NXT TAKEOVER: CHICAGO! (5/20/17)
-Roderick Strong VS Eric Young w/ SAnitY; Strong wins.
-WWE United Kingdom Championship: Tyler Bate VS Pete Dunne; Dunne wins and becomes the new WWE UK Champion.
-NXT Women’s Championship Triple Threat: Asuka VS Ruby Riot VS Nikki Cross; Asuka wins and retains the Women’s Championship.
-NXT Championship: Bobby Roode VS Hideo Itami; Roode wins and retains the NXT Championship.
-NXT Tag Team Championship Ladder Match: The Authors of Pain w/ Paul Ellering VS Team #DIY; AoP wins and retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.
PLAY BY PLAY
Preshow interview with Roderick Strong. What is his response to SAnitY’s warning? A warning right back: Don’t EVER bring up his family again. Will Strong be able to survive Eric Young’s anarchy tonight in Chicago?
NXT comes to “The Windy City”, a place with a long history of “winners, champions, dynasties”. Dominant and GLORIOUS champions wish to establish their own dynasties, but “underdog stories” and dream-crushers look to change all that. “Tonight, true champions will be defined.” Who will have their moment? Who will make a name for themselves? Who will take over Chicago?
Roderick Strong VS Eric Young w/ SAnitY!
Roddy Strong does indeed have a wife and newborn baby at home to take care of, but he won’t just sit and take the bullying SAnitY dishes out. Now he puts his body on the line to fight back against SAnitY’s leader, the erratic Eric Young. Strong’s music hits, but where is Strong? He ambushes Damo and Wolfe! With Eric’s henchmen disposed off, Strong takes the fight to his real opponent! Strong throws hands right away, Eric clubs back, but STrong bumps and chops Eric in the corner. Strong swings away then whips Eric corner to corner, big body drop and then a clothesline sends Eric out of the ring. Strong pursues, gives more chops and forearms, the fans in Chicago are behind him all the way. Things return to the ring, they brawl, and then Strong rocks Eric with a dropkick. Another couple of loud chops, Eric is against the ropes. Another corner to corner whip, Eric gives an uppercut and a back suplex. The fans boo as Eric is now in control and stomps away. Eric picks Strong up, drives an elbow into Strong’s neck, then hits a running neckbreaker. TWO, Eric puts Strong in a special chinlock. The fans rally for Roddy, he fights to his feet and fights out, but Eric just clubs him down. Eric whips Strong, Strong boots back, whips Eric but is reversed. Up and over, Strong builds speed and hits a clothesline. Strong keeps on Eric with forearms and back elbows. Running forearm in a corner, corner to corner but Eric tumbles to the apron. Strong kicks Eric to the floor, but Wolfe saves Eric from the baseball slide dropkick by taking the hit himself! Damo tries to get Strong, misses, Strong trips Eric but then Damo comes back and bulldozes Strong!
The referee somehow missed that wreck, so the match continues. Eric goes out to give Strong more strikes, setting Strong on the apron to club his back. Eric gets in the ring and picks Strong up, pushing him into a corner buckle. The fans boo and jeer as Eric stands Strong up for a haymaker, and then drags him up in the hangman’s dragon sleeper hold! Eric drops Strong then elbow drops his head, TWO. Eric right back on Strong with clubbing hands, he’s fired up even as the crowds boo. Eric chokes Strong on the ropes, the fans rally for Roddy, Wolfe with the cheap shot! TWO, SAnitY is frustrated. Eric throws Strong to ropes to let him fall to the mat, quick kick out, and Eric is getting frustrated again. He chokes Strong with the ropes, the fans continue rooting for Roddy, so Eric snapmares into another neck-wrenching chinlock. Strong endures as the fans rally, but Strong starts to fade. Strong revives to pry himself out of the hold and fight back with hands. Eric drops him with a back elbow, TWO. Eric puts Strong in another corner, gives another hard haymaker, and again prepares the hangman sleeper. However, Strong fights back with back elbows, gets away and then counters Eric’s flight with a dropkick!
