We’re in Chicago, clue is in the title
Hosts are Tom Phillips, Nigel McGuinness and Percy Watson
Eric Young w/ Sanity (Killian Dane and Alexander Wolfe) Vs Roderick Strong
I learnt more about Roderick Strong in that two part video series on NXT than I did in 13 previous years of watching him. I’m becoming a bit of a fan of him actually (The royal blue entrance jacket certainly helps)
Roderick attacks from the crowd to start, jumping Sanity and then unloading on Young with chops in the ring. Young comes back with a neck breaker, but Roddy fights out of a hold and delivers a clothesline.
Sanity gets involved to try and help their leader. Roddy manages to take out Wolfe with a baseball slide but Dane crushes him with a cross body on the outside whilst the referee is distracted by Young.
Young works over Strong with standard heel offense. Crowd chants for Roddy as Young puts him in a chin bar. Roddy manages to fight out of the hold but soon gets cut off again as Young wears him down.
Young goes for…”something” from the second top rope, but ends up just leaping into a dropkick from Roddy. I’m sure whatever move he was attempting was going to be fit for any highlight reel, but that accursed Roddy took it away from us! Rabble, Rabble, RABBLE!!!
Roddy gets a back breaker, a knee in a corner and a sloppy back suplex for two. Young rolls outside and Roddy follows, but Young catches him with a neck breaker on the floor. Fans are doing the stupid “10” count along with the referee. I hate that with a passion. Young rolls Roddy inside, but can only get a two count.
Young goes up with a top rope elbow (Hey! I thought that was Bayley’s move?!?!) for another two. Young goes for the wheelbarrow neck breaker but Roddy counters that into a roll up for two. Roddy rallies and sets up for a superplex, but Young blocks. Undeterred, Roddy knees him off the top rope onto Sanity below. Roddy bring Young back in and suplexes him onto his knees for the three count.
WINNER – RODERICK STRONG
RATING – **1/2
To steal a line from Scott Keith, this was perfectly acceptable wrestling.
Backstage we see that Ruby Riot is listening to music, Asuka is looking all determined and Nikki Cross is rocking back and forth like a lunatic. Standard Saturday night for all three of them then.
Singles Match for the WWE United Kingdom Championship
Challenger – Pete Dunne Vs Champion – Tyler Bate
Jim Ross is doing commentary for this one, which is a pleasant change of pace. Dunne’s facials are just fantastic, and Chicago are of course into him, being the hardened and nihilistic bunch that they are.
Chain wrestling to start and it’s all very nice and fluid. Bate flips out of a wristlock and gets a dropkick to send Dunne to the outside. Bate follows him out and Dunne, just to be mean, tries to slam Bate’s hand onto the ring steps, but he’s able to fight him off. However, Dunne is able to suplex Bate on the apron not soon after to take over.
Dunne works Bate over back inside but Bate comes back with a peach of an exploder suplex. Bate gets a series of running European uppercuts in the corner. Dunne tries to come back with a suplex, but Bate lands on his feet and hits a standing shooting star press and a German suplex for two.
Dunne counters another standing shooting star attempt into a triangle, but Bate is able to power out with a power bomb and the fans think the match is awesome. Well, it’s certainly getting there. Bate gets the most epic airplane spin I’ve ever seen, going so fast that I’m surprised they didn’t open a worm hole to another galaxy. Okay, NOW the match is awesome!
Bate goes for another German suplex, but Dunne lands on his feet and actually busts out a freaking Orange Crush for two. Fans are so enamoured with this match that they’re now chanting for the UK as a whole. Hey, thanks Chicago! Sorry for calling your nihilists earlier. This is merely proof of Kenta Kobashi’s brilliance, as a move he invented brings two nations together.
Now the match breaks down into a good old fashioned slug fest. Bate gets a big left hand punch, but Dunne comes right back with an enziguri. Big lariat only gets two for Bate, as Chicago start up the “fight forever” chant. Tiger Driver is countered to Dunne’s pump handle face buster, but Bate counters that into a DDT as this match continues to be brilliant.
Dunnes rolls outside, so Bate follows him out with an Asai moonsault. He throws Dunne back inside and gets a top rope corkscrew splash, but somehow Dunne is out at two. Dunne rolls out yet again, and a fired up Bate follows with a plancha, but Dunne is able to sidestep it and Bate splats on the floor.
Dunne now rolls a groggy Bate back into the ring and hits this time manages to get the pump handle face buster to pick up the win and the title.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION – PETE DUNNE
RATING – ****
Excellent match there and I believe this means they’ve won one match apiece. Hey, I’m happy to see this for a third time, how about you?
Hideo Itami is backstage shadow boxing, whereas Bobby Roode is in his locker room giving his title belt googly eyes.
Triple Threat Match for the NXT Women’s Championship
Challenger – Nikki Cross Vs Challenger – Ruby Riot Vs Champion – Asuka
I’m rooting for Nikki myself. She’s kind of cute, in a terrifying sort of way. Asuka is of course really over, because y’know, Chicago. Chicago is kind of becoming the new Philly when it comes to being raucous and rebellious. I bet they’d wear that as a badge of honour as well.
