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Photo Credit: World Wrestling Entertainment

NXTakeAways: Recap and Review (19 February)

It was the fallout episode after an excellent NXT TakeOver: Portland this past Sunday.The direction for many storylines will need to be decided as feuds will need to build towards TakeOver: Tampa Bay. How deep will Johnny Gargano drift towards the dark side? Who is Raquel González and what are her intentions? Where do winners like Balor, Ripley, Lee, and Cole go from here? Let’s see what questions were answered tonight in Full Sail.

Here is a recap and reactions to this week’s episode of NXT.


Fast-Count Results

Jordan Devlin d. Lio Rush to retain the NXT Cruiserweight Championship

The Grizzled Young Veterans d. Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde

The BroserWeights d. Oney Lorcan & Danny Birch

Keith Lee d. Kona Reeves

Chelsea Green d. Kayden Carter

The Velveteen Dream d. Roderick Strong


Rundown

Lio Rush vs Jordan Devlin

Devlin holds his first Cruiserweight title defense on weekly NXT programming against Rush. The match was a showcase of the high tempo and high flying offense you’d expect from the 11 feet of fury inside the ring.

Devlin displays some nice heel work, consistently getting into it with the in-ring official at every turn, while slowing down both the match and Rush. 

The Full Sale crowd was firmly behind Rush, who nearly had the match won with the Come-up but Devlin was able to get his foot on the rope to break up the count. A quick head butt and a Devlin-side allowed the Irishman to retain his title. 

TakeAway: A great match to open the night. Keeping the belt on Devlin was the right call and the visual pinfall for Rush keeps him looking strong. 


Dakota Kai and Raquel González Promo

González gives an explanation for her surprise interference at TakeOver: Portland. She says she was tired of being over-looked at the Performance Centre while others got their opportunity. Kai re-affirms their partnership as she has proven to have her back. Before the segment is over, NXT General Manager William Regal interjects himself into the conversation. Regal says there will be no more outside interference and to ensure that, he sets up a Steel Cage match between Kai and Nox in two weeks time. 

TakeAways: While the explanation for the run in was a little weak, the escalation to a steel cage match is the ideal next step for this feud. Kai vs Nox could have been my TakeOver match of the night if not for the finish and I can’t wait to see where these two go from here. 


Austin Theory/Tomasso Ciampa

Austin Theory comes out for a match against an unnamed opponent, but before his music can finish, Tommaso Ciampa walks to the ring and grabs a mic. 

Theory steps up to Ciampa, but “The Blackheart” warns him, ‘not tonight, I’m telling you, not tonight.’ He tells the Full Sail crowd that he was so consumed by his quest to regain his title, that he took his eye off his surroundings. Theory tries to interject himself but is quickly laid out by Ciampa. This devolves into Tommaso up beating down the hotshot prospect and leaving the ring. 

TakeAways: I really like this. The segment was a smart way to set up a feud between Ciampa and Theory and delay the inevitable Gargano match. Theory will be able to show his chops with an in-ring veteran as Ciampa starts his war path towards Gargano. 


Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde vs The Grizzled Young Veterans

The feuding 205 live stars team-up to “catch some of that Bro-serweight magic” and take on the team that Riddle and Dunne defeated on their way to the Dusty Rhodes Championship, The Grizzled Young Veterans. Gibson and Drake show off their tag-team chemistry and control the majority of the match. Outside of a hot tag to Mendoza, the GYV take care of business with the Ticket to Mayhem and get the win. 

TakeAways: The crowd was notably indifferent to this match, but it was a decent TV contest to start the GYV’s momentum towards a future tag-team title shot. 


BroserWeights vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Birch

Riddle and Dunne’s first match as NXT Tag Team Champions progressed at a much slower pace than most of their matches to get here. This was a submission-heavy contest against the British strong-style duo, featuring several arm bars, single-leg crabs, and cross faces between the bells. However, it was the hard-hitting offense of the BroserWeights which prevailed. The hybrid knee/Bitter-End (called the Riddle-End apparently) takes care of business in a decent match. 

TakeAways: There was a 0% chance that Riddle & Dunne were ever going to lose this one. This was exactly what was needed until NXT finds another feud to stick these two into. 


Keith Lee vs Kona Reeves

Before Lee can address the crowd, a pissed off Kona Reeves storms out to confront him. As Reeves grabs a mic he is blasted by Lee who tells the ref he can “ring the bell.” A Big Bang Catastrophe puts him away in three seconds. This was all a prelude to Dominic Dijakovic storming out and saying he’s not ready to put this past him. He says he would have beaten Lee had his back not given out in Portland. Lee calls out his excuses for what they are and tells Dijakovic to convince Regal for a rematch. 

TakeAways: An alright segment. Lee vs Dijakovic has been done a lot, but with no ready-made feud there’s nothing wrong with extending it a little longer. 


Kayden Carter vs Chelsea Green

Robert Stone introduces Green who is looking to kick her losing streak on NXT. Carter comes out quickly against the much taller Green, almost getting the win with the same roll-up she used last week. Green takes control and heels it up, constantly pulling and standing on Carter’s hair. Randomly however, Bianca Belair cuts off the match with a mic saying she’s gonna kick Charlotte Flair’s ass for laying her hands on her. Once the match resumes, Robert Stone interferes while the ref isn’t looking, which allows Green to hit Carter with the Un-prettier for the win. 

TakeAways: The decision to interrupt this match and still have the interference was a weird call. This did nothing for Chelsea Green or Kayden Carter but make them an afterthought in their own match. 


Roderick Strong vs The Velveteen Dream

A challenge by Dream at the start of the show goaded Roderick Strong to “man up” and challenge him without The Undisputed Era at ringside. Dream uses this to his advantage as he spends the better part of the match antagonizing Strong in his typical flamboyant fashion. Strong is eventually able to thumb the eye of Dream and start laying in chops and strikes to the returning star. 

The intensity picks up on the top rope as Dream tries to go for a Dream Valley Driver, but is countered into a back body drop by Strong on the ropes. Roderick turns his attention to Dream’s recovering back with the Boston Crab, but Velveteen crawls to the ropes for the save. The two begin to slug it out in the middle of the ring which allows Dream to hit another Dream Valley Driver and expose a pair of tights featuring Strong’s wife on them. The remaining members of Undisputed Era come out but a top rope dive by Dream deals with them. He hits Strong with a third Driver and picks up the win. 

The victory celebration is cut short as the UE members beat him down in the middle of the ring to end the show. 

TakeAways: This was decent match but lacked some of the viciousness that a feud that has been billed as “deeply personal” should have. Obviously, a build is necessary and these two can’t blow their load in round one, but I expected better. Having Dream win clean, with interference by The Undisputed Era was a bold choice since it made Strong’s name feel like a bit of an oxymoron, but we’ll see where the feud builds from here.