January 16, 2019 – Winter Park, Florida
Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford def. Chris Metro & JC Metro
I don’t review squashes, but this was a blast. In just a couple minutes Ford got himself over as a high-flying goofball (and pinned one of the Metros with a frog splash) and Dawkins looked like a legit slugger. After the match, the Forgotten Sons run out and attack the Street Profits. N/A
Matt Riddle isn’t medically cleared to be at ringside after Kassius Ohno attacked him two weeks ago, but he’ll be cheering on his bro Keith Lee in spirit tonight.
Amsterdam Black cuts an angry promo on Tommaso Ciampa in a smoke-filled room. I like his angry promos a lot better than his stoic ones. He wants to start the fight a few days early at Full Sail next week.
Bianca Belair comes to the ring, and honestly watching men of all ages do her limp-wristed dance makes me think there might be hope for America after all. She cuts a solid promo about her momentum going into her Takeover title match. Shayna Baszler comes out with her buddies and cuts an equally good promo, recognizing that Belair is faster and stronger but claiming she’ll rip off her big strong arms. Belair is kind of the perfect foil for Baszler because she’s all attitude and can no-sell the champs cockiness. She slaps Baszler and gets out of dodge before the MMA Horsewomen can attack.
Dominik Dijakovic def. Adrian Jaoude
Dijakovic won in 4:20 with his fireman’s carry knee strike. Can we get Jaoude and Cezar Bononi as a real tag team? With Heavy Machinery gone I feel like there is room for them. The crowd slept on this but I loved a good clash of styles. Jaoude has the technique advantage, but Dijakovic’s power blocked him and his height made it easy for him to reach the ropes. That’s dope storytelling in a short match. **½
The War Raiders, seemingly from the site of Rowe’s nerdy cosplay wedding to Sarah Logan, hold a Viking funeral for the Undisputed Era’s branded steel chairs. This gimmick doesn’t do it for me, so hopefully the in-ring work will carry their match at Takeover.
Johnny Gargano def. Humberto Carrillo
Gargano won in 4:44 with a slingshot DDT. I’ve been told that Carrillo’s 205 Live debut match was poorly received, but the Full Sail crowd ate up everything he dished out. This wasn’t quite as fun as his tag match against Oney & Danny, but he showed the same good energy here. More importantly, Gargano got to look really competent for a change. After the match he tells Ricochet to show up next week if he wants his respect. **½
Ciampa has heard Black’s challenge, but since he only fights on the largest of stages he won’t be answering that challenge next week. He tells Black to be careful what he wishes for.
Also, Velveteen Dream finally returns next week. It’s about damn time.
Kassius Ohno def. Keith Lee
Ohno won in 8:14 with a rolling elbow after a low blow. It’s a testament to how infrequently NXT matches have crappy finishes that the crowd booed the hell out of this one. A rare ref bump led to the finish of this very slow-paced match. It wasn’t much fun to watch, but it was effective in getting Ohno back to his early-NXT heel ways. Riddle fights off referees to try to get his hands on Ohno, but Ohno escapes. **
This episode was light on in-ring action, though every story going into Takeover moved forward in one way or another. Next week’s go-home show seems like it’ll be a big one, and Takeover looks great so the momentum is going in the right direction.
Tags: NXT, takeover phoenix, WWE, wwe nxt