After some hype for tonight’s main event and the opening video package we get Nigel McGuinness introducing us to the latest addition to the NXT commentary team: Mauro Ranallo. AW YE YE! Mauro shows up and says he’s glad to be here in NXT. I’m glad for him to be here too since he’s legit one of the best announcers. They then head down to ring for the first bout of the night…
Match 1: The Velveteen Dream vs. Ho Ho Lun
Velveteen Dream is out first. He rolls around in the ring as his music plays. His entrance seems longer this week. Lun is out next and the bell rings. They lock up and Lun goes to work on the arm but Dream puts a stop to it. Lun hits some forearms but ends up getting a big boot to the face. Velveteen Dream hits a jackhammer and the goes up top. The flying elbow drop follows and Velveteen Dream picks up a decisive victory.
Winner: The Velveteen Dream
God bless Patrick Clark. He’s taken a gimmick that by all rights should have failed immediately and has kind of gotten it over. I always thought he looked alright in his matches, though they’ve just been squash matches up to this point. I kind of want to see him have a low level feud to see what he can do with a longer match. [*½]
Meanwhile In Asuka’s Car…
Asuka get interviewed while being driven to Full Sail University again when suddenly Nikki Cross jumps onto the hood of the car and starts pounding on the glass. Asuka yells some shit in Japanese as security guys haul Nikki Cross off.
Highlights for Children!
We get highlights of Hideo Itami ruining Oney Lorcan’s shit with a bajillion GTSes. They’ve got a grudge match coming up next!
Meanwhile in William “Steven” Regal’s Office…
Regal’s got a display stand with brass knuckles prominently located on his desk. The Authors of Pain and Heavy Machinery are standing on either side of his desk. He signs. “literally the biggest tag team match in NXT history,” for two from tonight. Heavy Machinery growl some BOOMSHAKALOO-esque stuff and leave and then Paul Ellering’s like, “When the Authors of Pain kill the fuck out of those boys their blood will be on your hands.”
Match 2: Hideo Itami vs. Oney Lorcan
After the events from a couple weeks back Lorcan is pissed off at Itami and is out for revenge. He rushes Itami at the bell and ruins his shit with a running uppercut that drops Itami. Itami’s nose is totally fucked and bleeding all over the place. Medical personnel are out to check on Itami and the ref calls for the bell to stop the match. This one’s a no contest.
After the bell rings and the match gets tossed out Itami looks pissed off and Lorcan still wants to fight.
This was a weird ass thing to show during a pre-recorded WWE show in 2017 if it was an accident and it’s an even weirder thing to show during a pre-recorded WWE show in 2017 if it was intentional. [NR]
Highlights for Children!
We get highlights of the feud between Bobby Roode and Roderick Strong. Strong vs. Roode for the NXT Championship will be next week!
Meanwhile in the Ring…
Hideo Itami comes down the ramp to no music and gets in the ring. He’s got tampons in his nostrils and he growls some stuff about wanting to fight Lorcan. Lorcan’s music hits and he runs down to the ring and we got ourselves an impromptu rematch!
Match 3: Hideo Itami vs. Oney Lorcan
Itami attacks Lorcan as he hits the ring, beating his ass with kicks and strikes. He hangs up Lorcan in the ropes and then hits some knees and more kicks. Lorcan eventually makes his comeback and goes up top, but Hideo Itami is an asshole and shoves him off to the floor. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!
We return from the break to find both men back in the ring. Lorcan fights back and scores a near fall. He doesn’t let up and drives Itami into the corner. They ref looks for a break and as the two men get separated, Itami blasts Lorcan in the knee.
Itami goes for the GTS but Lorcan fights it off. Itami then hits a clothesline off the top and covers…ONE! TWO! NO! Lorcan lights up Itami with some forearms, but then twists his knee and collapses. The ref approaches him to check if he can continue and Lorcan screams at him, “DO NOT STOP THE MATCH! DO NOT STOP THE MATCH!”
He manages to get back to his feet and promptly eats a GTS. A three count later Hideo Itami is your winner.
After the match Itami calls out Ohno who comes down to the ring and is like, “What do you want?” but before Itami can say anything Nikki Cross sneaks up behind them which causes a distraction so Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain can run in and wreck house on everyone. They chuck Itami out of the ring and he almost lands on Lorcan, who’s just lying dead at ringside, and then the Sanity boys hit a double team powerbomb on Ohno.
Wolfe then gets on the mic and says that all these stupid fake friendships and alliance need to end and the way to do that is chaos. He says that their maestro, Eric Young, is away working on his master plan and he cannot wait to hear it, but tonight, the first note will be played by Nikki Cross. That match is coming up next apparently!
