Welcome one and all to the first installment of February for the NXT Spotlight here at TJRWrestling. We are back in Full Sail this week as Phoenix is officially in our rearview mirror. On last week’s recap show, they had two matches between Forgotten Sons and Street Profits, which Forgotten Sons won, and then Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir vs. Kairi Sane and Io Sharai, which Sane and Sharai won. This week we get a rematch of sorts on that second match, as we add Bianca Belair and Shayna Baszler to the mix to have a six-woman tag match for our main event. Also in NXT news, Velveteen Dream won the Worlds Collide tournament, so he will get a title shot of his choosing on the NXT Brand. Lots of unanswered questions coming out of Takeover, so let’s see if we get some answers tonight.
Johnny Wrestling, Johnny Takeover, Johnny Champion
Our show starts with the new North American Champion, Johnny Gargano making his way to the ring. Johnny Champion signs litter the crowd in Full Sail. There’s a few thumbs down in the crowd but sounds more of a favorable reaction than not. Loud “Johnny Champion” chants after his music cuts off, but a few “Johnny Sucks” chants in between. Johnny says the chant has a nice ring to it. It feels so great to be standing in the ring as North American Champion. For years, we’ve all been on this journey in NXT. “You deserve it” chants start and Johnny says they’re right. WE deserve it. WE were validated when he won the title. He is our North American Champion and he is proud to say Johnny Wrestling is back.
Cue up Tommaso Ciampa’s music and here comes the NXT Champion. He says he’s not here to take away Johnny’s moment, he’s here to celebrate it. At Takeover, Johnny showed the world what he already know. Johnny knows how to listen and he followed The Champ’s lead. They stand there with their titles and now they own the world. This is everything they talked about and the dream they shared while going up and down the roads. The final image at Takeover, with them standing side by side with all the gold, that showed the world that this is their moment. “DIY” chants start up.
Johnny says no. There is no, “our moment”. The only reason Johnny came out at the end of Takeover is to show him that he will never need Tommaso Ciampa. Now cue up Velveteen Dream’s music to a big reaction. Dream goes to the stage and says this is all cute, DIY being champions. Tonight is not about thier moment though. It’s not about Gollum with his precious Goldie, and it’s not about Johnny Badass in the ring. No, it’s about the moment that stole Takeover and the man that stole it by just simply showing up. That’s him. Let’s also not forget that while they were finishing up their fairy tale ending, Dream was winning the Worlds Collide tournament. Which means he gets an NXT Title match of his choosing.
Ciampa gets in Dream’s face and Dream tells him to back up. He sees the look and lust in Ciampa’s eyes for The Dream. He wants to share the spotlight with The Dream one more time? Well The Dream is over. That means he doesn’t want Ciampa. Dream walks into the ring and says he wants Gargano. Gargano says since Dream is so preoccupied with himself, let him remind Dream of something. While Dream was in the crowd, Johnny was putting on another match of the year while winning the North American Title. Then the next night, he represented NXT and the NXT Universe by being in the Royal Rumble. So he’s feeling a little dangerous, and if Dream wants a shot at him, take it. But he wins. Dream says the question everyone wants answered is when they’re face to face, will The Dream be face to face with Johnny Champion or Johnny Jackass? Johnny slowly makes his way out of the ring and then goes to stand by Ciampa. Ciampa shakes his head and walks off.
K-Tank’s Take: Great promo from all three participants. Some people will wonder why Dream would want Gargano instead of Ciampa since Ciampa’s title is the higher prestige, but I just choose to look at it from an complete overview and realize that Gargano has to lose his title to get to where we’re ultimately headed with he and Ciampa. Plus with Dream being as over as he is, arguably the most popular act in NXT, this legitimizes a new title with someone seeking it out.
Jaxson Ryker vs. Mansoor
Ryker with a strong axhandle smash to the chest and then a big knee to the jaw of Mansoor. He sets up Mansoor in the Tree of Woe and clubs away at his chest. Mansoor with an elbow in the corner and then tries jumping off the second rope, but Ryker destroys him with a spear in midair. Ryker with a sitout Chokeslam and that’s it.
Winner: Jaxson Ryker
Post match, Ryker grabs Monsoor and hits him with the sitout Chokeslam one more time.
K-Tank’s Take: Glad to see Forgotten Sons continue to get established. Apparently Ryker has given up the slingshot powerbomb for his finisher, but this new one looked strong.
