SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT TV REPORT
JANUARY 10, 2018
TAPED IN ORLANDO, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY JUSTIN JAMES, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
[Q1] Pre-credits, Undisputed Era welcomes us from a storeroom to 2018. Kyle O’Reilly promises to beat Sanity tonight, and Adam Cole vows to do whatever it takes to become the NXT Champion.
(J.J.’s Reax: Unique use of the pre-credits slot there. Nothing was particularly amazing about the work though.)
This is NXT’s first taping from Atlanta. This may be a fuller house than FSU holds. The layout is a bit strange, though, with a ring of seats around the ring.
Shayna Baszler is out first. I really enjoyed her work on the NXT Live event I attended this weekend in Charlotte, NC.
Performance Center video with Baszler. Baszler offers to demonstrate a hold for the people training. Baszler nearly knocks her out even though she is tapping out. She is facing Dakota Kai.
(1) DAKOTA KAI vs. SHAYNA BASZLER
Baszler backs Kai into the corner, then knocks her down with a sweep. Kai tries to fight back, Baszler has a wristlock, and starts to twist Kai’s arm off. Baszler sneers at the crowd as she dominates the likable Kai. Baszler keylocks the arm and stomps it, Kai is screaming and selling an arm injury, the ref calls for the bell due to medical stoppage.
Winner: Shayna Baszler in 1:33. Perfect introduction for Baszler. She same off as a Pete Dunne. I approve.
Post-match, Baszler starts to choke Kai. The referee and trainers try to stop her. Ember Moon comes out in street clothes and Baszler backs off. Baszler departs as Moon checks in on Kai.
(J.J.’s Reax: This was such a good recovery from a few weeks ago for Moon. She made the save for Kai, and looked like she actually was angry at Baszler for doing something wrong. Total redemption from the previous mess.)
Backstage, The Authors of Pain cut a promo. Rezar and Akam actually speak a sentence or two in English, some in another language, then tough words from Paul Ellering.
[Q2] Backstage with Baszler. Christy St. Cloud asks why. William Regal tells St. Cloud to pound sand so he can talk to Baszler. He tells her that he knows this game, and that cheap attacks won’t get her a championship match. “We done here?” from Baszler and she calmly walks out.
(J.J.’s Reax: Baszler simply “has it”. She’s tough, she’s cool, she’s brutal. Again, I will make a comparison to Pete Dunne, she is doing all the heel moves right but I know I will be pulling for her.)
Kassius Ohno is out to face Raul Mendoza. I like what I’ve seen of Mendoza, and I hope to see more from him soon, but Ohno needs some wins.
(2) KASSIUS OHNO vs. RAUL MENDOZA
Ohno offers a handshake after the bell, Mendoza takes it. Mendoza with a headlock, Ohno simply stands up to let his hight do the work. Rollup from Menoda for two, they trade roll ups. Mendoza is dazzling us. Ohno takes Mendoza off the top, Mendoza rolls through, covers for two. Mendoza with some fire but Ohno fends him off. Ohno with a chop in the corner and Mendoza sells it like a king. Ohno seems to have a bit of an edge to him tonight. Mendoza reverses another move to cover for two. Senton from Ohno gets two. Mendoza surprises Ohno with an arm drag. Corkscrew springboard armdrag, springboard kick for a nearfall. The word “dazzling” keeps coming to my mind. Ohno dumps Mendoza into the ropes, big boot, the “high tension elbow strike” from get Ohno the win.
WINNER: Kassius Ohno in 4:28. It’s good to see Ohno get a win, but wow, did Mendoza “maximize his minutes” without going into business for himself.
Backstage with Zelina Vega. She says that her and Andrade Almas are working together to stay on top. She says that Johnny Gargano got lucky and took advatange of the work the other three did to each other. She says that Tommaso Ciampa was the workhorse of #DIY, and that Almas has beaten Gargano twice already. She refuses to share their match strategy. But she says they are taking Gargano seriously.
Christy St. Cloud with Gargano. He starts his promo. Velveteen Dream shows up. “Say it. Not my name. Say thank you.” He says that Gargano took 20 minutes to beat “a guy” named Kassius Ohno, Dream could have done it in 30 seconds. Gargano couldn’t beat Aleister Black on his own. He won’t beat Almas. He didn’t earn Dream’s spot.
(J.J.’s Reax: Dream is getting stonger and stronger on the mic every week.)
Quick shot of Lars Sullivan walking down the stairs, wow, cool visual.
Backstage video with the Street Profits. They yammer a bunch, then decide to talk to William Regal about a championship match. They bang on his door, then come in. He seems happy to see them. They ask when they will get their title shot. He books a #1 contender match next week between the Street Profits and the Authors of Pain. Ford and Dawkins are delighted and call it “big business.”
[Q3] Lio Rush makes his entrance. Last time we saw him, I think Velveteen Dream was beating him up. He is getting fed to Sullivan. New camera angles on Sullivan’s entrance, including some closeups of his face from the side.
