That's right, I'm back motherfuckers! I was almost back two weeks ago, for that tremendous Ohno/Gargano match, which I don't mind telling you is exactly the sort of match I started recapping for, so check it out if skipped it. Then, I almost was back last week, but that wasn't much more than a trailer for the show for people on USA who don't normally watch NXT. But this week? This week has the third (and final?) match between Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate. Their last outing was hands-down my Match of the Year for 2017, so there was no way I was missing this week.
We start the show right, with a tag title match between SAnitY and the Undisputed Era, ostensibly also to determine whose name is the biggest pain in the ass to type out (SAnitY. It's SAnitY. Undisputed Era is just a long, stupid name). Anyhoo, SAnitY is being repped by Young and Damo, as Wolfe is still not cleared after getting the top of his head sawed off at War Games. Damo starts for his team, Fish for his, and the UE try a bit of stick and move. Fish and Kylie Reilly try some quick in-and-out tags, but Damo just shrugs off everything they've got. He sends everybody out of the ring and tags in Young, and the two of them hit a gutbuster/flying knee drop combo for two. Reilly counters back with a leg bar on Young, and then they do a little back-and-forth with each other, culminating in Young getting his legs sweeped out on the apron and taking a hard bump to the floor. UE do some corner work on him, then a snap suplex gets two. Reilly re-applies the leg hold, and Fish springboards in with a senton. They hit a double suplex on Young, and Reilly combos a hammerlock into a sweep, then applies a top wristlock, completely ignoring that they had been working the leg. C'mon, guy. Young eventually gets loose, and hits a neckbreaker to create some separation. Fish cuts off the tag, and UE put the boots to him, but Young back bodydrops Kylie Reilly out to the floor, then low-bridges Fish out. That's enough time to make the Hot Tag to Damo, who comes in clotheslines afire. He tosses Fish back in and hits a double clothesline on the pair of them. Next is a pair of corner avalanches, then he sends Reilly into Fish and avalanches the both of them at once. That sets up the Belfast Blizt nicely, so Damo obliges us, then Michinoku Drivers Fish on top of Reilly's face! Two count! Damo tags Young back in for an assisted powerbomb, but when Young goes up top for the elbow, Cole finally makes his presence felt, tossing Young to the canvas. Reilly hits an axe kick/forearm smash combo (the Axe and Smash, and alright, Reilly's got great names for his moves) for two. Here comes Nikki Cross! She flies out of the audience, jumps up on the apron, and nails a beautiful Cross-body on Adam Cole, baby! Cross is the best, as she rains punches down on Cole. The refs drag her out as Young has a couple punches for the UE guys who are actually in this match, then a jumping neckbreaker for Reilly. Damo tries to eliminate Cole as a threat, but Cole counters and runs Damo into the ringpost. That leaves Cole in the Danger Zone, though, and Young topes out of the ring right into him! That's a dangerous error, though, because as soon as Young rolls back into the ring, UE are waiting with the Hi/Low (it's not a damn Total Elimination!). One, two...new Tag Champs! Match Rating: In Answer To Your Question, Because "Kyle O'Reilly" Is Both A Mouthful To Say And Also Surprisingly Awkward To Type.
Good match, and as much as I don't like the UE, it's actually pretty fun to see a title change on the regular show. Always the tag titles, though.
Hey, Shana Baszler's coming! Finally! You know, if the plan is for her to work in NXT for a while (as it appears to be), then I'd probably keep her out of the Rumble.
Heavy Machinery are walking through the parking lot at Full Sail. Apparently, they couldn't find a parking spot, because somebody's Mazerati was parked across three spaces. I've tried park in lots in Florida, and I feel their pain intensely. That somebody turns out to be Sabatelli and Moss, of course, and look. Here's the things you need to know about this segment. Number one, apparently Sabatelli and Moss are doing better financially than HM, despite having the exact same job and being substantially less established as a team than HM. HM had a tag title shot! Number two, Sabatelli and Moss call the car "our baby," and at this point there is no other interpretation of their gimmick besides "gay couple who adopted a car." That's it, that's who they are.
Moving on. We catch up with Sonya Deville, and congratulate her on the fact that she's not really in NXT anymore. Despite this, she'll be challenging Ember Moon for the women's title next week. You've got this one, Sonya!
