The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover: Chicago–05.20.17

The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover: Chicago – 05.20.17

Live from Chicago, IL

Your hosts are Tom Phillips, Percy Watson & Nigel McGuinness

Eric Young v. Roderick Strong

Strong pops out of the crowd and takes out the two Sanity goons, then clotheslines Young to the floor for a brawl. Back in, Strong pounds away in the corners, but Young catches him with a backdrop suplex to take over. Young with a neckbreaker for two. Strong comes back with a clothesline and throws forearms in the corner, then follows with a high kick to knock Young off the apron. Sadly, the Sanity guys recover and beat on Strong outside as a result. Back in, Young with a guillotine in the corner and an elbow for two. Another shot from the outside guys gives Young two. Eric with the chinlock as this match has been pretty low-key for something predicated on the heels threatening Roddy’s NEWBORN SON. Like, that would be an appropriate setup for a falls-count-anywhere brawl or something similar, and instead they’re just going out and doing a wrestling match. Strong comes back with a backbreaker and faceplants Young out of a suplex for two, and Young wisely retreats. Strong chases and Young gives him the neckbreaker on the floor. Back in, that gets two. They fight on the top and Young puts him down for the flying elbow, and that gets two. Today is, by the way, the anniversary of Macho Man’s death, so I’m assuming that was a tribute. Strong reverses the neckbreaker into a rollup for two and Strong gets rid of the goofs outside, but Young pokes him in the eye and goes up. This time Strong brings him down with a knee strike and Young bumps to the floor, taking out Sanity as a result. Back in, Strong with the high knee into the suplex backbreaker to finish at 13:42. Good opener, nothing spectacular. ***1/4

WWE UK title: Tyler Bate v. Pete Dunne

Jim Ross joins the show on commentary here, as the dream of Nigel and JR doing a PPV together comes closer. Dunne works the arm as the crowd is split on who they like here. Bate dropkicks him to the floor and they head out for a brawl, but Dunne does the old finger-bending on him until Bate puts him down with an elbow off the stairs. Dunne drops him on the apron with a suplex that sounded SICK, and he takes over in the ring. More joint manipulation from Dunne. Bending the fingers is just MEAN. Dunne repeatedly boots him in the face, but Bate comes back with an exploder and throws forearms in the corner. Dunne tries the x-Plex again, but Bate lands on his feet and splashes him for two. German suplex gets two. Bate tries a standing moonsault, but lands in a triangle choke while Dunne slugs away from the bottom. Bate powers out into a slam while we get the CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT direction from Kevin Dunn’s NXT protégé. Bate with the airplane spin, and it’s an epic one. That gets two. Bate with another german, but Dunne lands on his feet and hits a suplex into a powerbomb for two. The crowd gives them a standing ovation for that near fall. They slug it out like REAL MEN and trade fisticuffs, but Bate unleashes Bang and puts him down. Dunne with the enzuigiri, but they throw down some more and Bate comes off the ropes with an awesome forearm for two. Bate makes the comeback, but Dunne powers out of the powerbomb and tries the Bitter End, from which Bate reverses into a DDT and Dunne bails again. Bate follows with a moonsault and quickly sends him back in for a corkscrew splash that gets two. Dunne bails again, so Bate means BUSINESS this time and tries the Undertaker dive, which misses. Back in, Dunne hits the Bitter End to win the title at 15:30. CALL THE COPS, THE SHOW HAS BEEN STOLEN. ****1/2

NXT Women’s title: Asuka v. Ruby Riot v. Nikki Cross

Asuka attacks everyone and puts Riot on the floor with the hip attack, then dumps Cross and goes with Ruby instead. Riot dumps her, but Cross cuts off the dive and everyone fights on the floor. Back in, Cross takes out Ruby, but Asuka comes in with a missile dropkick and tries to land on Riot with a splash. Doesn’t really work, but 10 points for degree of difficulty. Asuka with a codebreaker on Cross to get rid of her, and she powerbombs Riot into an anklelock. Cross breaks that up and Riot rolls up Asuka for two, but she gets sent to the floor and now it’s Riot v. Cross. Riot does some dropkicks to take over, but Asuka comes back in to break things up, before heading right back to the floor again. They’re having a hell of a time getting any kind of heat or momentum going here. Ruby with a dive to take out Asuka, and she gets a senton for two on Cross. Asuka breaks it up with a german suplex for two, but Cross tries a sleeper on her. Asuka breaks that up with a german suplex, but Riot hits her with a superkick and goes up. Senton misses and Asuka gets the Asukalock, but Cross breaks it up. Neckbreaker on the apron for Riot and Cross blocks an Asuka baseball slide by trapping her in the ring apron for a unique spot. Back in, a neckbreaker out of the corner gets two. Everyone is out, so Cross & Riot team up to put Asuka on the floor and trade rollups for two. Asuka returns to break them up with a low kick on Riot and pins them both at 12:30 to retain. Flat finish, disappointing match. **1/4 I know this is a broken record, but she’s been champion way over a year now and cleaned out the division multiple times over. There’s nothing left for her to do but now they can’t figure out a way to get the title off her.

