Short and sweet on the preview for tonight. Roderick Strong will face Adam Cole one on one, after rejecting his offer to join The Undisputed Era, And Kairi Sane takes on Billie Kay. I think it’s a fairly safe bet that, with the WarGames match coming up at TakeOver, and Cole and Strong being on opposing teams, that match isn’t going to stay one on one.
Heavy Machinery def Sean Maluta and Chris Payne
Kairi Sane def Billie Kay
Velveteen Dream def Cezar Bononi
Roderick Strong vs Adam Cole – No contest due to interference
The show started with a recap of SAnitY versus Authors of Pain, and the breakdown of that match, leading up to William Regal’s announcement of the WarGames match.
Heavy Machinery vs Sean Maluta and Chris Payne
Otis Dozovic can do the worm, and he did. That’s the biggest takeaway from this match. Heavy Machinery are a fun tag team, and crowd favourites.
They squashed their opponents, literally and figuratively, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves doing it.
Ember Moon was asked how she feels about Mercedes Martinez’ comment that Moon can’t win the big one. Moon responded by challenging Martinez to a match next week.
Kairi Sane vs Billie Kay, with Peyton Royce
It’s good to see more of Kairi Sane in NXT. It’s obvious they want people to invest in her, and she should be an easy character to invest in, but we’ve actually seen relatively little of her so far.
Billie Kay was a good opponent for her, much more kudos in beating an established regular like Kay, than putting her in a squash match with someone the crowd don’t care about. The assumption was obviously that Sane would win, there’s no way they’d weaken her with a loss before TakeOver.
Sane didn’t have it all her own way though. She took some punishment from Billie Kay. The size and power advantage Kay has over Sane was put to good use, and she tried to manhandle her around the ring. Peyton Royce did attempt to get involved a couple of times, but her distraction didn’t amount to much.
Billie Kay beat down Kairi Sane for the first half of the short match, Kairi Sane came back for the second half. Then, as was always going to happen, Kairi Sane hit the Insane Elbow for the win.
Kassius Ohno went to William Regal’s office to say he feels the time is right to throw hit name back into the NXT Championship picture. He asked for a TakeOver match against Lars Sullivan as a way to prove himself, and William Regal agreed.
Next, we got a look at the history of the WarGames match. Mainly clips from previous WarGames, with people talking about being in them. They spoke a bit about Dusty Rhodes creating it, and how happy he’d be to see it back. Nothing about the actual rules (although they are available here).
Interview with Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas and Zelina Vega next. Of course, Vega did the majority of the talking. She said she wouldn’t be as successful as she is if she gave away her strategies. Almas was asked what the nature of his relationship with Vega is, she wouldn’t let him answer, but said they’ve known each other seven years and she knows the real Almas. People may have got wins over the old Almas, but the new version, since she came back, has no peers. Drew McIntyre will apparently soon find that out.
Velveteen Dream vs Cezar Bononi
A nice warm up match for Velveteen Dream, ahead of his match with Aleister Black at TakeOver (there are still no words for how upset I will be if Black’s undefeated streak is broken by Velveteen Dream).
He’s certainly aggressive. Cezar Bononi has proved he’s no pushover, but Velveteen Dream made short work of him. Bononi got an initial flurry of offence, but that was his lot.
It took two minutes, or just a little less to put away Cezar Bononi with a Death Valley bomb.
After the match Velveteen Dream said he’d given Aleister Black what he needed, and now the Velveteen Dream is on his mind. In Houston, when all things come into the light, Velveteen Dream will get what he wants when Black says his name.
Ruby Riot has apparently been nursing an ankle injury since her qualifying match against Sonya Deville and Ember Moon. She was getting a medical update, it needs one to two more weeks of rest.
Sonya Deville wandered in and said Riot wouldn’t be in this situation if she’d just tapped out and let Deville take the place in the women’s championship match (which Moon won). Riot said she should have broken it, but when she’s all healed they can have a one on match to decide who deserves to be in the championship picture. Deville accepted and told her to heal fast so she can break it.
Street Profits promo up next. They were excitedly trying to give the NXT universe some swagification, when a delivery guy carrying a suit bag said he was looking for Tino Sabbatelli. Montez Ford said he was Sabbatelli, and took the suit. Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli appeared from nowhere, and took the suit off them, then accused Street Profits of wanting to be them. They’re having a match next week.
Also next week, Ember Moon has her match against Mercedes Martinez, and Drew McIntyre and Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas will meet face to face.
Roderick Strong vs Adam Cole
I can’t help feeling that the crowd should have been more into this match. Maybe they were tired, or maybe they were waiting for the inevitable interruption. It’s hard to invest in a match that has zero chance of a clean finish.
That being said, the match was decent. Lots of technical stuff to start, buckets of technique on display, and getting ever more brutal looking with every failed pin attempt.
The match did indeed descend into chaos. After Strong dropped Cole with a backbreaker which bounced Cole’s head off the turnbuckle. The rest of The Undisputed Era had seen enough, and went to the aid of Adam Cole, pulling Strong out of the ring. Authors of Pain appeared to back up their WarGames teammate, Roderick Strong. SAnitY made their way to the ring to complete the set, then it all broke down completely.
The brawl took place in and out of the ring, with too much going on to keep track of. Eventually everyone ended up congregated in front of the ramp. Roderick Strong superplexed Adam Cole onto all of them for the closing shot.
NXT are certainly building some storylines at the moment, and not just for TakeOver. That’s good to see. They have such a huge pool of talent at their disposal, it’s nice to see people being used.
The NXT title match at TakeOver is a weird one. McIntyre and Vega have done a decent job of building it so far, but how could anyone think putting the belt on Almas could be a good idea. Despite his clearly exception talent, Almas has consistently failed to make crowds give a stuff about him. Vega, they like/love to hate, Almas’ reactions are still lukewarm on a good day. I’m interested in the match, but anything other than a Drew McIntyre win would be an odd choice.
The WarGames match is going to be utter mayhem. I’m sure it will be fun to watch, I’m not so sure it will be fun to cover. I’ll cope, it may need a couple of viewings if tonight’s shenanigans are anything to go by.
With one more week to go, and the TakeOver WarGames card apparently already in place, it will be interesting to see what next week brings us.