Friday, 13 October 2017

NXT #269 Review - Johnny Gargano v Andrade Almas

On 12th October 2017, WWE aired its 269th episode of NXT, taped at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida on 14th September. In our Main Event, the man they call 'Johnny Wrestling' took on the man who kept him from success in Brooklyn with year, Andrade 'Cien' Almas. The undercard had action from the Street Profits, Lars Sullivan, Danny Burch & the first qualifier for the NXT TakeOver: Houston Women's Title Fatal Four Way. But was it any good?

NXT Women's Title Match Contendership Triple Threat: Peyton Royce (w/ Billie Kay) def. Nikki Cross & Liv Morgan (9 minutes or something like that)

As you'd probably expect, Liv and Cross begin by taking Royce out to the floor, Cross tries to take out Morgan but she dodges and takes her to the corner, Royce is quickly back in and straight into an enziguri, Cross locks in a sleeper but Morgan breaks in the corner, Cross shoves Morgan at Royce and both of them work over Cross before they begin going at each other, Royce gets the best of the back-and-forth nailing some knee strikes and holding on a tarantula submission until Cross breaks it up Dragging Royce to the floor, back in the ring and Cross hits a Missile Dropkick on Morgan and takes out the Iconic Duo with crazy strikes, Cross works over Royce with strikes until Morgan intervenes, Cross hits a neckbreaker on her for a 2 and is removed from the ring by Royce again, Royce sets Morgan up top but Morgan fights back, after some top-rope tussling, Cross turns it into a tower of doom but before she can do anything with it, In comes the Undisputed Era with Mae Young Classic first rounder Taynara Conti who they send in after Nikki Cross who takes her out immediately but Cross goes straight into a roll-up from Royce for a 2, Cross his a Hangman's Neckbreaker on Royce but Morgan breaks it up, Cross hits a Draping Neckbreaker on Morgan but Conti breaks up the pin, Cross chase Conti around the ring and back into a spinning heel kick and a Fisherman's Suplex from Royce for the pin. A fun opener with a surprising amount of psychology to it that never fell into just being a spotfest. It did suffer from a lack of convincing near falls and a slight adherence to the structural basics of a triple threat though little moments like Royce holding on the rope-hung tarantula, taking advantage of the lack of countouts helped elevate proceedings. Morgan continues to impress and looked confident against the two more seasoned performers. The Undisputed Era heel shenanigans were effective but in that the rest of SaNItY weren't there to back up Cross, it felt a bit weird.

Velveteen Dream def. Lio Rush (2.40), Quick Squash m8, still not a bad first showing for Rush, it was nice to see Jessika Carr is not just refereeing the women's matches.

Lars Sullivan def. Danny Burch (3.05) another Quick Squash m8, Danny hoped to get some retribution for his friend Lorcan's defeat last week. He doesn't.

We get a re-cap of the finish of last week's episode. There'll be a sit-down interview with Drew McIntyre next week. Fighting champion, everyone.

Street Profits def. Damien Smith & Maros Estrada (1.52) Even Quicker Squash m8, Full Sail are loving the Profits.

Next Week: Ember Moon v Ruby Riot v Sonia Deville to join Kairi Sane & Peyton Royce in the Fatal Four-Way at NXT TakeOver: WarGames. 
PLUS: SaNItY vs The Undisputed Era in Trios Action.

Andrade 'Cien' Almas (w/Zelina Vega) def. Johnny Gargano (About 14 minutes, I'll look it up in a bit)

These two worked one of the year's best non-title matches in Brooklyn so this has a lot of potential, lock-up to begin as Johnny does some wrestling, powering the larger (but not more cut, looking good Johnny boy) Almas to the ropes, Andrade escapes with a Crucifix and cuts off johnny's momentum with a shoulder block, Gargano looks to end things early with the GargaNo Escape modified crossface hold but Almas gets to the ropes, Gargano still goes at him with slaps, a hurricanrana and a dropkick for a 1, further slaps follow as they find themselves back on the apron, Almas manages to get in a suplex attempt but more like GargaYes Escape (sorry) as he slides out and straight into a big boot to send us into the ads, back from the break and Almas is working over Gargano with a rope-hung armbar but breaks the count, back in and Almas covers for a 2, Alms works over Gargano with strikes but Gargano responds with strikes, they trade strikes until Gargano strikes with an enziguri and heads up top, Almas tries to strike back up Gargano takes him down with a tornado flatliner, he goes for the slingshot spear but Almas counters it, going for a powerbomb but Gargano flings him out of the ring and hits a lovely tope suicido, brolls him back in and Almas hits a big boot and goes for a tornado DDT but Gargano counters, goes for the lawn dart but Almas rolls him up for a 2 and hits a low German suplex for another 2, Almas goes for the El Idolo hammerlock DDT but failing that tries for another rope-assisted armbar failing that, he settles for a superkick, more strikes are traded and Gargano hit a clothesline and a desparate superkick for a very close near fall, up top and Almas weaponises the ref to drop Gargano crotch-first onto the buckle, Almas works over gargano up top but Gargano fights out and hits a sunset flip powerbomb but Almas flips out of it but runs straight into a cozy as shit lariat and then Gargano breaks his face with the lawn dart before locking in the GargaNo Escape, Zelina Vega tries to distract Johnny by flashes the cut-off #DIY t-shirt she's wearing but Johnny refuses to let that distraction shit stop him and locks in further but Almas crawls to the ropes, Vega tries to do more distraction into an Almas roll-up but only for a 2, Almas picks him up for a bomb but a sunset flip from Johnny gets another two and another superkick but Almas smashes Johnny to the corner, hitting a pair of double knees and El Idolo for the pin. This was great, not quite as great as their TakeOver encounter but still streets ahead of so much that's going on in terms of performer chemistry, rock-solid heel-face dynamics, strong storytelling and the two guys just being real, damn good at wrestling. The need to have a slow start to build into the ad-break stopped these two going full sprint from the off and this maybe left the opening feeling a little awkward but it was quickly recovered and the ending stretch with Vega doing just enough shenanigans on the apron while giving Almas still a clean finish makes the team look both strong and effective. Generally though, this was real good stuff. 

On The YouTubes:

Taynara Conti approaches the Undisputed Era about fulfilling their half of their 'deal' but Adam Cole informs her that she's finished being useful to him. Bit mean.

Peyton Royce & Billie Kay celebrate Royce's success tonight even if Kay didn't do sh*t to help. Kay hopes to join Royce in the match to guarantee an Iconic Success.

    Johnny Gargano is consoled by Wililam Regal after he lost to Almas. Again. Who is this Wililam Regal and does he know Trent Sevenc?

    Another week, another solid opener and a near brilliant main event with a lot of wheel-spinning, quick squashing and next week set-upping in-between. Watch the first match if you want to, definitely watch the main event. Everything in-between, if you've got time it wasn't bad.

    Article by Jozef Raczka (@NotJozefRaczka)

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