WWE NXT 12/06/17 signals the first true episode of the Andrade Cien Almas era as NXT Champion. Tonight we’ve been promised his “victory celebration” hosted by Zelina Vega. On top of that, we’re getting what should be Sonya Deville and Ruby Riot(t)’s final match in NXT – a No Holds Barred affair to settle their differences once and for all. I heard the rumors of a title changing hands at these tapings, but I’m guessing that happens next week when NXT is on USA Network in addition to the WWE Network. It’s a new taping cycle (yes it is!) so… let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT 12/06/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. A cold open on William Regal in his office – always a good sign. Regal reminds us that Drew McIntyre is out, so it’s time to establish a new Number One Contender to the NXT Championship. We’ll have a series of matches with each winner going into a future Fatal Four Way match. Tonight we’re getting Killian Dain vs. Trent Seven and Kassius Ohno vs. Velveteen Dream. Oh wait, Velveteen Dream is injured so Regal will find a suitable replacement. That’d better not be a shoot injury, dammit!
Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped (originally taped 11/29/17) from Full Sail. Mauro welcomes us to the show and we see him with Percy and Nigel.
Later tonight? Ruby Riot(t) vs. Sonya Deville in a No Holds Barred match!
Meanwhile, Andrade’s music hits and he’s out with Zelina Vega. Almas gets a mixed reaction from Full Sail, although some people seem really into the idea of him as champ – which is cool. Eventually, Zelina gets a mic and cuts a promo putting over Almas as the man, the legend, the NXT Champion. She asks people to rise for their new champion – some do, most don’t. Almas gets the mic and cuts a promo in both English and Spanish that basically says “I told you so” and “I beat and hurt Drew McIntyre”. He eventually drops the mic to boos and parades around the ring with the belt.
Later tonight? Kassius Ohno vs. Shadow Man “????”.
Back from break, it’s “earlier today” the “press” are interviewing Lars Sullivan. He’ll be facing Roderick Strong with the winner going to the Fatal Four Way. Lars puts Strong over as a “Hell of a competitor and a handsome guy”. Lars says he is not handsome and has no family. All he cares about is getting his hands on Strong in two weeks. The “press” ask Lars what it would mean for him to win the title. Lars says it would be mean that he can show the whole world that he’s the kind of superstar everyone knows that he is. Lars stares down the “press” and leaves.
Meanwhile in the arena, Trent Seven is out for the first qualifier match. We learn he got this spot by winning a battle royal at a Lakeland, Florida NXT house show. Killian Dain’s music hits and he’s out, alone, next.
Match #1: Trent Seven vs. Killian Dain (Fatal Four Way Qualifier)
Dain clocks Seven with a forearm to start the match and Seven never really recovers after that. I mean, sure, Seven hits the Seven Star Lariat at one point, but it only gets a two count. NXT is clearly high on Dain and singled him out as the “singles” star from SAnitY – so it seems a given he’d go over here. Dain hits a slam into a senton combo and follows that up with a Vader Bomb in the corner to get the three count.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – After seeing Seven have competitive matches with the UK Division guys, it was wild to see him get fed to Dain here. Either way, he sold the beat down well, which is probably why he got the spot.
Post-match, we see Killian Dain added to the Fatal Four Way graphic.
Later tonight? Kassius Ohno vs. The Riddler.
Meanwhile, Sonya Deville is backstage shadow boxing. She takes on Ruby Riot(t) after the break.
Back from break, The Undisputed Era are hanging out backstage. Cole says they’re going to run NXT and they put a stamp on that by not only surviving War Games – but winning the match. Next week he faces Aleister Black in a Fatal Four Way Qualifier and says Black’s undefeated streak only exists because he hasn’t faces someone of Cole’s caliber yet. We also learn that in two weeks, Fish and O’Reilly will be taking on SAnitY for the tag titles. The Undisputed Era throw some wacky gang sign to end the segment.
Meanwhile, Ruby Riot(t) is out with an updated Titantron so since I’ve seen it now, I’ll have to accept it. She’s Ruby Riott now. Sonya is out last.
Match #2: Ruby Riott vs. Sonya Deville (No Holds Barred Match)
Not bad for what amounted to a submissions match. I would have preferred Ruby Riott got the win here, but I also would prefer everyone stays in NXT forever – so I’m used to not getting what I prefer when it comes to WWE wrestling. That said, Sonya’s plan here is to attack Ruby’s ankle early on. It’s pretty effective as she’s able to slap on an Ankle Lock and hold it forever due to the match stipulations. Ruby gets one or two hope spots but this match is all Sonya. She keeps working triangle submissions and eventually gets one locked in through the ropes after a Riott suicide dive. Ruby doesn’t tap, but the ref eventually stops the match when Ruby passes out.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Raw predictably getting the win over SmackDown aside, this was a brutal match and the type of showcase Deville needs since she’s in the Raw spotlight now.
Meanwhile, Ember Moon is backstage with the “press”. She’s answering generic questions from people with smartphones until some crack reporters from the “Iconic Times” enter. Billie makes a case for them deserving a shot at Ember’s title. Ember says she’ll make it easy and asks which one faces her on next week’s show. Both Billie and Peyton say “me” and Ember says it looks like they have an “Iconic Problem”. Ember says once they figure it out, she’ll face one of them next week and leaves. Peyton makes the case to Billie that she deserves a rematch after the way the War Games match finish went down. Billie agrees but asks Peyton not to beat Ember up too bad so she can finish her off.
In two weeks? We’re getting Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne for the UK Title. Wow, NXT could just sort of cruise through the holiday season with filler, but instead we’re getting some crazy stuff.
Meanwhile, Regal is backstage talking to Ohno. The main event is up next!
During the break, a hype video airs for someone with them in silhouette and just the word “soon” where the two “o”s are replaced with spades. I, and much of the internet, assume this is for Shayna Baszler.
Next week? Aleister Black vs. Adam Cole in a Fatal Four Way Qualifier.
Also, next week? Ember Moon vs. Peyton Royce.
Next, Ohno is out for the main event. After a dramatic pause for effect, Johnny Gargano’s music hits and he gets a pop. He heads to the ring and it’s main even time.
Match #3: Kassius Ohno vs. Johnny Gargano (Fatal Four Way Qualifier Match)
The “amazing NXT main event” streak continues. I think my favorite thing about this match is that it showed just how agile Kassius Ohno is. It’s one thing to see him working with guys his size, but seeing him working with someone much smaller really accentuates just how good he is. The match itself is incredible. Gargano absorbs an insane amount of punishment at the hands and feet of Ohno. Just when you think Gargano couldn’t possibly kick out of another stiff as Hell shot from Ohno – he does. This continues until Gargano actually kicks out at 2 and a half from a running elbow strike to the back of the head. From there, Gargano lays in some strikes, lands a headscissors, and follows through into the Gargano Escape. Ohno taps. The crowd goes wild. In fact, the crowd was essentially doing a “both these guys” thing throughout the match but really popped when Johnny got the nod.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Another one of those NXT matches where even the guy who takes the loss manages to have his stock raised. Gargano going to the Fatal Four Way is exciting and Ohno showed he can still hang with a smaller and quicker opponent. Great stuff.
Post-match, we see Gargano get added to the Fatal Four Way graphic. Ohno looks forlorn and starts to leave. Gargano asks him back to the ring. They do the forearm bump of mutual respect.
We go off the air with Johnny Gargano celebrating in the ring. Next week should be a wild one!