NXT opened up with a short recap of last week's episode before bringing us to Stamford, Connecticut. Todd Phillips and Triple H hosted the show, giving us in-depth interviews and special footage covering the rollercoaster relationship between the Psycho Killer and Johnny Wrestling.
The history of DIY
Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano went over their history as we saw some exclusive never before seen footage of their tryout in 2015. Their friendship blossomed while working at the Performance Center, as they were randomly placed together. Though they didn't receive contracts initially, they proved themselves while working the Cruiserweight Classic.
Johnny Gargano was always supposed to be in the tournament, while Ciampa wasn't originally part of the line-up. Ciampa revealed that he walked up to Hunter, wanting to face Gargano in the first round. It went down as, arguably, the best match of the entire tournament and one of the best matches of the year.
Following that, they officially became DIY. Ciampa & Gargano would wind up being one of the greatest tag teams in NXT history. Though they failed in their first attempt at the NXT Tag Team Titles, they knew that they had something special. Still, Gargano tapping to the Revival left a question in the back of Ciampa's mind. Would he have tapped?
That was the beginning of a slow burn of sorts. While they would eventually force Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder to tap out at TakeOver: Toronto, NXT fans noticed a tension building between the two. Still, the connection they had with the WWE Universe was special, and that only grew as they defended the belts around the globe.
Ciampa was living with Gargano and Candice LeRae, who had recently been married. Gargano and LeRae noticed Ciampa's doubt begin to grow, especially after the titles had been lost. At TakeOver: San Antonio, the Authors of Pain knocked off DIY to win the NXT Tag Team Titles. At TakeOver: Chicago, everything fell apart.
Ciampa said that nothing was personal, but Chicago wasn't their moment. It was his. He left for surgery as Gargano fell into a slump of sorts. Eventually, he rediscovered himself and made it to an NXT Title match against Andrade.
It was another classic bout from Gargano, but he would ultimately come up short. As he stood on the stage with Candice at TakeOver: Philadelphia, Ciampa returned to crack a crutch across his back.
After months of sneak attacks and Ciampa costing Gargano is NXT career, the two met at TakeOver: New Orleans. In an unsanctioned match, Gargano was able to outshine Ciampa once again, forcing him to tap to an STF, wit a knee brace for good measure.
Over the course of 2018, though, Ciampa would move ahead of Gargano. Defeating him twice, and winning the NXT Championship in between bouts with his former friend. In the beginning of 2019, Gargano pretended to "see things" Ciampa's way. Just as we had built to an NXT Championship match between the two in an epic two-year story from Chicago to New York, it was revealed that Ciampa would require neck surgery. After relinquishing the title, Gargano won it in a two-out-of-three falls match against Adam Cole.
Ciampa was happy to put everything behind he and Gargano. They embraced at TakeOver: New York. However, in Gargano's first defense, he lost the belt to Cole. When Ciampa returned, he got a hero's welcome, something that Gargano didn't quite understand.
Still, he reunited with Ciampa, and would eventually bring back DIY. At Worlds Collide, they defeated Moustache Mountain and it looked like all was right between the two men. Sadly, that wouldn't be the case.
At TakeOver: Portland, Gargano bashed Ciampa in the face with the NXT Championship, allowing Cole to retain. Gargano claimed that he saw the evil in his former friend's eyes that night, which is why he had to fix it. He saw what the fans couldn't.
The return of The Prinxe
Next up was a look into the WWE career of Finn Balor. The Prince faced the best that the Black & Gold brand had to offer in both of his runs on the roster Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Matt Riddle.
Even when he left NXT, Balor was able to shoot straight to the Universal Championship scene. He defeated several top talents on RAW, including Roman Reigns. At SummerSlam 2016, Balor pinned Seth Rollins clean to become the top dog of the flagship brand.
Sadly, a torn labrum, bicep, and pec would force him to relinquish the belt. Nine months later, Balor returned on the RAW after WrestleMania. Balor elevated those he stepped in the ring with. Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, Andrade, they all had, arguably, their best matches with the former champion.
Balor then went over his match against Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble 2019. The Beast Incarnate barely escaped with the Universal Championship, and it lit a fire under Balor. When it came to what was next, Balor was tired of pleasing everyone except himself. It doesn't matter what anyone else wants. He's 38 years old and the clock is ticking.
That's why Balor went back to NXT and woke up The Prince. Now, back on NXT, Balor continues to take the wrestling world by storm, just like he did when he came in back in 2014. Next up is WALTER and the NXT UK Championship.
Rhea Ripley's rise to the top
The Nightmare has been at the peak of the NXT women's division since becoming the inaugural NXT UK Women's Champion. Her run in the WWE started with the first two Mae Young Classics. While she impressed fans around the globe in the first tournament, she was compared to Charlotte Flair quite a bit.
The second time around, a makeover was necessary. The Mosh Pit Kid was born, and Rhea Ripley left an impression on the WWE Universe. When NXT UK started, she dominated the division and managed to defeat Toni Storm to become the first-ever NXT UK Women's Champion.
In late 2019, Ripley moved onto NXT where she stepped up to face one of the most dominant Superstars in the brand's history, Shayna Baszler. The Queen of Spades was shaken from the get-go and would lose a WarGames match against Ripley's team, even with a four-on-two advantage. Soon after, Ripley captured the NXT Women's Championship.
After Flair won the Royal Rumble, Ripley realized that she was the one to face going forward. The WWE Universe had seen Flair vs Becky Lynch and Flair vs Bayley, but they'd never seen Flair vs Ripley. After overcoming Bianca Belair, Ripley was attacked by the Queen, who announced that she had indeed chosen to challenge for the NXT Women's Championship.
WrestleMania isn't taking place in a stadium with thousands upon thousands of fans. It's taking place at the WWE Performance Center. For Ripley, this is a home field advantage. On April 5th, The Queen will face a Nightmare like she's never seen before.