Kassius Ohno and Hideo Itami have had their ups and downs in recent weeks. Last week Kassius Ohno asked for a match against Itami so they could settle their differences in the ring. That match, is tonight’s main event. Also pre-advertised for tonight’s show, and address from number one contender for the NXT championship, Drew McIntyre.
Ember Moon Lei’d Tapa
Authors of Pain (with Paul Ellering) vs David Ramos & Timothy Bumpers – No Contest due to SAnitY’s interference
The Velveteen Dream def Cezar Bononi
Kassius Ohno def Hideo Itami
Ember Moon vs Lei’d Tapa
Women’s division action kicked off the episode. It was Lei’d Tapa’s first NXT appearance, but she has six year’s professional wrestling experience, for companies including OVW and TNA (Impact/GFW). She also has an MMA background. She’s clearly a powerhouse.
The fight was short. Tapa started strong, by knocking Moon down and throwing her around. That first barrage of offence was all she got. Moon countered the attempt at a corner splash with a kick in the face, and it was all Moon for the remaining minute or less of the match. Ember Moon, unsurprisingly, won with the Eclipse.
After the match Ember Moon said she want’s Asuka at TakeOver Brooklyn. Asuka said she wants a worthy challenge and some competition. Moon is standing right there to deliver it. She’s ready to defeat, the currently undefeated, Asuka. But is Asuka ready for her.
A Roderick Strong tweet was shown saying it’s not the last Bobby Roode has seen of him.
We got a hype package for Aleister Black next. No obvious reason for it, just a reminder he exists and is truly excellent.
Authors of Pain vs David Ramos & Timothy Bumpers
This match didn’t happen. Nikki Cross appeared on the ramp while Authors of Pain were walking to the ring, and a distracted Ramos & Bumpers were attacked from behind by Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain.
Authors of Pain walked past Cross like she wasn’t there, and faced off with SAnitY.
It didn’t work out too well for SAnitY this time. Authors of Pain had geared themselves up to beat down some opponents, they just substituted Wolfe and Dain for Bumpers and Ramos, and kept the gameplan the same. SAnitY ended up sat on the ramp, looking up at Akam and Rezar in the ring.
Yet another Street Profits preview video. I like these clips, but I want to see the people in them a bit quicker. It’s only been a few weeks for Street Profits so far, but the Ember Moon and Aleister Black ones went on far too long before they appeared.
After a recap of last week, where Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas attacked Cezar Bononi after he lost to No Way Jose, then called Jose out, No Way Jose was accosted by the ‘mysterious female friend’ of Almas. The one who has featured in all his recent segments. She is now called Zelina Vega apparently. She told Jose that she admired him for trying to do what he though was right, but he intervened in their business. This has apparently lit a fire in Almas that Jose can’t dance around.
The Velveteen Dream vs Cezar Bononi
Bononi has been on quite a bit recently, enough that I think he might actually get some character added soon. He’s definitely good enough so I hope he’s being developed, albeit slowly. He got a proper entrance, and came out second. That’s a good start.
The match went a little like this. Bononi offence to show what he’s got. Velveteen Dream offence to counter. The Purple Rainmaker elbow from the top rope. It was all over in a couple of minutes.
After the match The Velveteen Dream once again refused to answer any interview questions. This time it was because the NXT universe was too ugly.
William Regal confirmed that Ember Moon will face Asuka for the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver Brooklyn III.
Drew McIntyre said in one month’s time he gets to go one on one with Bobby Roode for the title. He said most people reflect on how they got there but he doesn’t have a backwards button. Then he proceeded to reflect on how he got there. He talked about being called the chosen one, and expecting opportunities to be handed to him, during his first stint in WWE. Then about leaving WWE and realising he had to work hard. He became the hardest worker in the world, helped companies grow, and realised everyone works together to make things happen, so he signed for NXT.
Turning his attention to the champion, Bobby Roode, McIntyre said he sees that entitlement in Roode’s eyes. But Roode isn’t entitled to anything. It’s not Roode’s NXT it’s everyone’s NXT. The speech finished with the message to Roode. ‘You are not NXT. We are NXT’. Guaranteed winner with the crowd that one.
Second hype package for Aleister Black. I am in no way complaining about this. I love the way he’s been built since his arrival. He deserves every bit of hype, and every strong build he can be afforded. He is that good. I hope this means he’s getting someone good at TakeOver
Ads for next week, Bobby Roode will be making an appearance – to talk, not fight, obviously. And Johnny Gargano will have his comeback match, versus Raul Mendoza who was interviewed after the announcement. He said he knows Gargano has been training hard for his return, but he has too. Maybe next week isn’t about Johnny Gargano’s return, maybe it’s about Raul Mendoza
Kassius Ohno vs Hideo Itami
Main event of the evening time. Itami and Ohno are both trying to come back from some less than encouraging results recently. But, where Ohno is just trying to be better, Itami has developed a chip on his shoulder. Ohno requested the match to give him an opportunity to knock that chip right off Itami’s shoulder, along with his head if the start of the match was anything to go by.
Both these wrestlers are capable of the athletic aesthetics, but this was more of a ‘going to try to kick you in the head’ type match. That’s not a criticism. I loved the storytelling of the former friends, working it out in the ring.
Itami had the upper hand early on, managing to leave Kassius Ohno laying on the ramp regrouping after a flurry of kicks and strikes. Ohno took a lot of punishment, but he took every opportunity to dish some out as well. They both landed some huge kicks and strikes on each other, but neither could seem to do enough to keep their opponent down for three.
Disappointing end to the match. Itami, seemingly frustrated by his inability to get the three count, delivered a low blow and got disqualified. He then followed that up by hitting Ohno with two GTS’s. He even turned back after he started to walk away and returned to pull Kassius Ohno from the ring by his hair, and smash him into the steel steps.
I can only assume the finish to tonight’s main event is a set up for a rematch at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III next month. If that’s the case then it’s forgivable. The TakeOver card is building up nicely. Bobby Roode versus Drew McIntyre, and Asuka versus Ember Moon are already confirmed. SAnitY versus Authors of Pain, and Kassius Ohno versus Hideo Itami look likely. Someone awesome for Aleister Black, and that would be a really great card set. Maybe they could squeeze another match in as well, but I wouldn’t be greedy.
Tonight’s episode was good, but not great. Lots of business got done, but the matches were too short. Of four possible matches, one never started and two others were over within a couple of minutes. I generally prefer a bit more wrestling in my wrestling shows. That said, I have complete faith that they’ll pick it up again for next week’s show, and Johnny Gargano will be back in the ring too. Can’t say fairer than that.