WWE NXT Review: Episode 488

January 23, 2019 – Winter Park, Florida

Velveteen Dream comes out to put out a challenge for the North American Championship. Adam Cole & Bobby Fish come out to say that the Undisputed Era is taking all the gold in NXT, starting with the tag team titles at Takeover this weekend. Dream teases Fish for essentially being Cole’s employee, so Fish tries to attack. Dream embarrasses both guys and hits the bricks. This was fun, if a little strange to start as an angle so close to Takeover when it most certainly won’t lead to a match on the show.

Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan def. Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel
Lorcan pinned Aichner in 4:50 with a schoolboy. Lorcan and Burch are hands down the most fun wrestling act to watch today. The way they’re able to pack so much into matches under five minutes is just insane. Now you have this match, plus their matches against the Mighty as well as Humberto Carrillo & Raul Mendoza as evidence that these two need to be at the top of this division. I cannot wait for the rumored big match they’re planning on taping with these guys during Royal Rumble Axxess. As a footnote I should mention that the European Union more than held up their end of the bargain here. ***½

Io Shirai & Kairi Sane def. Amber Nova & Tanea Brooks
Sane pinned Brooks in 3:16 after she and Shirai hit assisted versions of both of their finishers. Mauro Ranallo compares Sane & Shirai to the Jumping Bomb Angels, and I’m just hoping that means they get a real push as a team. They certainly squashed the hell out of their opponents as if that’s the case. After the match, Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir threaten Sane & Shirai. N/A

The Velveteen Dream def. Bobby Fish
Dream won in 8:29 with the Purple Rainmaker. This was Dream’s first match on TV since November 18. His selling here was on another level, really making pulling me and making me want to see him gut it out and win. A bit of fun cheating from Cole on the outside added a bit more drama to the match as well. They’ve gotta get Dream back in the mix on TV. Maybe they’ll do Dream vs. Cole on the Takeover pre-show. ***½

Speaking of the Takeover pre-show, after last week’s attacks the Street Profits are going for revenge against the Forgotten Sons in a match that will air next week. Also on next week’s show we’ll get Shirai & Sane vs. Duke & Shafir. I believe the average post-Takeover episode has three matches on it, so there’s still hope for Cole vs. Dream.

Ricochet comes to the ring to tear down Johnny Gargano for sneak attacking him. Gargano comes out and says that this isn’t 2018 so he isn’t going to let Ricochet use his emotions against him and force him to rush the ring. Then he rushes the ring. Tommaso Ciampa runs out and attacks Ricochet from behind. Amsterdam Black runs out to attack Ciampa, but Gargano superkicks Black. Gargano and Ciampa hit stereo finishers on their Takeover opponents and then cautiously walk up the ramp together. Ciampa asks for a handshake but Candice LeRae runs out to stop Gargano from reuniting with Ciampa. Wrestling will never be better than this angle.

This was a fantastic episode that did a great job hyping almost all of the matches for Takeover, plus the matches for next week’s TV. That’s not to mention the two excellent-but-short matches that are well worth checking out.

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