Both men down, the fans rally for Roddy as Damo and Wolfe rally for their leader. Strong and Eric are up, STrong gives a back elbow and then side steps. STrong throws hands and knocks Eric down as he starts to rally. Eric tries to boot back, gets a backbreaker! Strong is fired up, corner to corner shining wizard to a back suplex facebuster! TWO! Eric rolls out to regroup with SAnitY, Strong goes out, but gets the Wheelbarrow Neckbreaker from Eric to the ground! The referee checks on them, both men are okay to continue but now they’re at the mercy of the ring count. Eric is up and drags Strong to the ring, covers, TWO! Eric is shocked that Strong survived.
Eric gets up, drags Strong up but Strong fights back with a loud chop. Eric hits another haymaker, then goes to climb the ropes. Strong sees this and anchors a foot. Strong climbs up and the two fight, a headbutt tumbles Strong down. Eric up, elbow drop hits! TWO! Eric is once again shocked by Roddy’s heart. Eric stalks Strong, puts him in wheelbarrow, Strong rolls up, TWO! Strong gets to ropes and boots Eric back, then enziguri. Damo tries to interfere, gets a swing kick for it. Wolfe pops up, Strong throws Eric into him! Strong goes to give Eric an Angle Slam but Eric rakes eyes to deny it. Eric goes back to the top rope, Strong catches him up there again, and the fans chant for Roddy as he climbs up. Eric resists, clubbing Roddy again. Eric has Strong now, but Strong denies the counter with clubbing forearms of his own. Jumping knee strike sends Eric falling onto Damo and Wolfe!
Strong scrambles to get Eric back in the ring. Eric boots back, Strong jumping knee strike to Suplex Backbreaker!
Strong wins and gets the hell out of SAnitY’s path! Despite all of Eric’s confidence and his allies at ringside, Strong defeated the numbers!
WWE United Kingdom Championship Match
Tyler Bate VS Pete Dunne!
These two men were in the finals of the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament and now meet again in Chicago. Will the young inaugural champion keep the dream alive? Or will the British Bruiserweight crush it all as mercilessly as he has his opponents? Either way, “Good ol’ JR” Jim Ross is here to call the action! Fans are pretty loud for Dunne, and right away it’s Dunne who has technical control of Tyler. Tyler is stuck in the front facelock, but he works to get out and put an armlock on Dunne. Dunne rolls and snapmares but Tyler gets that armlock back. Headscissor trap from Dunne as the fans duel, Tyler works to pop out but Dunne denies it. Tyler keeps struggling against the hold, then escapes thanks to a twisting headstand. The two stand off and tie up again, Dunne goes after the arm now. Wristlock as he grinds knuckles into the ribs, Dunne torments Tyler much like he did to Trent Seven in their Norwich match. Tyler kip-ups and springs out, dropkick sends Dunne out of the ring. Tyler takes a moment to check that mustache. Dunne wants to catch his breath, Tyler won’t give him that chance, so Dunne gives Tyler a stiff forearm! Dunne takes Tyler around to the steps, wrenches that wrist and bends those fingers, then goes to stomp that hand on the steps! Tyler gets his hand out of the way, and punches Dunne down. The ring count continues, Tyler walks the steps but instead jumps and gives Dunne a flying European Uppercut. Tyler puts Dunne back in the ring but Dunne rolls out the other side. Dunne again gets Tyler with a forearm, then tosses Tyler to the apron with an X-Plex!
