The Big News: The Authors of Pain will challenge Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly for the NXT Tag Team Championship at TakeOver: Philadelphia.
The Medium News: Ember Moon will defend her NXT Women's Championship against the Queen of Spades, Shayna Baszler at TakeOver.
The Little Beaver-sized News: Just three days before his main event championship match, Johnny Gargano puts his title shot on the line against Velveteen Dream next week.
Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli defeated Heavy Machinery
One of Otis Dozovic's New Year's Resolutions was to marry Mandy Rose. I wonder if Rose is aware of this. This match was set up about a month ago when Sabbatelli parked his Maserati in a spot that was not helpful for Heavy Machinery. Thankfully we have well thought out, intelligent angles.
Sabbatelli used both a dropkick and a running crossbody to Dozovic. Unfortunately for him, neither of those worked, especially the crossbody, as Dozovic caught him and dropped him. Tucker Knight tagged in and used a spinning front face lock, but he allowed Sabbatelli to tag out to his fresh partner. Moss only fared slightly better as Heavy Machinery took back over. They paid tribute to The Bushwhackers and Scotty 2 Hotty, including Dozovic doing the Worm.
Everything was going well for Heavy Machinery until Moss used a schoolboy with his feet on the ropes to pin Knight. This was a seven-minute match where they got 30 seconds of offense, but that last three seconds was all that was important.
The Undisputed Era cut a promo about their respective matches at TakeOver: Philadelphia. Basically, they have made every TakeOver about them and this will be no different.
A video package aired, showing what happened last week with Adam Cole and Aleister Black. While building up their extreme rules match, they showed a bunch of famous ECW clips, including Taz and Bam Bam Bigelow going through the entrance ramp and New Jack diving off the balcony.
Roderick Strong defeated Fabian Aichner
Aichner is the guy who was in the Cruiserweight Classic but has gained 30 pounds of muscle since.
Aichner can still move, which is impressive when you're 230-240 pounds of muscle. He did, however, almost drop Strong on top of his head with a powerslam. Aichner slapped on an abdominal stretch, which always disappoints me when no one does the Mike Rotunda grabbing of the ropes.
Aichner went for a springboard clothesline, but Strong caught him, dropped him with a uranage into a backbreaker, and picked up the submission win with the Strong Hold.
After the match, Strong said last week Lars Sullivan talked about how he has gone through everyone, well Sullivan is a force that Strong wants to destroy.
We had a TM-61 video package. They have been out for a year thanks to injury and now are coming back. They were traced back to being in wrestling school together, becoming closer friends, and ultimately making it to WWE together. They showed footage of them training with Harley Race and trying out at the Performance Center.
Next week is part two.
Lacey Evans defeated Aliyah
There have been a half dozen times the last two years where I've asked “Whatever happened to Aliyah?” and the very next week she's on television. Triple H must be reading my mind and booking the show based off it. I don't believe Evans has been on TV since being in the Mae Young Classic. Her parents named their daughters Stacy, Tracy, Lacey, and Macey (Lacey's real name).
The story of Aliyah is a weird one. Seemingly every match she ever wrestles she performs very well (well, very acceptably) for 80 percent of the match, but that other 20 percent is so atrocious you wonder how she's ever allowed on TV. They tried to get around that by having Evans take the majority of the match, however Aliyah had to do something, so we got her falling on her behind instead of her feet and strikes that missed by three feet that Evans had to sell.
Evans literally won with a punch to the face. Not sure if she meant to, but she appeared to really connect with it.
After the match, Evans asked how could Mr. Regal allow the lowest forms of trash in the NXT women's division. It's time for a proper, sophisticated lady to clean house. She's going to start with classless psychos like Nikki Cross, Ember Moon, or the pathetic Kairi Sane.
Before she could continue, Shayna Baszler walked out and glared her down, which caused Evans to leave. It's okay because Baszler got in the ring and put Aliyah in a rear naked choke. The referee could not break it. Moon waited for her music to start, but she eventually made the save.
Moon dared Baszler to bully her right here, right now. Baszler said she didn't have her gear on, but would do it for Moon's title.
Moon told her to name the place and name the date, telling her not to forget to bring her gear because Moon is going to kick her ass. Baszler yelled back to bring the title to Philadelphia for TakeOver.
After a commercial break, Regal acquiesced to Moon's request and made Moon vs. Baszler for the title at TakeOver.
In walked Zelina Vega, who said everyone knows Johnny Gargano has zero chance of winning at TakeOver. She said Velveteen Dream deserves it more and Gargano should put his title shot on the line in their upcoming match.
Regal said no and Vega said Gargano is a loser and a sham.
Speaking of people who haven't been on the show in forever, No Way Jose is coming back. He'll be on next week's episode.
Gargano came to the ring for a promo. He said he just saw Vega talking to Regal. He knows what everyone is saying behind his back. Everyone doubts his ability to beat Andrade “Cien” Almas. He shouted that he is done being doubted. He is not a broken man or a loser. This is not a fluke, but this is his time and opportunity -- and no one will stop him.
He agreed to put his title shot on the line against Velveteen Dream next week. For the first time in a long time, he knows who he is. He is Johnny Wrestling and he is the next NXT Champion.
Last week, Undisputed Era destroyed SAnitY before they had to defend the Tag Team Championship against them. In theory this should lead to another SAnitY title match, but instead they aren't in the TakeOver title picture.
The Authors of Pain defeated The Street Profits in a number one contender's match
Despite flirting with a babyface turn, Akam and Rezar were definitely the heels in this match, as the fans at Center Stage loved the Street Profits. We did get dueling chants, with the AOP's fans louder and lasting longer.
The Authors got the heat on Montez Ford. Ford, who is not a small man, looked tiny in the arms of Rezar, but he was able to make the hot tag to Angelo Dawkins. Dawkins ran wild on his own and it was looking like it could be the end, but Rezar took Dawkins' head off with a clothesline. We got a Super Collider and a Last Chapter to Ford and that was that.
Ten days from now, Akam and Rezar will try to become the second two-time NXT Tag Team Champions when they challenge Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia.
So, that does it for this week. Thank you all for reading and until next week, remember to say your vitamins and take your prayers!