WWE NXT! (5/17/17)
-Drew McIntyre VS Sean Maluta; McIntyre wins.
-Sonya Deville VS Lacey Evans; wins.
-Kassius Ohno VS Andrade “Cien” Almas; Ohno wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
NXT Champion, Bobby Roode, arrived to Full Sail with someone helping with his luggage. What does the GLORIOUS One have planned for the last NXT before TakeOver: Chicago?
Drew McIntyre VS Sean Maluta!
The Chosen Scotsman has been on a roll since returning to WWE via NXT, and now Sean Maluta of the Samoan Dynasty steps up to test McIntyre’s toughness. The bell rings, McIntyre and Maluta tie up and McIntyre powers him into a corner. McIntyre allows Maluta to come out of the corner cleanly, then they tie up again to have McIntyre power Maluta into the other corner. McIntyre allows Maluta to leave the corner again, Maluta takes offense and shoves McIntyre, then follows up with chops. McIntyre takes those chops standing, and gives them back to knock Maluta down. McIntyre powers Maluta to a corner again and throws him to the center of the ring before throwing him again with a suplex toss. McIntyre stalks Maluta before whipping him to a corner. Maluta boots out, flying Code Breaker! McIntyre out at ONE, but Maluta keeps on him with fists. McIntyre gets to a corner, Maluta gives a running forearm and then whips corner to corner but is reversed. Maluta tries to go up and over but McIntyre kicks him down! McIntyre fires up, drags Maluta up and throws him back to a corner to unload fast hands. The referee backs him down but McIntyre just gives a running forearm. McIntyre goes to the top rope and gives a flying ax handle. Maluta revives to give McIntyre a forearm, McIntyre hits back with a headbutt!
McIntyre doesn’t even care that his right eye is red and bruised, he just takes aim and… CLAYMORE KICK!
McIntyre wins again, undoubtedly near the top of the list for who faces the NXT Champion after Chicago. The GLORIOUS Roode and Innovater, Itami, better watch out when he comes for that belt.
McIntyre is interviewed on the stage. What does he say about Wesley Blake stepping up to him last week? McIntyre is not concerned with Blake coming for him. He’s concerned on whether he has EVERYONE ELSE’s attention. But if Blake wants some spotlight, then next week, McIntyre VS Blake! Will Blake regret trying to get McIntyre’s attention?
After Roderick Strong came so close to being the #1 contender to the NXT Championship, he also got ambushed by all of SAnitY! All Strong had to say to GM William Regal afterward was “I want SAnitY.” As such, SAnitY has a message for Strong: a newborn baby, a newlywed wife, and a career in NXT, yet Strong wants to risk himself for a match with SAnitY? And people call Eric Young and crew crazy. SAnitY doesn’t take requests, but they’ll oblige Strong in throwing away his life. Young VS Strong at TakeOver: Chicago, who will survive?
A quick look back at the long and arduous journey of the Innovater of the GTS, Hideo Itami. From the start, he came in with people gunning for him, but even then he vowed to become NXT Champion. Three years later, after injuries and returns, Itami comes back like a whirlwind and finally gets his opportunity after giving Bobby Roode that knockout finishing move. Can Itami make the GLORIOUS One go to sleep again and finally take that title as his own?
A quick look at the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament, and specifically it’s astounding final match between Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne. Tyler won to become the inaugural champion at the age of only 19. Now that he’s 20, Tyler is set to have a rematch with the British Bruiserweight and once again for the championship. Both Tyler and Dunne are determined to win in Chicago, one to keep his dream going and the other to crush that dream. Who will leave Chicago to return to the UK as its champion?
Exclusive interview with the NXT Women’s Champion, Asuka. The Empress of Tomorrow knows she will be facing two wild and dangerous women at once. She doesn’t feel at all concerned by either of them. Is she at least relieved it isn’t a Fatal 4 Way since Ember Moon is injured and unable to compete? No comment. What is Asuka’s ultimate goal as champion? Is that the last question? Yes… Good. Asuka arrives at Full Sail and enjoys the crowd greeting her. The Empress is all smiles when in the spotlight, but her true self is hidden in the shadows. Will she pay for her arrogance this Saturday?
Sonya Deville VS Lacey Evans!
