Welcome one and all to the post-Takeover Chicago edition of the NXT Spotlight here at TJRWrestling. We are coming in hot after what I feel was the best WWE/NXT show of the year this past Saturday. Five good to great matches, including two MOTY candidates in the UK and Tag Title Matches and then a heel turn unlike anything we’ve seen under the WWE umbrella in the last decade. Just tremendous stuff all around. We already know the full card for tonight as Aleister Black and Drew McIntyre are in action, as well as the re-introduction of The Velveteen Dream. Let’s get to it.
We start the show with an extended video package highlighting everything that took place at Takeover.
Aleister Black vs. Curt Hawkins
How did Hawkins draw the short end of the stick here? They just came off the two week European tour and instead of getting the weekend off, he had to be in Chicago for this and then travel Sunday to be where Raw was? Yikes. There wasn’t a Smackdown guy they could’ve used? They explain these two faced each other on Main Event two weeks ago, but still. Black gets a great ovation during his entrance. He’s got his first WWE Shop shirt as well. It’s quite unique.
Hawkins attacks Black immediately and shoots him into the ropes but Black does his Lionsault into a seated postion. Hawkins goes for a kick but Black catches it and turns it into a pin attempt. Hawkins gets out but gets a big knee to the gut when they get up. Black ends up on the apron and blocks a suplex attempt and kicks Hawkins right in the chest. He goes to the top rope but Hawkins moves. Black is able to land on his feet and then comes in with a bicycle knee strike. Black props up Hawkins’ head with his boot and wants the Black Mass but Hawkins slides to the outside. Black meets him out there but Hawkins runs his back into the LED board below the apron and now gets the advantage. Black comes back with more kicks and then he does another Lionsault and this time connects with it on a standing Hawkins. Hawkins stumbles up and walks right into Black Mass and that’s the match.
Black Mass got a great reaction with the crowd, really anything Black did got a reaction. He’s a huge star in the making and I’m not complaining.
Winner: Aleister Black
After a commercial break, we go to a full video package recapping the Tag Team Title Ladder Match and the Ciampa heel turn that followed it. The last time we saw a heel turn like this, it was HBK & Y2J back in 2008! WWE just doesn’t produce things like this anymore and I’m just glad NXT and HHH were able to pull this off. I can’t wait to see the follow up. On social media, Gargano’s wife Candice LaRae posted a message in full kayfabe which I thought was a great touch and then Ciampa posted a picture showing that he had apparently moved out of Gargano/LaRae’s place. This is going to be good.
We then go to footage from before Takeover where Ember Moon is sitting inside an empty Allstate Arena. She says Chicago is where she got her first big break and now she’s here as an NXT Superstar and she’s on the sidelines. She thought she had come to terms being injured, but seeing all of this here… it sucks. This could be a night where Nikki or Ruby becomes NXT Women’s Champion and she can’t do anything about it. Selfishly she wants Asuka to retain because she wants to be the one to take the title from Asuka. She wants to take what is so near and dear to Asuka. Time heals all wounds, but battle scars last forever.
After that we get back to back video packages for the Women’s Title Match and the match between Roderick Strong and Eric Young. We go to a wwe.com exclusive with Roddy after his video package. He’s asked about being the first person to ever pin EY after he had made the match so personally. Roddy said he’s used to overcoming the odds. Once you bring his family into the mix, there’s nothing that will stop him from ending them. EY learned that now and he’s just a step closer to the NXT Title.
The Velveteen Dream vs. Roger Anthony
It is a new entrance and presentation for the former Patrick Clark. No mention of his name and they’re acting as if it’s complete debut. They could’ve said this guy’s name is Roderick Anthony, I’m not sure, but I am sure that it’s not going to matter. VD starts with a side headlock, hits a shoulder tackle and then a single leg dropkick. Anthony hits a forearm but that angers VD and he beats on Anthony in the corner. Then he connects with a Thesz press. He continues to strike Anthony but gets shot to the opposite corner, where he leaps to the top rope and then comes down with a twisting ax-handle. He ducks a punch from Anthony and nails a Rude Awakening style neckbreaker. VD goes to the top rope and hits a massive top rope elbow drop and picks up the win.
Yes, I know what VD is also an acronym for, but I refuse to call him Dream. That’s reserved for one man. This was what it was. I don’t think anyone was expecting much. I’m sure he’ll slide into Elias Samson’s role on the roster.
Winner: Velveteen Dream
We then go to video packages recapping the UK and NXT Title Matches from Takeover. After that is a wwe.com exclusive with Bobby Roode. He is congratulated on his win and he asks if anyone is surprised by what happened. He didn’t even realize Itami was still around and even though he “earned” a title shot, Itami is not in Roode’s league. So what’s next for Roode? It’s whatever he decides and whoever he wants his next challenger to be. He’s going to go home, lay by the pool and take some time off. When he’s ready to come back, he’ll be the one to decide who his next challenger will be. This is his NXT.
Apparently he’s not taking that much time off because they announce right after that, that next week on NXT will be a GLORIOUS celebration that Roode will be throwing.
Drew McIntyre vs. Wesley Blake
Big ovation for McIntyre, but again it doesn’t happen until he comes out. I can’t get over the change in theme. Wesley Blake is now apparently ripping off James Storm, right down to the theme song that starts with a beer cracking open. This match starts with 9 minutes left in the show.
Both men trade holds to start until McIntyre runs over Blake with a shoulder tackle and then tells Blake to come get some more. Blake attacks McIntyre in the corner and then yells at him that he’s in Blake’s world now. McIntyre ends that noise pretty quick with a big boot. Blake manages to stay on the attack though and clotheslines McIntyre in the corner. Blake runs to the opposite corner but McIntyre follows him, splashs him and then overhead belly to belly throw. Blake ends up on the apron and McIntyre goes to follow but Blake catches him with a hangman. Blake comes back in and connects with a big lariat. McIntyre is able to kick out of a pin as we go to commercial.
We come back to Blake working over the left arm of McIntyre. McIntyre is able to lift Blake up and put him on the top rope. Blake comes off though and manages to grab the arm and turn it into a cross armbreaker. McIntyre gets to the ropes but Blake stays on the arm. McIntyre tries a lot of punches and chops to get Blake away from the arm and then finally drops him with another big boot. McIntyre hits a forearm smash in the corner and then comes off the top rope with an ax-handle. Both men trade blows but McIntyre catches Blake off the ropes with a Sky High and almost gets a three but Blake kicks out. Blake ends up sending McIntyre into the turnpost shoulder first and tries a roll up but McIntyre kicks out. Blake turns it into a Crossface but McIntyre escapes. He eventually gets Blake up in the alley-oop (reverse Alabama Slam) and Blake lands hard face first. He’s able to kick out though. Blake blocks the Future Shock DDT and turns it into a Codebreaker on the hurt arm. McIntyre kicks out again. Blake goes to the top rope but McIntyre cuts him off. He wants a top rope superplex but Blake takes out the legs. McIntyre ends up in the tree of woe, but before Blake can do anything, McIntyre sits up and another overhead throw but this time off of the top. He nails Blake with a nasty headbutt and then connects with his Yakuza Kick and that’s the match.
I love how hard hitting McIntyre’s matches are. Blake looked really good in his first outing in quite awhile.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
That’s our show for the week so until next time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… but if you do, name it after me!