It was an action-packed episode of NXT this week with two blockbuster encounters making up a special double main-event episode.
NXT kicked off with Johnny Wrestling making his way down to the ring. Gargano would claim that 2019 would finally be the year he finally won the big one – the NXT championship. He would address the DIY-reunion rumours and chants by saying it were simply a one-off and “meant nothing”. He called Ciampa a “piece of trash”, holding a championship that he wants. However, he did agree with Ciampa on one thing – there was another championship for him to possibly focus on.
Speaking of the North American championship, it didn’t take long for the champion to make his way out after hearing his name. The pair exchanged jabs before, unable to resist, Tommaso Ciampa made his way out. Ciampa stood on the entrance ramp but before he could say could say too much, he was told to shut it by Gargano.
The crowd was hot for this confrontation and only got hotter when Aleister Black’s music hit and the former NXT champion appeared on the LED screen behind a frightened Ciampa. Black said that he hoped Ciampa was more concerned with him than grooming his “dog of war” because he would make him fade to Black at TakeOver: Phoenix.
Suddenly, the lights went out and Aleister appeared behind the NXT champion and the two brawled around the commentary table before going backstage.
In this melee, however, Johnny Gargano seized his moment and superkicked an unsuspecting Ricochet, leaving him out cold in the middle of the ring. Two mouth-watering bouts in prospect at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix.
The number #1 contender for the NXT Women’s championship, Bianca BelAir, took on Nikki Cross this week as they looked to settle their rivalry. This would be their third match with the first ending in a double count-out while the second was interrupted by Aleister Black.
Cross’ imminent departure was often mentioned by the commentators but the outcome was never seriously in doubt. NXT’s twisted sister hit her swinging neck breaker finish but BelAir managed to roll out of the ring.
The EST of NXT was never going to lose two weeks away from the biggest match of her undefeated career so far and she finished Nikki Cross with her reverse-attitude adjustment finish, slamming Cross down on her front from a torture-rack position.
Surprisingly perhaps, no post-match appearance from Shayna Baszler to hype up their TakeOver match.
General Manager William Regal announced that next week the Undisputed Era would defend their NXT tag-team titles against the War Raiders, Hanson and Rowe.
Ricochet was also shown in an outdoor interview with Cathy Kelley and the North American champion to Johnny Gargano’s superkick by saying that Gargano may have said he’ll take his NXT North American championship but he is ready to simply take Johnny Wrestling out.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) January 10, 2019
Keith Lee was also interviewed backstage and asked about Kassius Ohno’s brutal post-match attack on his good friend, Matt Riddle. Lee responded by challenging Ohno to show up next week and see him face-to-face so that he can teach him a lesson in respect.
There were fresh faces in the NXT tag division this week as the European duo of Marcel Barthel (formerly Axel Deiter Jr. in Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw)) and the former EVOLVE champion, Fabian Aichner. Seeing the two paired up was something fresh and unique given their separate characters. However, it does appear that they have some chemistry together (they’ve also been working NXT UK together).
The newly-formed German and Italian alliance faced off against two enhancement talents who, surprisingly, did get a little offence in against the Europeans but were eventually overpowered and finished off with a very impressive-looking powerbomb into a German suplex by Barthel for the pin.
On WWE’s YouTube channel, a video was put up showing the new tag-team confronted outside the arena by the British-American team of Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan. Burch and Lorcan challenged them to a match which the Europeans accepted, with their reply in German confusing Danny Burch but Oney Lorcan managed to put two and two together and told his partner that they accepted in what was a funny moment.
EC3 took on the leader of the Undisputed Era, a few weeks after notching a win over Bobby Fish. Just as was the case back in their clash in October, the rest of the Undisputed Era was at ringside for the match.
This was a pretty standard, good-quality NXT main event. Adam Cole and the Undisputed Era were given a raucous reaction by the Full Sail faithful. A lot of back-and-forth action in this match, culminating with interference from O’Reilly, Fish and Strong costing EC3 the match as Cole hit the Last Shot for the 1-2-3.
Post-match, the rest of the Era got into the ring and started the beatdown on EC3. However, the War Raiders’ music hit and the powerhouses made their way down and dismantled each member of the Undisputed Era, hitting a number of high-impact moves as the champions scurried away.
The show ended with the no#1 contenders to the NXT tag-team titles standing tall in the middle of the ring.