Dunne gets in the ring now as Tyler writhes in pain, the fans are rowdy as Dunne toys with Tyler. Dunne even slaps Tyler as he embraces the smarky cheers. Dunne returns to tormenting that arm, putting Tyler down with a hammerlock while now wrenching and bending the right arm all the way to the fingers. The fans duel again as Dunne stomps stretched ribs. Dunne stalks Tyler and anchors an ankle as he forearms and stomps Tyler in the head. Dunne keeps toying with Tyler, Tyler just seems to use it all to fire up! Delayed Exploder from Tyler! Dunne is sore now, and crawls his way to a corner. Tyler rushes in, running EuroUpper hits, Tyler gets going again for another! Tyler goes for a third, gets a running kick from Dunne! Dunne goes for another X-Plex, Tyler lands on his feet! To then give a standing Shooting Star to Dunne’s back. Then a deadlift back suplex pin, TWO! Tyler was so close and he knows it. Tyler makes his way to a corner, the fans show their love of the UK, Tyler goes for a running Shooting Star only to fall into Dunne’s trap!
Triangle hold, and Dunne just throws hands and elbows into Tyler’s head! Tyler makes it a pin, Dunne prevents it as he punches away again. Tyler tries again, still no pinfall, so he deadlift powerbombs Dunne down!
The fans applaud, “this is awesome!” Tyler struggles to stand but he still calls for the spin! And spin he does! Around and around and around and then speeds up! The fans love it, but Tyler is dizzy. He drops Dunne, falls to the cover, TWO! Both men down, dazed and exhausted. The fans applaud it all as Tyler stirs and gets to his feet. He stalks Dunne, deadlift German, but Dunne lands on his feet. Tyler ducks and springboards but gets a forearm in the air! Then Dunne picks Tyler up, X-Plex POWERBOMB!!
TWO!? Dunne cannot register that Tyler got out of that, but the fans LOVE it! Dunne keeps kicking Tyler, the two start brawling with what energy they have left. They brawl and brawl and it’s furious fists everywhere until the tire out. Bop, BANG!! Tyler drags Dunne up, Dunne enziguris! Tyler and Dunne glare as they get up forehead to forehead. They throw matching hands, rolling kick from Tyler but low kick from Dunne. Dunne throws Tyler, handspring lariat! Another standing ovation as Tyler gets the cover, TWO! Now it’s Tyler’s turn to be distraught. Both men are slow to getting up but they are still getting up. “Fight forever!” is what the fans wish, but Tyler is firing up to finish it now. Double underhook, TYLER– no, his legs give out! Dunne tries the Bitter End, DDT counter!!
Dunne is spiked to the ropes, Dunne rolls out. Tyler sees him out there, works his way to his feet, and goes to the apron! Asai Moonsault! Tyler gets Dunne in the ring, goes top rope, CORKSCREW!!
TWO!? Another near fall and the fans are hesteric! Dunne is out of the ring again, Tyler gets to the ropes but wobbles on his feet. Tyler puts his all into his run, and FLIES! Which Dunne lets crash and burn! So that in the ring, he can hit the BITTER END!
DUNNE WINS!! Dunne is the NEW United Kingdom Champion!! The dream was crushed, and a new champion has ascended!
NXT Women’s Championship Triple Threat
Asuka VS Ruby Riot VS Nikki Cross!
The Empress of Tomorrow brought this match upon herself after interfering with a #1 contender’s battle royal. It was meant to be a Fatal 4 Way, but Asuka threw Ember Moon out so hard that it injured her shoulder. Even so, the crazy Nikki Cross and the raucous Ruby Riot are ready to strip Asuka of that title and her undefeated streak. But given their own history, Nikki throws her jacket at Ruby and the match begins! Ruby ends up out of the ring, Asuka kicks and whips Nikki but is reversed so she uses that to hip attack Ruby back down. Nikki rushes in, they dosey-do and a hip attack knocks Nikki down. Asuka embraces her own greatness but Nikki comes back to ram Asuka’s head into the mat. Nikki sees Ruby coming and plans to throw Asuka at her, but Asuka throws Nikki out instead. Ruby mule kicks from the apron, and now Ruby and Asuka get to be 1v1. Ruby and Asuka tie up, Asuka powers Ruby to ropes then arm drags, but Ruby speeds it up. The two collide, neither budges. Ruby goes again, the same result. Ruby tries a third time, Asuka dosey-do but roll up, kick out. Ruby is whipped to a corner but she puts Asuka on the apron then punches her down. Ruby lines up her shot, gets running, Nikki intercepts! Ruby ends up out of the ring and Nikki pursues. Nikki throws Ruby at the steps, Ruby uses the steps to hit a flying forearm on Asuka.