Winner: Hideo Itami
This was a really solid match and coupled with the aborted match before it told a really good in ring story. Whether or not Itami and Lorcan will continue to feud or not I can’t tell since Itami seems to be destined to feud with Sanity leading to a feud with Ohno, but who knows. [**⅝]
Match 4: Nikki Cross vs. Asuka
This is a Last Woman Standing match for the NXT Women’s Championship. The match gets off to a slow start as the two women size each other up and jockey for position. They fight to the corner and Asuka lays into Nikki Cross with a bunch of strikes and kicks. Cross fights back and hits a cross body block. She goes for a splash but misses and Asuka hits her with a dropkick.
Nikki goes to the outside and Asuka goes for a baseball slide, but Nikki pulls up the ring skirt so Asuka gets caught in it. Cross beats Asuka down and attempts to tear her nose off. While Asuka works to free herself, Nikki Cross goes under the ring and grabs a bunch of chairs that she piles up next to the ring as we go to break. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!
We return to find Cross attempting to suplex Asuka into the heap of chairs, but she gives up and decides to slam her into the steps instead. Nikki Cross jaws with the ref which allows Asuka an opportunity to whip Nikki into the steps. Asuka slams her into the steps a few times and then rolls her into the ring and gets a trashcan out from under the ring.
Back in the ring Asuka puts the garbage can over Nikki Cross’ head and lays into her with a barrage of kicks. She caps it off with a missile dropkick from the top rope that lays Nikki Cross out. Nikki Cross gets back to her feet before the ten count, but Asuka unloads on her with more kicks and knees.
Asuka heads out and starts pulling chairs out from under the ring. Nikki follows her and grabs a chair away from her and shoves her into the barricade, but ends up jumping into a knee strike. Asuka wrecks Nikki’s shit with a bunch more kicks before chucking chairs into the ring.
They battle on the apron and after Cross hits an inverted DDT she begins to pile up the chairs. Asuka gets back to her feet, but Cross works her over in the corner. Nikki heads up top but gets cut off by Asuka who hits a spinning kick and then hurls Cross into the pile of chairs. Cross manages to fight back and hit a Saito suplex that sends Asuka into the chairs too. Both women are down but manage to beat the count as we go to break. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!
We return from break to Asuka kicking the shit out of Nikki Cross. Nikki just laughs at her and hits a neckbreaker. Asuka tries to run wild, but Nikki Cross hits her with forearm strikes and then lays her out with a fisherman’s neckbreaker. She follows up with three more fisherman’s neckbreakers.
As the ref counts, Nikki goes out and grabs the title belt. She charges Asuka, who has gotten back to her feet, but Asuka kicks the belt in Nikki’s head. She follows up with a kick to the head that drops Nikki. The ref counts.
Cross beats the count and sends Asuka to the apron. They fight above the giant pile of chairs. Cross manages to avoid getting suplexed into them and hits a sunset bomb that sends Asuka in the chair heap. “HOLY SHIT! HOLY SHIT!”
The ref starts the count, but Asuka manages to get back to her feet. Nikki Cross is freaking the fuck out. She drags Asuka up the ramp and they start brawling up on the stage. Asuka knocks cross off the ramp into a pit and then hits a flying ass attack.
They battle over to the commentary table where Asuka misses with a kick and hits a stage light. Her leg’s fuck allowing Nikki Cross to make a comeback. Cross hits a draping neckbreaker onto the floor. Asuka struggles to her feet but beats the count and then nails Nikki with a spinning backfist.
Cross hits Asuka with a ladder and then slams her onto a table. She lays out Asuka on top of the table and then sets up the ladder and begins to climb. Asuka tries to stop her and begins to climb. At some point the announce team evacuates the announce location.
The two women battle atop the ladder and Asuka superplexes Nikki off the ladder through the annoucer’s table. Both women are down. The ref begins his count. Asuka gets back to her feet at nine and a half. Nikki Cross can’t get to her feet. Asuka retains her championship and celebrates up on the stage as Nikki Cross lays in a pile of table carnage laughing to herself.
This was fantastic! Everyone already knew that Asuka was a superstar, but Nikki Cross really proved herself to be top talent here tonight. She was great in the ring but in the technical part and the storytelling part and she really has a great understanding of her character. That image of her lying in a pile of particle board laughing while Asuka stood on the stage above her with the belt was fantastic.
This was the match of the week for me for sure and probably will be in contention for my top ten matches of the year. A lot of time with Last Man/Woman Standing & Texas Death Matches there are too many spots where the action stops so the ref can count. Fortunately here they avoided that to some extent and kept the action going at a brisk pace. Definitely check out this match if you haven’t already. [****½]
Between the Last Woman Standing Match and the Itami vs. Lorcan “shoot” fight this was a pretty violent episode of NXT. Used sparingly, this sort of violence is pretty impactful and as a-okay in my book. Add in the return of Mauro Ranallo and forward momentum for the storylines with Roode & Strong and Itami & Ohno and this episode is a pretty easy one to recommend.