by James Toal
WWE, can you please sort out this mess with the network? A number of times I’ve had the message popping up to quit the application is astronomical. Please, please fix this annoying shit. 5 times it’s done this while watching NXT. 5 TIMES! *sigh* Anyways, we’re at the last show before the big Takeover in Chicago. How does it hold up? Let’s take a look.
MATCH 1: DREW MCINTYRE VS SEAN MALUTA
Haven’t seen Maluta in a while, so I guess he was brought out to further prove how dominant a force Drew can be. Mcintyre cemented his alpha nature by letting Maluta get a few shots in before he decided he had had enough. Although the match did swing into the favour of Maluta for a few moments, McIntyre came right back and won the match with his single kick to the head. Drew once again showing us that he’s ready for the main event, (Not the side show the WWE use, please never put him on there) so when he does come for the NXT Championship, It’ll be a hell of a match.
After the match, Drew was interviewed and asked whether the attention of Wesley Blake concern him at all. What Drew should’ve said was “Seriously? Hell no”. Instead, he said, “What would concern me, is if I didn’t have the attention of everyone in NXT, including Wesley Blake”. He continued to say that if Blake wants his attention, he can face him next week in a match. Don’t change that channel kid! Wesley Blake vs Drew Mcintyre will be here sooner than you think! (yay).
Strong’s defeat last week was not the end of his disappointing evening, As he was assaulted by Sanity and left motionless on the mat. We saw Strong limping his way backstage where he bumps into William Regal who casually asks “You okay?”. I’m sure he’s fine Regal, getting beat down by 3 guys would mean he’s in tip top shape. Strong put it bluntly, saying he wants Sanity. Sanity responded later on with Eric Young accepting his challenge for a match, at NXT Takeover Chicago.
If we’re going to get a rehash of the Tye Dillinger vs Eric Young feud, then this is going to make me lose interest quickly. We’ve already seen someone take a beating from Sanity and then finally come back and win, Hell, Rodrick Strong was already in the dynamic with Dillinger when all this happened. If they do something interesting with this then I’ll be happy, right now though I’m doubtful.
– Hideo Itami’s journey from his debut on NXT in 2014, and vowing to be the NXT Champion and leading all the way up to present day where he is now the number one contender. Sorry that it took this long Hideo! Better late than never I suppose.
– We were shown the night Tyler Bate won the UK Championship after beating Pete Dunne. I would honestly go back to watch the UK tournament as they are all brilliant matches, the highlights from the final do the match justice. But, I highly recommend going out to see it for yourself. I have the feeling that Pete Dunne is going to walk away from the winner, Tyler could surprise us once more.
Asuka was interviewed in the back of a car on her match at the next PPV. She rather bluntly ignores most of the questions asked, even breaking up the interview by asking whether it was done yet. We’ve seen a more confident Asuka as of late, so now we see her with seemingly better things to do than take questions about her opponents. She doesn’t think they’re worth mentioning, so she’d rather move on to something else. I like the attitude, so when she does eventually have to lose them confidence and really fight for her belt, it’ll make the match feel even more important… although when she does leave the car and get selfies in front of her fans, it does lessen the serious tone she’s been going for. But arguably you could say she’s being arrogant by acting as if the world revolves around her, so fair play really.
MATCH 2: LACEY EVANS VS SONYA DEVILLE
Hey, that’s Daria Berenatto? Now as Sonya Deville? To be fair, Beranatto was a bit of a mouthful so maybe it’s good she changed her name. The MMA style of Deville came out in full force with impressive hard strikes, technical holds, and takedowns. Deville looked monstrous with her flurry of attacks, even taking her gloves off to deal more damage. Lacey did manage to get one shot in, which left Deville trying to recover. Deville though managed to get the win with a shining wizard and smirking as the pin counted to 3.
A great spotlight of these two performers, thankfully they can show off more of their characters which have been missing in recent months. Deville is not quite Lesnar levels of beastlike but feels like we’re on our way to that.
MATCH 3: KASSIUS OHNO VS ANDRADE ‘CIEN’ ALMAS
Almas continued to not care about his matches, Kassius had a simple solution for this. It was called kicking him square in the head. Both Ohno and Almas were impressive when it came to agility throughout this fight. It flowed well into the second part of the match with a lot of vicious strikes and aggression. What I dislike about the majority of Almas’s matches, is that they feel too formulaic. Almas starts cocky but ultimately ends up getting pissed off and using more aggressive moves, which then leads him to the end of the match were he more often than not loses. I don’t feel as invested when they just give him like ‘I don’t care if I lose’. His moves are fine, it just needs more variety.
I’ll be fair, this match from both Almas and Ohno was quite good given the number of times they were throwing each other about. Ohno got the win thanks to his knockout punch. With a considerable amount of variety, it was a fun fight to see.
For the end of the show, Bobby Roode made his way down to the ring to address the NXT audience. Bobby questioned the hype over Hideo Itami, even admitting that he was knocked out by Itami with the GTS. Bobby promised that would not happen again as he’s going to be standing in the ring ready to go, and he’s going to make an example out of Itami. Roode is as douchey as ever, making statements like he didn’t even know if Itami was employed here and praising himself for taking NXT to new heights. He even went as far as to say that Itami will have to tell his children that he had failed once again.
Hideo Itami appeared at the top of the ramp but was being held back by William Regal and security. What was truly remarkable about this moment was that Hideo didn’t flinch, he was standing completely firm. So when he finally jumped into the ring, the excitement in the building rose significantly. Security couldn’t stop him, but an attack from behind stumbled him. Unluckily though Roode wasn’t quick enough to escape and got hit with the GTS.
A way better penultimate show before the PPV than I’m used to on NXT. As we get closer to Saturday, the anticipation hasn’t ceased at all. I cannot wait.