Nikki come running and runs Ruby over. Nikki gets Ruby into the ring, Ember Moon watches from the audience as Nikki puts Ruby in the corner. Nikki grinds a forearm into Ruby’s face, Ruby gets out but can’t get away from Nikki. Nikki drags Ruby up, straitjacket neckbreaker hits, but then Asuka flies in for the missile dropkick and inadvertant splash. Asuka kicks away at Nikki, Nikki ducks the buzzsaw to give a shoulder, neckbreaker to Asuka, TWO. Nikki laughs off Asuka’s toughness but then glares as she drags Asuka up. Asuka gives a back kick, Code Breaker of sorts, then Ruby runs in to kick away at Asuka. Asuka catches a kick, powerbomb! Ankle lock! Ruby endures the hold, Nikki returns to rake Asuka’s back. Asuka holds on, so Nikki clubs her with a forearm. Asuka fires back, Ruby gets up and rolls Asuka, TWO into Nikki’s forearm. Asuka rushes Nikki but is dumped down, Nikki laughs at the champ. Nikki targets Ruby now, Ruby dares her to bring it. Nikki toys with Ruby, Ruby feeds off it. Ruby gets up and fires back with chops, then starts rallying on the crazy Cross. Ruby dropkicks Nikki but Asuka returns. Ruby denies the buckle bump, flying “Rubyrana” throws Asuka out. Then to Nikki in the other corner, Ruby rams Nikki’s head into a buckle!
Asuka returns again and bumps Ruby on a buckle. Asuka targets Nikki, Nikki knocks her down. Nikki jumps from the apron, right into Asuka’s knee! Asuka grins, but Ruby builds speed, Ruby DIVES!
Asuka is down but Ruby is fired up! Ruby drags Nikki into the ring, then climbs to the top rope. Ruby super back senton! Asuka returns to break the pin with a deadlift German Suplex pin! TWO! Asuka is still confident as she grabs Nikki for the same, Nikki fights it off. Nikki blocks the back hand to throw Asuka down, TWO. All three women are down, the fans rally and they start getting up. Nikki jumps on Ruby, Asuka grabs Nikki. Ruby gets free of Nikki to give her a SUPERKICK and then Asuka throws Nikki with a German Suplex! Then a mule kick to Asuka! Ruby climbs to the top again, aims at Asuka, back senton– ASUKA LOCK!!
Asuka has Ruby caught, Ruby flails and endures, Nikki splashes on them both. Nikki saves the match and then stalks Ruby. Ruby gets to the apron, Nikki pursues and gives Ruby an inverted DDT on that apron!
Nikki laughs again as Ruby goes limp, then she traps Asuka in the skirt! Nikki just unloads on Asuka, and even on the steel steps. Nikki grins as she gets back in the ring and drags Asuka up by her hair. Nikki drags her all the way to a corner, lifts her to the top, hanging neckbreaker! Ruby saves the pin! Nikki is upset, and now she and Ruby double crossbody. All three women down again, beaten and tired. Asuka roars as she gets back up, Ruby and Nikki realize it’s time to work together! They double clothesline her out, Nikki rolls up, TWO. Ruby rolls Nikki, TWO. Nikki drives a knee into Ruby, then hurries to give the Fisherman, but Ruby hits her falling enziguri!
Asuka returns and breaks the pin with a Shining Wizard! Then she pins both women, Asuka wins! She outlasts and outsmarts two opponents to remain the UNDEFEATED Empress! Yet you wouldn’t know it from how exhausted all three of them are.
Asuka is still all smiles as she gets up and takes her belt. Will anyone ever dethrone her?
