Preview by Joseph Currier
NXT is kicking off the new year by revealing their year-end award winners for 2019.
Overall Competitor of the Year, Male Competitor of the Year, Female Competitor of the Year, Tag Team of the Year, Breakout Star of the Year, Future Star of the Year, Match of the Year, Rivalry of the Year, and TakeOver of the Year are the categories for the NXT year-end awards.
The teams for the 2020 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic will also be announced tonight. It was revealed two weeks ago that the tournament would be returning in 2020.
This is the fifth Dusty Classic that WWE has held. Samoa Joe & Finn Balor won the inaugural tournament in 2015, The Authors of Pain won it in 2016, The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly) won in 2018, and Aleister Black & Ricochet won last year.
The best TakeOver matches from 2019 will also air on tonight's taped show. Our coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
The show opened with the panel of hosts in a studio. Cathy Kelley is hosting alongside Sam Roberts and Pat McAfee. They threw to what fans voted as third place for NXT Match of the Year -- which was The Street Profits winning the NXT Tag Team Championship at TakeOver XXV in a fatal four way tag team ladder match.
The match from Bridgeport, CT on June 1, 2019 had Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford vs. Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish vs. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs. Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler.
After that match aired, it was time to announce some award winners.
Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish are the NXT Tag Team of the Year. The other nominees in the category were The Street Profits, Grizzled Young Veterans, Viking Raiders, and Marks Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster.
All four members of Undisputed Era came out for a plaque presentation, and they cut a promo after William Regal presented Fish & O'Reilly with their awards.
Adam Cole is the NXT Male Competitor of the Year. Nominees also included WALTER, Johnny Gargano, Velveteen Dream, Tyler Bate and Tommaso Ciampa.
Cole in his acceptance speech said he was the best in all of WWE -- not just NXT -- and he vowed to win the award again in 2020.
Shayna Baszler is the NXT Female Competitor of the Year. Other nominees were Io Shirai, Toni Storm, Kay Lee Ray, Bianca Belair, and Rhea Ripley.
Baszler was flanked by Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke for her acceptance speech. She claimed to be the most dominate women in WWE and vowed to continue being such.
The Overall Competitor of the Year comes down to Cole or Baszler. The winner amongst those two will be revealed later in the show.
Cole vs. Gargano is the NXT Rivalry of the Year. What else could it be after the matches those two had this year? Their rivalry carried NXT throughout the year before the show moved to USA Network. I guess because of that they didn't even announce any other nominees.
Cole and Gargano both came out to accept the award. Gargano said this was his second year to win the award, and it was obvious to him that he gets involved with horrible people. Cole chimed in to note he had won the rivalry.
Gargabo said his biggest regret of the feud was his 77-year-old father not punching Cole in the face. Cole then threatened to punch Gargano in the face. Gargano dared him. Cole scoffed and told him to be professional.
Next up was second place for NXT Match of the Year -- which was the women's War Games match from TakeOver in Chicago on November 23, 2019. The match was joined in progress from the point where Rhea Ripley was entering the cage. The finishing sequence between Ripley and Baszler as even better on my second viewing.
Dakota Kai is the NXT Future Star of the Year. Others nominated include Kushida, Xia Li, Bronson Reed, Tegan Nox, Ilja Dragunov, Isaiah "Swerve" Scott, Taynara, and Cameron Grimes.
Kai in her acceptance speech said she already knew she was a future star. She went on to say everyone that voted for her is just late to the party.
Announced for the upcoming Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic were the eight team entered in the tournament. The teams for the Dusty Classic are divided between the American brand of NXT and NXT UK.
Teams from NXT include Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly), Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake), Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne, and Kushida teaming with a mystery partner. Representing NXT UK are Grizzled Young Veterans (Zach Gibson & James Drake), Gallus (Mark Coffey & Wolfgang), Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner), and Mark Andrews teams with Flash Morgan Webster.
TakeOver: War Games is the NXT TakeOver of the Year. The show took place at the Allstate Arena in Chicago on November 23rd during Survivor Series weekend.
Keith Lee is the NXT Breakout Star of the Year. Also nominated were Damian Priest, Piper Niven, Dominik Dijakovic, Angel Garza, Joe Coffey, Candice LeRae, Matt Riddle, and Rhea Ripley.
Triple H presented Lee with his plaque. Lee thanked the fans and said "you ain't seen nothing yet."
Cole vs. Gargano in a two-out-of-three falls match won NXT Match of the Year. The match where Gargano won the NXT Championship took place at TakeOver: New York on April 5th from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn during WrestleMania weekend.
The MOTY was joined in progress.
Adam Cole is the NXT Overall Competitor of the Year.
Undisputed Era all came out with their various awards for one last promo to close the show. Cole concluded by saying "the era of the Undisputed has just begun."
They all embraced with the group hug before the show closed.