Live from “The City of Wind” – NXT TakeOver: Chicago Recap – May 20, 2017

NXT invades the Land of CM Punk for our newest NXT TakeOver, Chicago.  On the agenda for the evening are an Itami title opportunity, Asuka chasing Goldberg’s streak and a Tyler Bate UK Championship defense.  Jeremy is convinced that the match of the weekend is going to come from this show, so let’s see if he’s right.

  • Eric Young vs Roderick Strong – As was entirely expected, Dain and Wolfe play a big part in Eric Young staying in this one.  Cross is not at ringside with her stablemates as she’s preparing for her own battle later in the evening.  While this match will probably disappear into the evening, it was a pairing of two incredibly talented professional wrestlers.  I spent some time thinking about it after I wrote my predictions for this show, and I really think having Eric Young in the role he is in with NXT is a brilliant move.  He’s obviously a seasoned vet that could just as easily slot in on the main roster, but much like Samoa Joe, it’s nice to have a really skilled guy that can play this bad guy role and just put on a great match with nearly anybody they put him in the ring with.  And it really doesn’t hurt him much to take a loss, as I think that most of us are seasoned enough viewers that we understand the idea of putting guys over, and that’s exactly what he did here.  By having Strong overcome both Young and his two cronies on the outside, he’s right back in the conversation for an NXT title opportunity.  Good match.  Roderick Strong with an insane suplex backbreaker.  Congrats on the win and the newborn.
  • In case I haven’t mentioned it in a while, Nigel McGuinness is amazing.  Percy is completely lost on this commentary team behind the always quality Tom Phillips and Nigel.  And for the UK Championship match tonight, he’ll be joined by the commentary GOAT, Good Ol’ JR.

Best of luck getting to sleep tonight.

  • Tyler Bate defends the United Kingdom Championship against Pete Dunne – William Regal walked on the set of a Snatch sequel and pulled Pete Dunne from the cast.  There’s no way this guy wasn’t already on Guy Ritchie’s radar.  I’m not even writing a recap of this match, if you don’t watch this one you don’t deserve to know what you’ve missed.  “Fight Forever”  Congratulations Pete Dunne, New U.K. Champion.  I really wish we could get this belt on one of the primary broadcasts.  God these guys are great.  And Jeremy was absolutely right, this probably wasn’t just match of the weekend, there is a distinct possibility this one is hovering around the top of the Match of the Year list.
  • Asuka defends the NXT Women’s Championship against Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross – Ruby Riot is a perfect example of what’s so right with NXT compared to the other brands.  Where the hell did she come from?  She doesn’t look at all like a WWE Superstar, at least not a female superstar.  But she came out of nowhere, the fans gravitated towards her and now she’s in a title match at a TakeOver.  I think Nikki Cross is so good at the character she plays.  Even without Ember Moon healthy, this match felt like the NXT brass saying, “who said our women’s division was too thin?”  It was an awesome exhibition and each woman was given the opportunity to shine throughout.  I’m fine with Asuka using the kicks and the spinning forearm strikes and things, but where she really shines is her grappling.  She hit a German Suplex on each of her competitors in this match and they were both flawless.  The finish wasn’t exactly perfect, but this was a damn good match and they did what they could to follow up that UK match.  And as expected, still your NXT Women’s Champion, Asuka.

  • A promo for Patrick Clark, who is now apparently going by “The Velveteen Dream”, plays.  I just hope they let him be the guy that was working house shows recently.  He was a hell of a character.  Of course, he had Perfect 10 Tye Dillinger to work with, but he played a pretty funny heel character.
  • Hideo Itami challenges Bobby Roode for the NXT Championship – I can’t decide if people like Bobby Roode or if people are just so in love with his theme song that they would literally support anyone who came out to it.  Like, can we give Curtis Axel this theme song for 90 days and test my theory?  For the majority of this match, Itami just had his way with the Glorious One.  Roode fought back, but honestly this match was nearly all Itami.  A GTS reversal into two back-to-back Glorious DDTs leaves the belt right where it was.  Bobby Roode remains NXT Champion via pinfall.

  • Fozzy’s Judas is the official theme for NXT TakeOver: Chicago.  Not only is it Chris Jericho, it’s a pretty bad ass song.
  • Holding the Tag Championship Match for the Main Event foreshadows that something big is coming at the end.  If you follow rumors, and I doubt you’d have made your way to our site if you weren’t just itching for all things WWE, you have to know what’s coming, right?
  • The Authors of Pain defend the NXT Tag Team Championship against #DIY – You know this match was good, I don’t have to spend too much time going over that for you.  There were huge spots and AoP continued to get better on the fly.  They’re still not great, but they get better each time they have a match.  Gargano his a suplex on one of the AoP off the top of the ladder through another ladder.  DIY hit the double kick on the other one with a ladder wrapped around his head.  Just some great moments.  AoP retains the NXT Tag Team Championship.  I wonder if part of your training at the Performance Center is handling being relentlessly booed.
  • That’s not what’s important.  The tag division is completely overloaded, with them finally finding a purpose for Tino Sabatelli, Heavy Machinery, needing to do something with the other two guys from Sanity, TM-61 on the verge of a return, etc.  So what do you do when you don’t have enough space in the tag division?  Have a team split up, and the one team that you can guarantee are going to make for golden matches when they’re split up and pitted against each other: #DIY.  I honestly don’t know how they pulled this moment off though.  Both guys legitimately seemed like it broke their heart knowing what they were supposed to do with the crowd on their feet chanting #DIY.  It had to be Ciampa turning on Gargano though, as I don’t know that anyone would have believed Gargano as a bad guy.  This crowd was seriously distraught.  It was like they were watching Lesnar break the streak again.  The “Fuck You Ciampa” chant was a nice touch.  Even watching it back later they couldn’t turn down the crowd volume enough that you couldn’t clearly make it out.  The NXT crowd does not fit the PG era.  This is going to be a great match at NXT TakeOver: Great Balls of Fire.

I’m not going to lie to you, I’m fairly certain the Roode-Itami match was the weakest match on this card.  Another damn fine TakeOver.  Thank you NXT for continuing to be amazing when it matters the most.