WWE NXT Takeover: Chicago 5/20/17 Live Review by Kurt Zamora

Welcome one and all to the live coverage of NXT Takeover: Orlando here at TJRWrestling! We are live from what’s sure to be a rabid Chicago, Illinois! Thanks for joining me for this show. I’m going to do more of a running blog than play by play so let’s get right to it!

Tom Phillips started the show by saying that we have 4 title matches tonight for the first time ever in Takeover history. Percy Watson followed that up by saying, “I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.” So apparently he’s never watched any other PPV ever.

Eric Young (w/Sanity) vs. Roderick Strong

Big ovation for Roddy. He doesn’t come out at first and then all of the sudden comes through the crowd and takes out Wolfe and Dain to make this one on one. Big reaction for that. Roddy was a house of fire early in the match. Lots of chops. He hit a picture perfect dropkick as well. EY turned the table with a nice looking belly to back suplex. He followed that up with a swinging neckbreaker and then focused his attack on the neck. Wolfe and Dain are now both back up and in EY’s corner. Crowd is as expected and solidly behind Roddy. EY tried an HBK bump in the corner onto the apron and then Wolfe tried moving him out the way but ended up getting dropkicked himself. Dain ended running over Roddy with his cross body but the ref didn’t see it so they aren’t getting kicked out from ringside. EY hooked on his hanging Dragon Sleeper. I love that move, it legit looks like it hurts. Wolfe kicked Roddy on the apron after that but again the ref doesn’t see it. After that attack by Dain on the outside, it was all EY. Working the head and neck exclusively. EY went for the hanging Dragon Suplex a second time but Roddy blocked it. EY came off the middle rope instead and got caught with a great looking dropkick. Roddy catches a big boot attempt and turns it into one of his backbreakers. He turns a back suplex into a front facing bump for EY and gets the first near fall. They end up on the outside and EY catches Roddy in his Wheelbarrow Neckbreaker right on the floor. That looked gnarly. EY goes for a pin and Roddy kicks out. EY lays out Roddy with a right hand and then goes to the top rope for his big elbow drop but Roddy kicks out again. EY goes for the Wheelbarrow again but Roddy reverses it. He only gets a two. Dain and Wolfe tried interfering again but Roddy stops them and then goes for an Angle Slam but EY rakes the eyes. EY back to the top but Roddy stops him. Huge, “Let’s Go Roddy!” chants. Roddy finally just hits a knee strike right to the jaw and EY falls to the outside onto his Sanity members. EY gets put back in the ring, another jumping knee strike and then a suplex into a backbreaker and that gets the win!

That was a hell of a match. Hard hitting, great psychology and a couple good near falls. That backbreaker that won got a great reaction. That was the result needed for this match. I didn’t time it but went about 18 minutes I would guess.

Winner: Roderick Strong by pinfall

All three women in the NXT Women’s Title match are shown backstage. All got favorable responses but Asuka was the loudest.

United Kingdom Title Match
Tyler Bate (c) vs. Pete Dunne

Before the match, Jim Ross got his own introduction and entrance as he will commentate this match with Nigel. Massive reaction for him. Great to see and hear. I really don’t get Tyler Bate, someone can try and clue me in cause I’m all ears, but all he does is wave. He doesn’t come across charasmatic at all to me. Dunne I absolutely get. I don’t think i’m the only one though cause the crowd is solidly behind Dunne with “Bruiserweight” chants to start. Now it’s turned to dueling chants but the Dunne chants are definitely louder. Typical chain wrestling to start between both men until Dunne gets the advantage and works the arms and ribs. Bate reverses the wristlock brilliantly and then dropkicks Dunne to the outside. Dunne tried dislocating the fingers of Bate and then stomp on them on the stairs but Bate moved and then took advantage. Dunne turned it back his way with a release suplex on the apron. Nigel says it’s called the X-Plex (or Ex Plex? You decide). If HHH wanted this crowd to get behind this match, he got his wish. I love how violent Dunne’s offense looks. Bate came back with a delayed exploder suplex which looked cool. Dunne went for his finisher but Bate landed on his feet as Dunne landed on his stomach and Bate in one fluid motion turned it into a standing shooting star press. Bate gets his first near fall after a modified suplex. Bate went for another standing shooting star but Dunne caught him in a triangle choke. Bate somehow deadlifted Dunne into a powerbomb to break it. Airplane spin by Bate that went way too many spins for me to count. Bate had some speed on it. A good near fall after that. I actually would’ve popped if that ended the match.

