Saturday, 13 May 2017

WWE NXT #247 Review (Aired 10/05/2017)


On 10th April, WWE aired the 247th episode of NXT, taped at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida on 19th April. The show's main event was a clash between Roderick Strong and Hideo Itami to determine a new Number One Contender for Bobby Roode's NXT Title. With action also featuring Aleister Black, Johnny Gargano, Tommasso Ciampa, Riddick Moss, Tino Sabatelli and something called a Cezar Bononi, let's find out how good it was...


Black def. Bononi



Aleister would take on Cezar Bononi in a surprisingly competitive encounter with the two trading strikes briefly before Black would hit the Black Mass for the win. When I say surprisingly competitive, I mean because this one actually suggested for a brief second that Black isn't bulletproof. I don't believe them, I think the man formerly known as Tommy End could scare the shit out of bullets. Black has the crowd in the palm of his hand and I think the WWE realise they have something special here, part of me hopes he doesn't have a proper match for a while because Black murdering people with a single kick is too damn entertaining.
  • We are shown a recap of the madness of last week's Battle Royal but then cut to the disheartening confirmation that Ember Moon was legit injured and won't be at Takeover: Chicago. Still, a Triple Threat should still be a lot of fun.
  • After the announcement of Tyler Bate v Pete Dunne at Takeover: Chicago, we get a brief video package to remind anyone who's forgotten who that beautiful bastard Pete Dunne is.
  • We get a video package looking at Ruby Riot. What we learn is she has tattoos, she's getting a new one and that she's a really good wrestler.
  • Nikki Cross has an odd segment where she tries to apply a sleeper hold on a man for attaching a microphone to her and then she does more crazy stuff like muttering and not answering questions. Cross sells the material well but it teaches us nothing new.
  • Drew McIntyre is ludicrously tall in comparison to the woman interviewing him. Wesley Blake would interrupt telling McIntyre that he deserves his spotlight. Blake doesn't even deserve Blake's spotlight as that belongs to Murphy.
  • So many bullet-points. But yeah, Patrick Clark, the Velveteen Dream, seriously Patrick, we have you and Nakamura as the artist FKA, we can't have two Prince wrestlers. There can only be one.


#DIY def. Sabatelli & Moss



Tommaso Ciampa, with a sweet bandana, and Johnny Gargano, with just his already sweet facial hair, were in the ring giving a promo making it clear that because they're owed their tête-à-tête rematch against the Authors of Pain and that the line starts behind them till out come Riddick Moss and Tino Sabatelli to inform them that in fact now that they're here the line starts behind them. I have two questions: 1. Is the line the NXT equivalent of RAW's yard? 2. Why would Moss & Sabatelli, a team with 1 televised match that they lost be anywhere near the front? Without answering either of my questions exactly, #DIY would knock the big American Football lads out of the ring and in doing so, apparently, start a match, look Tom Phillips said Regal just made it official so that's how it works, alright? Anyway, the match itself was a little lacking with Moss & Sabatelli, while this is developmental, still searching for the necessary villainy to enliven the early villainous control segment though Ciampa does fill the Sicillian-Psychopath-In-Peril role well. The match is enlivened by a beautiful hot tag sequence by Gargano including all the hits and by all the hits I mean he does that Springboard Apron-to-Ring Spear thing. The face team would eventually get the win hitting Meet in the Middle on Moss for the pin. While a pretty dull match overall, it did wonders to showcase that the virtue of a pairing like Gargano & Ciampa is that they can both fill any role required with the two men swapping hot tags every so often and are truly still the most versatile team in NXT.

