WWE NXT! (5/10/17)
-Aleister Black VS Cezar Bononi; Black wins.
-Team #DIY VS Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli; DIY wins.
-NXT Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Hideo Itami VS Roderick Strong; Itami wins and will face Bobby Roode for the title at TakeOver: Chicago.
PLAY BY PLAY
Aleister Black VS Cezar Bononi!
The Embodiment of the End has been tearing through his opponents, and the next man set in his way is the “Brazilian V8” Bononi, a very tall and equally experienced fighter. Bononi trahs talks, Black bobs and weaves to knock Bononi down with a roundhouse. Bononi rolls out, Black builds speed, Bononi gets out of the way but that’s okay, Black springboards and backflips to then sit down cross-legged once again. Bononi rushes in, Black leans back and kip-ups, but Bononi uses height and power to give Black an atomic drop and dropkick! A quick kick out from Black, Bononi clubs away on Black. Black seems unfazed, he and Bononi trade kicks, blocks and ducks, Black rocks Bononi with a jumping knee! Bononi is angry, but his kick is blocked and he’s turned around so Black can knee him in the back. Bononi just gets angrier, Black waits for him to stand up, BLACK MASS!
Black wins again! With another swift victory, it is only a matter of time before Aleister makes all of NXT #FadetoBlack.
In last week’s Women’s Battle Royal to determine a new #1 contender, the final three were Ember Moon, Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot. However, the champion herself wreaked havoc and forced GM William Regal to name all three women as challengers for TakeOver: Chicago. It was set to be a Fatal 4 Way, but Asuka’s rampage left Ember Moon’s shoulder injured so unfortunately the Prophecy of Flame cannot participate. Ember will be out for an extended amount of time, but she is determined to return “better than ever” and finally get that title. As such, a Fatal 4 Way becomes just a Triple Threat, who will it that comes away with the title in Chicago?
During the WWE Euro Tour, a new #1 Contender match to the WWE United Kingdom Championship was held. It will be Pete Dunne, the British Bruiserweight who made it to the finals, only to lose to Tyler Bate, the current and inaugural champion. Now at TakeOver: Chicago, it will be an intense rematch of Dunne and Bate, who will take the title back to the UK?
We get a glimpse into the life and mind of Ruby Riot, just one of the two challengers to Asuka’s Women’s Championship. All of Ruby’s tattoos tell a story, and she gets a new tattoo prepared for when she will become THE NXT Women’s Champion. Ruby’s sacrificed a lot of time and moments with her family in order to get to where she is today, that title will be validation of those sacrifices. Ruby is ready to be the most unique and extreme woman in the ring, she will embrace the thrill she gets in the ring, and she will “break the mold”. Can she be the one to finally dethrone the Empress of Tomorrow?
As for Nikki Cross, there was a sit-down interview attempted, but she was not willing to play nice. She momentarily scared off the production staff as they were trying to attach her mic, then played with the boom mic. She then got impatient and asked where her opponents and “her championship” are. Chicago will be where Nikki takes “everything” from them.
Backstage interview with Drew McIntyre. He is back in the WWE via NXT because he wants that NXT Championship. So how does he feel about Itami and Strong getting the #1 contender’s match first? It’ll be a great match, but he would’ve liked to be in the mix. But he’s learned a lot in these last three years, namely that if something doesn’t happen for you, make it happen. However, Wesley Blake questions Drew’s feeling of entitlement to the title. If anyone needs a second chance, it’s Wesley Blake, a former tag team champion. Drew, just skip your attempt and leave, again. Drew steps closer, it’s Wesley that leaves. Will Wesley regret stepping up to the Chosen Scotsman?
Team #DIY is in the ring and wishes to address the Authors of Pain. Akam and Rezar are “the biggest and the baddest”, but Gargano & Ciampa are owed a fair rematch. Two versus two, as the line to the titles starts behind DIY. However, Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss come out to counter.
Moss says it’s not about teeny-tiny DIY or big fat Heavy Machinery, Tino says the line now starts behind them. Whoa hold on, if there was a line, you two just crossed it. DIY throws hands and then clotheslines both Moss and Tino out! DIY controls the ring as Ciampa draws said line in the sand.
Tino and Moss fire up, we have a match!
Team #DIY VS Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli!
