It's a fun one this week, since we've got the Fatal Fourway for the #1 contendership in the main event. But we go straight to the ring to get things started, as the Street Profits absolutely dismantle Some Jobbers. For real, it's just a couple of moves, a suplex-assisted splash, and the spinebuster/splash combo. Match Rating: Actually, Now I'm Starting To Feel Sorry For Dawkins. Nobody's Going To Look Cool Standing Next To Ford. For real, it's like Ford's mom told him to take his little brother with him. After the match, they get the stick. Upshot: In 2017, they came, they saw. In 2018, they conquer.
We've also got a women's title match tonight, as Ember Moon defends against a departing Sonya Deville, so draw your own conclusions here. Let's take one final moment in 2017 to address the fact that Ember Moon doesn't match her gimmick one bit, and that's never been rectified or addressed in any way. She's a war goddess, not a weird witch monster thing. She's tough, not mysterious. This gimmick DOES NOT work for her. It's even worse than the Fallen Angel Christopher Daniels, because it's being perpetrated by people who should know better. Anyhoo. We start with a solid lockup, into a takedown from Deville. Moon manages a standing switch, but Deville counters back with a quick ankle lock. Moon escapes, and dodges Deville's spectacular sliding knee. She follows that up with a dropkick that sends Deville outside, then comes around off the apron with a standing senton. That takes us to break, and weirdly when we come back, Deville is punishing Moon with knee strikes back inside the ring. Okay. Another takedown gets two, followed by some punches that set up a seated bearhug. Moon elbows her way out, and counters a rear grab with a wheelbarrow slingshot manuever that sends Deville into the turnbuckle. Moon floats over into a very nice suplex, and delivers some nice strikes of her own via a kick combo. She shoots Deville into the corner and charges her, but Deville counters with a weird knee drop thing. It looks awkward as hell, and at first I thought it was an offensive maneuver by Moon. Whatever it is, it gets a two count. Moon dodges the sliding knee one more time, and this time comes back with a monster springboard dropkick! That's beautiful. Deville goes to the corner, and this time Moon connects with a devastating forearm smash. That sets up the Eclipse, and it's lights out for Deville. Match Rating: A Few Weird Spots, But Also Some Real, Real Good Ones. Afterwards, we hear Kairi Sane's music. She's out, and espies the title belt with her spy glass. That's adorable. She also pantomimes that she wants the belt, and that sounds good to...oh shit, it's Shana Baszler! She clobbers Sane from behind and chokes her out. They want to do a rematch, that also sounds good to me.
I'd just kind of like them to avoid another multi-man match this time around.
Meanwhile, it's Paul Ellering! Hey Paul! It's been a while. What've you got for us this week? "Our house...we are the law...judge, jury, executioner...borrowed time." Good talk, Paul!
We catch up with Ember Moon to get her thoughts on what just happened to Kairi Sane. As far as she's concerned, if anybody wants her title, they're going to have to get in the ring to get her attention. She's not hard to find.
That was short, but easily her best promo so far. She's come a long, long way at sounding natural on the mic. I applaud the obvious hard work she's put in there.
Finally, our main event. Damo v. Gargano v. Lars v. Black. For the record, the crowd likes just about everybody here, but they love Gargano. He's my favorite too, but I wasn't betting on him to win. Anyhoo, this was a glorious cluster, so you can forget about play-by-play here. However, it was loaded with highlights. Black starts out hot, taking the early advantage against all comers, but Lars catches him attempting a moonsault to the floor and dumps him. Then, Lars catches Johnny on a corkscrew pescado, and dumps him. Then...actually, he ain't catching Damo! Damo just avalanches him to the ramp off a tope. Damo and Lars team up briefly to maul Gargano, then Lars sends Damo into the stairs. He brawls Black up the ramp, then sends him sailing off it, then grabs Gargano and military presses him onto Black! Black doesn't really catch him, and it looks like it really hurts. Lars follows Gargano down, and looks to powerbomb him onto the announce table. But Gargano counters by grabbing the set! Black nails Lars with a kick, then Gargano hits a kick (still clinging to the stage), then a knee from Black, then a superkick from Gargano, and Lars is laid out on the table. Alright, let's see what the plan here is - holy shit, it's Damo! Damo clears about a ten foot leap from the stage to the table, and crushes Lars! Wow! Black and Gargano head back to the ring, and while it looks good for Black at first, Gargano counters a knee into the GargaNo Escape. Damo sentons in to make the save, and after some big power offense on both guys, goes upstairs. This is a mistake. Black and Gargano team up to double powerbomb him, but now Lars is back on his feet. Gargano gets immediately turfed, and Damo and Lars go at it with each other for a bit. That's enough time to let Black recover, though, and he gets back in the ring and kills everybody. This match makes him look super bad-ass, by the way. He sweeps out Lars, then hits the Black Mass! He covers, but the Undisputed Era are out. Black eliminated Cole in the prelims, and they want revenge. Black easily takes care of the new tag champs, but Cole manages to get the better of Black. Gargano's back on his feet now, and topes out onto Cole to remove the UE from the remainder of this match. Gargano looks good, but shit, here comes Lars. Wait, Gargano matadors Lars into the ring steps. Shit, here's Damo. Wait, Gargano counters a powerbomb into a huricanrana, sending Damo into Lars! Gargano's up on the apron, Black's back on his feet - Gargano springboards into a DDT on Black! One! Two! Three! Johnny Fucking Wrestling is the new #1 contender for Andrade Almas' NXT title! Match Rating: Okay, So 2017 Is A Year Where Johnny Gargano Became One Of My Favorite Wrestlers. What A Weird Year.
That was a great, fun match, with a lot of fun spots. The finish sequence was super good, really gradually building to the idea, then actuality, of Johnny being able to win. It's a great way to close out the year.
Speaking of, I'll be out of town next week, so no recap, but it's just a year in review show, so nobody's missing much of anything. See everybody in 2018.
It had to be 1987 or 1988...The WWF's debut at the Bismarck (ND) Civic Center. Superstar Billy Graham, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, damned if I can remember anybody else on the card...I DO remember that about two weeks later I watched one of the matches...