NXT (April 26, 2017)

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Nikki Cross slides into the ring and then rolls out and then creeps over to where the ring announcer is sitting. Nikki Cross bends over and talks into the microphone the ring announcer lady is holding in her lap.

“Ruuuby. Ruuuuby. Come out and play…”

Ruby Riot comes out to play. She and Nikki Cross head to the ring and have a stare down before they get down to the business at hand and start brawling. They roll out of the ring and and are fighting on the floor when referees and security show up to pull them apart. The refs and security do not succeed.

Cross looks like she’s bleeding from the arm. Riot and Cross keep breaking free and brawling. Eventually the officials get things under control and they drag Nikki Cross to the back.

Welcome to NXT!

Highlights for Children!

We get footage of Hideo Itami returning and slapping Bobby Roode in the face and then hitting him with the Go To Sleep. Let’s hope he stays healthy enough for an actual run this time.

Meanwhile Backstage…

Roode gets interviewed. He says Itami had no reason to attack him and that it was cowardly. He also says that Hideo can challenge him for the NXT Championship all he wants, but he’s got to earn a title shot.

Match 1: Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Drew McIntyre

Almas is fucking around in the early going. McIntyre muscles him into the ropes but Alams hangs on and lounges while still in the ropes. McIntyre’s like, “Fuck this bullshit,” and blasts Almas, sending him to the floor.

He and McIntyre brawl outside the ring for a bit. Almas slams McIntyre into the steps and back to the ring they go. McIntyre and Almas trade chops back and forth. Almas hits a neckbreaker into the final cut and goes for a pin, getting a two count.

Almas sends McIntyre into the corner and charges like he’s going to hit him with the double knee, but instead just stops and slaps McIntyre in the face. This pisses off McIntyre who gets fired up and beats the hell out of Almas. They trade chops a bit more and then McIntyre hits a powerslam and the Claymore to pick up the win.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

Drew McIntyre looked good. Almas on the other hand? I have no idea what they’re doing with him. Like sometimes they make it out like he’s the next big thing and then he’s losing to Drew McIntyre in a glorified squash match. I really can’t be bothered with him.

Meanwhile In William Regal’s Office…

Regal announces that Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot will go one on one later in the night.

Video Package!

We get a pretty decent “Who is Roderick Strong?” video, explaining where he comes from and why he wrestles. His mom had addiction problems and his dad was in a bar band so he was never home either. His parents fought a lot and at one point his mother shot his father. JESUS!

When he was a kid his dad started training to be a wrestler and since they didn’t have a baby sitter, Roderick went along and got trained by Jim Neidhart alongside his dad. Neidhart told Roderick he had some talent at wrestling so it was the first thing that he felt like he could do well. Eventually Neidhart left Florida so Roderick’s dad got a ring in their backyard which is when Roderick really fell in love with wrestling. Part II coming next week…

I thought this was pretty decent. Remember when Mankind had a similar video package in the Attitude Era and it got Mick Foley over and turned him into a babyface? This did the same thing. I didn’t really care at all about Roderick Strong beyond, “This guy is good at wrestling,” but now I want to see him succeed. WWE should do this more often with skilled, but otherwise kind of bland dudes.

Match 2: Kona Reeves vs. Aleister Black

Kona Reeves is a cool dude from Hawaii like Kona Crush, but with less of a mullet. Aleister Black is a goddamn Satanist. Kona charges at the bell and the pair get tangled in the ropes. Kona with the cheap shot as the ref separates them.

This was a dumb fucking move from Kona because it just pissed off Black who hits a bunch of strikes and kicks like he’s Ultimo Dragon circa 1996. Kona goes to the mat and Black sits down in the lotus position. This guy rules. Someone in the audience yells “Hail Satan!”

Kona Reeves gets back to his feet. Black hits some more strikes before decapitating Reeves with the Black Mass Spinning Heel Kick.

Winner: Aleister Black

Aleister Black is fucking awesome. I just want to see him kick dudes’ heads off for the rest of time.

Meanwhile Backstage…

A Fox News Blonde Reporter Lady interviews Ruby Riot about her upcoming match with Nikki Cross. Ruby Riot appreciates Sanity’s anti-conformity ways but isn’t down with how they want everyone to conform to their crustpunk anti-conformity ways.