Each woman takes it in turns to be knocked out of the ring whilst the other two do spots inside. Nikki gets a neck breaker on Ruby, but Asuka comes off the top with a dropkick onto her. Asuka gets a code breaker onto Nikki and then applies an ankle lock on Ruby, but Nikki breaks that up and low bridges her outside.
Everyone trades attacks in the ring as this is getting a tad chaotic to transcribe. Asuka goes outside and Nikki tries to get her with something off the apron, but Asuka counters that with a knee strike. Ruby sees the chance to wipe out Asuka with a suicide dive. Ruby throws Nikki in and hits a tope rope back senton splash, but Asuka breaks up the pin.
Asuka gets a German suplex on Ruby for two but walks into a Regal cutter from Nikki for a two count. Asuka grabs Nikki for a German but she fights it, so Ruby kicks Nikki allowing the move to go ahead. Ruby then kicks Asuka as well and goes up for the senton on her, but she counters into the Asuka Lock. Before Ruby can tap, Nikki comes off the top with a splash on to both of them.
Nikki reverse DDT’s Ruby on the apron and then pulls a page out of Finlay’s book by catching Asuka in the ring skirt when she goes for a baseball slide. I wonder if Finlay was agenting this match? Nikki gets The Conway out of the corner on Asuka back in but Ruby breaks up the pin at two.
Ruby and Nikki clobber each other and we have a triple down. Asuka gets knocked outside and the other two trade pin attempts. Ruby gets Nikki with a Pele kick but Asuka rushes in with a knee strike to Ruby and then pins both women at once for the win.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION – ASUKA
RATING – ***
Asuka almost didn’t make it to break the count there. I think it was probably for the best not to have Asuka lose here, even though I would have liked to see Nikki win the title. When Asuka finally does lose, it should be in a one on one situation so that whoever beats her can get a real rub from it. Winning it in a multi-woman match would lessen the moment somewhat.
A vignette plays hyping the debut of Velveteen Dream this upcoming Wednesday.
Singles Match for the NXT Championship
Challenger – Hideo Itami Vs Champion – Bobby Roooooooooooooooo
I think it’s pretty shrewd of them to take Itami’s real injury woes and actually make something of them for the storyline of the match. On a related note, when is Itami going to get revenge on Kevin Owen’s for injuring him all those years back? I do also like the “Old” NXT Vs “New” NXT idea as well, with Itami a call back to when the product was a bit less mainstream, whereas Roode operates as Triple H’s avatar in his quest to “legitimise” the brand. Almost the evolution of NXT if you will…
Roode gets a big piano intro before his music kicks in. I wonder how much it costs WWE to install a Lazy Susan in the entrance way? Roodes entrance overshadows Itami’s completely, which only gives credence to the feeling that Itami is a bit of a lame duck challenger.
Itami attempts the Go To Sleep right from the off, but Roode wriggles out and then takes a powder with a worried look on his face. Rude has shiny sequins in his trunks, which are a nice touch but also a bit distracting.
Itami dominates Roode early, as Roode seems to be settling well into the Ric Flair “touring heel champion” role. Roode finally manages to get some offense by blocking an Itami charge with a back elbow and then follows up with a Buff Blockbuster from the second rope for two. Roode then rains down right hands on the fallen Itami. Weird cut off there as he didn’t really cheat in anyway, he just caught Itami with an elbow.
Neck breaker gets two and now we hit the chin lock. Itami gets a brief hope spot with a backslide, but Roode cuts him off again with a clothesline. Roode makes the mistake of taunting Itami, which only serves to fire his challenger up. BIG slap from Itami reverberates through the arena and he follows that up with a running kick. I think that makes about three people in NXT alone who do that move now.
Nigel, because he’s awesome, gives us perhaps the first ever mention of Kenta Kobashi on a broadcast by mentioning how Itami was a protégé of him in Team BURNING. So we’ve had an Orange Crush in one match, and an actual mention of Kobashi by name in another. I can only assume that this means one thing, JOE VS KOBASHI II BAYBEH!!!
Itami delivers some kicks and snaps off a release fisherman suplex. He then follows that up with a top rope clothesline for two. Itami keeps kicking away and counters a school boy attempt from Roode into a Fujiwara arm bar. Roode counters out of this and tries the implant DDT, but Itami powers him into the corner to block. Itami tries to set Roode up for a superplex but Roode fights him off and goes for another blockbuster, but this time he misses and Itami fires of a Falcon Arrow for two.
Itami runs at Roode in the corner but Roode counters with a big spine buster. Bobby Roode: For when you’re peckish but couldn’t manage a whole Triple H. Roode tries for the Implant DDT but his arm is too hurt to deliver it. Itami tries the GTS but Roode grabs the ropes to counter and then snaps him off the top rope.
