This is #99! The penultimate recap before next week's Super-Sized 100th Recap Spectacular Extravaganza! And you people have been no help whatsoever in coming up with ideas for it, so whatever dumb shit I do now is on your heads. You brought it on yourselves!
This week, however, we start out hot as SAnitY comes to the ring. But where's Damo? Nikki Cross is going to be taking on Some Jobber, and the truth is that, while our lovely jobber isn't very good in the limited offense we see her do, she does a truly amazing job of being terrified by SAnitY. She's like twice Nikki's size, but she's ducking down and not making direct eye contact, and it sells the whole angle. Anyhoo, Nikki mashes her with a Thesz press, then throws some hands and rag dolls her around a bit, and then hits a spinning fisherman's neckbreaker move that I've loved ever since I saw Tyson Kidd do it. Match Rating: Truly Spectacular Angle Selling From An Otherwise Unremarkable Encounter.
The announce team sets up the fatal fourway for the women's title at TO, but the best part is the match graphic, where it looks like Nikki Cross is using a mugshot.
Meanwhile, No Way Jose is backstage. He's planning to have even more fun in 2017 than he did in 2016, but he gets interrupted by someone that my notes identify as ???, but who the announce team later clarifies as Kona Reeves. You know, the guy who looks like he tells girls he's the Rock's cousin. I can never remember who that guy is, even though I have absolutely nothing against him. Anyhoo, he's real pissed off at NWJ, because he thought they were friends, but a couple weeks ago when SAnitY jumped him and Swann, NWJ only helped Swann out. That seems like a legit beef to me, but NWJ really blows him off here. NWJ comes off like a real dick, to be honest.
Also meanwhile, the Revival are backstage. Even though they lost last week (great match last week, be sure to catch it: http://the-w.com/nxt-372-1-11-17), they still consider themselves Top Guys, and they're sure it's only a matter of time before they get those titles back. TM 61, however, are pretty sure that you have to earn title shots, and figure maybe the Revival should fight them over a spot in the line. The Revival are game, and we've got a main event match for the evening.
Finally, we're back to the ring for Roderick Strong vs. Steve Cutler. Here's what I know about these guys. Strong looks like a dope and keeps calling himself "The Messiah of the Backbreaker," a hilariously indy appellation that management should have put a stop to even more so than "Greatest Man Who Ever Lived," and the best part about Steve Cutler was his sideburns that made him look like Liev Schreiber's Sabretooth. Cutler has apparently made the decision to shave those sideburns, so now you may make your own decision as to how good or interesting he is. Oh, you wanted me to talk about the match here? It sucked. There you go. Okay, fine, I'll at least note that Strong won with a Sick Kick. Match Rating: Also? Like, Zero Backbreakers. After the match, one of the mic stands asks Strong about Almas, who apparently called Strong out in his promo last week and maybe I missed it? But Strong don't care, 'cause all he cares about is the NXT championship.
Ember Moon is backstage, and if you were wondering why she hasn't been in the title picture more, I'd guess it's because she's Real Bad at promos. Real Bad. She gets interrupted by Liv Morgan, in what is the most technically incremental level of improvement to a segment I've ever seen. Liv wants a match with Ember Moon for pretty nebulous reasons, possibly because she is deeply interested in having every single member of the NXT women's division beat the ever-loving shit out of her. Let's see if she goes on to challenge Nikki Cross; then we'll know I'm right.
Tye Dillinger comes out to the ring. I haven't actually mentioned it but they were hyping a big announcement from him all night. He's out to answer the question of "what next." He's trying to be very serious about letting people down and never clinching the big wins, but the crowd just loves this guy way too much. They keep interrupting his heartfelt apologies with chants calling for him to be in the Royal Rumble or winning the championship, and guys, just let him sell this angle, will you? He finally gets through his whole bit, and that brings out SAnity? But where's Damo? Eric Young gets the mic, and makes a big pitch for Dillinger to join SAnitY. He even has Wolfe offer Dillinger Sawyer Fulton's old jacket, but Dillinger refuses it, presumably because it's a big old American flag. Do your research, Young! EY's not ready to give up, though. He retrieves the jacket and sends Wolfe back to the ramp to hang out with Cross. Young's got a better pitch; see, Dillinger's been so close, but he could have everything he ever wanted. He just needs to learn the same lesson the Young did. 2016 was supposed to be a big year for Young, but he kept trying to do things "their" way. Now he does things "our" way, and Dillinger could be part of that. Dillinger takes the jacket and starts really considering the offer, and now the crowd's really split; about half of them want Tye to join SAnitY. I do too, but I know better, and sure enough, Young pushes just a bit too hard, making sure that Dillinger knows he's "not asking." That sets things off, and soon enough, Dillinger's trying to fend off all of SAnitY. Well, I say trying, but he's actually doing a great jo...no, wait, there's Damo! The big man spears Dillinger out of his boots, and then sets the Perfect 10 up for a One-Winged Angel! I guess that's also Damo's move? Young offers Damo the jacket, and of course he takes it, despite also not being American. It also clearly doesn't fit, as Damo hangs it over his shoulder. Nikki Cross is absolutely delighted to have Damo on board, and SAnitY celebrates over Dillinger's decimated body.
