WWE NXT 01/10/18 is the first in a new set of tapings leading us into NXT TakeOver Philadelphia on Royal Rumble weekend. Also, this week’s show marks the debut of NXT from Center Stage in Atlanta. Announced two weeks back (last week was a 2 hour “2017 in review” episode so no Turn Heel recap), we’re going to see SAnitY rematch the Undisputed Era for the NXT Tag Team Championship. With the NXT Championship match set, it’s time to fill out the undercard of the next big NXT show! Let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT 01/10/18 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Cold open on the Undisputed Era welcoming us to 2018 – the year they’re going to prove that they’re the baddest on the planet. Fish & O’Reilly will be handling SAnitY tonight and Cole will end anyone who prevents him from becoming NXT Champion.
Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped (originally taped 01/04/18) from Center Stage. Mauro immediately mentions WCW Saturday Night and we get a quick look around the new digs. Of note, the wrestlers have to walk down steps from the stage so “suicide dives onto the ramp” will not be happening or will be really, really painful.
Later tonight? SAnitY vs. Fish & O’Reilly for the tag straps.
Some horse sounds hit, so that can only mean… Shayna Baszler? Well, that’s a bit on the nose. She’s out with “earlier this week” footage of her doing a vlog at the PC where she chokes out some trainee and won’t break the hold. Dakota Kai was there and so she’s out to get some revenge on Shayna tonight.
Match #1: Shayna Baszler vs. Dakota Kai
Baszler essentially toys with Kai, wrenching her arm for a while, then just kicks her in the elbow. The ref stops the match.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – I get what they’re trying to do with Baszler but I would have liked her debut match being, you know, an actual match.
Post-match, Baszler slaps a submission hold onto Kai and the ref and trainers can’t pull her off. Eventually Ember Moon is out, in street clothes, and that causes Baszler to break the hold. Moon and Baszler have a brief face off in the ring but a ref gets between them and Baszler heads to the back.
Meanwhile, AoP are backstage and Rezar and Akam are allowed to speak! New year, new AoP! The promo is largely in another language, but Ellering chimes in and it sounds like they’re willing to take on whoever holds the belts after tonight.
Up next? Kassius Ohno takes on Raul Mendoza.
Back from break, we again see that Shayna kicked Dakota’s elbow. Christy attempts to interview Shayna backstage, but Regal appears. Regal tells Shayna that he knows the game she’s trying to play and it won’t get her a title shot. Shayna asks if they’re “done here” and leaves.
Ohno is out next. Raul Mendoza follows. Mauro finally makes a “Mendoza Line” reference!
Match #2: Kassius Ohno vs. Raul Mendoza
They shake hands to start and this is, essentially a babyface vs. babyface match. Ohno has the size advantage but Mendoza has the agility advantage. A decent match that really played to both guy’s strengths. Eventually Ohno gets Mendoza up in the electric chair and drops him on the ropes. Ohno follows up with a big kick and puts Mendoza away with the High Tension Elbow Strike to the back of the head.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – A solid match and it’s nice to see Ohno back getting some wins after losing at TakeOver and in the Fatal Four Way qualifier match.
Meanwhile, “earlier today” Zelina Vega gives an interview to “the press”. This involves her calling out Gargano for being “lucky” and not “earning” the title shot because he just happened to be at the right place at the right time in a Fatal Four Way. They ask Zelina for her strategy for Almas beating Gargano a third time but she refuses to give away her secrets.
Meanwhile, Christy is backstage with Gargano. She starts to interview him, but Velveteen Dream wanders in and asks Gargano to “say it”. Not his name, silly. Velveteen wants Gargano to say “thank you” for Gargano getting Dream’s spot in the Fatal Four Way qualifier match with Ohno. Dream calls Ohno “a guy” and says he could have beat Ohno in 30 seconds – and not the 20 minutes it took Gargano to win. Dream goes on to say that Gargano got “lucky” twice since he shouldn’t have beaten Aleister Black either. The Dream knows that Gargano won’t win at TakeOver – oh, and one more thing, Gargano didn’t earn Dream’s spot either.
Somewhere backstage, Lars is… walking… down some stairs!