NXT Championship Match
Bobby Roode VS Hideo Itami!
The GLORIOUS One has been so confident ever since arriving in NXT, and even more so since taking the title from the King of Strong Style. On the flip side, the Innovator of the GTS has struggled to stay healthy and active in NXT. But now, Itami has returned and is making the best of this second chance, can he make the champion go to sleep? Itami and Roode tie up, Roode powers Itami to ropes and gives a cocky but clean break so that he can show how GLORIOUS– Fireman! Roode slips off and out of the ring and alll the way to the stage. Itami dares Roode to return, Roode does but is more cautious now. Roode gets the headlock, Itami powers out but Roode shoulders him down. Roode keeps going, back elbow knocks him down hard. Roode kicks out, Itami puts him in a headlock, then headlock takedown, Roode gets to his feet and puts Itami in a corner. No break here as Roode rams in shoulders. Roode goes for a chop, misses, Itami gives his own chop. Roode tries again, and again Itami gives the chops. Roode ducks, gets clubbed in the back, then whipped and hit with the kitchen sink knee and a swift kick to the back. Itami even gives the Penalty Kick to the front. Itami embraces the applause before dragging Roode up. Snapmare followed by knee drops, Itami drops a pad to then just scuff Roode. Itami then mocks the GLORIOUS pose! Roode rushes in, gets a knee. Itami gives stiff shots to the body in the corner before whipping, but is reversed. Itami boots back, hops up top, tornado DDT instead becomes a toss by Roode. Itami rushes back in, gets a back elbow. Roode hops up, flying Blockbuster!
Roode covers, TWO, so Roode rains down hands and then stomps. Roode drags Itami to ropes to use them to help choke and scrape his face. Roode kicks the rope to throat chop Itami with it. Itami coughs as Roode stands him up, loud chop in the corner. Corner to corner whip, clothesline, repeat. Then in the middle of the ring, Roode hits a heavy neckbreaker, TWO. Roode is doing his best not to get frustrated, he just puts Itami into a chinlock with one arm trapped. Itami works to fight out, gets running but gets a knee to the gut. Roode takes Itami for another neckbreaker, but Itami turns that to a backslide, TWO. Roode runs Itami over with a clothesline, and he shows the fans why he’s the champ. Roode dares Itami to get up. He slaps Itami in the head and mouths off, but Itami springs right up to SLAP Roode! Roode boots Itami, Itami kicks away, ducks a clothesline and shotgun boot!
The fans applaud as Itami gets up in a corner. He starts to rally on Roode, kicking away on Roode then hits a suplex. Itami whips but is reversed, so he boots back. He hops up, NOW the tornado hotshot. Itami up top again, flying clotheslines Roode, TWO. Itami stalks Roode, fireman’s carry but Roode uses back elbows to stop it. He shoves Itami to a corner, rushes in but runs into the post! Roode holds his shoulder as Itami kicks right at it. Roode ducks the buzzsaw, roll up denied and turned into a Fujiwara armbar. Roode resists and rolls out, ducks a roundhouse, but then Itami powers him into a corner. Itami keeps on the shoulder with kicks, then sits Roode top rope. Itami climbs up, Roode resists again, knocking Itami away with a forearm. Roode readjust, but misses the blockbuster. Itami lifts Roode and hits the Falcon Arrow, TWO! Itami is not going to stop there, he kicks that bad shoulder again and again. Itami backs off to go corner to corner, Roode gives a spinebuster! TWO! Roode is frustrated as well as in pain, but he gets up and with one arm hits the pose. Roode tries to hit his finisher but his bad arm denies it. Itami gets him up for the fireman’s carry, but Roode scrambles to the ropes! Hotshot to Itami, Roode gets Itami to the outside, and throws Itami to a barrier. Roode sees the steps and lines Itami up, Itami turns it around so that Roode’s bad shoulder hits steel! The ring count keeps going, Itami goes to baseball slide Roode, but Roode evades and Itami hits steps!
