WWE NXT was taped at Center Stage in Atlanta, Ga. on Thursday, January 4.
Candice LeRae def. (pin) Vanessa Bourne
Crowd was happy to see Candice, who is rumored to finally be signing with WWE. The crowd’s chants of “Candice Wrestling” — in homage to her husband Johnny Gargano — were rewarded with a Candice victory.
Kassius Ohno def. (pin) Raul Mendoza
Ohno was super popular with the fans, meaning they booed Mendoza at the beginning. Some flashy moves got Mendoza some praise, but Ohno was eventually too much for him.
Shayna Baszler def. (sub) Dakota Kai
This was just mean.
Baszler was dominant for a full minute until the red called off the match as Kai held her arm as if it were broken. Baszler went to attach again when NXT women’s champ Ember Moon came in to make the save. Baszler strolled off while a concerned Moon helped Kai out of the ring.
Lars Sullivan def. (pin) Lio Rush
Almost ditto of the last match, only no one came out to save poor Lio Rush. Lars called out Killian Dain after the match, then he killed Lio some more before leaving.
I guess that’s what happens when you aren’t ready for Lars, Lio.
Backstage segment: Undisputed Era beats up Sanity
Sanity were supposed to challenge for the tag team titles on this show, but the Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly) took them out backstage. The group then came out to the ring to gloat, when Sanity’s Nikki Cross tried to enact revenge. She was held back by a couple of refs, much to the dismay of the crowd, who wanted to see her kick some butt.
General manager William Regal came out to the stage to admonish the group, but he was interrupted by Roderick Strong and ALEISTER BLACK to set up a tag team match.
Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) def. (pin) Roderick Strong and Aleister Black
Adam Cole mysteriously vanished at the start of the match. In a shocker, that was important.
Black was clearly the most important guy in the match, with the crowd responding to everything that he was doing. Eventually this came down to Black and Cole, who appeared out of nowhere to disrupt the match. Black chased Cole out into the crowd, where Fish and O’Reilly were able to double team Strong to get the win. After the match, the Undisputed Era stood tall with their titles as they beatdown both Strong and Black.
An angry William Regal announced backstage that Cole and Black would face off at TakeOver: Philadelphia in an Extreme Rules match.
Andrade Cien Almas (c) def. (pin) Kassius Ohno in a non-title match
The NXT Champion made his first appearance at the taping in a match with Kassius Ohno. Unfortunately for Ohno, he didn’t have the same success as he did at the start of the show, as Almas and his sidekick Zelina Vega were able to get the best of him.
Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss def. (pin) Heavy Machinery (Otis Dozovic & Tucker Knight)
This one was weird.
The fans were super into the Heavy Machinery, and chants of “Steaks and weights!” rang through the Center Stage venue. The fan support wasn’t enough though, as Sabbatelli got the pin by using the ropes. The crowd wasn’t happy, and it’s exactly where this one is going.
Lacey Evans def. (pin) Aliya with a giant forearm
Evans won a short match, and what happened after was more important. Evans bemoaned after the match that she was worthy of better competition when Shayna Bazler came out to the stage. Evans immediately walked away, while Baszler went to choke out the helpless Aliya. Ember Moon intervened to make the save again, and she challenged Baszler to a match at NXT Takeover in Philadelphia.
Afterwards, GM Regal announced that Moon would take on Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship at Takeover.
Roderick Strong def. (sub) Fabian Aichner
Short match here… after Strong had taken some beatings over the past few weeks of NXT television, he got a win here. Afterwards, he gave a nearly word-for-word duplicate of the promo that Lars Sullivan gave earlier, clearly mocking Lars as Strong put up the challenge.
Authors of Pain (w/ Paul Ellering) def. (pin) Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford)
It was nice to see Paul Ellering back in some of WCW’s old stomping grounds.
Fans were really into the Street Profits, but that enthusiam was absolutely stomped out by Ellering’s Authors of Pain. The AoP got the win, and it looks like they will be the ones challenging the Undisputed Era for the tag belts in Philadelphia.
The AoP killed some jobbers later in the tapings to further show their dominance.
No Way Jose def. (pin) Cezar Bononi
Fun little match, and it was nice to see Jose out there again. He picked up the W, but he still really doesn’t have a good spot as far as his future goes with the program.
Bianca Belair def. (pin) Luscious Latasha
Chants of “let’s go jobber!” were prevalent in this one… so you can imagine how that went. Also, Belair slapped Latasha were her long ponytail, which might have been the funniest thing I’ve seen in my life.
Johnny Gargano def. (sub) The Velveteen Dream to keep the No. 1 contender’s spot for the NXT Championship
Zelina Vega set up this match earlier to try and screw Gargano out of his match with Almas at NXT Takeover.
Overall, this match was incredible, with those in attendance giving dueling chants for both competitors throughout the match. Eventually Velveteen got the upperhand, and he went for the Purple Rainmaker off the top rope when Gargano countered by getting his knees up. Johnny was eventually able to get the submission win, to which the crowd gave an ovation to both him and Dream.
After the match, Almas marched down to the ring in attempt to set Gargano straight, but Johnny Wrestling was able to get the upperhand and knock down Almas. Gargano closed the show holding the NXT title up high.