Three matches and a visit from the NXT champion, Aleister Black, on the agenda for tonight’s go home show for NXT TakeOver Chicago II. EC3 takes on Kassius Ohno, Aliyah faces Bianca Belair, and Pete Dunne puts his UK title on the line against Kyle O’Reilly. We can also expect the usual array of hype packages and previews.
War Raiders def Ricky Martinez & Justin Storm
EC3 def Kassius Ohno
Bianca Belair def Aliyah
Pete Dunne def Kyle O’Reilly
After the initial housekeeping, we were straight into tag team action.
War Raiders vs Ricky Martinez & Justin Storm
Another squash match for War Raiders where we didn’t learn anything new and it served no purpose. War Raiders are very good, and big and scary, we knew this.
After the match they challenged The Mighty and then brutalised one of their opponents again. Dude looked like he’d already had enough, to be honest. At least it looks like War Raiders might get a proper feud.
Adam Cole told a cameraman off for filming Undisputed ERA giving Kyle O’Reilly a pep talk.
Long hype package for Johnny Gargano versus Tommaso Ciampa next. It’s going to be a brutal fight. Considering what they’ve already done to each other, it kind of has to be.
EC3 vs Kassius Ohno
Not a long match, but a very bad-tempered one. Kassius Ohno hasn’t had the best win-loss record since he returned to NXT and he took his frustration out on EC3. EC3 is entitled, arrogant, and seems to think Ohno is beneath him. In fairness, it’s not just Ohno, he thinks everyone is beneath him.
On this occasion, EC3 backed it up.
He ended the match with The One Percent after managing to bounce Kassius Ohno’s throat off the top rope.
Bianca Belair vs Aliyah
Aliyah’s back with another new look and I’ve still no clue how she’s supposed to be positioned within the division. She’s been around for a long time now and she seems to have really struggled to find characterisation that will stick. I feel for her, she clearly works hard or she wouldn’t still be there.
Tonight she was playing the role of enhancement talent for Bianca Belair. She got practically nothing in the way of offence for the whole of the short match. Belair toyed with her for a couple of minutes before finishing her off.
The hype package for Nikki Cross versus Shayna Baszler was interspersed with Nikki Cross talking about chaos and the absence of fear, and Baszler being annoyed at an unseen interviewer asking her whether Cross has a chance at the title. It ended with Baszler ripping her mic off and walking out.
An interview with Dakota Kai asked what she’d change about the match with Baszler. Kai said she was just happy she got the opportunity to stand up to Baszler. She was seconds from becoming the new NXT women’s champion, and she knows that if she gets another chance the outcome will be different. Maybe she could adopt some of Nikki Cross’ crazy, but one way or another she knows she’s going to become champion. Bianca Belair interrupted and said they should be interviewing her instead. She’s the EST of NXT. The strongest, quickest, toughest etc. The only thing Kai is going to do is cry and fail like she did with Baszler so it’s time she got to the back of the line, it’s Belair’s time to shine. Dakota Kai challenged her to a match next week, Belair accepted.
Pete Dunne (C) vs Kyle O’Reilly – WWE UK Championship match
Commentary were making a big thing of the possibility of the UK Championship being held by a Canadian at the upcoming big Royal Albert Hall show. The crowd were very vocally behind Pete Dunne, who had his thigh strapped for the match.
Brilliant match with a bit of everything. Unsurprisingly, the injured thigh was a frequent target for O’Reilly. However much punishment he dished out though, it was never quite enough to keep Dunne down for three or make him tap.
They beat seven shades out of each other, tied each other up with holds and submission attempts, and gave us a main event worthy contest.
Happily, there was no interference during the match. Kyle O’Reilly took Dunne’s gumshield out of his mouth and, while he was looking around arrogantly, Pete Dunne snapped his fingers and pinned him clean with The Bitter End.
The moment the pin was counted Dunne was jumped from behind by Roderick Strong and Adam Cole. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch came down to make the save. Dunne and Cole brawled their way out of the ring and the two teams who will meet for the tag titles at TakeOver faced up. They scrapped for a bit, Oney Lorcan threw Roderick Strong out of the ring, then Lorcan and Burch threw O’Reilly out onto him.
Aleister Black got the final five minutes of the show to have his say about his upcoming title defence. He said Lars Sullivan thinks he’s got his number because he caught Black Mass. Black admits that rattled him because it’s the strike he’s used to take out all his opponents so far. But he promises that Sullivan will feel the full force of Black Mass at NXT TakeOver Chicago. And he will soon realise that nothing is too powerful, his carnage is not imminent. He will simply fade to black.
Lars Sullivan came out and used his fists instead of words to answer Black’s statement. Black managed to get Sullivan down to one knee, but Sullivan got up and floored him with a lariat. That was it for Aleister Black’s contribution. Sullivan hit him with three Freak Accidents. Black had stopped moving after the second one. He dragged Black out of the ring, put him over his shoulder and laid him on the announce desk. Then he stood over him holding up the NXT Championship belt as the show closed out.
Decent episode of NXT and a good go home show. It’s nice to see things being set up outside the TakeOver picture, especially in the women’s division.
TakeOver is set to be an incredible show, any one of the matches could easily be match of the night.
The final NXT TakeOver Chicago II card is:
Aleister Black (C) vs Lars Sullivan – NXT Championship match
Shayna Baszler (C) vs Nikki Cross – NXT Women’s Championship match
Undisputed ERA (C) vs Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch – NXT Tag Team Championship match
Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa – Street Fight
Ricochet vs Velveteen Dream