NXT TV REPORT
FEBRUARY 6, 2019
TAPED IN ORLANDO, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
REPORT BY JUSTIN JAMES, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
[Q1] No pre-credits video tonight. Johnny Gargano kicks off the show, emerging in street clothes and carrying the NXT North American Championship. He gets a standing ovation, with apparently only one fan in the audience recognizing that he is a heel and booing him. A big “Johnny Champion” chant. Gargano says he likes the sound of that. He says that “we” deserve the championship. NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa comes to the entrance. He says he is there to celebrate with Gargano. He says that Gargano listened and followed his lead and that is why he is a success. Ciampa congratulates them both for carrying gold. Ciampa says that this is their moment. Gargano rejects the notion of “out moment” and says that he only came out at the end of Takeover: Phoenix was to prove that he does not need Ciampa.
The Velveteen Dream comes out, and Gargano and Ciampa both look annoyed. He calls Ciampa “Gollum” and says that tonight is about the moment and man that stole Takeover: Phoenix just by showing up, himself. He reminds everyone that he won the “When Worlds Collide” tournament to get a championship match of his choice. He stares down Ciampa, and tells him to back up. He says he can see “the lust in your eyes for the Dream” and turns Ciampa down, and says “I don’t want you” and points at Goldie. Ciampa almost looks offended. Dream enters the ring and says he wants Gargano. Gargano asks him if he is sure. “Take your title” from the crowd. Gargano says that Dream is preoccupied with himself, while Dream was sitting in the crowd, Gargano was putting on a match of the year and winning the title, and the next night he was in the Royal Rumble. Gargano welcomes Dream’s challenge. Dream says maybe Gargano wins, but the question Dream wants to know, will be it be Dream versus “Johnny Champion” or “Johnny Jackass.” They jaw off mic, then Gargano departs the ring, and stands next to Ciampa. Ciampa leaves.
[ J.J.’s Reax: That was a full quarter of the show, with some hot talking. Dream challenging Gargano for the title over Ciampa elevates the North American Championship significantly, while also fitting in with Dream’s character, because Dream wouldn’t give Ciampa a second chance to share the spotlight. ]
[Q2] Drew Gulak is shown walking into Full Sail. The announcers tell us that Bianca Belair, Kairi Sane, and Io Shirai will face Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke.
(1) JACKSON RYKER (w/Wesley Blake, Steve Cutler) vs. MANSOOR
Ryker backs Mansoor into the corner, then rips him out of the corner then lands knee lifts. Ryker lifts Mansoor and puts him on the turnbuckle then beats him into a Tree of Woe. Mansoor tries to fight of the corner. Ryker ends it with a sitout powerbomb.
WINNER: Jackson Ryker in 1:30. Not much here to see.
Post-match, Ryker hits another powerbomb then kind of stares until Blake and Cutler pull Ryker off Mansoor.
Ricochet is shown backstage posing for some pictures. Cathy Kelley talks about wanting an interview. Adam Cole and Undisputed Era come out and he wants to know why he isn’t being interviewed. Ricochet comes out and talks to Cole, and reminds Cole that he defeated Cole for the championship. Ricochet proposes a one-on-one match, and Cole accepts.
Drew Gulak is talked about as if he is coming to NXT full time. He is facing Eric Bugenhagen, who is to Freddie Mercury as Dream is to Prince.
(2) DREW GULAK vs. ERIC BUGENHAGEN
I think Bugenhagen has a Triple H tattoo. He takes Gulak down and celebrates, Gulak strikes back. Gulak throws Bugenhagen into the ropes then takes him to the corners. Bugenhagen puts Gulak in an abdominal stretch and plays air guitar on Gulak, who then escapes and lands a suplex. Gulak wins with the Philadephia Stretcher, forcing referree Jessika Carr to pry Gulak off Bugenhagen.
WINNER: Drew Gulak in 2:32. Looks like Gulak will definitely be in NXT for a while. Bugenhagen is one of those goofball characters like No Way Jose.
After the match, Gulak gets angry because he has wrestled all over the world but they feed him a “Ben Still from Dodgeball”. Gulak challenges the locker room. “Brooooo” greets him, and Matt Riddle saunters out. I think he raided C.J. Parker’s old headband collection.
[Q3] Riddle says if Gulak thinks so little of NXT he needs to beat it, or else he’ll come to the ring and tap Gulak out. Gulak tells Riddle to take his flipflops off and make his day. Riddle accepts, kicks his flipflops out and comes to the ring.
