Appearing in the ring for the first time since pushing NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa to his limits at TakeOver: WarGames II, Velveteen Dream entered Full Sail Live oozing the confidence of a champion. Showing no signs of chagrin following his loss in last year's heart-pounding thriller, a reinvigorated Dream revealed a new “sparkle” in his eye: the NXT North American Championship.
But before The Dream could declare how he planned to match this newfound “sparkle” with “championship gold,” Undisputed ERA's Adam Cole and Bobby Fish interjected, arguing that Dream's plans interfered with their own all-gold-everything agenda for 2019. Cole, who was the inaugural NXT North American Champion, went on about how the year would see the entire Undisputed ERA draped with “gold around our waists,” as Fish deemed it as “undisputed.” Dream, on the other hand, disputed those plans and tension quickly spilled out into the ring, setting the stage for a one-on-one battle between Dream and Fish later in the night.
The phrase “actions speaks louder than words” took a life of its own in the high-octane battle between Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch and Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel. Picking up from where their harsh verbal encounter concluded two weeks ago, the double-tough tandems unleashed pure bedlam inside and outside the yellow ropes. Where there was a brick-laced uppercut thrown by Burch & Lorcan, a devastating combo attack by Barthel & Aichner was waiting to follow – like Barthel literally tossing Lorcan into a grab-and-go suplex by Aichner. But there was no stopping the Brit-Am bruisers’ ground-and-pound style. When Aichner attempted to knock Lorcan down with a springboard dive – after already having connected on two others earlier in the match – the flying tank would miss his landing, thus allowing Lorcan to score a fast roll-up pin for the victory.
When The Pirate Princess teams with The Genius of the Sky, marvelous things happen. That much was certain when Kairi Sane & Io Shirai joined forces to take on Amber Nova & Tanea Brooks. Despite an impressive effort by Brooks & Nova, Shirai & Sane prevailed with their Swiss Army knife-like offense. After Shirai assisted Sane with an elevation boost by lifting her in the air to land an InSane Elbow on Brooks, The Pirate Princess returned the favor by hoisting The Genius in the Sky high enough to drop a perfect moonsault for the three-count.
Despite being Undisputed-ly interrupted earlier in the night, Velveteen Dream got his message across – and the last laugh – by handing Undisputed ERA their first loss of the year. But by no means was it easy.
The Experience started things off strong, sending Bobby Fish bouncing in and out of the ring with aerial assaults, including a diving double axe handle from the top turnbuckle that sent him crashing to the floor. As “Vel-ve-teen” chants filled the atmosphere, the momentum soon shifted when Fish wrenched Dream's knee with a dragon screw leg whip into the ringside barricade. From there, Undisputed ERA's most dangerous man carried out a series of limb-twisting submission holds to weaken Dream.
Yet, when the referee caught Adam Cole trying to prevent Dream from forcing a rope break, the distraction allowed Dream to toss Fish into Cole on the outside. Upon Fish returning into the ring, Dream scooped him up for a Dream Valley Driver, and followed it up with a Purple Rainmaker to snare the win.
Can The Experience continue his momentum when he competes in the first-ever WWE Worlds Collide Tournament at Royal Rumble Axxess? Or will The Panama City Playboy pull out the win? Find out when NXT, NXT UK and 205 Live Superstars battle in the historic tournament later this month. Get your tickets today!
Answering Johnny Gargano's challenge last week, NXT North American Champion Ricochet pulled up to Full Sail Live looking to send his opponent a message before locking horns this Saturday at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix. As he pointed out that 2018 solidified him as something Gargano is not, “a champion,” Johnny Wrestling stepped in looking for a fight. From there, all hell broke loose.
As soon as Ricochet kicked Gargano to the outside, NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa emerged from nowhere and slugged Ricochet with a hard right forearm that heaved The One and Only out of the ring. After a tense stare down ensued between the former best friends – all as “D-I-Y” chants filled the room – Aleister Black, who will take on Ciampa at TakeOver: Phoenix, arrived to unleash fury on the champion. Gargano would then return the favor to The Blackheart, laying out The Dutch Destroyer with a superkick. The former NXT Tag Team Champions then proceeded to add insult to injury by respectively dropping their opponents with a Fairy Tale Ending and draping DDT.
While Ricochet and Black lay sprawled out across the canvas, Gargano and Ciampa stared at each other warily as they both walked up toward the stage. When it seemed as though a formal reunion was about to be finalized, with Ciampa extending his hand, Candice LeRae quickly emerged to stop Gargano from entertaining the gesture. “This is not you,” she told her husband. “You are not doing this again.”
A surreal moment, for sure, but what will this mean for NXT TakeOver: Phoenix when Ciampa and Gargano share the same building again? More importantly, how will Ricochet and Aleister Black respond after this beatdown?
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch defeated Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel (4:50)
- Kairi Sane & Io Shirai defeated Amber Nova & Tanea Brooks (2:50)
- Velveteen Dream defeated Bobby Fish (w/ Adam Cole) (8:29)
Other on-screen talent