The fight spills outside, and Roode tries to throw Itami into the steps but Itami reverses it. Itami tries to dropkick Roode against the steps but Roode moves and Itami crashes “right into the solid steel steps”, as a ringside fan helpfully points out.
Back inside we have a punch off, which goes Itami’s way. Itami connects with a dropkick on Roode in the corner, but his leg gives out when he tries the GTS allowing Roode to hit the implant DDT! For two. Wow I thought that was the finish there.
Itami now gets the GTS out of nowhere, but the momentum sends Roode out of the ring and he can’t be pinned. Itami hurks Roode back in to the ring and gets a count of two. Roode counters another GTS attempt into a sunset flip but Itami does the Bret/Bulldog Summerslam 92 counter for a near fall.
Itami unleashes a flurry of slaps and brings down his knee pad, but Roode counters the GTS with two implant DDT’s to pick up the win.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION – BOBBY ROODE
RATING – ***1/2
I enjoyed that match. I also like how Roode didn’t really cheat in that match once. He weathered the challengers offense and got a bit lucky with the GTS momentum sending him outside of the ring, but ended up winning because he was the better man. And that’s fine. He’s the champion, he should be the best, even if he is also a massive jerk along with it. Itami looked good in the match as well and it was a solid title bout.
A hype video for Backlash. I’m not sure when this’ll go up, but I’m writing it Sunday morning and my personal belief is that either Jinder wins the title or Orton smashes him with an RKO in 30 seconds.
Tag Team Ladder Match for the NXT Tag Team Championships
Challengers– D-I-Y Vs Champions – The Authors of Pain w/ Paul Ellering
The video package would seem to suggest that either D-I-Y win the belts or they’ll fail and one of them will turn. AOP’s entrance masks suggest that they could be part Sontaran. D-I-Y pose on a big ladder in the entrance way during their entrance in a cool visual. This is going to be very difficult to do accurate play-by-play for.
D-I-Y clear the ring to start but AOP drag them out and the fight continues there. D-I-Y get the better of that with a succession of dives and then make their way down the aisle for the big ladder. AOP attack Ciampa as he tries to get the ladder in the ring, so Gargano dives on to both of them through the ladder itself.
D-I-Y set the ladder up inside but Achim comes in to stop them, so he gets a ladder in the mush for his troubles. D-I-Y try poetry in motion on Rezar, but he catches one and slams him onto the other in a neat spot. AOP try to clim but Ciampa stops them with the ladder.
D-I-Y pummel both of AOP with the ladder but neither of them will stay down. They go for dual power bombs but D-I-Y use this as a chance to jump onto the ladder and climb but it gets pushed over before either of them can grab the belts.
AOP now work over D-I-Y in the ring with ladder shots. Not content with that, they then decide to go and get MORE ladders, because like Pringles once you pop you just can’t stop. AOP set up ladders between the ring apron and ringside barricades, but when they go for power bombs D-I-Y manage to wriggle free.
AOP now get laid across their own ladders (Oh the irony!) right next to the giant ladder from earlier. So of course, D-I-Y decide to climb the giant ladder and then jump onto each of them in a ludicrous spot. Ciampa even overshoots his jump and nearly brains himself on the ringside floor.
Amazingly Ciampa is in one piece after that, and sets up the ladder to climb, with Achim somehow recovering and climbing the other side. Gargano sets up the other ladder and all four men climb. Eventually everyone tumbles off except Gargano, but before he can grab the belts Ellering comes in a pulls him down. This earns him a super kick from Gargano, which does not please the AOP.
Gargano gets knocked outside and AOP destroy Ciampa inside. They go to take his head off with the ladder but Gargano pushes him out of the way and takes the bullet for his buddy. Achim holds the ladder so that Rezar can climb, but Ciampa rallies and suplexes Rezar off the ladder through one of the ladders in the corner. That spot was insane!
Achim now climbs but Gargano holds his ankle to stop him. Achim fights him off but when he lifts up the ladder he takes a shot from both of them so he’s down on his knees with the ladder over his head. D-I-Y deliver the knee/kick combo and start to climb the ladder but the AOP bring them both down with power bombs before grabbing the belts to win.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS – THE AUTHOR’S OF PAIN
RATING – ****
I would have honestly had D-I-Y there as it was a way for AOP to lose without getting pinned and they could have always done another match where the AOP won the belts back. There were insane spots throughout and I enjoyed the story of AOP being unstoppable monsters who just wouldn’t stay down.
D-I-Y get a big standing ovation post-match and, as expected, as they make their way down the ramp Ciampa turns on Gargano and brutally beats him down, including a Kryptonite Krunch through the commentary table. Fans are so angry about this that they actually chant “F*** You Ciampa”. Wow, and actual heel getting booed for doing something villainous, whoda thunk it?
Good wrestling throughout the show, a really good UK Title match and a killer angle to close make this show worth your time. Give it a goosey gander if you have the WWE Network.