  • Post-match William Regal congratulates #DIY on being great, he says they can have their rematch. Paul Ellering and his nihilist murder boys come out and say such things will result in death, Regal announces it will be a ladder match.
  • Kassius Ohno is also a very tall man. He does a practically beat-for-beat recreation of the Drew interview earlier with Almas filling in the Wesley Blake role. Lad. Next week: Ohno v Almas.
  • Tyler Bate gets a video package too. You can tell it's just recycled footage from the last time we saw this package as he says he's only 19 and last I checked, he had his 20th Birthday in March. Then again, they also refused to acknowledge the existence of the UK Title match at PROGRESS Orlando a few weeks back so it's par for the course.
  • Roderick Strong gets a quick pre-entrance promo saying this is why he's here and this is what he's worked for.
  • Hideo gets one as well saying that Roderick is a great man but this is what he's working for and Roderick will be going to sleep. 


Itami def. Strong to become No.1 Contender




If you were wondering if Itami had been slowed down by his repeated injuries, going to war with Strong for over fifteen minutes shows he hasn't missed a step better than any number of quick squash matches could. While the two men haven't faced off in singles competition since May 2009 at an ROH on HDNet taping, they have exceptional chemistry, the kind that makes you think that should Itami win next week, a rematch for the title would not be something I'd say no to. The early sections of the match saw the two men going hold-for-hold with each other, testing strength, trading pinning combinations and generally sizing each other up. Itami would take over and control the action with a combination of kicks, strikes and a very rare thing: a headlock that actually looks painful. Just before the first of two ad-breaks, Itami would attempt to hit the GTS only for Strong to escape and roll out of the ring. Back from the break and Itami is back in the control with more kicks and headlocks, a frequent feature of the match that NEVER GETS OLD (you think I'm being sarcastic, it genuinely never does) throwing in some old faves like his running fake-out apathetic heel kick and three insanely stiff looking gut-shots. This would keep going until Itami attempts a suplex, only for Strong to finally hit R2 and get a reversal as he drops Itami on the ropes gut first, gets in some slaps of his own, a backbreaker, wears down that injured shoulder of Itami before hitting the first of many near-perfect false finishes of the match as Itami escapes briefly, Strong would hit him with a big boot to the shoulder for a close two count. The two men would trade back-and-forth with Itami kicking some more (seriously, never gets old), Strong hitting a beautiful standing dropkick, until Roddy is able to catch Itami and drop him backbreaker-style onto the ring apron to send us off to ad-break 2. From here on out, the match went insane, throwing out the expected structure with the two men just trying to hit that one big move to put the other away even going for one of the more convincing double-clothesline spots I've seen as both men put in superb performances full of desire and desperation. The finest section of the match would see Strong hit an ankle slam for a two count, Itami coming back with his quick slaps combination, sending Strong to the corner, Strong would catch Itami running at him for a single-leg dropkick into another pumphandle backbreaker, Strong placed Itami on the top rope for a superplex, the two traded strikes trying to take control till Itami hit a top-rope falcon arrow and somehow Strong did not die. After a high knee by Strong, the closing stretches of the match saw Strong and Itami frantically trading reversals in an attempt to find a finish to the match till Itami was able to find the GTS and get the pin. Even though there was a certain feeling that both men could do even better, they still produced a fantastic encounter, not quite the MOTY contender that other NXT Number 1 Contenders Matches like Joe v Zayn all night long but certainly a great symbol of the virtues of just letting great wrestlers wrestle and also a great way of both showcasing both wrestlers with both leaving looking so much better for participating.



Finally...


I couldn't rate this week's edition much lower than this because the main event was so damn good, especially with McGuinness able to provide a valuable insight having worked classics with both men in their ROH days, but the rest of the show was a little lacking. It's necessary sometimes to have this done to maneuver the show into the right position before Takeover but it did show a lack of effort in that #DIY's promo work was compelling as was their interplay with Moss & Sabatelli but the match was plodding for its short time and did little to enhance #DIY and less to showcase the younger team. Equally, while Black kicking people in the head is great, without any real plans or storylines on the horizon for the Dutch Metal Headkicker, they seem to just be filling time. If the plan is to work Takeover to Takeover, that's fine but at this point, NXT can afford to do a little longer term planning.

ATPW Scale Rating: 5/10

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