A week removed from losing the NXT North American Title to Velveteen Dream, Johnny Gargano appeared to be at a crossroads as he addressed the NXT Universe. He expressed guilt over letting his supporters down and, in a moment of self-reflection, was ready to reveal the “only reason” he's had success in NXT. Before he could, however, he was interrupted midsentence, fittingly enough, by NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa.
Citing their recent triumphs on Raw and SmackDown LIVE as evidence, The Blackheart made the case that Gargano's at his best when Ciampa is by his side. The NXT Champion then proposed that he and Gargano unite in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic — the same tournament that put #DIY on the map in 2016 — and finish TakeOver: New York the same way they closed TakeOver: Phoenix: “side by side, [as] champions.” After a moment of consideration, Gargano shook Ciampa's hand, laying the groundwork for #DIY's once-unthinkable return as a team in NXT.
In Xia Li, Taynara Conti found a powerful ally to combat Vanessa Borne & Aliyah, the same duo that caused Conti headaches weeks ago. Although The Vision and The Battle Angel's rule-breaking ways allowed them to get the upper hand against Conti after the Brazilian Superstar got off to a hot start, Li turned the tide once she entered the match.
Showing her martial arts mastery, Li plowed through Aliyah with an array of kicks. Yet, she was caught flatfooted after Aliyah wisely tagged in Borne while the Chinese Superstar attempted an O’Connor roll. Borne & Aliyah then joined forces to stun Li with a vicious neckbreaker/backbreaker combination to seal the win, giving their chic combo a major win in their debut as a team.
Whether you were hoping to feast your eyes on Dominik Dijakovic's rare combination of speed and strength or bask in the glory of Keith Lee's equally explosive hybrid offense, the collision between NXT's two gravity-defying big men didn't disappoint.
Lee and Dijakovic traded one mind-blowing move after another, all the while leaving the NXT Universe in total awe. From Lee flawlessly sticking the landing after Dijakovic muscled up his 320-pound frame for a monkey flip, to The Rare Breed crushing Lee with a chokeslam powerbomb for a near-fall, the match brimmed with eye-popping feats of athleticism.
About the only thing the match didn't produce was a clear-cut victor. After Lee got knocked to the floor, the 6-foot-7, 270-pound Dijakovic flew onto him with an incredible Asai moonsault, causing both men to hit the steel ramp. The impact left both men unable to return to the ring by the referee's count of 10, resulting in a Double Count-out. Yet, with NXT fans chanting “Let them fight!” as officials desperately tried to separate Lee and Dijakovic, something tells us this won't be the last time we see the modern-day hosses battle inside the yellow ropes.
With the 2019 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic opening round just a week away, the NXT Universe learned which four teams will round out this year's tournament, joining previously announced duos of The Undisputed ERA, The Street Profits, The Forgotten Sons and Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel.
Following their agreement to team together earlier in the night, the newly reformed #DIY — NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano — were admitted, as were Aleister Black & Ricochet. The One and Only campaigned for entry in the hope of getting even with The Undisputed ERA. Former NXT Tag Team Champions Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & bTyler Bate) are also in, along with perennial fan favorites Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch.
Don't miss a second of tournament action when the First Round gets underway next Wednesday, exclusively on the award-winning WWE Network. Don't forget, the winning squad will not only claim the 2019 Dusty Cup, but also earn the right to face NXT Tag Team Champions The War Raiders at TakeOver: New York.
The NXT Universe and, indeed, the NXT Women's division received an up-close look at the brand-new WWE Women's Tag Team Titles as champions The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection returned to Full Sail Live.
Once the celebratory chants of "Welcome back!" finally settled down, Sasha Banks & Bayley vowed to make their titles the most talked-about championships in WWE. They put the NXT Superstars on notice, letting them know that The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection are ready to defend the titles all over the world, from Raw to SmackDown to NXT. Who will be the first black-and-gold team to rise to the task of challenging two of NXT's most beloved alumni?
NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler def. Mia Yim facebooktwitter Tumblr Pinterest Email Mia Yim vs. Shayna Baszler: WWE NXT, Feb. 27, 201902:50 Mia Yim had fire in her stomach and retribution on her mind as she fought NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler in a fiercely contested non-title match. Yet, all the determination in the world wasn't enough to curtail Baszler's warpath.
Both Superstars incurred heavy damage. Baszler's hand was a mess after her ground-and-pound strategy went awry and she accidentally punched the mat full-force, giving Yim an easy target. However, Baszler had a bull's-eye of her own after The Head Baddie in Charge missed a kick and struck the steel ring steps, injuring her right leg (which was surgically repaired in 2017).
Yim shrieked in pain as The Submission Magician mauled her weakened limb. Still, she mustered the strength to not only block the Kirifuda Clutch (breaking Baszler's grip by going after the champion's bad hand), but she even connected with Sole Food out of nowhere. The move would normally spell the end, but Yim was slow to make the cover, and Baszler kicked out at two.
When Yim went for Protect Ya Neck moments later, Baszler showed her cunning, tripping the HBIC and once again cinching in the Kirifuda Clutch. Refusing to let her signature hold be broken twice in the same match, Baszler wrapped her legs around Yim's arms and prevented her from busting the hold, and Yim's tapout was inevitable.
After such a gutsy display, Yim's grit must be applauded. Just don't expect Baszler to lead the slow clap; the mean spirited Queen of Spades is too busy imposing her will upon the NXT Women's division.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Vanessa Borne & Aliyah defeated Taynara Conti & Xia Li (4:53)
- Dominik Dijakovic vs. Keith Lee ended in Double count-out (6:52)
- Shayna Baszler defeated Mia Yim (8:01)
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