Thursday, 31 August 2017

WWE NXT #263 Review (Aired 30th August 2017)

On 30th August, WWE aired its 263rd episode of NXT, taped at Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida on 23rd August. The show's main event saw the recently dethroned one-time NXT champion Bobby Roode take on Roderick Strong. The undercard involved action from Peyton Royce, Ruby Riot and Heavy Machinery. An undeniably decent line-up for sure, but was it any good?

Drew McIntyre says words like.

Drew comes out looking like at least one million Scottish pounds, he says that this is what his life has been leading to but he's aware that the title is a target as he's already been attacked but that he's putting everyone on notice, it's his world and if they want a shot at the champ all they have to do is step into the ring, look him in the eye and ask him to fight. Out comes Roderick Strong with his tiny boots, he wants to be the first to congratulate Drew but also agrees that he is the target, he saw what happened at TakeOver: Brooklyn III but he doesn't care, he just cares about his family and that title. After he beats Bobby Roode, he wants a title shot. Drew is impressed, he says Strong stepped up like a man, he hopes he's ready to get knocked out like a man. Solid stuff, short, to the point, got the job done. After these two's last match just two weeks ago, a re-match with a less screwy finish could be marvellous.

  • A repeat of last week's interview with Bobby Roode is played. I love the idea that someone who's watching NXT for the first time might think this feud is based on Bobby Roode not liking that Strong blew him a kiss.
  • It's confirmed that Asuka has relinquished her title and will be at NXT next week to talk about what's next - misleading salmon pink suit time?

Peyton Royce (w/ Billie Kay) def. Ruby Riot

Full Sail is split in its support for both women, how many times do I have to say it? Boo the heels, Royce is out for revenge after Riot beat Kay a few weeks back. Lock-up to begin and Riot powers Royce to the corner, Royce fights back and starts talking shit but Riot doesn't take shit and traps her in a side headlock, Royce breaks out and hits a headscissors, Riot escapes and hits a dropkick for a 2 count. Ruby grounds Royce but before she can do anything Royce takes her out with a kick, Royce begins working over RIot and sends her out of the ring for an ad break. After the break, Royce has her back in the ring in a headlock and begins slapping the former SHIMMER tag team champion, but the slaps just make her angrier and Riot begins to run... riot (you've used that joke now Joe, you can never use it again) hitting clotheslines, kicks, a dropkick and a corner superkick for a 2 count. Riot goes up top but Royce gets up there, Riot says 'nahh' and pushes her off but Royce hits a lovely spinning heel (boo the heels) kick and a death valley driver for a very close 2 count. Royce goes for another kick but Riot dodges and hits a powerbomb for another close 2. Kay pulls Royce out for some air but RIot takes them both out like a bullet with a lope suicido, as the two competitors are climbing back in the ring, some heel shenanigans with the ring apron and a big boot from Billie Kay lead to Riot being rolled back in, Royce hits her Bridging Fishermans Suplex for the pin. This was a lovely, little match that made the most of the time given and did a lot to showcase Royce and how much she's improved. The heel shenanigans stop Riot losing too much with the loss even if it was probably a 70/30 split of offence in Royce's favour. There was nothing here you haven't seen before but it was all delivered crisply with a decent amount of thought for structure. A win over Riot also puts Royce probably in the conversation for a chance to claim that vacant Women's title.

  • William Regal is in his office being interviewed about the string of attacks in NXT recently, in comes Kassius Ohno who says he's all healed up and wants Hideo Itami next week and he wants him in a No DIsqualifications match. William Regal agrees. Someone's losing their heads.

Heavy Machinery def. Damian Awheel & Edwin Nagrom

Quick squash mate, you know what what happened. Dosevic hits things, tags in Knight, he gets some offense, the other two briefly work over Knight, he fights back, does big things, tag in Dosevic, they do their tag moves and get the win. I missed a lot of this fight trying to look up the names of their competitors for this. It was fun for what it was, I guess.

  • A re-cap of Lars Sullivan doing a murder on No Way Jose is played.
  • Lars Sullivan getting told off by NXT Headteacher Regal, as he's beaten up three partners, he's going to face three men next week.
  • Also next week: Andrade 'Cien' Almas vs Cezar Bononi. 

Roderick Strong def. Bobby Roode

There is a crowd feeling that this might be Roode's last NXT match as he gets 'thank you, Bobby' chants. Bobby is taunting Roddy saying 'you think you can beat me, this is my NXT', before he can say 'glorious' Roddy takes him down. Roode fights back working, yes, corner chops, the two trade strikes with Roddy going for, yes, a backbreaker, but Roode escapes, works a grounded headlock, on their feet, Roode hits some shoulder tackles but Strong hits a beautiful dropkick, Roode manages to fight off Strong in the corner but Strong is having none of it and hits two backbreakers. On the apron and the two trade strikes, Roode sends Strong into the ring-post, on the floor, Strong goes for a backbreaker but is sent into the steps, Roode runs into a big boot from Strong but Strong runs into a spinebuster to go the ad break. Back from the break and Roode hits a neckbreaker for a 2 count. Bobby begins choking out Strong before hitting a backbreaker of his own, you do not break the back of the breaker of backs, taunting Roddy, he works him over on the floor, Strong tries to fight back but gets a whip to the corner for his effort, keeping him grounded with a stretch, powering out, Roddy hits a boot to the gut but Roode hits a Manhattan drop, Roode escapes and hits a massive gutbuster but is so damaged Roode is up first, trading strikes, a running lariat by Strong, massive strikes in the corner, backbreaker for a 2. Suplex set-up tiger bomb into a boston crab but Roode crawls to the ropes. Roddy goes out for a second to catch his breath and comes back in to a TKO and a 2 count. Trading strikes, a spinebuster by Roode who calls for the Glorious DDT but Strong hits an Olympic slam, running high knee and an over shoulder throw for a 2. Roode goes to the ropes and uses them to stun Strong, Roode up top, Strong fights back, gets pushed off but responds with an enziguri into a crunchy superplex for a close 2 count. More trading strikes, Roddy almost jumps straight into the ref but instead runs into a Glorious DDT but is able to get his foot on the ropes. Roode begins telling Strong he is an embarrassment to his family, he'll never be as good as him but Strong says 'm sorry, I couldn't hear you with all those knees in your face, drops the knee pad hits a Lumbar Check Backbreaker but picks up Bobby, blows him a kiss goodbye and hits another Lumbar Check Backbreaker for the pin. This was very good, just shy of great match. The two men didn't have all the time in the world but what they had they used to maximum effect with Roode delivering one of his best performances in his WWE run so far. In a shocking turn of events, I actually think maybe the match could have done with more time to flesh out its ending stretch as there did seem to be a bit of a hurry to get done in time for the show to end but the final image of Roddy's kiss goodbye did work well. This is another important and convincing victory for Strong who if he continues to perform like this should be holding that shiny gold NXT belt soon. Talking of the shiny gold belt...

