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WWE NXT #439 (3.14.18) Play-by-Play and Review

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You can scroll to the end for a TLDR recap of the show. Tonight is a loaded show as the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic continues with Street Profits facing Heavy Machinery and SAnitY taking on Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss. Also, Pete Dunne defends the UK Championship against Adam Cole. Lastly, Andrade Almas and Aleister Black will sign the contract for their match at TakeOver New Orleans.

Match #1: Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Round 1: SAnitY (Eric Young & Alexander Wolfe) (w/ Nikki Cross & Killian Dain) v. Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss

The announcers are reminding us of the dissention between Sabbatelli and Moss the last time we saw them, so that could be foreshadowing. Wolfe and Moss start things off and Wolfe gets caught with a flapjack on the tope rope. Sabbatelli comes in and lands a drop kick before showing off to the crowd. Moss tags in and they nail Wolfe with a double team forearm and spear in the corner. Moss hits a nasty looking neckbreaker, but Wolfe kicks out.

Sabbatelli holds Wolfe for a strike, but Wolfe moves and Moss knocks Sabbatelli to the floor with a forearm shot. Young gets a tag and goes to work on Sabbatelli with some fired up offense. Young lands the top rope elbow, but Moss pulls Young out of the ring to break up the pin attempt. With the referee’s back turned, Cross jumps off the ring apron and takes Moss down with a cross body to the floor. That leaves Sabbatelli alone to take the combination back suplex / neckbreaker and Wolfe gets the 3-count.

Winners: SAnitY via pinfall

Thoughts: This was a serviceable TV match. I don’t think the result was ever really in question. The side story of the pending blow-up between Sabbatelli and Moss is also there and arguably the main focus for this match. I don’t think that match will warrant a spot at TakeOver, so it’ll probably be a TV feud when it happens. Overall, SAnitY remains my current favorite to win the entire Dusty Rhodes Classic.

In-Ring Promo: Tommaso Ciampa heads to the ring again with no music. He’s still getting great heat. There are tons of Gargano emoji signs in the crowd this week. Once again, Ciampa can’t talk due to the loud booing every time he tries. Ciampa drops the microphone and there are cheers and a big Yes chant. Ciampa soaks in more chants and lets on that the pro-Johnny chants might be getting to him a little. The atmosphere for this match in New Orleans is going to be something to behold.

Match #2: Lacey Evans v. Dakota Kai

Evans dodges a kick early and goes right to work on Dakota Kai’s injured arm (from Shayna Baszler). Kai gets a quick roll-up and gets the win! Her celebration is short-lived as Baszler’s music hits and she makes her way to the ring. Before Dakota Kai can be murdered, Ember Moon interrupts and gets in Baszler’s face.

Moon has a microphone and accepts Baszler’s challenge for TakeOver. The two come to blows with Moon sort of getting the better of her. The referees can’t stop them and Baszler gets a cheap shot in on Moon. Moon comes back with a boot to the face, but gets crotched on the top rope after going for the Eclipse. Baszler is about to break Moon’s arm, but Kai comes out of nowhere with a kick to Baszler’s face. This lets Moon nail the Eclipse and stand tall over Baszler.

Winner: Dakota Kai via pinfall

Thoughts: Well, I can’t critique the match because it mainly served the purpose of getting us to Moon and Baszler. Kai did get a little bit of payback on Baszler and was brilliant early on selling terror when stuck one-on-one with Baszler. Overall, this is the right title match for TakeOver.

Match #3: Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Round 1: Street Profits v. Heavy Machinery

Dozovic and Ford start things off and Ford gets leveled with a shoulder block. Ford begs off and gets a drink from his black Solo cup. He offers some drink to Dozovic who obliges the crowd and drinks. It fires him up and Dozovic runs over Ford with some clotheslines. Knight tags in and hits Dawkins with a drop kick. Ford gets tossed over the top rope, but skins the cat… right into the arms of Heavy Machinery. They use Ford as a battering ram to crush Dawkins in the corner. Creative spot.

Knight catches Ford in a bear hug, but Ford breaks it with some right hands. Dawkins tags in and lands a drop kick and back elbow. Dawkins connects with the spinning Stinger Splash, but Knight comes right out of the corner with a Thesz Press. Knight smashes Dawkins with an avalanche and tags in Dozovic. Heavy Machinery goes for the Compactor, but Ford low-bridges Knight to the floor. Dawkins hits a DDT on Dozovic. Ford gets the tag and nails a beautiful frog splash for the win!

Winners: Street Profits via pinfall

Thoughts: I thought this was a pretty fun match. This was my favorite Heavy Machinery match for sure, which isn’t saying a lot, but still… The Profits now have to face the Authors of Pain in the Semi-Finals. Anyway, both teams looked pretty good here. I’d love to see the Profits win the whole thing, but I don’t think they’re quite at that level yet.

Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: Updated match-ups are as follows:

· Semi-Finals: Street Profits v. Authors of Pain

· Round 1: Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch v. Mustache Mountain (Winner faces SAnitY in Semi-Finals)

Match #4/Main Event: United Kingdom Championship: Pete Dunne © v. Adam Cole

Adam Cole is out to the ring with the NXT Tag Team Champions. Right from the start, Fish and O’Reilly distract Dunne from outside the ring. Dunne goes to ringside to confront them. Back in the ring, Dunne takes Cole’s head off with a forearm shot. Dunne kicks at Cole’s head and starts in on manipulating Cole’s finger and arm joints. Dunne continues to target the arm with stomps and kicks. Dunne hits a release vertical suplex on the ring apron right in front of O’Reilly and Fish.

The tag champs use a distraction once again to give Cole an advantage as he knocks Dunne off the ropes and to the floor. Back from commercial, Dunne drills Cole with another release vertical suplex. They trade strikes and Dunne scores with a step-up enzuigiri in the corner. Dunne comes off the second rope with another stomp to the arm and then a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Dunne lands a kick, but Cole counters the Bitter End into a back stabber.

Cole tries a suplex, but Dunne locks in a double wristlock with a body scissors. Cole escapes and nails a bicycle kick and the Last Shot for a near fall. Cole starts talking trash, so Dunne knocks him halfway across the ring with a vicious forearm. Good lord. For some reason, the referee gives Cole time to get himself together. Cole hits a leaping enzuigiri, but Dunne delivers a forearm to the back of his head. Cole rebounds with a super kick, but Dunne delivers his own leaping enzuigiri. Dunne runs up the corner and tries a moonsault, but Cole kicks him in the face mid-flip for a close near fall.

Cole misses a Shining Wizard and gets folded in half with a release German suplex. Fish and O’Reilly get on the apron to stop Dunne from hitting the Bitter End, so Dunne slides to ringside and takes them out. Cole lands another super kick and practically a brain buster version of the Last Shot, but Dunne kicks out! That was a believable near fall. Dunne manages to get ahold of Cole’s fingers again and the announcers sell a snapping noise as though he broke Cole’s fingers. Dunne looks for the Bitter End again, but now Fish and O’Reilly hit the ring to cause the disqualification.

The trio beat down Dunne until Roderick Strong hits the ring. Strong is badly outnumbered and quickly gets beat down himself. Pete Dunne comes back to life and helps Strong clear the ring. Dunne and Strong have a bit of a stare down and show a little bit of mutual respect to one another, or at least as much as Dunne is capable of showing.

Winner: Pete Dunne via Disqualification to retain the UK Championship

Thoughts: Another non-clean finish for NXT. I’m hoping that this is all leading to a Triple Threat for the UK Championship and that’s the reason for interrupting what was a really good match between Dunne and Cole. I suppose I need to start putting the UK competitors in the NXT rankings considering how often they are on the show. Anyway, none of these guys really lose much standing here. Dunne wins and Cole survives like a heel usually does without being pinned. How about that second Last Shot, though?! What a visual that was.

In-Ring Contract Signing: GM William Regal is in the ring to introduce Aleister Black and Andrade Almas. Zelina Vega enters alone with the Champion nowhere to be seen. She says Almas is not here tonight. Black ignores her and checks under the table for Almas. Black shushes her with his hand and moves the table aside so he can sit down. Black says at least now they’re on the same level.

Vega signs the contract for Almas. Black makes another height joke to Vega. Vega slaps him across the face. Black signs the contract as Vega continues laying into him. Black leaves, but says he’s happy she came here alone because he didn’t. Candice LeRae’s music hits and she hits the ring to beat on Vega. LeRae beats her around the ringside area and back into the ring. LeRae hits a bulldog out of the corner and Vega is out cold.

TLDR

· SAnitY beat Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic

· Dakota Kai beat Lacey Evans

· Ember Moon and Shayna Baszler brawled and their title match was made official

· Street Profits beat Heavy Machinery to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic

· Pete Dunne beat Adam Cole by DQ to retain the UK Championship. Roderick Strong saved Dunne post-match.

· Zelina Vega came out to sign the contract in place of Almas. Aleister Black brought out Candice LeRae, who beat down Vega

Advertised for Next Week

· Nothing officially advertised on the show as of the airing date.

NXT TakeOver New Orleans Card (as of 14 March 2018)

· NXT Championship: Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas © v. Aleister Black

· NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon © v. Shayna Baszler

· NXT Tag Team Championship: Undisputed Era © v. Dusty Rhodes Classic Winners

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