by James Toal
Well, we edge closer and closer and closer towards NXT TakeOver: Chicago. You know what that means?! Time to set up rivalries and feuds so we can have some conflicts ready to go. So without any further delay. Let’s take a look.
Match 1: Aleister Black vs Cezar Bononi
See if you can guess what happened to Bononi, he tried to land a strike but Black simply dodged a large amount of the offence. When Black landed a strike, you could feel it. He didn’t need many moves, but Aleister Black won with his patented Black Mask. Another victory for him and he remains as cool and collected as ever. Another standard squash match for Black, but it’s so entertaining to see him in action that I’ll let it off and wait for his eventual opponent that can match him.
RECAPS (With A Side Of Injuries)
We recapped the number one contenders match for the NXT Women’s Championship, a match which current champion Asuka chose to interrupt, this led her to believe that she would have no opponents. However, William Regal announced that at the next TakeOver, Asuka would defend her belt in a fatal-four way match featuring Ember Moon, Nikki Cross, and Ruby Riot. Unfortunately, Ember had sustained an injury and would need 4-5 weeks of recovery. She said that when she comes back, she’ll be better than ever. But for now, it’ll be Asuka vs Ruby Riot vs Nikki Cross.
We also learn that at NXT TakeOver: Chicago, Pete Dunne will take on Tyler Bate for the WWE UK Championship. Now professionally I believe that this will be an entertaining match as these are two amazing athletes who are truly engaging to watch perform. As for unprofessionally… WOO! FUCK YES!
We get more of an insight into the life of Ruby Riot, saying that she’s used to people judging her by how she looks. That being able to win the title, would be validation for all the sacrifices that she has made to get to this point. Certainly, a passionate performer, whether she’ll actually win the championship is doubtful given how new she is to NXT. But never say never. It would seem more likely that Asuka would retain and then we get the build for Ember vs Asuka 2. So, we’ll see.
I’m… not totally sure what the heck this was. It was more of Nikki Cross acting like an irritable cat. Attacking staff, speaking so close to the camera that all you could see is back, and detailing how she is going to take out Ruby Riot. While also taking everything from Asuka. Again, not totally sure what happened her but hell was it interesting to watch. Nikki did well in coming across as intimidating and an unhinged sociopath. If she does win the title, then it’ll be a whole darker women’s division.
Drew Mcintyre was asked on his thoughts towards the number one contender’s match later night. He explained that if he wants to get into the title mix, then he’s got to make it happen. Suddenly from out of nowhere, Wesley Blake came in and stated that he should deserve a chance at the NXT title, even going as far as to say Mcintyre should just leave. Out of all the people on the roster to cut off Drew, Blake decided to step up? Good for him.
Kassius Ohno was asked where does he go from here? He wanted to get right back up after his loss against Bobby Roode. Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas decided to interrupt to intimidate Ohno, this leads to Ohno challenging Almas to a match. Anyone else we need to pair up before the PPV?
Match 2: DIY vs Riddick Moss & Tito Sabbatelli
DIY came to the ring and want a fair one on one rematch with the Authors of Pain for the NXT Tag Team Titles. They were interrupted by Riddick Moss & Tito Sabbatelli saying that the line for the titles starts behind them. Obviously, this resulted in Sabatelli getting kicked out the ring. So, IMPROMPTU MATCH!
DIY went in strong for their offence, even though their competitors kept them separated throughout a large portion of the match. The teamwork between Moss and Sabbatelli was intriguing given we haven’t seen them perform in a while. But as soon as Gargano got the hot tag, the win seemed within sight. A spear through the ropes wasn’t enough to achieve victory, but add a suicide dive and combined kick, DIY came out victorious. Just to make it even sweeter, William Regal announced that DIY will indeed face AOP at NXT TakeOver Chicago in a Ladder match. DIY at a PPV in a ladder match? I’m ready for this.
MAIN EVENT TIME! Rodrick Strong vs Hideo Itami (#1 Contenders Match)
Hoping that we finally get to see the Rodrick Strong NXT has been building up with its promos. We kicked off with a shoot wrestling match? Technique and everything? I approve. Slowly building this match-up between two men who may be evenly matched. Hideo had the chance early on to use the G.T.S. but Strong was quick enough to escape, easily showing how quick Itami could secure this win. Strong on the other hand was on the losing end of this battle, he had to constantly fight back in order for him to gain any sort of momentum. The technique between Itami and Strong was engaging to watch, the back and forth made these men seem so motivated to get to the top. The chemistry they presented in the ring was quite good and made the flow of the match very interesting to watch.
I enjoyed that as the match went on, each strike seemed to get heavier and heavier. Every shot that the person took, was both trying to inflict even more pain but was also leaving them less and less energy to continue. Once the match did pick up the pace, there were more risks taken and fatigue of the battle started to show. So many near falls, but still no one was going to give up. As Strong tried to drag himself up, Hideo hit the G.T.S. and managed to get the pinfall.
An excellent match that was hard to predict who would come out victorious. Matches like these make me excited for what TakeOver has to offer. If this is what Itami is going to bring on the weekly show, then he’ll surely bring it all when it comes to the PPV.