NXT TAG-TEAM TITLE MATCH: THE UNDISPUTED ERA (BOBBY FISH & KYLE O’REILLY) (c) vs. THE AUTHORS OF PAIN (AKAM & REZAR) w/ PAUL ELLERING
Good Booking: The Undisputed Era retains.
The Undisputed Era retaining the title is the right way to go for this one. They have just started their NXT run on top and rightfully should be there for a lengthy amount of time before a worthy and more importantly, ready team rises. Making the win a result of craftiness on the part of O’Reilly as well was a nice touch. The Authors of Pain have long since been ready to make the jump to the main roster where they will bolster whichever brand’s tag-team division. Maybe attacking a fallen tag-team at the Royal Rumble to make a statement would be a fitting debut on the main roster.
KASSIUS OHNO vs. VELVETEEN DREAM
Good Booking: The contest is not 30 seconds long.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. As much of a shock as Velveteen Dream knocking out the Knockout Artist would have been or vice versa, Kassius Ohno and Velveteen Dream rightfully should have had their time to tell a story.
Good Booking: Velveteen Dream gets the win he deserves.
Velveteen Dream finally gets the win after a string of losses. Though this may not have been on par with his matches against Aleister Black and Johnny Gargano, the match was still a solid showing for the young NXT star. The slip ups could be attributed to the size difference, but as noted by many, Dream’s ring poise and Ohno’s experience enabled both to move forward and deliver a decent match.
NXT WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH: EMBER MOON (c) vs. SHAYNA BASZLER
Good Booking: Ember Moon barely retains.
Ember Moon needed to retain the title tonight. But they also needed to create the narrative that Shayna Baszler was a dangerous woman. Creative accomplished both with Baszler maiming Moon, but Moon resourcefully rolling up Baszler. Baszler as the top heel in the division will make for nice feuds with Moon, Kairi Sane, Nikki Cross, and Candice LeRae.
EXTREME RULES: ADAM COLE vs. ALEISTER BLACK
Good Booking: Aleister Black wins.
Adam Cole is more known world-wide and has a higher name power than Aleister Black. Essentially, he could lose the match and no one would bat an eye. Aleister Black, however, needed to win this match in order to continue to build his star power. Whether or not he gets his run with the NXT title or not remains to be seen. But if Creative continues this type of booking, he might not need the title in order to find his way onto the main roster.
Good Booking: SAnitY makes their presence felt.
And just like that, SAnitY reenters the title picture. Their interference to neutralize Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly made more sense than The Authors of Pain coming out and instantly allows for more personalized promo work between The Undisputed Era and Eric Young.
NXT TITLE MATCH: ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS w/ ZELINA VEGA (c) vs. JOHNNY GARGANO
Good Booking: Everything.
Johnny Gargano has been a part of some fantastic matches in NXT. Andrade “Cien” Almas always had the ability and potential to put on the types of performances that have the crowd screaming. This was that match. Skipping the “This is awesome!” chants, the crowd instead opted to go for “Fight forever!” for this match. Every false finish only served to heighten the drama. Throw in Candice LeRae neutralizing Zelina Vega and the ending of the match became unpredictable. NXT’s male roster is as stacked as it’s been in recent years where it would be alright if one or two significant players were to get the call-up, but with the stories going on, NXT should have this full roster until after Wrestlemania.
Good Booking: Tommaso Ciampa
And just like that, Gargano’s feud with Ciampa continues. Ciampa may not be back this week, but with his reintroduction, it’s clear that the endgame for these two will culminate in what should be a candidate for feud of the year. There’s so much storytelling to do with this feud and one can count on this to get personal real quick.
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