- Before the credits rolls, exclusive footage of Bobby Roode being a dick in the car park. Riveting.
McIntyre def. Maluta
An important streak continues as Sean Maluta is still yet to win a televised match on WWE television. The crowd that are responding are behind Drew. The structure of this match was quite fascinating as Drew would dominate but leave opportunities for Maluta to fight back, only to no-sell or just slightly sell his offence with the former TNA & EVOLVE Champion eventually having bullied Maluta enough that he hit a slightly modified finisher as he did his corner stomps only to hit a Yakuza Kick in place of his previous Big Boot. It did the job of continuing to remind us McIntyre is a big lad but its unclear at this point if the faint apathy to McIntyre's performances is a character trait or just the man feeling bored that they aren't giving him any challenges.
- After the match, Kayla interviewed McIntyre on the ramp about Wesley Blake. Apparently, they're going to have a match next week. Hooray.
- There's a re-cap of the post-show events of last week with SaNItY attacking Roddy. From there, we go to a promo from Eric Young. It's brief but it establishes its purpose and continues to sell their crust-punk wasteland scavenger vibe well while avoiding the spooky absurdism of the Wyatt Family's laziest promos.
- There's a nice Hideo Itami video package to build to his match on Saturday, focusing on his big debut, beating up both of The Ascension.
- Following that, a re-cap video of Tyler Bate & Pete Dunne in the UKCT with some new interview footage. Finally, NXT acknowledge that Bate has had his birthday.
- The Velveteen Dream.
- And another Itami package. This time looking at his first GTS in NXT.
- Asuka's interviewed in a taxi. She is cocky about everything and refuses to answer questions. Asuka takes as many pins as shits she gives.
Deville def. Evans
This was set-up as an interesting clash of personae as in one corner is the showboating pin-up Lacey Evans against the no frills MMA fighter, Sonya Deville. Similar to the first match, Deville controlled proceedings from the off, showcasing her shootfighter style with strikes and bodyscissors. Eventually Evans would get a brief comeback only for Deville to cut her off and hit a standing Shining Wizard for the win. With the WWE Women's Classic coming up soon, it's worth noting that it was shiny but not the shiniest. Not a bad match but a very quick one which didn't do much for either women really.
- Now That's What I Call Hideo Itami 3: Itami interrupts Roode and hits him with a GTS
Ohno def. Almas
The former Chris Hero took on the former La Sombra in what as far as my research shows, is a first time televised encounter. Ohno modelled a delightful pinstripe Orlando Magic-esque number, Almas was in a white waistcoat with another white waistcoat over it. Lad. Ohno tried to actually wrestle Almas but he's too Tranquilo. The two men ran the ropes, flipping over each other, ...dive out of the ring by Almas, Ohno was about to follow him out with big lad Tope but Almas dodged so instead we got a pretty somersault onto the apron and a big boot to Almas. Cien would take control of the action to send us into the ad-break and when he come back, he's still in control. Nigel McGuinness awkwardly mentions that Cien is Ingobernable, well done Nige. A fine section of Heel control saw Almas hit a slightly sloppy rope-hung armbar, a top rope dropkick into a fujiwara armbar, you see Ohno can't elbow him if his elbow doesn't work. Smart. Corner strikes by Ohno, he would go for the running corner stop and slap but Ohno has watched an Almas match and knew that would happen so kicks him in the chest because he ain't nothing to mess with. A spinning neckbreaker, kip-up, elbow, a rather larger than normal boot & a moonsault attempt by Ohno but Almas got out of the way and hit a elbow drop/backbreaker combo for a two count. The final stretch of the match had a nice, frantic quality as Almas tried to hit a big move to put away Hero, only for him to continually reverse including managing to prevent an attempt at Almas' Hammerlock DDT. Some painful looking strikes from both on the top rope lead to Almas hitting a Tornado Inverted DDT for a one count! Almas is surprised that didn't get him the win pumping kick & two Death by Elbows and it's goodnight Almas. This was Ohno's best NXT match and Almas' best since he faced Cedric Alexander. A nice, crisp strong-style encounter showing the 'new style' of NXT as lead by Nakamura and now shown by others by Black, Lorcan, Itami & McIntyre but with just enough flips to pop Full Sail & piss off Rip Rogers.
- On the post-Takeover NXT, Aleister Black will kick someone in the head and Drew McIntyre will kick a specific head in the form of Wesley Blake. If you feel like you've read this before, this is basically the same thing that happened a few weeks ago on NXT but with Almas in place of Blake.
- In case you'd forgotten, here's a re-cap package for last week's main event. They're all in on the Itami hype train.
Roode addresses the NXT Universe
Roode came out and did his best Gob Bluth impression as he questions if anyone believes that Itami is going to beat him? The man in the $5000 dollar suit? Come on! Roode does a solid job using old-school heel promo tactics to try and get the crowd against him while also bigging himself up, which is important as it's still quite hard to boo a man with a theme as 'Glorious' as his. Eventually Itami would come out in his fighting pyjamas, perhaps he's planning to Go To Sleep after the show (HAHAHAHA!). Regal would try to hold him back and prevent this from turning into a fight and any injury happening to his security who are just trying to earn a living. Itami escaped from their control, spearing Roode and wailing upon him, the security would restrain him giving Roode time to get away but sadly for the security, Itami had a message to send and beat up the three of them, hitting GTS' on two. Roode came back into the ring for a sneak attack but Itami managed to pick him up for the GTS. A neat segment that achieved its aim of setting up Itami as a worthy challenger to Roode. Of course, we all knew that and it had already been achieved by the No.1 Contender's Match last week but still, it managed to get some heat back on Roode which is definitely necessary.
The fact that NXT is able to do as much as it does with only 1/3 of the time of Monday Night RAW or 1/2 of SmackDown: Live is astounding. Not only did this week manage to build up the stakes of its Women's and UK title matches but it legitimised its Main Event further, built to what could be a superb singles encounter between Eric Young & Roderick Strong and even set up matches for the post-Takeover NXT which as you all may know, is normally the holding pattern within which complacency and tedium sits. I did have to mark it down because, beyond Almas v Ohno, the actual in-ring action was relatively uninspiring though it did present enough promise in Evans &Deville to suggest a future rematch with some form of story or stakes behind it could be impressive. Now if only NXT could do something with its Tag division...
ATPW Scale Rating: 5.1/10