I missed a week, but I wouldn't miss this one for nuthin'. It's going to be Asuka vs. Nikki Cross in a Last Man Standing match, and it is going to be phenomenal. We've got assorted other nonsense to take care of first, though.
We start the show with Mauro! He's back! That's good news for some and bad for others, but I'll never be upset that someone enthusiastic is calling the show. He'll get the big main event tonight, but first he needs to shepherd us through Velveteen Dream vs. HoHo Lun, which, man, I don't even. This match is just as great as you'd expect, bleargh. Anyhoo, Lun does, uh, stuff, and Dream answers back with a big delay jackhammer, followed by his shitty top-rope elbow. Match Rating: For Real, Use The Cartwheel DVD.
Well, it was quick at least. We go to some footage, as earlier today, a reported tried to get some comments from Asuka on her way to the arena. Unfortunately, the car gets a little Nikki Cross on it, and everyone is forced to abandon the vehicle as security come out to cart Cross away. It's bananas.
We get a quick recap of Lorcan and Itami from a few weeks ago, because apparently they're doing a rematch tonight. Sounds good to me. We also get Heavy Machinery and the Authors of Pain in GM Regal's office. Regal's decided that Heavy Machinery have earned a title shot, which gets Otis to say something utterly unintelligible, prompting an all-time great William Regal face. Paul Ellering don't think much of these guys, but Regal tells him to be ready for a fight.
Okay, Itami and Lorcan are ready to fight again. Lorcan comes out strong at the bell, clobbering Itami with a running European uppercut, then peppering him in the corner with chops and more uppercuts. The ref steps in to separate the two of them, and oh shit. It looks like that first shot broke Itami's nose, and there is blood absolutely everywhere. Yeah, I think we're going to call this one. Match Rating: No Contest. Itami heads up the ramp and he looks pissed. Meanwhile, Lorcan doesn't like getting the win this way, but the crowd cheers for a good bloodletting. This isn't ideal, but I can see a couple ways for them to spin this (hopefully) minor injury.
For now, though, there's a package to get you caught up on the Roode/Strong rivalry. Roode's a dick, and Strong's incredibly boring. There, now you're all caught up.
Oh shit, Itami's back in the ring! He's signalling that he's ready to go, so out comes Lorcan. They're ready to fight again again! This time, Itami gets the jump at the bell, laying in some hard knee strikes. He hangs Lorcan across the ropes with a front suplex, then comes down with another knee to the head from the top rope. He goes to some shoot kicks, but when he sends Lorcan to the corner, Lorcan gets a boot up. Lorcan tries to go up top, but Itami shoves him alllll the way down to the floor. We go to break, and when we come back, Lorcan is somehow back in control with some chops, but that don't last long, as Itami fires back with a strike combo. He shoots Lorcan into the ropes, who counters back with a blockbuster. Itami retreats to the corner, and when Lorcan follows him in, Itami connects with a kick to the thigh, and goes for the GTS like he did a few weeks ago. This time, Lorcan escapes, but quickly eats a tornado guillotine anyways. Itami goes up top and comes off with a clothesline, but Lorcan fights back with some forearm shots. Itami shrugs those off as well, trying again for the GTS. This time, when Lorcan escapes, he tweaks his knee. The ref wants to stop the match, and even Itami offers to help Lorcan back to his feet, but Lorcan slaps Itami's hand away! Well, if that's how he wants it to go, a GTS it is. Itami stops at one this time, and it's more than enough to end the match. Match Rating: These Are Some Genuinely Tough Bastards. After the match, Itami gets a mic and calls out Kassius Ohno. Ohno comes out, but I guess we're not going to find out what Itami has to say, because Nikki Cross is in the ring! Why? She's a distraction! Wolfe and Damo wreck up Itami and KO, and now Wolfe's got something to say. Apparently, SAnitY just hates friendship. Fair enough. Go back to Ring of Honor! Anyhoo, Wolfe would also like us to know that Eric Young's working on some kind of grand masterplan, but the first part starts with Nikki Cross tonight.