Next up, Lars Sullivan and Roderick Strong square off for the final spot in the Fatal Fourway to determine Almas's #1 contender. Believe it or not, I'm actually pulling for Strong here. Lars has a new entrance, or at least a new way of filming his entrance. It's a little artsy, but I actually like it a lot. Strong just needs a new entrance. Anyhoo, Strong comes out of the gate fast with a forearm shot, and repeatedly sticks and moves on Lars. Lars counters with an elbow, but Strong's right back on him, until a clothesline changes the momentum. Lars lays in a knee to the midsection, and a couple forearm shots to the spine. He hits a corner avalanche on Strong, then tosses him out of the corner for two. Lars applies a bear hug(!), but Strong counters out with a couple bell clappers. Strong hits a dropkick, then ties Lars up in the ropes. While Lars is stuck, he hits a trio of running forearm shots that, by all rights, should have killed Lars. However, Lars stuns Strong with a punch, and tries to go upstairs. Instead, Strong counters that with a superplex for one! He keeps up the pressure with a pair of jumping knees, but Lars counters a third attempt with a clothesline, but Strong comes right back with a massive Angle Slam for two! Strong's starting to look like he has a chance here, but Lars nails a pop-up powerslam, and that gives him everything he needs to hit the Freak Accident for the win. Match Rating: Actually, Strong Carried Lars To A Pretty Good Match.
That makes next week's Fatal Fourway Lars, Damo, Black, and Gargano. I'm rooting for Gargano, but realistically it'll probably be Black. C'mon, Johnny Wrestling!
We go outside to watch the Street Profits hype up the crowd, and man, every outing makes Ford look better and Dawkins look worse. Sorry, Angelo.
Before our main event, we get some quick words from the challenger. Bate knows they've gone back and forth, but he wants tonight to be his night.
Wow, those were quick words.
Anyhoo, our main event, and probably the last great match of 2017, Tyler Bate challenges Pete Dunne for the UK championship. Naturally, we open up with the graps, and Dunne takes the early control. He's not taking his time, either, as he goes straight to the joint manipulation on the fingers. Bate wrestles out into a counter-wristlock, but Dunne smartly keeps hit fingers in a tight fist to keep Bate from going after them. Dunne comes right back with a legscissors to the neck, and Bate once again escapes. Dunne comes right back, though, stretching and striking Bate, until Bate gets loose and nails a dropkick. We're still really in the feeling-out phase here. Dunne goes back to the fingers, and tries to prevent Bate from bridging out of a light pinning combo. Bate does anyways, and Dunne lays in a kick that finally gets Bate's blood pumping. Dunne backs off, and generally looks pretty pleased with himself. He takes Bate back down to the mat and applies a toe hold, and when Bate powers out, Dunne cartwheels away. It's...actually a really pretty cartwheel. Bate's kind of had enough, now, and tosses Bop and Bang for two. Dunne goes to the ropes and comes out with a forearm smash, followed by another that drives Bate back to the corner. Bate counters with a knee, then goes up top for a flying European uppercut. Dunne rolls outside, and Bate follows right into another forearm. Dunne tries to stomp Bate's hand into the steel steps, but Bate gets his hand out of the way, and reverses the setup, finally giving Dunne a taste of his own medicine. It doesn't help as much as you might think, though, because Dunne immediately suplexes Bate off the stairs to the floor. They go back inside, and Dunne lays a shot into Bate's face, then applies the best headlock I've ever seen. It looks like he's trying to pop Bate's head off. Bate makes it to the ropes, but Dunne kicks him hard in the arm. Bate tries to fight back to his feet, but Dunne grabs him by the nose(!) and forearms him in the face. He goes after the fingers again, stomping them into the mat. The ref wants to stop the fight here, but Bate waives him off, and POPS HIS FINGERS BACK INTO PLACE. Okay, this thing taking off now. Dunne's really only got one choice now. He does the same thing to the other hand. Bate's still in it, though. He chops his way back to his feet, weathers some hard shots from Dunne, and asks for more before nailing an exploder suplex. The injured hands keep him from going for a cover, but he hits a pair of corner to corner running European uppercuts. Bate looks for a suplex, but Dunne counters into the X-plex - but Bate lands on his feet! And nails a running shooting star press! And a deadlift belly to back suplex! For two! I need to sit down. Dunne, amazingly, still has fight in him, and pops Bate with another forearm. Bate slumps into the ropes, and rebounds back with an overhead heel kick. That's the setup for the Tyler Driver, and he wants it, but Dunne counters with a triangle choke! We're running out of time here, so the finish has to be coming...wait, no, apparently, we're going to stay with this match for as long as it takes! It's a Decemberween