NXT Review 5/10/17: Strong vs. Itami

NXT MAY 10TH 2017

Aleister Black vs. Cezar Bononi
Bononi looks like a star. He’s also got some kind of MMA background so he’s pretty athletic too. Give it some time for him to figure stuff out and he’s a prime candidate to go through the jobber to featured guy NXT career arc. There were some moments of hesitation that you’d expect from someone of Bononi’s experience level, but there were also some cool striking sequences. And Black’s Black Mass spinkick looked awesome here to get the win, with Bononi selling it perfectly.

Recap of the battle royal for the Womens #1 Contender last week, with Asuka attacking Riot, Cross and Ember to cause the match to be thrown out. They showed the footage of Regal telling Asuka she’d face all three of them in Chicago, with Asuka looking concerned. Footage was then shown of Ember being checked out at the Performance Center and Ember was interviewed, with her arm in a sling, saying she was out of Takeover Chicago, but when she came back she’d be better than ever. So now it’s Asuka versus Cross versus Riot in Chicago.

Strong was shown warming up for the main event backstage.

Pete Dunne versus Tyler Bate for the UK Championship was announced for Chicago as well, with a profile video on Pete Dunne.

Profile video on Ruby Riot. They then aired a sitdown interview with Nikki Cross, of sorts. She spent the entire interview acting strange, messing about with equipment and intimidating the people handling the interview. She did end by cutting a bit of a promo saying she’d draw a line under Ruby and take Asuka’s title in Chicago.

Itami was shown warming up. I don’t know if this was because Takeover’s so close and they realised they had a lot to cram in, but as you can tell, there were a lot of short, scene-setting segments at this point in the show.

Kayla interviewed McIntyre backstage about the number one contenders match. He said it would be a great match but he was disappointed not to be in the mix. Drew said he’d learned in the past few years, if thinks weren’t happening for him, you had to make things happen. Wesley Blake interrupted claiming he deserved a second chance more than Drew and told him to leave, again, before he failed his second chance, leaving when Drew started to step towards him.

Teaser video for “The Velveteen Dream”.

DIY were in the ring for a promo, putting over The Authors Of Pain but saying the AOP had what they wanted and they hadn’t had their rematch yet, so they were the only team who belonged in the ring with the AOP in Chicago. Gargano said the line started behind DIY and referenced Heavy Machinery, but it was Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli who interrupted. Moss said it wasn’t about DIY or the “big fat giants” who lumber around the ring anymore and Sabbatelli, sounding remarkably like Marc Mero, claimed the line started behind them. Sabbatelli was getting a lot of reaction from Full Sail and it seemed pretty mixed. Ciampa said it there was a line then they just crossed it and they jumped Tino and Moss, clearing them out of the ring. A referee came out and apparently we had a match.

DIY vs. Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli
Power versus speed match, with Ciampa being beaten down for much of the match. Moss and Sabbatelli’s offence was pretty limited, but everything they did do at least looked good and they’ve got the look and the charisma. Realistically, they’re men out of time in modern NXT but if they play off that then they’ll get heat. Gargano made a comeback on both guys and hit a dive on Moss with Ciampa holding the ropes. Ciampa hit a knee off the apron to Sabbatelli, even though Sabbatelli was still on the ground. And they finished off Moss with the superkick/knee combo. Regal came out after the match to announce the match for Takeover Chicago, but Ellering interrupted with the AOP and threatened to end DIY’s careers if he made the match. Regal said it was a chance he was willing to take and Ellering said their blood would be on Regal’s hands. As they went to leave, Regal called him back and announced it would be a ladder match. That’s an interesting one.

Kayla interviewed Ohno, asking where he went from here having failed to win the NXT Championship. Ohno said when you fell down you could stay down or get back up. Ohno talked about having to get back up after leaving NXT the first time around, before being interrupted by Almas as he was listing off the guys he’d have to go through in NXT. Almas asked why he bothered to come back and Ohno claimed Almas was squandering his opportunities by caring more about what happened after his matches. He challenged Almas to a match next week and Almas accepted.

Profile video on Tyler Bate.

Christy interviewed Strong before the main event, with him saying this is what he’d worked for and now it was time. Itami was interviewed before his entrance too, saying he respected Strong, but he was going to Takeover Chicago and Strong would go to sleep.

Hideo Itami vs. Roderick Strong
So the reason for so many shorter segments during the show was probably also because this got a decent chunk of time. As you’d expect, they delivered a strong main event. It was fairly methodically paced early on, but it was a lengthy match and you were never far away from a hard strike or a big backbreaker to liven things up. Strong spent a decent portion grounding Itami and stretching out his previously injured shoulder as well. Things picked up in pace towards the end as you’d expect. Plenty of back and forth, but by the end Itami came out looking a decisive winner as he got a few moves in on Strong in a row and Strong could only throw a dazed punch in response, which Itami ducked, hitting the GTS to get the pin. Itami helped Strong up post match in a show of respect.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING: There was quite a bit of filler and as a whole, the episode throws a lot at you. Having a long main event and lots of stuff crammed in before it probably isn’t ideal. Itami and Strong is definitely worth watching. Black’s squash win over Bononi is certainly worth it, even just for the highlight reel moments. DIY’s match was fine too. All the profile videos and Takeover advancement is basically skippable.

NXT WEEK: Kassius Ohno versus Andrade Cien Almas.

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