You know, I see people hating on SAnitY, and I don't really know why. I like they way they serve as all-purpose adversaries, and there's genuinely a lot of talent in the group. I'm not sure what people want them to be.
Anyhoo, with Cross already in the ring, it's time for our Main Event. Asuka comes out, and the early phase is the two women trying to feel each other out, trading strikes and breaking lockups, but eventually Cross loses patience and just nails Asuka with a flying clothesline and some punches. Asuka gets loose, and retaliates with a sliding knee strike. Cross goes outside, and when Asuka tries to follow, Cross traps her in the ring skirt and goes to town. Cross starts gathering up chairs from under the ring and making a pile, but sadly, we do not get the return of the Chair-amid. Instead, Cross tries to suplex Asuka onto the chairs, but a series of blocks and reversals ultimately plays out with Cross sending Asuka into the ring steps. Asuka then sends Cross into the next set of steps, and follows up by slamming her head into the steps for good measure. Asuka goes under the ring, and she comes up with a trash can, pulling a pretty decent "ECW" for her trouble, and this gets nasty in a hurry. Asuka places the can over Cross's head, and starts going to town with hard kicks from all angles, denting the can around Cross. Then, Asuka nails a big missile drop kick, resulting in an 8 count. Asuka seems a little put out that that didn't end the match, so Cross gets a knee, and Asuka heads outside to toss some more chairs into the ring. Cross tries to cut her off by jumping off the apron, but since she jumped off the apron into Asuka's knee, it didn't really have the desired effect. Asuka follows up with some kicks and forearms, but Cross comes back with an inverted DDT on the apron as Asuka tries to get her back in the ring. Cross has some forearms of her own for Asuka, and then tries to go up top. But Asuka cuts her off with a spin kick, then pitches her off the turnbuckle onto the pile of chairs! Asuka's feeling pretty good, but when she tries to clamp on a headlock for some kind of follow-up, Cross, just dumps her with a back suplex on the chairs! Yikes! She just folds her up there! Both women are slow to recover now, but Asuka gets up first, and lays in some shoot kicks. Cross's response? She laughs the whole time. Nikki Cross is the best. Asuka wants the spinning backfist now, but Cross catches it and counters into a clothesline. Asuka comes back with her knockout roundhouse, but Cross ducks it and hits a forearm, then the swinging fisherman's neckbreaker! Well, we'll just let that go to a count then, yes? No! One, two, THREE, FOUR swinging fisherman's neckbreakers! While the ref is counting, Cross goes out and gets the title, certain that she's won the match, but Asuka's up at NINE! Well, the only logical move is to rush Asuka with the title belt, but Asuka ducks and nails the roundhouse! For FOUR! Barely enough to have pinned Cross in a regular match! So Asuka hits it AGAIN! For SEVEN! THESE GIRLS ARE KILLING ME! Oh, man! Cross manages to pull Asuka out onto the apron, but that looks like a mistake, as Asuka tries to suplex Cross out of the ring onto the first pile of chairs that's still at ringside. Cross blocks the attempt, though, and hits a guillotine to stun Asuka. Now Cross is out of the ring, and hoisting Asuka up for a fucking powerbomb! ONTO THE CHAIRS! NINE COUNT! You know, Lucha Underground did this spot a few weeks ago with Mundo and the Mack, and THEY thought it was probably good enough to end the match on. Not these two. They fight their way up the ramp, and Asuka manages to shove Cross to the lower level, then nails the flying hip attack (for the first time this match, if you can believe it), but when she goes for another roundhouse, she misses Cross and kicks a stage light, hurting her leg in the process. Cross takes advantage, hanging her up on the guardrail and hitting a swinging neckbreaker off it onto the floor (or "the unforgiving uh, mat" if you're Mauro) in front of the announce table, again drawing a nine count. I legit don't know where else this can go. Asuka goes for the spinning backfist again, and nails it this time, but Cross comes back out of nowhere with a ladder to the midsection. She's also got a table, and we all see where this is going. Unfortunately, Cross takes a little to long to get up the ladder, and Asuka recovers enough to join her up top. The announce team knows where this is going, and they fucking run like a tidal wave's coming through. It's Asuka who gets the best of the confrontation, and superplexes the two of them, sure enough, right through the table. The ref is counting both of them down, and with one second to go, Asuka gets back to her feet, winning the match. Match Rating: Asuka Isn't Unbeaten. She's Unbeatable.