Both men are down, Roode holding his collarbone and Itami holding his knee. The referee checks on them both, are they good enough to go? The ref leaves it to a new ring count now. Roode is up and gets in, Itami gets in just in time. Roode throws a punch with his good arm, Itami responds, and now it’s a brawl. Itami gives a strike fest, Roode is down in a corner, hesitation dropkick! Itami vows to finish, he picks Roode up but that bad leg gives out. Roode tries, and hits the GLORIOUS DDT!
Roode gets the cover, TWO!? Roode is shocked by how Itami kicked out. Roode gets up, stalks Itami and prepares– G T S!
The GTS hits but Roode falls out of the ring! Itami has to go fetch Roode, wasting precious time. Itami puts Roode in the ring, rolls him for the cover, TWO! Now Itami is the one a bit shocked, but he won’t stop there. He drags Roode up, Fireman but Sunset flip, Itami sits down, TWO! Itami throws haymakers to slap Roode right down! Knee pad down, Itami calls for the end. He drags Roode up, G T — GLORIOUS DDT! Wait, Roode holds on, ANOTHER GLORIOUS DDT!!
Roode gets to the cover, Roode wins and retains! Even after his own shoulder was badly damaged, he found a way to turn it around. With Roode still champion, NXT shall continue to be GLORIOUS!
NXT Tag Team Championship Ladder Match
The Authors of Pain w/ Paul Ellering VS Team #DIY!
The undefeated and dominant tag team champions have been running through opposing teams ever since the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, and even defeated Johnny Wrestling and the Psycho Killer in multiple match-ups, including an incredible triple threat elimination match that included The Revival. Now that the belts will be hoisted high above them, can Akam and Rezar continue writing their legacies? Or will the underdog Gargano and Ciampa find a way to reclaim those belts? At the bell, DIY take it to AoP but AoP gives it right back. One man in a corner each as Akam and Rezar beat them down, but then Gargano and Ciampa turn it around. Ciampa back elbows Rezar, Gargano gives him an enziguri, then they dump Akam out and knee him to the floor. They double clothesline Rezar out, DIY controls the ring. They get the ladders! However, Rezar pounces on Ciampa, Akam on Gargano. Gargano is thrown to a barrier, as is Ciampa on the other side. Rezar whips Ciampa at steps, Ciampa stops himself and then drop toeholds Rezar into the steps. Ciampa sees Akam coming so he gives him a flying clothesline, then Gargano gives Rezar a cannonball senton from the apron! DIY in control again as they get the BIG ladder from the stage. They bring that unwieldy ladder down the ramp, AoP pounce, so Gargano DIVES!
AoP is down again, the fans are on fire for DIY. DIY regroups and prepares one of the shorter ladders. Akam returns and tips it over, so DIY throws it back in his face, literally! However, Rezar is still there, they work together to back him down into a corner. Ciampa and Gargano work with a knee strike, then go for their own Poetry in Motion, but Rezar takes that and throws it back!
Rezar then goes to the ladder, he and Akam set it up. Akam tells Rezar to climb while he holds the ladder, Ellering insists as well, so Rezar carefully climbs. DIY returns, and use a ladder to bring Rezar down. A shot for Akam, too, DIY then drives the ladder into both Authors’ backs! The fans chant for DIY, DIY sets up a new ladder, but AoP revives. Ciampa throws the ladder at Akam as Gargano goes after Rezar, Akam holds the ladder up and Ciampa climbs! Ciampa gets fingers on the belts but is pushed away.
