After a hype package for tonight’s main event battle between Roderick Strong and Bobby Roode and the opening credits we see footage of Roderick Strong and his family arriving at Full Sail University earlier today. We then head down to the ring for tag team action.
Match 1: Hideo Itami & Kassius Ohno vs. Sanity (Alexander Wolfe & Killian Dain)
This match is happening because of the events of last week when Wolfe and Dain attacked Itami and Ohno before those two could have their in ring conversation.
Ohno and Wolfe start things off. They grapple into the corner and Wolfe hits Ohno, but gets a knee strike to the mush for his troubles. Itami tags in and he and Ohno double team Wolfe with kicks in the corner.
Itami follows up with knee drops and a big kick that has Wolfe dazed. Itami stuns Wolfe off the top rope, but Dain distracts Itami, allowing Wolfe to return the favor. Dain tags in and puts the boots to Itami as we go to commercial. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!
We come back from break to find Wolfe back in working over Itami. He makes a cover but Itami kicks out at two and Dain comes back in. He hits a big corner splash and follows up with some clubbering to maintain control.
Dain grounds Itami but he escapes and heads to his corner for the tag. Unfortunately Ohno’s not there since he’s busy with Wolfe on the floor. This allows Dain to get back in control.
Itami hits a bunch of strikes, but Wolfe makes the tag. Itami more or less makes his own comeback and hits a fisherman’s suplex that gets him a two count. Ohno is looking for the tag, but Itami won’t tag him. He hits a Falcon Arrow and makes the cover but Dain comes it to make the save, hitting Itami with a huge senton. Things break down and Ohno hits the ring and boots Dain out to the floor. Ohno and Itami argue for a bit before the ref sends Ohno back out of the ring.
Wolfe’s recovered by this point and kicks Ohno to the floor. Itami muscles him across the ring and gets him up for the GTS. Dain makes the blind tag as Itami wrecks Wolfe’s shit with the GTS and comes in with a running cross body block that kills Itami. Dain covers and picks up the win.
This was a pretty good match. The in ring action was solid, it gave Sanity some momentum and continued to build the issues between Itami and Ohno. All in all it was a solid TV match. [**⅓]
Meanwhile Earlier Today at the Performance Center…
Ember Moon is interviewed and says that she’s still focused on Asuka and the NXT Women’s Championship so she’s hitting the gym and working in the ring whenever she can. Ruby Riot shows up and says that Moon and Cross both had their shots at Asuka, but she’s never had a one on one match with the champ so the next shot should be hers.
Ruby Riot leaves and Moon says that if anyone gets in her way as she earns her title shot she’ll deal with them.
Highlights for Children!
We are treated to some highlights from last week’s Last Woman Standing match between Asuka and Nikki Cross the package ends with a screenshot of a tweet from Asuka in which she claims she’s not coming back to NXT until they find her a worthy competitor.
We get a short Drew McIntyre hype package that leads to an interview with the man himself. The interview lady asks him about tonight NXT title match. Drew says it will be a good match but the next time people ask about tonight’s title match they’ll be asking about him.
The interview lady says that there are a lot of people gunning for the NXT Championship: Roode, Strong, Killian Dain. Drew says it doesn’t matter who he has to face because all roads lead to him becoming NXT Champion.
Highlights for Children!
We get highlights of the breakup of DIY from TakeOver Chicago where Ciampa wrecked Gargano’s shit post-match. The announcers tell us that Johnny Gargano will return next week for the first time since that vicious attack.
Meanwhile in the Performance Center…
Kayla Braxton interview Royce and Kay about the upcoming Mae Young Classic. They are not part of it so they don’t give a fuck about it. Instead they want to talk about how it Billie Kay’s birthday and no one gave her any gifts except for Peyton Royce.
Kay declares that she wants cake and she and Royce head off to go have cake or make out or whatever as Andrade Almas appears in the background arguing with some lady. Kayla Braxton heads over to do some investigative journalism and as the lady storms off she asks Almas who the woman was. He says that she’s crazy in Spanish and heads off.
Highlights for Children!
We get footage of the Mae Young Classic qualifying match between Bianca Belair and Aliyah.
We get interviews from Strong and Roode before the main event. Strong says that he’s going to win the championship. Roode says that the fairy tale that Strong’s been living in the past few weeks is going to end when he steps into the ring and faces reality. Roode promises that it will be glorious.