Bate went for a dive off the second rope but got nailed with a forearm. Dunne then turned a suplex into a sitout powerbomb and tremendous near fall and the crowd is going NUTS after that one. These guys are killing it. Both men start trading punches but Bate finally knocks out Dunne with a left. Dunne popped up with an enziguri. Bate did Kofi’s old catch the top ropes with his shoulders and bounce back in and turns Dunne inside out with a lariat. “Fight Forever!” chants now and I can’t say I disagree. Dunne reverses the Tyler Driver into the Bitter End but Bate then reversed that into a tornado DDT. “Holy shit!” chants after that. Dunne ended up on the outside and Bate comes off the second rope with a moonsault. He throws Dunne back in and comes off the top with a Spinal Tap but Dunne kicks out again! Good Lord I feel bad for whoever is following this. Dunne went to the outside again and Bate went for a big dive over the top rope but Dunne moves and Bate crashed and burned hard. Dunne immediately gets him back in the ring, Bitter End and we have a new UK Champion!

Wow… just wow. I’ve never shied away from the fact I don’t know much about the UK style and as I said at the beginning, I don’t get Tyler Bate. But action like that is universal and you don’t have to “get it” to enjoy it. That was INCREDIBLE. They had the crowd in the palm of their hands. They went about 19 minutes if my time is correct. JR on commentary just made it that much better. Unbelievable, go find this match.

Winner: New UK Champion, Pete Dunne by Pinfall

Hideo Itami and Bobby Roode are shown backstage. Itami got zero response while Roode got a big reaction. Uh oh.

NXT Women’s Title Triple Threat Match
Asuka (c) vs. Ruby Riot vs. Nikki Cross

I feel bad for these women having to follow that like I said, but I’m sure they’re up to the challenge. The crowd gave everyone big reactions at least so that’s good. You guys don’t mind if I’m biased towards Nikki right? I love her so much. I don’t know why I just noticed this but I don’t think I like the new design for the women’s title. It looks too much like the men’s title. At least the main roster belts have the white straps to distinguish them. I think something like that would’ve helped. I’m interested to know what you think.

They came out firing as Nikki threw her jacket at Ruby and then Asuka hit the Rear View to send Ruby to the floor. Ruby seems to be the overall favorite with the crowd. Ruby sent Asuka to the outside and was thinking dive but Nikki cut her off. Nikki tried sending Ruby into the stairs but she instead jumps off the stairs and catches Asuka with a forearm. They show Ember Moon in one of the suites watching the match. Nikki hit a neckbreaker but doesn’t see Asuka on the top rope and she dropkicks Nikki while landing in a splash on Ruby. Asuka hit a codebreaker on Nikki and then caught a Ruby kick and turned it into a powerbomb, then turned that into an ankle lock. Nikki is able to break it up. Riot tried a hurricanrana off the second rope to Asuka but they weren’t on the same page and did not look good. Nikki and Asuka were on the outside and Nikki came off the apron but gets caught with a GTS style knee. Ruby followed that up with a dive through the ropes on Asuka. Ruby sends Nikki inside and comes off the top rope with a senton splash but Asuka breaks it up by clutching her in a German Suplex. Nikki breaks up a pin and then hits a modified neckbreaker for a two count. The crowd is with this one, God bless Chicago. Ruby superkicks Nikki who was in the clutch of Asuka and Asuka drops her with a German. Ruby kicks Asuka and goes to the top rope again for another senton but Asuka moves and turns it into the Asuka Lock! That looked to be it but Nikki came out of nowhere with a splash to break it up. That’s my girl! Nikki then lays out Ruby on the apron with a falling reverse DDT. That looked brutal. Asuka tries to catch Nikki but Nikki pulls the ring apron up and traps Asuka and beats her repeatedly. Good sequence there. Nikki gets Asuka on the top rope and hits the old Roll of the Dice neckbreaker but Ruby is able to break up the pin. Ruby and Nikki both go for a cross body on each other and all three are down. Ruby and Nikki look at each other and realize they need to take out Asuka so they clothesline her over the top rope. Nikke then tries to steal the win but Ruby kicks out. Ruby comes back with a Pele kick but Asuka is back in and hits a seated shining wizard on Ruby and she slumps over both women and gets the pin.

I dunno if I like that finish but they definitely had their working boots on. No one is surprised Asuka won, but there’s gotta be a better way than to cover both women and make it so definetive. Maybe I’m just nitpicking. Good match though, went 13 minutes.

Winner: Asuka retains by pinfall

WHOA! The Tag Title Ladder Match is the main event!! I did not see that coming. Potential angle alert for that match or just a sign of lack of faith in Hideo right now?

NXT Championship Match
Bobby Roode (c) vs. Hideo Itami

Itami absolutely got the weakest reaction of the evening so far. At least they didn’t boo him because of Punk and the GTS? Roode gets the first “special” entrance of the night. A piano is being played on the LED rampway and then his normal GLORIOUS music hits and the crowd happily sings along. I feel bad for Itami in the sense that it’s clear he’s not winning tonight but as I said in our preview piece, he just needs to have the match of his life and that will still be a win for him. We have just over an hour before the 2.5 hour alloted time so they should get plenty of time.

