This Week on NXT: 24th January 2018

It’s that time once again my friends. It’s time to check out everyone’s favourite WWE Network show… No not Total Bellas. It’s what happened This Week on NXT! Will there be match of the year candidates, or will there be a bunch of unsatisfying squash matches? There’s only one way to find out, so let’s take a look.

Before we got to the first match, the Velveteen Dream opened the show treating the performance centre like his own personal Holodeck. Purple Smoke and chill music filled the screen while Dream addressed Johnny Gargano, admiring his ambition to be NXT champion. But, Dream stated he had a better chance of winning the belt than Gargano. Either way, a dream will be over. Velveteen Dream is winning me over with wordplay, what is 2018 right now?

No Way Jose vs Cezar Bononi

Jose was finally back on our screens. Unfortunately, while the match itself wasn’t bad it appeared rather slow and dragged all the way to the finish. Even though it was less than five minutes, it still felt longer than it needed to be. While I understand the need to build Jose back up from his hiatus, I’m really not looking forward to another long wait until something tangible is given for him to show his value in NXT. By the way, to the fans who started chanting “CM Punk” during the match… Seriously? I’m glad you got booed back into your seats.

WINNER: No Way Jose

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Bianca Belair vs Latoya 

A squash match on NXT? I’ve never seen this before. Why isn’t every match less than five minutes?

I will say that Bianca did manage to show off some decent moves, reversing a headscissors into a backbreaker certainly caught my attention. Bianca came across as disrespectful and brutish in her actions, all of it culminating in the use of her hair to echo the slap around the room and ending it with a reverse powerbomb. Latoya may have just been a jobber, but she managed to get the crowd on her side for a split second when you could hear “Let’s go Jobber”. A unique squash match, but nothing that leaves it as memorable.

WINNER: Bianca Belair

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Meanwhile…

– Shayna Baszler & Ember Moon took part in an interview with Percy Watson, Ember called Shayna a bully and claimed she was overcompensating. Baszler responded stating that her actions were to lure Ember out as her championship is the real goal. There was a back and forth about the value of honour and pride it takes to be the champion. Baszler ended proceedings by stating she doesn’t care if people want to know how she got to where she is, only that she’s here to stay right now.

– TM61 talked about the injury that set the course of the depressing chain of events that led to their hiatus. They stated that they’re going to prove their worth once again. Seeing this video package fills me with the hope that they will bounce back, hopefully, they’re given good opponents next week instead of another *shudder* squash match.

Authors of Pain vs Jobber

God f***ing damn it. Another one?! If you want to be technical, this wasn’t a match at all as it never actually got started. This lead into a promo with AOP addressing Undisputed Era… in their native tongue. One quick combined powerbomb and then we’re done. We’re just zooming through this episode this week apparently.

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Johnny Gargano vs The Velveteen Dream

Now here’s something I’ve been looking forward to all week. The crowd was absolutely hot for it and anticipating one hell of a fight. Velveteen continued to talk trash, which is why it became satisfying whenever Johnny managed to shut his mouth. Velveteen continued to beat down on Gargano, repeatedly saying that the opportunity should be his. The dream was successful in both playing mind games with his opponent but also messing with crowd expectations. Teasing them with a high-risk move then denying the spectacle in favour of a further beat down definitely gave him some heel credibility.

The one up game continued as Gargano and Dream impressed with move after move. They seemingly threw everything they had at one another. Each move could’ve been the end for Johnny, but through sheer force of will he managed to stay in it and fight his heart out. Finally, after all the hardship that Johnny had faced, Johnny managed to defeat Dream with the Gargano Escape and secure his shot at the NXT Championship.

WINNER: Johnny Gargano

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The celebration was interrupted by Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas & Zelina Vega. Andrade made his position clear as he held aloft the NXT championship, but Johnny was ready for the possible ambush and managed to gain the advantage before Andrade could deal a deciding blow. Andrade gained control and showed everyone why he’s the champion, tossing Gargano aside. Gargano hit the over the top rope DDT and held the NXT championship in his hands. Will we see this prophecy come true? The build to this match is phenomenal and I certainly cannot wait until NXT Takeover.