WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Reaction from January 16
The slow and steady build to NXT TakeOver: Phoenix continued Wednesday on WWE Network with a show that was not necessarily explosive but did shine a light on competitors destined to play a major role on that live event.
Bianca Belair sent a message loudly and clearly to women's champion Shayna Baszler, Johnny Gargano picked up a grueling victory, and Kassius Ohno sunk to new lows to ensure victory in the main event of the show.
Find out everything that went down and how it may affect the brand and its Superstars with this recap of the January 16 show.
The Street Profits vs. The Metro Brothers
After winning the EVOLVE Tag Team Championships, Chris and JC Metro sought to derail a suddenly hot Street Profits team that is riding high.
They were no match for the current titleholders, though.
The lighthearted babyfaces, unimpressed with the opposition, toyed with them for the majority of the bout before Montez Ford capitalized on his larger partner Angelo Dawkins' takedown of the opposition and finished with a huge frog splash.
The Forgotten Sons' Jaxson Ryker, Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake attacked Ford and Dawkins and left them lying.
The Street Profits defeated The Metro Brothers
This was the fun, energetic Street Profits match that got the team over in the first place. Ford's personality was on full display here, while Dawkins was the fun-loving wrecking ball.
The post-match beatdown by The Forgotten Sons sets up a feud between the two, and considering neither was doing much of note otherwise, it was fine.
The question then becomes whether the program is designed to get over Ford and Dawkins or their rivals.
Bianca Belair Promo
The new No. 1 contender to the NXT Women's Championship, Bianca Belair, made her way to the ring, eager to talk up her victory over Nikki Cross from last week.
Always confident, she vowed to prove to Shayna Baszler at TakeOver: Phoenix that she is not the baddest woman in NXT and, in the process, take her title because she's undefeated.
Baszler, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke interrupted.
The Queen of Spades threatened to rip Belair's arms off and beat her with them. Just as she backed Shafir and Duke out of the way, the champion turned around to a slap in the face from The EST, who also dispatched of Duke and escaped, laughing along the way.
In the face of a threat from three of the Four Horsewomen, Belair stood up tall and slapped the taste out of Baszler's face. It was a hell of a statement and one that will probably make the confident, sometimes arrogant, competitor the fan favorite when they lock up in Phoenix on January 26.
Belair is unfazed, unafraid and hellbent on proving why she is undefeated on a roster full of talented competitors.
Segments like this help enhance feuds and make matches so much more interesting to the viewer than they may have been on paper. Kudos to Belair for really standing out here and continuing to elevate her star.
Dominik Dijakovic vs. Adrian Jaoude
Dominik Dijakovic may have arrived in NXT with video packages hyping him up, but opponent Adrian Jaoude fought just as hard to leave Wednesday's show with a win.
He slugged it out with Dijakovic, but it was the Ring of Honor alumnus who was able to catch him with his Feast Your Eyes finisher for the pinfall victory.
Dijakovic defeated Jaoude
This was OK for what it was, but Dijakovic cannot seem to build momentum for himself, thanks to being featured so inconsistently on TV.
That needs to change because he has the ability and potential to be one of the faces of NXT in 2019 and beyond.
Johnny Gargano vs. Humberto Carrillo
Johnny Gargano may have taken Humberto Carrillo a bit too lightly heading into Wednesday's showdown.
An early onslaught from Carrillo was thwarted via a slingshot spear from Gargano, who took over control of the match.
Carrillo battled back, wiping out Gargano at ringside. An onslaught followed, but a moonsault attempt landed him on the feet of Johnny Wrestling, who finished him off with a superkick and slingshot DDT.
After the match, Gargano dared Ricochet to show up next week.
Gargano defeated Carrillo
This is the perfect example of an effective squash.
Gargano sold for all it was worth to put Carrillo over as a threat to beat him, but in the end, he proved too much for the lesser-experienced competitor and won to build momentum ahead of a prospective showdown with Ricochet.
The established vet putting over a young up-and-comer, making him look good en route to a victory, is exactly what these squash matches should be, and NXT has the talent to make them a reality.
Keith Lee vs. Kassius Ohno
The main event of Wednesday's show saw two bruisers square off in singles competition, as Kassius Ohno battled Keith Lee.
Lee frustrated Ohno early, but The Knockout Artist unloaded on him with his patented striking arsenal to seize control of the bout. A running senton, though, nearly spelled his demise, as Lee caught him with knees to the back.
Sensing Lee was rolling, Ohno escaped the grasp of his opponent and shoved him into the referee. With the official down, he delivered a low blow and finished Lee with the rolling elbow for the win.
After the match, Matt Riddle hit the ring, but Ohno escaped to the sanctuary of the arena floor to close out the show.
Ohno defeated Lee
This was a battle of the big men and different than pretty much anything we have seen out of NXT in recent weeks. It may not have been an aesthetically stunning match, but it was a physical one that put Lee over as a beast and further established Ohno's rulebreaking persona.
Of course, this is all to highlight Ohno and set up his showdown with Riddle. In that respect, it worked.