  • Out comes Drew who points at Roddy and his title but then out come team Ring of Honor for the attack, they take out security and run away before Regal can shout at them, they declare this is their NXT. I can't help but notice Roderick Strong didn't try to help. I really hope they aren't going to do the same thing they did with AJ Styles and the Club last year and keep asking 'Roddy was in Ring of Honor, is he on their side?'

ATPW Scale Rating: 5.3/10

A marked improvement over last week with some good set-up for next week and a nearly incredible main event with a fitting possible send-off for Roode's tenure in NXT. It'll be interesting to see how things progress going forward with Team ROH attacking everyone and the taunts of Roderick Strong possibly joining, could we see a Roddy heel turn? COuld we be building to a TakeOver Team NXT vs Team ROH Survivor Series match? Who knows but I am certainly intrigued to find out.

Article by Jozef Raczka (@NotJozefRaczka)

25 Years Since SummerSlam hit the UK - The Show

A tad over 25 years ago, thousands of people were sitting in anticipation at Wembley Stadium for the only major WWF pay-per-view event to ever cross the pond.

With a multitude of media coverage in the build up, tickets bought and transport sorted, it was time for the real event to begin.

The first bell saw a dark six-man-tag match with Hacksaw Jim Duggan teaming up with The Bushwhackers to take on the trio of The Nasty Boys and The Mountie. Despite being a match full of gimmicks that were old hat a t the time, it is obvious looking at a video of this match that the atmosphere was a special one from the word go.

Lee Kimber said: ''When the event actually started and the stadium was filling out, I can honestly say that I’d never experienced anything like it, and if I’m honest nothing since has come close.

''I’d never seen so many people in one place before and they were cheering every last thing that happened in that ring. It was a party atmosphere in the stadium and the footage of the event really doesn’t do justice to how loud the crowd were at times. ''

Alan Dicks said: ''It was loud and it was the first time I had been in a crowd with that amount of people. Everyone was into every match.

A loud USA chant erupted as Duggan and The Bushwhackers picked up a victory, and that was followed by Papa Shango defeating Tito Santana before the real action was to begin.

Vince McMahon and Bobby ''The Brain'' Heenan introduced the PPV action before the Legion of Doom's music hit and they rode out on motorcycles in one of the most memorable moments of the night to take on Money Inc.

Lee Kimber says: ''One of the biggest reactions was for the Legion of Doom. When their music hit and they rode down to the ring on motorcycles the crowd loved it.

Alan Dicks also believes this to be the one of the more memorable moments, stating: ''The LOD entrance stands out, I was at the top of the stairs when they came out on the bikes. ''

After LOD's victory, Nailz beat Virgil, Shawn Michaels and Rick Martel fought to a double countout in a match, The Natural Disasters beat The Beverly Brothers to retain the WWE Tag Team Championships and Crush defeated Repo Man before one of the most hyped up matches of the evening.

Credit - Lee Kimber

It was time for ''Macho Man'' Randy Savage to defend the World Wrestling Federation Championship against The Ultimate Warrior in a rematch of their ''Retirement match'' at WrestleMania VII the year before.

Lee Kimber says: ''I went in with low expectations of Warrior Vs Savage. I had enjoyed their WrestleMania match the previous year but this one seemed to come out of nowhere.

''I wasn’t a fan of Warrior’s matches and I didn’t see how he had earned a title shot. The match exceeded my expectations though and the crowd were certainly hot for it.

Alan Dicks said on the title match: ''I was looking forward to Savage v Warrior the most, Savage is my favourite ever wrestler and I loved their epic match from WrestleMania VII.''

Ollie Clark said: ''Warrior v Savage was good but not a patch on the retirement match from the previous year.

The match may not have been at the level of their WrestleMania bout but it was still worthy of the event. The two had a back and forth match for around 25 minutes before Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect came out to the ring, pretending to be in cahoots with Warrior before attacking him too. After Flair hit Savage with a chair which left him unable to get back into the ring, Warrior won the match by countout before he joined forces with Savage to chase the duo away. It was a bit of a bullshit end to a big title match, but the real main event was still to come.

A short match between The Undertaker and Kamala followed, with a memorable Undertaker entrance on top of a hearse being the highlight as Taker eventually won by disqualification following interference from Kim Chee.

After Tatanka beat The Berzerker in an encounter that never made the US pay-per-view broadcast, it was time for hometown hero ''The British Bulldog'' Davey Boy Smith, accompanied to the ring by British boxing great Lennox Lewis, to take on his brother-in-law Bret ''The Hitman'' Hart for the Intercontinental Championship.

One of the best matches seen in the United Kingdom saw Bulldog win the title in front of his hometown crowd to end the show on a high note.

Speaking of the main event, Lee Kimber said: ''''The Bret vs Bulldog match was the highlight of the night and still holds up as one of the best matches I’ve ever seen.

''The crowd were absolutely rabid for this one and they were split down the middle, with duelling chants for Bulldog and Hitman.

