NXT 2018 Year-End Awards
The NXT team kicked off the 1st Takeover event of 2019 by announcing the year-end awards for 2018. Fans have been voting on these awards via twitter for the last few weeks. here are your winners:
TakeOver of the Year: TakeOver:New Orleans
Future Star of NXT: Io Shirai
Tag Team of the Year: Undisputed Era
Match of the Year: Andrade vs Johnny Gargano- NXT Championship Match (TakeOver:Philadelphia)
Female Competitor of the Year: Kairi Sane
Breakout Star of the Year: Ricochet
Male Competitor of the Year: Tommaso Ciampa
Rivalry of the Year: Ciampa vs Gargano
Overall Competitor of the Year: Kairi Sane
NXT Tag Team Championships: Undisputed Era(c) (Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly) vs War Raiders
We start with a dramatic Viking entrance for the War Raiders. Strong and O’Reilly made their usual entrance accompanied by Bobby Fish.
Undisputed Era attacks first, tossing Hanson out of the ring and isolating Rowe for some double team action, but he quickly fights back and the Raiders take over the match. Strong and O’Reilly use quick tags in and out and double team moves to give themselves an edge over the much larger Hanson. Rowe gets the tag and kills UE’s momentum though.
Hanson goes for a suicide dive, but his intended target moves out of the way and leaves him crashing. Rowe stays strong inside the ring, but eventually the numbers game gets the better of him. UE now has Rowe isolated near their corner so that they can continue to take turns working him.
Hanson is back to his corner and desperate to get tagged in, but the champions are doing everything possible to prevent that from happening. They can’t stop the big man forever though, and he eventually comes into the match on fire. Eventually all four men are in the ring trading big moves on each other until the Raiders are able to score a near fall.
The big Vikings have the clear strength and power advantage, but the champs are nothing if not resilient. They even score a coupld of near falls of their own before the Raiders comeback. Rowe hits a bodyslam/powerbomb combo on both members of UE. This removes Strong and allows the big men to hit their double team finisher on O’Reilly for the victory.
Winners and New NXT Tag Team Champions: War Raiders
The match was just as good as one would expect from these two teams. The crowd was so into it that two thirds of the way in they were chanting “fight forever.” The Era have been great champions, but if the War Raiders didn’t win tonight it would have sucked the life out of their momentum and potential.
UK Champions Pete Dunne and Toni Storm are shown in the audience. Hopefully both will get to be surprise entrants in their respective Rumble matches tomorrow night.
Matt Riddle vs Kassius Ohno
As with their previous encounters, Riddle takes advantage early, but Ohno doesn’t go down as quickly this time. An aggressive and heelish Ohno is using any trick he can up to and including stomping on Riddle’s bare feet. Riddle comes back with a series of tough kicks, but Ohno grabs his foot and BITES IT! What?!
Ohno misses a discus elbow but connects with a big boot. He follows up with a senton, tries for a second senton but gets caught in a choke hold by Riddle. Ohno manages to roll to the ropes for the break. It’s a brief reprieve though as Ohno eventually taps during a series of brutal elbow strikes.
Winner: Matt Riddle
Riddle is now 3-0 against Ohno. Hopefully this was the end of their feud and both men can now move on.
Velveteen Dream is shown getting out of a limo with a pair of ladies on his arms.
NXT North American Championship: Ricochet(c) vs Johnny Gargano
Fast and fluid back and forth action starts the match. Even though Gargano’s character is the clear heel right now, the NXT fans still respect his talent regardless. They’re hot for both men and loving every moment of this beautiful dance of a battle.
Unfortunately, my feed froze and I missed some of the action, but I’ll do my best to jump back in.
We’re at a bit of a reset moment with both men trading fists in the middle of the ring. Ricochet comes out of the exchange in control of the match and hits several impressive moves on his opponent. they’re only enough for a near fall though.
Gargano hits a powerbomb and transitions into a crossface, but the champ won’t tap. Ricochet sends Johnny out of the ring and then Air Ricochet takes flight. Both men climb the turn buckle and battle for control, stopping each other from hitting big moves. Eventually, Gargano seemingly succeeds at a hurricanrana, but Ricochet flips in air and lands on his feet!
Fast back and forth action ends in a Gargano Escape, but somehow Ricochet powers out of it and tosses his foe into the corner. Ricochet climbs the turnbuckle, but before he can take flight again Johnny rolls away from the landing zone. Gargano gets out of the ring to avoid the champ, but Ricochet flies over the ropes and hits him outside. Back inside, a 450 splash gets the champ another near fall. he climbs again and goes for a shooting star press, but Johnny gets his knees up and rolls the champ into a near fall of his own.
