SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT TV REPORT
FEBRUARY 20, 2019
TAPED IN ORLANDO, FLA. AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
REPORT BY JUSTIN JAMES, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Pre-credits package reminding us that Johnny Gargano facing NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano for the title. The show starts with Aleister Black’s music. He is facing Roderick Strong. So strange to see Strong make a solo entrance.
1. ALEISTER BLACK vs. RODERICK STRONG
Strong takes Black down and they wrangle on the mat. Strong armbars Black. Blacks gets to his feet and delivers kicks. German suplex into a bridge gets Black two. Strong starts to work Black over. Strong thinks superplex, Black slips down for a powerbomb, Strong escapes and hits a backbreaker for two. Black dodgbes a running knee in the corner but hits one on the ropes. Black rallies. Brainbuster by Black gets two. Black sets up Black Mass, but Strong backsteps. Popup gutbuster from Strong, leaping knee from Block to retailiate. They fight on the apron, Strong puts Black in a torture rack then throws him onto the turnbuckle, rolls Black into the ring to cover for a nearfall. Strong with a big suplex for another nearfall. Black hits Black Mass out of nowhere for the sudden win.
Winner: Aleister Black at 8:28. A bit of a surprise to see Black win considering that he appeared on Raw this week. This match was fine but lacked heat, it reminded me of the matches that both men would put on earliy in their NXT careers.
Post-match, the rest of Undisputed Era rush Black. Kyle O’Reilly eats Black Mass, but Adam Cole and Bobby Fish overwhelm Black. Ricochet makes the save, and Undisputed Era slink off.
A quick hallway interview with Sereena Deeb goes south when NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke go storming into the women’ locker room to start a fight.
Mia Yim and Xia Li are advertised.
Video Package on Bianca Belair. She says her mindset is undefeated, and he is annoyed with Io Shirai and Kairi Sane. She says she is not moving aside for them.
Flashback to Raw this week when NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa, NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano, Ricochet, and Aleister Black debuted on Raw. Then Ciampa and Gargano on Smackdown, followed by Black.
In two weeks, the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic will start, to provide a challenger to the War Raiders for the NXT Tag Team Championship. Undisputed Era, Street Profits, Forgotten Sons, and European Union are in, next week we find out the other four teams.
2. MIA YIM vs. XIA LI
A handshake to start, then a lockup. They roll on the mat without releasing, stand up, then again. Yim backs away from Li’s kicks. Test of strength sees Yim force Li to the mat and cover for a pair of one counts, Li slips out and covers for two. Li rolls Yim up for two. They trade blows and Li strikes Yim down, quick kick for two. Yim dodges a kick and hits a backfist, then hits Protect Ya Neck for the win.
Winner: Mia Yim at 3:52. Decent, but not awesome match. Li looked better than Yim, who still hasn’t impressed me.
Post-match, Baszler, Shafir, and Duke attack Yim. Didn’t we see this at the end of the Strong match? Three unknowns from the locker room come into the ring and make a difference for a moment. Suke and Shafir hold Yim, Baszler hits a running knee.
Backstage, Gargano is shown warming up. Candice LaRae comes out to give a pep talk. She gets mad because Ciampa enters. Ciampa says that Gargano needs him tonight. Gargana says he doesn’t need Ciampa, he has everything he needs and indicates LaRae.
Interview with Matt Riddle. He is asked if he considered being more conservative. Riddle says that he was told it was better to be too much than too little. He says he is glad to have moved past Kassius Ohno, now he can focus on what’s important, the NXT Championship, the NXT North American Championship, and any other gold he can get. The full interview is available on YouTube.
Mia Yim is advertised to face Shayna Baszler next week, no mention of it being a title match.
Veleveteen Dream momes to the ring with a Takeover-worthy outfit.
3. VELVETEEN DREAM vs. NXT North American Champion JOHNNY GARGANO (w/Candice LaRae) – NXT North American Championship Match
Rapid pace without much direct contact at first. They go to the mat in a controlled brawl until Gargano gets to the ropes. Lockup with Gargano moving Dream to the mat. Dream transitions to a hold of his own. Ciampa is shown watching from up high. Dream flips out of a hold then slaps Gargano pretty hard, Gargano rolls outside. Gargano paces around the ring and checks his teeth. Dream backcrawls out of the ring, slaps Gargano again, double axe handle from the top for two, then gyrates his hips in Gargano’s face. Gargano with an attack in the corner, Dream tries fighting out but gets his legs swept off the top rope. They trade strikes with Gargano beating Dream down to the ground. Neck breaker gets Gargano two. Gargano tries to rip Dream’s arm off, but he refuses to submit, writhing in pain until he flips over to the ropes. Gargano wraps Dream’s arm around the ropes to the five count, then a bow-and-arrow through the ropes. Gargano sends Dream outside the ring, where he almost lands on a worker. Gargano mocks Dream’s Hul Hogan hand to the ear tribute, then goes outside.
Gargano beats Dream into the ring to continue the attack. Dream bludgeons his way out of a hold, then a spinebuster, but he is in too much pain to followup. Dream dives at Gargano with a right, then fights from his knees. Bionic Elbow to the head, then Gargano tries a back body drop too early and gets sent outside. Dream heads to the time for a double axe handle, then rolls Gargano inside. Gargano wants a kick but Dream ducks, dodges the rollthrough kick and counters with a Fameasser for two. Ciampa is shown up high again.
Dream wants a Dreamvalley Driver from the second rope, Gargano slips under, Dream blocks a powerbomb, Gargano ties Dream int he ropes then hits a spinning neckbreaker for a nearfall. Dream eats a superkick on the apron, but clobbers Gargano with a right when Gargano tries a slingshot DDT. Dreamvalley Driver attempt on the aprons, Gargano escapes enzugiri knocks Dream off the apron, Dream dodges a suicide dive, cover in the ring for a nearfall. Spinning DDT from Dream gets another nearfall. Dream whiffs a Purple Rainmaker, Gargano hits a superkick right back for a nearfall. The tussle on the ropes again, Dream looks for a second rope Dreamvalley Driver, hits it, and slowly rolls into a cover, Gargano kicks out at the very last moment. Dream thinks Purple Rainmaker, Gargano goes outside, they fight outside, DDT to the ramp from Gargano, then a slingshot DDT for an extremely close nearfall. The match is now almost 20 minutes in. Gargano with stiff lariats, then he runs inti a superkick, hits the ropes and a clothesline. Gargano calls for the end. Dream on his knees asks for it, ducks under the superkick, looks for a Dreamvalley Driver, Gargano slips out, Gargano wants a tornado DDT, Dream transitions into a Dreamvalley Driver, rolls through and hits a second, to the top rope, Purple Rainmaker ends it.
Winner: Velveteen Dream at 21:51. This match was exactly what you would expect from these two, which is another way to say “amazing”. The ending satisfied so much, with Dream finally capturing gold.
Post-match, Gargano literally crawls out of the ring. Ciampa is shown smirking. Dream celebrates, hugging the title and rolling around on the mat with it.
Final Thoughts: The first half of the show was weak, with matches that had zero heat nevermind sizzle, but wow did that title match deliver exactly what I have been wanting to see for over a year now. It will be interesting to see if Ciampa also drops his title to transition to the main roster, or if this is just a bump on Gargano’s NXT road.