Top 3 Performers of NXT (March 13, 2019)
This week's edition of NXT followed on from last week with the black and yellow brand continuing to build towards Takeover: New York. Four teams remain in the Dusty Rhodes Classic, with DIY, Forgotten Sons, Mustache Mountain, and the team of Aleister Black and Ricochet all winning their quarter-final clashes. The episode would also have a number one contenders match between Io Shirai and Bianca Belair to determine Shayna Baszler's next contender for the NXT Women's title.
Mustache Mountain would be first to the ring for their semifinal match-up against the Forgotten Sons. Tyler Bate and Wesley Blake would start for their respective teams. The Forgotten Sons would isolate Tyler Bate, making quick tags back and forth and keeping him from his corner. The fight would end with a flourish of chaos, Rykker would get involved in the match, taking out Bate while the referee was distracted. This would lead to the Forgotten Sons hitting their neck-breaker double stomp to get the win.
When the action returned to the ring, the number one contenders match between Io Shirai and Bianca Belair took place. Current NXT Women's Champion would be at commentary for the match to scout out her potential opponents for Takeover: New York. The match would start with a mix of slow chain wrestling and quick counters. Belair would get the early domination, getting several near falls attempts at the start of the match. Meanwhile, the crowd would duel matching "Io" and "Est" chants throughout the fight.
Baszler would pull Io Shirai out of the ring, causing the referee to end the match via disqualification. She would then lock Bianca Belair in the Kirafuda clutch. This would bring out Kairi Sane who would also get trapped in the Kirafuda clutch. Shirai would return to the ring, breaking up the submission and throwing Baszler out of the ring. Baszler would come back into the ring and apply the sleeper on Shirai to finish the segment and leave Baszler the only one standing tall in the ring.
The main event of the episode saw the newly reformed DIY taking on the team of Ricochet and Aleister Black. Aleister Black and Tommaso Ciampa would face off against each other first, renewing their rivalry over the NXT title from 2018. They would both tag in their partners before long to have one of the most impressive sequences in NXT between Johnny Gargano and Ricochet.
DIY would isolate Ricochet in the ring, frequently tagging in and out and performing several double team moves on the high flyer. DIY seemed to the fight won when Gargano locked Black in the Gargano Escape. Ciampa would also lock Ricochet in a Fujiwara armbar, but he would counter the submission to drop Ciampa on Gargano, seemingly injuring his left knee.
With Ciampa alone, Black would hit the NXT champion with Black Mass and Ricochet would pile on by hitting the 630-Senton for the win. A dejected DIY would be in the ring, with Candace LaRae coming down to the ring to console her husband. Ciampa and LaRae would help Gargano to his feet and seemed to carry him back up the ramp.
As the team got to the top of the ramp, Tommaso would try to attack Gargano again, similar to the end of Takeover: Chicago. Gargano would counter the attempted attack and would throw Ciampa into the screens. Gargano would then hit Ciampa with a superkick and showed that the knee injury was all a ruse to close out the show.
#3 Shayna Baszler
While Shayna Baszler was not scheduled to perform on this week's episode of NXT, she was nevertheless at commentary for the number one contender's match between Io Shirai and Bianca Belair. While the match in the ring was okay, especially by NXT's lofty standards, it was Baszler on commentary that provided most of the spark talking about both her potential opponents while they were in the ring.
When the Queen of Spades could no longer stand the in-ring action, she got up and made a statement the best way she knows. After pulling Io Shirai out of the ring, causing the referee to call for the bell, Baszler would lock in the Kirafuda Clutch and putting Belair to sleep. This would bring out Baszler's former rival, Kairi Sane, but Baszler would also trap her in a Kirafuda Clutch.
Io Shirai would try to break up Baszler's clutch on Kairi, only to be put in the Kirafuda Clutch herself. This left Baszler standing tall at the end of the match with Belair, Sane, and Shirai all having felt the wrath of Baszler's submission.