Tuesday, May 23, 2017

NXT TakeOver: Chicago Review

Eric Young w/ SAnitY vs. Roderick Strong

Well, Young is accompanied by Wolfe and Dane, no Nikki. Strong doesn’t come out, instead running in through the crowd. He sends Dane into the post and hits a backbreaker on the guardrail on Wolfe. Young is alone as Strong delivers chops to start the match. He hits a high arching back body drop and clotheslines Young outside. He follows with more chops. Back inside, Strong nails a dropkick to stop a small Young rally. Young catches a charging Roddy with an elbow, then hits a back suplex. Young hits a neckbreaker for two. He goes to a modified chinlock. Strong gets a boot up in the corner, hops over Young and nails a clothesline. Roddy weathers a storm of strikes and hits a forearm. He sends Young to the corner, who flips on the apron. Strong takes out Wolfe with a baseball slide and trips up Young. Dane runs Strong over with a cross body behind the referee’s back. Young’s in control now, choking Strong on top while Roddy’s feet dangle. Young wears him down before distracting the referee to allow Wolfe to get in a kick. That only gets two. Young goes back to wearing him down as the crowd tries rallying Roddy. He slaps Roddy in the corner. Strong finds an opening and hits a dropkick. EY runs into an elbow and Strong starts in with strikes. He catches a kick into a backbreaker and delivers a high knee in the corner. He hits a modified back suplex for two. Young rolls outside to avoid further damage. Young delivers the wheelbarrow neckbreaker on the outside out of desperation. Young only gets two once they’re finally inside. He goes up top, which is a mistake as Strong holds his foot in place. Young knocsk him down and hits the flying elbow, but Strong manages to kick out. He wants the wheelbarrow neckbreaker again but Strong counters into a rollup for two. He hits some boots and gives one to Dane too. He sends Young into Wolfe to knock him down. He gets Young on his shoulders but EY seems to rake him in the eyes. Strong follows Young to the top again and they fight for suplex positioning. Strong falls off before hitting a high knee that sends Young into SAnitY. Strong sends him in but walks into a boot. Young runs into a high knee and Strong hits the End of Heartache to win.

Winner: Roderick Strong in 13:42 [***1/2]

Jim Ross is brought out to commentate the next match.

WWE United Kingdom Championship: Tyler Bate (c) vs. Pete Dunne

I have their match from January at ****1/2 and would consider it the second or third best match under the WWE banner this year. Big “Bruiserweight” chants. They grapple to start and get dueling chants, but Pete has more. Pete works a head scissors, while grabbing the arm. Bate nearly escapes with a headstand before succeeding with a modified one. Dunne takes him back down and wrenches the arm. Bate gets free, nips up and twirls his mustache while Dunne takes a breather outside. Bate follows and eats a big forearm. Dunne manipulates the finger joints and tries kicking the steel steps into them, but Bate avoids it and slaps him. He hops off the steps with a back elbow. Dunne goads him into another huge forearm and then the explex on the apron. Dunne goes back to the arm and kicks away at Bate’s head. Bate fires up, no selling the effects. He pulls Dunne into a delayed exploder. He follows with some running European uppercuts in the corner but Dunne explodes out with a running kick. Bate escapes the explex and hits a standing SSP. He delivers an excellent deadlift gutwrench suplex for a close near fall. Bate tries another running SSP, but gets caught in a triangle choke! Bate powers up and powerbombs his way free. Bate does the airplane spin at a crazy fast pace. It gets him two. Both men struggle to their feet. Dunne lands on his feet on a German and then catches a springboarding Bate with a huge forearm. He delivers a sick explex into a powerbomb for a close near fall. The crowd is losing their minds. Both men fight from their seated positions. They hammer away like a hockey fight as they get to their feet. Bate hits the big left (bop and bang) and wants the Tyler Driver. Dunne avoids it and hits an enziguri. They’re forehead to forehead and start throwing huge chops. Dunne with a slap, Bate with the rolling kick. Bate does his sick rebound off the top rope spot into a lariat for two. Again, both men are down and we get “fight forever” chants. Dunne slips free of the Tyler Driver and wants the Bitter End. Bate counters into an incredible DDT! Dunne goes outside and Bate follows with a middle rope moonsault. He quickly rolls Dunne inside and comes off the top with a spiral tap/stardust press for two! Bate tries an Undertaker dive, but eats a forearm. Dunne rolls him inside. BITTER END! New Champion!

