Review: NXT Takeover Chicago

NXT Takeover you’ve done it again! Another good show, with one exceptionally great match. I always say that while I don’t look forward to Takeovers as much as I used to, I still expect them to be a good show and I was not disappointed.

The Chicago crowd were as raucous as you’d expect. A friend of mine suggested that WWE should exclusively tour in Chicago and the UK to always have great crowds, he’s not wrong. Great crowds can make good wrestling great and great wrestling phenomenal. The Chicago crowd were specifically good last night though for one reason in my mind because they didn’t try to make the show about themselves but they were loud and appreciative. At one point they even booed a section trying to do a CM Punk chant! Finally!

While I still miss Corey Graves on commentary, Nigel McGuinness is absolutely brilliant. He has a calm, confident and knowledgeable style of his commentary. He’s able to do the play-by-play and the colour commentary depending on who he is working with. Excellent addition to the team. Percy Watson was okay, I still don’t think a third man is necessary when you have the underrated Tom Phillips and McGuinness but that’s fine.

Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young

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Roderick Strong finally started to show what he was all about in Chicago.

This was the first time I’ve been really impressed with Roderick Strong since he came to NXT. WWE have been running some vignettes for Strong which have given him detail and more meaning. Something for fans to get behind, rather than just being ‘Roderick Strong from the indies’.

A good opener, made better by a hot crowd fully behind Roderick Strong as he finally got a chance to show what he can do on a Takeover stage. I had predicted that this feud might go a similar route to Tye Dillinger versus Sanity, being constantly put down by the numbers game match after match but I’m delighted he got the win and looked so impressive in doing so. The NXT Title picture is going to be stacked soon!

WWE UK Championship
Tyler Bate (c) vs. Pete Dunne

 

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Tyler Bate made an aeroplane spin look like a deadly manoeuvre. If Dunne had lost there and then I would have accept it. 

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant match. Match of the night without a doubt, nothing else was even close to it. Sensational work by Bate and Dunne. A match of the year candidate for WWE for sure.

 

Honestly this match was incredible and the Chicago fans ate up every last-minute of it. This match had it all; hard-hitting action, drama, despair, reversals and an aeroplane spot that genuinely looked like it could have won a match. It rightly earned ‘this is awesome’ chants (which are given out far too willingly these days, ‘fight forever chants’, chants of ‘UK, UK, UK’ and ‘holy shit!’ as well as TWO standing ovations for near falls.

This match could have gone either way, the back and forth was awesome. In the end Pete Dunne managed to avoid a dive to the outside by Bate, throw him back into the ring and hit him with the ‘Bitter End’ to win. A rematch at some point down the line is inevitable and I for one am already looking forward to it.

If you only have time to watch one match from this weekend, make it this one.

NXT Women’s Championship
Asuka (c) vs. Ruby Riot vs. Nikki Cross

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Asuka is holding onto her title by her finger tips at times.

Understandably the crowd were a little worn out from the previous match and were noticeably quieter for this one. That coupled with the fact that there was a 0% chance of Asuka losing her title in a triple threat match.

 

The match had a couple of good spots as well, specifically Nikki Cross trapping Asuka in the ring apron and unleashing a barrage of punches in her direction. While the finish itself was a little flat, I don’t think the fans expected that to be the end really the story is a good one though. Asuka is getting desperate to keep hold of her title and cracks are starting to show in her armour. These are no longer the dominate victories from a year ago. In the end, she took advantage of a situation as Riot and Cross basically took each other out of the equation. Their disdain for each other being their downfall.

NXT Championship
Bobby Roode (c) vs. Hideo Itami

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Who will be the man to defeat Bobby Roode for the NXT Title? McIntyre? Strong? Cole?!

I’m not sure how I feel about the NXT Championship match (or Women’s) not being on last but I suppose if any division deserves to main event in NXT it would be the Tag Team division. After all, its been sensational for years now.

This was another good NXT Championship match for Bobby Roode. I think he’s brilliant personally and despite the fact that he plays an arrogant heel he actually wins his matches fairly. The two Glorious DDT’s to end the match were beautiful as well, I loved him not letting go and just moving straight into the second to finish the job.

I’m not sure where Itami goes from here to be honest. Maybe a heel turn but who would that be against? 205 Live perhaps? Or maybe they will just try to rebuild him as a top star on NXT and hope that he can stay injury free.

I’ve got to sing the praises of the Chicago crowd once again as they booed a section of the crowd chanting ‘CM Punk’ after Itami hit the ‘GTS’. Finally, we might have turned a corner on the CM Punk chants. I hope so at least.

NXT Tag Team Championship
The Authors of Pain vs. #DIY

A really good tag team main event, granted maybe not as good as previous tag team matches of Takeover’s but still very good. The crowd was again fully behind #DIY and were devastated when they didn’t win. I thought before the match that the reason for the ladder match stipulation was for #DIY to win but not have The Authors of Pain lose by pin fall or submission. Instead the dominate and destructive path of The AOP continues on, who can possibly stop them now?

How Johnny Gargano didn’t come away with a serious injury is beyond me. First he takes a nasty fall from the top of a ladder almost landing on his head. Then he takes a ladder straight to the face. It looked brutal, it must have been brutal!

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Unexpected, heartbreaking and perfectly timed. Ciampa turns on his best friend.

Then just as the end slate appeared in the bottom left hand corner of the screen indicating the end of the show, Ciampa attacked Gargano.

A perfectly timed heel turn, when very few expected it or wanted it. Instead it was like a knife to the heart as Ciampa assaulted Gargano after the match. Had they done this last year, I believe it would have received cheers as people were excited about the potential feud. Now though, people just wanted to see them succeed as a tag team. Granted we’re still going to get great matches and a hopefully awesome feud but still, man… that sucked. Why Ciampa, why?

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