Big, great segment. Super effective for all parties, everybody looked good, Damo's now in the mix for real and SAnitY's back to full strength. SAnitY's facing somebody that the crowd will boo them for beating up, Dillinger's fighting somebody that he might actually beat, and this might be the best-booked match for Takeover at this point.
From here, we go to the main event match, which will be followed by our main event contract signing. The match between TM 61 and the Revival breaks down almost immediately, but once things get sorted out, the Revival take quick control, just beating the shit out of Shane Thorne with stomps and European uppercuts. Thorne fights back with chops and forearms, managing a backslide for two, but ultimately just gets lucky when he manages a blind tag as the Revival are delivering a Shatter Machine to him. Nick Miller is a house lightly afire, delivering a back suplex before eating a spinebuster from Dash Wilder. Then, a poorly coordinated roll-up steals a win for TM 61. Huh, that was underwhelming. Match Rating: Really, Neither As Good As I Was Hoping Or Expecting. Afterwards, the Revival grab Thorne and just continue to mess him up, working over his leg and trying to cripple him in their trademark style. Miller eventually recovers and runs them off, but the damage is already done.
Meanwhile, bad news for Roderick Strong. He may not be interested in fighting Andrade Almas, but at TO, he will be anyways. And next week, just in time for my Special Super-Sized 100th Recap Spectacular Extravaganza, we're getting Ember Moon vs. Liv Morgan. Thanks NXT, you shouldn't have.
Back to the ring, GM Regal brings out first Bobby Roode and then Shinsuke Nakamura for the official contract signing. Roode promises Regal that there will be no physicality tonight, as he's saving that for the big payday at TO. He lets Nakamura know that he's followed his career for a long time, but that he didn't really feel like Shinsuke was worth his time until Dallas. He says that Nakamura calls himself the King of Strong Style, but really, he has no style. Nakamura cuts him off, and says that he knew their paths would cross someday (Really? It surprised me.), and then calls Roode a shiba inu, which might seem like a weird way to go with this, but actually, Roode does kind of look like a shiba inu. Anyhoo, Nakamura assures Roode that he won't change NXT so long as Nakamura is champion. Roode answers back that the place is already changing, and that even us fans are slowly changing our pathetic lifestyles (Shows what he knows. I'm as pathetic as I've ever been!), and the final change comes at TO when he wins the belt. Honestly, Roode's one Shane Douglas laugh away from just delivering one of his promos from 1996. He goes for his catchphrase, but Nakamura cuts him off, before stealing it to let Roode know that kicking his head off will be GLORIOUS!
Mixed bag of a show this week. I was kind of unreasonably hard on quite a bit of it, but the two major segments really lifted this episode up. I love everything about SAnitY, and their thing with Dillinger just works. Meanwhile, I don't see much upside for the match itself, but the title feud has played out pretty well as an angle. As I've said many times, Bobby Roode is basically a low-rent Shane Douglas (who was himself the most delightfully low-rent Ric Flair possible), but something about that is really working with Nakamura's laissez faire attitude, and Nakamura's English has really, really improved in the last year. His promo tonight was spectacular, and if they are calling him up at Mania time, he's ready to go.
Once again, next week is the Special Super-Sized 100th Recap Spectacular Extravaganza! We'll have special guests, stunning surprises, grand giveaways, and probably actually none of that stuff! It'll be something, though! Some Kind Of Thing! See you then!
Let me say I am in awe of what Zack Gowen has come through and can do in a ring. That said, my problem is that I'm in awe of the fact that it's a one-legged man doing it, not the fact that it's being done.