WWE NXT 02/28/18 features Shayna Baszler taking on Kairi Sane as the advertised match. Beyond that? I imagine we’ll get an update on Gargano’s departure after losing last week. Maybe some developments on the eventual Velveteen Dream vs. Tyler Bate match that keeps getting hinted at? I suppose we’ll find out. Let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT 02/28/18 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a dramatic video package on last week’s main event happenings. Updated NXT opening credits (to feature Ciampa’s wave goodbye – which is ice-cold, by the way) and we’re taped (originally taped early February 2018) from Center Stage.
Mauro welcomes us to the show, introduces the other announcers, and wishes Gargano the best in this future endeavors.
Later tonight? Andrade Cien Almas and Zelina Vega will be here to gloat… LIVE!
But first? Velveteen Dream. He’s out to a good reaction and slinks around the ring. “Not Sledgehammer” hits and Tyler Bate is out next. Wow, we’re doing this now? Okay!
Match #1: Velveteen Dream vs. Tyler Bate
Possibly the match of the show, though I’d give the later Baszler vs. Sane match a close second. Regardless, I have to wonder where they’re going with this “Tyler Bate losing streak” story – because, wow, they’ve had him lose a lot lately. The streak continues here as Dream is able to put Bate away with the Purple Rainmaker after a really fun match. It’s wild to know they could do this same match 10 years from now and these two guys would only be their in their early 30s. Bate doesn’t get in much of his signature offense – really only the Airplane spin (of which, Velveteen counters pretty quickly). So, possibly the “he has heat” rumors are true or he’ll replace Gargano as the new “underdog who always loses” character in NXT. Either way, this was a solid match and another big win for Velveteen Dream.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Velveteen Dream is on fire and I’m happy to see him continuing to ride this wave.
Later tonight? Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler.
We’re then sent to a vignette with Paul Ellering & the Authors of Pain. Nice style choice here as Ellering and AoP are at the top of a staircase and we are looking up at them. Ellering says last year’s Dusty Classic immortalized AoP. This year? The Dusty Classic represents the road back to the titles and a match with the Undisputed Era. Rezar and Akam then chime in with catch phrases to end the segment.
Up next? Adam Cole vs. Cezar Bononi.
After no break, we see exclusive footage of Regal serving Gargano with his termination papers. Regal explains the termination agreement and says that Gargano still has a few weeks of live event commitments. Referee Drake Younger is also there and he apologizes to Gargano for not seeing the shot from Ciampa and offers a handshake to Johnny. Gargano shakes Younger’s hand and signs the paperwork.
Later tonight? Cien & Zelina!
Back in the arena, Bononi’s music hits and he’s out. Undisputed Era’s music hits and they’re all out together.
Match #2: Cezar Bononi vs. Adam Cole (w/ Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly)
Cole get a mic at the start, puts over Bononi as the NXT Future Star of the Year, and says he belongs in the Undisputed Era. Fish and O’Reilly get up on the apron and toss Bononi a shirt. As Bononi contemplates it, Cole uses the distraction to take out Bononi. Cole showboats and eats a big boot and Michinoku Driver for 2. However, Fish and O’Reilly are there for the distraction and Cole is able to capitalize with a superkick. After a running knee to the back of Bononi’s head, it’s another easy “numbers game” win for Cole.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Fun for what is was. I’m not sure if this going to go anywhere – though Cole & company did mess with Taynara Conti in a similar fashion – so maybe a Brazilian faction forms?
Post-match, Cole attacks Bononi again and the UE pose over his fallen body.
Up next? Sane vs. Baszler. We get a video package detailing their history going back to the Mae Young Classic.
Next, a Street Profits vignette airs with them putting themselves over as the Dusty Classic favorites.
After that we see the Dusty Classic brackets.
Next week? Round 1 of the Dusty Classic featuring TM61 vs. the Authors of Pain.
Meanwhile, Sane’s music hits and she’s out for what is the de facto main event match of the show. Baszler’s music hits and she’s out next.
Match #3: Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler
Not bad. It seems plausible that Sane is going to pull this one out – as she hits several of her signature spots, including the Interceptor spear. Baszler works a ground game, for the most part, but doesn’t go overboard by working a body part. Just when it looks like Sane is going to hit the elbow drop, Shayna counters with a kick to Sane’s head. From there she hits the Kirafuda Driver into the Kirafuda Clutch. Sane taps immediately.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – I’m way more into Shayna Baszler than Ronda Rousey based on the presentation of both so far. I’ll take a cold-blooded killing machine over WWE trying to recreate Austin / McMahon any day of the week.
Post-match, Baszler yells at the announcers calling Ember Moon a coward. Shayna vows that if she and Moon meet again, Ember is losing the title or a limb.
Up next? The champ is here!
Back from break, Almas’ music hits and he and Vega head to the ring. The gist of their promo is that Johnny Gargano is a loser and lost to Almas four times. Vega also drops a nice line about how she doesn’t feed off of her man’s success – she creates it. Almas calls Gargano “Johnny Jobless” and reaffirms that he is, in fact, the NXT Champion.
The point of this segment kicks off when Almas and Vega are up on the stage heading to the back. Aleister Black’s music hits and he heads to the ring. Right as he’s about to speak, Killian Dain’s music hits and he heads to the ring. Black is ready to fight and the expected brawl breaks out. Vega and Almas watch from the stage for a while but eventually head to the back. Black misses a Black Mass kick and eats a running crossbody from Dain.
We go off the air on Killian Dain posing over Aleister Black.
Next week? The Dusty Classic kicks off with some Round 1 action!