We start NXT the way every WWE show should start in my humble opinion: with the Velveteen Dream. We are all wondering why the Dream isn’t on the Takeover: Phoenix card. Dream was cutting a solid promo about wanting the North American Championship, before being rudely interrupted by Adam Cole (BAY BAY.) Cole and Fish say that it is the Undisputed Era’s year, and that soon they will have gold around their waist. It was a solid yet short exchange. I would love to see Dream and Cole, start a feud (granted I would rather see it on the big stage, but NXT would do.) Both are (pun intended) gold on the mic and in the ring. This little glimpse had a lot of chemistry, and it was a good start to the show. RAW should take note, you can kick the show off with a promo, just make it strong, short and sweet!
We get a nice hype video for Belair vs Baszler. I still don’t buy Belair as a face, the big bubble blow she did, and bragging about being undefeated screams heel promo.
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch vs Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel
Before we even start, did Marcel Barthel steal Finn Balor’s jacket grab schtick? I bet someone on the main roster cuts that one out real fast. Also, Danny Burch was matching Aichner/Barthel, who didn’t share their wardrobe plans. But I digress. I was excited about this match when I saw the preview earlier, all four competitors are great and certainly deserve the TV time. It was a physical affair with a lot of great spots. All hell broke loose in the middle, as this match all four ended up brawling as Lorcan had a One-Legged Crab locked in. Once the dust settled Lorcan won it for his team with a roll-up. It was a great evenly matched affair. Full Sail got a great exhibition of Tag Team Wrestling, if only the rest of the WWE got it.
Looks like we get Velveteen Dream vs Bobby Fish as our main event tonight, what a tease!
A preview of Aleister Black vs Tommaso Ciampa is next. These two love standing in a room and talking to a camera, but damn I can’t wait for them to meet in the ring!
We go from Men’s tag team to Women’s tag team!
Io Shirai and Kairi Sane vs. Tanea Brooks and Amber Nova
In the ring waiting was Tanea Brooks and Amber Nova, as they were waiting for their inevitable loss to Io Shirai and Kairi Sane. WWE should just call these two up for the Women’s Tag Team match. It’ll work, I promise! Lots of great tag team moves by Shirai and Sane in what was a display of what Women’s Tag Team action should be.
That said, remember the names Amber Nova and Tanea Brooks. You may have recognized Brooks as ‘Rebel’ from Impact. Amber Nova also had a run with Impact! as well. I have seen her wrestle across Orlando with a few indies down here. Both ladies will make a splash with the NXT women’s division, so don’t take their jobbing tonight lightly.
We get a clip of Kairi and Io celebrating backstage, they’re excited to win. Shafir and Duke come by and make an awful joke to Kairi about sending her to “sea.” I think they need more mic practice at the Performance Center.
Velveteen Dream vs Bobby Fish
I’ll keep barking up this tree, but I just can’t wait to see the Dream’s entrance at a Wrestlemania. I have read a lot of criticism about Bobby Fish, how he is the lesser member of Undisputed Era. It was nice to see the Infamous one get this ‘main event’ opportunity against the Dream to show off his solo skills. Fish showed why he was one of Ring of Honor’s top stars with some great mix of physical and technical wrestling, while Dream continued to display his unique style. Definitely was a good show of differences in style, which is always great. Velveteen hit his Purple Rainmaker, but Fish put him into a knee-bar almost immediately. Dream sold the hell out of it, and Cole held the rope away so dream couldn’t grab it, which led to a ref dispute. Dream ended up winning with the Dream Valley Driver and the Purple Rainmaker in what was a great match by both. All three of the men involved in this match showing why they should be on the Takeover card. I think Dream and Cole are shoe-ins for surprise entrants in the Rumble, but Fish definitely made his mark today and isn’t just a side show of the Undisputed Era.
Looks like I was right, next week we get Street Profits vs. Forgotten Sons during the “Takeover Phoenix Hangover” episode, however looks like we are also getting Sane/Shirai vs Duke/Shafir as well. NXT continues to give us tag team action.
Time for the faceoff between Ricochet and Johnny Gargano! Ricochet said Gargano’s name to more boos than cheers. ‘The One and Only’ tells us that Gargano showed us his true colors last week, and that he showed everyone his colors by winning the North American Championship. Ricochet is getting better on the mic week by week, however, he got cut off by Gargano, who immediately started brawling. When Ricochet threw Gargano out of the ring, Ciampa came in for the save as the crowd chanted ‘DIY.’ Gargano beat down Ricochet as Ciampa stood in the ring clapping and smiling, to which Aleister Black came in to stop. Gargano then came in for the save. Gargano and Ciampa left their foes laid out, as they walked out very tentatively together. The crowd chanted ‘hug it out’ while they stared each other down, luckily Candice came in for the save. I’m loving this Gargano and Ciampa tease, and I have a theory on it, but I will share in my NXT Takeover: Phoenix Preview.
That’s all for this Wednesday night, next week I’ll have a full review of Takeover: Phoenix.
Until then, follow me on twitter @TJoftheJK for all my fun insight this Royal Rumble weekend.