Akam throws the ladder into DIY and knocks them down. The ladder is set up, both Authors climb. DIY revives and pulls them off. AoP lifts DIY, DIY slips off and climbs, but then the whole thing is pushed over so that both members of DIY get hotshots. Rezar stands a ladder up in the corner, Akam slams Gargano face first into the other! Then to Ciampa, he’s thrown into the corner ladder and bounces off. AoP stomps away for good measure, then presses Ciampa in a corner with the ladder. They kick it into him like a clamp, bouncing his head off it as well. Gargano is also put in a corner, a ladder is set up, and the Authors climb. The fans rally for DIY, Rezar climbs but Akam sees DIY get up. AoP returns to beating DIY down, and then they take the ladder to battering ram the two down! DIY down and out but AoP does not stop. They get a new, taller ladders and bring those into the ring. AoP sets up double ladder bridges, take DIY to the apron, and– no, Ciampa slips out and saves Gargano! Ciampa boots Rezar, Gargano SUPERKICKS Akam. AoP teeters on the apron, DIY back off to line up shots, another knee and SUPERKICK put the AoP onto those ladder bridges. Akam and Rezar are prone, the fans sense what’s coming. DIY climb the tallest ladder all the way up, take aim at one Author each, and JUMP!
Gargano and Ciampa land on Akam and Rezar, Rezar’s bridge breaks! All four men are down and the Chicago crowd is losing their collective minds. The referees check on all of them, but by some miracle they all are okay to continue. Ciampa is the one to get to the ring, he gets a ladder towards the center. AoP regroups as Ciampa stands that ladder up. Ciampa starts climbing just as Akam joins him. Gargano slowly reenters, gets a ladder of his own, and sets that up nearby. Akam and Ciampa brawl atop their ladder, Gargano climbs his but is joined by Rezar. Now they all brawl way up high, Ciampa is knocked but he rebounds to topple Gargano’s ladder. Gargano saves himself by getting to Ciampa’s ladder, but both Authors fall down! Gargano reaches, Ellering gets in the ring! Ellering pulls Gargano off and then throws that ladder down! No Disqualifications means this is all fair, so then so is Gargano’s SUPERKICK!
Gargano grins as he gets back to the ladder, but the Authors have returned. Akam boots Gargano down, Rezar checks on Ellering. They get a new ladder, keep Ciampa away from the other, and then prop up the new ladder in the corner. They bounce Ciampa off the ladder a few times, then elbow him into the ladder. The AoP get the “Put him down!” from Ellering. The fans rally but it may be for naught as Ciampa is alone. Gargano is stirring, crawling, and saves Ciampa from the battering ram to be the one to take it!!
The AoP set up the ladder while Ciampa is in shock seeing what happened to his best friend. Rezar climbs, Ciampa gets him just in time! Rezar resists, but Ciampa still manages to pull him off and put him through a ladder!!
The ladder SHATTERS from the impact! The fans are raucous as Akam climbs. Gargano is still conscious enough to anchor him. Akam picks him up, throws him aside, the fans rally as loud as they can for DIY. Gargano grabs the same ladder Akam does, Akam kicks him away. Akam goes helicopter and knocks Ciampa down, but then Gargano SUPERKICKS Akam. The ladder comes down around Akam’s neck, and DIY is across from each other. So that can only mean… D I Y VICE!!
Ciampa messed up his knee, Gargano his foot, but the fans cheer to show they appreciate it. Ciampa gets to the ladder, the only one left with much of anything left. He helps Gargano up, they both get the ladder, and they set it up under the belts. They start climbing together, they reach out, and– no, AoP kicks the ladder out from under them! DIY desperately cling to the belt apparatus, but to no avail! SUPER COLLIDER!
AoP climb up together, grab the belts off the holder, and WIN! Their dominance continues, and the legacy of Ellering’s tag team dynasty grows ever greater.
As the Authors of Pain leave with Paul Ellering, DIY regroups. Chicago lets them know they are loved and respected. DIY may have lost tonight, but they will never lose their fans. Ciampa and Gargano stand up together, and with a standing ovation all around them, say “thank you” to the fans, as well as good-bye.
