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NXT recap & reactions (Apr. 17, 2019): One Last Time


NXT returned last night (Apr. 17) with the the first episode from the most recent set of tapings. You can find the results in the live blog here.

Velveteen Dream (c) def. Buddy Murphy to retain the North American title

Let’s do this more often.

Not this match in particular (but you wouldn’t hear me complain about that either), but seeing someone from a different brand show up to feud with a top talent in NXT feels special.

This was a marquee match. Buddy Murphy was the second longest reigning cruiserweight champion. And a dominant one at that. Dream is an attraction, always must see with his combination of talent and charisma. So much charisma.

No one should be surprised that the match lived up. It followed the theme of many of Dream’s matches where he doesn’t seem like he can quite keep up but is able to pull it out with a quick flurry at the end. He was knocked out on the outside and Murphy had trouble getting him into the ring to capitalize. That was the time Velveteen Dream needed to recoup to deliver his the Dream Valley Driver and his Purple Rainmaker elbow.

Now we wait to see who Dream has next. Will it be Riddle again, but this time with a heel turn? Someone else entirely? Dominik Dijakovic made his intentions known, but we’ll see if they opt to stick with that.

You’ll have to tune in on Tuesdays if you hope to continue to watch Buddy Murphy. (I worry a bit he’ll get lost in the fray.) His WWE journey has been so long that I legit forgot that he was in NXT before as part of the BAMF tag team. He’s come a long long way from “Which one’s Murphy? Which one’s Blake?”

Street Profits knock on William Regals door to request a match but the War Raiders walk out. They’ll fight next week.

No word that this is a title match so it’s probably not. Maybe the typical “Beat the champs to get the shot at the title” deal though?

Now that we know that the Viking Experience is a Monday Night Raw act, they’ll probably be dropping the titles soon. Perhaps it’ll be to the Street Profits? Honestly, winning one match last week against Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner doesn’t feel like they did enough to overcome the stink of prior losing.

Beating the Raiders could make them feel more worthy but it could also just feel rushed. A few more wins over other teams would make it seem like they earned it more. But War Machine put over Coast to Coast in ROH before leaving, so they can certainly do worse than putting over the Street Profits on the way out.

Johnny Gargano cuts a promo that is quickly interrupted by the Undisputed ERA. Cole makes the case that he beat him in New York, and if it were any other match instead of a 2 out of 3 falls match, he’d be champion now. Johnny notes Adam is extra emotional and questions if there’s trouble in their little boy band.

This looks like it’s going to break into a fight when Roddy Strong, who wasn’t on stage with the rest, attacks the champ from behind. It turns into a beat down.

Adam Cole and the ERA continue to do a great job of getting fans to boo them. They ooze cool and charisma so, every time, they have to turn the crowd. And through talent and booking, they often do.

Cole’s heel justification to why he deserves another title shot was really clever. Claiming he would have won the match if it weren’t 2 out of 3 falls because he won the first fall makes you roll your eyes because it wasn’t a standard much. But at the same time, a tiny nagging voice in your heads says, “He kind of has a point, maybe?”

The beat down afterwards was choreographed given Roddy Strong wasn’t on stage with the rest with no explanation. But it was effective in getting heat.

Next week, Johnny will face Roddy. A Johnny versus the ERA story could be very interesting. This is the first time in four years that Johnny’s story isn’t somehow connected to Tommaso Ciampa. It’s uncharted waters. Gargano trying to expose the cracks in Undisputed could be an intriguing tale.

Dominik Dijakovic def. Aaron Frye in a squash

He cuts a post-match promo saying he’s only in NXT because his family gave him that opportunity. His parents brought him to the US and now that drive for opportunity is in him. He’s got his eyes set on the North American championship.

So... what happened to Keith Lee?

Lee vs. Dijakovic was advertised for this episode starting a few weeks back. But then it was ignored. That’s just poor form. If you tell the fans something is going to happen, then tell them why it’s not going to. Or at least acknowledge that Keith Lee believed he had a match tonight but doesn’t because of x, y, or z.

Advertising and just dropping it? What is this? SmackDown?

The match was a squash so nothing to say about it. The post- match promo was longer so we can talk about that.

It was the first time we’re hearing Dominik speak and the first impression wasn’t impressive. His delivery was bland and his material wasn’t good. It almost had a babyface vibe, but clearly an attempted heel delivery. Even if he was a babyface, that’s a tough sell.

(I should note I watched this not knowing about his Twitter f*** up recently. That casts his promo in an uglier light.)

Shayna Baszler def. Kairi Sane via DQ

Kairi’s elbow was messed up during the match and Shayna was threatening to stop it. Io attacked her to stop her.

That didn’t stop the champ; however, as Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir pulled Shirai out of the ring and held her, making her watch Baszler stomp Kairi’s elbow anyway.

This was a fitting match for Kairi’s run in NXT. She and Shayna have built a great rivalry dating back to the first Mae Young Classic a year and a half ago. They have the strong dynamic of nasty heel against plucky underdog and their in-ring chemistry is always present. And now Shayna is the woman to pretty much end Sane’s NXT run... with some help from Io Shirai.

Io’s involvement was curious. Using this match to get to the Io/Baszler feud was the obvious way they’d go, and it makes the most sense. Having Shirai be the one who was involved in the decision was the odd part. A move like that could almost set up a Sane/Shirai feud, though obviously will not.

And Io’s actions didn’t even help. It cost Kairi the match and she STILL had to watch Shayna stomp her friend’s arm. Not a good night for Io Shirai.

This could be used to test Io’s range. She can and should show some regret and self doubt about how this went down. This succeeded in making us want to see the eventual match and hate Shayna & co., but Io’s folly should also be explored.

They did a good job with a couple matches who’s outcomes were not in doubt. Outside a clunker of a Dijakovic segment, this was a fun show.

Grade: B

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