SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT TV REPORT
DECEMBER 26, 2018
TAPED IN ORLANDO, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
REPORT BY JUSTIN JAMES, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
[Q1] Pre-credits package reminds us that tonight we see Heavy Machinery against Undisputed Era for the Tag Team titles, and the women’s #1 contender Fatal Four Way match. Unfortunately, the departure of Heavy Machinery and Lacey Evans for the main roster provides significant insight into the outcomes of these matches.
(1) IO SHIRAI vs. LACEY EVANS vs. MIA YIM vs. BIANCA BELAIR – #1 CONTENDER FATAL FOUR WAY MATCH
Evans starts by acting like she is too good to participate, climbs to the apron. Belair and Yim jaw at each other and Shirai tries a quick rollup on Belair. Yim and Shirai doubleteam Belair and send her outside. Yim dives onto Belair, Evans ambushes Shirai and whips her through the ropes and onto the mess outside. Yim and Shirai team up against Evans. Evans ducks a kick from Yim which nails Shirai and Evans takes it to Yim. Slingshot elbow drop gets Evans two. Evans with a drop toe hold to send Shirai into Yim in the corner then she hits both of them in the corner. It’s Shirai and Evans in the ring, Belair is nowhere to be found. Snapmare for two. Evans whips Shirai who runs into a shoulder block from Belair. Belair slams Shirai into Evans, but Belair gets send outside again. Stout right to the middle on Shirai from Evans gets two. Yim gets sent to the outside, Shirai surprises Evans. Evans mounts Shirai, cover for two but Belair has the save. Belair puts Shirari in a torture rack but Evans pulls her off. Belair and Evans yell at each other then pair up to take out Yim. Shirai saves Yim from a double suplex, Belair and Evans catch Shirai, Yim dropkicks her out. Evans covers, Belair breaks it up, then it goes the other way. Belair and Evans start to have a beef, Yim with a suplex, cover, Evans breaks it up, kick to Yim. Shirai has a springboard dropkick for Evans, Belair with a spear to Shirai and everyone is down. Belair recovers first and tries a cover but doesn’t get a pin. Shirai fires up, hitting a flurry of offense to Belair. 619 followed by a missile dropkick but Evans saves the match.
[Q2] Evans and Yim T off. Women’s Right to Yim, Shirai makes the save but the ref needed to hold the count to make it work. Moonsault to Evans, Belair whips Shirai with the hair to break it up, reverse powerbomb to send Shirai onto Yim outside, the KOD takes out Evans for the clean mid-ring pin.
WINNER: Bianca Belair in 9:14. Fine four way match, but no where near what we have seen on NXT in the past. This stayed too close to the main event formula of people taking naps on the outside to have a variety of one-on-one matchups. Good to see Belair win, and I am waiting to see how they handle the heel-on-heel dynamic as she faces Shayna Baszler.
Mitch Taverna is out to face Jaxson Ryder. Taverna gets a full, though short, entrance.
(2) MITCH TAVERNA vs. JACSON RYDER (w/Steve Cutler, Wesley Blake)
Ryker forces Taverna into the corner on the lockup, then risks disqualification dur to aggressiveness in the corner. Sloppy powerbomb of sorts from Ryker. Stiff forearm to the back then a wrenching chinlock. Ryker hits his slingshot powerbomb to end the match.
WINNER: Jaxson Ryker in 2:02. Ryker tries to come off as super aggressive but the impression is more like “sloppy worker”
Velveteen Dream vignette. He talks up his 2018 and how he was at the top of the stack, and 2019 will be even better.
[Q3] Recap of last week’s steel cage match between Aleister Black and Johnny Gargano, where Gargano aligned with NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa.
Ciampa with a cell phone promo. He talks about how he meets his promises, and that Gargano has listened and followed his lead, and defeated Black as a result. Ciampa asks where that leaves Gargano and says that he can’t have a chance at the title, but Gargano should have a title shot, perhaps the NXT North American Championship. Ciampa reminds Gargano of their history and that this was their dream, with #DIY taking over NXT, and at Takeover: Phoenix they can make it a reality.
(3) HEAVY MACHINERY (TUCKER KNIGHT & OTIS DOZOVIC) vs. UNDISPUTED ERA (KYLE O’REILLY & RODERICK STRONG) – NXT Tag Team Championship Match
Knight and Strong to start. Knight keeps and eye on O’Reilly, and when he turns to the outside, Strong tries to take advantage to no avail. Knight with mat wrestling for a pair of covers. Tag to O’Reilly, Knight takes them both out, but a kick to the hamstring lets O’Reilly drive Knight to the corner. Double clothesline lets Tucker tag Dozovic. Dozovic plows Strong then an interferring O’Reilly. Strong bumps like crazy for Dozovic. Knight back in, double team for a two count. Strong finally tags O’Reilly. Dozovoc comes in to help, stereo belly to belly suplexes to Undisputed Era. O’Reilly tries to lure Knight into Strong but Strong gets run over for his efforts. Strong distracts Knight coming in, letting O’Reilly ambush Knight and deliver a backbreaker on the apron behind the ref’s back. O’Reilly follows up outside. O’Reilly rolls Knight into the ring. Knight tries to fight from his knees but he can’t get traction. Strong wraps Knight’s knee around the ropes and mocks Dozovic. O’Reilly back in. Knight sends Strong oer the ropes but O’Reilly leg whips Knight through the rope and covers for two. O’Reilly wants an anklelock but, Knight kicks at him, O’Reilly mounts Knight. Knight rolls to the ropes, but he is too close to Strong who tags in. Olympic Slam from Strong, cover for two. Strong applies a kneebar.
[Q4] Knight drags Strong to the corner, but O’Reilly runs in and drags the pair to his corner. Knight punches out. Strong breaks the hold and goes after Dozovic. Double tag and Dozovic takes out Strong and O’Reilly. Dozovic with an exploder suplex to Strong, then a corner splash. O’Reilly falls outside the ring, the Caterpillar Elbow Drop to Strong, but O’Reilly interferes. Tag to Knight, and the action breaks down. Catapult of O’Reilly into Knight for a slam, the “Hoss Toss”, Strong breaks it up. Knight with a top rope moonsault but O’Reilly rolls under. Strong tries a running knee, Knight dodges and tags Dozovic who runs Strong over. Strong has kicks but eats a clothesline for a nearfall. Dozovic thinks moonsault then changes his mind, goes up, knocks O’Reilly over the side, an enziguri from Strong stops the climb. Strong meets him at the top to find a superplex, but Dozovic blocks, Strong tries again, O’Reilly slips in for the Tower of Doom, cover, Dozovic barely kicks out. O’Reilly gets a tag, clears Knight off the apron. Wild swings from Dozovic but he still succumbs to the numbers game for a nearfall. Strong dropkicks Knight off the apron, the High-Low ends Dozovic.
WINNERS: Undisputed Era in 11:35. Very good match. Over the last year, Heavy Machinery have proven that they are more than a charismatic team, they are very capable wrestlers. They will be missed on NXT.
Post-match, Bobby Fish and Adam Cole come out to pose with Strong and O’Reilly and taunt Heavy Machinery.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I much preferred this to the lame end-of-year retrospectives. Good way to send Lacey Evans and Heavy Machinery to the main roster. It is clear that NXT will continue to feature Velveteen Dream, Johnny Gargano, and Tommaso Ciampa throughout 2019, and possibly Aleister Black.