Things at Full Sail are starting to feel unsteady. There’s change brewing. Johnny Gargano is no longer North American Champion, losing his title to the Velveteen Dream last week. Gargano’s also working double duty at the moment, lurking on RAW and SmackDown LIVE along with Tommaso Ciampa, Aleister Black, and Ricochet. Plus, there’s a ton of talent looking to make 2019 their year. Names like Mia Yim, Street Profits, Matt Riddle, Dominik Dijakovic, and Keith Lee have been making an impact as of late.
But first, we kick things off with Johnny Gargano, here to talk about losing the North American Championship. He mentions telling the NXT Universe that “Johnny Wrestling” was back and feels bad that he failed them with his first title defense. He says he still feels like “Johnny Champion,” but that he’s missing a title. He gets quiet, contemplating the success he’s had and how to get it back, but he doesn’t get to make his point before Tommaso Ciampa comes out and interrupts him.
“Gargano is at his best when Ciampa is in his life,” says the champ, laying out how they’ve spent the last two weeks truly dominating as a team. Ciampa calls their partnership “destiny” while flaunting his NXT Championship and then makes a truly crazy suggestion: that they team up to enter the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and go back to where it all started and get a shot at the NXT Tag Team Championship. “TakeOver: New York, Johnny. That could be our moment.” Ciampa is undeniably compelling, and Gargano seems to be on board. He shakes Ciampa’s hand, an agreement reached, and suddenly the other teams in the Classic are facing a huge challenge. Oh, and Ricochet and Aleister Black make it known that they’re interested in competing in the tournament too, and William Regal confirms their spot, along with the Forgotten Sons and Moustache Mountain. So yeah, things are getting crowded and competitive!
Next up, it’s tag team action, as Vanessa Borne and Aliyah take on Taynara Conti and Xia Li. Two weeks ago, Borne helped Aliyah get a win against Conti, which means this is a match about getting some revenge. Conti and Borne square off first, with Conti using her judo background to gain an early advantage with some swift kicks and takedowns. Borne gets back on top when Aliyah traps Conti on the apron so that her partner can get some shots in, the two clearly on the same page when it comes to using their numbers to gain an advantage.
Aliyah tags in, and she’s all over Conti, hitting her with a Northern Lights suplex and then keeping her grounded with submissions. Before long though, Conti slams Aliyah into the turnbuckles, creating space so that she can tag in Li. Li’s agility is a gamechanger, as she goes to work by laying out Aliyah with a few kicks. It’s a short-lived burst though, as Aliyah and Borne both get in the ring to take down Li with a double team that puts her down for the count. It’s an impressive showing from the newly formed team.
Up next is two men looking to continue to make their mark in NXT. Both Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic have made waves the last few weeks, and now the two Big Boys square off, looking to build some momentum before NXT TakeOver: New York in April. Dijakovic tries to wear down Lee early, locking in a headlock and refusing to let go. From there, it’s some truly incredible athleticism. Dijakovic lands on his feet when Lee tries to flip him off an Irish whip, and Lee counters by landing on his feet when Dijakovic throws him out of the corner. It’s each man showing they’re more than their size.
Of course, there’s also a lot of size here, and before long the two men get down to the bruising style they’re known for. Lee throws a shoulder block that sends Dijakovic flying across the ring, and Dijakovic hits back with a chokeslam that he transitions into a powerbomb. It’s amazing to watch these two guys move between different styles, Dijakovic gaining control when he hits Lee with a springboard moonsault to the outside. Both men land hard on the ramp, so hard in fact that they can’t make it back into the ring before the ref calls for a double countout. The good news? This has to mean we’re getting another match between these two sometime in the near future. This one was well on its way to being a classic, and there’s no way this is over.
As if that match wasn’t surprising
Finally, we’re on to our main event, another match where revenge is the motivating factor. This time it’s Mia Yim hoping to get payback on Shayna Baszler after she was attacked after her match last week. You can read all about that match here, and come back next week for more NXT coverage, including a #1 Contender’s match between Bianca Belair and Io Shirai.
You can watch this week’s NXT on the WWE Network.