Meanwhile Outside…

A different interview lady tries to catch up with Almas as he leaves with a gaggle of ladies to go have an orgy or something. She tries to ask him about his loss to Drew McIntyre, but he’s just like, “Come?” The interview lady does not go with him. He shrugs and gets into a limo and takes off to go have sex with a gaggle of ladies simultaneously.

Match 3: Ruby Riot vs. Nikki Cross

Ruby Riot comes out first but Nikki Cross attacks her from behind before she gets to the ring. They brawl on the floor up by the stage. Cross has the upperhand but Riot makes a comeback and suplexes Cross on the ramp.

Some officials come out again to try to separate them. The crowd chants “Let them fight!” as the two women get pulled apart. Ruby Riot breaks away from the security holding her back up on the stage and does a cross body block onto Cross and security from the stage down to the floor.

The officials finally separate the two and cart Cross away as she thrashes and snarls like an animal.

Winner: N/A

This was a great brawl. Really good intensity from both Riot and Cross. This feud is pretty solid and I’m less worried about the NXT women’s division post-Asuka now than I was four or five months ago.

Meanwhile In William Regal’s Office…

William Regal is in his office with Asuka to tell her that next week there will be a battle royal to determine the #1 contender for the Women’s Championship. Asuka feigns shock at this news and then kind of smirks and walks off because she has zero fucks to give.

Match 4: Tyler Bate vs. Jack Gallagher

This is for the WWE United Kingdom Championship. Bate and Gallagher are gentlemen so they shake hands as the bell rings. They lock up and do some smooth looking escapes and reversals early on. The crowd is silent, but it seems to be Japanese wrestling crowd style silence since they applaud at the end of the exchange.

Gallagher gets Bate in a full nelson, but Bate does some weird thing with his leg to break the hold with ease. Gallagher scores a takedown and starts working the leg, transitioning into a pinning combination. Bate kicks out and they pick up the pace. They both try for pins and we break for commercials. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!

We come back from the break with Gallagher working the arm. He has Bate grounded and is really focused on the arm. Bate fights to escape, but Gallagher stays on the arm through every escape attempt.

Gallagher gets a near fall and Bate finally overpowers him, taking Gallagher to the mat. There’s a crazy monkey flip counter sequence before Gallagher hits a dropkick. Bate returns fire with a jab and a German suplex that gets him a two count. He goes for another suplex but Gallagher gets Bate’s arm in a Jim Breaks Special. He’s got it locked on pretty well but Bate finally powers out of it and hits a suplex.

Gallagher’s out on the apron and Bate sends him to the floor. Bate sets up for a dive through the middle ropes, but runs right into a headbutt. Gallagher gets back in and hits another headbutt that knocks him loopy. He and Bate are both down with Gallagher sprawled out atop Bate. Two count!

Both men get to their feet. Gallagher connects with some uppercuts and goes back to the arm with a Jim Breaks Special. Bate manages to escape and hits the rolling kick and then nails the Tyler Driver ’97 for the win.

Winner: Tyler Bate

This was a really great match and had a totally different feel than anything else WWE is doing. Very World of Sport. I mean Gallagher does catch wrestling on Raw and 205 Live but it’s usually against a highflyer so there are a lot fewer chains of reversals and stuff and more just, Gallagher gets put in a hold and escapes from a hold.

It was also smart to remind people that the UK Championship is a thing if they are, as the announcers tonight said, getting ready to start airing a weekly WWE UK show on the Network.

Final Thoughts

This was a pretty good episode of NXT. The Ruby Riot/Nikki Cross feud is really good and the UK Championship match was outstanding wrestling. The Aleister Black and Drew McIntyre matches were more or less squashes to build up those two as big deals which I’ve got no problem with. Both guys, in my opinion, have “it” when it comes to wrestling.

The thing that honestly surprised me the most was the “Who Is Roderick Strong?” segment. Like I said above, I never really was all that into Strong. He was good in the ring, but otherwise kind of unremarkable. This video package really made me feel for the guy and want him to succeed. I also respect the hell out of him for being able to talk about what was a horrible situation to be in.

 

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