WWE NXT Recap (1/3): "Year In Review" Episode, Journeys Of Moon And Gargano, Up And Coming Stars

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Tonight's special two hour episode takes a look back at NXT's biggest moments of 2017. We'll see previously unseen footage, highlights from some of the best matches, and find out the recipients of the 2017 Year-End Awards.

- NXT General Manager Mr. William Regal welcomes us to the show. He says we'll see exclusive matches, never before seen footage, and more as we review NXT's 2017.

- Kayla Braxton and Mike Rome are our hosts for the evening. They announce the year-end awards will be revealed at NXT TakeOver: Philly. Tonight, we'll see a previously unseen match that pitted then NXT Champ Drew McIntyre against Adam Cole, with Shawn Michaels as special guest referee.

- We take a look at highlights from Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode in the match that brought the "Glorious" era to NXT. We also see some of the rematch in which Roode retained the title. Some cool alternate angles and camera shots are shown. We also get to see Nakamura's full NXT journey on his way to the main roster.

- Drew McIntyre's NXT on-camera debut is shown right as he signed with the company. We get a quick career retrospect as well as his path to the NXT Championship before getting injured and dropping the title to current champion Andrade "Cien" Almas. Up next, we'll see the match that brought the gold home to Scotland.

- We go back to the first TakeOver of the year where DIY (Gargano and Ciampa) take on the Authors of Pain. A great "David vs. Goliath" match in which the giants won this time. Nice to see they didn't even bother to edit the "Holy S***" chants from the crowd.

- Highlights from NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III where Drew McIntyre squared off with then NXT Champion Bobby Roode for the strap. He got a culturally appropriate welcome with a legion of bagpipes. Loving the alternate angles of the entrances and matches. Roode hits two Glorious DDT's, but McIntyre pops out of the third to hit the Claymoore to obtain his first WWE gold in years. This night is also where we saw the debut of The Undisputed Era, compromised of Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly, and Bobby Fish.

- Video package for Adam Cole and the rest of Undisputed Era. We'll see the Cole vs. McIntyre match later. Footage is shown of Fish and O'Reilly winning the tag titles just two weeks ago from then champs SAnitY.

- As we look ahead to 2018, we're shown some of the tag teams to watch for the upcoming year. They include Fish/O'Reilly, Street Profits, Tino/Moss, Heavy Machinery, and TM-61. The Aussies will be returning to action in two weeks.

- Recap of what I thought was one of NXT's feuds of the year, Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Dream. Their rivalry culminated at TakeOver WarGames where, although in a losing effort, Dream got Black to "say his name." In my opinion, this match was a solid display of overall sports entertainment. Character work, variations in styles, beautiful story told. The crowd was into the match the entire way, which always helps the quality of the presentation. The closing sequence saw both men go shot for shot. Aleister hits the Black Mass for the final blow.

- Video of Andrade "Cien" Almas' business associate, Zelina Vega, being introduced to the fray and helping him to the NXT Championship over Drew McIntyre.

- Up next, the never before seen match of then NXT Champ Drew McIntyre with a challenge from Adam Cole with Shawn Michaels as special guest referee.

Adam Cole vs. Drew McIntyre

We join the match part of the way through with Fish and O'Reilly causing havoc in assistance of their leader. Michaels hilariously throws them out to a big pop and we have a true one-on-one match...for the moment. Cole argues the decision with his older brother. McIntyre goes on a flurry capped off by a very vertical back body drop. McIntyre stomping a mud hole in Cole in the corner and shoves zebra Shawn out of the way, in which the HOFer takes exception to. Cole takes advantage of the mini distraction and ducks out of the way of a charging McIntyre as we go to break.

