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WWE NXT 01/31/18 Recap - Nikki Cross
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WWE NXT 01/31/18 Recap

TakeOver table scraps, highlight packages, and three solid matches round out this week’s yellow brand offering on the WWE Network.

WWE NXT 01/31/18 features the undercard of last weekend’s NXT TakeOver event. Along with a bunch of TakeOver video packages and “Fallout” interviews – we’re getting Nikki Cross vs. Lacey Evans, Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Bate, and the return of TM61. Should have some decent action for a “post-TakeOver” clip show. Let’s get to the recap!

WWE NXT 01/31/18 Recap

WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a TakeOver Philadelphia video package. Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped from Philadelphia (originally taped before NXT TakeOver Philadelphia). Nigel is still out sick, so Mauro and Percy Watson are our guides for this journey through the pre-TakeOver dark matches and TakeOver Fallout video clips.

Our main event? Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Bate – the winner gets a shot at Pete Dunne’s UK Championship.

Nikki Cross’ music hits and she sprints to the ring. I’d hoped to have seen that very sprint to the ring during the women’s Rumble – but, alas. Lacey Evans is out next.

Match #1: Nikki Cross vs. Lacey Evans

It’s the feral Nikki Cross I wanted on Rumble weekend. She’s all over Evans to start and when Evans, briefly, gets the upper hand, Nikki sells the punches on the mat by smiling. After Evans misses a moonsault, Nikki runs through her a few times, and hits her finisher to pick up an easy win.

Verdict: Thumbs Up – Nikki Cross destroys someone… an evergreen “Thumbs Up” on this site.

Next, we get a video recap of the NXT Tag Team Championship match from TakeOver.

Later tonight? The return of TM61!

Also, later tonight? Exclusive footage of Ciampa returning to NXT to attack Gargano.

Back from break? A video package on the NXT Women’s Championship match.

Next, we see this video clip with Shayna Baszler:

After that, Mauro and Percy send us to a video package on the Black vs. Cole Extreme Rules match. At the end of the video clip, we see “exclusive footage” of Fish and O’Reilly helping Cole walk in the back. They vow that SAnitY will pay for their interference in the match.

Next week? SAnitY gets a Tag Team Championship rematch against the Undisputed Era!

Meanwhile, Roddy Strong is running some stairs to warm up for the main event.

Up next? TM61 is back!

Back from break, we see a video package on the Velveteen Dream vs. Kassius Ohno match.

Next, this interview with Dream airs:

After that, TM61’s music hits and they’re out. The Ealy Brothers are out next.

Match #2: TM61 vs. The Ealy Brothers

The Ealys attempt some “twin magic” by way of an illegal tag, but it’s not very effective. And really, this is only here to establish that TM61 are back and NXT is going to give them a push. TM61 look great, especially when you factor in they’ve been out of action for over a year. After a relatively short match, Thorne and Miller put the Ealys away with Thunder Valley.

Verdict: Thumbs Up – The injury to Thorne may end up being a blessing in disguise since NXT seems committed to giving TM61 a much needed push in 2018. I’m optimistic.

Meanwhile, Tyler Bate is shown backstage getting ready for his match with Strong.

Up next? A look at Almas vs. Gargano at TakeOver.

Back from break, we get a NXT “Year End Awards” montage.

Meanwhile, TM61 are backstage talking to Christy. They claim they are now known as “The Mighty Don’t Kneel”.

After that, we see a video recap on the NXT Championship match from TakeOver.

Next, we see this “exclusive” clip of Ciampa after the match:

After that, we learn that Almas was in the Royal Rumble.

Next, we see this “exclusive” clip of Almas and Vega post-Rumble:

Up next? Bate vs. Strong – winner faces Dunne for the strap!

Back from break, we learn that Derrick Bateman – I mean EC 3 was shown in the crowd at the Rumble. Also, we learn that Cole was part of the Royal Rumble match.

Next week? Adam Cole vs. Killian Dain.

Also, next week? Fish & O’Reilly vs. EY & Alexander Wolfe for the NXT Tag Team Championship.

Next, Strong’s music hits and he’s out. Bate’s music hits (aka – NOT Sledgehammer) and he’s out last.

Match #3: Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Bate (#1 Contender’s Match for the WWE UK Championship Match)

Wow, a lot of focus on Bate and Strong all of a sudden – since both are factoring into the 205 Live tourney to find a new Cruiserweight champion. Not sure if that’s a good thing or just a case of WWE having talented guys with no real booking plans for them. Either way, I’m not going to complain about getting either guy on the WWE shows I still watch. Strong takes this one home and it’s, predictably, backbreakers that make that happen for him. Bate goes on a run, but the early backbreakers wear him down so he can’t hit the Tyler Driver ’97. After another backbreaker or two, Strong hits the End of Heartache and becomes the new number one contender to Pete Dunne’s crown.

Verdict: Thumbs Up – They weren’t given quite enough time to pull off a “Bate vs. Dunne” level epic match – which was to be expected since this was effectively a TakeOver dark match. Regardless, a solid match from two guys that can go. This should be proof positive of how deep WWE’s talent pool is when these two men are working a dark match before the “developmental brand”‘s PPV.

We go off the air on Strong posing over the fallen Tyler Bate.

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