Wednesday, Feb. 20th
*Aleister Black over Roderick Strong in 8:25
*Mia Yim over Xia Li in 3:55
*Velveteen Dream over Johnny Gargano to win the North American title at 20:41
-It was announced during the show that the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament will return in two-weeks. The quarter-finals and semi-finals were taped Wednesday night at Full Sail University. They only announced half the teams with Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish, The Street Profits, Fabian Aicher & Marcel Barthel, and The Forgotten Sons. The winners of the tournament will face War Raiders at TakeOver in Brooklyn.
-The lion’s share of the show was dedicated to the main event with Velveteen Dream defeating Johnny Gargano to win the North American championship. They went over 20 minutes with the audience picking up for the final five minutes as the near falls became dramatic with the idea Dream could win the title. The attempted to be clever by filming two separate finishes so those in attendance that night were unsure who won, with the ending of Dreaming hitting two Dream Valley Drivers and a Purple Rainmaker being the finish that ran. I wouldn’t put this near the top of Gargano’s list of big matches in NXT, but it was one of Dream’s best matches he has had.
-The story coming out of it is that Tommaso Ciampa offered his help, Gargano refused and lost the title in his first defense. This was taped weeks back, before the call ups, so they will try and make sense of this in the weeks to come stemming from Wednesday’s latest set of tapings. If you’re a viewer of Raw, SmackDown, and NXT, this made no sense this week as they were buddies on Monday and Tuesday and enemies on Wednesday.
-Aleister Black and Roderick Strong had a strong opening match on the show. Strong took 90% of the match after dropping Black back first onto the steps outside. Strong worked over Black’s back for the rest of the match with a wide range of attacks to the back. Out of nowhere, Black landed on his feet and hit Black Mass to win. It was a finish designed to accentuate and make his finisher even stronger with the notion that no matter how beaten down he is, he is one Black Mass away from a victory and it can come at any time. This was like Diamond Dallas Page with the Diamond Cutter.
-The Undisputed Era ran down to attack Black, who was saved by Ricochet and those two will be teaming together on NXT.
-Mia Yim defeated Xia Li in a short match. Yim’s finisher is now called Protect Yo Neck instead of Soul Food. Li has a lot of raw skills but is still green, but the potential is evident. Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke attacked Yim after the match with other trainees coming to assist Yim. Baszler took out Yim with a running knee and the bullies stood tall.
-Jeremy Borash had a rare on-camera appearance as he interviewed Matt Riddle. He asked him about his clothing decisions and whether he should dress more professionally. Riddle said it’s better to be told to “tone down” than to “tone up”. He added that Kassius Ohno was “ruining my good time” and is after all the titles in NXT. Being in NXT is going to be a good thing in the long run for Riddle as I don’t know how he’d be taken on the main roster off the bat. He has top star potential and acclimating him within the NXT system was a smart move.
-There were two very good matches on the show and those were the highlights of the show. Next week’s show will feature Shayna Baszler vs. Mia Yim and the announcement of the other teams in the Dusty Rhodes tournament. This is going to be an interesting show to watch over the next six weeks and how they book the call ups so it’s logical on NXT.