Moss starts against Psycho Killer Ciampa, Moss drives a knee into the gut but Ciampa chops back. Ciampa is whipped into the corner, back elbows out, gets running but jumps into a bearhug. Moss shifts that into a Fall Away Slam, then punches Ciampa in the corner before Tino tags in. Tino drives forearms into Ciampa, Moss tags back in, Moss drives a shoulder into Ciampa’s gut. Moss poses and mouths off, tags Tino back in, Ciampa is whipped and Tino dropkicks him down. Tino stomps away then covers, TWO. The former NFL millionaire player whips Ciampa hard into a corner, mouths off at Gargano before dragging Ciampa up again. Tag to Moss, Moss runs Ciampa over with a back elbow, TWO. Another quick tag to keep Ciampa isolated, Tino puts on a chinlock. The fans rally for Ciampa, Ciampa powers his way to his feet and throws Tino off. Ciampa jumps for the tag but is denied, so he sunset flips through. Tino keeps with Ciampa, lifting him into a suplex but Ciampa knees out then suplexes Tino himself. The crowd rallies again, Moss and Gargano tag in. Gargano rallies on Moss, school boy kick and jumping neckbreaker. Johnny Wrestling is on a roll as he rushes at Moss. Gargano ends up on the apron, mule kicks Tino away but Moss forearms Gargano. Moss goes running, but runs into Gargano’s slingshot spear! TWO thanks to Tino’s low lariat. Gargano dumps Tino out, Ciampa runs in to knock Tino down with a knee. Gargano gains speed and goes FLYING!
Moss goes down on the ramp, Ciampa is on the apron to give Tino a flying knee drop! Moss is put back in the ring, Gargano gives double knees in the corner and tags in Ciampa. Moss in the center, DIY VICE!! DIY wins, it’s back of the line for the blue chip boys.
GM William Regal comes out and makes it official! TakeOver: Chicago, the Authors of Pain– Speaking of, Paul Ellering and the Authors are here!
Ellering doesn’t think DIY is worthy. His Dynasty will end their careers. Regal is willing to risk it. Then their blood is on Regal’s hands. Regal then tells Ellering the special stipulation: NXT Tag Team Title LADDER MATCH! Ellering keeps Akam and Rezar back, but in Chicago, one team will climb up and come back down as champions, who will it be?
Backstage interview with Kassius Ohno. The returning hero did not grab the NXT title just yet, but he is going to get back up just like he did after first leaving. Ohno vows to tear the house down like he has been on the indies, and in this newer, nicer NXT, he just needs to do it “brick by brick”. Aleister Black, Drew McIntyre, Itami and Strong are having a match, but then El Idolo comes in to rub in Ohno’s failed attempt. Says the guy who just parties after every match. How about they have one next week? Cien accepts, will he be able to “tranquilo” with the elbows Ohno’s gonna throw?
We take a quick look at the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion, Tyler Bate. The 19 year old star is a fast, strong throwback, and has the advantage because he has “nothing to lose”. He’s also got Bop and Bang at his side and is confident he can knock anyone out at any time. If age is just a number, then even he can get the numbers “1, 2, 3”. Will his meteoric rise continue through Chicago?
NXT Championship #1 Contender’s Match
Hideo Itami VS Roderick Strong!
One man returns from injury, the other has a young family he must support, but only one gets a shot at the GLORIOUS One in Chicago. Just before the match, Strong shares his mindset is one of a man who knows “this is why I’m here”, he wants to show that it’s his time. On the other side, Itami shares that he respects Strong, that Itami plans to “take over Chicago”, while Strong is set to “go to sleep”. The two men both have fans cheering for them, and both have great technical skill as they trade holds and escapes. Both men stand up and stare each other down before going again. They try to power the other, Itami slips into a waistlock and gets a headscissor but Strong pops out, and the two go a third time. Itami has the headlock, Strong takes a second attempt to power out, Itami shoulders him down. Itami keeps going, both men duck and dodge the other, Strong is caught in the fireman’s but scrambles out of the ring. Itami lets him know it was that close to being over as we go to a break.
When we return, Strong powers Itami into a corner and drives a shoulder into his gut. Itami turns things around and gives forearms to Strong’s face. Strong whips Itami corner to corner but ends up on the apron himself. He tries to give another shoulder to the gut, Itami gives him a sharp kick to the chest. Itami drags Strong up and whips him, knocks him down with a back elbow, Strong kicks out quick but ends up in a chinlock. Fans rally for Strong but Itami grounds him again before driving knees into Strong’s face. A knee pad comes down, but Itami instead hops over and scuffs Strong’s face with his heel. Itami poses as Strong rolls to a corner, brings the knee pad back up. Itami drives a forearm into Strong’s gut, then another and another, Itami tries to suplex but is blocked. Strong suplexes and hangs Itami up on the top rope. Strong stomps away before dragging Itami up and giving Itami a loud chop across the chest. Then another before giving Itami a stiff backbreaker, TWO! Strong puts Itami in an armbar on that repaired shoulder, and also presses on the ribs to make the stretch go deeper. Itami endures, Strong shouts for him to give up. Itami’s fans rally for him, he turns and gets to his feet, Strong just gives him a pumphandle backbreaker! TWO! Strong keeps on Itami with a half-camel-clutch. The fans rally again, Itami powers up to his feet, then throws Strong off. Strong boots back hard out of the corner, covers, TWO! Itami fights against the back suplex with elbows and forearms, dropkick from Strong! TWO, so he puts on a bodyscissors to squeeze Itami’s ribs. Strong even adds on the crossface, Itami rolls over, TWO. Strong keeps on Itami, Itami fights back and sends Strong out with kicks to the chest. Strong tries to drag Itami out, Itami fights him off, but Strong yanks him off the apron to then cradle and throw him into the apron!
