“Tonight: ‘Tis the season for championship matches… And future opportunities…”
Bianca Belair def. Lacey Evans, Mia Yim, & Io Shirai, for the #1 Contendership to the NXT Women’s Championship
Tonight’s show kicks off with one of those promised “future opportunities,” one that determines who will face Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix (during Royal Rumble weekend). After last week’s tag team showing, Io Shirai earned her way into this match—sorry, Dakota Kai—against the main roster-bound Lacey Evans, “The Blasian Baddie” Mia Yim, and the “UN-DE-FEA-TED” “E-S-T of NXT” Bianca Belair.
Lacey Evans decides immediately that she’d rather let the other three women in the ring duke it out first—how ladylike of her—and Yim and Belair get in each other’s face—due to their history—leading Shirai to go for a quick roll-up attempt. While she doesn’t get the three-count off of that, she does get a temporary alliance with Mia Yim, as they both go after Bianca Belair. But a dive from Yim to Belair on the outside leaves Shirai in the ring to get attacked from behind by Evans… and then Evans propels her to the outside as well—to take out Bianca Belair once more. Mia Yim decides officially that she and Io Shirai should team up, and they take the fight to Lacey Evans, which works… until Yim accidentally kicks Shirai in the head (thanks to some smart deflection from Evans).
Then it’s Evans versus Yim, one-on-one in the ring. (And Evans’ sneer versus the guy in the crowd who yells “I LOVE YOU, LACEY!”) Shirai tries to get the drop on Evans, but then she just ends up getting beaten up by “The Lady of NXT” too. This is clearly Lacey Evans’ match to lose. Or so it
But again, Bianca Belair comes to spoil her fun—and dominance—and finally, these two egos are going to clash, Both are fairly certain the #1 Contendership is theirs—as evidenced by them shouting “IT’S MINE!” at each other—but before they can finally come to blows, Yim distracts them as their next victim. Well, she would be their next victim, if not for the save from Shirai. Belair and Evans both try to cover Yim—and stop each other—and then it is on. They’re finally shoving each other, it only doesn’t escalate because Yim tries to take Belair out. Evans breaks up that pin attempt and tries to go after Yim again, but she ends up eating a huge dropkick from Shirai, who goes on to eat an even huger spear. But Belair can’t get the win off of that or any subsequent desperate cover.
Shirai then gets her second wind, leading to a 6-1-9, then a giant dropkick from the top rope, both to Belair… who is only then saved by Evans not wanting the match to end. Then it’s Evans versus Yim, and Yim gets rocked by a Woman’s Right… and is then saved from a loss by Shirai. A moonsault from Shirai to Evans could end it all, but then Belair brings back her patented hair whip for the first time in a long time on Shirai, tosses her to Yim on the outside, then puts Evans away with the K.O.D.
So the UN-DE-FEA-TED streak of Bianca Belair remains, and at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix, it will be her versus the NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler (and the damn numbers game, honestly).
Jaxson Ryker def. Mitch Taverna
Unsurprisingly, Mitch Taverna is D.O.A. to the leader of The Forgotten Sons. Pretty sure he gets in zero offense.
“23 years old—and all this talent. … Dream on.” What will 2019 bring for The Velveteen Dream?
After last week’s impromptu, twisted DIY reunion of sorts, Tommaso Ciampa has a message for Johnny Gargano this week. “I am a man of my word. When I make a promise, I deliver on said promise.” But he also feels “like a broken record” sometimes… until last week, which he calls his “vindication.”
“Last week proved that somebody is listening.”
That would be Gargano, who listened, followed Ciampa’s lead, and ended up pinning Aleister Black, the man who’s facing Ciampa at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix. While this won’t lead to an opportunity for the NXT Championship—since Black already has that—Ciampa says he believes it still should get Gargano a title opportunity… at the North American Championship. “Think about it,” Ciampa says. He brings up their past and how they broke into NXT, talking about how it would eventually lead to “the day that DIY took over NXT.”
“This is our TakeOver, Johnny. Think about it. … Two kids, taking over the world. Johnny, the possibilities are endless.”
The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong) (c) def. Heavy Machinery (Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic), for the NXT Tag Team Championship
While we all know Bianca Belair is “UN-DE-FEA-TED,” she’s not the only one in NXT with quite the track record. In fact, coming into this match, Heavy Machinery—who, like Lacey Evans, are also
Also, Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong come out alone for this match, but you can imagine this match won’t end that way.
It’s The Undisputed Era’s chemistry versus Heavy Machinery’s power. Nigel McGuinness says the Era “having the right mindset” is what’s kept them on top, so Heavy Machinery really need to keep up the power game against them. McGuinness and Mauro Ranallo also question if Heavy Machinery will be able to keep up with O’Reilly and Strong the longer the match goes, as the tag team champions are definitely built to last on that front. So naturally, O’Reilly does his best to just avoid Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic—when he’s not going after Knight’s leg—hopefully tiring them out in the process. And when Knight falls hard to the outside, The Undisputed Era smell blood in the water, keeping him in their corner and just dismantling him.
Knight works hard to fight them off, but again, O’Reilly is able to focus on that leg and keep him away from Dozovic for the tag. Dozovic needs “Tucky” to make the tag—and the NXT Universe at Full Sail even chant “TUCKY” to support him—but it doesn’t work. Instead, Roderick Strong tags
Then it’s time for the “Dozer” to wreck shop and wreck The Undisputed Era. Ranallo even points out how much he looks like “a cardio machine” here, and that’s even before he hits Strong with The Worm. While Era is able to prevent the Compactor, O’Reilly still suffers from the Hoss Toss, saved only by Strong breaking up the pin. Then Knight goes for broke with a moonsault to O’Reilly… but no water in the pool. And then O’Reilly tags in Strong, Knight tags in Dozovic, and Dozovic decides the only way to end this is to also go to the top rope. But he’s momentarily distracted by O’Reilly and then stopped completely by Strong, who attempts to superplex him and gets help from O’Reilly to do so. Only a two-count though. O’Reilly gets rid of Knight on the apron, then Dozovic has to fight off both members of The Undisputed Era… but he ultimately falls to the high-low.
The Undisputed Era
You can watch this week’s NXT on the WWE Network.