The Velveteen Dream shows off his Johnny Gargano t-shirt on WWE NXT

A dream … will be over.” Big words from The Velveteen Dream to open the show. I popped! What a mark.

It’s the last show before NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia. Will Johnny Gargano hold on to his title shot? What’s No Way Jose up to this weekend? Will Donovan Dijak finally debut? How many more times am I going to have to ask that in these recaps? All that and more on this week’s Rogues Portal Wrestling NXT Recap.

Bo-no Where to Run To (Cezar Bononi vs. No Way Jose (W))

No Way Jose is going to make 2018 ‘his’ year, and that starts with Cezar Bononi! It’s been a hot minute since we saw everybody’s favorite dancing machine on NXT, but he’s as exuberant as ever. He returns with a decisive win over Bononi and, well, not much else. You can’t make a big speech like that and leave everybody hanging, Jose. Didn’t you see Johnny Wrestling’s big speech last week?

Extremely Dramatic

Aleister Black and Adam Cole get an over the top promo package for their Extreme Rules match. This is 100% the match I am most looking forward to this Saturday. Adam Cole deserves to get the dickens kicked out of him.

Bianca Be Still My Heart (Bianca Belair (W) vs. Local Talent)

I’m not joking. They don’t even give her a name — at least not until some local fans start chanting for her. Percy finally lets us know Bianca is facing ‘Latoya,’ better known as Luscious Latasha, a rad local wrestler from New England that you can find on twitter @lusciouslatasha. Bianca Belair and her beautiful braid became overnight sensations during the Mae Young Classic, but she hasn’t been around much since the women’s battle royal.

Despite some extremely rude dudes in the audience starting up a ‘let’s go jobber’ chant, this is an extremely fun match. Belair is brimming with charisma, and Latoya Allred puts up a tough fight. In the end, though, Bianca and the braid get the pin.

Shayna Baszler Doesn’t Give One Heck About Anything

If you only have time to watch one NXT segment tonight, please make it Percy’s extremely tense segment with Ember Moon and Shayna. From the low thrumming music to the intimate, dark set, this segment is perfectly shot to make this Saturday’s Women’s Championship match immediately the most high drama matches of the night. Ember Moon hates Shayna Baszler with every fiber of her being. Shayna couldn’t care less. It feels like the Iconic Duo are on their way up to the big leagues, so it’s nice to have some nasty monster villains stepping in to fill their shoes.

Don’t You Think We Know It’s A Pokemon Thing

The second half the TM-61 return package airs tonight, and again, shoutout to the NXT team for some incredible production. Shane Thorne lets us know TM-61 is also a missile, but sorry man, you’re stuck with Will-O-Wisp forever. The boys will be making their return to the ring next week, so while it doesn’t look like we’re getting a return for them at TakeOver, it’s nice to have a firm return date.

Authors of Pain With the Win Before the Bell

Akam and Rezar hit a pair of massive supercolliders and defeat their opponents for the night before we even find out who they are. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly better look out.

Philadelphia Dreamin’

The Velveteen Dream emerges in a modded Johnny Wrestling shirt, because he’s amazing. This match is for a Johnny Gargano’s title shot, and it feels like it. From the immediate back-and-forth chants in the audience to the quick chain wrestling the two lock in on from the start, Johnny and the Dream (my new band name) work the crowd up into a big fight frenzy. Despite a hard-fought battle, a poorly-timed Purple Rainmaker and the Gargano Escape take down the Dream … for now.

Johnny may have his title shot this Saturday, but I’m looking forward to the Velveteen Dream finally getting his hands on the championship.

We close the show with the glamorous and extremely cool Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas and Zelina Vega just dropping by to say hello. They don’t exchange words, but they do exchange a few punches, and Johnny hits a slingshot DDT before holding up the belt amidst some rousing “You Deserve It” chants.

Who’s got the over/under on Tommaso Ciampa showing up to ruin the party? Will Zelina Vega ever become the NXT Champion we deserve? Donovan Dijak Debut Watch Day 24 leaves you with these questions and more to ponder heading into the weekend. Be sure to follow our livetweets of NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia with the #RPWrestling hashtag!

CK Stewart

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