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NXT Takeover Chicago
I tend to enjoy NXT TakeOver Pay-Per-Views, and this was no exception. I enjoyed every match and even got frustrated with some outcomes, enjoyed others, and some outcomes that actually surprised me. And I'll get into that in the assessment...
Assessment Of The Card
First up was Eric Young vs. Roderick Strong.
This started out with Roderick Strong blind sided Eric Young's henchmen, before he leaped into the ring, and attacked Eric Young. Afterwards while the referee checked on a rattled Eric Young, Young's minions attacked Roderick Strong outside of the ring. Afterwards Strong and Young had at it out, until Strong took the win with a supplex release into a double knee back-breaker.
What came next was Tyler Bates as NXT U.K. Champion vs. Pete Dunne who challenged Bates for the title once again. It was an impressive technical with some minor chain wrestling and minor feats of athleticism, as to they tried to overpower each other. What make this interesting was that NXT got Jim Ross was co-commentator for the match. His commentary added energy into the match. Dunne worked over Bates, fingers after Bates was with a duplex. Bates took Dunne for a ride with a spin on his shoulders called an "airplane spin." With the way this match went, I thought Tyler Bates was going to win. So I was shocked when Pete Dunne hit Bates with his finisher, and won.
What followed was Nikki Cross vs. Ruby Riot vs. Asuka. It was a good match, as it was every woman for herself. Asuka turned out to be too much, which is why Ruby and Nikki double-teamed Asuka. Once was disposed of, Nikki and Ruby turned on each other. This was interesting to watch, but this allowed Asuka to get back on top. As result, Asuka knocked out Nikki and Ruby and pinned them to retain.
Next was NXT Bobby Roode vs. Hideo Itami. This wasn't the main event, though I felt it should've been. Reason being is that title matches for the main championship belt traditionally goes on last. Especially with the in ring story being told, but it wasn't, and we'll get to why in a moment. But Roode wrestled with an injured shoulder and Hideo wrestled with an injured knee. Hideo's leg made it difficult to hit his finisher, GTS(Go To Sleep) but his leg gave out under the weight. Although he landed a few kicks to Roode, and eventually hit the GTS, which Roode kicked out of. Roode held his own, and would occasionally roll out of the ring when things got too tough. Roode however managed to retain with his "Glorious DDT."
Lastly was Gargano and Champa a.k.a. DIY vs. The Authors Of Pain. This was a ladder match for tag-team titles. The story at play was two weak underdogs fighting an "uphill" battle against unbeatable giants. And it played out that way as DIY did a lot to take down the juggernauts, Authors Of Pain. An example Gargano and Champa did a maneuver where Garganos sprung boarded off of Champa's back at the Authors Of Pain, before Garganos is snatched out of the air, and slammed Gargano onto Champa. Another spot was when the Authors Of Pain dropped a ladder on DIY. The most memorable spot was when Gargano and Champa did a stereo suicide dive off of ladders onto The Authors Of Pain through bridged ladders. One of the Authors was trying to set up a ladder, before Champa ran up the same ladder to try and grab the belts, before the ladder was yanks out from under him. There was another spot where one of the Authors thrust a ladder at Champa, and Gargano shoved Champa out of the way and took the thrust in his place. Another spot I enjoyed was when Champa supplexed one of the Authors Of Pain into a ladder set up in the corner, which looked devastating. And they had it out until the finish where DIY, managed to reach for the belts, before the Authors Of Pain kick the ladder out from under them. DIY clung for dear life. This lead to the Authors of Pain snatching them off the hook and powerbombing them twice, before claiming the titles. And after The Authors Of Pain won... Champs turned on Gargano and leaves Gargano unconscious on a pile of tables.
I've noticed in my past two wrestling reviews that I don't give my thoughts on each match, so I shall do that here with the conclusion of this review.
I enjoyed the Roderick Strong and Eric Young match. NXT Creative did well to make this feel like a vital match for Strong, despite it being "last minute" from what I hear. Though after seeing NXT be WWE's best show for the past three years, I expect no less from them at this point. I loved how despicable Eric Young and Sanity were in this match as heels, and I enjoyed Strong initiative in handling Sanity. It's rare to see a babyface tackle the minions so they won't interfere during a match.
The U.K. Title match was the most surprising match of the night, as the flow gave me the impression that Bates would retain. If not for the impressive choreography between Bates and Dunne, I would not have been invested given the flow of it, but I still would've been shocked by that finish. I didn't expect Pete Dunne to win, but I'm glad he did. Mostly because heel champions are entertaining when done right. Asuka is a fine example of this, as she's obnoxiously cocky, abrasive, but can put on the charm while embracing admiration of fans. She's like a super villain, which is fun to watch.
And speaking of Asuka, her match with Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot, I enjoyed their match too. I tend to enjoy NXT women's matches since the in ring psychology is nine times out of ten well done. This was no different as Nikki and Ruby's rivalry was on display, before they set their differences aside temporarily to beat s dominant Asuka. I'm glad Asuka won, because with the vignette of Ember Moon sulking over her loss against Asuka in the previous Pay-Per-View, I hope Ember takes the title soon.
Roode vs. Itami left me frustrated seeing Roode retain. Roode's not a bad heel champion, he's rather..."glorious," as a heel. But I await the day he loses that title since he beat Shinsuke Nakamura and Hideo Itami, two of Japan's top wrestlers to retain it. But the flow and energy of the match felt like a main event match, as Roode and Itami went stride for stride against each other. But as we know that wasn't the main event.
And speaking of the main event, the tag ladder match while a entertaining, high octane thrill ride,(seriously Wrestlemania 33 could've taken notes from this match) it left me feeling sour as pickles in a pickle jar. I HATED that The Authors Of Pain retained the tag titles, especially with how hard DIY fought to try and obtain them. This match had me screaming:"NO! NOOOO! DAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMN YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU!!!!!!" Because as far as heels go, the fact that the Authors Of Pain are virtually unstoppable lapdog of a mastermind is enough for me to await their title loss.
But in conclusion this was a good show in my opinion. And I look forward to see where NXT goes from here.