NXT JULY 5TH 2017
Strong was shown arriving earlier in the day with his family.
Kassius Ohno and Hideo Itami vs. Sanity (Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain)
Solid tag match that turned into more of a story progression by the end. Itami was cut off for much of the match. Wolfe distracted Ohno when Itami finally went to make a tag, then Itami made his own comeback shortly afterwards and ignored Ohno when he asked for the tag. Ohno argued with Itami a bit before being knocked off the apron. Itami then hit the GTS to Wolfe, but Dain had tagged in and pinned Itami after a running crossbody. They sold it that Wolfe knew the blind tag was coming so willing took the GTS, which was a neat touch.
They showed Ember being interviewed by ‘media’ at the Performance Center. And by media, they meant unidentified hands holding microphones towards her. They asked if she was ready to challenge Asuka again and she said she was. Ruby Riot stopped training in the ring behind her and disagreed, saying Ember and Nikki had their chances, she hadn’t and that’s what she was training for, because it was her time. Ember said she’d take on anyone who stepped in her warpath.
Recap of Asuka/Nikki from last week. They showed a tweet from Asuka, saying she’d be back on NXT when they found a worthy opponent for her.
Christy interviewed McIntyre about the NXT Title match. He said it’d be a fantastic match, but next time they had this conversation, they’d be talking about his title match not someone else’s. He named off former NXT Champions who people pointed to as the next guy to lead the industry and that’s why he came there, he needed to add his name to that lineage. Christy brought up Killian Dain expressing interest in the title, which was news to me but okay. Drew said it didn’t matter if it was Roode, Strong or Dain, all roads lead to him as NXT Champion.
Recap of Ciampa turning on Gargano at Takeover and Gargano was announced to return next week.
Kayla interviewed Peyton and Billie at the Performance Center. They didn’t want to talk about the Mae Young Classic and claimed they’d disrespected because nobody else celebrated Billie’s birthday. This was all a set-up for Almas to be shown arguing with the lady friend who slapped him in the parking lot four weeks ago in the background. Kayla tried to talk to Almas and figure out who it was, but he walked off.
Recap of the Mae Young Classic qualifier that Bianca BelAir won against Aliyah, which WWE put on Youtube.
They aired the Roode/Strong package from last week before Kayla interviewed Strong before his entrance. Strong simply said victory was on his mind. Roode was also interviewed, saying Strong had been living a fairytale the past few weeks but he was going to be standing across the ring from his reality.
Bobby Roode (c) vs. Roderick Strong
Good main event with a great finish. They had Strong’s mother and fiancee sitting in the front row for reaction shots. Roode struggled early on, with Strong hitting a number of backbreakers. Turning point was Strong getting his leg caught between the steps and the post as he was going after Roode on the outside and Roode kicking the steps, leading to him focusing on the knee. Strong eventually fought back into things and managed a few near falls, despite being hobbled. Strong countered the Glorious DDT into a double knee gutbuster for a two count and used a backbreaker across the top turnbuckle for another two after Roode had rolled outside. Roode then hit a Glorious DDT after Strong had almost hit the referee with an errant knee, but Strong kicked out of it. That got Roode hot and he yelled at Strong’s fiancee. Strong hit a flurry of offence and the suplex into a backbreaker for the three, but Roode’s foot was under the bottom rope. Strong was already celebrating but the referee called it off and with Strong distracted, Roode knocked him off the apron into the barrier, following up with a Glorious DDT on the floor, in front of his family. A second Glorious DDT in the ring then got the pin. Strong hugged his family afterwards. This was all really effective. Match really picked up as it went along and the crowd were really buying a title change here after the Glorious DDT kickout. You have to play the long game with Roode matches, but there’s no denying it pays off in the end and the finishes always have some kind of interest and pay-off. As a heel champion, he’s doing a great job and he’s managing to win in underhanded ways without them coming across as cheap wins or complete flukes. He wins clean in the middle with his finisher, it’s just how he gets there. Hopefully the finish leaves a rematch on the table.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING: The tag match was decent and had some story progression, as well as a pretty clever finish. A good half of the show was focused on Roode and Strong though and the match delivered.
NXT WEEK: Johnny Gargano returns and I’m pretty sure Heavy Machinery versus The AOP is supposed to happen, although there was no mention of it on this show.