Welcome one and all to the first edition of the NXT Spotlight here in 2018. As the new year turns, we are focused on the upcoming Takeover event from Philly during Royal Rumble weekend and our first shows of 2018 will come from the famous Center Stage in Atlanta, Georgia. This is the same venue that taped plenty of WCW material back in the 90’s. Ring of Honor has used it quite a bit as well. We have a NXT Tag Title rematch on tap tonight so let’s get to the action!
We start with a promo from The Undisputed Era saying that 2018 is their year and they will prove that they are the baddest team on the planet. O’Reilly & Fish say they will finish off Sanity tonight and Adam Cole says he will take out anyone that gets in his way of becoming the next NXT Champion.
Shayna Baszler vs. Dakota Kai
Baszler’s new theme starts with a similar horse audio like the old Four Horsemen theme song, obviously a nod to the Four Horsewomen, so I thought that was pretty cool. They start with a tie up and Baszler pie faces Dakota. She then suplexes Dakota and then starts working over the elbow and wrist. She has Dakota’s arm in an odd position and then stomps on the elbow, which made it look like Dakota suffered a bad injury. That looked really well done, especially when they showed the slow motion. After the ref calls for a stoppage and the trainers come to check on her. Baszler locks on a choke until Ember Moon comes out and Baszler releases the hold and leaves on her own accod as Ember yells at her. Baszler is quite happy with her actions.
Winner: Shayna Baszler
K-Tank’s Take: That finish did look legit gnarly, so kudos to everyone involved, including the cameramen who got the perfect angles. Baszler doesn’t need much building up as she is a legit badass, but something like this adds to her aura. I’m sure she’s Ember’s opponent at Takeover. I wouldn’t expect them to waste much time for that match.
We then go to Authors of Pain, who start yelling for Sanity and Undisputed Era. They don’t care when or where, they just want their titles.
We then go back to Shayna Baszler, who is walking backstage after her actions towards Dakota Kai. She’s asked why? William Regal shows up and tells Baszler that he’s been in the business for 35 years, so the games she’s playing, he’s sees right through them. Her actions will not get her an NXT Women’s Title match. She asks if they’re done here and walks past him.
Kassius Ohno vs. Raul Mendoza
The set up for the venue is great but the audio of the ring and crowd isn’t great so far. The crowd chants big time for Ohno but it sounds really muffled on the TV. Both men shake hands to start and then Mendoza locks on a side headlock. It turns into a series of quick pins but no one gets the 3. Ohno sends Mendoza into the turnbuckle but he jumps over onto the apron and then comes back with a headscissors takedown. Another pin but Ohno kicks out. Mendoza lines up some kicks but Ohno catches one, flips Mendoza over, and then lands a massive bicycle kick. Ohno has Mendoza in the corner and lands a chop and then an elbow smash. He goes for a pin but Mendoza kicks out. Ohno hooks a reverse Gory Special but Mendoza turns it into a victory roll. Ohno kicks out again. He lands a senton splash but Mendoza kicks out. Mendoza comes back with an armdrag and then a forearm. Ohno sends him to the corner again but again Mendoza goes to the apron and comes off with a springboard armdrag. He goes for a springboard enziguri after that and another pin but Ohno kicks out. Mendoza sets up on Ohno’s shoulders but Ohno drops him stun gun style over the top rope, followed by a big boot, and then bounces off the opposite ropes with a jumping elbow strike to the back of the head and that gets the win.
Winner: Kassius Ohno
K-Tank’s Take: Fun match for what it was. I’ve said before that Ohno is just a guy right now. We’ll see if he’s placed in any type of storyline soon.
We then go to “earlier today” where Zelina Vega speaks to the media and talks about how Andrade Almas knows that it takes something more to stay NXT champion as it compares to becoming NXT champion. She’s asked about Johnny Gargano earning a shot at Almas. Vega says he didn’t earn anything. He was an opportunist in the Fatal 4 Way match. Almas has already beaten him twice. She’s not giving away her secrets though to let anyone know how Almas is going to beat Gargano a third time. She just hopes Gargano understands there is no running away from Almas.
We then go backstage to Johnny Gargano. He’s asked what’s going through his mind headed into his title shot at Takeover. He says words can’t describe where he’s at right now. The Velveteen Dream is back!! He interrupts the promo and tells Gargano to say it. Not his name, say “thank you”. It took Gargano 20 minutes to beat Kassius Ohno, when it would’ve taken him 30 seconds. Gargano knows he got lucky twice and shouldn’t have won the Fatal 4 Way. Dream also knows that he’s not going to beat Almas in Philly. Dream knows as well that Gargano didn’t earn Dream’s spot. Gargano knows it too. Dream walks away as Gargano is left to think about it.
Now we go to The Street Profits backstage. They interact with random people backstage and then realize they’re missing some gold. Of course implying the NXT Tag Titles. They walk into Regal’s office and ask Regal when are they getting their turn at the NXT Tag Titles as they’ve been undefeated since they debuted. Regal says that next week there will be a #1 Contender’s match between The Street Profits and Authors of Pain. The Profits say they like the way Regal does business. This segment was far more entertaining than I could do justice. Some of the mannerisms legit made me laugh out loud.
