Another week, another show on the road to NXT TakeOver Philly – it’s WWE NXT 01/17/18! Tonight’s show promises us a showdown between the Street Profits and the Authors of Pain, with a title shot against Fish & O’Reilly hanging in the balance. Also, WWE social media dropped that we’re getting a match between Roderick Strong and Fabian Aichner on this week’s show. Should be another great show from Center Stage in Atlanta, so let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT 01/17/18 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever.
Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped (originally taped 01/04/18) from Center Stage. Mauro welcomes us to the show and we see the announce team.
Later tonight? The Street Profits face the Authors of Pain for a shot at Undisputed Era’s tag title at TakeOver Philly.
Heavy Machinery’s music hits and they’re out. Moss & Sabbatelli are out next. We’re reminded this feud is due to Moss & Sabbatelli parking in front of a door and Otis attempting to move the car by lifting it. I was hoping we’d settle this feud with a steak eating contest, but I suppose a tag match will do.
Match #1: Heavy Machinery vs. Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli
Well, this one really ticks all of the boxes. We get incredible feats of strength from Heavy Machinery, the belly squash spot, and Moss & Sabbatelli actually getting some offense to register on the monster team. After Otis going in peril, Tucker tags in and goes on a run. The finish comes when Moss is able to roll up Tucker and use the ropes for leverage. Not just the ropes, but the top rope – in a blatant “cheap heat” heel move. Moss & Sabbatelli were great traditional “cheap heat” heels when I saw them last year at a live event, so I’m glad this is starting to carry over on TV too.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – I have a feeling the saga of the bad parking job may not be quite over with yet.
Meanwhile, we get another NWO-esque backstage promo from the Undisputed Era. Cole puts over the “million and one ways” he can hurt Aleister in Philly in an Extreme Rules match. Fish and O’Reilly cut a promo establishing their dominance in the tag division by saying Street Profits and AoP are merely fighting for the chance to get dropped in Philly. Solid stuff.
Up next? Roderick Strong vs. Fabian Aichner.
Back from break, we get a video package on the Aleister Black vs. Adam Cole match at TakeOver.
Next, Roderick Strong is out. Fabian Aichner enters last.
Match #2: Roderick Strong vs. Fabian Aichner
For whatever reason, I expected more from this match than I felt we got. Don’t get me wrong, I like both guys a lot – but this felt more like a quick, throw away match to get the post-match segment. I mean, that is probably the case since it feels as though TakeOver Philly crept up out of nowhere. Either way, we get a strong, albeit short, match from Strong and Aichner. Both guys trade backbreakers for a bit, but after Aichner misses a springboard spot, Strong hits another backbreaker and slaps Aichner in the Strong Hold. Aichner taps almost immediately.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Like I said above, good for what it was however the finish felt a bit abrupt.
Post-match, Roddy gets a mic and cuts a promo that mocks Lars Sullivan’s promo from last week. Strong ends it by calling out Lars Sullivan. Oh no, Roddy… what are you doing?!?!?!
Next, Mauro mentions TM61 and sends us to a video package on their background. TM61 really needed this kind of deal when they first debuted. It’s too bad it took one of them getting injured for them to finally get this treatment. This week we only got part one, but this feels like a mini-documentary and does a lot to let us know who these guys are. Well done.
Next week? Part two of the TM61 story.
Later tonight? Street Profits vs. AoP.
After no break, Aliyah is out for a match. Lacey Evans is out next.
Match #3: Aliyah vs. Lacey Evans
Not the best match. The lone interesting thing we get is Evans starting to break out heel tactics like raking Aliyah’s face against the ropes and waiting until four to break stuff in the ropes. After hitting a jawbreaker, Evans comes out of the corner and drills Aliyah with a KO punch. She seems surprised it knocked Aliyah out and gets the pin fall.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – The action wasn’t great but we did get some character development for Evans who had previously been positioned as a white meat babyface.
Post-match, Evans gets a mic and cuts a… weird… promo where she starts railing on about the babyface members of the women’s roster not being sophisticated like her. It doesn’t really play that well, even for cheap heel heat, but she does try to deliver the promo with gusto so at least it had that going for it. However, this is interrupted when Shayna Baslzer (in street clothes) comes out. Evans packs up shop and leaves and Baszler heads to the ring and slaps a submission hold on Aliyah. Eventually Moon is out to make the save and Baszler bails to the stage. Moon wants to go right now and Baszler says she doesn’t have her gear. Shayna will do it when Moon’s title is on the line. Moon says to name the time and the place, to which Baszler responds she wants a title match in Philadelphia. The segment ends with Moon going to check on Aliyah after Baszler heads to the back.
Meanwhile, Regal is backstage with Christy St. Cloud. Regal says against his better judgment he’s going to give Ember Moon a title match against Shayna Baszler at TakeOver. Zelina Vega enters and cuts a promo explaining why Gargano has zero chance at winning the title at TakeOver. She suggests Gargano prove to everyone he’s earned the spot by putting the title shot on the line against Velveteen Dream. Regal doesn’t think that is a good idea, and Zelina agrees that Gargano probably won’t do it – because Johnny Wrestling is a lie, a sham… a loser. Regal no sells this and Vega leaves after saying she and Almas are prepared to embarrass Gargano at TakeOver.
Next, the old “No Way Jose” vignette hits and we get some proof of life for No Way Jose in 2018. Jose cuts a promo saying that 2017 was like a rollercoaster, but he’s prepared to make 2018 his year. Next week, the conga line to the top will begin!
Meanwhile, the announcers are discussing the women’s title situation when a wild Johnny Gargano appears and heads to the ring in street clothes. Johnny cuts a fire promo where he agrees to put the title shot on the line against Velveteen Dream next week. For the first time in a long time Johnny knows who he is – he’s Johnny Gargano, Johnny Freakin’ Wrestling – the next NXT Champion.
After that, we see footage of Undisputed Era beating up SAnitY backstage last week.
Following that, Street Profits are out for the main event. Authors of Pain (w/ Paul Ellering) are out next.
Match #4: Street Profits vs. Authors of Pain (w/ Paul Ellering) (#1 Contenders Match for the NXT Tag Team Championship)
What you expect would happen here happens here. AoP are now in that “gatekeepers of NXT’s tag division” role that Ascension were in even after they left for the main roster. It’s a rite of passage to beat AoP and so it seemed a given going in that Undisputed Era would have to face them at some point after the War Games match. Either way, Street Profits hang in against AoP for a lot longer than most teams as new as they are tend to. Ford takes the brunt of the damage, mainly getting worn down by a full nelson hold by Akam for an extended period of time. Dawkins gets a hot tag and goes on a hope run, but no dice. After a double team spot gets the Profits a two count, it was the beginning of the end. Akam hits a big clothesline to subdue Dawkins. After the Super Collider, AoP hit the Last Chapter on Ford and that’s all she wrote.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Not as “squashy” as this could have been. Street Profits are still incredibly over so I see this as a minor setback for them.
Post-match, it’s official! AoP challenges Undisputed Era for the tag titles at TakeOver Philly.
We go off the air on AoP and Ellering celebrating in the ring.