''When Bulldog cradles Bret for the win the place just exploded. I honestly don’t know if you’d got a bigger roar in there when England won the World Cup.

Ollie Clark agreed with his assessment, stating: ''I remember seeing shots on the TV screen during Bulldog v Bret and seeing Diana Hart but the screen was small and I thought it was Jeff Jarrett!

''The biggest reaction of the night was with the Bulldog and Lennox Lewis.

''Bulldog v Bret is probably the best WWF match of all time on UK soil.

Alan Dicks wasn't too pleased about the result as a youngster, saying: ''The Bulldog vs Bret match was really good to watch, I remember getting upset at the result as I was a huge Bret Hart fan.

Looking back on the events 25 years later, all three attendees have fond memories but realise there are many differences between professional wrestling then and the product on screen now.

Lee Kimber said: ''The crowd were great and it was a truly amazing experience, and I’ll always be proud to say I was there in the audience when the British Bulldog beat Bret Hart at Wembley Stadium in one of the greatest matches of all time.

''I watched it back a couple of years ago. On reflection it was not a good card and there were a lot of screwy finishes. It was more cartoony then, but the characters were half of the fun.

''As bad as some of it was though it still holds up against today's supercards and surpasses many of them. That said, the Bret vs Bulldog match still holds its own against anything you’ll see today. It was storytelling at its finest.

I am surprised given how much of a success this one was, but then it’s not all about gate revenues.

''With the core audience in the US you couldn’t run the live event in the UK and delay the US showing until its usual time slot. The results would be online immediately. Mind you with betting odds most of the results are online before an event has even taken place these days so maybe it’s irrelevant now.

''I’m not sure wrestling is popular enough now in the UK to fill Wembley Stadium again, but you’d still draw a healthy crowd.''

Alan Dicks agrees with most of this having watched recently, adding: ''I remember not being able to talk for a couple of days as I had been shouting so much.

''It was an enjoyable show and I got to see most of the big names of the time but it was strange watching without the commentary.

''I've seen it recently and would say it's a one match show with some cool entrances. The in ring work was a lot slower compared to today.

I don't think the show did too well in the US due to time differences but I would have expected other PPV's to have been held over here before now.''

The common theme seems to be that the characters hold up more than the wrestling in hindsight, and Ollie Clark also agrees with his, saying: ''I last watched about 2 years ago - the wrestling these days is better but the characters and storylines were much better in the 80s and 90s.

I'm not really surprised there hasn't been an event since as they made a loss and what with them holding fire on and UK Heavyweight events I don't expect to see another UK PPV this decade unfortunately.

''The UK interest in WWE peaked between 1989 and 1992 alongside the release of the WrestleMania song and Slam Jam.

''But saying that ,I am sure they would have no problem selling out Wembley for another SummerSlam, or a Mania or Rumble.''

Article by Andy Phillips (AndyP_GY)

Monday, 28 August 2017

WWE NXT #262 Review (Aired 23rd August 2017)

On 23rd August, WWE aired its 262nd episode of NXT, taped at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York on 19th August before the TakeOver special later that evening. The show's main event had the WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne team up with one-time ICW Champion Wolfgang to take on the team of Moustache Mountain, the man who beat Wolfie for the ICW title Trent Seven and the man Peter beat for the WWE UK Title, Tyler Bate. With appearances from the Iconic Duo: Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, No Way Jose, Sarah Logan & No Way Jose, could it break the post-TakeOver curse and deliver a knockout hour of television?


  • No Way Jose comes out to a big reaction from the Brooklyn crowd, grabbing a bunch of people from the crowd for a conga round the ring, when out comes big Lars Sullivan who I hope is going to start a new gimmick as John Lithgow from Footloose and try to get all dancing banned from NXT. He does a murder at the ringside. At least it's a step up from attacking his tag partners, he's now just attacking random people.
  • We get a re-cap of Johnny Gargano vs Andrade "Cien" Almas. Kayla Braxton chats with Johnny backstage. He talks of how the road to mediocrity is paved with excuses, Johnny is owning his defeat and promises his fans and himself that this is far from the end.
  • Asuka has a press conference, she covers her usual beats, Ember Moon is strong but she is stronger, she is still the champion, something in Japanese, find her some competition etc...
  • The team of Pete Dunne and Wolfgang (who I will insist on calling Peter & The Wolf) are backstage, Peter considers his winning the title to be the beginning of the UK brand and that his every successful defeat only goes on to elevate the brand. Talking of his title, Wolfie would like a title shot after they beat Moustache Mountain later. Hold your horses, Peter says, let's just see how tonight goes...

Peyton Royce (w/ Billie Kay) def. Sarah Logan

Between her outfit, theme music, titan-tron and the commentary team, they are really playing up how much of a 'country gal' Sarah Logan is, did you know she wrestled a goat? They begin with a lock-up, Logan takes control with a headlock, broken by Royce, Wristlock, broken by Logan who lifts up Royce, Royce escapes, headlock, rope bounce into a shoulder tackle, drop toe hold into an armbar takedown, Royce breaks out, throws Logan to the ropes and hits a spinning heel kick, in the corner Royce continues her kicks and chokes her with the sole of her boot till the referee breaks it up, slap, middle rope hanging knee, rope assisted octopus hold, strikes, Irish whip, Royce goes for another heel kick but Logan does to hit a lovely delayed release German suplex, she controls the action with strikes and shoulder barges hitting a front dropkick for a 2 count. On the ropes, Logan goes for another suplex but Kay on the apron, holds on to stop Royce being hurt but ends up with Kay taking the bump, O'Connor roll by Logan for a 2. Roll-up by Royce for a 2. On their feet and Royce hits a knee strike and a Bridging Fishermans Suplex for the win. I don't know what the point of playing up Logan's involvement in the Mae Young Classic only to have her lose is. The match itself was as good as you can expect from a just over 4 minute standard NXT match but really it just seems like a wasted opportunity, just use a Liv Morgan or an Aaliyah for this and it's perfectly fine but if you want to make the MYC seem like it could be anyone's to win, don't have them taking relatively clean losses just days before.

