Alright, Takeover: Chicago is tomorrow, so I'd probably best get off my ass and get this one up. Our go-home show opens up with Bobby Roode arriving at Full Sail and being a complete dick to his...valet? Butler? Eh, personal servant of some sort or another at any rate. Will he actually do anything tonight? Stay tuned!
Movin' on. Drew McIntyre has a match with Sean Maluta. Hey, Sean! Long time no see! What have you been - oh, that is not a good look. Maluta's sporting what can only be described as a full Amish beard with his hair swept back. It is, in fact, a bad look. I suppose that's why Maluta busts up Drew's eye early in this match; to keep him from looking at that beard. It's a reasonable response, I feel. Anyhoo, There's not too much to this match, besides the light injury. Eventually, Drew just straight stops selling any offense from Maluta, murders him with maybe the fourth or fifth best headbutt I've ever seen in wrestling, and then nails the Claymore for three. Match Rating: Incidentally, I Feel Like Between His Size, His Look, And His Moveset, HHH Must Love Drew.
Before he can get backstage and put some ice on that eye, Drew has to get on the mic for some words to Wesley Blake. See, he's not concerned about Blake, and in fact would like to issue a challenge for next week. That...doesn't sound like a great match, actually, but hey, whatevs.
Meanwhile, it turns out that after the Strong/Itami match last week (great match, watch it if you missed it), SAnitY came out to beat up Strong some more. You know, with Dillinger gone, it makes sense to me. Afterwards, Strong went looking for GM Regal, and demanded a match at Takeover.
Up on the roof, Eric Young responds. See, they don't normally take requests, but since Strong has so much to lose, like his wife and son, EY figures, what they heck, they can ruin Strong's life for him if he really wants it. The highlight, of course, is Nikki Cross in the background. You know, I've been a backer of SAnitY from day one(is h?), but it's no secret that Cross (who I've been a backer of since day zero - look it up) is the breakout star here. I love the other guys, but she's the one going to the top.
We're getting a series of Itami recap vignettes this week. The first one is a replay of his debut in NXT. Fun times.
Video package for the UK title and the match between Bate and Dunn at TO. Fun stuff, and if you skipped the UK tournament for some reason, this package will get you good and caught up.
Velveteen Dream. I'd be way more excited about this if I didn't already know how mediocre Patrick Clarke is.
Another Itami bit, this time from the house show where he did the GTS for the first time in NXT. Wish I'd been there live for that one.
An interviewer is catching a ride with Asuka and trying to get some comments from her regarding the triple threat match, but Asuka can't even. When they get to Full Sail, she puts on a bit of a dog and pony show for the fans outside the arena, but as soon as she gets past them, she drops any sense of giving a shit about the crowd. It's full heel-turn time, now.
We've got a women's match! It's going to be Lacy Evans, the super-tall former MP against Sonya Deville, who's actually just a lightly re-branded Daria Barenetto. The name change is an improvement, in my opinion. Deville comes out fast with a trio of knee strikes to the midsection, but Evans counters back with a single-leg takedown. Deville gets loose and hits a double-leg takedown of her own, then transitions into a body scissors, eventually rolling into a pinning combination for two. Back to their feet, Deville nails a forearm strike, then the gloves literally come off. She starts landing body shots, but Evans fires back with a stiff left. She hits a knee strike, then puts Deville down and hits a cool handstand double knee drop thing. A frankly kind of shitty neckbreaker keeps things going her way, but Deville counters back with a stiff kick, and then finishes the match with what can only be called a Shining Wizard to a standing opponent - a very tall standing opponent. That's actually really impressive. Match Rating: They're Both Still Rough Around The Edges, But They've Got A Lot Of Room To Grow.
The next Itami package just recaps the confrontation with Roode from a little less than a month ago. You know, if you're trying to predict a winner for Takeover, Itami's getting an awful lot of press. Just saying.