The referee checks on Itami, both men are down as we go to another break.
We return and find Strong still in control of Itami with a modified bow ‘n’ arrow stretch. Itami fights out but ends up in a chinlock, jawbreaker helps him escape. Strong staggers to a corner, but rushes Itami in the other to hit a clothesline. He tries again, Itami ducks down to let him hit buckles. Strong still whips Itami, Itami ducks the clothesline, double clothesline knocks both men down! The fans rally again, Itami starts rallying himself now. More kicks to Strong, suplex as well, but Itami is then reversed on the whip. Boot from the corner, Itami grabs Strong for the tornado hotshot. Itami top rope, flying clothesline, TWO! Itami stands Strong up, gives him a bit of a strike fest but Strong boots and enziguris that down, Olympic Slam! TWO! Strong is frustrated, both men are getting tired, but Strong drags Itami up to throw forearms. Back elbows, too, but a boot from Itami stuns Strong. Strike fest puts Strong in a corner, Itami goes for the running knee, caught into an EXPLOSIVE backbreaker! Strong covers, TWO! Strong gets Itami up onto the top rope, then climbs up to join him. Itami resists the fireman carry and slips down. Itami and Strong fight as Itami tries to climb back up. Itami wants and hits a SUPER FALCON’S ARROW!
TWO!! Itami is shocked that Strong got out, the fans are fired up while the ref checks on both men. Both men get to their feet, they start brawling with forearms and chops. Itami kicks, Strong chops back, more forearms from Itami and Itami fires up, to get Strong’s jumping knee! TWO! Now Strong is the one shocked, but he grabs the dazed Itami and pulls him up. The fans are loving this as Strong whips Itami but then Itami comes back with a shotgun knee! Both men down again, the fans rally for them and they again stand up. Fireman’s carry, but Strong slips down. Strong wants a suplex, Itami knees out. Itami boots Strong in the corner, gets running for the hesitation dropkick! Itami is fired up, the fans want GTS, Itami brings a knee pad down as Strong crawls and shoves Itami. Itami picks Strong up, GTS!! Itami wins in an amazing match against a resilient opponent! Now Itami gets to face Bobby Roode in Chicago, just as he said. Can he make the GLORIOUS One go to sleep?
And as for Roderick Strong, Itami helps him up and respectfully raises his hand. He may have been denied tonight, but surely Strong will find his way to the title. Will it be Itami or Roode holding it when he does?
Something about this episode of NXT felt a little different than normal. The matches were still great, but it felt like they did a lot of work to shove in interviews and video packages, like it was a go-home show. Ohno’s interview sets up a match with Cien Almas, McIntyre’s interview sets up a program with Wesley Blake–who got forgotten with all the high quality talent debuting and returning–and both Ruby and Nikki get segments that build their highly unique personas. However, a lot of it was strung together between the short and sweet Aleister Black opener and the tag team match in the middle, so it felt like this weird void of just talking.
But the matches were still great so I wasn’t all that bored. Again, a short and sweet victory for Black keeps him rolling forward. I’m anxiously awaiting his first serious feud with someone, so we can get matches that are longer and truly explore how deep his arsenal goes. Perhaps it can be against SAnitY’s Eric Young or even Big Damo, give Black someone that will really test him in and out of the ring. Then DIY has a quality tag team match against the promising Moss and Sabbatelli to keep Gargano and Ciampa sharp and then officially announce a ladder match for the titles, which is going to be incredible, just like every other title match DIY has had. And lastly, the amazing main event that had Strong and Itami leave it all in the ring just as two amazing workers like them can do. Strong looked like he could’ve overtaken Itami at certain moments, but as the booking has gone, Itami wins to finally get a shot at the title after being injured for roughly 2/3’s of his NXT career. Itami put on a hell of a match against Strong tonight, and he’ll definitely put on a GLORIOUS match with Roode.
My Score: 8/10