  • Recap of the Tag Title match and the ensuing nonsense.
  • Recap of the NXT Title match and the ensuing nonsense.
  • Bobby Roode is backstage after his match, he wants to get out of Brooklyn as quickly as possible, the backstage crew turn up to try and interview but he doesn't want to talk to them, Roderick Strong turns up in the doorway in a suit, he blows Bobby a kiss and tells him he'll see him soon. Bobby shouts at his assistant to get the car.
  • Bobby is being interviewed again, this time about his Smackdown: Live debut. He talks of how the one thing that's true about Bobby Roode is he leaves no unfinished business, he wants to first get revenge on Roderick Strong for blowing him a kiss? Then he'll get his rematch, take back his NXT title, head off to Smackdown and make it glorious. Well, I guess if Kevin Owens and Sasha Banks can do it...
  • Aleister Black does not care for your interviews, he has somewhere to be. Also, damn does he look fly in a suit.

Pete Dunne & Wolfgang def. Trent Seven & Tyler Bate

As they make their entrances, Tyler is over as fuck, Trent is over as fuck, Peter is over as fuck (almost too over, once again Brooklyn, boo the damn heels), Wolfgang is there too. Pete and Tyler start off the action giving us some proper catch-as-catch-can graps on the ground with Peter nearly getting a pinfall early, kip-up from Bate as they bask in the glow of how good they are for a combined in-ring age of 43! Back from the break and Bate hits a dropkick, tags in Seven who hits something like Wade Barrett's old Wasteland finisher before Bate bounces off his shoulders to hit a meteora, Peter hits Seven in the jaw, tags in Wolfie, Seven fights back with some of the best chops in the game and a lovely DDT, Peter distracts Trent in the corner, allowing Wolfie time to recuperate and hit a running uranage slam for a 2 count. Wolfgang tags Dunne back in who works the shit out of Trent's arm joint twisting it almost into itself before curb stomping the shoulder, kicking and twisting it repeatedly, Seven and Dunne seem set to win the gruntiest match of the year award for this. Peter having all but broken Trent's arm goes for a pin but only gets a 2. Peter & the Wolf work on stopping Seven getting the pin, Wolfie tagged in hits two gutwrench takedowns,  gets Trent in a fireman's carry but Seven escapes, the two men trade waistlocks and Seven hits a dragon suplex, the duo crawl to their respective corners and tag in their partners. Tyler hits a gutwrench suplex followed by a deadlift German but Dunne flips out of it, throws Tyler to the ropes who hits his springboard rebound lariat, followed up with an airplane spin which goes on for ages till he drops Dunne back and Wolfie stops a pinfall happening but takes a massive chop from Seven for his effort. Trent then in turn takes a big forearm from Dunne who in turn gets both Bop and Bang from Bate, step-up enziguri from Dunne, allowing him to blind tag Wolfgang, Bate thinking Dunne is still the legal man hits a Tyler Driver '97 but Dunne rolls out of the way as Wolfgang connects The Howling Swanton Bomb for the pinfall victory. Wolfie can't take his eyes off that lovely UK title belt as they celebrate. The in-ring action was excellent as you could expect from these four who work hard to get the crowd excited and excited they do indeed get. It does suffer from that overall feeling that singles competitors doing a tag match can where it feels like it's fully going through the motions in terms of structure and invention. Hopefully the potential Wolfgang vs. Dunne match lives up to expectations as Wolfgang did get a lack of response in comparison to the British Strong Style lads but then, Brooklyn does seem to have a lot of beach-ball loving dickheads in the audience. That said, still a very fun match.

ATPW Scale Rating: 3.5/10

Well what did you expect from the post-TakeOver NXT? If you really expected anything amazing, well you're just being silly. The main event was a very fun tag match but really by now we all know an accept that this is an episode of water treading TV. Check back in next week to see if I care again yet.

Article by Jozef Raczka (@NotJozefRaczka)

Sunday, 27 August 2017

The Merch Table - August 2017

Hey hey, welcome to a brand new Merch Table, your monthly look at the coolest wrestling merchandise on the market. This month we've got stuff from WWE, SPLX, PWC, Attack!, Pro Wrestling Tees, the Wrestling Shop and the South Pacific Power Trip! Find what suits you and support your favourites! 


After the excitement of WWE NXT Takeover and Summerslam, I’ve looked at some of the new and decent T-shirts from WWE Shop. After his victory of becoming the NEW WWE NXT Champion, maybe you may like to view Drew McIntyre's merch, beginning with his brand of T-shirts.

Drew McIntyre "What Lies Within" Authentic T-Shirt

Price - £20.57
Men’s Sizes: S - 5XL
Women’s Sizes: S - 2XL

Also there was some excellent new T-shirts from Sami Zayn, that looks stylish as well. 

Sami Zayn "Never Be The Same" Authentic T-Shirt

Price - £20.57
Men’s Sizes: S - 5XL
Women’s Sizes: S - 2XL

Heading back to School?, WWE Shop has released a range of Backpacks, featuring the styles of US Champion, AJ Styles.

AJ Styles "Untouchable One" Backpack

Price - £18.10
In the last few weeks, they finally returned, Southpaw Regional Wrestling. Nuff Said.

Southpaw Regional Wrestling "Showdown at the Swamp: 1986" T-Shirt & Collector's Box

Price - £24.69
Sizes: S - 3XL


After gatecrashing NXT TAKEOVER, Adam Cole showcased exactly why he is a must see on the wrestling scene. Matt Riddle has consistently deliver exciting matches all over the world as part of the #BroTour. SPLX has been a mainstay in wrestling apparel, producing excellent styles and items that are in keeping with today's trends.  Noticing a trend with all three I've mentioned? Thought so. 


