I'm back from vacation, and ready for the first real NXT TV of 2018! The show starts with a pretaped promo from the Undisputed Era (or, "The Era," as they will be referred to throughout the remainder of this program). Let's see if I can translate here..."Welcome to 2018, boys and girls, the year of the Undisputed Era. We closed 2017 in style, by adding these to the resume. We're tough, we're cool, we're badasses, blah, blah, blah." Got it.
Okay, let's head to the ring. Shayna Baszler is making her NXT debut, against Some Jobber I assume. No, wait, apparently Baszler was up to shenanigans in the PC, choking out some trainee, so Dakota Kai is going to give her what for. All right, that's a match! Whoops, no it isn't. Baszler opens by working over Kai's arm, and Kai never gets out of the blocks, because Baszler sets Kai's arm up at a right angle on the canvas and stomps down hard right on the center of it. Yikes. That's a ref stop. Match Rating: I Would Totes Believe That Baszler Legit Broke Her Arm. After the match, Baszler locks in the rear naked choke. The refs can't stop her, but Ember Moon comes out. Now that Baszler's got the champ's attention, she bails.
This is a good character for Baszler. It's basically "Lady Samoa Joe," but it works well for her.
Hey, it's Paul Ellering and the AoP! What's up, Paul? No, wait, Rezar's actually talking! I mean, it's in Albanian, but still! All Paul has to say is that they want a title shot against whoever the champs are after tonight's tag title match. Good talk Paul!
The backstage mic stand tries to get a word with Baszler, but GM Regal interrupts. He just wants Baszler to know that shit is not going to get her a title match, but Baszler watched the Zayn/Owens angle and knows otherwise.
Kassius Ohno is up next, with a match against Raul Mendoza. I've really warmed up to Mendoza: He's shockingly fast and agile. We start with a handshake - Go back to Ring of Honor! Wait, no, Ohno was in RoH, so that joke isn't funny. Sorry. Anyhoo, Mendoza goes for a standing switch into a headlock, followed by a sunset flip. That sends them into a sequence of pin reversals, culminating with Mendoza landing a headscissors takeover from the corner that gets him a two count. Mendoza follows up with a kick, but Ohno catches him and flips him end-over-end! He follows with a big boot and a big chop, then an elbow strike nets Ohno two. Ohno sets up a reverse Gory Special(?!), which is awesome, but Mendoza counters with a victory roll for two. The victory roll is definitely and underused pinning combination. Ohno uses his power to bounce right back, but Mendoza has some momentum now and hails an armdrag. Ohno back with another forearm and sends Mendoza to the corner, but Mendoza does that cool thing where he dodges through the turnbuckles. Mendoza then nails a sharp kick, and comes off the ropes with a corkscrew armdrag! He springboards off the ropes again with a kick this time. He looks like he's going for another victory roll, but this time Ohno just hoists him up and drops his throat across the top rope. Stunned, Mendoza is easy pickings for another boot, and then the High Tension Elbow Strike to the back of the neck gets the pin. Match Rating: Victory Roll!
We catch up with Zelina Vega backstage. She talks up Andrade Almas, of course, and calls Johnny Gargano a lucky jerk who doesn't deserve the title shot. She says that Almas has beaten him twice; this time, they're going to teach him a lesson.
Vega was always pretty good on the mic, but she's really settled into a very good performance here. Manager are such value-adds to performers; I demand more managers!
Please note: My demands are meaningless, and garner no results. You have been advised.
Anyhoo. Johnny Gargano is being interviewed backstage, and before he can get two words out about his title shot, he gets interrupted by Velveteen Dream. For the record, the Dream/Black match has resulted in a world where I am excited and interested when Patrick Clarke shows up to do something. How about that? Dream basically echoes what Vega just said, and points out that Gargano took the spot that Dream had to vacate due to injury. The implication is that they're going to have a match, possibly with the title shot on the line. Huh. I am genuinely excited to watch Johnny Gargano fight Velveteen Dream. How about that?
I'm legit not sure when I'm going to stop being surprised by stuff like that.
The Street Profits head on in to chat with GM Regal. I'm not sure that I can do justice to Regal's acting in this segment. The upshot though, is that the Profits want a tag title shot, so Regal puts them in a #1 contenders match with the AoP next week.
Lio Rush! What's up, Lio? Oh, you're still being punished for that Emma thing? I see. Rush gets mauls by Lars! Sullivan. Freak Accident for three. Match Rating: Dodges, Gets Caught, Dodges, Gets Caught. Saved You Five Minutes. After the match, Lars! calls out Damo as a follow-up to the Fatal Fourway match, then takes Rush upstairs for a Super Freak Accident.