During the Woman’s Championship #1 Contender Battle Royal, it was obvious that things got a bit heated between the Gladiator Woman and the Model Soldier. They’ll settle things 1v1 now before TakeOver: Chicago. The two tie up, Sonya unloads with kicks and a jumping punch, TWO. Lacey fires back but taking Sonya down and punching the gut, but Sonya kicks out quick to then tackle Lacey down! Sonya covers, ONE, body scissors from Sonya to Lacey. Sonya even grinds a forearm into Lacey’s face, Lacey tries to make it a pin but Sonya has control that she just sits her back up. Lacey works to unhook the legs, Sonya rolls her over, TWO. Sonya knocks Lacey down with a knee to the side, and stands over her as she takes those gloves off. She unleashes body shots and then rope a dopes with her. Sonya so cocky, but then she gets a stiff right from Lacey that floors her! Sonya is dazed as she stands up, Lacey unleashes kicks and a unique knee drop at the ropes. Lacey picks Sonya up, neckbreaker, rolling splash, TWO. Lacey is frustrated with the tough Sonya, Sonya kicks Lacey back in the gut. Sonya fires herself up, Shining Wizard!
Sonya wins with a smile on her face. She may have a long climb to the top, but this was a good start. Will she be the one to challenge the champion after Chicago?
Kassius Ohno VS Andrade “Cien” Almas!
The Knockout Artist of elbows took offense to El Idolo’s implications that Ohno wasted his opportunity at the title, and countered that Cien wastes all his opportunities preferring to party. Who will take advantage of this opportunity so close to TakeOver: Chicago? Ohno wants to tie up, but Cien stays back for as long as he can. Ohno gets hold of Cien and spins him around into a snapmare, “trainquilo!” Cien gets back up with a smug smirk, but Ohno takes him down and speeds things up. Somersault forward then back, Cien jumps over, the fans applaud the stand-off. The fans then sing Ohno’s song, but Cien kicks Ohno in the gut. Ohno retaliates with a stiff right jab to Cien’s face, Cien rolls out of the ring to regroup. Ohno builds speed, Cien sees it coming, Ohno adjusts and just handsprings to his feet.
Ohno sees Cien coming after him again and boots Cien right in the face! Back into the ring now, Ohno picks Cien up and gives him a nice set of chops. Cien reverses the whip, Ohno rolls to the apron but gets booted off. Cien is enjoying himself as we go to an ad break.
We return to find Cien still in control as he drives elbows into Ohno in a corner. Cien gives a nice overhand chop and Ohno drops to the mat. Cien swaggers as he lets Ohno sit up. Cien gives kicks and knees and clubbing forearms before backing Ohno into another corner. Cien jumps and stomps on Ohno in that corner, then goes to the other corner for the corner to corner slap across Ohno’s face! Cien embraces the heat, Ohno gives chops. Cien fires back with forearms, Ohno dumps him to the apron, hanging armbar on the ropes by Cien! Cien lets go before 5, then goes top rope for a missile dropkick. Cien covers, TWO, Fujiwara armbar! Ohno rolls to relieve pressure but that’s also a pin, and Cien doesn’t let go of the arm either way. The fans rally for Ohno as he fights back to his feet against the wrenching of El Idolo. Cien backs him down into a corner, goes to the opposite corner and runs for the– boot from Ohno! Ohno climbs to his feet, chop and bicycle boot, repeat! Headbutt to the gut, rolling neckbreaker!
Ohno can’t make the cover, but he does get the kip-up! Ohno throws Cien to a corner and gives a big clothesline, then discus boot, TWO! Cien is dazed, Ohno picks him up and slams him. Ohno goes to the corner, climbs up top, moonsault FLOPS! Cien hits the backbreaker to elbow drop DDT, TWO! Cien can’t believe that wasn’t the end, he gets frustrated with Ohno so he picks him up and tries a suplex, but Ohno denies it. Ohno gets Cien up to the top rope, stuns him with a stiff forearm, then climbs up to join him. Ohno and Cien brawl on the top rope, Cien fires off elbows and uppercuts, Ohno falls back. Cien flies, into a bicycle boot! Cien stays up, handspring Pele!
