NXT TV REPORT
DECEMBER 19, 2018
TAPED IN ORLANDO, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
REPORT BY JUSTIN JAMES, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
OPENING COMMENTARY: In NXT news, there are six call-ups advertised this week: EC3 (too soon), Nikki Cross (overdue), Heavy Machinery (debatable), Lars Sullivan (debatable), and Lacey Evans (on target). These call ups will definitely strip NXT of much of its mid-card, leaving a lot of room for people like Matt Riddle and Dakota Kai to start moving up the ranks.
[Q1] Pre-credits video hype the steel cage match scheduled between Johnny Gargano and Aleister Black tonight.
The advertised women’s match starts the night. Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke come out to NXT Woman’s Champion Shayna Baszler’s music, but their own entrance video with them listed as a team.
(1) DAKOTA KAI & IO SHIRAI vs. MARINA SHAFIR & JESSAMYN DUKE
Kai and Duke start. Kai tries to slip away, but Duke cinches in a waistlock. Kai slips out, knocks Duke down with a kick, low dropkick for one. Duke runs into a big boot, but Shafir kicks Kai behind referee Jessika Carr’s back. Duke stomps all over Duke and tags in Shafir who lays in heavy rights from a mount and a cover. Kai tries to kick her way out of a front facelock, Shafir nails a reverse DDT and covers for two, and tags in Duke. Duke with a two count, then a neck crank. Kai tries to get away, then a handspring kick to Duke’s face sends them both to a tag. Shirai goes on hot tag offense on Shafir to the crowd’s delight. 619 followed by a springboard dropkick keeps Shafir down. Running double knees to the corner, body slam, Shirai wants to go up, Duke thinks interference, Kai clears Duke from the apron, Shirai lands a moonsault from the top for the win.
WINNERS: Dakota Kai & Io Shirai at 4:24. OK match, not a barnburner debut for Duke or Shafir, and Shirai didn’t show very much of the brilliance we have seen from her in the past.
Post-match, Shafir and Duke creep up the ramp with blood coming from Shafir’s mouth.
Dominik Dijakovic vignette. He is next.
Replay of two weeks ago, when Matt Riddle defeated Punishment Martinez in his da-butt, then got ambushed by Kassius Ohno.
“Earlier today” with Matt Riddle. He isn’t happy about being beat up, but he can’t blame Ohno because he needs every advantage he can get, but Riddle hopes to see him in the ring again to knock him out in seven seconds again.
[Q2] Aaron Mackey is out first to feast his eyes on Dijakovic (Dye-ja-ko-vick, not Dye-jack-o-vick). Between his look and the way the announcers talk him up, it feels like Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV.
(2) DOMINIK DIJAKOVIC vs. AARON MACKEY
Dijakovic blocks offence from Mackey and beats him silly with punches and clotheslines. Released vertical suplex makes Dijakoviclook like a total beast. Running uppercut in the corner, gutbuster with no release, then Dijakovic tosses Mackey to the side like an old toy. Dijakovic grabs Mackey’s neck, torture rack into a knee to the face, Mauro Ranallo calls it the “Feast Your Eyes”, and it gets the win.
WINNER: Dominik Dijakovic at 1:46. Good squash, Dijakovic can easily fill the Lars Sullivan slot on the roster, a massive heel monster who looks unstoppable. If they hadn’t had Riddle beat Martinez so quickly, I could place him in that role too.
Vignette with Heavy Machinery. They are in action next.
Tweet from William Regal says that Io Shirai is now qualified for the #1 Contender Fatal Four Way match next week.
(3) HEAVY MACHINERY (TUCKER KNIGHT & OTIS DOZOVIC) vs. JOBBER TEAM – Tag Team Match
Jobber #1 backs away from Dozovic, then runs right into him, Dozovic throws him across the ring, he tags in his partner who gets wrecked too. Knight tags in, picks up jobber #2 and rams him into the turnbuckles across the ring over and over and over.
Undisputed Era show up on the ramp, Knight threatens them. Jobber #2 jumps Knight from behind, gets beat up for it. The Compactor, but Dozovic lifts the cover. Jobber #1 climbs to the top, Knights grabs him overhead, throws him to Dozovic, Compactor. Then Dozovic picks up both jobbers at once and they hit a double Compactor. Undisputed Era kind of shake their heads like they are concerned for the health of the jobbers.
