Match 1: Killian Dain (w/ Eric Young) vs. Danny Burch
Danny Burch tries to fight Killian Dain at the bell, unloading with some strikes and kicks that Dain more or less shrugs off before he beats Burch down. He hits a slam and a running senton that lay out Burch.
The crowd starts chanting “SHAVE YOUR BACK!” at Dain. Audience participation I can appreciate. Dain does not shave his back, but instead hits some elbow drops.
Burch tries to mount a comeback. He nails Dain with a missile dropkick and then hits a headbutt and some European uppercuts because he’s British and every British wrestler’s moveset consists of headbutts and European uppercuts.
Dain is too much of a mountain of a man to be effected by such moves so he takes out Burch with a running dropkick and then hits the Ulster Plantation or whatever they’re calling his finisher for the win.
Winner: Killian Dain
Decent squash match. Dain came in, hit his moves, got the win. Burch got a couple opportunities to get some offense in so he doesn’t look like a chump when he shows up on the WWE UK show in a few weeks or whenever it appears.
Meanwhile Earlier Today…
Hideo Itami arrived at Full Sail University and went into the backstage area with a suitcase!
Remember when Prince Iaukea did a Prince gimmick in WCW and it was terrible? I think that’s what’s going on here with “Velveteen Dream” Patrick Clarke. This is going to be super bad.
Match 2: Heavy Machinery vs. Ricardo Watts & Hector Kunsman
Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic are dressed up like Roadblock from WCW. Their opponents tonight are the tiniest non-mini wrestlers on the face of the planet. Knight and Dozovic toss the tiny dudes around for a minute or so and then Dozovic picks them both up and Knight Thesz Presses Dozovic onto the two tiny men for the win in a fun squash (literally) match.
After the match Tucker and Otis are fired up and get on the mic and cut the best promo of modern times. Tucker does your basic, “Authors of Pain! You got the straps! We want the straps!” He’s decent enough on the mic, but what makes this completely unbelievable is Otis Dozovic making Jos LeDuc faces and screaming stuff like, “BOO SHAKA LOO!” and “STEAKS AND WEIGHTS!” randomly during Knight’s more subdued promo.
Knight wraps it up by saying that it’s true that the Authors of Pain have beaten every team in their path, but they’ve never faced BEEF like Heavy Machinery. These guys are my favorite tag team now.
Winners: Heavy Machinery
This was goddamn glorious. Somehow they found not one, but two wrestlers who make James Ellsworth look like goddamn Andre the Giant and put them in the ring against the hossest tag team in recent memory. There is something immensely satisfying about watching massive dudes chuck tiny dudes around.
Also Dozovic’s grimacing Jos LeDuc faces and bellows of utter nonsense while Tucker Knight cut a standard, “TAG TEAM CHAMPS….WE’RE COMING FOR YOU!” promo was basically perfect.
Bobby Roode is rapping with Kona Reeves ahead of his match with Hideo Itami.
Meanwhile Somewhere Else Backstage…
Kayla Braxton is with DIY and asks them what they though of the greatest promo of the modern era. DIY is like, “It was a pretty good promo, but the line to face AoP starts behind us.” This makes sense since I think they’re still owed a one on one shot against the AoP for the tag titles.
Match 3: Kona Reeves vs. Hideo Itami
This is Itami’s first match since his injury. He’s got a pretty badass scar on his shoulder now. Kona Reeves attacks before the bell rings, beating Itami down in the corner. He goes for a charge, but misses and Itami briefly gets in control, hitting Reeves with some strikes.
Reeves cuts him off with an elbow and goes for a couple pin attempts. Itami kicks out repeatedly so Reeves puts the boots to him. Reeves does the cocky heel thing and starts talking smack and pushing Itami by the face.
Itami gets fired up and after he slaps Reeves in the face he unloads with strikes and kicks. He gets Reeves into the corner and kicks the shit out of him. Reeves is down in the corner. Itami nails him with the hesitation dropkick and then gets him up. GOODNIGHT KONA REEVES! GTS!
Winner: Hideo Itami
A pretty decent match for Itami. He really looked like a man who had something to prove here which is good leading up to his inevitable title match. Reeves for his part has looked pretty good in defeat the past few weeks. His offense is pretty good as is his selling is also decent.
Hey guys, Drew McIntyre’s back! He was the Intercontinental Champion once and hand picked by Vince McMahon as the next big thing! Remember that? Here he is wrecking house on a bunch of NXT dudes.
Who Is Roderick Strong Part II?
This week we get to see Roderick’s journey from indie guy to Mr. ROH to NXT superstar. We also get to see his home life with his fiancee, Marina Shafir, and their new baby. He builds a crib and a bassinet and talks about how being a father and a husband makes him want to work harder to succeed. He’s not doing it for himself anymore, he’s doing it for his family. As someone who had a child not all that long ago, this DID NOT MAKE ME GET WEEPY AT ALL! Strong talks about how if he could go back in time and tell his younger self anything it would be not to be scared because everything is going to be alright.
This was really well done and like last week turned Roderick Strong from being a guy I want to see more exciting guys wrestle because he can put on good wrestling matches with them to a guy I want to see win because I can relate to him. Sure I’ll never deliver a killer backbreaker or hold championship gold, but I got a kid and will work hard so I can give that child a better life than I had growing up.
