WWE NXT 02/14/18 falls on Valentine’s Day. Will there be any love for challengers Shayna Baszler and Roderick Strong on tonight’s show? Baszler gets a rematch against NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon – who she failed to defeat at TakeOver Philadelphia. Strong gets a shot at Pete Dunne’s UK Championship. With two big titles on the line and Aleister Black set to appear this should be a loaded show. Let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT 02/14/18 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a dramatic video package hyping up tonight’s two title matches.
Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped (originally taped early Feb. 2018) from Center Stage. Mauro makes a Valentine’s Day reference and Pete Dunne’s music hits. We’re not messing around tonight apparently.
Champ enters first because… reasons. Strong’s music hits and he’s out.
Match #1: Pete Dunne (c) vs. Roderick Strong (WWE UK Championship Match)
Wow, this goes almost twenty minutes and is one Hell of a match. Dunne ends up retaining and his “trying to break your fingers” spot is what ends up making the difference. At various times when it felt like Strong had the match on lock, Dunne would grab at the fingers, wrench them, and Strong would lose his momentum in the match. Of course, there are backbreakers because it’s a Roderick Strong match. WWE seems really high on Strong right now, and with his advancement in the Cruiserweight tourney, I didn’t have high hopes for him dethroning Dunne here. Anyway, it’s Dunne going back to the fingers in desperation that sends Strong bailing out of the ring to set up the finish. When Strong attempts to re-enter the ring, he eats a kick from Dunne who then puts Roddy away with the Bitter End.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – As good as it sounded on paper.
Post-match, Dunne celebrates in the ring. Don’t feel too bad, Roddy – there’s still the Cruiserweight title shot.
Next week? Gargano vs. Almas for the NXT Championship. If Gargano loses he must leave NXT.
We get a video package hyping up next week’s title match by showing us what happened last week.
Up next? Aleister Black is here!
Meanwhile, “earlier today”, Velveteen Dream happens upon “the press”. They want to know about Dream’s strategies when he faces No Way Jose next week. Dream simply says, “Jose brings the fiesta, Dream brings the Experience”. He then randomly cuts a promo on Tyler Bate and calls him a “5 foot nothing” before walking away. Hmm.
Meanwhile, Aleister Black’s music hits. He emerges from some fog in a suit. I mistakenly assumed he’d be working a match – but not so much. He heads to the ring and cuts a promo that references his feud with Velveteen Dream and Undisputed Era. He says there is a devil on his back – and that devil in the NXT Championship. Killian Dain’s music hits and he heads to the ring. Dain says the devil isn’t on Black’s back – he is. Dain vows to not stop until the NXT Championship is around his waist. He adds that Black’s “path” will be stopped by chaos. Dain leaves as Black essentially no sells the promo – but Black stops Dain on the apron and tells him that “you crossed me, now you must fade to black”. Dain smiles at him, drops off the apron, and heads to the back.
Back from break, TM61’s music hits. Already in the ring? Not named until the bell rings.
Match #2: TM61 vs. Jon Skyler & Andrew Duckworth
TM61 squash victory. This match felt really chaotic and sloppy compared to TM61’s match a few weeks back with the Ealy Brothers. Regardless, TM61 easily go over with the Thunder Valley.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – I’m all for TM61 being back and getting a push, but this match didn’t really do anything for me at all.
Up next? Moon vs. Baszler for the title. Baszler’s music hits, she does the “Goldberg backstage entrance”, and heads to the ring. We head to break.
Back from break, Baszler is in the ring and Moon’s music hits. She heads to the ring and we’re ready for the main event.
Match #3: Ember Moon (c) vs. Shayna Baszler (NXT Women’s Championship Match)
So, having such a strong opening title match makes up for this one not having a clean finish. Ember starts off the match on fire as her strategy is a relentless assault on Baszler. This works out okay until Moon goes up for the Eclipse and Baszler simply rolls out of the ring to the outside. Moon attempts to follow this up with a suicide dive, connects, and sends Shayna into the announce table. However, Moon does more damage to her taped up and injured arm. Baszler goes on the attack from there and wrenches and stretches the injured left arm of Moon. Shayna tosses Moon into the corner, Moon hits the post, and falls to the ground outside the ring. Shayna gets Moon’s arm trapped in the barricade and starts going to work on it. This brings out Kairi Sane through the crowd. Kairi launches off the ring steps and takes out Shayna – earning Ember a DQ loss in the process.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Mixed feelings here. I’m excited that the women main-evented this episode. I also am enjoying Baszler’s character so far. However, I’m not a huge fan of it feeling like Ember Moon is always injured. Either way, it feels like we’re moving towards a multi-women title match in New Orleans.
Post-match, Sane attacks Baszler in the ring and Shayna bails out. When Sane’s back is turned, Shayna gets back in the ring but eats a spear from Sane. Baszler heads to the back and stares at Sane from the stage.
We go off the air on Sane attending to the injured Ember Moon on the outside.