Welcome one and all to the latest installment of the NXT Spotlight here at TJRWrestling. Last week NXT took the week off and showed some matches from a live event in San Antonio. Even still, it became newsworthy when the infamous Vince Russo critiqued a spot from a tag team match involving a few of the WWE UK roster. Pete Dunne promptly put him in his place though and I felt like sharing that tweet.

This week we’re back to Full Sail for the first time since Takeover: Houston with a new heavyweight champion and a new women’s champion. Let’s see how NXT starts to wind down the year as we head towards Philly at the end of January for Royal Rumble weekend.

We start inside William Regal’s office, who lets us know due to Drew McIntyre’s injury, there is a new opportunity for a #1 Contender to Andrade Almas for Takeover: Philidelphia. There will be 4 singles matches coming up that will lead to a Fatal 4 Way. The winner of that match will move on to Philly to challenge for the title. Two of those matches will take place tonight. Trent Seven vs. Killian Dain and Kassius Ohno was scheduled to take on Velveteen Dream, but TVD suffered some injuries at Takeover: War Games and so William Regal has found a suitable replacement. We will find out who that is later tonight.

A Champion’s Celebration

A very happy new champion and Zelina Vega make their way to ringside. Almas makes sure to make his way around the entire ring, soaking in the moment. The Full Sail crowd gives him a pretty favorable response. Once in the ring, Vega starts the talking by saying we are witnesses to the beginning of a historic championship reign. Respect the man, embrace the legend, and rise for the new NXT Champion. Almas then gets the mic and says that he told us he would become the NXT champion. He repeatedly yells that he is the champion. He mocks Drew McIntyre being hurt. He mockingly says he’s sorry in Spanish. He then continues to talk in Spanish. He then says he and Vega are NXT and once again says he’s the new NXT champion.

K-Tank’s Take: Well that was…. interesting. I guess he was going for paranoid mixed with feeling like he didn’t get any respect until now. I would let Vega do more of the talking for them. 

We go to Lars Sullivan meeting with the media “earlier tonight”. Lars is asked about facing Roderick Strong in two weeks for one of the Fatal 4 Way spots. Lars says he gives Roddy his due. He’s a handsome guy and could be on a fitness magazine cover. That’s not Lars. Roddy talks about his family, Lars has no family. All Lars cares about is getting his hands on Roddy so that the NXT Title becomes his in Philly. Lars is then asked what it would be mean to become NXT Champion? He says it would mean he became the NXT Superstar he always knew he would become. Takeover: Philadelphia, he becomes NXT Champion.

Fatal 4 Way Qualifying Match
Trent Seven vs. Killian Dain

Hopefully this is a fun matchup. Seven charges Dain immediately but it doesn’t work. Dain drills him with a forearm smash and then a front dropkick that sends Seven down in the corner. Dain stomps away at him. Seven gets up and Dain with another forearm and then a bodyslam. He goes for a pin, but Seven kicks out. Dain then goes to a neck wrench. Seven works his way up and fights out. He chops away at Dain but Dain isn’t phased. Seven kicks him low and then hits a DDT. Seven comes off the ropes but Dain saws him in half with his cross body. Seven manages to kick out again though. Dain signals it’s over and tries for Wasteland but Seven slides out and connects with the Seven Star Lariat. Dain kicks out himself. Seven tries to pick up Dain, which doesn’t work, and then Dain now lands Wasteland. Dain then goes to the ropes and sets up for a Vader Bomb and he connects. Killian Dain is the first to advance.

Winner: Killian Dain

K-Tank’s Take: No surprise there. Dain was one of the breakout stars of Takeover: War Games, so not surprised to see him in the mix for a title shot.

After a commercial break, we go to The Undisputed Era. Adam Cole BAY BAY lets us know that they were gonna take over the world and they’ve done just that. They didn’t just survive War Games, they won. Next week, Cole takes on Aleister Black. Black has run through everyone in NXT and beaten them all. Not one of them are on Cole’s level though. Next week, he proves that. Kyle O’Reilly says that in two weeks there will be new tag team champions when they take on Sanity. Sanity talks about the chaos, but The Undisputed Era are bringing more than chaos. In Brooklyn, they shocked the system, in Houston, the took the system. Now, they rule the system. That was a really good group promo.

No Holds Barred
Ruby Riott vs. Sonya Deville

Ruby Riott with two T’s. Deville with a go behind to start and just tosses Riott to the mat a couple times. She then lands a gutwrench suplex. Riott gets a quick pin though, but Deville kicks out. Riott with shots in the corner. Deville misses a clothesline and Riott comes back with a couple kicks and then a snap suplex. Deville kicks out of a pin. Riott goes for her Pele kick but Deville catches it and turns it into an ankle lock. Riott gets the ropes but that doesn’t matter in this match. Riott makes it to the one foot free and then jumps up and grabs a headscissors that sends Deville into the ropes. We go to commercial.

