Top 3 Performers of NXT (January 16, 2019)
This week's episode of NXT opened with the Street Profits making their first in-ring appearance for 2019. They faced the Metro brothers, a team from the Dudley Boys academy that has been used as enhancement talent in NXT over the last few years. The Street Profits got a dominant victory as the Metro brothers got little offence in against the Street Profits. Montez Ford would hit a frog splash for the pinfall victory.
However, the Street Profits would be attacked during their post-match celebrations by the Forgotten Sons, Jaxson Ryker, Steve Cutler, and Wesley Blake. After their attack, with the crowd booing them, the Forgotten Sons stood tall over the bodies of the Street Profits.
After a short backstage promo with Matt Riddle, promoting Keith Lee's match against Kassius Ohno and a short video promo from Aleister Black regarding his NXT title match against Tommaso Ciampa, the number one contender for Shayna Baszler's NXT Women's title, Bianca Belair, was in the ring cutting a promo calling out Shayna Baszler.
She was cut off mid-promo by Shayna Baszler and her horsewoman cohorts in Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir. The two traded barbs back and forth, with Baszler getting the better of the word game, but as she called her friends back, Belair slapped the taste out of Baszler's mouth.
Adrian Jaoude would appear in the ring next as the opponent of Dominik Dijakovic. This was Dijakovic's first competitive matches, as his previous matches have all been squash matches against developmental talent. However, it wasn't long until Dijakovic wrested control of the match from Jaoude, using his power and size to dominate his smaller opponent. He would win the match via pinfall after hitting his finisher "Feast Your Eyes" on the Brazilian Judoka.
This was followed by a video promo from the War Raiders, against the Undisputed Era, in preparation for the tag team title match at Takeover: Phoenix. It did seem like a waste, as the War Raiders do not need promos to enhance their image, and would be better if they spoke less as they do their intimidation in the ring with their actions rather than with words.
The next challenger for the NXT North American Title, Johnny Gargano, headed to the ring for in-ring action. Gargano faced Humberto Carillo, who debuted on 205 Live this week, as a warm-up for his title match against Ricochet at Takeover: Phoenix. The two traded chain wrestling back and forth, with Gargano breaking the chain with a forearm. Carillo used his speed as an impressive form of offence against Johnny Wrestling.
Gargano gained control of the match after hitting his slingshot spear on Carillo from the ring apron. Despite Carillo hitting lots of high-risk, high flying moves, Carillo went to the well one too many times as Gargano was able to get his feet up to counter Carillo's Moonsault, and then hit a superkick and a slingshot DDT for the win.
The NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa responded to Aleister Black's promo from earlier in the night in a video package and the Velveteen Dream had a video promo hyping his first appearance for 2019. This was followed by the main event between Kassius Ohno and Keith Lee, the latter of whom was seeking revenge for what the former did to his friend Matt Riddle.
Lee dominated the start of proceedings, with Ohno on the back foot at the start of the fight. Ohno would use stiff strikes and kicks to chop down Lee. 'Limitless' Keith Lee was able to get back momentum after Ohno would try hit a second running Senton on Lee, only for Lee to get his knees up.
The two would trade chops before Lee would truck through Ohno. As Lee went to lift Ohno up, Ohno would block it by holding on to the ropes. This would lead to inadvertent contact between Lee and the referee. With the referee hurt and Lee distracted by the referee Ohno would hit Lee with a Low Blow and then a spinning forearm for the win.