(3) MATT RIDDLE vs. DREW GULAK
They tease a test of strength, grapple, and tangle up in the ropes. Clean ref break. Riddle with a takedown and they are working on the mat. Armbar from Riddle, Gulak tansitions to a hold of his own, Riddle stands up and slams Gulak. Another armbar from Gulak, then a wristlock. Gulak reverses. Great matwork here. Leg sweep into a cover from Riddle, one, then Gulak does the same for one. Test of strength right into a side headlick takeover from Riddle, transition to a head scissors by Gulak. Stiff kick from Riddle then a senton ups the pace. Running forearm in the corner, then another but Gulak has a boot to Riddle’s face, followed by a dropkick and Riddle is dangling in the ropes. Gulak wraps Riddle up. Riddle rolls Gulak into a cover for one. Double armbar from Gulak, with a hand pullback. Riddle finally escapes. Riddle stands up and they trade blows, Riddle with a suplex. Riddle with kicks to Gulak, Gulak with a dragon screw leg whip. Gulak to the apron, Riddle with a sleeper and yanks Gulak over the ropes into the ring. German Suplex into a bridge gets Riddle two, Gulak transitions to an armbar with finger yanking. Riddle with chops on his knees, then they both get to their feet and trans strikes, Gulak ducks a kick, schoolboy from one, Riddle with a powerbomb, knee to the face for a very close nearfall. Riddle rains the elbows down, Bromission, Gulak taps.
WINNER: Matt Riddle in 9:30. That was a really, really solid match. I have not seen a Matt Riddle match I didn’t like, he has such an array of styles he can bring to the ring. They have made the needed tweaks to his character and I am becoming a real fan.
After the match, Gulak spins Riddle around, and offers a handshake, which Riddle accepts. They shake and Gulak departs.
Baszler, Duke, and Shafir are shown warming up.
[Q4] The Gargano – Dream match is booked for two weeks from now. Next week is Ricochet and Cole.
On her way to the ring, Kairi Sane gives her hat to Izzy. Bianca Belair’s ring gear pays tribute to Black History Month, with pictures of Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammed Ali, Michael Jackson, and more on them.
(4) KAIRI SANE & BIANCA BELAIR & IO SHIRAI vs. NXT Champion SHAYNA BASZLER & MARINA SHAFIR & JESSAMYN DUKE
Baszler and Belair start. Belair does not look nearly as smug as she usually does. Baszler starts working on Belair’s arm immediately. Belair powers out, then an arm wringer of her own. Belair jumps over Baszler, then Baszler tags out to Shafir who takes a dropkick, then Duke tags in. Chickenwing into a facebuster, Belair tags Sane then overhead presses her and drops her into an elbow drop onto Duke for two. Duke powers Sane into the corner and Shafir tags in to lay kicks in. Sane with a big chop, then Shafir chest bumps Sane, Sane chops Shafir around the ring. Shafir comes in with no tag for some reason to double team Shafir. Who is the heel here? Shafir leaves and Sane and Shafir tussle. Shafir puts Sane onto the turnbuckle and looks for a superplex. Sane headbutts Shafir away from her. Baszler distracts Sane, Shafir throws Sane off the turnbuckle, drags her to the corner, Baszler tags in and covers for one. Baszler steps on Sane and teases her partners. Dake tags in. Suke sends Sane into the ropes and kicks her in the back, cover for two. Shafir tags in again. Hip toss and Baszler tags in. Baszler teases Belair into the corner to distract the ref so Duke can get in a cheap shot. Shafir back in. Shafir is getting go-away heat. Jawbreaker from Sane, but Duke gets a tag and keeps Sane out of her corner. Sane dumps Duke outside, tag to Shirai and Baszler. Shirai has hot tag offense on Baszler, then fends off Shafir. Shirai lands double knees to Baszler and Shafir, 619 to Baszler, fends off Duke, springboard dropkick to Baszler gets two. Sane gets a tag, she heads to the top, Insane Elbow, Shafir saves the match. Sabe tags Belair, then clears the heel corner before Baszler can tag. KOD, but Duke and Shafir break the cover up. Shirai low bridges Shafir and Duke, but dive from the top from Sane to Duke and Shafir, Shirai gets a tag, springboard moonsault pins Baszler. Belair does not look so thrilled.
WINNER: Io Shirai & Kairi Sane & Bianca Belair in 9:22.
[J.J.’s Analysis: Decent match. I don’t understand the crowd giving Shafir a “You can’t wrestle!” chant She isn’t blowing my mind, but she isn’t bad by any means.]
Post-match, Belair continues to tease tension with her team. Sane tries to spin Belair’s hair, which makes her angry.
FINAL THOUGHTS:Good episode. The Dream – Gargano match being booked for two weeks from now is interesting, that could have been stretched to the next Takeover and no one would mind at all. I am very intrigued to see where the six men involved in the potential title picture end up at over the next few months. Interesting to see no Aleister Black on the show at all, though. The Riddle – Gulak match was a real treat, and I think Gulak will make a great addition to the show from what I saw tonight. I am already fantasy booking him into matches with a number of folks on the roster.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 1/30 NXT TV REPORT: Post-match Takeover interviews, Matt Riddle gets refreshingly serious, Io Shirai & Kairi Sane vs. Marina Shafir & Jessamyn Duke, Street Profits vs. Forgotten Sons