NXT TV REPORT
JANUARY 31, 2018
TAPED IN PHILADELPHIA, PA. AT WELLS FARGO CENTER
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY HARLEY PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson
-We opened with a video package covering all the major highlights from Takeover: Philadelphia.
-Nikki Cross was out alone for our first match.
(1) NIKKI CROSS vs. LACEY EVANS
Ranallo put over Evans’ new mission statement, which is a sort of anti-feminist character who thinks there’s no place in NXT for women who aren’t beautiful and ladylike. Cross dove onto Evans but Evans came back with a roundhouse kick. Cross trapped Evans in the apron and wailed on her with a rampage of blows. Evans with a Thesz press and a series of right hands as Ranallo reminded us that Evans beat Aliyah with a punch two weeks ago. Evans attempted a moonsault but Cross rolled out of the way and fired herself up. Running forearm smashes from Cross and she hit her swinging fisherman’s neckbreaker out of nowhere for the win.
WINNER: Nikki Cross in 2:30.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Your usual reporter Justin James is off on assignment tonight so I’ll be filling in this week. The commentators called this a big win but the short length didn’t do Evans too many favors. We remain with a women’s division where there are only three people with records better than .500 so some people need to start picking up significant wins. Cross is certainly over with the crowd but all signs point to Sanity heading up to Raw or Smackdown in the near future.)
-Video package on the Takeover tag title match between Fish & O’Reilly and The Authors of Pain.
-Video package on the Takeover women’s title match between Ember Moon and Shayna Baszler plus Baszler choking out Moon after the match.
-Kayla Braxton interviewed Shayna Baszler after her match. She claimed things went the way she’d hoped. Moon didn’t beat her; she survived. Baszler claimed the fact that she was still standing fine while Moon was beat up is proof that Baszler actually won.
-Photo montage on Moon’s surprise entry in the women’s Royal Rumble match.
-Video package on the Takeover extreme rules match between Adam Cole and Aleister Black.
-After the match a wounded Undisputed Era were shown limping through the back. Fish & O’Reilly were helping support Cole. They were complaining loudly and wondered aloud what happened before blaming Cole’s loss on Sanity.
-Video package on the Takeover match between Velveteen Dream and Kassius Ohno.
-Braxton asked Velveteen Dream about failing to beat Ohno in 30 seconds like he’d promised. Dream told Braxton to read his trunks. They said “dream over.” She didn’t seem to know what that meant.
(2) TM61 (Nick Miller & Shane Thorne) vs. EALY BROTHERS (Gabriel Ealy & Uriel Ealy)
Ranallo said it’s been over a year since TM61 has competed on NXT television. TM61 worked over one of the Ealys with chops. Thorne hit a twisting moonsault over the top rope onto both Ealys at ringside. Miller with forearms on Uriel in the corner. With the ref’s back turned the Ealys pulled twin magic. Gabriel took control of Miller. Uriel tagged back in and hit some blows. Thorne with the hot tag. Rolling cannonball onto one Ealy. Back body drop to the other twin. Tag to Miller who hit a moonsault but the other Ealy broke up the pinfall. TM61 hit their finisher, a double-team gorilla press slam called Thunder Valley.
WINNERS: TM61 in 3:17.
(Pageot’s Perspective: TM61 have always looked impressive in the NXT ring and the last two weeks of video packages has certainly helped begin to give them personalities. If we get to understand them more as characters going forward they seem like the most likely challengers to face Fish & O’Reilly at Takeover: New Orleans.)
-Photo montage on the 2017 NXT Year-End Awards.
-Christy St. Cloud was backstage with TM61. They are the mighty and the mighty don’t kneel.
-Video package on the Takeover world title match between Andrade “Cien” Almas and Johnny Gargano plus Tommaso Ciampa returning and breaking his crutch across Gargano’s back.
-Immediately after Takeover went off the air a swarm of reporters tried to interview Ciampa who just dead-eye stared past them and limped off down the hall, dragging his broken crutch behind him.
-Photo montage on Andrade Almas’ surprise entry in the men’s Royal Rumble match.
-Cathy Kelley asked Zelina Vega and Almas about his whirlwind weekend. Almas said this is only the beginning. Vega asked where Johnny Wrestling was while Almas was in the Royal Rumble.
-Recap of EC 3 appearing in the crowd at Takeover and officially re-signing with NXT.
-Photo montage on Adam Cole’s surprise entry in the men’s Royal Rumble match.
(3) RODERICK STRONG vs. TYLER BATE – winner becomes #1 Contender to the UK Title
Collar and elbow tie-up. Chain wrestling early on. Bate hit a big dropkick and kip-up for the first breather. Bate immediately into the airplane spin. Strong with the first backbreaker of the match for a two count. The men traded chops. Backbreaker #2 from Strong. Dueling chants from the crowd. Strong with a vice grip on Bate’s neck. Bate fought out but ate backbreaker #3.
Strong put Bate in a bow and arrow submission. Bate with a running European uppercut. German suplex on Strong for two. Bate with an exploder suplex and another kip-up. Running shooting star press for two. Bate went to the top rope but Strong cut him off. Strong tried for a superplex but Bate fought back. Strong yanked him off the top rope into backbreaker #4. Strong tried for a double underhook suplex but Bate hurricanranaed out of it. Bate with his lariat off the ropes for a close two count. “NXT” chant from the crowd. Bate tried for Tyler Driver ’97 but his back was too sore. Bate with a roll-up for two. Strong with two of his signature jumping high knees and End of Heartache.
WINNER: Roderick Strong in 9:57 to become #1 contender to the United Kingdom Championship.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Shorter than I expected but still pretty much as great as we anticipated. The outcome was somewhat obvious. Despite how good the Bate vs. Dunne matches have been (including winning Match Of The Year in the Year-End Awards) it felt like the right time to find a new challenger for Dunne and Strong vs. Dune should be a hell of a match. No mention from the commentators as to when that one will take place, though.
My only issue is that I remain unclear concerning the specifics of the UK title. Since it was formed out of the UK tournament I assumed that only British wrestlers would be eligible to compete for the belt. But with Gargano challenging previously and Strong now that’s obviously not the case. So is it just another championship with no specific qualifications? I mean I guess it’s essentially become NXT’s answer to the Intercontinental title, which is fine, but it’s still a muddied situation since it’s often positioned as being outside of the rest of NXT. Dunne appears infrequently for sporadic matches with no real feuds or TV build-up.)
-Next week: it’s Adam Cole vs. Killian Dain and Eric Young & Alexander Wolfe vs. Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly for the NXT Tag Team Championships.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S TV REPORT: 1/24 NXT TV REPORT: Gargano vs. Velveteen Dream with Takeover Title shot on line, No Way Jose vs. Bononi, Bel Air vs. Latoya