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    Thursday, November 30, 2017

    The NXT Grapevine: December 2017

    After an insane NXT TakeOver: WarGames, NXT returned to Full Sail University earlier for one more round of tapings that'll close out the year. With a new NXT Champion, a new NXT Women's Champion, and the main roster debut of several female talents, things are bound to be shaken up once again.

    As is the norm, we'll put our usual SPOILER WARNING here. The matches you'll see below have yet to be aired, so don't scroll down if you don't want to be spoiled. Also, these tapings sometimes go through heavy changes before the on-air product is released, so there may be matches and segments that won't be seen.


    Airing December 6:
    • An announcement confirms that Drew McIntyre will be unable to compete for the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia due to injury, and that a new #1 contender will be determined through four qualifying matches leading into a Fatal 4 Way.
    • New NXT Champion Andrade 'Cien' Almas and Zelina Vega come out. Vega demands that everyone rise for the new NXT Champion. Andrade made fun of Drew McIntyre being out, then cut a promo in Spanish to his next challenger.
    • Qualifying Match for the Fatal 4 Way: Killian Dain def. Trent Seven to advance. Dain won after hitting his running senton and a middle rope splash.
    • No Holds Barred Match: Sonya Deville def. Ruby Riott. Deville caught Riott in a chokehold, causing her to pass out and end the match.
    • Qualifying Match for the Fatal 4 Way: Johnny Gargano def. Kassius Ohno via submission. Both men showed respect before and after the match, receiving equal support from the crowd. Gargano kicked out after an elbow by Ohno, then locked in the GargaNo Escape soon after for the win.

    Thoughts: McIntyre's unfortunate injury will allow NXT to elevate some other names, and it's looking good so far. Dain continues his path of destruction in singles matches, while Gargano looks to finally get one over after some harsh losses in the past couple of months. Meanwhile, we get our first look at the new NXT champion, and the conclusion to Riott-Deville now that they'll be wreaking havoc in the main roster.

    Airing December 13:
    • Qualifying Match for the Fatal 4 Way: Lars Sullivan def. Roderick Strong. Sullivan hit a pop-up power slam into the Freak Accident to advance.
    • NXT Women's Champion Ember Moon def. Peyton Royce (w/ Billie Kay) in a non-title match. Ember hit the Eclipse for the win, but was beaten down afterwards by both Royce and Kay. Nikki Cross runs out for the save, then teases attacking Ember Moon as well before running back through the crowd.
    • NXT Champion Andrade 'Cien' Almas (w/ Zelina Vega) def. Fabian Aichner in a non-title match. Aichner almost had it after a powerbomb, but Vega distracted him. Almas then hit El Idolo for the win.
    • Qualifying Match for the Fatal 4 Way: Aleister Black def. Adam Cole. This was said to be another good match, with Black hitting Black Mass to continue his undefeated streak.

    Thoughts: Both singles champions pick up the typical non-title win as a way to keep them strong, and it's nice to see Aichner again. Sullivan is another new name to put into potential title contention, and a win over an established name like Roddy is a nice way to keep NXT's resident monster strong. That main event also sounds fun, with Black putting down a big name in Adam Cole.

    Airing December 20/27:
    • The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar, w/ Paul Ellering) def. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch.
    • NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Undisputed Era (Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish) def. SAnitY (Killian Dain and Eric Young) to become the new champions. This was a chaotic match, with interference from Adam Cole and Nikki Cross. The finish saw Young nail a crossbody on Cole outside the ring, only to be hit with a Total Elimination from Fish and O'Reilly after rolling back into the ring.
    • NXT Women's Championship Match: Ember Moon (c) def. Sonya Deville to retain her championship. The crowd was said to be less energetic here coming from the tag team title match. After the match, Kairi Sane came out and signaled that she wants the title, then Shayna Baszler came up behind Sane and choked her out.
    • WWE UK Championship Match: Pete Dunne (c) def. Tyler Bate to retain the championship. This was said to be another excellent match, much like their previous encounter.
    • Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) def. a pair of local enhancement talents. After the match, the Profits celebrate in the crowd and cut a promo saying they'll conquer the tag team division in 2018.
    • Fatal 4 Way #1 Contender's Match for the NXT Championship: Johnny Gargano def. Killian Dain, Lars Sullivan and Aleister Black to earn a title shot against Andrade 'Cien' Almas at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia in January. Black looked to have won the match after hitting Black Mass on Sullivan, but was attacked by the Undisputed Era. Gargano then hit his jumping DDT on Black for the win.

    Thoughts: Whoa, there's a lot to unpack here! Gargano becoming #1 Contender is a huge turn of fortunes for the former half of #DIY, and it'll be interesting to see if he can carry the momentum to a title win. Elsewhere, it also seems that they're setting up Aleister Black vs. Adam Cole for a match at TakeOver: Philadelphia, which should be just as good. It also looks like we've got a tag team title match set up, with SAnitY likely to use their rematch against Fish and O'Reilly.

    Finally, Dunne-Bate II feels like WWE's Christmas gift to us fans, and I'll be looking out for that when this batch of tapings air.


    What do you think of the coming episodes of NXT? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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    Item Reviewed: The NXT Grapevine: December 2017 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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