Hideo Itami’s official in-ring return, and the women’s battle royal to determine the number one contender, were the two pre-advertised features for tonight’s show. Based on that alone it should be a good show. However, there is also the second part of Roderick Strong’s story to look forward to, and there is bound to be more excitement in store.
Killian Dain def Danny Burch
Heavy Machinery def Hector Kunsman & Ricardo Watts
Hideo Itami def Kona Reeves
Women’s number one contender battle royal was thrown out due to interference
Killian Dain vs Danny Burch
SAnitY’s music started the show and Killian Dain was led to the ring by Eric Young. It’s unusual to see just the two of them, without the rest of the stable, but let’s face it Dain doesn’t need anyone’s help to dispatch most people.
Danny Burch was a worthy competitor. He has the edge on Dain when it comes to experience but, like most people, gives up a lot to Dain in terms of size. It was a good, if short, match, which further Killian Dain secured the win with the Ulster Plantation.
Patrick Clarke’s new gimmick promo was show next. He’s now the Velveteen Dream.
Heavy Machinery vs Hector Kunsman & Ricardo Watts
Squash match time. I think they deliberately picked the two smallest guys they could find to maximise the visual impact, and it worked. Dozovic and Knight murdered the two youngsters in the space of a few moves. I always find squashes a bit of a shame when you don’t get to see anything of the squashed opponent, but I’m sure Kunsman and Watts will get chance to show what they’ve got another time. Tonight, was all about Heavy Machinery.
After the massacre, Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic grabbed mics and displayed a bit of personality before calling out Authors of Pain. It’s an obvious match-up to make. Heavy Machinery come across as a fun pair as well as an efficient tag team. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before they get their wish, and it will be an excellent match.
Bobby Roode was shown giving a pep talk to Kona Reeves ahead of Reeves match with Hideo Itami.
Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa were interviewed backstage about Heavy Machinery’s comments at the end of their match. They said they welcome the competition from Heavy Machinery, but they are still owed a fair rematch for the NXT tag titles. The line to get to Authors of Pain, starts behind #DIY.
Hideo Itami vs Kona Reeves
Itami has had terrible luck with injuries in NXT, and this was his first proper TV match for quite a while. Kona Reeves attacked Itami before the bell to ty to give himself the upper hand, and it worked for a while. Itami was only going to take so much on his return to action though.
Predictably, after a brief but intense fight back, Itami won with the Go To Sleep.
A quick intro promo for Drew McIntyre formed the break between segments.
The second part of Roderick Strong’s story was next, looking at his relationship with his fiancé, the arrival of their new baby, and a chronicle his career to date. Please go and watch it. In the space of a two-part video NXT have made Roderick Strong sympathetic, relatable, human and infinitely backable. Really well done.
William Regal spoke to Bobby Roode in his office, for Regal to announce Roode’s TakeOver opponent. Roode pontificated about how great he is for a while, then told Regal he didn’t think Itami was the right opponent. William Regal said that Itami needs to earn the right to face Roode at TakeOver, and to that end Itami will face Roderick Strong next week with the winner becoming Roode’s TakeOver opponent.
During the entrances for the main event, it was announced that Aleister Black will be in action next week.
Women’s Battle Royal to decide the number one contender
Fifteen women competed in the battle royal in tonight’s main event. They were:
Lacey Evans (was Macey Estrella), Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Sarah Bridges, Sonya Deville (was Daria Berenato), Aliyah, Rachael Evers, Bianca Blair, Victoria Gonzalaes, Kimberly Frankele, Nikki Cross, Ruby Riot, Liv Morgan, Candice LeRae, and Ember Moon
It was very cool seeing so much talent in an NXT ring at the same time. A particular thrill to see Candice LeRae make an appearance, more of her in NXT please. Sonya Deville is also one of my favourites, and it was great to see Rachael Evers and Kimberly Frankele back. I’m not going to attempt to cover the chaos of the first half of the match, there were bodies everywhere. It was highly amusing to hear the crowd booing as their favourites hit the floor.
Unsurprisingly the final six were Liv Morgan Billie Kay Ember Moon Peyton Royce, Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot. Morgan went out first, followed by Kay, then Royce, leaving Moon, Cross and Riot. At this point I’d have been happy with any decisive outcome, but that’s not what we got.
As the three women brawled, showing the potential for a great triple threat, Asuka knocked Moon off the top turnbuckle and entered the ring. For some reason they rang the bell (no dq in a match like this, and who would they dq anyway). She threw Ember Moon to the outside so hard she hit the barrier (actually looked a bit nasty), then laid out Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot with a couple of big kicks, before dancing round the ring a bit shouting ‘no-one is ready for Asuka’.
Asuka ran backstage leaving Ember Moon on the floor outside the ring seemingly injured, and both Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot unable to continue inside. Nikki Cross managed to drag herself to the edge of the ring, peer down at Ember Moon, and laugh at her obvious pain. Ruby Riot struggled to pull herself into a sitting position in the corner, looking furious.
An angry looking William Regal came out to the stage and announced that Asuka will now defend her title at NXT TakeOver Chicago in a fatal four way against the final three.
Next week’s number one contender’s match between Roderick Strong and Hideo Itami is intriguing. Strong has been built as a new crowd favourite after the mini-doc over the last two weeks, and Itami is a returning favourite. I have no idea who will win and I love that.
The women’s battle royal tonight showed how much talent NXT has available, and there were still a few names missing from that match. It is now their duty to make sure all these women get properly used, there is no excuse. NXT needs a bigger roster as it will be regularly pillaged by the main roster brands, and they can’t afford to leave themselves in the position of trying to rebuild from scratch again like they have had to since the brand split. They’re only just starting to recover now, and it’s taken months.
The fatal four way match between Asuka, Nikki Cross, Ruby Riot and Ember Moon, at NXT TakeOver Chicago, will be incredible. Asuka has to lose the title this time, but this way she doesn’t have to be pinned.
Another entertaining show, with the promise of more to come next week.