Price - £17.99
Sizes: S - 2XL


Price - £17.99


Price: £41.99
Waist to fit: 28"-40" 
Regular and Longer Length


Price: £38.99
Size: 47 x 30 x 23cm


In collaboration with Merch Britannia, after an excellent show this month, the word is out, Pro Wrestling Chaos is a promotion you must see. (If you never heard of them before shame on you) Celebrating Pride, Chaos released this vibrant T-Shirt, which looks damn good.

Chaos For Everyone T-Shirt 

Price - £ 15.00


Another awesome promotion, another awe-inspiring show, that is ATTACK! Pro Wrestling in a nutshell. And you haven't got merch from them yet? Well this latest offering, is perfect for wrestling fans and energetic enough for a night out.


Price - £20.00
Sizes: S - L 

Pro Wrestling Tees

As The May Young Classic is on its way, some of wrestling's best is included in the tournament. And I don't mean, wrestling's best women, I mean in general. So I've ventured to Pro Wrestling Tees, to scout what merch there is so you can support your new favourite wrestler when the Tournament arrives.

Viper/Toni Storm/Tessa Blanchard

Price - $19.99 (Roughly - £15.49)
Sizes - S - XL
XXL - $3.50+
3XL - $3.75+
4XL - $4.50+
5XL - $4.75+

Wrestling shop

It's not all about clothing and apparel with the merch desk, I've scouted the next awesome wrestling figures that are out now after SummerSlam and what's next in the coming months.



South Pacific Power Trip

They are dynamic, exciting and excellent, they are The South Pacific Power Couple. From Progress, to Melbourne City Wrestling, and many, many more promotions, they have demonstrated exactly why they are a must see brand. With TKCooper currently injured no better way to welcome his return and support Dahlia Black than getting this range of T-shirts.

Well that's me this month, hope you enjoyed, I was @craigHermit see you next time.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

WWE NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III Review (19th August 2017)

On 19th August, NXT returned and once again took over Brooklyn as they returned to the Barclays Center for another TakeOver special. The main event would see Drew McIntyre take on Bobby Roode for the NXT Championship while the card was fleshed out with encounters between Asuka and Ember Moon, Aleister Black and Hideo Itami, the Authors of Pain and SaNItY & Johnny Gargano and Andrade 'Cien' Almas. The kick-off panel did something quite interesting in bringing back multiple NXT alumni like Big E, Sasha Banks, Carmella, Bayley and Shinsuke Nakamura to build up the history of NXT aswell as providing a particularly fine piece of flubbed speech from Sasha where she declared that Ember Moon 'is Groot...great'. Beyond discovering that someone we thought was a Human Woman is actually a Talking Tree, let's see what other surprises Brooklyn had in store for us.

  • We opened on a slick, elliptical video package accompanied by a live performance from Code Orange. This was a superb start to proceedings as it was not only technically impressive but also built up the 'NXT's Wrestlemania' vibe but going one better because they put it during the intro instead of taking up space for more wrestling. Also frankly, if you'd take Flo Rida over Code Orange, leave this review right now.

Andrade Almas (w/Zelina Vega) def. Johnny Gargano

The crowd is already alive with 'Johnny wrestling' chants. They lockup, graps happen, both men escape, Almas gets Gargano in a wristlock and transitions to a grounded headlock, Gargano is unable to compete with how tranquilo Almas is right now, knee headlock escape by Gargano, gets Almas in a headlock, runs the rope and hits a shoulder block, begins picking up the pace with a hurricanrana and some arm drags into a front crucifix headlock, Almas tries to power out, but Gargs holds out, Almas with a back elbow, drives Gargano to the corner, hits a slap, drives Almas to the other corner, hits more chops, Irish whip revsersal by Gargano, rushes Almas in the corner who catches him in the ropes and hits a modified corner GTR, running head kick into a triangle, just to show quite how tranquilo he is, Almas begins to go full Naito with the raised fist, Gargano escaps, Almas seems to be going for a brainbuster but no dice, a double clothesline spot happens, they both fall down. As they get up a little boo-yay action comes our way, on the floor, Gargano hits a low roundhouse kick, standing again and Almas gets Gargano on the outside, runs the rops straight into a slingshot spear for a close 2 count, Gargano throws Almas into the ropes, Almas is tranquilo as SUPERKICK knocks him out of the ring and into a Gargano tope suicido, back into the ring, and a beautiful slingshot DDT by Gargs for another 2, goes for a lawn dart, Almas escapes, throws Gargano out again, Gargano goes for a second spear but Almas catches him in a ddt,Almas goes up top and hits the Naito-style tornado inverted DDT for a close fall, top rope Almas goes for a superplex, Johnny fights back with strikes, slaps and a headbutt, he goes for sunset flip but Almas flips to freedom, hits a back elbow, goes for the corner double knees, johnny escapes and hits a step up enziguri, Almas hits the Sombra Driver into the turnbuckles crumpling Johnny, misses the double knees again, Johnny runs the ropes into a tilt a whirl Garga-No Escape but Almas hits a buckle bomb into the Almas Ankneehilation (as Nige informs me it's named) for a very close 2, grappled to his feet, Johnny hits a superkick and another and gets the lawn dart when suddenly Zelina throws a #DIY t-shirt at Johnny, suddenly experiencing many months of flashbakcs in one go, Gargano doesn't see Almas coming as he catches him in his La Sombra DDT for a pin. I'm impressed ny how much these two were able to make out of a feud where they were essentially working with nothing but they still delivered big. Almas really needed a win here and even though he could do with wins eventually, Gargano is a bulletproof babyface at this point who will have the audience's attention regardless of wins and losses. Despite being as tranquilo as ever, it's great to see Almas (with the assistance of Vega) starting to hit his strive and seem more like the La Sombra of sold than the slightly dull guy in the silly hat who debuted on NXT round a year ago. Hopefully with a rise like this, singles gold won't be far away for either men. It's also worth commending the use of the #DIY tee to keep Gargano v Ciampa going even with Ciampa's injuries as well that they managed to take an opening heel win and not deflate the crowd. Smooth work from both men that if a re-match was announced, I wouldn't complain.

