Last Friday night’s NXT TakeOver from New York, taking place during WrestleMania weekend, saw the landscape of NXT completely overhauled. Johnny Gargano became the NXT Champion after defeating Adam Cole. Aleister Black and Ricochet seemingly said farewell to the Black and Gold brand. Matt Riddle’s undefeated streak came to an end at the hands of Velveteen Dream. One thing stayed the same though: Shayna Baszler continued her dominance over the entire women’s division. Now, we’re back to the weekly shows, and this week it’s all about NXT Superstars who’ve been struggling to climb the ladder looking to gain some momentum.
We kick things off with action from the women’s division, as Candice LeRae takes on Aliyah, a grudge match of sorts after Aliyah and Vanessa Borne took exception to
LeRae gets her on the ropes early, but Aliyah escapes to the outside, lures her opponent there, and then hits her with a shoulder through the ropes. It seems to be Aliyah’s whole strategy: frustrate and distract LeRae, and get her close to Borne so that she has to worry about the numbers game. Sure enough, Borne gets LeRae’s attention, allowing Aliyah to take control of the match by beating her down in the corner with some ferocious boots. Aliyah’s all over her; once she has the momentum, no matter how shadily she gains it, she doesn’t let up.
LeRae is a true fighter though. She counters a kick and hits back with her own, and then lays her out with a step-up senton. That leaves Aliyah flat on the mat, and prone to LeRae’s springboard moonsault, which gives her the win and a little bit of revenge against the woman talking about her behind her back.
After we check in with Velveteen Dream at WrestleMania, where he trash talks Buddy Murphy for failing to handle the spotlight and therefore losing his title—”You want to see show stealing? Go watch TakeOver: New York, Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle on the WWE Network. Where’s your title?”—we’re on to another match built on some previous bad blood, as Danny Burch takes on Jaxson Ryker.
Burch explodes out of the gate, immediately hitting Ryker with a running dropkick and a flurry of chops. He’s all over him, hitting him hard in an attempt to get the big man off his game early. It isn’t long though before Ryker just gets angry and starts running through Burch with shoulder blocks and forearms. Burch is quick though, and he comes back by dodging attacks and hitting back with some quick, deadly strikes and a step-up enzuigiri.
He follows that up with a small package that nearly gets the win, but Ryker powers out and hits Burch with The Widowmaker, and that’s it. Well, that’s it for the match, not for the punishment. Ryker goes to work on Burch, and the other Forgotten Sons beat down his tag team partner Oney Lorcan, making their mark on the tag team division just weeks after a loss in the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Classic.
In the main event this week, it’s tag teams looking to build momentum, as the Street Profits go up against Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel. Both teams have had impressive showings here and there, but haven’t been able to string wins together.
Aichner decides the best strategy to start is hitting Dawkins off the apron and then isolating Montez Ford, but that’s not an easy task. Ford’s athleticism is difficult to contain, and he lays out both Aichner and Barthel early. Barthel takes control after that though, hitting Ford with some impressive suplexes, and then letting Aichner just stomp a mudhole in him while trapped in the corner.
Ford gets his moments to fight back, but Aicher and Barthel are so good at making sure he never gets a tag, wearing him out by keeping him in the ring at any cost. Eventually though, he dodges a spear and flies through Barthel’s legs and makes the tag to Dawkins, who flies around the ring, fresh from his time on the apron, but it’s a short-lived burst. Dawkins gets sent to the outside, Barthel hits him with a suicide dive, and Aichner hits Ford with a ridiculously beautiful double springboard moonsault that Ford somehow kicks out of.
That kickout allows Dawkins time to recover and get back in the ring, saving his partner by spearing Aichner into oblivion. Then Dawkins puts Barthel on his shoulders, and Ford comes off the top rope for a double team blockbuster. Barthel can’t kick out, and that means the Street Profits come out of this week with an important win, and hopefully the first of many as they try to get back into the title picture.
Come back next week for a big bout, as Velveteen Dream takes on Buddy Murphy for the North American Championship.
You can watch this week’s NXT on the WWE Network.