You just have to love when NXT really starts throwing some great wrestling together. There are all sorts of different NXT episodes, ones that feature a handful of short matches and ones that are largely there to move along storylines. Whenever a TakeOver approaches, you tend to get a lot of promos and backstage segments. It’s all great, but there’s still nothing like watching NXT’s best go at it between the ropes. Last week saw Matt Riddle and Drew Gulak tear the house down. This week, it’s Adam Cole and Ricochet’s turn, as they vie for William Regal’s attention in order to secure another shot at Johnny Gargano’s North American Championship.
There’s plenty of in-ring action on this week’s show, and the first match of the night sees rising star Dominik Dijakovic, who’s coming off an impressive showing in the Worlds Collide tournament, taking on The Mighty’s Shane Thorne. Mauro says that Dijakovic “moves like a cruiserweight and has power like a heavyweight,” so perhaps that explains Thorne’s nasty tactics to start. He gets trapped in the corner, so he sticks a thumb in his eye and grabs his nose, then drapes his arm over the ropes and snaps it. Thorne focuses on the arm from there, but Dijakovic fights back with some massive chops and clotheslines.
“Time to fly,” he shouts as he tosses Thorne across the ring with a suplex. It seems like it’s the end for Thorne, but he fights back with a great suplex of his own. With Dijakovic down, Thorne heads to the top turnbuckle, only to be met there by his opponent. Thorne tries to throw him off, which leads to that “cruiserweight” stuff Mauro was mentioning. Dijakovic does a backflip, lands on his
After The Undisputed Era promises to claim all the gold NXT has to offer in 2019—they’re pretty confident for a group of guys that currently hold no titles at all—it’s time for tag team action… or is it? Humberto Carrillo and Stacey Ervin Jr. are in the ring, but they don’t get a chance to see their opponents. Instead, Kassius Ohno comes out to the ramp and runs down the Full Sail crowd, saying that he’s ready to leave forever because nobody appreciates that he’s “one of the best to ever do this.”
“Sorry for the interruption,” says Lee before bringing out Carrillo and Ervin’s opponents, the Street Profits. Montez Ford has some fun at Ohno’s expense, laying out on the ramp like he’s just been knocked out by Lee too. Ford is all business when he’s in the ring though, taking it to Carrillo early. It’s an aerial show for a while, as Ford and 205 Live’s Carrillo trade moves that rely on a hell of a lot of agility.
When Ervin Jr. tags in, he shows his own athletic prowess, hitting a standing shooting star press on Angelo Dawkins. Dawkins fights out of the pin though, and tags in Ford. There’s a nastiness to Ford’s offense this week. He’s focused and intense, seemingly taking things more seriously now that they have their eyes on the NXT Tag Team Championship. There’s a moment where it looks like he just about ends Ervin Jr.’s career before it can even get started, but the prospect manages to get to his partner and Carrillo takes control of the match. As great as Ervin Jr. and Carrillo look, they ultimately fall short. Dawkins and Ford thwart the aerial attacks and finish off their opponents with their signature double team blockbuster from the top rope.
After the match, the Street Profits continue to exhibit their new focused, aggressive behavior, saying that they’re coming for War Raiders and tag team gold. That bit of boasting brings out another team that’s been on the rise lately: Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel. As if that’s not enough, Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan get in on the action, every team insisting that they deserve a shot at the titles. Maybe it’s all ego, because those teams look a little worried when War Raiders’ music hits. “We’re right here. Make a move,” they say as they approach the ring. They don’t make it though, as The Undisputed Era make their move first, jumping the champs and throwing them into the ring so that they can
Before we get to the main event, it’s time for action in the women’s division. It’s judo black belt Taynara Conti, who cites Ronda Rousey as an inspiration, squaring off against Aliyah. It’s two women looking to make their mark and gain some momentum in a crowded division. Aliyah will do anything to make that happen, immediately grabbing Conti by the hair and getting in her face. That gives her control early on, grounding Conti and hitting her with a number of kicks to the back. Another woman looking to make her mark, Vanessa Borne, comes down to observe the match as Conti takes control, executing one hip toss after another before laying out Aliyah with a knee. The judo background comes in handy, as Conti locks in a few armbars. It looks like Aliyah doesn’t stand a chance, but when Conti heads to the top rope Borne gets involved. She stops Conti from coming off the top, and that gives Aliyah room to attack her opponent and tap her out.
Borne and Aliyah celebrate in the ring, and they seem super confident… until NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler comes to the ring. Aliyah and Borne can’t clear out quick enough, but there’s no easy escape. Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke attack them from behind, and Baszler goes to work on Conti. When those three women are laid out, the champ grabs a mic. “This is your reality now,” she says, sending a message to the entire division in one fell (and brutal) swoop.
Finally, it’s time for the main event, which has implications when it comes to the North American Championship scene. Velveteen Dream will look to take that title from Johnny Gargano next week when he cashes in the opportunity he earned by winning the Worlds Collide tournament, but it’s Adam Cole and Ricochet, both former champions, who are looking to be next in line. The two don’t like each other at all. Cole is clearly still upset that he lost his title to Ricochet, calling his opponent a “one trick pony” last week, an insult that resulted in this match. That anger is on display early, as Cole goes right after Ricochet, putting him in the corner and laying a beating on him.
Ricochet gets back in the match by doing what he does best: flying around the ring and getting Cole to the outside. But it’s a short-lived rebound, as Cole gets Ricochet hung up in the corner by his knee and goes to work on breaking down every ligament in there. That’s certainly a simple way to keep the high-flying Ricochet grounded.
Cole is intensely focused on that knee. Ricochet tries to crawl away and create some space, but Cole is all over him. Kicks, kneebars, and submissions wear “The One and Only” down. It’s a strategy that works. Even as Ricochet fights back, he stumbles when trying to execute his usual offense, failing to hit a rolling kick after his knee gives out. That doesn’t stop him from laying out Cole with a clothesline though, and he’s got enough in the tank to get a near fall off a standing moonsault. Ricochet builds momentum for a while, but he loses it when he gets caught with an enzuigiri on the top rope. Cole gets a few near falls, but he can’t seem to put Ricochet away.
So, he exposes his knee and tries to nail Ricochet in the back of the head, but Ricochet manages to dodge the attack and lay out Cole with a reverse hurricanrana. He heads to the apron and goes for a springboard 450, but the injured knee won’t have it. So, in an amazing display of adaptability, Ricochet springboards off the rope with one leg and hits Cole with a senton instead.
That brings both men to the center of the ring where they trade forearms and kicks, as Cole hits Ricochet with a devastating superkick that still, somehow, sees Ricochet kick out at two. They battle to the corner, and with Cole seated on the top rope, Ricochet once again goes to his single leg, hitting Cole with a beautiful Frankensteiner, following that up with a Northern Lights suplex that rolls through to a suplex, which he then rolls through to a deadly Vertigo that puts Cole down for the count.
It’s a huge win for Ricochet, but it comes at a cost. The rest of The Undisputed Era run down to the ring and attack the vulnerable Ricochet. Aleister Black runs out to try and lend a hand, but Cole lays him out with a superkick. “Nobody can touch us,” he shouts as the episode goes off the air, bodies lying at the feet of the team who promise to be draped in gold by the end of the year. That’s a lofty goal, but judging by this week’s show, The Undisputed Era clearly mean business.
You can watch this week’s NXT on the WWE Network.