NXT Review 9/6/17: Empress’s Exit

NXT SEPTEMBER 6TH 2017

Show began with a recap of Itami and Ohno’s feud ahead of their match later.

Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Cezar Bononi
This was a rematch from about three months ago where Bononi upset Almas, leading to Zelina Vega’s introduction. Zelina did commentary on the match. Bononi got a small package on Almas for two and that lead to Almas stepping things up to shut Bononi down. He set up for either the slap or the double knees in the corner, but Zelina yelled at him to finish it instead, so he hit the hammerlock DDT for the win. Bononi’s still green but there’s definitely some potential there. Almas has really righted the ship since his awkward debut and he’s got some real momentum now with Zelina.

Recap of Cole, O’Reilly and Fish jumping McIntyre last week. From his office, Regal said he’d told the three of them they could be a part of NXT, but that all the fighting would place in the ring only.

Christie was outside Asuka’s locker room. We knew it was Asuka’s locker room, because her mask was stuck on the outside of the door. Velveteen Dream interrupted and even though the ambience wasn’t right, he said he saw someone at NXT who needed the experience and he’d speak very soon.

Lars Sullivan vs. Three Guys
Sullivan has a new theme now. Before the match, Sullivan told the referee he wanted all three opponents in the ring at once, instead of them having to tag in. Sullivan then proceeded to start beating them up, until the show cut to recap of Sanity being found laid out last week. No idea what happened here.

Anyway, a weird self filmed Sanity promo aired with Young telling Cole, O’Reilly and Fish that attacking them was a big mistake and Wolfe saying they only cared about chaos.

Zeda vs. Sonya Deville
Fairly quick match. It was going along fine enough, but the finish made it, with Sonya suddenly hitting a lunging knee to the chest and quickly tapping Zeda out with a triangle armbar. Makes sense for Sonya to be getting quick finishes while they’re building her up. She is starting to look more assured too, which she needs with her gimmick.

Burch and Lorcan were shown training at the Performance Center earlier in the day, as a tag team, with Regal watching them and seeming impressed. Ruby showed up and asking for a handicap match against Billie and Peyton. Regal said he couldn’t do that, but he’d put her in a tag match if she found a partner. This was a good use of the Performance Center as a set-piece. Usually it’s Iconic causing trouble and that’s fun too, but this sort of legitimises the idea of the Performance Center on screen beyond it being somewhere rookies learn how to wrestle, plus you used Regal in a unique way as well outside of his office.

No Disqualification Match
Kassius Ohno vs. Hideo Itami
A second strong main event in a row. Itami tried stalling early, which didn’t work out so well, but he took over after causing Hero to land hard on the steel steps. Ohno hurt his arm trying a rolling elbow into a chair only for Itami to throw the chair to block it, but was able to fight back after the break. He managed to hit a big rolling elbow after countering the GTS, but it sent Itami outside. They fought up the ramp, with Itami dropping Ohno on the ramp with a fisherman’s suplex. Itami used the chair on a hesitation dropkick in the corner for two. Itami’s kryptonite, randomly shouting “show me respect” for no reason, bit him though. Ohno blocked the kick low and Itami instead poked him in the eye. He avoided the GTS though and low blowed Itami, before landing another rolling elbow for the win. This was fun. Obviously, both have had way better matches elsewhere, but they’ve rarely had more enjoyable matches in NXT, so to me that’s a positive. I still think both guys have a ways to go in finding some footing in NXT, but this was a step in the right direction and I came out of this way more optimistic on Ohno than I had been.

The show closed with Regal bringing out Asuka. Asuka said she’d been in NXT for almost two years and she’d fought so many great superstars. She said she loved NXT and was grateful. Regal complimented her and called her one of the greatest champions in WWE history, before announcing that Asuka had begun negotiating with Raw and Smackdown Live. Interestingly, Full Sail popped for this rather than booing, which was nice. They reacted less happily about Regal explaining that she was stepping down as NXT Champion, but it was short lived. Asuka said nobody was ready for her and the rest of the women’s division came out onto the stage, followed by other members of the male roster as well. Asuka said that wherever she went, NXT would go with her. Ember stepped out of the crowd on the stage and came to the ring, with Ember faking her out on a handshake ala their Takeover build before the two hugged. HHH then came to the ring and presented Asuka with flowers. He also gave her a last introduction as the undefeated, 523 day reigning champion. I’m sure people have mixed feelings on Asuka vacating the title rather than losing it. Personally, I’ve no problem with it. But either way, this send-off was handled about as well as it could have been.

 

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: Ohno and Itami delivered a fun main event and the Asuka segment is a key one, not to mention a really well done send-off. The other two matches that actually fully aired were solid showcases as well.

NXT WEEK: Pete Dunne defending the UK Championship against Wolfgang and Iconic versus Ruby Riot and a partner of her choosing.

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