(3) LIO RUSH vs. LARS SULLIVAN
Rush flies all over the place to avoid Sullivan. Rush ends up in the ring, with Sullivan on the apron. Sullivan shrugs off offense, then nearly yanks Rush’s arm off. Sullivan throws Rush into the corner and Rush goes flying. Rush dodges a charging Sullivan. Sullivan drives Rush into the corner, but Rush dodges Sullivan again. Rush hits the ropes, Sullivan’s clothesline flips him over AND corkscrews him. That was a great visual. Freak Accident.
WINNER: Lars Sullivan in 1:51. Does anyone beleive that there is anyone in the main event scene, other than Aleister Black and Drew McIntyre, who can beat Sullivan?
Post-match promo from Sullivan. He reminds us that he has beaten every opponent, sometimes two on one. He says he faced a force two weeks ago that impressed him, but he wants to destroy it: Killian Dain. As soon as Sullivan looks at Rush the referee tries to stop him from attacking again. Freak Accident off the second rope looks sick. Rush is twitching and quivering on the mat. Nigel McGuinness calls a Dain – sullivan match as “King Kong vs. Godzilla”.
Backstage, Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe get beat up by Undisputed Era. I guess it will be Dain and Nikki Cross facing Fish and O’Reilly?
Undisputed Era come out to cut a promo. Cole says they feel like they are missing something. O’Reilly asks where Sanity is. Fish wonders if they forgot about the match. Cole says they didn’t forget, Sanity kicked the chaos out of Sanity. Cross suddenly appears on the ramp and two referees try to haul her off. She breaks free and the tackle her. Undisputed Era just laugh in the ring as the refs get control of Cross. Cole starts to talk again, and Regal comes out for a rare in-ring appearance. Regal starts to talk and says they will defend the titles, then Roderick Strong talks over him saying he will fight Undisputed Era right now. Then Aleister Black’s music hits. He actually has a microphone! He just glowers at Undisputed Era. No jokes from them now. Black is clearly the biggest star in this ring as the entire arena chants his name. He looks at Strong, and says “as will I”, Black and Strong charge the ring and take on Undisputed Era two on three.
(4) UNDISPUTED ERA (BOBBY FISH & KYLE O’REILLY w/Adam Cole) vs. RODERICK STRONG & ALEISTER BLACK – NXT Tag Team Championship Match
[Q4] Black and O’Reilly start the match. Black Fish tries coming into the ring so Black elbows him, then returns to O’Reilly. Black gets a cover off kicks for one, then O’Reilly slips away. Strong lends a hand and feeds O’Reilly to Black, cover for two. Sweet armdrag into an armbar. Strong tags in. The arena layout is so odd, the face and heel corners are 90 degrees off from their usual positions. Backbreaker for two. Chinlock from Strong actually slips under the chin a bit. Black is back in. O’Reilly low bridges Black, Black fends him off on the apron, but Fish knocks Black’s legs out from the outside, drawing boos. [c]
Slingshot senton from Fish draws a two count on Black. Cheap shot knocks Strong off the apron. Big suplex from Fish to Black for two, Strong makes the save. Fish cinches in a tight chinlock. Black fights out. Fish telegraphs a back body drop, Black hits a sunset flip for two. Strong gets a tag and unloads on Fish and O’Reilly with great intensity. Strong smashes O’Reilly into Fish a few times, backbreaker to O’Reilly, suplex on Fish onto O’Reilly. Strong with a running knee, big slam and Fish break sup the cover. Strong deals with Fish, O’Reilly recovers, axe kick to Strong, leaping knee to O’Reilly. They are both down. Black clobbers Fish on the outside with a running boot, then throws him into the ring. Adam Cole appears and hits Black, then backs away when Black faces him. Cole runs through the crowd and past a Mankind impersonator, Black chases. Back in the ring, Strong gets double teamed for the loss.
WINNERS: Undisputed Era in 8:42. Good match, but I don’t like seeing Black losing matches regardless if he gets pinned or not. This strips away his aura of invincibility. I don’t know why the match didn’t get thrown out when Cole made his attack.
Black is furious and returns to the ring, he takes out Fish and O’Reilly, but Cole returns and attacks him from behind. Black takes a beating from all three. They set up a chair in the ring, and Cole lands a fireman’s carry into a neckbreaker on Black into the chair. Ouch.
Regal comes out, says that Philadelphia has an “extreme history” and books the Cole – Black match at Takeover to be an Extreme Rules match.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Good episode of NXT, but I am not sure how I feel about this setup in Atlanta. The energy is wrong, the layout feels off. As much as I like Regal, there was a LOT of him tonight, and that’s a well they don’t need to dip into too often.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 1/3 NXT TV REPORT: 2017 Year-in-Review with Drew McIntyre vs. Adam Cole for NXT Title with Shawn Michaels as special referee