NXT Tag Team Championship: SaNItY (Young/Wolfe) def. Authors of Pain (c)(w/Paul Ellering)

Corey Graves is back behind the NXT booth for this behemoth encounter, tonight it's Dain and Wolfe going for the tag titles, for some reason Paul Ellering is guarded by a team of Teenage Mutant Mercenary Turtles, before the bell, the turtles slide in and begin attacking SaNItY, having beaten down both men, they pull their masks off and reveal the turtles were Akam and Rezar all along! Fighting around the ring, Young gets a table, Cross is doing crazy things, Akam and Rezar separate the two men and roll a vulnerable Wolfe back into the ring to officially start the match, a big hip toss (big is the only adjective I'll need for this one) by Akam and in tags Rezar who begins beating Wolfe into the corner, Wolfe manages to side step an attack giving him an opportunity to tag in Dain but Young jumps up on the apron and has himself tagged in, it's a confusing moment sure but the crowd pop and cement SaNItY as the de-facto faces of this fight, tossing Rezar out of the ring and hitting a baseball dropkick, Young proceeds to fight Rezar on the outside who throws him into the crowd, Wolfe tries to fight back but he can't take both of them, Dain sure has been out for a while, more crowd and around the ring fighting, this referee is very lenient with the count-outs here, just a warning, somewhere along along the way I will lose track of who is who because it's tag wrestling, this happens, anyway Young is hit with an insane body drop into an x-factor, Akam or Rezar start using crossface strikes to wear down Young, just as he's starting to power back and fight off both of the big murder babies, he's caught in an assisted elevated curb stomp, including Rezar hitting a powerslam into a triangle choke, the choke goes to standing, Young gets in another hope spot but is thrown over the turnbuckle, lands, goes for a through the rope tackle but is caught into a high choke-inverted razor's edge, thing, it looks real painful, it's a big move OK? Rezar misses an elbow drop and a corner splash which gives Young the opening to get a hot tag to Alexander Wolfe, a person I never thought I would be saying pulled off a dope hot tag, Wolfe rushes hitting a helluva kick to Akam in the corner, smashes into Rezar, a big bicycle boot strike, an exploder suplex goes for a German, Rezar escapes but one more boot later, hits the release German suplex, up top and he hits a big flying uppercut for a pin but Akam breaks it up and knocks Young off the apron and they hit something like a sitoutpowerbomb-magic killer combination, Rezar tags out and passes Wolfe to Akam who's gone to the top rope, sets him up for a big powerbomb but Young causes a distraction long enough for Wolfe to hit a frankensteiner, tag in Young, Akam, Rezar, whichever one wasn't tagged in is thrown out of the ring and Young hits a massive leaping neckbreaker, goes for the elbow drop but is dropped nut first to the turnbuckle, tussling on the top rope happens, the two AoP members try to do a dungeon of doom spot on Young but Cross grabs his legs for leverage leading to Akam being powerbombed, Young hits his elbow drop for a good 2 count, out of the ring and Young hits a very slow tope suicido but Wolfe hits a big plancha, Cross gets in the ring to add to the lunacy much to the delight of the crowd but the ref and Ellering are not having intergender spots, despite them, Cross goes for a crossbody but is caught by Akam only for Dain to running crossbody them both through the table Young got out earlier, WAS THIS PART OF YOUR PLAN, ERIC? Back in the ring, tag to Wolfe and a Belly-to-Back Suplex-Neckbreaker combo puts away Rezar for the win. NEW CHAMPIONS! Of the three titles up for grabs, this was the one I least expected to change hands but they made it work with Young coming across as having outsmarted Ellering or at least his team just outlasting them. For the most part, even if the action came thick and fast, this stuck slightly too much to tag structures to feel like there was much more than some very good in-ring action. In an evening of star-making performances, credit must also be doled out to Alexander Wolfe who really made himself important in the match. It's easy to forget that Wolfe is not just the guy there to take the pin in tag matches but is a former wXw champion and most importantly, just very good at wrestling. What will be interesting going forward will be seeing if SaNItY are actually faces now or if this was a one match deal. Especially consider what happened next...

  • After the match, as Young and Wolfe in come reDRagon (Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish) who hit murder on everything. They throw everyone about, chop down the Axeman Wolfe with kicks before making a statement by hitting Chasing the Dragon on Dain, taking out the Authors of Pain and choking out Young then pose with the titles and leave through the crowd. This was all just a bit good.
  • Neville, Shinsuke Nakamura and Kalisto are in the crowd, the guy behind them gives no shits about this.