Mackerel! Anyhoo, Bate's in the triangle, and needs to counter. He does, by standing up and powerbombing Dunne. But Dunne holds on! So Bate does it again - no, actually, he maneuvers to the ropes, and instead of slamming down, slinghots Dunne's throat into the ropes! That breaks the hold. Bate goes for the airplane spin. In fact, he does it three times, reversing direction each time, and I'm pretty sure we have an edit here to avoid showing Dunne throwing up. Dunne's on the apron, now, so Bate brings him in the hard way, superplexing him back in off the ropes for two. Dunne fires up, and starts stomping away at Bate. Bate gets his feet up under him, and kicks Dunne square in the head! Now Bate's laying in the boots. But Dunne counters into the Bitter End! For TWO! Holy shit! Dunne can't believe it. Dunne shoots Bate into the corner, but Bate reverses, but Dunne flips off the turnbuckle and hits and enzuigiri! Dunne tries to toss Bate, but Bate does that cool thing where he catches the ropes with his shoulders, and turns around with a clothesline! Now Dunne's back on his feet, and he's got a clothesline! Both men are down. They struggle back to their knees, and now they're just tossing haymakers at each other. Mauro calls it "Rock 'em, Sock 'em style," and frankly, he ain't wrong. Bate ultimately gets the upper hand, but "hand" is the operative word, as the damage Dunne did earlier prevents Bate from capitalizing. They wind up on the apron, trading shots, until Bate hits another rolling heel kick to Dunne. Bate goes upstairs, but Dunne counters a flying attack with a giant forearm shot. Seeing an opportunity, Dunne sets up an X-plex, but converts it to a sit-out powerbomb for two. Bate rolls out of the ring, and Dunne gives chase. He tries to toss Bate back into the ring, but it's the shoulder catch clothesline again, right to the steel ramp! Bate heads back in, but when it starts to look like Dunne won't beat the count, Bate flies out of the ring with a tope. That's one way to break the count. He sends Dunne back in, and now he wants that Tyler Driver again. He hits it! For TWO! Fair's fair, here. Bate goes back to the top rope again, but this time he's able to (more or less) hit a corkscrew senton on Dunne. Bate tries to follow up with a super belly to back suplex, but Dunne flips out and lands on his feet, countering back with the Bitter End one more time to finally seal up a victory against his arch rival here. Match Rating: An Extra 15 Minutes Of Bate/Dunne Is A Christmas Present We Can All Appreciate.
If I'm being completely honest, this was not as good as their last match, but then again, what could be? Still an absolutely amazing match, really spotlighting the abilities of both men. Pete Dunne's become a real favorite of mine over the year, and Bate's got so much potential for a guy his age. These two can fight any time they want to. I'll be there for it.
And so, I return. I'll be back again next week (although, I'll probably have to take a quick absence again the week after), and more or less every week for the foreseeable future. Merry Holiday, everybody!
Dunne/Bate is the most indie style match I can remember seeing in a WWE show. Working the fingers! Airplane spins! Popping out of finishers! It was exhausting in a fun way. Dunne could be on the main roster already.
Roderick Strong doesn't have that hook for me, but this was not a prime match for watching him. This was him bouncing off A JACK KIRBY ILLUSTRATION COME TO LIFE.
The opening match was playing to silence for the first half, and I felt bad for the guys. Having seen The Undisputed Era in ROH, I still feel like I'm missing the appeal for them. And not just because they are surrounded by gimmicky teams like Crazy People and Double Monsters and Funny Strong Guys. But I will keep watching and hope to tun into this radio station.
"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
I'm always curious, when they do a long over run like this, how they managed to fit it in places where they don't run the run the network and can only go for an hour. I hope they didn't edit the UK title match, because it's definitely something everyone should go out of their way to see.
Damn that Bate-Dunne match is why I watch wrestling. Dunne obviously is a great great heel but he didn't need to heel it up outside of his moves (and that angry look of his) Bate looks the part of a (underdog) hero and wrestles like it. He does some big moves for such a small 'kid' . I loved it. Fuck I'm hoping they get to do this again and again. Maybe soon on the bigger stage and then at WM at some point.
Tag title match was ok but just there. I don't like Lars winning because I don't really care yet for Lars in the ring. But I'm hoping/assuming he and Dain take eachother out and Black/Gargano can go crazy. Either of those guys vs Almas would make for a great TakeOver title match (especially because I'll be there. Woohoo)
I have faith in Foley. It will add some steam to Rock/Punk with Punk taking out Foley. What they do with Cena, I don't know and I don't care. If you want to make him interesting have him lose to Dolph.