NXT (May 31, 2017)

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NXT has some new theme music this week. It’s pretty generic core of some sort. It kind of reminds me of the old Raw is War theme song. Anyway we’re back in Orlando after spending some time out in Chicago for TakeOver and a more or less disposable episode of NXT last week that saw the debut of The Velveteen Dream and little else. Let’s get down to the ring for action talking!

Down In The Ring…

Tommaso Ciampa heads down to the ring on crutches. The crowd is letting him have it. I don’t blame them. He gets on the mic and says he’d like for Johnny Gargano to come down to the ring so Ciampa can explain why he did what he did to his face. Gargano isn’t here tonight though so no one comes out.

Ciampa talks about how a couple days before TakeOver he suffered an injury and how the fans started to doubt whether or not he’d be able to compete and how they started talking about dream partners to replace him in the match against the Authors of Pain. People doubted him, but he never doubted himself. He was going to be there at TakeOver, but in less than a day people were already trying to replace him. He was an afterthought!

He talks about how he went on to compete at TakeOver, because that’s what DIY does: they fight and how during the match he felt something in his knee pop. He says that he’s been wrestling for 12 years and knows the difference between being hurt and being injured, but he kept fighting, because that’s what DIY does.

It wasn’t enough though and the Authors of Pain came out victorious and as he sat there with Gargano he knew that if he went away to recover, Gargano would replace him just like the fans wanted him to, but he wasn’t going to be an afterthought.

The fans chant, “Afterthought,” at Ciampa so he tears into them for ruining DIY and says that at TakeOver he decided that if he had to go away for a long time then Johnny Gargano was going to go away for a long, long, long time too. Ciampa wraps it up by saying that when he comes back he’s going to be more dangerous than ever because he is professional wrestling.

Too long? Didn’t read? Ciampa wrecked house on Johnny Gargano at TakeOver because my friends and I were like, “Did you hear Ciampa’s hurt? I wonder if Gargano will get someone to fill in at TakeOver. Maybe Drew McIntyre or Aleister Black could partner up with him.”

To The Announcers…

The announcers say that they don’t yet have an update on Johnny Gargano and that he isn’t talking to anyone right now, but once they have an update on his status they’ll let us know.

Video Package!

We get a video package for Danny Burch. It’s more or less the same one he used during the UK Championship Tournament, with some more recent match footage inserted.

Meanwhile In Bobby Roode’s Car…

Bobby Roode is going to his championship celebration, but we’re not invited. He’ll be back at NXT next week.

Match 1: Danny Burch vs. Pete Dunne

Dunne goes to work on the arm early on, but Burch trips him up in a leglock. Burch has him grounded and starts to work Dunne’s arm before doing the finger break spot that apparently every British wrestler uses in 2017.

They slap the fuck out of each other before Burch goes for the Crippler Crossface. He can’t get it locked in though and after Dunne escapes he drops Burch with a forearm and slaps him. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!

We return to find Dunne working over Burch, targeting the head and neck. Dunne looks like such a cunt here, but the audience is still chanting for him because they suck. Burch fights back and hits a missile dropkick. He hits an enziguri and an Exploder before nailing Dunne with a jaw jacking right for two.

Burch nails Dunne with a headbutt for another two count. The audience is doing that goddamn “TOO SWEET!” thing again. I find myself praying that this match has no more near falls. Dunne hits a the X Plex and gets a two count of his own. He goes for the Bitter End, but Burch counters and levels Dunne with a clothesline. Both men are down.

Dunne heads to the apron to take a breather and then looks like he’s going to go for a slingshot something or other. Burch catches him with a right as Dunne comes over the ropes, leaving the Bruiserweight hung up.

Burch hits him with a draping DDT for another near fall. Crowd’s still annoying as fuck. Burch goes for a knee strike but misses and gets suplexed into the turnbuckles by Dunne. He then hits the Bitter End to put Burch away.

After the match Dunne gets on the mic and talks about how it sucked to have to watch a boy carry around his belt since January. It was his pleasure to beat Bate at TakeOver and he’s glad that the WWE UK Division is officially starting not with Bate, but with the Bruiserweight.

Winner: Pete Dunne

The vast majority of the WWE UK matches have been money. Sure a couple of the first round matches in the tournament were just okay, but there really haven’t been any stinkers in the lot of ’em. This was another match of just really good wrestling. I liked that Burch got some offense in during the match since it made him seem like a bigger deal than he did prior to the match since he was holding his own against the champ.

Dunne continues to be goddamn fantastic as a heel. He’s possibly the best heel on the entire WWE roster at the moment. [***⅓]

Meanwhile Backstage…

An interviewer tries to interview the Velveteen Dream, but he’s not having it because the ambiance is off. He tells her to fix the lighting or set design, and her hair and then maybe he’ll talk.

Video Package!

We get a video package of Paul Ellering talking about how the Book of Pain has been closed and the Book of Domination opened while we see footage of the Authors of Pain kicking all kinds of ass.

