NXT Inquisition for (1/1/20)

On this episode of NXT, the black and gold brand presents its Year-End Awards! The year 2019 was action-packed for the brand in question. Its move to the USA Network has brought more attention to it than ever before. Events were complete with memorable matches in addition to game-changing returns and debuts. Which ones stood out among the rest? This will be detailed in this week’s edition of the Inquisition!

Photo / World Wrestling Entertainment

Following a video package, NXT cuts to hosts Cathy Kelly, Pat McAfee – trademark shorts and suit and all – and Sam Roberts. The third pick for Match of the Year is revealed… The tag team ladder match at TakeOver: XXV. This match featured Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, The Street Profits, The Forgotten Sons, and The Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish. The Undisputed Era put their NXT Tag Team Championship on the line in this high-stakes, high-risk contest. The brand has seldom been short on tag team greatness, this match being solid proof of the idea in question.

This match also featured a run-in by Jaxson Ryker, who proceeded to lay out all opposing wrestlers in his path. To say that this was a dominant showing would be an understatement and it almost appeared that Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake would walk away with the gold. However, a joined effort by the other teams pumped the brakes on the powerhouse. Following a ladder-focused attack, the ruthless Ryker became a non-issue. Nonetheless, The Forgotten Sons seemed to be on the cusp of victory. The Street Profits quickly took advantage, though, laying out the grimy duo before Ford claimed the belts suspended above the ring.

Following another segment with Kelly, McAfee, and Roberts, the show cuts to the nominees for NXT Tag Team of the Year: The Street Profits, Grizzled Young Veterans, The Viking Raiders, Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster, and The Undisputed Era’s O’Reilly and Fish. The winners: O’Reilly and Fish! Accompanied by Adam Cole and Roderick Strong, the NXT Tag Team Champions accept their award in the form of two ring bell-shaped trophies. O’Reilly states that any combination of their stable makes for a “tag team of the year.” With an unamused expression, General Manager William Regal presents the trophies.

The next category is Male Competitor of the Year. The nominees are as follows: Adam Cole, WALTER, Johnny Gargano, Velveteen Dream, Tyler Bate and Tommaso Ciampa. The winner: Adam Cole! The NXT Champion takes another award for The Undisputed Era. With the trophy in his possession, Cole says he’s the best in NXT and WWE as a whole. Cole isn’t shocked about winning, as the award belongs to him. The Undisputed Era share an embrace before posing in the ring.

NXT follows up with nominees for Female Competitor of the Year: Shayna Baszler, Io Shirai, Toni Storm, Kay Lee Ray, Bianca Belair, and Rhea Ripley. The winner: Shayna Baszler! The longest-reigning NXT Women’s Champion, accompanied by Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke, accepts her award from Regal. Baszler considers herself the most dominant competitor WWE has ever seen. Losing the title won’t stop her, she declares, before the Horsewomen make their exit.

Following commercial, NXT reveals the winner for Rivalry of the Year: Cole vs. Gargano! These two had a stellar feud for the brand’s flagship title, including multiple two-out-of-three falls matches at TakeOver events. Gargano accepts the award from Regal and Cole follows to do the same. Gargano says this was the second year in a row to win the award. Cole says that their feud has been considered one of the best in WWE history, but he ended up winning. Gargano regrets that this father didn’t punch Cole in the face when he stormed into his restaurant. Tension rises before the show returns to Kelly, McAfee, and Roberts.

The number two pick for Match of the Year is revealed: Team Baszler vs. Team Ripley at TakeOver: WarGames! This match, complete with two rings surrounded by a steel cage, was significant for a number of reasons. Chief among them was the shocking turn of Dakota Kai, who replaced a previously injured Mia Yim. Upon being released from her team’s cage, Kai attacked Tegan Nox, incapacitating her in the process. With their teammate’s sudden turn, Ripley and Candice LeRae found themselves at a severe disadvantage. Through grit and will, the two-woman team prevailed. Ripley planted Baszler with The Riptide through a set of steel chairs for the win. With this victory, Ripley moved closer to the NXT Women’s Championship.

NXT proceeds to run down the nominees for Future Star of the Year: KUSHIDA, Xia Li, Bronson Reed, Tegan Nox, Dakota Kai, Ilja Dragunov, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Taynara, and Cameron Grimes. The winner: Dakota Kai! The winner accepts her award from Regal, a scowl on her face all the while. Kai says she’s always known herself to be a future star, and anyone that voted her is late to the party. She claims she will make her own opportunities before taking her leave.

In 2020, the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic returns! The teams for the tournament are revealed: The Undisputed Era, The Forgotten Sons, Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne, KUSHIDA and a mystery partner, Grizzled Young Veterans, Gallus, Imperium, and Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster.

NXT reveals its TakeOver of the year: WarGames!

The nominees for Breakout Star of the Year are as follows: Damian Priest, Piper Niven, Dominik Dijakovic, Angel Garza, Joe Coffey, Keith Lee, Candice LeRae, Matt Riddle, and Rhea Ripley. Taking this award is The Limitless One! Lee accepts the award from Triple H, thanking those that voted for him. He reminds everyone that they haven’t seen anything yet.

From here, NXT reveals the Match of the Year. To the surprise of few, it’s Cole vs. Gargano, two-out-of-three falls, at TakeOver: New Year! In this high-stakes match for the NXT Championship, Cole landed the Last Shot for the first fall. Gargano evened the odds with the Gargano Escape, tapping Cole in quick fashion. This brought the match to the third, and final, fall. There were many close pins, including a series of DDTs by Gargano and a Canadian Destroyer by Cole. After being taunted by Cole outside of the ring, Gargano unleashed a flurry of offense.

Soon, other members of The Undisputed Era interfered, causing the referee to be inadvertently ejected out of the ring. Despite this, Gargano was able to stay in the match. Gargano avoided the Last Shot, dumping Cole to the outside onto the rest of The Undisputed Era. Unwilling to see additional interference, Gargano laid out The Undisputed Era before returning his attention to Cole. Even a surprise Last Shot wasn’t enough for “Johnny TakeOver” to eat a three-count. Gargano avoided a Last Shot and finally cinched in the Gargano Escape. Unable to escape, Cole tapped out in the center of the ring. The “heart” of the black and gold brand, Gargano, stood tall as the new NXT Champion. Gargano was soon joined by LeRae, husband and wife savoring this moment that was a long time coming.

The final award is for Overall Competitor of the Year. Taking home another trophy is Adam Cole! The Undisputed Era, carrying multiple awards already, make their way to the ring where Regal awaits. Cole says that there is no one in the world that can touch him. He promises that “The Era of the Undisputed” has only begun. Cole, O’Reilly, Fish, and Strong embrace and show off their awards as this week’s episode of NXT comes to a close.