Meanwhile In William Regal’s Office…
“That was a really nice video package about Roddy wasn’t it?” asks William Regal.
Bobby Roode, who clearly hadn’t been paying attention is like, “Yeah whatever…listen Regal. We need to talk about my next opponent. This face…my face…this is the money. We can’t have Hideo Itami running around kneeing peoples’ faces off.”
Regal’s like, “So what you’re saying is Hideo Itami needs to earn a shot at the NXT Championship? I’m inclined to agree, so next week I’m booking Hideo Itami vs. Roderick Strong. The winner of that match will face you a TakeOver: Chicago.”
There’s a knock at the door, and Regal tells them to come in. It’s Roderick Strong. He and Roode have a brief staredown and then Roode takes off.
Aleister Black will be back in action next week killing the shit out of someone! I love that Aleister Black is already so over that they need to put up a video apologizing for him being off TV for a week and assuring us he will return soon.
Match 4: Victoria Gonzalez vs. Bianca Belair vs. Rachael Ellering vs. Sonya Deville vs. Lacey Evans vs. Kimber Lee vs. Candice LeRae vs. Aliyah vs. Liv Morgan vs. Billie Kay vs. Peyton Royce vs. Ember Moon vs. Ruby Riot vs. Crazy Mary Dobson vs. Nikki Cross
This is a battle royal to determine the number one contender for Asuka’s NXT Women’s Championship. Lacey Evans, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Nikki Cross, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riot, Ember Moon get entrances. Nigel McGuiness compares Kay and Royce to Sophia Loren and maybe Audrey Hepburn which leads Percy Watson to inquire, “How old are you?” Well played Percy Watson, well played.
The other eight women show up in the ring during commercials and the match gets underway. This begins like every over the top battle royal: with clubbering and brawling as people pair off. Gonzalez attacks Kay and Royce and we head into commercial break. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!
We come back to be told that Gonzalez got eliminated by Kay and Royce during the break. This is stupid. This show is not live. It airs on the WWE Network, why have the elimination during the break? Kay and Royce eliminate Bianca Belair as we are being shown the replay of their earlier elimination.
Aliyah almost eliminates Royce, but she’s able to save herself. So she instead eliminates Rachael Ellering as Ember Moon brawls with the Iconic Duo. I think Lacey Evans, a former Marine Corps MP, got eliminated by Aliyah or maybe Liv Morgan…some skinny party girl…because that makes sense.
A bunch of people get chucked including Crazy Mary Dobson, Candice LeRae and Kimber Lee, who were all apparently in this match and had gotten jobber entrances.
Cross eliminates Aliyah and the crowd chants, “Thank you Nikki!” briefly. I guess they do not care for Aliyah. Liv Morgan looks perplexed and the she too is eliminated by Nikki Cross. Moon dumps Billie Kay and Peyton Royce looks like she’s going to cry. She gets sent to the floor by Ember Moon a short while later.
We’re down to Moon, Cross, and Riot. Nikki Cross attacks Ruby Riot. Ember Moon tries to get involved, but Nikki Cross tries to toss her. Ruby makes the save but Ember Moon takes her out and then hits the Eclipse on Nikki Cross. Moon tries to toss her, but she’s basically deadweight.
Ruby Riot gets involved and gets kicked a bajillion times. She’s down. Ember Moon sets up to hit an Eclipse on Ruby when Asuka runs in and destroys all of them. She throws Moon through the ropes towards the ring post, but Ember Moon just keeps going, through the ropes and out into the barricade.
Asuka then takes out Riot and Cross and then dances about in the ring and shouts that no one is ready for Asuka before dancing up the ramp to the backstage area. Ember Moon is holding her arm and there are refs out check on her and the other two women who are also selling being murdered by Asuka as the announcers do their best confused Tony Schiavone impression: “We don’t know who the winner is…we don’t even know who the number one contender is!”
A pretty standard battle royal. There were too many people in the beginning to really see anything that was going on or even who was in it. When Kimber Lee got tossed I was like, “Wait a second, was that former Chikara Grand Champion, Kimber Lee?” I hadn’t really noticed her during the match.
Billie Kay and Peyton Royce were pretty decent throughout the match. To be honest they were featured more heavily than any of the three final women. People like them and the earlier duo of Emma and Dana Brooke kind of make me wish the WWE still had a Women’s Tag Team title, but I doubt that will ever come to pass.
Uh Oh…Here Comes William Regal!
Regal’s pissed. He comes out and is like, “Fuck this bullshit! At TakeOver: Chicago it’s Asuka vs. Nikki Cross vs. Ember Moon vs. Ruby Riot in a FATAL FOURWAY for the NXT Women’s Championship!”
Nikki Cross, who had been selling death notices Ember Moon writhing in pain on the floor and stops selling to point at her and laugh. Nikki Cross is the greatest.
A pretty solid episode of NXT. The battle royal was kind of a cluster fuck, but they generally are unless they use Royal Rumble rules. I like what they’re doing with Asuka and Ember Moon here. Moon’s got an “injury” so if she doesn’t win there’s her excuse for a rematch and Riot and Cross will probably end up taking each other out in the match so they’re probably going to be non-issues.
The other matches were all pretty decent bouts to build up guys who need to be built up. The Heavy Machinery match was probably the most fun of the remaining three bouts but the Itami vs. Reeves match was probably the best match in terms of in ring wrestling. His match with Strong next week should be pretty great.