NXT – December 26, 2018

Date: December 26, 2018
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Nigel McGuinness, Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson

It’s the last show of the year and this time, it’s not going to be a Best Of show, which you almost expect at this point. Instead we have a Tag Team Title defense with the Undisputed Era defending against Heavy Machinery in what feels like a farewell match. Still though, it should be a good, entertaining match so let’s get to it.

The opening video previews the title match and the four way match for the #1 contendership to the Women’s Title.

Opening sequence.

Io Shirai vs. Bianca Belair vs. Lacey Evans vs. Mia Yim

One fall to a finish and the winner gets a shot at Shayna Baszler at Takeover: Phoenix. It’s a big brawl to start with Belair and Yim being sent outside with Shirai hitting a big dive onto both of them. Yim and Shirai come back inside for a double dropkick to Evans and the double teaming begins. As expected, Yim eventually clocks Shirai so Evans takes Yim down and gets two off a slingshot elbow.

Shirai gets back up with Evans kicking her in the ribs as Belair is waiting to actually do anything so far. She finally comes back in and picks up Shirai, who she swings into Evans for a knockdown. Evans drops Belair just as well and punches Shirai for two. Belair puts Shirai in a torture rack with Evans making the save and arguing with Belair over whose time this is. Yim comes back in again and causes another Evans vs. Belair argument. A belly to back suplex gives Yim two on Belair but Shirai springboards in to dropkick Evans down.

Belair spears Shirai and all four are down at once. Back up and Shirai rolls Belair up, followed by a very high missile dropkick for two more. The Women’s Right drops Yim for two with Shirai making a very last second save. Shirai’s moonsault hits Evans for two and this time it’s Belair making a save with the hair whip. The KOD finally puts Evans away to give Belair the title shot at 9:13.

Rating: C+. That wasn’t exactly the biggest surprise in the world as Belair has been built up as the biggest star around here. There was a chance of Shirai winning but Belair makes the most sense and could have a heck of a match against Baszler. I can’t imagine Belair winning the title yet but I also can’t imagine her losing, which can make for some interesting results. Very energetic match here with some good near falls.

Mitch Taverna vs. Jaxon Ryker

Ryker unloads on him to start as we have no commentary for some reason. Mitch’s face is rubbed into the mat and Jaxon drops him throat first across the top rope. A slingshot release powerbomb gets a very nice reaction from the crowd and Taverna is done at 1:56. Not a word of commentary all match.

Video on Velveteen Dream, talking about how great his first year was and how much better the second will be. We also hear about a bunch of legends (Hogan, Michaels, Cena, Angle and more) who have all praised him, which is a smart way to go for something like this. Dream on.

We look at Tommaso Ciampa helping Johnny Gargano win the cage match last week against Aleister Black, with Ciampa smiling and Gargano being confused.

Ciampa says he’s a man of his word but sometimes he feels like a broken record talking to a wall. It turns out that someone has been listening this entire time. Johnny Gargano listens and follows his lead, which got him a pin over Aleister Black. So where does that leave Johnny? Well he can’t have another shot at the NXT Title, so he should challenge for the North American Title. Imagine: two kids come into NXT without contracts and go to every hotel room and on every car ride and then they leave Takeover: Phoenix with both titles. Imagine the possibilities.

Next week: the Year End Award nominees.

Tag Team Titles: Heavy Machinery vs. Undisputed Era

Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly are defending for the Era and Heavy Machinery has been undefeated for six months. Knight wrestles O’Reilly down to start so it’s off to Strong, who walks into a hiptoss. Dozovic comes in and isn’t about to take an Irish whip into the corner. Instead it’s Strong going into the corner and a hard clothesline gives Knight two. Belly to belly suplexes keep the champs in trouble until Strong goes after Knight’s knee. A toss to the floor has Knight down again and Kyle starts kicking away on the floor.

Back in and Knight manages to backdrop Strong over the top and out to the floor but O’Reilly gets him with a dragon screw legwhip. Palm strikes to the head keep Knight in trouble but he gets to the ropes to get out of an armbreaker. The Angle Slam gives Strong two and he grabs a leglock with Knight trying to crawl over for the tag. In a smart move, O’Reilly pulls the two of them away but, of course, the hot tag goes through a few seconds later.

The Caterpillar elbow crushes Strong and the Hoss Toss is even worse for O’Reilly. Knight misses a moonsault (nice one too) but Strong misses a running knee in the corner. It’s back to Dozovic to turn Strong inside out with a clothesline for two more. Dozovic gets caught up top and it’s a mini Tower of Doom to superplex/powerbomb him down with Knight having to make another save. A forearm/jumping knee combination gets two more but High/Low is enough to retain the titles at 11:31.

Rating: C+. Fun match here as Heavy Machinery gets to ride off to the main roster where they can be an entertaining act. They’re one of the best surprises of the year and there was no reason to change the titles here. I’m not sure who is going to take the titles from the Undisputed Era but around here, it could be interesting to see as opposed to the main roster where it’s more a case of “who cares”.

Overall Rating: B-. They’re clearly in Takeover mode now with two matches set and multiple others being built up. They could go a few directions for those matches and that makes things all the better around here. What we already have looks great though and if it’s even close to what the previous editions have been, Phoenix is going to rock.


Bianca Belair b. Mia Yim, Lacey Evans and Io Shirai – KOD to Evans

Jaxon Ryker b. Mitch Taverna – Slingshot release powerbomb

Undisputed Era b. Heavy Machinery – High/Low to Dozovic

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