We come back with Riott hooking on a dragon sleeper of sorts. Deville gouges the eye though to get out. Deville comes back with two stiff kicks and then goes for a pin but Riott kicks out. Deville with a snapmare and then a shining wizard right to the spine. That looked brutal. Riott still fighting back though but Deville catches her off the ropes with a lariat. Riott kicks out again. Deville then with a triangle headlock. Deville turns it into a modified cobra clutch. Riott works really hard to break it and manages to land an STO on Deville. Both women trade forearms but Riott gets the advantage with a back elbow and then a leg lariat. Riott is on the apron and comes through the ropes with a facebuster. That didn’t look like she caught it cleanly so may have been going for a DDT. Deville goes to the floor and Riott dives through the bottom two ropes and lands full force on Deville. Deville gets back in the ring first and then catches Riott with a big kick. Deville then locks on a Triangle Choke in the ropes and with no rope breaks, Riott ends up passing out and the ref calls for the bell.

Winner: Sonya Deville

K-Tank’s Take: No weapons in the match but I liked how they used the lack of rope breaks to enforce the no holds barred gimmick. This was a really solid match for both women and I’m sure is both of their swan songs.

We now go to Ember Moon who is meeting with the media. She’s asked what it’s like to be champion finally. She says it’s a dream come true and she’s going to work to be the best NXT women’s champion of all time. The Iconic Duo show up and ask Ember who she pinned in Houston? It was Nikki Cross, not Peyton Royce. So she can have another shot to beat up Ember. Ember says she’s going to make this short and wants to know who she’s facing next week. Both women think it’s going to be them. Ember says we have an Iconic problem, so she’ll see whomever next week. Peyton and Billie talk it out and decide it will be Peyton and Peyton promises not to beat up Ember too badly so that Billie can get some herself.

It’s announced in two weeks that Tyler Bate will get a rematch against Pete Dunne for the UK Title. I can’t wait.

There’s a quick vignette of someone that’s coming soon. The o’s were spades. Shayna Baszler is the Queen of Spades, but this looked like a guy. Also, we know who Baszler is, so why would you keep her appearance a secret?

Fatal 4 Way Qualifying Match
Kassius Ohno vs. Johnny Gargano

Johnny Wrestling is the replacement for The Velveteen Dream. There’s 16 minutes left in the show as the bell rings so this should be a treat. Dueling chants right off the bat as the crowd is fired up for this one clearly. Sign of sportsmanship by Ohno who shakes hands with Gargano. They start and Ohno grabs and tosses Gargano across the ring. Gargano comes back and goes to an armbar. Ohno works his way out and trips up Gargano. Both men with incredible chain wrestling and Gargano gets a pinning attempt but Ohno kicks out. Ohno misses one of his elbows and Gargano catches him with a side kick. Gargano goes to the apron and goes for his spear through the ropes but Ohno catches him and ties him up in the ropes. He delivers a big elbow shot and Gargano falls to the floor as we go to commercial.

We come back to Ohno stomping Gargano in the corner. Ohno with a snapmare and then a knee drop. He then pulls down his kneepad and does another knee drop with the exposed knee. Gargano fights back out of the corner but Ohno then drops him with a big boot. Ohno toys with Gargano a bit and then lands another knee drop. Gargano slaps Ohno but Ohno just comes right back with a running elbow. Gargano manages to kick out of a pin. Ohno goes for a senton splash but Gargano gets the knees up. Gargano fighting back and avoids a suplex. Both men trade blows and then Gargano comes out of the corner with a hurricanrana. Step up enziguri sends Ohno to the floor. Gargano goes for a dive but Ohno gets back in the ring. That allows Gargano to land his spear through the ropes this time. Ohno kicks out of the pin. Gargano with straight kicks and Ohno is laughing at him. Gargano misses his rolling kick and Ohno is able to land his senton splash. Gargano rolls to the apron and Ohno tries to show mercy but Gargano tells him to bring it and Ohno hits a bicycle kick. Gargano to the flood and Ohno goes for a dive but Gargano gets in the ring. Ohno lands on his feet but Gargano dives and catches Ohno with a tornado DDT on the ramp. Both men back in the ring and Gargano with another step up enziguri. Gargano goes off the ropes and Ohno catches him with a cyclone kick. Gargano somehow kicks out again. The crowd popped huge for that near fall. This is tremendous. Ohno with a gnarly elbow strike in the corner and then picks up Gargano in the electric chair. Gargano slides into a victory roll but Ohno kicks out. Ohno gets up and lands another massive bicycle kick, followed by a leaping elbow to the back of the head. Gargano still kicks out! An even bigger pop on that near fall. Ohno tries a Roaring Elbow but Gargano with a trio of kicks and then the flying headscissors into the Gargano Escape… Ohno taps out!!

Winner: Johnny Gargano

After highlight of the match, Gargano has his hand raised. Ohno is leaving the ringside area and Gargano signals him to come back. Ohno gets on the apron and they bump forearms in respect. That ends our show.

K-Tank’s Take: Go. Watch. This. Match. WOW. That was simply incredible. The crowd was into it hook, line, and sinker. Huge for Gargano, who finally picks up a big win that’s eluded him for a while. This was Ohno’s best showing in NXT. I mentioned in my column two weeks ago that Gargano deserves thought in being NXT’s MVP this year and this was just another example of why. I loved it.

If you’re not able to watch NXT on the Network, it’ll be on USA next week as part of thier holiday week. It’ll be the same show that’s on the Network, but with Cole vs. Black, you should probably find a way to watch it. I’ll be here for all the action so until next time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… but if you do, name it after me.