Seriously, I don't know what you do next. I'm not sure I believe Ember Moon could beat her if she came down to the ring and shot Asuka with a gun. But man, I don't have enough superlatives for this match. This was an amazing Last Man Standing match, period, and for the first two women in WWE to do it, it could not have been a better match. Even lying in the carnage afterwards, you could tell how proud both women were, and they deserved to be. I'm pretty sure this is my new favorite regular TV match from NXT.
Lorcan vs Itami ruled. I love Oney Lorcan. Itami was more than happy to trade nasty looking shots with him. Pretty surprising to see this sort of style under a WWE banner.
Asuka and Cross put on about as good a last person standing match as you are going to see. I'm not a fan of the stipulation, but I was a fan of this match. Asuka had to nearly kill herself to put Cross away. What a great feud this turned out to be. Asuka hitting her head on the edge of the ramp during the chair power bomb was a little scary and I'm not sure how much of the table actually broke Nikki's fall, but they put on a hell of a match. One of the better non Takeover matches I've seen on NXT.
A lot of hard shot were taken and given. Thumbs way up this week.
Loved the womens match. One of the best non-Takeover matches we've had, and it easily could have been up there with the Takeover classics of the past. I don't know how Ember possibly defeats Asuka, but that seems to be the road we are going.
I don't get the Velveteen Dream thing. Just... not working for me, and I don't think it would ever translate to the big leagues.
Originally posted by BigDaddyLocoAsuka hitting her head on the edge of the ramp during the chair power bomb was a little scary and I'm not sure how much of the table actually broke Nikki's fall,
It got an auditable reaction out of me. I was surprised the edge of the ramp didn't split her head open how it's segmented like that. I am starting to feel bad for Moon. How can she stay a face if she beats Asuka? I guess being in front of the same crowd most f the time will help. They should just storyline strip Asuka and send her to Smackdown!. Regal will say NXT got a huge check from Shane and announce a total tourney or battle royal for the title. NXT is about the future and Asukas shouldn't be in NXT. Asuka should be dominating the WWe. Thus the check he got could be the reason some new female talent sticks around after the May Young Clasic. And why some new male talent debut. Like Cole.
That women's match was exactly what the SmackDown main event should have been but wasn't - violent and not just paying lip service to the gimmick. Both ladies were phenomenal, but this was the kind of breakout performance from Nikki Cross that will get people talking backstage.
As for Mauro, I'm not a fan and I've never been. I felt he had no chemistry with Nigel, which led to Nigel being either quiet or getting reduced to spewing platitudes. By proxy that also meant there was more of Percy, and neither of those are good things. During the main event, especially the epic end stretch, it was just Mauro and no one else could get in a word edgewise. Bring back my Felipe, please.
(edited by used2bcool on 29.6.17 2158) 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!
Wow. This was the best last (wo)man standing match in a long time. No silly gimmicks like pushing over tables, using tape etc etc Just pure carnage. Kudos to both. I don't think I took the time to blink. After this, Ember doesn't even deserve a title shot. Gimme Nikki vs Asuka forever.
Oh and the way to start the match was awesome too. Her just showing up, sort of messing up the previous segment was great.
Oney-Itami was fun too. velveteen Dream, meh...first week I saw potential (also, his elbow was good the first time) but since then..meh.
[WWE Corporate site] The Royal Rumble's early estimate for buys in somewhere just north of 450,000. 2004's Rumble did just shy of 600,000, 2003's Rumble did about 500,000 buys, and 2002's Rumble did just shy of 675,000.