Top 3 Performers of NXT (April 17, 2019)
NXT continued in the post Takeover: New York era, with a new theme song and NXT back at Full Sail studios in Florida. The first man to the ring for the episode is the reigning North American champion, The Velveteen Dream, who defeated Matt Riddle at Takeover to retain the title. His first match was against the former Cruiserweight champion, Buddy Murphy. Murphy has a long history at NXT, having been a former NXT Tag Team Champion with Wesley Blake. The two had a scrap over WrestleMania weekend after Murphy lost his cruiserweight title.
The two are main event quality stars for NXT, and the back-and-forth match was a sign of this. As the match progressed, the two performed a series of quick counters. Murphy almost had the match won after he caught The Velveteen Dream with a vicious knee. Murphy almost had the three-count again after landing a Meteora on the champion, but Dream managed to kick out at the last second. Dream also had his chances, after rolling through a second rope Sunset Flip, he hit Murphy with a Dream Valley Driver only for Murphy to kick out before the three count.
Murphy almost won via count-out, only for the former Cruiserweight Champion to climb in and out of the ring to restart the match. The Velveteen Dream would recover to hit Murphy with a Fame-Asser, then followed it up with a Dream Valley Driver and a Purple Rainmaker for the victory to retain his title. The match clocked in at roughly 20 minutes and was a sensational back and forth encounter.
After that, a backstage segment showed that the Street Profits would get a shot at the War Raiders for the NXT Tag Team Titles at next week's episode. Johnny Gargano made his return to NXT for the first time as the NXT Champion. Gargano was unsurprisingly interrupted by Adam Cole and the Undisputed Era minus Roderick Strong. Gargano was quick to jump on this point, mentioning that there appeared to be trouble in the Undisputed Era. As Cole went to the ring to confront Gargano, Roderick Strong would emerge and attack the champion from behind. Cole then hit Gargano with a Superkick as Fish and O'Reilly held the champion's arms back.
When the action returned to the ring, Aaron Fry faced off against Dominik Dijakovic. The fight didn't last long as Dijakovic nailed his opponent with his finishing move "Feast Your Eyes" in the first seconds before pinning his knocked out opponent. Following the match, Dijakovic got onto the microphone and cut a bizarre promo calling out the Velveteen Dream and his North American title. Regal would then catch up with Undisputed Era backstage, informing them that Gargano would face Roderick Strong per the Champion's request.
The main event of the episode saw Kairi Sane once again challenge Shayna Baszley for the NXT Women's title. William Regal added another stipulation to the match saying that if Sane was unsuccessful she would never get another shot at the title. Sane got off to a quick start, hitting Baszler with a corner elbow. Towards the end of the match, Baszler targetted Sane's right arm.
The referee would call for the doctor and Sane's Sky Pirate tag team partner Io Shirai to ringside. As Baszler went to stomp on Sane's injured arm, Shirai stormed the ring and pushed Baszler leading to the referee awarding the match to Baszler via DQ. Baszler, Shafir, and Duke then attacked Shirai and forced her to watch as Baszler stomped on Sane's arm. Here are top 3 performers of this week's edition of NXT:
#3 Buddy Murphy
Buddy Murphy had a tough weekend at WrestleMania, losing his Cruiserweight title to Tony Nese during the pre-show. To cap that, as he was walking backstage the former champion was made fun of by Velveteen Dream. Murphy then returned to his former haunt at Full Sail University to take on the reigning NXT North American Champion. Like when Tyler Breeze challenged Ricochet for the title, it was unlikely that the 205-based Murphy would come away with a clean win.
However, Murphy and Velveteen Dream rocked the house in front of a red hot crowd for over 20 minutes in their match. Performing a mix of hard-hitting strikes and quick counters, Buddy Murphy and Velveteen Dream had a back and forth match that kept the audience on the edge of their seats for the whole time. Murphy may have been a guest this time, but like Tyler Breeze before him, he was welcomed back with open arms by the NXT fans in attendance and we can only hope more superstars from the main roster come down to NXT for great matches like this in the future.