killian Dain): Overall, this was a decent match. It definitely had some great characteristics of what would make a great match, mainly from a storytelling element. Johnny Gargano was definitely the star of this match. He once again played the underdog going up against competitors bigger and stronger while prevailing in the end. It was a nice touch seeing Killian Dain and Lars Sullivan going at it, especially when Dain hit a splash on Sullivan on the announcers’ table. Aleister Black performed well and it will be interesting to see where the angle with Undisputed Era (mainly Adam Cole) goes after they attacked him, which basically led to him being defeated and pinned by Gargano. This was a great way to cap off a story of redemption for Gargano, who went from just having “great matches” to winning and becoming the number one contender. Now, will he win the title? I doubt it, as he is mainly just a placeholder for a future potential challenger, in addition to having unfinished business with Tomasso Ciampo (whenever he returns).
Sonya Deville vs. Ember Moon (NXT Woman’s Championship Match): This match seemed rather pointless. Sonya Deville has already been called up to the main roster and has been performing there for a little while now, so it would be hard to believe that she was really going to win the belt and go back up to the Raw roster with it. Overall, the match lacked energy, especially coming from Deville, as she seemed uninspired. She was not her usual striking self and put up very little offense. Ember Moon performed well, but once again, very low energy. This match should have been much more competitive between these two, instead it came off more as a filler match that was killing time for the main event match of the night. The only compelling factor came at the end of the match when Kairi Sane made an appearance at the top of the entrance ramp to make her intentions known that she wanted a title shot only to be attacked by Shayna Baszler in ruthless fashion that will ultimately set up a future collision of the three in the coming New Year.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: NXT HITS & MISSES 12/20: Sanity vs. Fish & O’Reilly for NXT Tag Titles, Bate vs. Dunne for UK Title, Roderick Strong vs. Lars Sullivan