NXT Recap: Episode 491

Last week on NXT: Halftime Heat happened. The most watched NXT match in WWE history. A crazy sprint that blew my mind.

Cold Open

Seems like NXT rarely has a cold open lately.

Johnny Gargano Promo

  • Johnny Gargano coming out acting like Johnny Bravado.
  • Before the promo in the ring starts the fans chant “Johnny Champion” and he soaks it all up. Of course there are some detractors who do not like Johnny’s new attitude. Full Sail usually cheers for who they like no matter the alignment.
  • Tommaso Ciampa interrupts to congratulate and celebrate this moment. Ciampa says Johnny “knows how to listen”.
  • The crowd chants “DIY” at them and Johnny turns it down. Ciampa is standing on the ramp and the spotlight is on him, for some reason it is also on Izzy in the crowd. Izzy is not a fan of Velveteen Dream.
  • Velveteen Dream shows up to remind us he won the Worlds Collide tournament, letting him choose the championship he will challenge for. Dream says he stole the show at Takeover:Phoenix just by showing up.
  • Dream chooses Johnny Gargano while staring at Ciampa. Ciampa is obsessed with his NXT Championship and Dream looks Ciampa in the eye and says he doesn’t want that championship.
  • Gargano’s hair looks like he hasn’t showered in a week. Super greasy.
  • Johnny responds with “I’m on top of the world right now, and I’m feeling a little dangerous.

And I’m Like… Johnny leaves the ring and chooses to stand next to Ciampa. The teasing of them teaming together again is the best foreplay. This segment was well done, bringing up the prestige of the North American championship. I like that it was handled in a civic manner.

Jaxson Ryker vs. Mansoor

  • Mansoor earned this match by impressing the coaches at the performance center. Has been wrestling since the age of 17.
  • Ryker looks like a shredded monster next to Mansoor.
  • Ryker wins after a dominate few minutes.

And I’m Like… This lets us know that Jaxson is the enforcer and star of The Forgotten Sons. Not much to really talk about. The theme song, image and overall demeanor of The Forgotten Son really upsets me. Which means they are doing their job well. I want to see them lose all the time.

Cathy Kelly wants an interview with Ricochet, when Undisputed Era shows up. Soon Ricochet comes in, a match is set for next week. Adam Cole has so much confidence and Ricochet has faux-confidence. He has that Big Cass problem where you can see how nervous they are. Takes a lot of strength to keep trying even though you’re full of fear.

Drew Gulak vs. Eric Bugenhagen

  • Drew is a sight for sore eyes on NXT.
  • Eric Bugenhagen is here! He really lit up Twitter during his debut and is already a fan favoite. The dude not only air guitars during his entrance but air bands. He does every instrument and the crowd loves it. Classic NXT legend based on one entrance. Eric just joined Tyler Breeze and Adam Rose in that club.
  • Gulak gives no fucks and quickly attacks Bugenhagen. It looked to be a quick squash but Bugenhagen fought back.
  • Eric hits his first signature spot. An abominable stretch where Eric plays the guitar on Drew’s stomach.
  • Drew still gets the Gu-Lock on for the win.

And I’m Like… This was a squash but Gugenhagen made the biggest impression ever. This is an anti-Elias and having these two feud is something I need. Wrestling skill does not apply here.

Drew cuts a promo about how much he wrestles and how talented he is. He feels disrespected by having a match against “Ben Stiller from Dodgeball”. That brings out Matt Riddle. Riddle is upset Gulak made fun of NXT and challenged Gulak to a match.

Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle

  • Riddle was told to kick is flip flops off by Drew. Riddle kicked them off in the smoothest manner. He legit kicked off flip flops to go fight a man.
  • This match is back and forth grappling and it is fantastic. They do a leg scissor spot that got the crowd in it. Riddle fires up after that and Full Sail is hot for this basic ass wrestling and I love it.
  • Riddle goes for his running forearms into the corner and Gulak is able to counter it with a dropkick to the face.
  • Gulak is now going for pins after every move. A shoulder block? Pin attempt. A hip toss? Pin attempt. Drew is desperate for a pin until he gets Matt in prone submission position.
  • Riddle is being bent and stretched like he was in a torture chamber. Gulak is demented with the joint manipulation.
  • Riddle is able to fight back and even powers through an unassisted suplex. This match is fantastic. The crowd really helps. Both men are tremendous performers so you can’t really expect less.
  • Riddle attempts a bridging German suplex pin and Gulak is able to simultaneously kick out and apply an armbar. Drew transitions that armbar into a chicken wing.
  • Drew is able to out smart and out wrestle Riddle, but Riddle has the strength and the heart to overcome everything.
  • Remember Drew already wrestled a match too, Riddle hits a powerbomb and knee to the face for two. Immediately after he throws tons of downward elbows and hits the bromission.

And I’m Like… You ever watch One Piece? Matt Riddle is Luffy. Very care free and blase, will fight with a relaxed demanor too. That is until shit gets real. Then he is the toughest, most intense, heartfelt fighter there is. Nothing can stop him because his passion to win is too strong. This was outstanding. Gulak even shook Riddle’s hand. Drew wanted competition and he got it. Riddle is a Wrestlemania headliner in less than 10 years.

Io Shirai, Kairi Sane and Bianca Belair vs. Jessamyn Duke, Marina Shafir and Shayna Baszler

  • Kairi came out and gave Izzy her pirate hat!!! I hope Izzy is able to go backstage and give that shit back. She is like the NXT roster’s child though. What a crazy experience for that one fan.
  • Bianca Belair comes out in the dopest Black History Month gear that’s ever existed. The crowd is so happy to see her and every one loves her. She looks so happy too. She is the best y’all.
  • Bianca and Shayna start the match off. Both have something to prove after Takeover. Shayna feels like Bianca got lucky and Belair knows she had the match won until getting choked out.
  • Jessamyn is tagged in and quickly knocked down. Then Belair military presses Sane who elbow drops from the press onto Duke. Creative stuff.
  • Marina still has that protective nose mask which adds so much to her character. Even if her nose is better she should keep that. Really helps her stand out.
  • Sane ends up getting beat down and brought to the Horsewomen’s corner. Sane is the best at building sympathy when Dakota Kai isn’t around.
  • All three Horsewomen get in the ring and are able to do damage to Kairi. Shayna now does this thing where she pulls out her ponytail to signify that shit’s about to get ruthless.
  • Kairi is finally able to get the hot tag to Io who lights up Shayna. The bump and feed is a bit slow so it doesn’t keep the crowd into it as much but Shirai is able to get them back with her exciting offense.
  • Kairi starts screaming and hits the InSane Elbow. Shayna would have been pinned if it wasn’t for Marina Shafir. Kairi is reaching to tag Io in after getting kicked and Bianca forces a tag.
  • Bianca hits the KOD on Shayna and almost has the win but Marina and Jessamyn break up the pin. Io throws them out of the ring and Kairi lands on Shafir and Duke.
  • Io forces a tag on Bianca and hits a moonsault on Shayna for the win. Bianca looks on as Io celebrates. Kairi is overjoyed and Bianca gives a smile even though she doesn’t look very pleased with the stolen victory.

And I’m Like… That was a great match. It was surprising that the Horsewomen would lose a tag match to a make shift team. Shayna isn’t as strong as she once was and these evil women are running scared. This is a great feud with four really good talents and two that are learning very quickly. I’m excited to see where this goes and how the Horsewomen will gain their confidence back.

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