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WWE NXT #444 (4.11.18) Play-by-Play and Review: War Raiders Debut



You can scroll to the end for a TLDR recap of the show. Tonight will feature some fallout from TakeOver and some matches taped prior to the main card in New Orleans. The show opens with a TakeOver New Orleans highlight package.

Match #1: Kairi Sane v. Lacey Evans

Evans powers Sane back into the corner early, but Sane fakes a springboard to psych out Evans. Sane scores with a head scissors takedown and a drop kick for a 2-count. Evans catches Sane and flings her down by the hair before hitting a slingshot elbow drop. Evans lands a roundhouse kick to the gut and a clothesline for a near fall. Evans lands a couple forearms in the corner and a big chop. Evans settles into a Cobra Clutch and then gets a near fall as NXT goes to commercial. 

Back from break, Evans delivers a handstand Bronco Buster. Sane fires up with chops, but she gets caught with a shoulder breaker for a near fall. Evans goes back to some nasty chops, but Sane catches one and spears Evans out of her boots, metaphorically. Sane catches a kick and delivers a running Blockbuster. Sane crushes her with the sliding forearm in the corner, then a flying Kabuki elbow off the top rope for a close 2-count. Sane goes for a Boston Crab, but Evans powers out. Sane slips out of a pump handle and levels Evans with a spinning back fist. Sane comes off the top with the InSane Elbow for the win.

Winner: Kairi Sane via pinfall

Thoughts: Evans has a good look, but she’s still kind of sloppy in the ring. There were some really rough spots in there at first, but also some good stuff as she settled in for the second half of the match. Sane picks up another win as she moves toward presumably challenging Shayna Baszler. 

Backstage at TakeOver:Undisputed Era (along with Roderick Strong) is backstage and they refuse to give an explanation for Strong’s actions and walk back into the locker room. They’re going to make us wait.

Backstage at RAW: The Authors of Pain are standing by and Paul Ellering comes up and asks what they are thinking. Rezar tells him his time ended in NXT. Ellering is all like, “Hell yeah, I’m to old to be driving cross country anymore.” Not really, but you know.

Backstage at TakeOver: Shayna Baszler says she knows who supported her and who didn’t. Going forward, Baszler says things will now change in NXT. It’ll be about who can wrestle and not who has the best hair. (Eh? That’s kind of how NXT has always been)

Backstage at RAW: Ember Moon and Nia Jax are backstage after her RAW debut. Moon says she’s excited to start a new chapter. Moon says she regrets leaving Baszler with the rest of the NXT roster, but they’ll find a way to beat her. So, it sounds like Moon won’t do a rematch.

Match #2/Main Event: Heavy Machinery (Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic) v. Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss

Tucker Knight and Sabbatelli start things off with a tie-up that Knight easily wins. Tino has some crowd heat. Moss gets a tag and the teams break down into a brawl. Knight levels Moss with a lariat and then Heavy Machinery sandwich Sabbatelli. Sabbatelli hits Knight from behind to turn the tables headed into commercial. Back from break, Moss catches Knight in mid-air and nails a fall away slam for a 2-count. Sabbatelli tags in and delivers a Stinger Splash and drop kick after a Moss spear in the corner. 

Moss tags back in lays into Knight with some right hands. Knight gets a roll up for a 1-count. Knight gets a hot tag to Dozovic, who comes in on fire with clotheslines and corner avalanches. Dozovic does the caterpillar into an elbow drop for a near fall. Knight comes in and he and Sabbatelli hit each other with a double clothesline. Everyone is down and War Machine hits the ring. Mauro is calling them the War Raiders. War Raiders destroy everyone and finish by delivering Fallout to Sabbatelli. 

Winner: No Contest

Thoughts: Well, that’s one way to introduce War Machine. The Authors of Pain move out and Hanson and Rowe move in. Now, will they be babyface or heel? And will Ellering manage them?


  • Kairi Sane beat Lacey Evans
  • TakeOver Recaps / RAW & SD NXT Talent Debuts Highlighted
  • Heavy Machinery v. Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss ended in a No Contest after War Raiders (War Machine) made their debut and decimated everyone

Advertised for Next Week

  • Johnny Gargano is back
  • Lars Sullivan v. Killian Dain