Winner and New WWE United Kingdom Champion: Pete Dunne in 15:27 [****3/4]

NXT Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Nikki Cross vs. Ruby Riot

Ruby and Nikki are in each other’s face before Asuka even arrives. Nikki starts by throwing her jacket at Ruby and knocking her outside. She sends Asuka to the ropes, who knocks Ruby off the apron with her hass. She does the same to Nikki inside, but taunts and gets taken down. Asuka dumps Nikki outside. Ruby kicks her back and enters to face Asuka. There are “Ruby” chants which get replaced by “Asuka’s gonna kill you.” They do a quick exchange and neither fall on shoulder blocks. Ruby avoids one and gets one on a rollup. She sends Asuka to the apron and slaps her off. Ruby wants to dive but Nikki cuts her off with the POUNCE! Nikki beats them up outside, while Ember watches from the rafters like she’s Sting in 1997. Nikki grinds her forearm into Ruby’s face in the corner and then hits a straight jacket neck breaker. Asuka comes off the top with a missile dropkick and splashes Ruby at the same time. She starts in with kicks to Nikki’s chest. Nikki ducks the big one and hits another neck breaker. Ruby returns and kicks away at Asuka. Asuka catches one into a powerbomb and rolls into an ankle lock. Nikki struggles to make her break it and gets taken down. Ruby rolls Asuka up and gets shoved into a NIkki forearm. Nikki pulls the middle rope down to send Asuka outside. Nikki toys with Ruby and shoves her. Ruby hits a clothesline and dropkick to fire up. Asuka interrupts but eats an elbow. Ruby hits a diving rana that comes off ugly. She drives Nikki face first into the middle buckle with her knees. She taunts, allowing Asuka to level her. Nikki sends Asuka to the floor and dives out into a knee. It came off like a GTS. Ruby now takes Asuka out with the heat seeking missile. Ruby hits Nikki with a BIG GIRL SENTON off the top but Asuka breaks the pin. She hits a straight jacket German for two of her own. Nikki fights one off, blocks the back fist and takes Asuka down with a weird move for two. Asuka pulls Nikki off Ruby’s back . Ruby kicks Nikki, who Asuka German suplexes. Ruby kicks Asuka in the face and goes up top. She comes off with another senton but Asuka moves and applies the Asuka Lock. Before Ruby can tap, Nikki splashes them to break the hold. Nikki hits Ruby with a reverse DDT on the apron. Asuka tries a baseball slide but Nikki pulls the apron and gets Asuka trapped. She fires off a lengthy series of strikes onto Asuka as the crowd goes wild. She drags Asuka in, laughing while doing it. She nails a hanging neckbreaker from the Tower of London position but Ruby breaks the pin. All three women are down. As they get up, Asuka screams. Ruby and Nikki work together to clothesline her out. Nikki rolls up Ruby for two. Ruby does it back for her own near fall. Nikki with a knee strike but has her finisher countered. Ruby hits a Pele, but Asuka breaks it up with a vicious knee. Asuka pins both to retain.

Winner and Still NXT Women’s Champion: Asuka in 12:26 [***3/4]

The Velveteen Dream comes to NXT this Wednesday.

NXT Championship: Bobby Roode (c) vs. Hideo Itami

I guess the Tag Titles go on last. Hideo’s attack in the parking lot was two years ago to the day. Roode gives an early break and goes for the GLORIOUS taunt. Hideo hoists him for the GTS to a huge pop, but Roode escapes to the outside. Shoulder block by Roode but he runs into an elbow. Hideo hits some hard chops, sending Roode reeling. Hideo hits some knee drops and jumps over Roode before whiffing on a back kick. He hits it the second go around and does the GLORIOUS taunt. Roode charges but runs into a knee. Roode fights back and nails a blockbuster. He drives the middle rope into Hideo’s throat. He follows with a chinlock and talks some trash. Hideo answers with a brutal slap. Some kicks and the shotgun dropkick connect. Clothesline by Hideo before he fires off kicks and a suplex. Itami hits his tornado DDT onto the top rope and picks up a near fall. Roode delivers elbows to avoid the GTS but gets sent shoulder first into the ring post. Itami kicks the shit out of Roode but misses one. Roode tries a rollup but Itami catches the arm and tries a Fujiwara armbar. He can’t lock it in, so Roode escapes. Itami blocks the implant DDT and sends him to the corner. More kicks. Roode fights off and misses the blockbuster a second time. Hideo DOES THE DEAL for two. More kicks in the corner. Itami runs into a spinebuster for a near fall. Roode can’t hit his finsh and escapes the GTS again. He hits a jawbreaker on the apron to buy time. He throws Itami into the guardrail but gets thrown into the steel steps. On the shoulder that’s been worked on. Itami misses a dropkick into the steps. Both men are hurt and struggle to beat the count. They do and Roode hits a right hand. Itami fights back with strikes and hits the hesitation dropkick. He holds his ankle to sell the steps spot. He’s too hurt to hit the GTS, so Roode hits the Glorious DDT but Itami kicks out! Roode goes in and eats the GTS, but falls outside to avoid the pin. Hideo slides Roode back in and covers for two. Itami wants the GTS again, but Roode slips free. He tries a pin but HIdeo counters into his own for two. Itami counters the DDT and slaps the shit out of Roode about seven times. Bobby escapes the GTS again and hits the DDT. he holds onto it, picks him up and hits a second, much more impactful DDT to retain.

