The Black and Gold brand was brought to you this week from Bel Air, Maryland, as we got a little change of pace from Full Sail! Nigel and Mauro remind us that we will be seeing KUSHIDA vs Drew Gulak in a submission match, as well as Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch in Tag Team action against Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong.
Candice LeRae and Io Shirai vs. Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir
Io was still selling her shoulder injury from her match at Takeover, so Candice took this opportunity to show off what she has to offer in the NXT Women’s Division. This match, for being the first of two tag matches of the night, actually impressed me. I’m probably going to get some heat for this one, but Duke and Shafir are certainly getting better in the ring, and this match was an outstanding showcase for them!
Shayna stayed on the stage and watched the match, so I think we all knew that this one wasn’t going to end cleanly. Io got Duke on the ground and stomped her elbow, just like Baszler has done to countless women on the roster, including Io’s friend Kairi Sane.
Naturally, Baszler couldn’t just look on as this happened, so she came down to the ring and rescued Duke before she received a moonsault. Candice hit a suicide dive as this match broke down, and was eventually thrown out by the referee. Io and Shayna fought into the crowd, while Candice fended off Duke and Shafir on the stage. This feud looks like it is far from over!
Velveteen Dream on one of his signature cell phone videos, where he reminds us all that the spotlight needs to remain on him, and not the North American Championship.
We got a hype video for the former Punishment Martinez, Damien Priest. He will be debuting next week. I’m interested in seeing how WWE uses him, as he certainly fits the big and athletic mold that the main roster loves, there just isn’t room for him right now.
KUSHIDA vs. Drew Gulak
I cannot tell you the last time I saw a submission match, so I was thrilled when this was announced. Paired with the fact we get another chance for Drew Gulak to showcase his abilities, we knew this one would be a fun one to watch.
Gulak started the match off very slow, similar to their last match. Slowing the pace down allowed him to utilize a lot of creative submission holds. He even pulled out a Gory Especial (think a Gory Bomb mixed with an abdominal stretch.) This pace didn’t last long though.
KUSHIDA kicked it into another gear, and we next had a fast paced submission match with a LOT of mat wrestling. The last act was very reminiscent of a Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit submission match from the early 2000’s. KUSHIDA was able to get the victory with the Hoverboard Lock, and offered a handshake to Gulak, to which Drew obliged.
Quick video outside of the Performance Center of Vanessa Borne and Aliyah, as they are disgusted that Mia Yim is in contention for the NXT Women’s title match. It was a long, drawn out, promo, that will eventually lead to another 2nd tier feud in the NXT Women’s division. Not sure where this leaves Belair at the moment, but we will have to wait and see.
Next up is a clip of the Battle Royale, and NXT/205Live Superstar Mansoor emerging victorious. I truly think this was a huge win, not only for the local fans, but for NXT/205Live. It was a surprise for sure, and while some say it was pandering to the live crowd, I think it was a personal notch to the Network brands!
Oney Locan and Danny Burch vs. The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong)
This match was a carryover from the ladder match at Takeover. As many would predict knowing the combatants, it was a hard hitting matchup. Strong and O’Reilly kept Lorcan in the ring for most of the match, as he certainly took a beating. Of course, in WWE when we have a great match on TV, it usually doesn’t have a clean ending. Jaxson Ryker emerged from the stage and distracted the entire match, but Danny Burch capitalized on the distraction to roll up Strong for the victory. The Undisputed Era did not look thrilled with this distraction, as NXT abruptly went off the air.
KUSHIDA and Drew Gulak for sure. They once again put together a quality match on NXT TV. A unique submission match displayed the outstanding talents that both of these men have, these two stood out as my match of the night. I am partially hoping that they get another round against each other, however after that handshake it appears their feud is done.
That’s all for this week. Keep up to date with me on Twitter @TJoftheJK