We're back and they reverse each others' reversals. McIntyre able to hit a very impressive deadlift power bomb for a near fall. Cole spits on the champion, and receives a headbutt in return for the disrespect. Avalanche Celtic Cross from the top rope by Drew. Cover but Cole gets a foot on the rope and Michaels recognizes it and calls it down the middle. Cole hits a shot to the thigh out of nowhere and hits a pair of Shining Wizards for a near fall. Cole goes to make a complaint about the official's count. The crowd calls for "Sweet Chin Music" and Cole is the one to oblige by striking up the band. McIntyre blocks it to hit the Future Shock DDT for a two count. In the midst of discussion, Cole accidentally hits a super kick on Michaels. He eventually comes to and makes the count, but then Undisputed Era cohorts reappear to to slide Michaels out of the ring to prevent the three. Order is somewhat restored and Michaels does not seem extremely happy. He hits O'Reilly with SCM. Cole tries to deliver one of his own, but gets intercepted by McIntyre who gets a double underhook swing into another Future Shock. He finishes the job with the Claymoore.

Winner via Pin Fall: Drew McIntyre

- We see the eventual title loss to Almas and the impending injury to McIntyre. He will still be out for a few more months.

- Zelena Vega narrates a video package of Johnny Gargano winning the number one contendership, where they confronted him right after the match. She has been the perfect addition to the Almas character. They will face off for the title at TakeOver Philly. We'll get Gargano's thoughts in an exclusive interview later tonight.

- Great video package highlighting the NXT run of the undefeated Asuka.

- Vignettes for the women of 2018, including Peyton Royce, Billie Kay, Lacey Evans, Kairi Sane, Bianca Belair, Vanessa Borne, Shayna Baszler, Nikki Cross, and NXT Women's Champion Ember Moon. We see footage of her title defense where Sane came out for a better look, only to be taken out by the Queen of Spades. Baszler makes her NXT in-ring debut next week.

- Video recap of the first WarGames match on WWE soil in over 20 years. AOP w/ Strong, SAnitY, and Undisputed Era quite literally went to war during this spectacle of a match. I thought Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain really shined in this match, while Undisputed Era showed their cunning. There were a few bumps, bruises, and cuts, but Undisputed Era came out the victors.

- After footage of the DIY split, we get the Ciampa promo after he was hurt, running down the lack of "special" he got from the DIY experience. After their loss at TakeOver Chicago, Ciampa snapped and took out his former best friend. One of the better tag team splits I've seen in quite some time.

- Recap of the fatal four-way from last week to determine the new number one contender. Gargano, Sullivan, Dain, and Black went at it in hard hitting match which saw Johnny Wrestling overcome the odds to begin his redemption story.

- Aleister Black will take on Adam Cole at TakeOver Philly.

- Interview with Johnny Gargano. He says 2017 started off on a high note as they were champions and were voted 2016 match of the year. He wants to forget the past and go at on his own, but memories kept being brought up that led to somewhat of a demise. Gargano says all you need is one opportunity, and he ceased it by becoming the new number one contender. He will complete his reboot by defeating Almas and says 2018 will be the best year of his life.

- Breaking news in regards to the NXT Year-End Awards. Categories include TakeOver, Match, and Tag Team of the Year. Also Male and Female Competitor of the year as well as Breakout Star and Future Star of the year. All in all, it comes down to Superstar of the Year.

- Interview with Ember Moon. The three fingers she shows in her pose stand for skill, honor, and heart. She's shown giving a heartfelt promo at a Performance Center All-Access. Family members are interviewed and they talk about how Moon fell in love with the sport by watching it as a young girl. She reveals she snuck off to train at Booker T's Reality of Wrestling in Houston, which was a five hour drive from her home. She reveals several tryouts where she was turned down. She then took to the independent circuit to make a name for herself. She was part of a group of signees including Sonya Deville, TM61, and more. She also talks about how she came up with the name "Ember Moon" and her eventual debut at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn II. We then move to her rivalry with Asuka and her eventual title win and where she wants to take the championship.

Thank you for making 2017 a great year at WINC for NXT. I look forward to hanging out with you all in 2018!


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