We’re three days away from TakeOver: Chicago and the champ is here! Bobby Roode is shown arriving at Full Sail University with the NXT Championship slung over his shoulder. He’s yelling at a lackey carrying his bags to hurry up. This is NXT!
Match 1: Drew McIntyre vs. Sean Maluta
Drew McIntyre is kneeling in the corner as the match gets underway. Perhaps he is not taking the former Cruiserweight Classic competitor seriously. They lock up and McIntyre powers Maluta into the corner, but then steps aside to give Maluta some room to breathe before locking up again and powering him across the ring to the opposite corner. Again he offers Maluta space to get out of the corner, but this time Maluta slaps him and hits him with a chop. Bad move Maluta!
McIntyre lays into him with some chops and then tosses him about before taking him out with a dump suplex.
Maluta gets some offense in, hitting a boot and then a Code Breaker off the ropes. He goes for a pin, but McIntyre kicks out at one. Maluta stays on McIntyre though, and hits some rights and a forearm strike while McIntyre’s in the corner.
McIntyre hits a big belly to belly slam to get back in control and then hits a big fist from the top rope. Maluta makes a comeback and hits McIntyre, but the big Scotsman fires back with a headbutt. McIntyre’s eye looks fucked. He hits the Claymore to put away Maluta.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Decent match between these two. McIntyre is so much better now than he was when he was first in WWE. I enjoy how brutal, yet precise his matches feel now. Like Aleister Black the results of his matches are pretty obvious even before the bell rings, but seeing him murder a dude each week is a fine thing. [**]
The Interview Lady, Kayla, stops Drew at the top of the entrance ramp to interview him about Wesley Blake. She asks if he’s concerned that he’s gotten Blake’s attention to which Drew responded that he’d be more concerned if he didn’t have the attention of everyone in the NXT locker room. He challenges Blake to a match next week and his music hits again.
Highlights for Children!
We get footage from last week’s match between Itami and Strong as well as footage of Sanity attacking Strong after the match. Strong is show backstage later demanding William Regal give him a match with Sanity at TakeOver.
Meanwhile Somewhere Else…
Eric Young and Sanity are by a generator or something in the darkness. Young says that Sanity doesn’t usually take requests but at TakeOver they’ll gladly fight Strong. They also threaten Strong’s wife and infant son.
Highlights for Children!
We get to relive Hideo Itami’s NXT debut when he showed up as KENTA and then changed his name and took on The Ascension.
Commentary hypes the NXT championship match between Roode and Itami as well as the NXT Tag Team Championship match between the Authors of Pain and DIY. The rundown continues with word that the WWE UK Champion, Tyler Bate, will defend against Pete Dunne.
Highlights for Children!
We get highlights of Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate from the WWE UK Championship Tournament.
Another Velveteen Dream video package airs. It’s getting to be Glacier-esque.
Highlights for Children!
We get footage of Hideo Itami hitting the GTS at a 2015 show in San Jose and see screencaps of people going apeshit over it on Twitter.
Commentary thanks Chris Jericho and Fozzy for providing “Judas” the official theme song for TakeOver Chicago. They then say that Eric Young vs. Roderick Strong has been made official for TakeOver and hype the Triple Threat match for the NXT Women’s Championship as Asuka takes on Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot. We then get an “interview” with Asuka.
Asuka is getting interviewed while being driven somewhere in a car. She gives no fucks and refuses to answer any questions about her match at TakeOver, Ember Moon, or what she hopes to accomplish as champion. The interview ends and whoever was interviewing her is like, “Thank you for being here with us today,” as if it was an in-studio interview instead of a random interview in her car.
She arrives at Full Sail and gets out of her car as fans standing in line chant her name. She smiles and waves and takes selfies with them and does her weird dance thing and the heads into the building sighing in annoyance.
Match 2: Lacey Evans vs. Sonya Deville
Lacey Evans heads down to ring and we go to break. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING! We return from break and Sonya Deville makes her entrance and the match gets underway.
The two women lock up and Deville hits a right that earns her a near fall. Evans is more than willing to trade strikes and fires back with a kick that earns her a near fall of her own. Evans struggles to fight out of it and forces Deville to break the hold by going for a pin attempt.
Deville responds with a knee to the midsection. She then takes off her MMA gloves because she’s no longer fucking around. She lays in some heavy shots, but she doesn’t seem to be taking Evans seriously and Evans fires back with rights and some knee strikes.
Evans nails a neckbreaker and goes for a cover that gets two. Deville is back to her feet. She hits a sidekick and a shining wizard to pick up the win.
Winner: Sonya Deville
Matches like this remind me of what I fell in love with when I first started watching NXT. Sure it’s awesome to get a shit ton of indie dream matches every week, but what drew me in originally was watching guys and girls working their asses off and improving week by week.
