NXT – December 12, 2018

Date: December 12, 2018
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, Percy Watson

Last week’s show saw the main event scene get a shot in the arm as Johnny Gargano and Aleister Black agreed to keep things going inside a steel cage, much to Tommaso Ciampa’s delight. Ciampa continues to be a great devil on the shoulder and someone who could be on top of the company for a long time to come. As for tonight though, Ricochet is in action against a mystery opponent, which could mean a lot of things. Let’s get to it.

We open with a preview of tonight’s show, including EC3 vs. Bobby Fish.

Opening sequence.

EC3 vs. Bobby Fish

Fallout from the Undisputed Era damaging EC3’s knee a few weeks back. The rest of the Undisputed Era is out here with Fish. Before the match, Adam Cole talks about how EC3 should have been a top star around here but that was stopped with the help of a steel chair. 2018 wasn’t just a career year for the team, because it was also the start of a decade of dominance. Next year they will all be covered in gold, and that is undisputed.

Fish bails to the floor to start and leaves Kyle O’Reilly hanging on a fist bump. Back in and Fish dives at EC3’s legs but gets powerbombed in half instead. A shaken up Fish needs a breather on the floor so EC3 throws him back inside for a nerve hold of all things. The Era offers a quick distraction so Fish can take out the knee and it’s time to start the stomping.

Fish takes him down with a dragon screw legwhip before putting on a simple leglock. That’s kicked away and EC3 gets in a suplex. An EC3 elbow (his People’s Elbow) connects but he stops to go after the Era, allowing Fish to take out the knee again. Not that it matters though as EC3 gets a quick small package for the pin at 5:30.

Rating: C. The leg work made sense, but Fish wasn’t showing the same explosiveness that he had before the injury (understandable). EC3 and friends vs. the Era could be interesting and it’s not like he has anything else going on. If nothing else it might help bring him up the ladder quite a bit, which is necessary at this point.

Post match the beatdown is on until Heavy Machinery makes the save. Strong takes the big beating with everyone else bailing on their buddy.

Dakota Kai and Io Shirai want to take out Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke in a tag match next week.

Clip of the Mighty attacking Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch after losing to them a few weeks back.

The Mighty vs. Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch

It’s a brawl to start with Lorcan hitting a running flip dive to the floor to take them both out. Back in and Thorn and Lorcan trade running uppercuts until Lorcan takes him down into the half crab. That’s broken up and Thorn hits a belly to back suplex as we’re now done with the opening minute. Burch comes in and hits a Thesz press on Miller, (Burch: “YOU AND YOUR MUM!”) followed by some kicks to Thorn in and out of the corner.

Thorn slips out of a Doomsday Device attempt and a superplex/sitout powerbomb (with Miller powerbombing Thorn) gets two on Lorcan as Danny shoves Thorn onto the cover for the break. Danny saves Lorcan from Thunder Valley so Miller hits a step up Cannonball to crush him in the corner. Lorcan scores with a double DDT and the assisted spike DDT finishes Thorn at 5:03.

Rating: B-. Good night they packed a lot of stuff in there. These four did not stop throughout the entire match and that made for some entertaining action. Burch and Lorcan are likely to get another shot at the titles at some point, which they’ve certainly earned after some of their performances over the last few months.

We look back at the end of last week’s show, featuring Aleister Black announcing his rematch against Tommaso Ciampa for Takeover: Phoenix and being set up for a cage match against Johnny Gargano in the near future. Ciampa’s puppet master manipulation here is outstanding.

The cage match is next week.

Gargano is outside again and talks about Black thinking that he absolved Johnny of his sins. The end goal of this is Ciampa losing the NXT Title and Black was just in the wrong place in the wrong time. That’s the same thing here, as Black is getting the title that that Gargano should have had and Gargano will do anything to stop him. Gargano stands behind some metal bars and promises to close the book on Black next week.

Dijakovic is here next week.

Shayna Baszler, Shafir and Duke aren’t worried about the four way #1 contenders match because she’ll take home the title and the challenger will take home a hospital bill. Duke and Shafir laugh at the challenge and Shayna accepts for them.

Lacey Evans is officially in the four way #1 contenders match, joining Bianca Belair.

NXT Women’s Title Qualifying Match: Mia Yim vs. Reina Gonzalez

Gonzalez has a bullrope and cowbell with her. Yim has a guillotine choke on in the early going but Reina throws her off. That’s fine with Yim, who slaps the same thing on again. This time Gonzalez lifts Mia up and drops her ribs first across the top rope for the break. Reina slams her down for two and shouts in Spanish. An over the shoulder backbreaker has Yim in more trouble until she slips out and armdrags Reina throat first into the ropes. Some knees to the face set up Eat Defeat for the pin at 3:26.

Rating: D+. Gonzalez was looking fine as a monster here and it’s very cool to have the other women from the Mae Young Classic in there for roles like this. They’re talented workers and it makes sense to have them come in and work a match or two. It keeps things fresh and offers some entertaining work that you wouldn’t get otherwise. Smart booking, as tends to be the case.

Black doesn’t feel anything about his match with Gargano. He just has to do this to Gargano though, because Gargano is beyond absolution. Instead, he has to be eradicated inside the cage, and there will be no escape. Inside the cage, Gargano will fade to black.

North American Title: Ricochet vs. ???

Ricochet is defending against….Tyler Breeze, making his first televised NXT appearance in years. The fans certainly seem to appreciate having him back, including the full entrance. The chants are split but the TYLER’S GORGEOUS ones are much louder. Breeze gets an early breather on the top rope so Ricochet starts in with the flips, capped off by the headscissors into the dropkick. Back up and Breeze slaps on a half crab (must be a Canadian thing) but Ricochet makes the rope.

They head outside with Breeze dropkicking an apron dive out of the air as the fans deem the entire match gorgeous. That’s quite the upgrade for Ricochet. Breeze stomps away in the corner and you can see him soaking in a lot of the cheers because he matters for the first time in way too long. Some elbows to the face have Breeze in trouble (NOT IN THE FACE!) and a standing shooting star press gets two.

The Phoenix Splash misses and Breeze’s hair is down to make things serious. Stereo crossbodies put them both down and the fans continue to appreciate this. They trade forearms to the back but neither can hit a suplex. Ricochet moonsaults over him but walks into the Supermodel Kick. A reverse hurricanrana gives Breeze a VERY close two and Ricochet says this is his house (Paige has really changed her look since retiring). The Beauty Shot is countered into a Cradle Shock at 9:52.

Rating: B. I love it when they do something like this. There’s little reason to not send the former NXT stars down there for a one off appearance (if not more) if they have nothing going on up on the main roster. Breeze is going 50/50 on Main Event so having him show up on NXT is as good of a use for him as anything else. He’s a legend down here and can have a great match, so let him have a nice moment for a change instead of facing Mojo Rawley in a glorified dark match.

Ricochet shakes his hand to end the show.

Overall Rating: B+. Good wrestling, a nice surprise at the end a bunch of stuff being set up for next week. I liked this one a lot, even though next week is the important show. They had an entertaining night this week though and considering how little this show should have meant, that’s really impressive.


EC3 b. Bobby Fish – Small package

Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch b. The Mighty – Assisted spike DDT to Thorn

Mia Yim b. Reina Gonzalez – Eat Defeat

Ricochet b. Tyler Breeze – Cradle Shock

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