Winner and Still NXT Champion: Bobby Roode in 17:43 [****]

Kevin Owens and Eric Thames (of the Brewers) are shown in the crowd. Elsewhere, Kassius Ohno, Pat Patterson and Sami Zayn are in the front row.

NXT Tag Team Championship Ladder Match: The Authors of Pain (c) w/ Paul Ellering vs. #DIY

DIY attacks instantly but get overwhelmed. AOP runs into shots and Gargano hits an enziguri. He sends Akam to the apron and Ciampa knocks him out with a knee. They send Rezar packing and go for ladders. AOP attack and both DIY guys get thrown into the guardrail. Gargano comes back with a somersault off the apron. DIY choose to go for the big ladder by the entrance. Ciampa holds the ladder open and pulls down the middle rope so Gargano can hit a suicide dive through the openings. THAT’S BAD LUCK! Akam stops them from climbing but has the ladder thrown into his face. They beat up Rezar in the corner, with Ciampa hitting a high knee. Gargano tries an attack but gets slammed onto Ciampa’s back. DIY cuts off AOP climbing and drop a ladder onto their backs. Akam holds a ladder up and Ciampa runs up it, nearly reaching the belts. Akam shoves him off. AOP both climb but DIY pull them down. AOP go for stereo powerbombs, but DIY end up on the ladder. They climb but get knocked over. Ciampa clutches his knee after the spot. AOP trap him in the corner behind a ladder that they drive into his midsection. Akam holds the ladder so Rezar can climb. They seem to be stalling. They stop because DIY is stirring, and beat them down. They wipe them out with a ladder and go out for a bigger ladder. They set two up across the ring apron and guardrail. They want powerbombs onto them. Ciampa gets free and saves Gargano. DIY each hit AOP with a knee/superkick and they end up laid on the ladders. DIY climb the standing ladder in the middle and hit stereo splashes! Ciampa puts his guy through the ladder, but Gargano nad his dude kind of bounce off. Replays show both DIY members almost landed on their heads. Akam and Ciampa climb, while Gargano sets up another ladder near them. Rezar joins Gargano on his ladder and all four men go at it. Ciampa’s knocked off but bumps into the other ladder. Rezar falls but Gargano lands on the ladder in the middle. Akam falls off. Gargano’s alone but Ellering pulls him down and knocks over the ladder. Gargano kicks Ellering but eats a boot from Akam. Ciampa’s left alone and bashed into a ladder set up in the corner. They use the ladder to prop up his head and go to hit him with the ladder. Gargano shoves Ciampa aside and takes the shot for his buddy. AOP climb again but Ciampa’s up. He gets behind Rezar and wants to German him off the ladder through the one in the corner. HE DOES IT! OH MY FUCKING GOD! Gargano somehow fights enough to grab Akam and stop him from climbing. Akam kicks at him but both DIY members kick him while he has a ladder over his head. It falls onto his shoulders and they hit MEETING IN THE MIDDLE INTO THE LADDER ON AKAM’S FACE! Ciamps tries helping Gargano up but he’s out of it. They set a ladder up in the middle and both climb up. They grab the titles but AOP kick the ladder out. DIY hang onto the titles and AOP powerbomb them from those spots. They do the Super Collider and another powerbomb! AOP grab the titles.

Winners and Still NXT Tag Team Champions: The Authors of Pain in 20:08 [****1/2]

DIY get to their feet to a standing ovation from the crowd. Ciampa hugs Gargano and they leave the ring. They pose on the stage to more DIY chants as the copyright sign comes up. Ciampa then grabs Gargano and tosses him into the stage. He beats the hell out of Gargano. Officials try to stop im, but Ciampa removes the knee pad and hits a running knee. Ciampa sits with Gargano’s head in his lap while fans are stunned and nearly in tears. Ciampa picks him up and gets atop the announce table. Ciampa picks him up and hits an air raid crash off the table and stage through two other tables!

Overall: 10/10. The best show in wrestling all year. Yes, more than Wrestle Kingdom, the UK Tournament, etc. Top to bottom, everything delivered. Three of the five matches are at least four stars and the other two are at ***1/2 and ***3/4. Dunne/Bate is a MOTY contender, we got Roode's best match in NXT, Hideo's best match in NXT, another fun Asuka defense, a strong (pun intended) opener and a sick main event with an excellently done heel turn to end things.