Post match, we go backstage to Cathy Kelley, who’s waiting on Ricochet to get done with a photo shoot. The Undisputed Era interrupt her and say that Ricochet is just a one trick pony. Ricochet walks up and hears that comment and questions Adam Cole on it. Cole says that Ricochet is in the back of the line for the North American Title. Just like he told Dream, that title has Adam Cole’s name written all over it. Ricochet says he beat Cole for that title, but he wants to know who is more deserving of a title shot, how about Cole goes one on one with Ricochet next week to find out. Cole says he looks forward to it as The Era walks away. Ricochet says it doesn’t matter who he has to go through because as soon as he sees an opportunity, he’s coming back for his title.
We find out that the North American Title match between Gargano and Dream has been made official for two weeks from now.
Drew Gulak vs. Eric Bugenhagen
Bugenhagen is doing what Heath Slater could never do and be a true one man band. Air guitar and drums on the way to the ring and hitting some high notes for the hell of it. He even throws a guitar pick! Air keyboards on the ropes! Best entrance ever. Let’s just go ahead and say it. The crowd is legitmately giving him a standing ovation and asking for an encore. Amazing.
Gulak is not a fan. But he charges Bugenhagen and gets a front body takedown for his efforts. Bugenhagen with a solo vocal and Gulak dropkicks him right in the face. Now Gulak is really mad and all over Bugenhagen in the corner. He bodyslams him into the ropes. Gulak with a chop and then rams Bugenhagen’s head into the turnbuckles. Snap suplex by Gulak for a one count. Side headlock by Gulak but Bugenhagen gets out and then a shoulder into the midsection in the corner. Gulak tries an abdominal stretch but Bugenhagen reverses it. Bugenhagen says he wants to rock and plays air guitar on Gulak’s ribs. Greatness. Gulak escapes and hits a Northern Lights Suplex. He follows that with a Saito suplex and then then he hooks the Gu-Lock and Bugenhagen’s set has been cut short.
Winner: Drew Gulak
Post match, Gulak gets a mic and says he wrestles around the world representing 205 Live. He’s the best submission specialist in the world. He comes to NXT and this is what they give him?! He’s never been more disrespected in his life. They feed him Ben Stiller from Dodgeball?! If there’s anyone that wants to step in the ring with him, come out now and get stretched. BROOOOOO. Here comes Matt Riddle. Riddle says everyone in NXT sets the bar day in and day out. So how about Gulak gets out of the ring, gets out of NXT, or else he’ll come to the ring and just tap Gulak out of NXT. Gulak tells Riddle to take his flip flops off and come make his day. Riddle says he’s chosen wisely and makes his way to the ring.
K-Tank’s Take: Eric Bugenhagen is the hero we all needed. Vince is already planning on how to ruin his career much like Adam Rose and No Way Jose, but for now, let’s just all enjoy this tremendous encore that the NXT Universe demanded.
Matt Riddle vs. Drew Gulak
Both men get caught in the ropes to start but get a clean break. Riddle goes for a single leg takedown but Gulak is able to fight him off. Riddle tries an armbar but Gulak reverses it into a leg submission. Riddle powers Gulak up and drops him with a front slam. Riddle tries for the arm bar again but Gulak once again escapes. Great chain wrestling between these two. Gulak with a chicken wing but Riddle sweeps the leg and gets a one count. Gulak does the same, gets the same result and we’re back to start.
Test of strength into a side headlock takedown by Riddles, but Gulak turns that into a headscissors. Riddle escapes and then kicks Gulak right in the chest and hits a senton splash. Gulak in the corner and Riddle hits a running forearm. Riddle goes for another one but Gulak stops him cold with a front dropkick. Gulak hits a second one and then starts to tie Riddle’s arms up and has a crossface on. Riddle turns it into a pinning predictament but Gulak turns it right back into a side headlock. Gulak shot into the ropes but drops Riddle with a shoulder tackle. One count and then a hiptoss for another one count. Gulak with a seated surfboard with his knee buried deep in the spine of Riddle. Now he bearhugs the arms behind Riddle’s back while bending the fingers on one of Riddle’s hands the wrong way.
Riddle escapes but gets caught with a snap suplex. Gulak right back to the arm submission. Riddle escapes and comes back with some palm strikes and then a cradle suplex. Loud kicks to the chest of Gulak but Gulak catches one and turns it into a dragonscrew. Gulak rolls to the apron but gets caught in a sleeper hold as Riddle pulls him over the top rope. Riddle then turns it into a bridging German suplex for a pin but Gulak turns it quickly into a Fujiwara armbar. Riddle escapes and both men start trading hard shots. Gulak ducks a kick and tries to roll up Riddle but Riddle ends up deadlifting Gulak into a powerbomb! Riddle with a dead shot knee to the face for a two count. Good near fall there. Riddle immediately with his elbows to the side of Gulak’s head and then locks on the Bro-Mission, which forces Gulak to finally tap out.
