NXT MAY 31ST 2017
After years without a theme change, they’ve got another new intro, for the second time in less than two months. Not sure why, I quite liked the (old) new one. This one is a bit shouty.
The show started with Ciampa making his way out on crutches, without an introduction. He got a mixed reaction and dueling chants, which turned more into boos when he started speaking. He called Gargano out for an explanation, but it was a tease because Gargano wasn’t there. Ciampa said he’d learned a lot of life lessons and talked about suffering an injury before Takeover and the speculation over whether he’d be able to compete. Ciampa said he never questioned it, but the fans were already talking in hypotheticals, replacing him with dream partners for Gargano. He said it took less than one day for people to replace him, but he wasn’t a damn afterthought. Ciampa then claimed he put the injury aside, but he took a fall during the ladder match and something in his knee popped. He knew he was injured and was going to go away for a long time, but he kept on fighting. After the match though, he knew Gargano was going to replace him. He blamed the fans and Gargano for ruining something special with DIY and it he was going to go away for a long time, so was Gargano. Takeover Chicago was supposed to be their moment, but it turned out to be his moment. Ciampa said he wasn’t replaceable and nor was Gargano, but the fans were and he didn’t need them. He promised that when he returned, he’d be the most dangerous son of a bitch in NXT and he was professional wrestling whether they liked it or not. I like the justification for the turn. Makes sense and it’s legitimate.
Profile video on Danny Burch ahead of his match.
They announced Ciampa was going in for knee surgery, but there was no medical update on Gargano. They then showed Roode being driven to the arena earlier in the day, saying that there would be a celebration, but we weren’t invited and he’d be back on NXT next week. Seems odd that you’d hype that last week and then do this, definitely seems like a change of plans as opposed to this being the plan.
Pete Dunne vs. Danny Burch
This turned out to be a really competitive, really good match. Burch got to look like a threat and got at least three close nearfalls on Dunne during the course of the match. Dunne of course came out with the win after a german into the corner and the Bitter End, but they got time and the chance to impress. Fair to say the crowd weren’t quite as lively as the Chicago crowd were for Dunne and Bate, but that’s not on the performers. Hopefully Burch gets a little more to do once the UK show gets going, I can’t claim to have watched his touted indie work but he’s clearly got some value beyond only putting over the stars.
Dunne cut a promo afterwards saying he’d had to watch some boy carry a championship that belonged to him since January. At Takeover, it was his pleasure to take the title from Bate and claimed history would remember that the UK brand truly started when the title and everything that came with it was owned by him.
Kayla tried to interview Velveteen Dream. He cut off her first question, saying the ambience wasn’t right and he needed everything to be perfect. He said if they fixed that, and Kayla, then maybe he’d do an interview.
Hype video for The AOP, with a voiceover from Ellering, showing them beating American Alpha, The Revival and DIY, ending with Ellering saying the Book of Pain had been closed and the Book of Dominance had opened.
Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Cezar Bononi
Almas jumped Bononi on the bell with a dropkick and was on top from there. Bononi tried and failed to fight back into things, but when he went for a suplex, Bononi was able to counter with a small package for the upset win. I didn’t see it coming, but I don’t have a big problem with it, it fits with the character they’re going with for Almas and I can see what they potentially see in Bononi. Almas threw a fit afterwards, but then calmed down pretty quickly and suddenly didn’t seem all that bothered about losing.
Another video of Peyton and Billie causing problems at the Performance Center aired, from earlier in the day. They were talking about changes they wanted to make to the Center when Ember walked by. They claimed she ruined their video and had a go at her, but quietened down when a trainer came up to Ember with a medical release form for her to sign. Ember said she’d see them soon. They then announced Asuka versus Nikki versus Ruby in a triple threat elimination match in two weeks.
They showed the video from WWE.com from after Itami’s loss to Roode at Takeover, where he tore up the dressing room in frustration and Ohno tried to calm him down, but Itami, apparently, swore at him. A lot. Itami and Ohno were then shown earlier in the day outside the building, shaking hands.
Kassius Ohno and Roderick Strong vs. Sanity (Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe w/Killian Dain)
Sanity struggled early, until Dain tripped Ohno on the apron and allowed them to take over. Ohno was cut off for some time, with Dain getting involved again at one point. Ohno was finally able to make a tag and Roddy made a big comeback. Strong looked great here. After a nearfall a-piece for both teams, Ohno cut off Wolfe to prevent a double team and when Young called for Dain to interfere instead, No Way Jose ran out and pulled him off the apron. Ohno cut off Wolfe again and Strong hit End Of Heartache to Young for the win. Solid tag match, it really picked up when Strong came in and Jose’s return got a big reaction.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING: Both Dunne/Burch and the main event were enjoyable matches this week. From a story perspective, Ciampa’s promo and Almas’s loss were the main advancements. The show as a whole felt like it had a lot less filler and dragged a lot less than the past couple of weeks, probably because there was a longer match in the middle of the show to go with the main event, so all in all a watchable episode.
NXT WEEK: Hideo Itami versus Oney Lorcan.