Apparently we will feel the Velveteen Dream this Wednesday.

NXT Title: Bobby Roode v. Hideo Itami

Holy s---, they’re closing with the ladder match? They must have something nuts planned. This is pretty huge for Hideo, since I don’t think it’s a stretch to say his NXT run has been a massive disappointment thus far. Especially since he’s 2.5 years in and seemingly has been injured for most of it. Roode’s entrance of the month: A digital player piano on the ramp that leads to the real theme, as Roode continues to look and act like a huge star everywhere but in the ring. Roode quickly gets cocky and Itami nearly hits the GTS as a result, so Roode bails. Back in, Roode grabs a headlock, but Itami puts him down with an elbow for two. Itami controls with chops and drops knees, then mocks the Glorious pose. Too far, pal. Roode blocks a tornado DDT and follows with a blockbuster for two. Roode chokes him out on the ropes and gets a neckbreaker for two. Itami with a backslide for two and he makes a comeback with a high kick and a suplex, and he goes up with a flying clothesline for two. Roode charges and hits the post, and Itami works on the arm with kicks and tries an armbar. Roode escapes and goes up, but misses the blockbuster and Itami hits a falcon arrow for two. Roode catches him with the spinebuster out of the corner, and that gets two. Sadly, his arm is so hurt that he can’t even do the Glorious Pose. It’s like he’s half a man! Another GTS attempt is escaped via the apron and they fight on the floor, but Itami misses a dropkick and hits the stairs. Both guys are hurt, but they head back in and slug it out. Itami with a dropkick into the corner, but the knee gives out during the GTS and the Glorious DDT gets two. Itami gets the GTS on the third try, but Roode bumps to the floor off it. Back in, that gets two. Another GTS is reversed by Roode, but Itami punches him down and tries a fourth GTS, only to have Roode land in the Glorious DDT to retain at 17:44. Another average outing from Itami, but I’d say it overperformed a bit. ***1/2

Ladder match, NXT Tag titles: The Authors of Pain v. DIY

I have to say, THESE guys should have been Jinder’s backup. AOP attacks to start, but DIY cleans house and retrieves the first set of ladders. This allows the Authors to attack again, but DIY fights them off and Gargano hits a senton off the apron. They bring the giant ladder from the entrance down to ringside and Gargano hits a dive through the ladder and onto the Authors. DIY climbs, but Achim stops them, so they team up on him with the ladder and double-team Rezar in the corner. However, Rezar slams Gargano RIGHT on Ciampa in a sick bump, and the Authors climb. Ciampa takes them down with a ladder and we get a great spot where Achim is holding the ladder and Ciampa climbs it right in his hands. That’d be a genius finish someday. AOP tries the double powerbomb, but DIY jumps on the ladder to escape in another neat spot. Then it goes badly for them, as the Authors beat them down and toss them, then set up a complex ladder bridge while DIY sells. Gargano manages to superkick Achim on the apron and onto a ladder, and this sets up DIY climbing the giant ladder and splashing AOP through ladders while the crowd chants “Please don’t die”. Ciampa recovers first and climbs with Achim, while Gargano climbs another ladder with Rezar. Ciampa manages to push the other ladder over, knocking the AOP out of the ring, and Gargano climbs, but now Ellering saves. This allows AOP to recover and beat Ciampa down after tossing Gargano. Johnny returns to save Ciampa, but they slam a ladder into his jaw and pretty much decapitate him. Ciampa keeps fighting and suplexes Rezar off the ladder and through another one, but Achim is left alone. Gargano somehow manages to grab his leg and stop him, and DIY hits stereo superkicks on him, then sandwiches a ladder on his head and superkick THAT. So with the AOP down, they climb again, but AOP knocks out the ladder and powerbombs them down and out to retain at 20:03. Well that was actually kind of a big disappointment, with DIY having to walk them through most of the match. It was just too far out of the Authors’ limited skillset. ***1/4 But then, just as we hit the copyright, BAM, Ciampa TURNS and completely destroys Gargano with White Noise off the announce table and through a table. NO! THE WORLD NEEDS TAG TEAMS! Also, nice timing as they cut to the crowd reaction shots and people are laughing.

Well that finish was kind of a kick in the balls all around.

The Pulse

The UK title match was a show-stealing classic, the rest was OK. Worth watching, but nothing to go out of your way to see outside of the UK match.