The “sultans of swag” remain unbeaten to close out 2017, as The Street Profits made short work of Kris Starr & Riley Apex, finishing off the pair with a pop-up spinebuster by Angelo Dawkins followed by a high-altitude frog splash by Montez Ford.
The Profits then joined the NXT Universe to celebrate the win and put the rest of NXT’s tag teams on notice. After calling out several of the black-and-yellow brand’s top tandems, Dawkins & Ford made clear they’re coming for Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly’s NXT Tag Team Titles in 2018.
This much is clear following Ember Moon’s first defense of the NXT Women’s Title: As arduous as it was for Moon to accomplish her long-held goal of capturing the championship, holding on to the title will be no easier.
NXT’s War Goddess emerged victorious from her rugged scrap with Sonya Deville, but the new Raw Superstar — who held the size, strength, submission and striking advantage over Moon — pushed the new champion to her limit. Despite Deville’s diverse attack, Moon had an ace in her back pocket the whole time in the form of the devastating Eclipse. After firing off a rapid succession of moves, Moon soared off the top turnbuckle with her favorite finisher to send Deville packing.
Even with one contender down, it was soon apparent that Moon’s journey going forward will contain no shortage of dangerous challengers. Kairi Sane appeared on the stage and gestured that she has the NXT Women’s Title in her sights, but The Pirate Princess was suddenly ambushed from behind by the Superstar she beat to win the inaugural Mae Young Classic, Shayna Baszler. The Queen of Spades, whose game-changing arrival to NXT had been anticipated for weeks, used a sleeper hold to render Sane unconscious and then shot a menacing stare at Moon on her way out, leaving NXT’s War Goddess with plenty to consider heading into the New Year.
After a year filled with heartbreak, betrayal and setbacks that threatened to throw his career off-track, Johnny Gargano ended 2017 on the highest note imaginable. With the NXT Universe cheering him on, the beloved Johnny Wrestling prevailed in an utterly wild Fatal 4-Way Match against three of NXT’s most dominant Superstars — Lars Sullivan, Aleister Black and Killian Dain — to earn an NXT Title Match against Andrade “Cien” Almas at TakeOver: Philadelphia.
The rip-roaring brawl was all-out action from the opening bell. Sullivan displayed his immense power early by catching a moonsault and a dive to the floor by Black and Gargano, respectively. Yet, when the 322-pound Beast of Belfast took flight with a dive of his own, Sullivan had no choice but to crumble under Dain’s weight.
The fight spilled up the ramp, where Sullivan, now recovered from Dain’s leap of faith, press-slammed Gargano off the stage onto Black. The Colorado monster’s subsequent attempt to put Johnny Wrestling through the announce desk was thwarted, and Sullivan soon found himself under attack by Dain again, this time with the SAnitY heavyweight jumping off the stage and splashing Sullivan through the table.
More big hits flew once the battle re-entered the ring. After tagging Dain and Sullivan with his signature strikes, the Dutch destroyer appeared to be on the verge of victory until Undisputed ERA made their presence felt in the No-Disqualification Match. First, NXT Tag Team Champions Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly pulled Black to the floor, only to have the mercurial Superstar handle them with ease. Undisputed ERA front man Adam Cole, looking for payback for his loss to Black in a Qualifying Match, then attacked the sinister striker, dropping him with a neckbreaker onto his knee.
Never one to let an injustice go unanswered, Gargano leapt to Black’s aid, tackling Cole with a suicide dive. He then spun Dain into Sullivan, smashing them into the steel steps and effectively taking out both hosses before returning his focus to Black. Gargano spiked Black with a slingshot DDT and pinned him, ending Black’s undefeated streak and causing the NXT Universe to erupt in chants of “Johnny Wrestling.”
Battered and bruised, Gargano savored the moment as the realization sunk in that an NXT Championship opportunity against Almas, which once seemed so farfetched, is now guaranteed.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Wolfgang defeated Kona Reeves (w/ Ming)
- Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) defeated Kris Starr & Riley Apex (1:49)
- Ember Moon (c) defeated Sonya Deville to retain the NXT Women's Championship (7:04)
- Johnny Gargano defeated Aleister Black, Killian Dain and Lars Sullivan in a Fatal Four Way match to be the #1 Contender for the NXT Championship (13:41)
Other on-screen talent