WINNERS: Heavy Machinery at 2:19. Good use of no-name wrestlers to make an established team look good.
Backstage we see Aleister Black warming up, then Gargano.
Before the steel cage match, the announcer gives us the rules, they are using the lame WWE main roster rule of submission, pinfall, or escaping the cage.
As Black makes his entrance, Gargano surprises him and beats the snot out of him. Black makes a recovery and they brawl outside the cage. Black rolls Gargano in the cage and they start the match.
(4) ALEISTER BLACK vs. JOHNNY GARGANO – Steel Cage Match
Gargano immediately tries to climb, Black stops him. They turn to rapid fire offense. Gargano dodges a Lionsault, Black lands on his feet, continues the assault for a one count. The crowd seems split 50/50. This cage has huge gaps in the corners. Gargano dodges a big boot and starts climbing the very short, rickety cage. Black stops him, Gargano drops to the floor and crotches Black. Gargano throws Black into the ring then mounts him and delivers punches. Gargano slows the pace a bit. Black fights out of the corner, then they have some back-and-forth, Black with fast strikes, Gargano blocks, catapults Black, Black lands on the cage and starts to climb, then hits a moonsault to Gargano and sells knee pain on landing. Black throws Gargano into the ring over and over and over again. Strikes lay Gargano out. Stiff knee strike to the face gets Black two. Black climbs the cage and gets one leg over, then he looks at Gargano and changes his mind and goes back for a top rope strike, Gargano blocks, Black blocks the receipt, Gargano sends Black into the cage then wraps Black in the ropes to hit a superkick. Gargano uses Black to climb up, but Black grabs his foot and stops him. They brawl on the ropes. Gargano manages a sunset flip powerbomb from the ropes, then crawls into a cover for two-and-a-half. They are slow to recover, then stand themselves up to land strikes on each other.
[Q4] Black traps Gargano between the ropes and the cage and delivers a pair of running big boots. Gargano gets the door open, ducks another knee and falls mostly through the door. Black grabs his foot and drags him back into the ring, Gargano with an enziguri and goes back tot he door, Black grabs the foot again. Another striking exchange. Black tries to springboard, Gargano meets him there, top-rope side Russian leg sweep right into the Gargano Escape. Black stands up, picks Gargano up, rams him into the ring, Gargano holds on, shifts his weight and Black collapses right into the Gargano Escape again. Black stands up, rams Gargano inot the cage, Gargano climbs, he is over the top, Black grabs his hair, pulls him up, they are both sitting on the cage. Gargano climbs in, brings Black in, Gargano with chops and headbutts, tries a top rope bulldog, Black shoves him off, double knees from the top, German suplex for a nearfall. Black recovers first and sets up the Black Mass. Gargano with Snake Eyes, then lawn darts Black into the cage. Gargano chooses to deliver more offense instead of escaping. He stands Black up, says, “I absolve you of your sins” but Black hits Black Mass. Black is too worn down to cover at all. Gargano wriggles to the ropes with blood in his nose. Gargano manages to recover first and starts climbing, Black crawls to the door and has them open it. Gargano is over the top and climbing down, NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa shows up and slams the door on Black’s head, puts him in the ring and mounts Black and pounds his face in. Gargano climbs into the ring, stares at Ciampa. Ciampa heads to the door, then stops. Gargano looks at Black, then Ciampa. Ciampa isn’t sure where this is going. Gargano is torn. They do their old #DIY setup for their team double kick to Black and hit it. Ciampa grins and departs the cage. Gargano can’t beleive he did it. Covers Black, win.
WINNER: Johnny Gargano at 17:59. Like all steel cage matches, the rules gave it some strange moments and it dragged in a couple of places. The real story here, of course, is Gargano aligning with Ciampa, in the longest-teased team reunion in forever. Goodmatch all around.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Decent episode. Duke and Shafir needed squash matches to build them before they took a loss to Kai and Shirai. The cage match was good, with the semi-surprise of Ciampa’s interference being a huge story as we start looking ahead to Takeover: Phoenix.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 12/12 NXT TV REPORT: EC3 vs. Bobby Fish, Ricochet vs. Tyler Breeze, Lorcan & Burch vs. The Mighty, Mia Yim vs. Gonzalez