We begin with a hype package for the match between Roderick Strong and Hideo Itami coming up later tonight before the opening credits. They’re making this match out to be a really big deal which is fantastic.
Match 1: Aleister Black vs. Cezar Bononi
FUCK YES! The announcers talk about how Bononi is from Brazil, the land of jujitsu, and is an accomplished fighter. Bononi talks some shit and tries to throw a kick but Black ruins his shit and sends him to the floor. Black does that backflip off the middle rope into the lotus position in center ring thing again.
Bononi heads back into the ring and surprisingly gets some offense in. He hits an ATOMIC DROP and a dropkick that puts Black down for a moment, but Black’s quickly back on his feet, no selling the effects of the attack. Bononi goes for some strikes but Black evades and blocks and then hits a jumping knee strike that catches Bononi in the jaw. This sets up for Black Mass. Bononi gets pinned. He does not kick out because he’s already dead.
Winner: Aleister Black
Week to week Aleister Black squash matches might be my favorite wrestling bouts at this point. Everything about him is goddamn fantastic.
Highlights for Children!
We are treated to highlights of last week’s battle royal including Asuka coming in to kill people. William Regal was pissed about it and signed a Fatal Four Way pitting Asuka against Ember Moon, Ruby Riot, and Nikki Cross, but we are told that Ember Moon was seriously injured, suffering a Grade 1 sprain to her shoulder.
Meanwhile at the Medical Center…
We hear from Ember Moon who is going to be out of action for 4 or 5 weeks. She’s got her arm in a sling and when asked, “Any update?” replies, “This is the update,” and motions to the aforementioned sling. She says she’s upset that she’ll miss TakeOver in Chicago, but promises to come back even better.
The announcer tell us that a match between Tyler Bate and the number one contender for the UK Championship, Pete Dunne, has been signed for TakeOver. “Who is Pete Dunne? Let’s find out!”
The video package has the same interview stuff from his UK Tournament video package but it looks like all the fighting footage from IPW and Progress and wherever else has been replaced with stuff from the UK Tournament and other WWE events.
It’s a decent package and a good introduction to Pete Dunne for people who skipped out on the UK Tournament for whatever reason.
Roderick Strong is in a satin Arn Anderson jacket warming up for his match later tonight.
We get a video package telling us about Ruby Riot. She talks about tattoos and we see her getting a new one. She talks about the sacrifices she’s made to get to NXT and says that winning the title will make it all worthwhile.
Nikki Cross gets interviewed…kind of. She throws things around and bangs on the microphone and scares the production guy and takes off half her clothes and then instead of answering questions asks where Ruby, Asuka, and her championship are. She says she will take everything from Asuka at TakeOver.
Hideo Itami is getting ready for the main event.
Drew McIntyre is getting interviewed. Christ alive is he massive. He says the main event tonight should be awesome, but he’s a little bit disappointed that he’s not in the title picture yet, but promises to make it happen. Wesley Blake shows up and says that he deserves a chance since he’s a former tag team champion and says McIntyre should just leave again. This is weird because I don’t think Blake has been on TV since getting killed by Samoa Joe last October.
Velveteen Dream! Can you handle the experience? Christ this is going to be fucking terrible.
Meanwhile in the Ring…
DIY are in the ring with mics. Ciampa’s got a headband on. Gargano says that the Authors of Pain have the belts and DIY want them. Ciampa’s like, “We want our one on one rematch at TakeOver!”
Some music hits and Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli appear and head down to the ring. They says that the tag team seen isn’t about big fat fucks lumbering around or little flippy dudes, it’s all about them, so the line starts behind them, not DIY. Ciampa takes umbrage with this and is like, “The line’s right here and you just crossed it homeboy!”
DIY attack and clear the ring. The announcers are like, “We’re getting word from the back that General Manager William Regal has made this match official!”
Match 2: DIY vs. Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli
Mass and Ciampa start off. Moss overpowers Ciampa, beating him down before tagging in Sabbatelli who continues the beating. Moss and Sabbatelli work quick tags and keep Ciampa isolated in their corner. Moss and Sabbatelli are working well as a team. They score a couple near falls.
Sabbatelli grounds Ciampa, but Ciampa powers up and hits a desperation suplex. He crawls to the corner. HOT TAG! Gargano comes in and runs wild. “Johnny Wrestling!” chant from the audience. He superkicks Sabbatelli and then hits a spear on Moss for a two count before Sabbatelli makes the save.
Gargano chucks Sabbatelli to the floor and hits a suicide dive onto moss as Ciampa ruins Sabbatelli’s shit with a knee strike off the apron. They head back in and hit the superkick/knee strike combo to finish off Moss and pick up the win.
A really solid tag team match that reminded me a lot of the sort of stuff you’d see on WCW Saturday Night back in the day. There was no doubt who’d be winning, but it wasn’t a squash in the least. Moss & Sabbatelli looked pretty good and the tag team division will be better off with them.
Meanwhile on the Stage…
Regal comes out and books DIY vs. Authors of Pain for TakeOver. The Authors comes out with Paul Ellering. Ellering promises that the Authors will end DIY’s career and that their blood would be on Regal’s hands and then they head to the back.