Roode went for his GLORIOUS pose early and almost got caught with the GTS. Both men chain wrestle to start and then Itami got the advantage with one of his quick kicks. Itami missed his sweep kick to the side of the head and the crowd let him hear it. He connects on the second and then mocked Roode’s GLORIOUS pose. Itami went for a Tornado DDT in the corner but Roode just throws him to the mat and then comes off the second rope himself with a Blockbuster. Roode controlled a lot of the match after that but Itami was able to get a sunset flip pin to try and steal the win but only two. Roode mocked Itami and Itami just slapped him all the way back to TNA. Itami came off the ropes with his version of the Yakuza kick and now the crowd is slowly getting behind him. Itami repeatedly strikes Roode and then connects with a fisherman’s suplex. He goes for another Tornado DDT and drapes Roode neck first over the top rope. Itami follows with a top rope clothesline but Roode kicks out. Roode blocked a GTS but then charged Itami and ended up getting thrown shoulder first into the turnpost. Itami then focused all his offense on that left arm. Roode tried the GLORIOUS DDT but couldn’t lift Itami. Roode ends up on the top rope again and goes for another Blockbuster but Itami isn’t there and Roode wipes out. Itami lands a Falcon Arrow but Roode kicks out. Roode manages to connect with his textbook spinebuster to cut off Itami finally. Roode stil selling that shoulder and again can’t lift Itami for the GLORIOUS DDT. Itami tries the GTS again but Roode grabs the ropes and ends up on the apron. He stun guns Itami over the top rope and then brings Itami to the outside to continue his attack. He wants to send Itami into the stairs but Itami reverses it and that hurt shoulder goes into the stairs instead. Itami went for the hesitation dropkick into the stairs but Roode moves and now Itami is favoring the left leg. Both men get back in and Itami hits more of his quick strikes and this time inside the ring he’s able to hit the hesitation dropkick. He wants the GTS but now he can’t lift Roode with the hurt leg. Roode goes for the GLORIOUS DDT and this time he musters enough to connect. Itami kicked out! Did not see that coming after as many times as Roode went for it. Roode tries to go after Itami but Itami picks him up and GTS! Roode rolls to the floor though! Big reaction for that and no booing for those wondering. Itami manages to get Roode back in but Roode is able to kick out. Itami goes for it once more but Roode tries to reverse it but Itami turns it into a pin for him and good near fall. Itami is slapping Roode so far back into TNA that Roode is back on Team Canada during weekly PPV’s. He goes for the GTS but Roode reverses it into a GLORIOUS DDT! Roode doesn’t let go of it and a third GLORIOUS DDT! He manages to crawl over Itami and he picks up the win.

That went about 16 minutes. Itami showed some merit tonight. Taking three of Roode’s finishers too is a nice feather in the cap for him. They made him look strong. It wasn’t match of the night, which is what I was implying Itami was going to need, but in real time I think the more important thing is the crowd was not behind him to start but he earned their support by the end of the match. Roode sold his ass off and looked as GLORIOUS as ever. One interesting note in this match, Nigel REALLY sold for Roode and put him over huge. He wasn’t a prototypical heel announcer for this match but he was clearly going out of his way to make Roode look good. Might be something to look for in the future.

Winner: Bobby Roode retains by pinfall

Kevin Owens is shown at ringside with Milwaukee Brewer Eric Thames. Not sure what that’s about. I guess that was to get Owens heat by having a Cubs rival with him but the crowd cheered him regardless. They also show Sami Zayn, Kassius Ohno, & Pat Patterson at ringside.

NXT Tag Team Title Ladder Match
Authors of Pain (c) (w/Paul Ellering) vs. DIY

There is a MASSIVE ladder at the top of the rampway, it’s easily 15 feet or taller. The champions come out first, the first ones to do so tonight. I’m starting to feel something big is going to happen in this match. HUUUGE reaction for DIY as expected.

Ciampa is moving around well to start, so that ankle seems to be taped up good and he is fine. DIY dump AOP to the floor and go for the ladders first. AOP cut them off before any were introduced. Ciampa drop toe hold on Rezar on the stairs. Gargano then follows that with a cannonball off the apron. DIY now go for that massive ladder. AOP tries cutting them off but Gargano gets in the ring and dives through the ropes and ladder and takes them both out. DIY got a smaller ladder and set that up in the ring. Akam came in and got it slammed in his face. DIY tried a Poetry in Motion but Rezar caught Gargano and slammed him on Ciampa. AOP goes up the ladder but are very tentative. Ciampa has a second ladder and takes out both of AOP with it. DIY then slams that ladder on the back of both AOP. Akam catches a ladder and Ciampa still tries to climb it but Akam just shoves it into Gargano. AOP goes for a Super Collider but they use the lift to climb the ladder. AOP pushes the ladder and they both take bumps into the top rope.