Lio Rush vs. Lars Sullivan
I love some of the new touches they’ve put on Sullivan’s entrance. Sullivan charges Lio and Lio gets out of the way. Lio ducks everything he can and then lands a handstand kick. He tries to charge Sullivan but Sullivan catches him by the throat and rams him into the top rope. Lio gets chunked across the ring into the turnbuckles but he moves out of the way of a charging Sullivan not once, but twice. He’s not able to capitalize though as he comes off the ropes and gets turned inside out and outside in with a lariat. Sullivan picks him up and drills the Freak Accident for the win.
Winner: Lars Sullivan
Post match, Sullivan has a mic and talks about how all of his opponents have fallen at his hands. He keeps going back to two weeks ago when he felt a force he’s never felt before. That brings him joy as it’s a force he wants to destroy. He’s talking to Killian Dain. He then decides he’s not done with Lio Rush and he brings Lio up to the second rope and comes crashing down with a super Freak Accident.
K-Tank’s Take: In case you’re wondering, yes, Rush is still being punished for his stupid tweet about Emma being released. There was a WWE.com exclusive with him talking about how he’s been second-guessing himself since coming to NXT and it’s time for some re-evaluating. So we’ll see if they keep him off TV for a few weeks and then bring him in and let him do what he does so well.
We then go backstage where The Undisputed Era have taken out Sanity.
After a commercial break, Undisputed Era now make their way to the ring, pleased with their actions backstage. Cole starts by saying he feels like something is missing. Where is Sanity? Cole says they kicked the chaos out of Sanity. Nikki Cross now shows up on the stage and wants at them but refs are restraining her. She’s so great. Cole goes to talk again but now William Regal is the one to cut him off. Regal says this is ridiculous and Undisputed Era will be defending the tag titles tonight. Roderick Strong comes out and says he’ll be happy to fight them tonight. In fact, he’ll find a partner… Aleister Black’s music now does the cutting off and Black gets the biggest reaction of the night. Black then says, “as will I” and they charge the ring and attack Undisputed Era.
NXT Tag Title Match
The Undisputed Era (c) vs. Roderick Strong & Aleister Black
After a commercial break, the match has been made official as Black and O’Reilly will start. I’m live, so my timer doesn’t tell me how much time is left in the show. Black starts with some kicks to both members of Undisputed and then Roddy follows up with a wrecking ball dropkick as both men went to the outside. O’Reilly is brought back in and Black works on his arm. Strong tags in and hits a leg lariat as O’Reilly comes off the ropes. A chop in the corner followed by a backbreaker. Roddy with a pin but O’Reilly kicks out. Black comes back in and O’Reilly low bridges him. O’Reilly grabs the ref as Fish trips Back, who falls hard on the apron and goes to the floor as we go to yet another commercial.
We come back to Undisputed Era working over Black in their corner. Multiple strikes by both men. O’Reilly has a leg lock as Fish comes over the top rope with a senton splash. Black manages to kick out of a pin. O’Reilly kicks Roddy off the apron and then they go back to double teaming Black in the corner. Fish with an exploder suplex but Roddy breaks up the pin. Aleister fights out of a Fish headlock and then goes for a sunset flip but Fish kicks out. Black lands a hard knee and it allows both men to make tags. Roddy is a house of fire and lands a textbook dropkick on O’Reilly. Roddy hits a single arm backbreaker on O’Reilly and then overhead throws Fish onto O’Reilly. He does his face first slam to O’Reilly but Fish breaks up the pin. Roddy ends up dumping him to the outside and then trades kicks and knees with O’Reilly. Both men end up down and on the outside, Black kicks Fish straight into the steel steps. Adam Cole shows back up now and Black chases him up the balcony, through the crowd. Back in the ring though, Undisputed Era lands their version of Total Elimination and pick up the win to retain the titles.
Winners: The Undisputed Era retains
Black isn’t happy at all and he charges back to the ring to take out Fish and O’Reilly but of course Cole comes back down and sends him shoulder first into the ringpost. Now all three men beat down Black as Cole says he’ll never beat the Era. Cole mocks Black’s set up for Black Mass by picking him up by his boot and then Fish and O’Reilly land Total Elimination again. O’Reilly goes to the outside to grab a chair and Cole sets it up to land a Death Valley Driver onto it.
After some highlights, The Undisputed Era are celebrating on the stage until Regal comes back out and tells Cole that Philadelphia has an extreme history so at Takeover, Adam Cole will have to face Aleister Black in an Extreme Rules match. That ends our show.
K-Tank’s Take: Nothing special in the match itself but all the “gaga” before and after the match made it what it was. The Era are being pushed really strong, rightfully so. Black is a rock star and I am 100% on board with a feud with him and Cole. Their match at Takeover should be nothing short of awesome. O’Reilly and Fish’s opponents will be determined next week.
That’s it for this week so until next time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… but if you do, name it after me!