1/2 NXT TV REPORT: Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno, Nominations for NXT 2018 Year-End Awards, Ricochet vs. Dream extended recap

By Justin James, PWTorch contributor


NXT TV REPORT
JANUARY 2, 2019
TAPED IN ORLANDO, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
REPORT BY JUSTIN JAMES, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

[Q1] Pre-intro silent tribute to Gene Okerlund. Cathy Kelley is in the control center to introduce the year-end awards, with a flashback to some previous winners. Tonight they show us the nominees.

Recap of the NXT North American Championship ladder match at Takeover: New Orleans. This match was pretty intense, in particular both Ricochet and Velveteen Dream pulled out every imaginable stop in this match. That was a nearly 25 minute recap.

Ricochet, Dakota Kai, Lars Sullivan, Rhea Ripley, War Raiders, Lacey Evans, EC3, Bianca Belair are nominated as the breakout star of 2018. I’m going to go with Belair on this one.

Sizable replay of Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa facing each other at Takeover: New Orleans, including the long build to the match, followed by the aftermath of the match over the next few months.

The NXT Championship match between Andrade Almas and Aleister Black from Takeover: New Orleans is covered with a highlight reel. Followed by Ciampa capturing the title from Black a few months later, thanks to an inadvertant assist from Gargano. Then the Black “whodunnit” that dominated the late summer and fall.

The quick knockout of Kassius Ohno at Takeover: WarGames by Matt Riddle, then the events leading to tonight’s rematch of shown.

Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, Street Profits, Heavy Machinery, Moustache Mountain, War Raiders, and Undisputed Era are all nominated for the Tag Team of the year. Basically they named every team except The Mighty. I can see Undisputed Era for this award.

The match between Undisputed Era and Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch is replayed.

Almas-Gargano, Baszler-Moon, Gargano-Ciampa, Undisputed Era-Moustache Mountain, Velveteen Dream-Ricochet, Black-Cross-Ciampa-Gargano, and Baszler-Sane are all nominated for “Rivalry of the Year.” I think Ciampa-Gargano has this one for sure.

Matt Riddle, Mia Yim, Kieth Lee, Forgotten Sons, Candice LaRae, Marina Shafir & Jessamyn Duke, Kona Reeves, Dominik Dijakovic, and Io Shirai are nominated for the Rookie of the Year. I see Matt Riddle taking this one.

War Games, Ciampa – Black, North American Ladder Match, Undisputed Era – Lorcan & Burch (more on WWE.com) are nominated for Math of the Year.

Clips from Bianca Belair-Deonna Purrazzo is shown.

The build to Gargano-Black at Takeover: War Games is shown, then parts of the match. Followed by Gargano – Black in a steel cage two weeks ago. “Later than nite” interview with Gargano, asking if he is “on the same page” with Ciampa. Gargano says the question should be why he is such a great guy, because he absolved Black of his sins. Gargano doesn’t address if there was a plan with Ciampa.

Male competitors of the year nominees are Adam Cole, Pete Dunne, Andrade Almas, Ricochet, Velveteen Dream, Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black, and Tommaso Ciampa. That is a heck of a stacked list, and I can make a very strong case for Dunne, Dream, Gargano, and Ciampa, but I think the winner has to be Ciampa or Gargano.

Female competitors of the year nominees are Ember Moon, Nikki Cross, Kairi Sane, Bianca Belair, and Shayna Baszler. I think this is a tossup between Belair and Baszler, but with Belair being the breakout of the year let’s give this to Baszler.

(1) MATT RIDDLE vs. KASSIUS OHNO

Riddle tries the immediate knockout knee, Ohno dodges, Riddles dodges a return. Riddle with kicks in the corner, then a suplex to Ohno. Running senton fro Riddle. Riddle lands a knee strike on the mat then an axe kick. Another knee. Riddle chops Ohno, Ohno cops back, then a huge release suplex that sends Riddle flying. Stiff elbow then facewash kicks in the corner. Ohno ties Riddle’s leg in the ropes and then delivers a big boot. Snapmare followed by a rolling senton into a cover get Ohno two. Riddle with a chop off the mat but takes a boot to the face from Ohno. Giant atomic drop to Riddle. Riddle with slaps, then a German suplex into a cover for two. Riddle lands Yes! (No!? It!?) Kicks, but Ohno catches one, stands up, and lands a knee to the face, then the cyclone kick for a nearfall. They trade strikes, then Ohno hits a big boot and a pair of running sentons. He wants a third, Riddle gets knees up and tries to elbow Ohno into the Bromission. He locks it in, and Ohno taps.

WINNER: Matt Riddle in 6:00. Not an amazing match by any means, but fine. Riddle took a lot of offense from a gatekeeper, but at least the match didn’t go on too long.

Post-match, Ohno looks like he is ready to give up on life. Riddle offers a fist bump to Ohno. Ohno looks at it, and walks away. Then pauses. He turns back to the ring, then returns to the ring slowly. The fans chant “Brohno!” Ohno gets to a knee and offers a fist bump, then staggers up, then bump fists, and Ohno grabs him and sends him into the ring post. Ohno with an extended beating. Ohno takes Riddle’s arm as he is knocked out and gives him a fist bump.

FINAL THOUGHTS: this show was about an hour longer than it needed to be, but since they tacked on Ohno – Riddle which took up roughly 15 minutes in total, they had to stretch it to a two hour show. No surprises here, but an effective package if you haven’t followed NXT closely. I will say this: 2018 was one of the best years of NXT history measured both in terms of match quality and storyline quality, effectively putting the program back on the right track after the slow slide that started with the loss of Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Sami Sayn, and Kevin Owens all in a short period of time. I feel like the Ciampa – Gargano feud, Pete Dunne, Veleveteen Dream, and Undisputed Era have propelled NXT back towards a new golden age with a very strong assist from Shayna Baszler, Ricochet, and Aleister Black.


NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 12/26 NXT TV REPORT: Heavy Machinery vs. Undisputed Era, Fatal Four-way for Women’s No. 1 Contendership, Ryker vs. Taverna

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