Most of tonight’s show is likely to be recapping and unpicking the events of TakeOver. There are several points we can expect to be addressed, such as the appearance of Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish at the end of the tag title and NXT title matches, and the debut appearance of Adam Cole, taking out the brand new NXT champion. Two issues have arisen since TakeOver aired. WWE.com revealed Asuka was injured in her title match with Ember Moon. She has broken her collarbone, apparently the result of a bad landing from a throw. The usual recovery time is 6-8 weeks but WWE haven’t put a timescale on her return yet. On Tuesday, Bobby Roode made his debut on SmackDown. All that and a pre-announced match for the WWE UK roster, UK champion Pete Dunne teams with Wolfgang to take on Tyler Bate and Trent Seven. It’s going to be a busy episode.
Peyton Royce def Sarah Logan
Wolfgang and Pete Dunne def Tyler Bate and Trent Seven
After a quick highlights recap of NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III, and a couple of match announcements, the night started with No Way Jose and a conga line. It didn’t last long unfortunately. Lars Sullivan appeared on the ramp and attacked Jose.
He rolled him into the ring, and continued the beatdown in there, while the crowd tried to chant and sing No Way Jose into some kind of recovery or retaliation. It didn’t happen. There was no match, and no comeback from Jose. Eventually Sullivan just got bored and left the ring.
Quick note from the ads; that Alexa Bliss – No Mercy ad is creepy as hell.
Match recap for Johnny Gargano vs Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas next, followed by an interview with Gargano. He was asked if he thought Zelina Vega’s interference was the reason he lost. Gargano said no, the road to mediocrity is paved with excuses and he doesn’t have any. He lost, not because of a memory, because of him, he owns it and he needs to be better. But people still believe in him. He promises them and himself that this is far from the end of Johnny Wrestling.
The next match recap was Asuka vs Ember Moon, with Asuka as the post-match interviewee. In response to the various questions she said that Moon was strong, but she was better. She never thought Moon could beat her, and she’s still champion. She’s going to stay champion. Commentary then talked a little about Asuka’s injury (see above) but didn’t add any extra information. Finishing a match, then giving an interview, before seeking treatment for a broken collarbone is just too hardcore for me.
Interview with Wolfgang and Pete Dunne. They were asked what a victory for them would mean for the UK division. Dunne said, when he won the UK title, it wasn’t just a turning point, it was the beginning of the UK brand. And every single time he steps in the ring, whether he’s in a tag match like tonight, or defending the title, the brand gets stronger and stronger and he proves it truly belongs to the bruiserweight. Wolfgang then challenged him to a title match after they win the tag match and was told by Dunne, don’t get too far ahead of yourself mate, focus on tonight.
Peyton Royce, with Billie Kay vs Sarah Logan
Am I the only person who wants to see what happens when they split Royce and Kay up? Anyway, they haven’t yet, they’re still doing the cutesy BFF thing. Commentary came across as slightly disparaging of Logan’s apparently humble roots, and referred to Royce as the veteran. She may be in NXT but Sarah Logan (as Crazy Mary Dobson) has seven years behind her, has competed extensively across the USA, and spent some time in Japan. She’s hardly a newbie.
Dobson was clearly the stronger of the two in this match, but not the most resourceful. Peyton Royce has improved in leaps and bounds in the past year. Billie Kay barely got involved. She grabbed Royce’s hands at one point, and nearly cost her the match when she let go and Logan attempted a roll-up, which got a two count.
After a decent match, Peyton Royce won the match with her bridging fisherman’s suplex, which is a beautiful move.
Next match recap was Authors of Pain vs SAnitY, including the post-match attack by Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish, announcing that they will be teaming in NXT as they have done very successfully elsewhere. No interview after this recap which is unusual.
Straight into recapping the NXT championship match. As we’re already halfway through the show, maybe the entrances could have been given a little less prominence in the recap, but they were entertaining. Longer recap than most, and then they had to show Fish and O’Reilly distracting the new NXT Champion, Drew McIntyre, from Adam Cole’s first entrance to an NXT ring. They showed Cole’s beatdown of McIntyre, then announced Cole will be on next week.
They did attempt to interview Bobby Roode, but he wasn’t talking to anyone, just screaming for his car. Roderick Strong blew him a kiss from the doorway and said, ‘see you soon.’ We then saw Roode’s SmackDown debut, followed by an actual interview. Roode said he never leaves any unfinished business. First, he’s going to take care of Roderick Strong, then he’s going to get his rematch and take back his NXT championship, And only then will he go off and make SmackDown glorious. – Presumably if he goes to SmackDown as NXT champ he’ll have to either lose it or relinquish it anyway, which seems a bit pointless. But I guess it’s a pride thing.
Final match recap, Hideo Itami vs Aleister Black. Black refused to answer any questions after his match. He didn’t even acknowledge the questions, he just kept walking. There’s a fine line between enigmatic and rude you know.
Tyler Bate and Trent Seven vs Wolfgang and Pete Dunne
Main event of the evening time, but less than 20 minutes of the show left by the time the entrances were done. Hey ho, something is better than nothing I guess. Pete Dunne’s face still has tape over the eleven stitches he received after a recent match, and which kept him out of action for a few days. Nice ‘UK’ chant from the crowd at the start of the match, as Dunne and Bate got things started.
At one point they mentioned that Wolfgang has fourteen-years’ experience. That means that Tyler Bate was still in primary school when Wolfgang started out, so was Pete Dunne for that matter (they would have been 6 and 9 respectively).
The trouble with being a UK based fan is, if I wax lyrical about the UK guys, I get accused of bias. Well, tough. Every time Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate face each other, for any promotion, it’s something special, but never more so than when it’s in a WWE ring. That’s not taking anything away from Wolfgang or Trent Seven, who are both superb, but sometime two wrestlers just have a chemistry.
The match was great, if a little shorter than I was expecting. It got a little under ten minutes, but could have gone double that without getting boring. They all got their favourite moves in though, that’s important when the majority of the crowd will only have seen them a handful of times.
It was an unseen tag that cost Bate and Seven the match. Bate hit the Tyler-Driver 97 on Dunne, without seeing that Wolfgang had tagged himself in. As the ref explained, Wolfgang hit the Howling on Bate for the three count.
There was an uneasy look between Wolfgang and Dunne as they celebrated. It looks like neither of them have forgotten that Wolfgang is after that championship belt.
Just two matches tonight, but that’s fairly standard after a TakeOver, and they were both good matches. It’s always good to see the UK lads getting some airtime, especially now WWE have gone suspiciously quiet about the promised weekly UK show. And it was great to see Sarah Logan, one of the Mae Young Classic competitors, getting some NXT time as well. I know she’s been on before, but hopefully it’s a good sign that at least some of them will be used after the tournament.
Next week will be interesting. We will hear from Adam Cole, and presumably we’ll get more information on rematches and storylines going forward. I suspect we’ll find out if, and when, Roderick Strong will get what is likely to be his last shot at Bobby Roode.
All in all, a good follow up episode to TakeOver, with some nice hints at what is to come.