Top 3 Performers of NXT (February 6, 2019)
NXT returned to Full Sail University following Takeover: Phoenix, the World's Collide Tournament and all the other events that took place over the Royal Rumble weekend. This week's episode kicked off with the new NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano coming down to the ring to celebrate his first singles title in NXT, and his first title since he and Ciampa lost the NXT Tag Team Titles at Takeover: San Antonio to the Authors of Pain. He was interrupted by his former tag team partner and current NXT champion, Tommaso Ciampa, who congratulated him on winning the title from Ricochet.
Ciampa and Gargano were interrupted by Velveteen Dream, who won the World's Collide Tournament, which took place over the Royal Rumble weekend at WWE's Axxess event. The Velveteen Dream announced that he would use his title shot against Johnny Gargano's NXT North American title, setting up a match between the two of them for two weeks time.
This segment was followed by the first in-ring action of the weekend between the Forgotten Son's Jaxson Ryker and Saudi Arabian wrestler Mansoor. Ryker would dominate Mansoor in a squash match and attack Mansoor again after the match was over, planting him with a Sit-out Powerbomb.
The action cut to backstage with Ricochet and Adam Cole going face to face, the two arranged a match for the following week's NXT to decide the number one contender for the NXT North American title, after the Velveteen Dream.
Back into the ring, 205 Live's Drew Gulak arrived at NXT for in-ring competition and faced off against Eric Bugenhagen. This the NXT TV debut for Bugenhagen, while Gulak had wrestled on the yellow and black brand previously in 2016.
While Gulak got the majority of the offense, eventually forcing his opponent to submit to the Gu-Lock, Bugenhagen was over with the local Orlando crowd. Gulak took to the microphone after the match to claim himself as the best submission wrestler in the WWE.
His open challenge was answered by the Bro of NXT, Matt Riddle, and the two had an impromptu match. The match was shoot style, very much like fight from UFC or MMA as opposed to WWE or NXT.
Riddle would eventually hit Gulak with a running senton as the match switched back and forth between MMA style action and pro-wrestling moves. The new style of match was refreshing and the NXT crowd was completely invested in the action. Riddle would hit a German Suplex with a pin combination, which Gulak transitioned into a Fujiwara armbar.
The two traded chains, submissions, and strikes in a main event quality fight that was given the time to develop. Gulak eventually submitted after Riddle locked in the Bro-mission. The two shook hands after their bout, similarly to how Tyler Breeze put Ricochet over after their match for the NXT North American title.
The final match of the episode was a 6 women tag team match between Shayna Baszler and her 4 Horsewomen cohorts Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke against the Sky Pirates and Baszler's Takeover: Phoenix opponent Bianca Belair.
Belair and Baszler started the match for their respective teams continuing their match from Takeover. While the Horsewomen swapped quick tags transitioning between Baszler, Shafir, and Duke, Belair tagged in Sane, who also renewed her rivalry with Baszler.
Sane managed to hit Baszler with the In-Sane elbow but the pin was broken up by Marina Shafir. Belair then tagged herself in and hit the KOD on Baszler, but the pinfall was broken up by Shafir and Duke. Io Shirai then tagged herself in and hit Baszler with a springboard moonsault for the win.