Now that we have the post-TakeOver recap episode, we are back at the high bar that NXT has set. This was a breezy episode with two fantastic matches, let’s get into it!
Velveteen Dream (C) def. Buddy Murphy to retain the NXT North American Championship.
The show kicked off with Velveteen Dream vs Buddy Murphy for the NXT North American Championship, which was set up in a video by Dream after Buddy lost at Mania. When this match was announced last week, I could not wait. I knew this would be a barn burner. This match was absolutely fantastic and I wouldn’t expect anything less from two of the best wrestlers in the world. Both men being fairly even throughout, nobody really dominated this match. Dream and Murphy sold every move like death and it really made this feel like an even battle between two guys on the same level. This was a TakeOver-level match and it was on weekly TV which just shows the level that NXT is on. The match came to an end when Murphy hit a brutal powerbomb but only got a 2 count. Murphy sold the frustration extremely well and Dream took advantage with a kind of a famouser through the ropes. He then hit a Dream Valley Driver, a Purple Rainmaker and got the 3 count to retain his North American Championship.
If you didn’t watch this weeks edition of NXT I urge you to check it out, even if it’s only for this one match. Loved this from bell-to-bell.
Undisputed Era silences Johnny Champion.
Then we had new NXT Champion Johnny Gargano make his return to Full Sail University since winning that Championship at TakeOver: New York. He came out to a loud “Johnny Champion” and “you deserve it” chants. He also talked about his five year journey in NXT. He mentions being told no at his first NXT tryout and says, “this is what happens when you refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer”. He is then interrupted by Adam Cole, Fish, and O’Reilly, no Roderick Strong. Cole then talks about how he won the first fall and if it was any other match, he’d be champion. Cole and Gargano went back and forth for a bit and Johnny challenged him to come down to the ring. So the three members of Undisputed Era start to come down to the ring, and Johnny is blindsided by the missing member of UE, Roderick Strong. The beat down would conclude with Cole hitting a Superkick, and holding the NXT Championship. It was also revealed in a backstage segment that Gargano will face Strong next week, which Cole looked conflicted about.
This was an extremely solid segment as you’d expect from these two and I’m glad to see this story continuing!
Dominik Dijakovic def. Aaron Rye.
Next up we had a squash match with Dominik destroying Aaron Rye in minutes, not much to say about the match. Afterwards he called out Velveteen Dream, and is feasting his eyes on the North American Championship. Not much to say about this really, because nothing really happened in the match. I think he could have a decent match with Dream and while Dream is also tall I think Dominik is taller so it could be a underdog type of match for Dream. It is also nice that Velveteen Dream has a definite #1 contender, it’s straight forward and I like the simplicity of the story.
Shayna Baszler (C) def. Kairi Sane to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.
Then we had our main event and if new SmackDown superstar Kairi Sane lost, she wouldn’t get another shot at the NXT Women’s Championship. The winner of this match was kind of written on the wall with Sane’s call-up. This was a good match, but it was weird because Kairi dominated most of the match. It really seemed like they wanted to book her strong in her last match in NXT before she is sent to SmackDown. Sane even hit a InSane Elbow on to Baszler’s back near the end of the match, and Shayna sold the injury when going for a top rope move. At one point near the end Sane went for a running elbow on the outside and Shayna moved over so Sane ran her elbow into the rail. Shayna took advantage and targeted the damaged elbow of the Pirate Princess. She was about to go for one stomp on the bent elbow of Sane, but Io Shirai had enough and ran down to the ring. She shoved Shayna off Sane, of course causing Kairi Sane to lose via disqualification. Then Shafir and Duke held Shirai back and forced her to watch as Shayna continue her attack on Kairi’s injured arm. I think with Sane being called up to SmackDown without Shirai most likely means a singles title run for her in NXT, which I can’t wait for.
This was a fantastic episode of NXT and it always blows my mind how much they can fit into an hour of television. Dream vs Murphy and Sane vs Shayna were both fantastic matches, and I really enjoyed the Adam Cole vs Johnny Gargano segment.