WWE NXT aired on Wednesday, December 5 2018.
Match 1: Matt Riddle vs. Punishment Martinez Summary: Both men traded offence in the early stages, with Matt Riddle locking in a sleeper hold and the debuting Punishment Martinez slamming him back-first onto the mat. Martinez took out Riddle with a clubbing clothesline but the former UFC fighter took control again with a huge kick to his opponent’s head. Riddle then locked in the Bromission to make Martinez submit. Following the match, Kassius Ohno appeared on the stage and sent Riddle flying with a heavy right hand to the face.
Verdict: Every match that Riddle has is must-watch. That summary could have been 3x as long because so many little things happened in this relatively short match that made it feel so much more meaningful than it really was. Great performances from both men. Good storyline development at the end. This is well worth a watch.
Match 2: Humberto Carrillo & Raul Mendoza vs. The Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake w/Jaxson Ryker) Summary: The high-flying Humberto Carrillo and Raul Mendoza were having everything their own way before Wesley Blake caught Mendoza in the corner and launched him onto Carrillo’s back. Both teams traded back-and-forth offence, with Carrillo and Martinez using acrobatics to their advantage and The Forgotten Sons connecting with several strong strikes. In the end, Cutler hit a stomp on Carrillo to get the win for his team.
Verdict: The never-ending conveyor belt of NXT tag-team talent keeps on rolling. These teams are still new to NXT but, even at this early stage, neither of them would look out of place challenging for the tag titles. The Forgotten Sons picked up the victory but Carrillo and Mendoza were particularly impressive.
Match 3: Dakota Kai vs. Shayna Baszler (w/Marina Shafir & Jessamyn Duke) Summary: Dakota Kai began well by connecting with a couple of strong kicks. However, as is usually the case with Shayna Baszler, the NXT Women’s champion soon took control and started to target the arm of the New Zealander. Kai rallied with another series of kicks in the middle of the ring, followed by two more into the corner, but Baszler dodged a third attempt before twice hitting her opponent in the jaw with her knee. Moments later, Kai landed a top-rope stomp but Baszler kicked out. “The Queen of Spades” then survived another series of kicks before making Kai pass out with the Kirifuda Clutch. Following the match, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke joined in an attack on Kai. However, Io Shirai came to her rescue and the three Horsewomen escaped.
Verdict: This was one of the best matches of the week in WWE. Like Matt Riddle vs. Punishment Martinez, the match told a great story from start to finish that instantly made you want to see what happened next. The women’s division is stronger now than it has been in over three years. Roll on the next match involving these two.
Tommaso Ciampa discusses TakeOver: WarGames victory Summary: Tommaso Ciampa said he “ended the fairytale” and turned “The Dream into a nightmare” at WarGames. He criticised the fans — and even Mauro Ranallo — for not believing in him, yelling “Mamma Mia! Here I stand!”. He described himself as “2018 Sports Entertainer of the Year” before being interrupted by Aleister Black, who said he is invoking his rematch clause to face Ciampa for the NXT Championship at TakeOver: Pheonix. Johnny Gargano appeared and told Black that their rivalry is over “when he says it’s over”. Ciampa said the only thing missing from their TakeOver: WarGames match was a steel structure and told them they should face each other in a steel cage match. Gargano agreed to the stipulation while Black said he will fight him anywhere. When Gargano avoided a Black Mass, Black hit Ciampa with the move instead before staring at Gargano, who escaped up the ramp.
Verdict: This was a great way to end one of the best NXT episodes of the year. Ciampa’s promo was as brilliant as ever and the storyline development with Black and Gargano perfectly sets up what is bound to be an epic steel cage match between the two rivals. With 2018 coming to an end, NXT continues to be the best wrestling show around.
Elsewhere on the show
- Ricochet said he will defend his North American Championship next week against an opponent of William Regal’s choosing.
- Reflecting on his defeat to Tommaso Ciampa, Velveteen Dream told Cathy Kelley that he still “wins” because everybody is talking about him.
- Mauro Ranallo revealed that War Raiders member Hanson suffered broken ribs, a ruptured spleen and torn ligaments in the WarGames match.
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