Aleister Black def. Hideo Itami

Jim Ross comes out for guest commentary too and I suddenly become aware of Percy Watson's presence, has he been here this entire time? Itami comes out first, he gives no shits, not one, not even one. Courtesy of Code Orange and a shit-ton of candles, Black gets the special entrance, rising out of a crypt in the middle of the band performance area, he walks to the ring with complete control of the crowd to the sounds of his theme and one hundred think pieces of if he's 'the new Undertaker?' The two start squaring off and have to be separated by the referee so the bell can be rung, they want to get the kicks started Ok? The bell rings, the kicks started, we start with two double kick spots, they then start trading kicks, then dodging kicks, they go tete-a-tete before Black levels Itami with a kick to the chest sending Itami out of the ring, Black does his 'look like he's about to flip out of the ring then backflip into a seated position' taunt. Itami comes back in, they run at each other delivering some devastating chops to the neck, Black gets the best of this encounter with a knee to the head getting an early 2 count. Black kicks Itami into the corner, Itami fights back, picks up Black and drapes him in the middle of the top rope, delivers a running boot to the face and goes up top to hit a guillotine knee drop, 'show me respect' Itami shouts, maybe you should, Al, an Irish whip and a corner back elbow get a 1 count for Itami. Kicks to the back of the head into a headlock and Black is already bleeding, we might see a man die tonight, Black starts to escape the headlock, Itami whips him into the ropes and knees him in the gut on the rebound, spinal tap back kick, further kicks, headlock weardown, an elbow to the back of the neck, snapmare takedown, two standing knee drops, goes for a third but does the fakeout heel kick into Black's seated taunt, picks up Black into an arm-wrench DDT for a 2 count. Back to a headlock but Black begins to power back, Itami puts pressure on the wrist but Black escapes, dodges a clothesline, yet more kicks this time to Itami, a back elbow, kicking combination and a whip into a legsweep, drops the knee on Itami, whips Itami to the corner, runs to the ropes and hits the dazed Itami with a springboard moonsault knee drop, let's call it that and not an almost miss, elbow into the corner, Black runs at the corner but Itami deflects him with a boot, and again before delivering a tornado rope necksnap and a clotheslines for a 2 count. Fishermans suplex for another 2. Itami beats Black back into the corner, goes for a hesitation dropkick but Black escapes with a sunset flip and a roundhouse kick to send Itami to the mat, Black goes up top, Itami recovers, beats down Black, sets him up on the top rope, Black punches Itami off the top but Itami immediately gets back up hitting a super falcon arrow for yet another 2 count. Hesitation dropkick crumples Black, Itami sets up for the GTS, Black elbows his way off the shoulders, knees by Itami stop him building momentum, another Falcon takes him down, 'show me respect' Itami continues to shout, I really think you should, Itami runs at Black for a clothesline, Black ducks under and hits a Black Mass (actually out of nowhere, Randy) for a surprise pin. The crowd pop. Hard. This was everything I wanted it to be, it can't be coincidence that not long after the end of the G1 Climax that both this and Gargano-Almas had that G1 sprint feel where the story between the two guys almost begins and ends with the match. It's clear from the special entrance that the company see a lot in Black and he is delivering on that but Itami seems revitalised in his new heel role, even if I can't see him staying heel for that long as he's almost too good to boo. Also, he needs a win soon or he may struggle to be seen as a credible force, also a legend he may be but Jim Ross didn't really add much in his guest appearance here beyond to continue the 'new Undertaker' comparison and saying the word 'slobberknocker'. Still, for now, let's just be happy that this match did indeed provide the requisite number of kicks for a Takeover. And if you didn't think there were enough here...

NXT Women's Championship: Asuka (c) def. Ember Moon

Tonight Ember is in Green and Silver possibly in reference to the internet hoax that every 420 years, the moon turns green, darn stoners. Asuka has added a fucking amazing head-dress to her assortment, it's official, she is unstoppable. Ember Moon goes straight off the bell with a dropkick, leg sweep and a basement dropkick for a 1 count. Asuka tries to go for a kick, Moon catches it and hits a suplex, Asuka slides out of the ring Moon goes for another basement dropkick this time out of the ring, Asuka dodges, throws Moon back into the ring who spins around with a kick, climbs back up to second for a cannonball onto the champ, Asuka crashes Moon into the steps, Asuka repeatedly kicks and strikes before hitting a headlock suplex on the ramp, Asuka throws Moon back into the ring and proceeds stomping her on the floor, she goes on to attack the injured arm of Moon working over the arm itself before focusing in on the wrist, Moon tries to fight back but Auska rolls through maintaining the hold, hip attack escape, Asuka hits an STO to ground Ember, curb stomps and kicks to the head, as Moon tries to stand up, Asuka twists around her into an octopus hold, when she's forced to the ground she transitions to a shoulder pressured armbar, Asuka looks insane, I love her, then Moon powers through and hits a deadlift teardrop suplex by Moon, I love her too. The two competitors power to their feet but, Moon hits some strike and a step-up enziguri for a 2 count. Asuka regains control hitting a corner German suplex and attempts to apply the first Asuka Lock of the match but Moon reverses into a crossface chickenwing of her own, Asuka transitions into Asuka Lock II, Moon escapes with a modified gory bomb, Asuka tries for a desperate roll-up but Moon kicks out and hits a very pretty lariat. Asuka throws a clothesline, Moon ducks throws a clothesline of her own, Asuka ducks, Asuka hits the stiffest butt bump you've ever seen, goes for a second one but Ember blocks, heads to the second rope, hits a tornado suplex for a 2 counts. They trade strikes, some brutal knees to the gut floor Asuka, more strikes traded, Asuka goes straight for the head, Moon hits a desperation slam to escape, goes for a pin, still 2. Moon goes up top, Asuka is straight up and tries to hit a move of her own, Moon slips out and goes for a liger bomb, Asuka holds on for dear life, Moon kicks out her legs and hits a tree of woe double stomp, back up top, she sets her up for the Eclipse, she hits it perfect, hooks the leg, for a 2. Ember can't believe it, this was meant to be the godkiller, back up top, goes for the eclipse again but Asuka hides behind the referee, Ember leaps the ref with a crossbody, Ember rolls through grabbing a handful of tights but the ref sees and breaks up the pin. Ember hits a superkick for another 2 count. She freaks out, Asuka gets Ember in an armbar, Ember tries to leverage into a pin but Asuka traps her in the Asuka lock, she holds on for a good long time but is forced to tap. This is how you make stars, Asuka delivered her best match since joining NXT and Ember looks so much more convincing as a future leader of the division than she could've done considering she took the loss. Her offence and selling was some of the finest seen on this or any brand and her sheer desperation was palpable which really added to the pain felt when she was forced to tap. The real question is where do both of them go from here? After that, I can see that for them, as Yazz said 'the only way is up'.

  • Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe are also in the crowd but because this is NXT, anyone returning gets cheered. Then again, most people get cheered. Boo the damn heels, NXT crowds.