Match 2: Roderick Strong vs. Bobby Roode
This one is for the NXT Championship. Roderick Strong’s mother and fiancee are sitting at ringside. Roode and Strong lock up and jostle to the corner. Roode gets Strong down with a side headlock and then spins around on top of Strong and slaps him around a bit. Roode does a glorious pose and gets dropkicked in the face for it.
Strong hits some chops and another dropkick that earns him a two count and causes Roode to bail to the floor to regroup. Strong follows after him and lays in some chops and then rolls Roode back in.
Strong heads back in but as he rolls in Roode puts the boots to him. Roddy fights back though and hits a backbreaker that’s good for a two count. Once again Roode rolls out to the floor and we head to break. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!
We come back from break as Roode slams Strong into the turnbuckles and follows up with some hard rights and some chops. Strong fights back and hits another backbreaker that causes Roode to roll out to the floor. Strong goes after him with a wrecking ball dropkick and then it’s a bunch of chops out on the floor. Something happens to Strong and he gets his leg stuck between the steps and the ring post, so Roode kicks the steps into Roddy’s knee.
They head back in and Roode goes to work on Strong’s knee. Roode stays in control for a long time, working over the knee and laying in chops, taking time only to talk shit before once again going to work on the knee. Strong hits a desperation sunset flip, but Roode escapes and wrecks Strong’s shit with a lariat as we go to break again. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!
We return from break and Roode is still on Strong’s knee, keeping him grounded. Strong manages to escape with a kick, but can’t get back to his feet quick enough to do anything to follow up. He pulls Roode into the corner and then hits some strikes and a series of lariats. He follows up with an enziguri and an Angle Slam and then gets fired up and uses the ropes hit a backbreaker that earns him a near fall.
Roode chop blocks Strong’s knee and starts laying the boots to him. He then goes for a figure four, but Strong rolls him up for another near fall. Roode’s had enough of this shit and nails Strong with a spinebuster. He then signals for the DDT but Strong counters with a gut buster for another near fall.
Strong struggles to his feet so Roode pulls him to the corner and slams his knee into the ringpost and then heads up top. Strong manages to cut him off with an enziguri. They battle up on the top rope and Strong hits a backbreaker. Again Roode rolls out to the floor. Strong goes out after him and send him back in and covers for two. Strong gets back to his feet, but his knee is fucked so he has trouble picking up Roode. Strong goes for a knee strike but misses and Roode lays him out with a DDT and covers. ONE! TWO! NO!
Strong somehow manages to kick out. Roode is stunned and points at Roddy’s family and starts talking shit again. Strong gets fired up and hits a jumping knee and follows up with running knee strikes. He’s really doing it. Strong hits the End of Heartache and covers! ONE! TWO! THREE! The bell rings and the ring announcer declares him the new champion.
Roddy’s music begins to play and he jumps out of the ring to go hug his fiancee as the ref waves off the pin and yells, “No!” a lot. Roode’s foot was under the rope on the third count. The ref comes out of the ring and tells Strong that it was only a two count.
Roddy is understandably surprised by this but the fans at ringside offer him encouragement and Roddy climbs back up onto the ring apron as the ref talks with someone at ringside, “It’s my fault. I saw his foot was under the ropes as my hand came down.”
Roode suddenly jumps up and shoves Strong off the apron into the barricade right in front of his fiancee and mother and then pretends to be dead in the middle of the ring. The ref restarts the match and Roode heads out to the floor and hits a glorious DDT in front of Strong’s family because Bobby Roode is a dick. He stares down Roddy’s fiancee as she yells, “You’re a cheater at him,” and then rolls Strong back into the ring.
Back in the ring he hits another implant DDT and then makes the pin to retain the NXT Championship to a chorus of boos.
Winner: Bobby Roode
This was an excellent main event even with the Dusty Finish since even that made sense as it was human error that got corrected almost immediately. Roode gets to remain champ while Strong, to pardon the pun, looks strong and I’ve got to give them credit for finally finding a dude to put up against Roode that caused the audience more or less boo Roode throughout the match.
All in all this was a solid match. Roode and Strong work really well together and I hope that they continue with these two for a bit since I think they could have a great match at a TakeOver. [***¾]
An overall good show tonight. The in ring stuff was really good across the board and the backstage stuff laid the groundwork for future match ups. This one’s worth checking out if you haven’t already.