WWE NXT 02/06/19 is the first episode from the post-TakeOver Phoenix tapings at Full Sail. All we’ve been promised is that new North American Champion, Johnny Gargano will be in the house. I suspect his “celebration” will be crashed by Ricochet or Velveteen Dream (or both). Beyond that, anything goes as we head towards the WrestleMania weekend TakeOver.
WWE NXT 02/06/19 Recap
Then. Now. WWE Forever. Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped (originally taped 01/30/19) from Full Sail. Johnny Gargano’s music hits and Mauro welcomes us to the show. Gargano is out and does a little strut. He’s clearly back in “Johnny Wrestling” face mode as he holds up a “Johnny Champion” sign from someone in the crowd. We get a dueling “Johnny Champion” vs. “Johnny Sucks” chant from Full Sail before Gargano cuts a promo. Johnny says “we” deserve it and “we” were validated when he won the North American Championship. He’s proud to say “Johnny Wrestling” is back. Cue Ciampa’s music.
Ciampa says he’s not out to take away from Johnny’s moment – he’s here to celebrate the moment. At TakeOver, Johnny followed the Champ’s lead. Ciampa & Gargano own the world. The final shot of TakeOver with them holding up the belts proved to the world that this is their moment. Full Sail chants “DIY” until Johnny says that no, this not “their” moment. Johnny only came out at the end of TakeOver to show Ciampa to his face that he will never need Ciampa. Cue Velveteen Dream’s music.
Dream says this back and forth is “cute”, but tonight isn’t about “Gollum and his goldie”, and it’s not about “Johnny Badass”, it’s about the man who stole TakeOver Phoenix by simply showing up. Dream has won the Worlds Collide tournament so he has a NXT title shot of his choice. Ciampa immediately gets defensive and clutches the title, but Dream tells him to back off. Dream can see the lust in Ciampa’s eyes for the Dream, but the Dream is over… Ciampa. He doesn’t want Ciampa. Dream heads to the ring and tells Johnny that he wants him. Johnny says that while Dream was busy sitting in the crowd at TakeOver, Johnny was busy winning the NA title and putting on a “match of the year”. Then, the next night Gargano represented NXT in the Royal Rumble match. Johnny’s feeling “a little dangerous” so if Dream wants to use his title shot for the NA Title, “Go for it. I win.” Dream says Gargano may win, but the question he has is whether “Johnny Champion” or “Johnny Jackass” will show up for the title match. Dream and Gargano have words off mic before Gargano leaves and stands next to Ciampa on the ramp. Ciampa heads to the back and we head to break.
Back from break, we see the promo between Dream and Gargano again… because WWE has no faith in our ability to remember something that literally happened less than 2 minutes ago.
Later tonight? Bianca Belair teams up with Io Shirai & Kairi Sane to take on the Three Horsewomen of NXT.
“Earlier today”? What’s Drew Gulak doing at the Full Sail Zone?
Meanwhile, Jaxson Ryker is out (w/ Forgotten Sons) for a (squash) match. “Mansoor” appears on the Titantron, some music hits, and Mansoor is out.
Match #1: Jaxson Ryker (w/ Forgotten Sons) vs. Mansoor
I guess the most positive thing I can say here is that they switched up Ryker’s finisher. He now does a move that I can really on describe as a sitout spinebuster. Considering that rope-assisted powerbomb wasn’t working out too well for him, this was probably a good move. Mansoor gets in no offense, so this is definitely a squash.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – I still don’t care about the Forgotten Sons and having Ryker squash someone we’ve never seen before does nothing for me. Your mileage may vary.
Post-match, Ryker pulls Mansoor back into the ring and hits his new finisher again.
Meanwhile, Cathy is backstage while Ricochet does a photoshoot. The Undisputed Era roll up and Cole starts cutting a promo saying that Ricochet is a one trick pony. Ricochet comes over and starts verbally sparring with Cole over who deserves a shot at the North American title. They agree to a match next week with the implication that whoever wins is the… I guess… #2 Contender to the North American Championship since we opened the show with Dream making himself the #1 Contender.
In 2 weeks? Johnny Gargano vs. Velveteen Dream for the North American Championship.