NXT Championship: Drew McIntyre def. Bobby Roode (c)

Alright let's get through this. Drew gets a fine entrance with an actual drum and pipe band and not just the wheezing MIDI shite they normally use, oh no the standard theme is back, shame we got the NYPD band for this huh, at least the the drmmers look really happy to be here. Roode's getting his 'how to play' entrance theme piano video as well as it seems having been given the entire pyro budget for smoke machines,  Roode is standing upon some form of robotic remote control room vacuum (I won't mention the brand till they pay me) with a beautiful new red and gold robe, there is no doubting that Roode might be a heel but he's Brooklyn's hero right now, except for the 'BOBBY POO' sign guy, it can't be a coincidence that with ICW alum the 'one fall, one fall' chant is extra loud. Now it may have not come to your attention but Drew is a big man and he's quite strong too, he uses this to power Roode to the corner but Bobby escapes, Bobby clearly terrified that Drew's hair has reached full grease hits a slap in the corner, McIntyre is not amused by this and throws him back to the corner but Bobby escapes and gets Drew in a headlock. Running the ropes, Drew escapes and levels Bobby with a shoulder block who rolls outside the ring because Drew is just too much. Bobby keeps ducking, weaving and hitting slaps in the corners, he goes for an early Glorious DDT but it's too early Bob, too damn early. Bobby does his 'GLORIOUS' pose and the crowd are clearly in love with him, but Drew isn't who responds to Roode's slaps with a big slap of his own, boots him out of the ring and outside does a gorilla press slam onto the crowd barricade. Back on the ring apron and Bobby kicks McIntyre square in the face and goes for a splash but McIntyre catches him, Bobby escapes but walks into two back elbows and a tilt-a-whirl slam onto the apron, Bobby gets back up, slams McIntyre off the apron and hits a blockbuster-ish before sending him into the barricade. Back in the ring and Roode is keeping McIntyre grounded with some nasty strikes, McIntyre begins to fight back, Irish whip but Roode reverses and hits a standard sized missile dropkick for a 2 count. Straight into a headlock. McIntyre breaks the hold and slams Roode into the turnbuckle before hitting a belly-to-belly, a running elbow strike, goes up top, a flying clothesline into a kip-up, hits some kicks till Roode comes back with an atomic drop, runs at McIntyre who catches him in the Celtic Cross air-raid crash, Roode gets out, hits McIntyre's neck off the rope to buy himself some time, heads up top, McIntyre remembers he's taller than the turnbuckle so hits Roode, Roode fights him off but McIntyre's right back up into the top buckle nut shot, now in the tree of woe position Roode begins taunting him but McIntyre hits the spider head suplex, set up for the Claymore but Roode plays possum, Drew picks him for the Futureshock DDT but Roode hits a backstabber for a 2 count. Back to the corner slaps, corner clothesline, Roode goes for a neckbreaker but Drew hits a backslide for a 2 count. Back to their feet and McIntyre gets the Futureshock DDT but it is Bobby that shocks the future by kicking out. Drew takes him up to for an avalanche Celtic Cross but Bobby wriggles out and hits a Liger bomb for a 2. The two exhausted puddles of men trade strikes on the floor up to standing, Drew slaps, Bobby goes for a kick, Drew catches the leg, Bobby hits an enziguri, Drew hits a desperation Claymore but Bobby is close enough to the ropes to get his foot up. Roode rolls out of the ring but McIntyre follows him out with a lovely big lad tope con hiro to an assortment of 'Holy Shit' chants. Gets Roode back in the ring, sets him up for a Claymore but runs right into a spinebuster that garnered to my count the first 'realign the spine and jack the back' call of Mauro's return to WWE, Bobby picks up Drew for the Glorious DDT but Drew uses his big lad weight to sit on him for a 2 count. Bobby hits the Glorious DDT for a 2 count. Out of that Bobby hits a second Glorious DDT but instead of going for the cover, he goes for a third, headbutt by Drew stuns the glorious one, in the corner, McIntyre rushes and hits a Claymore for the pin 1,2,3 NEW CHAMPION! This was good, it wasn't as good as it should have been, especially considering it was 22 minutes and it didn't need at least 8 or 9 of those, but it was good. Drew showed flashes of getting back to the motivated hellraiser he has been at his peak but it had a certain lethargy and lacked the big fight feel of either of the other two title matches. I was surprised and quite pleased that they didn't try to force Roderick Strong into the match as it makes him appear to be a man of his word by not getting involved regardless. This wasn't necessarily the match's fault itself as had it been in the middle of the show and a bit shorter, I might have looked on it a lot more favourably but in the main event position, it has a certain demand to be the peak, to be the best match on the show. This isn't the era where the world title is for the superstars and the undercard is for the pure wrestlers, we live in an age where we expect everyone to be everything and that is probably an unrealistic demand to place on them but I got a feeling that this was the kind of match that could have been so much better had they just tried a bit harder. Where it goes from here, well, who knows?

  • After the match, they pulled the old 'fakeout logo card' switcheroo as a celebrating Drew noticed a pair of ReDragons leaning in the corner of the ring only for Adam Cole (Bay bay) to attack him from behind, all three men kicked the new NXT Champion while he was down before O'Reilly and Fish would pick him up for Cole to deliver a superkick right to the noggin. He would then pose with the NXT title before the actual end of the show fade out happened.

ATPW Scale Rating: 7.8/10

For the first 4/5 of the show, I could have been ready to scream 'best TakeOver ever' with both of the non-title matches delivering for me in big ways, the tag team match managing to make a heel v heel encounter work and providing a ludicrous but wonderful carnage and what is probably Asuka's best match in NXT yet. Then the Main Event happened. It wasn't terrible but it was just fine which is something I've sadly thought a lot about both Roode's and McIntyre's recent in-ring tenures with both men struggling to make their 22 minutes count and feel important. The problem with the main event being by far the weakest match is it can deflate proceedings a little, luckily up turned the ReDragon & Cole domination might well be the jolt of electricity that the Main event scene needed but then again, I can also see how some people might be annoyed that this invasion is taking place in the middle of other stories and hopefully doesn't push some like (Ring of Honor's...) Roderick Strong out of the main event picture. Drew McIntyre has the attention of Cole, Roode, Strong and lets not count out some of the other singles stars like Aleister Black & Andrade Almas. NXT say 'The Future Is Now' and right now, the future's looking very interesting indeed.

Article by Jozef Raczka (@NotJozefRaczka)