Was this a great match? No, not at all. A lot of it was kind of awkward, but both women clearly have something to work with and should be decent additions to the women’s roster in the months to come. [*⅓]
Highlight for Children!
We are shown highlights of Hideo Itami interrupting Bobby Roode last month and taking him out.
Match 3: Kassius Ohno vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas
Ohno is sporting some retro Orlando Magic inspired ring attire tonight. Ohno is looking to grapple with Almas, but Almas is reluctant to lock up in the early going until Ohno catches him with a waist lock that he transitions into a half nelson.
Almas does his Tranquilo pose thing which pisses off Ohno. They do some leapfrogs and rolls and stuff as they run the ropes and then have an indie standoff. Almas kicks Ohno in the gut and Ohno repays him by punching him in the face. Ohno goes for the rolling elbow, but Almas bails to the floor.
Ohno follows after him and takes him out with a big boot. He rolls Almas back into the ring and hits some chops. Ohno does some goofy flip thing and lands on the apron but Almas follows after him and connects with a big boot that sends Ohno to the floor. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!
We come back from break to find Almas working over Ohno in the corner. Ohno is in the ropes as Almas puts the boots to him. He then charges Ohno, teasing the double knees, but stops and slaps Ohno in the face. This gets Ohno fired up and they trade strikes.
Ohno gets caught up in the ropes as Almas works an armbar from the apron. Almas goes up top and hits a missile dropkick for two. Almas gets Ohno in a Fujiwara armbar, but Ohno manages to escape.
Almas tries to slap him again, but Ohno hits him with chops and a pump kick. Ohno follows up with a neckbreaker and then kips up and hits a cyclone kick that earns him a two count.
Ohno slams Almas and goes up top for a moonsault, but Almas rolls out of the way and Ohno crashes and burns. Almas goes for a cover and gets two. He then goes for a suplex, but Ohno fights out of it and gets Almas up on the top turnbuckle. Ohno lays into him with forearms as they battle up on the ropes. Almas gets the advantage and sends Ohno down to the mat. He then leaps off the top turnbuckle right into a big boot.
Almas doesn’t go down though and manages to hit a cartwheel kick that sends Ohno into the corner. Almas charges and hits the double knee. He goes for the hammerlock DDT but Ohno blocks it. Almas hits an inverted tornado DDT and covers but Ohno is possessed by the spirit of 1985 Hulk Hogan and kicks out at one.
Almas hits some forearms but then runs into a pump kick. Ohno hits a pair of rolling elbows and that’s the end of Almas.
Winner: Kassius Ohno
A really solid main event that felt really fresh. Good back and forth between these two guys. The NXT upper card is in pretty good shape. [***]
Commentary hypes the match between McIntyre and Wesley Blake and assures us that Aleister Black will return to murder the fuck out of someone as well in a special edition of NXT from Chicago next week.
Highlights for Children!
We get highlights of the Strong vs. Itami Number One Contender match from last week and see Itami securing his spot in the match.
In Ring Promo Time!
The commentary team hypes up the NXT Championship match between Itami and Roode when suddenly Roode’s music hits. Roode makes his way down to the ring. He’s all business.
He gets on the mic and talks about all the attention that Itami’s been getting as of late and admits that two weeks ago Itami did knock him the fuck out in the middle of the ring, but he did it when Roode was minding his own business and wearing a $5,000 custom made suit. He promises it will never EEEEEEEEVER ever happen again because in Chicago he’s going to have his boots on and he’s going to be ready to do what he’s done to everyone he’s stepped in the ring with and after Saturday Itami’s going to have to go back to his wife and kids in Japan and tell them that he lost again.
This brings out Hideo Itami. He starts to head towards the ring but William Regal and security show up to stop him. Bobby Roode yells some junk at him and Itami busts through security and hits the ring. Roode bails as soon as Itami hits the ring.
Security hit the ring to try to get things under control but Itami takes them out with a bunch of Go To Sleeps. Bobby Roode then slides back in to sneak attack Itami, but Itami gets him up and nails him with the GTS and the show ends with Itami standing tall over the champ.
This was a pretty good go home show for TakeOver: Chicago. I’m glad that they took the time to hype up Itami’s road to the NXT championship since people who only started watching recently probably have no idea who he is or why he deserves to be in a championship match. The brawl between the two that closed out the show was similarly great.
The wrestling tonight was pretty solid too. The main event was really good and Drew McIntyre put in a solid effort in murdering Sean Maluta. Even the women’s match was pretty okay for being a match between two relative newcomers.
I like too that they were looking beyond TakeOver and used this episode to set up matches for the TV episode after TakeOver. All in all this was a solid episode and worth checking out.