Ricochet is on the outside now. Gargano tries a suicide dive but gets caught. However before the champ can do anything else with him, Gargano pulls off a reverse rana and follows it inside the ring with a spring board spike ddt. It;s still not enough for the victory though.
Gargano is frustrated now and peeling back the mats from the concrete floor. Just before dropping the champ on the exposed floor he has second thoughts and goes back inside the ring where he quickly gets rolled up for a 2 count. Ricochet misses a another top rope move, Gargano hits a superkick, Ricochet locks in a Gargano Escape, Gargano escapes the hold.
No second thoughts now as Gargano follows through on dropping the champ onto the exposed concrete floor. On his way back in, Gargano hits another spring board ddt and goes for the pin.
Winner and New North American Champion: Johnny Gargano
Amazing match. I’m going to need to watch this one again later. It was that good. In many ways, I’m surprised they took the belt off of Ricochet already. That said, I’m not sure where else they would have gone with Gargano had he not finally won some gold. Not counting rematches with Ricochet, I predict Velveteen Dream will be Johnny’s next big opponent and it will be amazing.
NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler(c) vs Bianca Belair
I missed the start of the match due to another freeze up (annoying), but I came in just in time to see Baszler use belair’s hair against her by pulling her into the ring post. Back in the ring, the champ is brutally maintaining control of the match. Bianca appears to be in over her head and not quite ready for the champ, but she remains resilient.
Baszler gets in Bianca’s face and calls her over-rated, but that fires up the challenger to slap her foe and try to make a comeback. Shayna is too tough to keep down for long though, especially when the challenger has already been weakened by all of the early damage she suffered.
Belair gets in a hair whip that’s so hard it actually breaks open Baszler’s skin! When Bianca tries to follow up, Shayna pushes her into the ref and they continue fighting. Belair manages to hit her finisher, but the ref is still down and can’t make the count. Belair starts freaking out, but then Marina Shaffir and Jessamyne Duke hit the ring. Bianca Takes out both women, but it buys the champ enough time to recover and lock in her submission. Belair’s strength allows her to fight out of the hold, but another distraction from Shayna’s friends allows the champ to lock in the hold a second time. Bianca fights her way to her feet again, but doesn’t last too long before eventually passing out.
Winner and still NXT Women’s Champion: Shayna Baszler
As I predicted, Belair was nowhere near ready to dethrone the champion, however she gained respect even in defeat by fighting so hard for so long. I’m not sure who is going to take the title off of Baszler, but Belair took a big step in her growth towards holding the gold eventually.
Velveteen Dream and his escorts are shown in the audience awaiting the NXT Title match. Perhaps he’s skipping over the North American title and going after the top title again instead.
NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa(c) vs Aleister Black
The former and current champ are fairly evenly matched both physically and mentally as they trade blows and play mind games with one another.
The champ tosses Black into the ringsteps and injures his knee. He follows up by suplexing Black into the same steps for further damage. Back inside the ring Ciampa is focusing on the injured knee to wear down the challenger. Still in control, Ciampa uses the ring post and the Spanish announce table to do further damage to Black’s knee.
Black fights his way back into the ring, but almost immediately falls prey to another attack of the injured knee. After a period spent suffering in the tree of woe, Black somehow comes up with some offense that takes both men tumbling to the floor.
Back in the ring, Black does his best to find his second wind and mount a lasting fight. He hits a couple of good kicks with his better leg followed by a German suplex for a nearfall. The weak knee betrays the challenger though and he finds himself in a single leg crab.
Black tries to do something from the top but instead suffers a Tower of London on the apron. Back in the middle of the ring Black hits a knee strike but Ciampa answers with one of his own. Both men now trading fists and boots.
Black hits a moonsault to outside from the 2nd rope, but on the way back in he slips in some water that was spilled ringside earlier in the match. Ciampa seizes the moment to his Fairy Tale Ending finisher, but it’s only good enough for a 2 count.
Much like his former partner Gargano did earlier in the night, Ciampa now pulls back the ringside padding to expose the concrete floor. While the champ is busy arguing with the referee though, Black hits him on the exposed floor. Black follows up insinde the ring with a Black Mass kick, but it’s only good for two and half.
Both men stagger back to their feet. Black tries for another Black mass, but Ciampa pulls the ref in front of himself. A quick series of exchanges end with another Fairy Tale Ending, but it’s STILL not enough for the pin. A frustrated Ciampa hits a 3rd and a 4th Fairy tale Ending to finally keep Black down for the count.
Winner and still NXT Champion: Tommaso Ciampa
A hard fought match that hopefully finishes Black’s business in NXT so that he can make his main roster debut during the Rumble tomorrow.
After the match, while Ciampa is celebrating on the stage, Gargano walks out with his newly won North American Title. The show ends with both former members of DIY standing side by side holding their titles in the air.
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