Regal stops them and is like, “Paul, don’t you want to know what the stipulation for the match is?” The crowd goes wild at the mention of a stipulation. Regal says that the match at TakeOver will be a ladder match.
DIY seem pleased by this while the Authors are fuming and yelling stuff at DIY in a language I do not understand.
Chris Hero is interviewed about his failure to capture the NXT Championship. He admits that he fell down in his match be says that he’s going to get back up and work his way back, just like he has since he left NXT three years ago. He says that he’s torn down every building he’s wrestled in, but this one is a lot bigger so it’s going to take awhile longer before he can tear it down brick by brick.
He puts over Black and McIntyre before Almas shows up and says that Hero wasted his opportunity. Hero’s like, “What? You’re the dude who’s more concern with what happens after the match than whether you win or lose. How about you and me next week amigo?” Almas seems to agree to the match.
We get a video package for Tyler Bate. Like the Pete Dunne package it’s basically the same one that they used during the UK Tournament with WWE matches replacing the random indie footage they’d previously used.
Strong gets interviewed before he makes his way to the ring saying that this match is the reason he came to NXT. He then makes his way down to the ring.
Itami gets interviewed in the Gorilla position and says that he respects Strong but he will go to sleep. Itami makes his entrance.
Match 3: Roderick Strong vs. Hideo Itami
They lock up and grapple, ending up in a stalemate. They are evenly matched and neither man is going to have an advantage. Itami gets Strong in a side headlock before they pick up the pace. Both men go for kicks and Itami sets up for the GTS, but Strong avoids it and rolls out to the floor. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!
We come back from the break and Itami is chopping the fuck out of Strong in the corner. Strong’s out on the apron but Itami hits him with some knee strikes. Itami stays in control, hitting a back elbow and some body shots in the corner. He goes for a suplex, but Strong counters laying Itami over the ropes before putting the boots to him.
Strong lays in some chops of his own and then levels Itami with a side back breaker. He goes for a cover, but Itami kicks out at two. Strong keeps Itami grounded, working over his injured shoulder. He hits a pump handle back breaker and then goes back to the shoulder.
Itami escapes and promptly runs into a boot. Strong goes for the cover and gets another two count. Itami goes for some strikes but Strong hits a drop kick and goes for another pin. Two count. The audience is yelling “TOO SWEEEEET!” every time someone gets a two count. That won’t get old…
Strong has Itami in a body scissors. He goes back to the shoulder but Itami battles back and sends strong to the floor. Itami goes to the apron to do a move but gets cut off by Strong who just chucks Itami spine first into the apron. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!
We return from break to find that Strong once again has Itami grounded. Itami manages to get free and then hits some kicks and strikes. Strong charges at him but Itami gets his boot up, leveling Strong. Itami goes to the top rope and hits a clothesline for a two count.
FUCK THIS CROWD AND THEIR “TOO SWEEEEEET!” BULLSHIT! Half of the crowd is now chanting, “THAT’S ANNOYING!” which is true but also annoying. The “TOO SWEEEEET!” contingent is now replying with “SO ARE YOU!” Fuck all of these people. Some people are now chanting “WATCH THE MATCH!” at the chanters. I hate everyone…
Back in the wrestling match Strong and Itami trade strikes. Strong hits a goddamn Angle slam for another two count. More strikes from Itami. Strong catches him and hits another back breaker and scores another near fall.
Both men go up to the top rope and battle for position. Itami hits a Falcon Arrow from the top rope and scores yet another near fall. Strong gets back to his feet and the two men trade strikes in the center of the ring.
Strong nails Itami with a knee strike and goes for a pin, but Itami kicks out and hits a running kick to stop Strong in his tracks. He goes for the GTS, but Strong fights it off. Itami lays him out with a corner dropkick and then lowers his kneepad as Strong tries to pull himself up. He tries to get in Itami’s face, but he’s completely spent. Itami gets him up and nails him with the GTS. One! Two! Three!
Strong seems to be bleeding from somewhere on his face or mouth. He’s got some blood on the back of his hand from where he wiped his face. After the match Itami helped Strong up and raised his hand. Strong shook his head and raised Itami’s hand.
Winner: Hideo Itami
This was a really good TV match, not great, but a pretty good match for free TV. Both guys looked like a bajillion bucks here. Three weeks ago if this match had been booked I would have been 100% behind Hideo, but because of those Who is Roderick Strong? videos these past couple weeks I really wanted him to pull off what in storyline would be an upset victory.
I mean, it makes more sense for Hideo to get the win. He’s been there longer and if they don’t give him his shot now, they may never get to. I hope they do something with Roddy going forward, because right now he’s maybe my favorite dude in NXT.
This was kind of a talking heavy episode, but that was fine. They set up a bunch of feuds and put pieces in motion for TakeOver and probably beyond and the matches we got were all pretty good. Aleister Black squashes are always great. The tag match was pretty fun and Strong vs. Itami was a great TV match, so all in all this was a pretty worthwhile episode of NXT.