Date: February 7, 2018
Location: Center Stage Theater, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, Percy Watson
We’re back to the regular shows this week with about two months to go before Takeover: New Orleans. That means it’s time for some short form stories before we move on towards the bigger stuff with a few weeks before the important show. That doesn’t mean this first period has to be weak though as this is often some of the best material NXT has to offer. Let’s get to it.
Tag Team Titles: Undisputed Era vs. Sanity
Undisputed Era is defending. Adam Cole is here as a second but it’s Sanity jumping the champs from behind to start the brawl before the bell. Security comes in and here’s William Regal (to a BIG pop) to say enough is enough. This ends tonight with all six men in a tornado tag match. No match here of course.
Heavy Machinery vs. Tino Sabbatelli/Riddick Moss
Dozovic and Moss start things off with Otis shoving him down in short order. A double falling headbutt crushes Moss for an early two but he’s right back with a clothesline to the back of the head. It’s off to Tino (who the fans don’t like) for a good looking dropkick on Knight, followed by a clothesline for Moss.
Riddick isn’t happy with Tino for some reason and chops him for another tag. The disagreement allows the hot tag to Otis and house is cleaned in a hurry. Everything breaks down and Moss’ rollup with feet on the ropes (how they won the first match) gets two. Knight flips off the apron to take Moss down and the Compactor ends Sabbatelli at 4:10.
Rating: D+. Sabbatelli and Moss aren’t exactly killing it out there and I’m not sure how much of a future they have. I’d like to see Tino on his own as he has the look and the attitude to make something work, but the in-ring work might not be there. Heavy Machinery doesn’t have the highest ceiling but it’s cool to see them get another win.
Post match, Moss walks out on Tino.
Here’s Johnny Gargano for his first comments since Takeover. He had never been as confident as he was against Andrade Cien Almas but it didn’t work. It’s time for him to keep going though and that’s because the fans were right there for him when he needed them most. Johnny: “I’M JOHNNY FREAKING WRESTLING!” It took a crutch shot to the back to put him down but now it’s time for Johnny to go after Tommaso Ciampa.
This brings out Almas and Zelina Vega though as the feud isn’t over. Vega laughs off Johnny wanting respect because he only proved Almas as the better man. Almas can beat Gargano again and again because Gargano is Johnny Loser. The fans want Candice LeRae so Vega shoves Johnny, drawing Candice to the ring to shove her down. Vega goes on a rant about wanting to get rid of Gargano so we’re having a title vs. NXT career match. After their previous match, they would be crazy to not do it again.
Shayna Baszler says people against her have three choices: tap, nap or snap. She’ll be Women’s Champion.
Next week: Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong for the UK Title.
Tyler Bate is disappointed by his loss but hes ready to have another Match of the Year against the best NXT has to offer.
Bianca Belair vs. Jessix Hill
Hill offers a left handed handshake to start but Bianca won’t let go. Instead it’s a torture rack with some squats, followed by the Alley Oop to pin Hill at 1:13. A good chunk of that was spent waiting for the handshake.
Video on Kairi Sane.
Next week: Ember Moon defends against Baszler.
Sanity vs. Undisputed Era
Tornado rules. It’s a brawl to start (as it should be) with Sanity getting the better of it, mainly thanks to Dain. The fighting takes us to an early break and we come back with the brawl continuing. Young, Wolfe, O’Reilly and Cole fight to the back, leaving Fish to moonsault Dain for two.
It’s kendo stick time, even though I don’t remember tornado rules meaning No DQ. Dain pulls it out of Fish’s hands though as the other four are back. Fish runs up to the stage and tries a forearm to Dain’s face, earning himself a toss off the stage onto everyone else in a big crash. There’s something to be said about taking a human and tossing him around with such ease.
Back from another break with Dain pounding on Cole in the ring while everyone else is still down. An enziguri gives Cole a breather but Wolfe is back in with a Batista Bomb. O’Reilly and Fish come back in to double team Wolfe so Dain runs them over. Dain’s Michinoku Driver gets two on Fish but Cole superkicks him for a save. Ax and Smash puts Young on the floor but Dain is right back up with the heavy strikes to take over.
Unfortunately Dain’s Cannonball through a table misses Cole and Wolfe gets triple teamed. Total Elimination puts Wolfe down but it’s Young making the save with the kendo stick. Cole drops him with a superkick though and the Last Shot gets….two? I’d have bet on that being the finish. Dain is back in and runs everyone over, including a backsplash/running dropkick combination. The Ulster Plantation ends Fish at 20:03.
Rating: B. I was very pleased with that ending as I would have bet on it being Dain running through everyone and then getting neutralized just long enough to give the Era the win. Instead this was the Killian Dain Show as he was the unstoppable force and ran through all three members of the team like they could barely touch him. It’s nice to see things go in a different direction and it was a wild brawl to get there. That’s how this feud should have ended and I’m curious to see where things go next.
Overall Rating: A-. That last line sums things up nicely: I’m curious to see where things go next. How often do you actually look forward to things week to week in WWE? Or most wrestling companies for that matter? NXT knows how to keep you wanting to come back for more and that’s a really hard thing to do. I want to see more of Dain and I want to see Gargano vs. Almas II. Throw in the women’s division getting more interesting and Ciampa still lurking around and it’s a good time to be watching NXT.
Heavy Machinery b. Tino Sabbatelli/Riddick Moss – Compactor to Sabbatelli
Bianca Belair b. Jessix Hill – Alley Oop
Sanity b. Undisputed Era – Ulster Plantation to Fish
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