But then Ciampa throws Gargano to the stage and beats him down!! The Psycho Killer no longer cares for Johnny Wrestling, as made clear by a knee right to the head! Ciampa goes to leave but Gargano gets back up, so he takse down his knee pad for ANOTHER knee! Ciampa sits with his former friend prone on the platform, everyone from fans to commentary to Gargano himself as to why he would do this. The fact Gargano is still moving pisses Ciampa off, Ciampa finishes this on the announce table with an Air Raid to the spare tables!!
“Holy Shit”, Ciampa may have broken his former friend forever, yet Ciampa does not care. He merely gets back on top of the announce table and looks down at what he has done. Will Johnny Wrestling ever be able to return after what the Psycho Killer has done to him?
WWE was wrong when they advertised Wrestlemania 33 as the Ultimate Thrill Ride, because THIS night of wrestling is what thrill rides are all about. I don’t even care if the status quo was kept on the three NXT titles, everything was amazing! Roderick Strong, picking up where Tye Dillinger left off, manages to defy the number game SAnitY plays and gets a clean win via his finisher, but you can be sure his war with Eric Young and his chaotic crew isn’t over here. Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne set a VERY high bar for the night and the WWE UK regular program still to come. So much of that match can be used as a template for what the WWE needs to do with the Cruiserweights in order to get people to actually enjoy the Cruiserweights rather than “BEACH BALL MANIA”. And either way, what a major surprise but also a perfectly choreographed way to give the WWE UK division it’s second ever champion. Pete Dunne was the man who almost had the belt at the tournament, has always been a cutthroat Heel, and uses his familiarity with young Tyler Bate to give him the edge needed to win. Both men will benefit from this, as Dunne’s quest is validated, and now Tyler can learn what it is to be the challenger trying to get back to the top. I can’t wait for WWE UK to get their own show.
Asuka is unstoppable, let’s just say that now. Misfortune may have kept Ember Moon out of this, but this triple threat was still top quality. Ruby and Nikki got their times to shine, showing that under the right circumstances, perhaps they could have won against Asuka had it just been a singles match. Asuka wasn’t exactly opportunistic or shrewd about it, but she did in essence use Ruby and Nikki against each other so she could come out on top. I still have fingers crossed that she’ll appear during Backlash’s 6 Woman tag to mess that all up and start pulling double duty between SmackDown and NXT, and perhaps only once her focus is split will anyone even be able to defeat her. Then there is Bobby Roode, who himself was not necessarily opportunistic or shrewd about how he wrestled Itami, but he was able to capitalize on a major turning point in the match along with grit his teeth through a sore shoulder and come out the winner. As for Itami, who knows if he’ll get one more chance after having waited so long. It might be for the best if he moves to the main roster, despite how congested as both Raw’s and SmackDown’s title scenes (from Universal and IC to World and US) are right now.
Then there is the main event, the NXT Tag Team Title ladder match that is without a doubt the best NXT has ever had and might ever have for a long time. So much damage was done, including to the ladders themselves, how was Gargano still okay after taking a ladder to the chin? This was the match most like a roller coaster with the ups and downs of DIY in control but then on the defensive, and none more so than the moment DIY literally has their hands on the belts to then lose hold and be powerbomb’d with authority. It is all a testament to how powerful the AoP are, how they will anchor the tag team division for a long stretch now, and was a great send-off for DIY to the main roster shows. Of course, there is also the brutal and almost sudden Heel turn from Ciampa to further brutalize the battered and bruised Gargano, an ultimate betrayal after Gargano took that wicked hit for him. This is less a turn out of story but one out of reality. For those who remember, Gargano and Ciampa had an amazing match in the Cruiserweight Classic, and it ended with Gargano winning but the two staying friends. They stayed in NXT after, but now that they’re set to go to main, it seems they’re destined to be in the Cruiserweight Division, which is isolated from the others and shows no signs of opening up to allow crossover. No tag team Raw career for these two means they can’t be a tag team, and the Psycho Killer is the natural choice as Heel, so here we are. It may have royally pissed off the crowd to see this happen after such a great farewell match, but it wasn’t their call.
My Score: 9/10