Back from break, Street Profits are backstage for “Street Talk” which happens in the backstage area of Center Stage and not in the “streets” – but I digress. They wander around until they find Regal’s office. They knock and enter. Regal is standing in a plain cinderblock room with a table behind him with bottled water standing on it. He looks like a NPC from a video game who just stands in there all day waiting for people to burst in and attempt to buy water from him. The whole thing boils down to Street Profits wanting a title shot in 2018 and Regal putting them in a #1 Contender’s match next week against the Authors of Pain.
Meanwhile, Lio Rush is out. Against Lars Sullivan. The Wrestling Gods have answered my prayers.
Full disclosure: I’m no fan of Lio Rush’s work and his “joke” about Emma’s release was the final straw with me giving a damn about him on any level. That said, getting to see him be physically dismantled by Lars Sullivan was one of my hopes for NXT in 2018. Anyway, Lars gets his standard monster entrance and the bell rings.
Match #3: Lars Sullivan vs. Lio Rush
Rush attempts to dodge Lars and it works – for a while. Eventually, Lars catches him and all of Emma’s fans sighed in satisfaction when Lars hit Rush with the Freak Accident to get an easy, squash victory.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – I need a cigarette because that was so satisfying.
Post-match, Lars gets a mic and says two weeks ago he faced a force he’d never dealt with before. That force? Killian Dain. Lars’ mission is now to destroy Killian Dain.
Lars picks up Lio Rush and gives him a Freak Accident off the second rope. Now I *really* need a cigarette! Thank you, Lars!!!
Meanwhile, Undisputed Era are shown backstage beating the crap out of SAnitY (sans Nikki Cross). See, SAnitY this is what happens when you let Nikki wander.
Back from break, we see the announce team who have no idea what will happen now because our main event has been ruined by the Undisputed Era. Cue “Shock the System” and Cole & friends hit the ring. Cole cuts a promo saying they kicked the chaos out of SAnitY and that brings out an irate Nikki Cross being held back by two refs. Nikki struggles to rush the ring and gets a “Nikki Cross” chant from the crowd. The refs finally contain Cross and Regal’s music hits.
Regal hits the stage and says the Undisputed Era are “ridiculous” and they’ll still be defending the belts tonight. That brings out Roderick Strong who says he’ll go find someone to team with – wait, he doesn’t have to because Aleister Black is out and is willing to team up with Strong. They rush the ring and start beating Fish and O’Reilly down as we head to break.
Back from break, the bell rings to start this modified main event.
Match #4: Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly (c) (w/ Adam Cole) vs. Aleister Black & Roderick Strong (WWE NXT Championship Match)
The continuity freak in me would have loved this to have been Aleister Black and Velveteen Dream teaming – but Strong and Black do work pretty well together as a team here. The newly minted face tag team are in control early until Fish hits Black on the outside to send the favor to the Undisputed Era. Black goes in peril as Fish and O’Reilly effectively use quick tags and double teams. The former reDRagon are really getting to show how good they are at this tag team business in this NXT run. Strong gets the hot tag and goes on fire against both opponents. Black is finally up and drops Fish to the outside with a kick. He goes to toss Fish back into the ring when Cole re-emerges. Cole pulls Black out of the ring. In true cowardly heel fashion, Cole flees into the crowd and lures Black away from the ring. From there, Fish and O’Reilly recover and hit Total Elimination on Strong to get the 3 count.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Fish and O’Reilly are a great tag team and I’m excited to get to see them do their thing here at NXT. Strong and Black put up a good fight in this match, even if it was obvious they weren’t going to win the belts tonight. I’m not sure if someone in SAnitY was injured or why they scrapped the planned rematch like this. Very odd.
Post-match, Black looks horrified when he hears the bell ring and wins the “featured image” for this recap. Aleister heads to the ring and starts to attack Fish and O’Reilly, but Cole is back in, and eventually they overwhelm Black with numbers. Cole talks smack to Black while Fish and O’Reilly hold him and he kicks Black in the head. But that’s not all! Fish and O’Reilly hit Black with a double team. And Cole does the coup de grace by hitting a shoulder breaker on Black that puts him partially through a chair. Undisputed Era pose over the fallen Black before heading up to the stage.
We go off the air on Undisputed Era posing on the stage – no wait! Regal is out to tell Cole he now has an Extreme Rules match with Aleister Black at TakeOver Philly! We really go off the air on Undisputed Era heading to the back, no selling Regal’s announcement.