Uh-oh. The Era has jumped SAnitY backstage. Even Damo! Not Damo! Then they head to the ring to talk some shit. GM Regal will not allow this to stand, though, and insists that they will be defending their titles tonight. That brings out Strong, for almost no reason. Their issue is dead, man. But since he doesn't actually have a partner, that brings out Black, who has a much fresher and more justified problem with The Era, as they cost him the #1 contendership. That'll be the match.
Black and Strong start hot with strikes, and a leg sweep gets a two count. They move into an arm bar on Kiley Reilly, followed by a high kick and a backbreaker. Black comes in, but winds up on the apron, where he gets swept down to the floor. That gives The Era The Advantage. They lay in some strikes in the corner, followed by some knees. Reilly locks in a leg lace, and Fish sentons in off the ropes for two. Black tries to fight back, but Reilly hits a takedown and throws what I'm generously going to refer to as "palm strikes," but you should definitely imagine me doing air quotes while you read that. They are real bad. The Era do a trio of avalanches on Black, followed by Fish landing an Exploder suplex for two, but Strong makes the save. Fish locks in a chinlock, but Black gets back to vertical and hits a sunset flip, followed by a knee strike. That's the Hot Tag, and in comes Strong. House fully afire, Strong hits a clothesline, a knee strike, a dropkick, an urinage backbreaker, a belly to belly suplex, and a step-up knee strike. Not bad. But he stalls to long after that, and Reilly rebounds. He goes for the Axe and Smash, but only hits the axekick before Strong counters with a knee. That's enough to get Cole involved, which brings Black around to chase him off. Unfortunately, while they're playing grabass up in the stands, the actual tag team that Black was supposed to be fighting grabs his partner and wails away on him. They land an actual Total Elimination this time (sweep + spin heel kick), and that's the match. Match Rating: Not Bad, But I Really Wanted Damo. The Era continue their assault after the bell, finishing Black off with a chair. That gets Regal's attention, who decides that, since they'll be in Philadelphia for Takeover, Cole and Black might as well have an Extreme Rules match. Makes sense to me.
Alright. Good show, but the best segment was probably the one at the top of the hour. A lot of good stuff is cooking for Takeover, though.
That arm stop looked siiiiiiiiick. They showed it from 70 different angles, each one looking more gruesome than the last. It Baszler looks unbelievably mean and tough, but let's also take a moment to appreciate whatever arm voo-doo magic Dakota Kai used to make that look so good without actually (I hope) breaking her arm.
You forgot to mention the best part of the last segment! When Regal calls out for a challenger from backstage the first one out is Nikki Cross for SAnitY vengeance. She is a ball of fury ad fire and the two refs that come out can barely contain her. Can we all agree that Nikki Cross is the best?
It's the most important meal of the day.
I cackled at the arm stomp. Because when you think about it, Kai just bends her arm foreward. It might not be comfortable but not painful. But OMG they do it with such ferocity and velocity that it looks like it just shatters. Great stuff.
Part of me is looking forward to Velveteen Dream getting more tv time. But please don't take Johnny's spot in that match please?
The segments with Regal were great. His anger at Baszler. Then how he mugged for the camera when the Street Profits were talking to him. Like usually the cam is not there but now it was because it was them holding it and not a camera man.
Then his anger again at the Era. However, I was amused that he promised they'd defend the titles but before he got to say against who, Strong and Black showed up. Would've been soo funny if he stopped them and said "But gentlemen I was thinking of another team altogether" and out walk (any other team). Basically Regal rules.
Vega is good with her character. I don't know her from TNA or anything else but they've found a great smacktalker in her.
And yes, Nikki Cross was awesome too. I'd be freakin' scared if someone came at me like that. If I saw it right Cole was mocking her, but one time when she broke loose he suddenly looked scared and jumped to the other side of the ring.
Originally posted by Toast JrYou forgot to mention the best part of the last segment! When Regal calls out for a challenger from backstage the first one out is Nikki Cross for SAnitY vengeance. She is a ball of fury ad fire and the two refs that come out can barely contain her. Can we all agree that Nikki Cross is the best?
Undisputed Era have a bunch of different feuds they're juggling right now but I want a Cross-Cole match out of it all the most.
Doubtful it's an angle, but hopefully they start up an angle out of his retirement. Perhaps something along the lines of the Board of Directors determining that HHH as champ is s conflict of interest and therefore they're naming a GM during his reign ...