WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Reaction from February 14

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2018

WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Reaction from February 14

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    Credit: WWE.com

    There was no love to be dealt on the Valentine's Day episode of NXT, thanks to two heated and hard-hitting championship bouts.

    Roderick Strong earned a shot at the WWE United Kingdom Championship by way of his victory over former titleholder Tyler Bate. In order to claim gold, he would have to defeat the seemingly unbeatable "Bruiserweight" Pete Dunne.

    Would he succeed, or did Dunne bruise, batter and pummel his way to a successful title defense?

    Equally as aggressive is Shayna Baszler, and Wednesday night, she challenged Ember Moon for the NXT Women's Championship in a rematch of their brutal bout at TakeOver: Philadelphia.

    TM61 was also in action, and Aleister Black addressed the NXT faithful to round out another explosive episode of the WWE Network broadcast.

WWE United Kingdom Championship Match: Roderick Strong vs. Pete Dunne

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    The dominant championship reign of Pete Dunne was in jeopardy Wednesday, as he defended against Roderick Strong in a hard-hitting opener.

    Dunne attempted his joint manipulation early, targeting the fingers of his opponent. Double-tough and not at all ready to give in to his opponent's onslaught, Strong fought back and controlled the pace by utilizing ground-based offense and a variety of backbreakers.

    Dunne eventually turned his attention back to the injured hand and digits of the challenger, but frustration set in when he realized Strong was not one to give up. The resilient Ring of Honor alumnus fought his way through the pain and even managed to trap Dunne in a Boston Crab.

    Alert, Dunne slapped his hand, forcing him to break the hold.

    The champion delivered The Bitter End for the successful title retention.

         

    Result

    Pete Dunne defeated Roderick Strong

         

    Grade

    A

        

    Analysis

    There is no Superstar who has consistently delivered the outstanding performances that Strong has without the hardware to show for it. He has been as good, if not better, than just about any other Superstar in NXT, but he never quite manages to win the big one.

    He is a workhorse for the brand, and this match is proof positive.

    The storytelling, the bone-crushing offense and the smart finish made for a superb match and another excellent entry in both men's highlight reels.

Aleister Black Promo

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Fresh off an Extreme Rules match win over Adam Cole at TakeOver: Philadelphia, Aleister Black made his way to the ring and addressed the NXT Universe.

    As he made his intentions to challenge for the NXT Championship clear, the music of Sanity's Killian Dain interrupted him.

    The monstrous heavyweight claimed he would not stop until he won the NXT title and not so subtly insinuated Black was next if he stood in his way.

    As Dain attempted to walk away, Black called to him and vowed to make Dain fade to black.

          

    Grade

    B+

         

    Analysis

    Aleister Black wants the NXT title. Killian Dain wants the NXT title. Now, we have a rivalry.

    Not every feud has to be a ridiculously complex one with hours of history between the Superstars. Sometimes, it can be as simple as the allure of gold bringing two competitors together. It is a story as old as the profession itself and one that still works today.

    Black and Dain competed against each other in the Fatal 4-Way No. 1 Contender's match prior to TakeOver: Philadelphia, but now they have the opportunity to do battle in a high-profile match that allows them to showcase their chemistry between the ropes without catering to two other Superstars.

TM61 vs. John Skyler and Andrew Duckworth

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    TM61 was back in action Wednesday, squaring off with the enhancement team of John Skyler and Andrew Duckworth.

    Nick Miller and Shane Thorne were hot to start but saw their early onslaught slowed momentarily as Skyler and Duckworth targeted and worked over Thorne's previously injured knee.

    Miller eventually received the hot tag and exploded into the match.

    Moments later, the Aussies scored the win and improved their TV win-loss record since returning to 2-0.

         

    Result

    TM61 defeated John Skyler and Andrew Duckworth

         

    Grade

    C

         

    Analysis

    These squash matches are a great way to get over the energy and double-team maneuvers of Thorne and Miller, but one must wonder how long they can be truly effective before staleness sets in.

    After all, there are only so many times the heel team can target Thorne's knee before the formula grows old and fans lose interest.

NXT Women's Championship Match: Ember Moon vs. Shayna Baszler

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    The rivalry between Ember Moon and Shayna Baszler intensifies with every passing week. Wednesday night, it grew even more heated when the top female Superstars in NXT battled for championship gold in the night's main event.

    Moon took the fight to her opponent right out of the gate, eager to prove to Baszler that she is not scared or intimidated by the former mixed martial artist. Her own ferocity proved detrimental, though, as she delivered a suicide dive to the floor but smacked her previously injured shoulder into the announce table.

    Like a shark smelling blood, Baszler attacked. She spent the heart of the match working over the injured joint of her opponent, targeting and torturing her left arm.

    The culmination of the match saw Baszler trap Moon's arm in the steel guardrail, only to have Kairi Sane make her return, unloading on the woman who put her out of action with a flurry of rights and lefts.

    Sane put an exclamation on her return with a spear on The Queen of Spades.

          

    Result

    Shayna Baszler defeated Ember Moon via disqualification

         

    Grade

    B+

         

    Analysis

    Baszler continued to look like a ruthless, uncaring wrestler who sees only gold and the opportunity to punish her opponent. While she is far from the polished worker Moon is, the character work and the realism add to her performance.

    Moon is excellent in her role as the sympathetic champion and continues to be the leader of the division most expected her to be after Asuka's departure.

    Sane's return sets up a probable three-way feud for the title that could allow Baszler to win the title without having to pin or submit the largely protected Moon. It also allows them to build off the Mae Young Classic final, which saw Sane defeat Baszler.

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