It’s Wednesday, which means its time for the Black and Gold Brand.
Street Profits vs. The Metro Brothers
We kicked the night off with our black solo cup and the Street Profits. I love how Nigel called out that the Street Profits are the Evolve Tag Team Champions, I feel like the cross promotion between WWE and Evolve isn’t brought up enough (if at all). After last weeks promo, I was really excited for some great Tag Team Wrestling here in NXT. The Profits jumped right into it and kicked the show off with energy like they always do. It was a quick match, but it got all the Profits’ spots in as they got an easy win.
Last week’s promo they clearly forgot to name a tag team (I did too.) The Forgotten Sons came out while the Street Profits were celebrating among the crowd for a major beatdown. The crowd chanted “we forgot you” – which apparently everyone did. They even said to Montez “you won’t forget us now.” This more than likely will set up a match between the Street Profits and the Forgotten Sons that will air the week after Takeover. It will be nice to see the Street Profits in front of a big crowd if that does happen, I think they have put in some great work both in ring and with their promos in random spots in Orlando. The Forgotten Sons, well, I think they are just going to be forgotten.
Matt Riddle is backstage, sadly he is not medically cleared so he will not be ringside with Keith Lee. Something tells me he might be cleared by Takeover though…
We go from the backstage Bro to the dark shadows with a promo from Aleister Black. He challenged Ciampa to meet him next week on NXT. This promo, while not particularly one of Black’s best, screamed 90’s Undertaker. Black has a lot of potential, I don’t see him winning at Takeover, I do see him being a surprise in the Rumble.
Bianca Belair came out to cut an in-ring promo to an “undefeated” chant. She was trying really hard to be a baby-face. I really just don’t see it. It wasn’t a memorable promo, and thankfully she was interrupted by Shayna Baszler and company. While Shayna isn’t really the best on the mic either, she still ran circles around Belair. Shayna ended by saying she would change Bianca’s vocabulary from “Undefeated” to “Overrated.” It ended with Belair slapping Baszler and dodging the sloppy attacks from Duke and Shafir.
Dominik Dijakovic vs. Adrian Jaoude
It’s about time for Dijakovic to get rolling with WWE/NXT. It was only a matter of time after Dijakovic won Ring of Honor’s Top Prospect tournament in 2015 that he would be in a WWE ring. Out of the 6 Top Prospect Tournaments in Ring of Honor, 4 of the winners now find themselves in WWE (Mike Kanellis, Hanson, and Lio Rush are the others.)
I was completely expecting Dijakovic to come out and annihilate Adrian Jaoude. In fact, I was shocked to see a jobber getting an entrance. Surprisingly, we got a decent match, a little sloppy at times, but decent. It was a slow paced MMA-style up until the end. Dijakovic finished with the big boot, followed by Feast Your Eyes.
I am interested to see where Dijakovic goes from here. He’s a big dude, and I was surprised by the reaction (or lack thereof) he got. Yes, he already made a TV appearance – including a match under his real name as a jobber for Ricochet – but a lot of the Indy Stars have gotten big pops at Full Sail. We will see when he gets his first feud. I am thinking where they were pushing his more as a fighter that he might get locked up with Matt Riddle sooner rather than later, and I wouldn’t hate that.
Got a fun promo from the War Raiders, they started a nice bonfire with the Undisputed Era’s chairs. At first it looked like the videos WWE’s social media was posting of Rowe and Sarah Logan’s Wedding last week. Maybe steel chair bonfires are a Viking Wedding tradition?
Johnny Gargano vs. Humberto Carrillo
Here come’s Johnny Gargano, out to a mixed reaction as he has been the past few weeks. Funny that Humberto made his 205 Live debut the night before, and is right back in NXT. Decent Cruiserweight style match, seeing Gargano once again using both babyface and heel tactics. Gargano finished off Carrillo with a Lawn Dart and a slingshot DDT. As he said after last week’s promo, all that matters is wins and losses and this is a W for Gargano. Before exiting he grabbed a camera man and called out Ricochet, saying if he respects him, he will meet him next week.
Gargano is doing a great job playing the middle (I hate the term tweener). Fans are all torn. The commentary team is torn. I am loving it. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg for Johnny Wrestling, and I think 2019 might be his year on top. (I have a theory, but I’ll save that for my Takeover preview next week.)
Ciampa backstage cutting a promo answering Aleister’s promo from earlier tonight. He declined Aleister’s invitation to meet him next week. Instead, he plugged that he is a top star, and top stars only appear for the big fights, so we will have to wait until Takeover.
Once again, we get this wonderful Velveteen Dream promo recapping his last couple years. He’ll be back next week. I am hoping that he inserts himself into a match at Takeover. He had one of the best matches in each Takeover in 2018, so it would be a damn shame to leave him out of the first of 2019. I am hopeful he’ll be a surprise entrant in the Rumble, but I wan’t BOTH.
Kassius Ohno vs Keith Lee
Slower match with two big boys. Definitely not their best match physically, however it did tell a good story, which is often forgotten. With each boot to the face, Kassius felt more frustration as Keith rolled right back up grimacing! Kassius has been playing the whiney heel really well. Both stars looked gassed. Ohno won with a low blow and the Knockout Elbow. Matt Riddle interrupted the celebration running to the ring in a shirt/tie/pants/flip-flop combo.
I was kind of disappointed in the match though. I might be in the minority, however I was looking forward to the match all week. Having seen Keith Lee in the past and knowing what he can do, I was expecting him and Ohno to put together some magic.
Follow TJ on Twitter at @TJoftheJK