Ciampa is trapped in the corner by the ladder and AOP kick it into his stomach a few times. Rezar goes to climb the ladder but Akam stops him because he sees DIY getting back up. AOP folds the ladder and runs it into DIY, sending them to the floor. AOP goes under the ring and now grab two more massive ladders. They’ve laid them out across the ring barrier on the entrance way side. They go for a Super Collider but DIY escaped. DIY connects with kicks that lay AOP down on those two ladders. The 3rd massive ladder is opened up in between the two. DIY look up and start to climb. DIY with a jump from the heavens and both men crash through AOP and the ladders both break in half. Gargano’s ladder didn’t break cleanly because he overshot Akam just a bit but it still looked damn crazy. Ciampa is the first one back in the ring and sets up one of the smaller ladders. Akam is in and climbs up the opposite side. Gargano grabs a second ladder and sets it up perpindicular to the other. It’s not under the belts. Rezar follows him on that ladder. All four battle. Ciampa shoves the Gargano ladder and Rezar takes a fall and Gargano lands on Ciampa’s old ladder. He knocks Akam off and he’s all by himself! Ellering is clearly slow to get to his spot and Gargano EASILY could’ve had the belts but had to wait on Ellering to pull him off. That took the crowd out of it. Gargano superkicks Ellering but AOP is now back on the advantage.

AOP have a ladder set up in the corner and beat Ciampa repeatedly with it. AOP prop Ciampa’s head up with a ladder and they go for a killshot but Gargano pushes Ciampa out of the way. AOP almost decapitate Gargano!! Holy shit. The crowd is genuinely concerned. That was a clean headshot with the ladder. Ciampa is worried about his friend but Rezar almost has the titles and Ciampa finally goes to stop him! He grabs him for a German Suplex and he suplexes Rezar into the ladder in the corner and it absolutely explodes!! HOLY SHIT! The crowd is back into this now for sure! Akam has a ladder on his head but Gargano superkicks it and Akam is down with the ladder still on him and Meet in the Middle on the ladder!! DIY are climbing and they have the belts! No, AOP kicks the ladder out from under them. DIY are now hanging from the belts! AOP is trying to pull them off into a powerbomb. DIY is trying desperately to hold on but they can’t and here is the Super Collider. DIY are down, the ladder is up and AOP has retained their belts.

I cannot overexaggerate how bad that killshot Gargano took was. They showed a slow mo of it and there was no protection whatsoever. That’s not on AOP either, that was a planned spot to make Gargano look good by saving his friend. The match went about 16 minutes. AOP again proves they can hang and DIY look like a million bucks as the never say die team that comes up short again.

Winners: Authors of Pain retain

After the match, AOP leave as they celebrate and DIY are left in the ring to a thunderous ovation from the crowd. They look defeated but wave to the crowd. They show highlights of the match and then return to DIY at the top of the ramp. Both men are holding one another and then the turn that I called in the preview, there it is! Ciampa grabs Gargano and slams him hard into the LED board. He assaults Gargano and nails his knee strike. Gargano tries to get up and Ciampa is not happy. He pulls his kneepad down and another brutal knee strike that sends Gargano onto the announce table stage. The crowd chants, “F-ck you Ciampa”. Gargano crawls onto the lap of Ciampa and Ciampa throws him onto the announce table. Ciampa looks at Gargano and decides to take it one step futher, he gets Gargano up in the White Noise that Sheamus does and jumps backwards off the announce table, off the stage and through a set of tables set up below. That was a hell of a fall. Ciampa stands back on top of the announce table and looks at what he’s done as the crowd chants “asshole” at him. The EMT’s come out and are going to put Gargano on a stretcher. Ciampa sits down on the announce table and admires his work as our show goes off. The show ends at :25 minutes past the hour so even with the angle at the end, does not go a full 2.5 hours.

K-Tank’s Final Takes

  • Well, I told you it was coming and there it was. Ciampa is just so much better as a heel and this feud will be the most personal rivalry that NXT has ever had possibly. I cannot wait to see this play out. Gargano took one hell of a beating tonight. I can’t believe someone ok’ed that killshot. I’m not saying i’m against it but it’s one of those things where we don’t see head shots like that anymore and when you see one, it’s jarring.
  • I’d say this show more than delivered. All five matches were good to great and everyone came to play. I’m interested to see if NXT waits the full 3 months until Brooklyn for their next Takeover or if they’ll do another in between.
  • Obviously no new debuts tonight with no sign of Adam Cole or ReDRragon.

That’s it for me tonight. I hope you enjoyed following along and I’ll see you guys later this week for all the fallout on Wednesday’s episode of NXT. Until next time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… but if you do, name it after me!