Meanwhile, Drew Gulak heads to the ring for a match. “Bugenhagen” appears on the screen, some music hits… and oh man. Eric Bugenhagen is out. He’s the featured photo for this week’s recap. He’s a thing, that’s for sure. He plays air guitar, but also plays air drums… so he’s either stealing Kyle O’Reilly’s gimmick or ADDING TO IT AS KYLE’S NEW AIR DRUMMER. Drew Gulak sells Bugenhagen’s entrance with complete disgust. It’s incredible.
Match #2: Drew Gulak vs. Eric Bugenhagen
Bugenhagen’s big spot is getting Drew into an abdominal stretch and playing Drew like a guitar. Full Sail loves Bugenhagen and he’s incredibly over – which likely means he gets called up to Raw, gets on TV twice, and disappears to house shows and Main Event like No Way Jose and Adam Rose before him. This match is really only here to set up the next match – so Gulak eventually handles Bugenhagen and makes him tap out to the Goo Lock (I know it’s not spelled that way, but I like writing it that way).
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Bugenhagen is over the top and the way Gulak sells this entire encounter is incredible.
Post-match, Gulak gets on the mic and cuts a promo saying he’s been all over the world and “that” is what NXT has to offer? He calls Bugenhagen “Ben Stiller from Dodgeball” and issues an open challenge for anyone in the back to come out get stretched.
Riddle is out and he defends NXT as the place that sets the bar. He threatens to come down and tap Gulak out. Gulak says Riddle can “take off your flip-flops and make my day”. Riddle kicks off his flip-flops and heads to the ring. I guess this is happening now? Nope, we head to break.
Back from break, we learn that William Regal (who hasn’t been seen on-screen for weeks (months?)) has made this match official.
Match #3: Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle
Bro… this match is awesome. It’s just as stiff as you’d imagine. Lots of mat wrestling, weird submission holds, and Riddle still managing to pull of some of his signature offense. I’m not sure if Gulak is just down at NXT to put Riddle over, or if he’ll be sticking around – but this was a great surprise. Of course, Riddle eventually starts to build up an impressive sequence, finishing with the Bromission, to put Gulak away. But, seriously this is one of the first great matches of the weekly episodes of NXT for this year.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – A great match and totally out of left field.
Post-match, Gulak offers Riddle the “handshake of mutual respect”. They shake and Gulak leaves without cheapshotting Riddle.
Meanwhile, three horsewomen are backstage getting ready.
Up next? Main event six-woman action.
Back from break, in two weeks? Gargano vs. Dream for the North American Championship.
Next week? Ricochet vs. Adam Cole.
Meanwhile, Io Shirai’s music hits and she’s out. Kairi is out next and Bianca is out last. Shayna’s music hits and the Three Horsewomen are out together.
Match #4: Io Shirai, Kairi Sane, & Bianca Belair vs. The Three Horsewomen
So, we’ve been seeing Io and Kairi doing a “pop-up” spot for them to do their top rope finisher… but not from the top rope. Bianca escalates that in this match by press slamming Kairi so she can fall from the slam into an elbow drop. Crazy, crazy spot. So, the main takeaway here is that Full Sail has completely turned on Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke. The crowd is super obnoxious chanting “Please tag Shayna” and “You can’t wrestle” whenever Shayna isn’t in the ring for her team. The other takeaway is that Io and Kairi work as a team and for the most part ignore Bianca. Beyond that spot I mentioned earlier, Bianca really only gets in the match when she tags herself in. This comes to a head when Kairi gives the hot tag to Io instead of Bianca – and that leads to Io pinning Shayna Baszler to get the win. Bianca looks both surprised and annoyed at the finish.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Full Sail’s random hatred of Shayna’s partners was pretty annoying to have to sit through. Sure, Shafir and Duke are still green but give them a break. Full Sail’s crowd can be fun – at times – but also super annoying when it feels like they’re more interested in getting themselves over than watching the match going on in front of them. I’m curious where they’re going with this “Bianca is annoyed by Kairi and Io” situation. I suspect some sort of match that’ll lead to who faces Shayna at the WrestleMania TakeOver.
Post-match, we go off the air on Io and Kairi celebrating in the ring and Bianca half-heartedly celebrating with them.