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WWE NXT 04/26/17 Recap - Nikki Cross
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WWE NXT 04/26/17 Recap

The heat gets turned up on the Nikki Cross / Ruby Riot feud, Roderick Strong is profiled, and Bate defends the UK Title

WWE NXT 04/26/17 features UK Champ Tyler Bate defending his strap against Jack Gallagher. NXT dropped hints last week, mentioning that Aleister Black will be in action and also Drew McIntyre will be facing off against Andrade Cien Almas. It’s a jam-packed episode this week so let’s get to the recap.

WWE NXT 04/26/17 Recap

WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Standard NXT credits and we’re taped from Full Sail (originally taped 04/05/17).

Tom Phillips welcomes us to the show, but it is interrupted when Nikki Cross slides into the ring unannounced. Cross slides back out and walks over to Dasha and leans into her mic to call out Ruby Riot. She does so in classic “Warriors – Come out to play” fashion. Ruby is out with no entrance and heads to the ring. Both women slide in and face off. Cross starts to laugh and rushes Riot. The ensuing brawl spreads to the ring side area and involves Riot getting rammed into the ring apron and steps. Refs and security rush out and attempt to separate the two women. It’s not very effective as Ruby breaks free and dives into Nikki, taking out a security guard in the process. The crowd is chanting “let them fight” while the refs and security guards are finally able to separate them and drag Nikki to the back.

The announcers set the stage for tonight’s show and mention tonight’s main event will be Tyler Bate defending the WWE UK title against Gentleman Jack Gallagher.

Next, we see footage of Roode getting interrupted by Hideo Itami on last week’s show. Roode is interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton and calls Itami’s actions last week cowardly and unprovoked. Roode says Itami will have to earn the “glorious opportunity” of facing him in the ring before leaving. Kayla stares off into space as instructed as he leaves.

Andrade Cien Almas is out next as we head to break.

Back from break, Drew McIntyre is out.

Match #1: Andrade Cien Almas vs. Drew McIntyre

Not a five-star classic, but it doesn’t need to be. This match accomplishes what it set out to do. Almas continues his “I don’t care if I win or lose – I just care where the after party is” gimmick. WWE clearly has McIntyre pegged for a top spot on the yellow brand, so having him go over convincingly against someone of Almas’ caliber works in doing that. After Almas plays around for a while, he slaps McIntyre which sets Drew off. After Cien runs into a McIntyre powerslam, Drew hits the Claymore dropkick and picks up the victory.

Verdict: Thumbs Up – Great booking that helps further both the new Almas gimmick and the push of McIntyre.

Next, we’re sent to Regal’s office. He says that it’s obvious that Riot and Cross have issues to settle, so he’s made a match between them for later tonight.

Also later tonight? Bate vs. Gallagher for the UK Title.

Up next? Who is Roderick Strong? We’ll find out after the break.

Back from break, we get Part 1 of “Who is Roderick Strong?”. An outstanding video package airs that goes deep into detail about Roderick’s tough upbringing and the story of how he got into the wrestling business. Great stuff.

Next week? We get Part 2 of “Who is Roderick Strong?”.

Back in the arena, Kona Reeves is out for a match. Aleister Black enters next.

Match #2: Kona Reeves vs. Aleister Black

I absolutely love everything about Black and how he’s been introduced. Reeves attempts the strategy of “rush Black at the bell” and it’s not very effective. So far, you can’t wait Black out and you can’t rush him. Black does his eerie thing where he hits a flurry of strikes on Reeves and then just drops to the ring cross-legged. Reeves takes too long to get back up, so Black lifts him up by way of boot under Reeves’ chin, and puts him away with a Black Mass Kick for the easy win.

Verdict: Thumbs Up – Black continues to impress week in and week out.

Meanwhile, Christy St. Cloud is backstage with Ruby Riot. Ruby says she keeps clashing with Cross even though she tends to sympathize with SAnitY’s belief system of not conforming to society’s norms. However, Ruby’s problem is that SAnitY wants everyone to conform to their ways of doing things and pushes their beliefs on everyone. Nikki found out that Ruby pushes back and Riot intends to push Cross out of her way on the road to the NXT Women’s Championship. Really good promo from Ruby.

Back from break, Kayla is running after Cien who is leaving Full Sail with a woman on his arm. Kayla attempts to get comments on Cien’s loss to McIntyre, but he’s too busy getting into a SUV loaded with more women. He asks Kayla “You go?”, which she no sells, before he gets in the SUV and leaves.

Next, Ruby Riot is out for her match with Cross. Unfortunately, she’s taken out from behind by Cross on the ramp. Another pull apart brawl breaks out that features Cross getting suplexed on the ramp, Ruby decking a security guard, and Ruby diving off the stage onto Cross and some refs. Four men have to carry a struggling Nikki Cross to the back. Excellent stuff.

Up next? Our main event.

Back from break, Regal is with Asuka and says that next week a battle royal will be held to determine the new number one contender to her title. Asuka looks annoyed and unimpressed by this and leaves.

Next, Jack Gallagher (w/ umbrella) is out for his UK title shot. Tyler Bate (w/ NOT Sledgehammer entrance music) is out last.

Match #3: Tyler Bate (c) vs. Jack Gallagher (WWE UK Championship Match)

I had a feeling this one would be a good watch – and sure enough it was. Gallagher gets in a bit of his standard “205 Live” offense, but goes a bit deeper into his submission “wear down” move set than usual. His game plan appeared to be weakening Bate’s arm and shoulder to nullify the Tyler Driver 97. While Gallagher puts on a good show here, I never really felt like Bate was in danger of losing his title. Even so, this was a well executed match that featured some great spots. Despite the damage to the shoulder, Bate is able to hit the Tyler Driver 97 to retain.

Verdict: Thumbs Up – A really fun match and Gallagher and Bate have good ring chemistry.

Post-match, we see Trent Seven, Mark Andrews, Pete Dunne, and Wolfgang in the crowd. Everyone looks happy enough at the outcome – except Dunne who looks annoyed even being there.

We go off the air with Bate posing in the ring with the UK Title.

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