Our main event is Kassius Ohno against Andrade Almas, a match that I actually thought they were saving for Takeover. Spoiler, this is a great match, but actually maybe the best part is during Almas' entrance. He leans back like he does, and his hat falls off, and he has to scramble to kind of catch it and save the entrance. That's not the best part, though. The best part is the absolute look of BETRAYAL that he gives the hat once he's recovered it. It's amazing. Anyhoo, the bell rings and KO goes straight into a cravat. Almas escapes straight into Tranquillo. Ohno's having none of that, though, going for a single leg takedown. But Almas escapes, and they do a really cool rope run spot that culminates in Almas landing a big kick, but Ohno shrugs it off and nails a punch that send Almas to the floor. KO attempts a Danger Zone dive, but Almas gets out of the way, so Ohno just kind of goes end-over-end, landing on his feet on the floor. It's pretty cool. KO nails a big boot after recovering, and follows it up with chops. Almas is able to recover back in the ring, though, and boots KO off the apron to the floor. That lets him take advantage, delivering chops and strikes. He calls for the double knee, but it's a taunt. One that KO responds to with a big chop, but Almas comes right back with forearms, then a cross armbreaker over the top rope. That's followed by a missile drop kick that gets a two count, and a Fujiwara armbar. These guys are just killing each other, now. Almas once again goes for the taunt, but this time KO not only has a chop for him, but also a pump kick, followed by a swinging neckbreaker and a big clothesline. He brings Almas back to his feet, then puts him back on the canvas with a tornado boot that gets two. He bodyslams Almas into position and goes up top for a moonsault! But Almas gets out of the way, and Ohno eats the canvas, hard. Almas delivers his knee strike/elbow drop combo and tries again for the pin, only to again get a two count. He attempts a suplex, but KO is way too big for that noise, so Ohno reverses it and dumps Almas on the top turnbuckle, following that with a massive forearm shot. Almas counters back with his own forearms to send Ohno to the floor, but when he attempts a flying attack, Ohno meets him with a big boot straight to the face. Almas is stunned, but not down, and he shakes it off to deliver a handspring pele kick! He follows that with the double knees for real, and he wants the hammerlock DDT to finish it. But Ohno's not done yet, either, and he powers out of the DDT, only to have Almas sucker him into the corner for a tornado inverted DDT! Well that'll do it, I guess. Shit, what?! No, Ohno pops up in less than a full one count! Almas doesn't slow down, though, and delivers a big forearm, only to have KO come right back with another pump kick. That lets him hit a Rolling Elbow, and considering the way this match has been going, just straight up does a second one before even considering a pin. The pair of elbows finally does it, and Ohno pick up a hard-hitting win. Match Rating: This One Was Just Fun.
And our final Itami package recaps his win from last week. They're really building him up here.
Okay, Roode's finally out to do something. For a while there, I really thought that bit at the start of the show was all we were going to get. Bobby's tired of everybody talking about Itami. I sure hope he wasn't watching all of those video packages earlier in the evening. Anyhoo, Roode acknowledges that Itami knocked him out a while back, but he also claimed that he was wearing a $5000 suit, and I assure you that he was not wearing a suit worth a tenth of that amount. He goes on to state that the next time they meet, Roode will be wearing his ring gear, and it will be a different story. He runs down Itami's injury history, and talks up his own relatively explosive success. He talks shit about Itami's family, and yeah, that's going to bring Itami out to the ring. Itami's ready to do some damage, but GM Regal cuts him off on the ramp. Itami's ready to back down, but Roode just can't take the win, and elects to taunt him a bit more. That gets Itami to bust through Regal's security and into the ring, where he quickly puts Roode down. Security breaks this up pretty quick, though, so while Roode powders out, Itami beats the shit out of security, GTSing two of them. As he menaces the third, Roode rushes back into the ring and jumps him from behind. Roode's got the advantage...for about half a second, until Itami just clean pulls him up into the fireman's carry and hits another GTS, standing tall to send us out.
You know, I got to level with you. They have not, in any way, positioned the NXT champion as anywhere near approaching the level of his challenger. If Roode wins this match, by hook, crook, or any other means, it's not going to make a lick of sense. That said, I really would like to see Itami win the championship, so, I don't know?
This was a little light for a go-home show, but a pretty great episode of NXT in general. Great main event, and the go-home promo segment was solid too, so at least catch the back half of this one. Takeover: Chicago is our next stop, so I'll see everybody then.
Itami has gotten the better of Roode in every single one of their exchanges so far. Standard WWE logic indicates that he won't be winning the title, right?
Both Deville and Evans were sloppy at points, but you gotta start somewhere, right? Evans has a unique look and Deville a unique moveset (no other woman is doing MMA-based offense in the WWE), so I think they can both find a niche for themselves.
Asuka is a treasure.
KO looked better than in his previous outings, I thought. EL IDOLO is EL IDOLO. I think this is the point in the Andrade storyline where you have to choose the Tecnico or Rudo path. The camera lingered on his obvious disappointment at having lost the match, so maybe he does care!
In a coat of gold or a coat of red, a lion still has claws
And mine are long and sharp, my lord, as long and sharp as yours!
I've said this in the past with her former name, but there is money in Devine. If they let her do a lower-level Brock kind of thing and just destroy people for a while, they could have something special.
In tonight's main event, our shadow tag team championship angle continues as EVAN BOURNE returns to face EPICO! Also tonight: JUSTIN GABRIEL takes on TYSON KIDD! JACK SWAGGER meets TRENT BARRETA! DREW McINTYRE collides with MASON RYAN!