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NXT: Takeover Chicago 5/20/17 Recap

NXT: Takeover Chicago was LIVE from The Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL on 5/20/17!

Roderick Strong defeats Eric Young via pinfall with a Release Suplex Double Knee Backbreaker.

What a hot opener! This Chicago crowd, to quote Michael Cole, is electric. Every athlete involved in in-ring action tonight is going to be very pleased with their energy if they deliver. Roddy had the Chicago crowd with him as he battled the numbers. The new father used his cunning and smarts to keep Wolfe and Dain out of the equation. Young brought his A-game, utilizing his incredible strength, but the wily veteran came up short as Roddy was able to eliminate the other members of Sanity before he nailed a rising knee strike and the release suplex to come over with a victory in the opening contest. If this is a sign of things to come tonight, those worried about the depleted roster after the promotions to Raw and Smackdown aren’t going to have much to worry about. The future is bright, and the future is now!

Pete Dunne defeats Tyler Bate via pinfall with the Bitter End to become the new WWE UK Champion.

Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne knocked my socks off. These two incredible athletes put in work that left me with my jaw wide open from bell to bell. The “Bruiserweight” is so methodical with his ability to manipulate the body, working strong with wristlocks and some incredible variations as it relates to submission wrestling. The twenty year old champion hit an airplane spin that should have appeared on a Delta radar because of the rotations he got. The crowd ate it up, so did I. Good ole’ JR was on commentary for this with Nigel McGuiness and this is going to be hard to top. Their first match was exceptional, this might have exceeded it. Bate used his strength to literally power out of a submission from the ground and he turned it into a powerbomb, mesmerizing stuff. I recommend you stop what you are doing, turn off the Warriors or Predators game and tune into this one yesterday. I must say, one of the best NXT matches this year. The action, as well as the crowd, make this a must watch pay per view match. Bate countered the Bitter End into a DDT that spiked Dunne’s head directly into the mat. He sold it like a dead man, just exhilarating stuff. A moonsault to the floor and then a corkscrew 450 splash make me wanna smoke a cigarette after this one as I told my good brothers, and fellow Scrum writers. Bate had the upper hand and he made one mistake, Bitter End, ballgame. Pete Dunne is your new UK champion and it’s like watching a young Fit Finlay and this one dang sure came to fight! How do you top this?!

Asuka defeated Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot via pinfall with a running knee strike on Riot, pinning both women simultaneously, to retain the NXT Women’s Title.

Asuka is excellence, the end. In all seriousness though, the NXT women’s champion has been nothing but impressive since day one and she continues to work against any and all comers. This was special. It was an incredibly unique pairing of three very different talents, and we all wish Ember Moon a speedy recovery, but Ruby and Nikki both showed up. Technically, you had two heels, as Asuka seemed to make that turn after what she did to Ember at the last NXT PPV to retain the title, and Nikki, one of the key pieces on the Sanity chessboard. Ruby, the newcomer, but a very familiar face to fans of independent wrestling, really had a chance to shine in front of the hot Chicago crowd. Riot missed a senton off the top rope and Asuka snatched her into the Asuka Lock quicker than a hiccup. I thought that was it. Cross hit a crossbody to break up the submission and they kept it going. Asuka tried a baseball slide dropkick to the outside, but Cross pulled a page outta the Finlay playbook and she trapped her in the apron and she fed her rights and lefts like they were Sunday dinner. That was something fantastic. Asuka took a nasty bump on a rope hang spinning neckbreaker from Cross, but she got her wits about her and got back into it. Cross went for the fisherman’s neckbreaker, but Riot countered into a step-up pele kick. She had the pinfall, but Asuka hit the running knee strike, landing on both women for the victory and the retention of the title. Who is going to beat her? It’s legitimately becoming a question on everyone’s mind. They’ve inked both Kairi Hojo and Io Shirai, don’t be surprised if they make waves when they debut. That’s going to make for some incredible competition.

We had a promo for the “Velveteen Dream” once again after the title match. Looks like it’ll be a Prince-like gimmick for Patrick Clark. He’s a Baltimore guy, I can dig it.

Bobby Roode defeats Hideo Itami via pinfall with two Glorious DDT’s.

