by James Toal
This is a bitter sweet episode this week. We have some genuinely touching and engaging story developments. But, it was hindered by some questionable booking choices and technical faults that do leave you wishing things had turned out differently. How did it all turn out? Well, let’s take a look at what happened This Week On NXT.
We opened the episode with a video package recapping the feud between Hideo Itami & Kassius Ohno. All of this finally building up to their confrontation tonight. This has been another good example of NXT pacing their storylines and it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the aftermath of the match’s outcome. What the victor will do next and how the rest of NXT will be affected.
Match 1: Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas vs Cezar Bononi
Almas took the match early on and didn’t leave an opportunity for Bononi to get any offence in. Once Bononi got back into it, his confidence definitely showed. But it was all for nothing as Andrade kept coming back and hitting hard, holding nothing back. Andrade finished the match with his Hammerlock DDT continues his run of wins thanks to the help of Zelina Vega in his corner. A short match, but enough to get across the development of Andrade’s performance. Overall, it was okay.
– William Regal made a statement about the attack last week on Drew McIntyre by Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. He said that if they wanted to fight, then they better do it in the ring as Regal will not allow assaults backstage, in the car park, or anywhere else that’s not in a WWE ring.
– Backstage, an interviewer hoped to get the chance to talk to Asuka. Unfortunately, they were met with the Velveteen Dream. He said he’s still not ready to talk until the ambience was just right, but soon, it’ll be ready for him. For us though, Whether you’re interested in what he has to say will be will be up to you.
MATCH 2: Lars Sullivan vs Three Jobbers With No Names
Lars wanted all three men in the ring, for the challenge I assume, and he wiped the floor with them. Heading two men off immediately with a double clothesline and manhandling then all throughout the ring.
But this match didn’t last too long. Not due to it being a squash match. No no no, due to the edit of this episode appear to glitch out and then cut to another section entirely. So this is a match I never got to see the ending to. Not surprised in what everyone will assume the ending would be, just another annoying element to add to the growing list of complaints to the WWE network.
(Apparently No Way Jose turned up and was subsequently beaten up by Lars. We didn’t get to see that so once again, thank you WWE Network).
– Eric Young responded to the attack they suffered last week. He stated that Adam Cole and his goons are going to realise they have made a big mistake. The only thing Sanity cares about right now is chaos. Ironically, is also what the WWE servers are causing right now thanks to all the crashes.
– At the performance centre, Ruby Riot asked William Regal for a handicap match against Peyton Royce and Billie Kay. Regal in good conscience do that but instead offered a tag match against them. This is cool, will be interested in who will be Ruby’s partner for the match.
MATCH 3: Zeda vs Sonya Deville
Oh dear. An unadvertised match featuring a competitor from the Mae Young Classic against someone on a destructive streak. Didn’t look good for Zeda. Sonya kept Zeda under control thanks to her grappling, even if Zeda did escape, she was soon taken back down to the ground by Sonya. Soon enough, Sonya got Zeda into a submission and she tapped almost immediately. Not going to lie here guys, building up women in the tournament and making them look like weak on NXT is not going to give me faith in what you do with them in the future. Even if it’s to get Sonya over, get some actual jobbers, instead of talent that could actually be on the same level as her.
MATCH 4: Kassius Ohno vs Hideo Itami – No DQ Match
The match got started as Itami evaded Ohno for a little, but was soon caught up and made to pay for the disrespect he had caused in recent history. As expected though, Itami resorted to harsh tactics like standing on Ohno’s head whilst on the steel steps, gaining control of the match. Itami was first to attempt the use of a weapon, it may have backfired on Itami as Ohno hit one of his patented spinning punches, hitting the steel chair and leaving him in pain. Something must’ve clicked in Ohno, he was asking for more, Itami struck him over and over but Ohno was having none of it.
Both men rolled out to the outside as Itami tried to crawl away, Ohno pursued until they reached the top of the ramp. Itami made his move and suplexed him onto the steel floor of the ramp. But even using a steel chair on Ohno wasn’t enough to gain the win. Things soon picked up as Itami tried to hit a GTS by poking his opponents eye, but this was reversed. Shocking everyone in the room, Kassius Ohno hit a low blow on Itami and proceeded to hit his finisher and achieve victory.
Interesting booking in this fight. Having a win like this does leave it open to another match, Itami could claim that he couldn’t be beaten by him cleanly. We also see that Ohno could relate to Itami’s mindset in using underhanded tactics to get the wins he wants. All very interesting paths that could be shown, and was a decent match to see.
Asuka’s Final Words…
Asuka made her way to the ring to deliver a message to the NXT audience. In her time at NXT, she said had fought so many great superstars and loves NXT. Regal admired Asuka for defending that title with honour and called her one of the greatest champions in WWE history. Regal then announced that they have started negotiations with RAW and SmackDownLive, and Asuka will be stepping down as NXT champion. Asuka’s final words to the NXT audience were probably the best way to say goodbye to such a caring crowd.
“No one is ready for Asuka, You are NXT, I am NXT. Wherever I go, NXT comes with me”
The locker room came down to give applause and even Ember Moon stepped into the ring, both women hugged it out and we ended the episode with Triple H himself delivering a bunch of roses to Asuka and raising her hand in respect. I’m not crying, you’re crying. It’s sad to see Asuka go, but with a send off like this. I have huge hopes for her on the main roster. Long live the empress of tomorrow.