Ohno makes his way to the corner, Cien prepares the Idolo Knees, and hits! He then drags Ohno up, Hammerlock– no, Ohno powers him to a corner! Cien boots back and climbs up, tornado inverted DDT, ONE!? Cien is shocked, Ohno is fired up, Cien backs Ohno down with forearms but Ohno responds with the bicycle boot. Cien is also fired up, so one elbow then THE roaring elbow!
Ohno wins! Ohno made the best of this opportunity over a serious Cien, he could soon find his way to a new opportunity at the NXT Championship.
The GLORIOUS One comes to the ring!
The NXT Champion has only been hearing people talk about Hideo Itami. Itami this, Itami that, GTS “Go to sleep”. Really? Yes he knocked some people out, broken some jaws, and even Roode will admit that Itami knocked him out with a GTS in the NXT ring. Roode was just minding his own business in a custom $5000 suit, and then Itami just comes out, picks him out and hits the GTS “completely unprovoked”. Itami better enjoy that moment, because it won’t ever happen again. The difference between that night and this Saturday is that Roode won’t be in his nice suit, he’ll be in his ring gear ready to go and do what he’s done every single time to every single guy put in front of him: beat them, embarrass them, and make an example out of them. Roode wants people to really see at Itami’s career in NXT. He comes back, he disappears, comes back, gets hurt, it all happened so much Roode forgot Itami was in NXT. But look at what Roode has done in NXT and how he’s taken NXT to new heights. Itami will have to go home to his wife and kids and tell them that he failed again, and this time it was to Bobby Roode. With all this talk about Itami, Itami comes out!
Roode wants Itami to calm down, they don’t need to fight now. GM Regal agrees as he comes out and gets in Itami’s way, security included. Seeing he has back-up now, Roode gets brave enough to dare Itami to make this fight happen tonight. Itami goes to leave, but then breezes right through security to attack Roode! Itami fights the security off, GTS! Then another to another guard, and this time staring Roode in the eyes. The third guard doesn’t want trouble, Roode blindsides Itami, only to get himself a GTS!
Itami has once again knocked out the NXT Champion. If this happens in Chicago, we will have a NEW NXT Champion, will it happen?!
NXT’s go-home had a similar feel to last week’s episode, and both had an overall feel of having a lot of interview and video package segments in a row between matches. It made things feel a bit stop-and-go, because as I was expecting the women’s match to come up next, instead it was just another non-match. However, my saying that does not belittle what was going on in those segments. Eric Young did a great job framing things for his match with Roderick Strong, as Strong already knew what SAnitY was capable of from when he was teamed with Kassius Ohno and Tye Dillinger. SAnitY even beat Strong up off-camera to build how rabid and fearsome they are, so it’s a good point Eric makes when he says Strong shouldn’t take such a dangerous match when he has a family to take care of. (Heels seem to be the ones that make the most sense in the WWE these days, even in NXT) Strong still has a chance of winning against Eric, but there’s also a good chance the way Strong wins is by disqualification when SAnitY goes too far, reemphasizing Eric’s message. Then the exclusive interview with Asuka as she’s on her way into Full Sail was great for building her Heel persona as this arrogant, two-faced celebrity. There’s still a chance this all comes back to bite her, but Asuka could easily use the fierce hate between Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot to her advantage and capitalize for a win. Asuka can then show up at Backlash still the NXT Women’s champion as she rips into the SmackDown Women’s division during that 6 Woman tag, claiming she’s become bored with NXT and wants something worthy of the Empress. At least, I’d definitely mark out if she did something like that.
The matches tonight were all good, though they had no real impact on what happens during TakeOver. McIntyre continues to dominate, making a strong case for an NXT Championship match after Chicago. Sonya Deville (formerly Daria Berenato) had a good match with Lacey Evans, both of them are a bit lower in the women’s division but this was a good chance for them to show what they can do and establish themselves in what could very soon be a post-Asuka NXT. And in a stellar main event match, Ohno and Cien also establish their cases for being near the NXT Championship, and honestly it feels like NXT should think of a mid-card men’s championship so guys as talented as these two don’t have to wait so long for the top of the card to open up. Either way, between McIntyre, Ohno, Almas, Strong and Aleister Black, there are quite a few guys for the GLORIOUS One to worry about. And that’s if Roode makes it through Itami, who got the most total video packaging in this episode. Itami has been booked strong ever since his most recent return, Roode may have to play dirty if he wants to stay champion.
My Score: 8/10