Wow, the tag title match is going to close the show. I don’t know if that’s great news for the Authors of Pain and #DIY or if that’s just bad news for a potential Hideo Itami title run? KENTA has always been one of my favorite wrestlers, way back when he was a ROH and NOAH staple, but let’s be frank, Bobby Roode’s run as the NXT champion has indeed been GLORIOUS. I’m very excited for this contest and the Chicago crowd was as well. Roode has an incredible entrance with a piano on the Titantron that would make the late, great Robert Loggia proud with the “Big” throwback. We didn’t get “Heart and Soul”, but this touched both. Itami literally scooped Roode up for the GTS at the bell and Roode frantically made his escape and rolled up the bottom rope to regroup. They went to work after this. The match started with a slow, methodical pace and then these ring generals got to beating the holy heck out of one another. Itami nailed several rapid fire strikes and Roode nailed several huge boots of his own. Itami hit a running single leg dropkick and I thought he took a tooth out of Roode’s mouth, it was that solid. Roode tried for the Glorious DDT later, but favored the arm. Itami went for a GTS, but Roode escaped and they kept after it. Roode tried to shoot Itami into the ring steps, but Itami countered and he threw him into the cold, unforgiving steel. Itami charged in, but Roode moved and Itami ends up in a bad way himself. Back into the ring and Itami can’t get the GTS, the knee buckles. Roode hits the Glorious DDT, two count! He was slow to cover after favoring the shoulder. Itami able to come back and he nails the GTS! Roode rolls out of the ring. Itami is able to roll him back in, but he only gets a two count. Itami with a combo flurry, he pulls down the knee pad and he hoists him up, counter and a Glorious DDT! He keeps him hooked, one more and that’s all she wrote! Tremendous. I love both these athletes and that was fantastic. I really hope they do that one again, but with Drew McIntyre waiting in the wings, who knows what happens next?

We see Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Kassius Ohno, Pat Patterson and Thames from the Brewers in attendance as they prep for the tag title main event.

The Authors Of Pain defeat #DIY by pulling the titles down in a Ladder Match, retaining the NXT Tag Team Titles.

Rabid reaction for the challengers as they haven’t even locked up and the #DIY chant is drowning out the commentary team, it’s that loud! Excited to see what the monstrous AoP can pull off in this one too. This should be a great way to end the night. They start quick and clear out the champs early. They waste no time in going full “Jeff Hardy” and bringing out a twenty foot ladder that should be factored into the equation in short order. They take out AoP once again, keeping the crowd on their side as they prop up a much shorter ladder until the titles. Akim hits a monstrous counter after he eats a jumping knee strike from Ciampa. He catches Gargano and literally drops him across the back of Ciampa, cancelling out the springboard attempt. They tease multiple ladder bumps, but the huge ladder is propped up on the outside and the AoP are each sprawled out on seperate smaller ladders. Gargano and Ciampa take flight with huge splashes, crashing through the ladders and destroying AoP. That was a stunning visual. Kudos to all four men for that bump, always a scary spot, but scintillating to watch. Ciampa almost overshot it, but he righted the ship on the way down. Back in the ring, #DIY clears the ring and Gargano is all alone and headed up to the titles, but Paul Ellering pulls him down and dumps the ladder. The legendary manager eats a superkick and AoP is able to regroup and take charge once again. AoP have a ladder in hand and they prepare to nail Ciampa, but Gargano pushes him out of the way. He gets destroyed! Good gracious! AOP nailed him with that. They head up the ladder. Wait a moment! Ciampa has Rezar, surely he isn’t gonna, german suplex off a ladder and through another! It snapped in half! The ladder LITERALLY snapped in half! Uncanny! #DIY are headed up the ladder, they have the titles. AoP is up and they grab the challengers, powerbomb off the ladder, back up, Super Collider! AoP up the ladder and they’ve got the belts! Wow! I didn’t expect that. What a bout! #DIY sits in the ring after the match and they get a huge reaction from the fans. I hope they get called up to the main roster and they don’t split them up. That would be criminal, and they do just that. They take in the crowd atop the ramp and then Ciampa goes full “Psycho Killer”, turning on his partner and tossing him into the video wall. The crowd deflates and I do too. A knee strike and a vile maneuver that brings Gargano crashing through a table just off the entrance ramp seals the Michaels/Janetty turn and it breaks the heart of the entire NXT roster. It’ll lead to some tremendous matches, but they need to reconcile before a main roster call up, it would be foolish to not bring them up together. Having said that, a very enjoyable NXT, as seems to be the norm and I was very glad to be able to cover this for Scrum tonight.

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