Match 2: Andrade Cien Almas vs. Cezar Bononi

Almas takes control early, hitting a dropkick and wrecking Bononi’s shit with double knees in the corner. Almas hits some knee strikes before Bononi begins to fight back with strikes and knees. He goes for a slam, but Almas counters into a neckbreaker and puts the boots to Bononi.

Almas its a snap mare and a sliding kick and then sends Bononi into the corner. Almas charges and looks like he’s going for the double knees, but instead just stops and slaps the shit out of Bononi’s face. Almas sets up for a suplex or something but Bononi counters and gets Almas in an inside cradle to pick up the win.

After the match Almas starts kicking the ropes and goes out of the ring and grabs a steel chair and throws it into the ring and throws a temper tantrum, but just as suddenly as his tantrum began it is over and he’s all chill. He heads off, to go party.

Winner: Cezar Bononi

Surprising win for Bononi as Almas’ guy who parties too much gimmick continues. I’m not sure what the end game for that storyline is, and honestly don’t really care all that much. Bononi looks pretty good in the ring so I hope NXT uses this win to move him into something interesting. [*⅜]

Meanwhile at the Performance Center…

Billie Kay and Peyton Royce are filming something at the Performance Center when Ember Moon appears and walks into their shot. They insult her and say that they’d punch her right in the face if she weren’t injured all the time.

Some sort of dude shows up and is like, “Ember, I just need you to sign your medical release.” Ember signs the aforementioned medical release and tells Kay and Royce that she’ll see them around.

Two Weeks From Tonight…

In two weeks Asuka will defend the NXT Women’s Championship against Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot in an elimination match.

Meanwhile Backstage at TakeOver…

Hideo Itami lost her match and walked back to the dressing room and growled a lot. He threw some chairs around and dumped out a garbage can. Chris Hero’s like, “Hey man calm down. I get it man! I get it!”

Itami gets in his face and yells a bunch of profanity at him or at least I think he was yelling profanity since everything he said got bleeped out. Though part of me wonders if he was actually swearing in some language or if he was just yelling poorly in English as a Second Language so they bleeped him.

Like Itami just bellowed, “I MATCH! LOST! ROOOOOOODE! EN EX TEA!!!!” so the producers were like, “If we bleep him out everyone will think he was like, ‘FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU! YOU ARE A COCKCUNT!”

Anyway when the bleeping subsides Funaki shows up in the background tells Itami to wait a minute in Japanese as Itami storms off.

Meanwhile Earlier Today in the Parking Lot…

Itami and Chris Hero shook hands out in the parking lot. They have seemingly squashed their beef.

Next Week…

Hideo Itami will face Oney Lorcan.

Match 3: Sanity vs. Chris Hero & Roderick Strong

It’s Wolfe and Young competing here. Killian Dain is ringside. Strong and Young start things off. Roddy pounds on Young and then hits a half nelson backbreaker. Wolfe tags in and gets hit with a leg lariat. Strong tags in Hero who runs wild, hitting a bunch of forearms and face kicks.

Hero hits a pump kick that sends Wolfe into the apron and Young tags back in but eats a kick as well. Hero fights off Wolfe while out on the apron, but Dain trips him up and pulls him down to the floor.

Back in the ring Sanity double teams Hero. Young continues the beatdown in the corner and then tosses Hero out to the floor where Dain lays him out again. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!

Young has Hero grounded but Hero fights his way out of the chinlock only to get taken down in another one by Wolfe who tagged in. They keep Hero isolated in their corner and work quick tags. The crowd is somewhat split on whether or not they want Roddy to get a hot tag.

Hero gets back to his feet but runs into a bicycle kick. Wolfe goes for a pin and gets a two count. Young comes back in and nails Hero with a neckbreaker for another near fall. Hero fires up and hits an enziguri and then gets to his corner for a HOT TAG!

Strong comes in a cleans house. He hits and Angle Slam and then suplexes Young on the apron. He ruins Wolfe’s shit with a suplex but Wolfe makes it to the ropes. Young tags back in and hits a jumping neckbreaker for two count of his own.

Wolfe comes in but Hero takes him out. Dain gets up on the apron, but No Way Jose makes a run-in and sends Dain into the ringpost. Hero forearms the fuck out of Wolfe and Strong hits the End of Heartache to finish off Eric Young.

Winners: Roderick Strong & Chris Hero

The rise of Roderick Strong continues with this match. The entire structure of the match was logical and well structured. Hero playing the part of Ricky Morton let Roderick Strong get the Hot Tag and clear house and No Way Jose returning to even the odds made sense after the shit that went down with him and Sanity back over WrestleMania Weekend. [***]

Final Thoughts

A solid show this week. The UK Division match and the main event were both really solid TV matches and the Tommaso Ciampa promo was goddamn awesome. The Almas vs. Bononi match was fine for what it was, but nothing special with regards to actual wrestling.

The audience was pretty annoying. The “TOO SWEET!” thing after every two count can go die in a fire sooner rather than later. It’s the kind of thing that I think kind of detracts from the drama of the near fall. Maybe I’m just old and grumpy, but it’s stupid and adds absolutely nothing to the match, so people at Full Sail, please shut the fuck up.

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