Winner: Matt Riddle
Post match, Gulak and Riddle draw back to their Evolve days and do the Catchpoint handshake. Cool moment.
K-Tank’s Take: Man, this was one hell of a physical battle. I LOVED this match. I don’t watch 205 Live, but I do know how good Gulak is, and so it was great to see him decicated so much time on this week’s episode to remind us of what he can do. He and Riddle have history on the indies as I mentioned their Evolve days, so I’m sure they were thrilled to be able to do this. This gets the K-Tank’s “Go see this match!” seal of approval.
Bianca Belair, Kairi Sane & Io Sharai vs. Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, & Marina Shafir
About 10 minutes to go as the bell rings. Lots of “EST” signs in the crowd and Bianca gets a great reaction. Great ring attire for Bianca as she is celebrating Black History Month with many of the pioneers that are celebrated during February. Bianca and Shayna start out the match. Shayna immediately goes for the arm she injured at Takeover, which has some kinetic tape on it. Bianca reverses the attack though and goes after Shayna’s arm. Bianca shows off some athleticism and Shayna just casually decides to tag in Shafir. Shafir still wearing a nose guard. Bianca with a dropkick and now Duke comes in. Duke gets dropped with a Glam Slam and now Kairi is tagged in. Bianca gorilla presses Sane up and drops her as Sane comes down with her elbow drop for a two count. Cool double team.
Duke manages to get up and plows Kairi back into her corner as Shafir tags back in. Kairi with hard slaps as Shafir asks for it at first, but then covers up rather quickly. Io comes in and helps Kairi double team Shafir for a moment and then Kairi locks on a front face lock. Shafir overpowers her and gets her up on the top turnbuckle. Kairi with a headbutt and thinks about the In-Sane elbow, but Shayna distracts her and then Shafir pulls Kairi off the top. Shayna gets tagged and goes for a pin but Kairi kicks out.
Shayna teases the opposite corner as she steps on Kairi’s ankle. She sends Kairi back in her corner and takes in Duke. Duke with a knee to the midsection and then a forearm to the back. She sends Kairi into the ropes stomach first and hits a kick to the spine. Now Shafir tags back in and bodyslams Kairi. Shayna with a quick tag and kicks Kairi hard in the midsection. Shayna with a forearm to the spine of Kairi and then hooks a standing half crab before just stomping on Kairi’s head.
Shafir tags back in and goes for a pin but Kairi kicks out. Shafir with a standing dragon sleeper. Kairi escapes and then hits a jawjacker, but Duke prevents a tag from happening. Kairi ends up dumping Duke to the floor and Io finally makes the hot tag. She takes out Shayna with a dropkick and then hits both Shayna and Shafir with a running double knees in the corner. 619 on Shayna. Follows that by keeping Duke out of the ring and then hitting Shayna with a springboard dropkick. She tags back in Kairi who hits an awesome In-Sane elbow but Shafir breaks up the pin. Bianca tags back in and prevents Shayna from tagging out. She takes out Shayna’s partners and then lands the KOD on Shayna, but Duke and Shafir recover to break up the pin.
Io low bridges Duke and Shafir over the top rope and then Kairi comes off the top rope and dives on both of them to the floor. Meanwhile, Io tags in now and she hits her moonsault for the three count.
Winners: Io Sharai, Kairi Sane, & Bianca Belair
Post match, Bianca looks a little annoyed that Io got the victory, but raises her partners arms in victory. That ends our show.
K-Tank’s Take: I don’t feel like Duke and Shafir are picking up to this as quickly as Baszler and Rousey have. That’s not really a knock on them because it’s rare for someone to be as good this quick as Baszler and Rousey have. But it’is noticeable the difference in ring ability when they’re in the ring. I liked the not so subtle reactions from Bianca after the match. She’s a babyface now, but she still only has one goal since she’s undefeated and she does not want Io to get in the way of that. I still think Bianca will be the one to defeat Baszler, but this should be interesting to follow.
That’s it for this week. As this episode has shown us, we’re in for some HUGE matches the next two weeks. So until then, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… but if you do, name it after me!