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Tonight's episode sees Johnny Gargano put his #1 contendership to the NXT Championship on the line against the man whose spot he took in the tournament, Velveteen Dream. We'll also see women's division action and more as we head into NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia.
WWE NXT (@WWENXT) January 24, 2018
- The show opens with Velveteen Dream who calls for lights and ambiance as the light cut, smooth electronica plays, and purple haze (yes I went there) emits from the ground. Dream says that Gargano dreams of becoming the NXT Champion, and he doesn't doubt Gargano can do it...but not now. When there's a choice of Gargano or Dream, Gargano's dream will be over.
- As we're officially welcomed to the show, we head straight to the ring for a return.
No Way Jose vs. Cezar Bononi
Jose gets a nice response from the crowd and is the epitome of a show opening performer in the best way possible. He'll take on the brutish Brazilian in a big test upon his return. Jose gets a headlock in, reversed via hair grab, and reversed again. Rope sequence has Jose leapfrog Cezar and hits a big shoulder tackle. Jose adds to his offense with an arm drag after an atomic drop. Bononi switches gears and uses his MMA background to his advantage as strikes reign down. Pumphandle power slam for a two count. Bononi maintains contact with a submission. Whips Jose to the corner and telegraphs a drop to which Jose hits a swinging neck breaker. Jose counters another minor attack. Jose winds up for the pitch. He pops up Bononi for the pitching punch for the KO and the win.
Winner via Pinfall: No Way Jose
- We'll see a face to face exclusive interview between the competitors for the NXT Women's Championship, Shayna Baszler and Ember Moon.
Luscious Latasha (Latoya) vs. Bianca Belair
The EST of NXT establishes dominance early against the veteran with a slam. Latoya goes for a roll-up but Bianca holds on to the ropes and sends her on her way. Big shoulder tackle mows her over. Latoya goes for a head scissors but Belair stops it and turns it into a back breaker. Latoya tries to mount a comeback with a pair of kicks but gets leveled by a forearm. Belair with an interesting submission and turns it into a full Nelson slam of sorts. Latoya with an enziguri after dodging a charge to the corner. She heads up top but gets whipped by Belair's elongated braid. Belair gets Latoya up in a power bomb position, but throws her backwards face first for the pin.
Winner via Pinfall: Bianca Belair
- Percy Watson interviews Ember Moon and Shayna Baszler with some ominous background music. Moon says she is standing up to her friends who Baszler has been bullying. When asked why she's here, Shayna says you have to stir water to catch fish, and Moon is the biggest fish in the NXT pond. When asked about what Baszler would want the NXT Universe to know about her, she says that she doesn't care what they think about her, and they'll have to get used to it.
- Part two of the story of TM61. They point out that not only is it a Pokemon thing, it is also a missile. Thorne says in a singles match with Roderick Strong, he injured his left knee on a landing of a stomp. They continued on to the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Classic. In some story canon, they say that The Revival finally did enough damage in order for Thorne to take time off and repair the knee. You see their struggles with promos, connecting to the audience, but also see their quirky and fun loving personalities. They'll return to the ring next week.
Authors of Pain vs. Two Unnamed Unfortunate Souls
The bell never rings before AOP unleash their destruction on the aforementioned pair of unfortunate souls. Dual death valley drivers into the corner followed by a short loud promo. Super collider power bombs end the job so to speak. They gloat as the look forward to Saturday.
Johnny Gargano vs. Velveteen Dream--#1 Contender's Match
Nice touch as Dream is wearing a Johnny Wrestling shirt. Crowd loves them some Johnny and some Velveteen. Atmosphere is hot even before we start. Bell rings and some nice mat wrestling gets us started. The dueling crowd chants still ring loud even a couple minutes into the match. The larger Dream with more leverage as Gargano harnesses more compact power. Dream takes the first exchange and gloats a bit. Gargano hits a surprise GargaNo Escape but Dream quickly makes the rope. Johnny Wrestling is all business as we go to break.
We're back and Dream takes over. Whip reversed by Gargano sending Dream to the ropes, but he grabs the ropes on the outside for safety. Gargano kicks him to the outside where his head pops the announce table. Cannonball senton by Johnny. He rolls Dream back in and goes for the slingshot spear but gets caught with a draping spinning neck breaker. Dream now firmly in control and trash talking along the way. He works over the head and neck area of Gargano. Johnny reverses another neck breaker attempt into a slow forming backslide for a two. Gargano unceremoniously dumped outside the ring and Dream has time to collect himself. Dream heads up top but just hops down to heel the crowd beautifully. Dream drops Gargano neck first on the barricade outside. Dream comes back in to break an eight count, but gives just enough time for Gargano to start a comeback with an onslaught of chops. The bigger Dream simply picks up Gargano for a side slam on the apron as we go to another break.
Hello again and Gargano is on fire. Chops, shoulder tackles, forearms, and more. He scales the ropes for a face buster of sorts. Gargano gets halted by Dream on the next go round. Roll up attempted and reversed by Dream. Super kick from Dream connects but Gargano rebounds for a big clothesline. Slow cover but only gets a two. Death valley driver countered. Gargano reversed. Dream hits his new reverse Sister Abigail and Johnny kicks out. Gargano sends Dream outside and hits a suicide dive. Gargano scales the ropes, but Dream hops up as well just in time to hit the ropes to knock Johnny off his perch. Dream looks to hit a second rope death valley driver and it connects. One, two, NOPE! Dream noting the left arm hurt early in the match and goes for the Purple Rain Maker Elbow with the right arm. The hesitation allows Gargano to get the knees up. Johnny hits a super kick and locks in the GargaNo Escape. Dream taps fairly quickly. Great match.
Winner via Submission: Johnny Gargano
- As Gargano celebrates, the NXT Champion's music hits and he and Vega make their way to the ringside area. Almas comes in, holds the title up in the air, and goes for a sucker punch. Johnny blocks initially but Almas eventually gets the best of a beaten down Gargano. He and Vega stand tall for the moment. Gargano climbs back in with his never say die attitude and hits a kick and slingshot DDT. Gargano takes a view of the title belt as Vega screams in disbelief. The crowd chants "you deserve it" even before the bell rings on the match on Saturday.