WWE NXT 05/10/17 features Hideo Itami and Roderick Strong facing off to determine who will challenge Bobby Roode at NXT TakeOver Chicago in just under two weeks. I imagine we’ll also get some form of official on-screen update as to Ember Moon being scratched from the announced Fatal Four Way Women’s Championship match. Let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT 05/10/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a video package highlighting tonight’s Hideo Itami vs. Roderick Strong main event.
Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped (originally taped 04/19/17) from Full Sail. Phillips welcomes us to the show and we’re immediately thrown to Aleister Black’s entrance. He’s involved in yet another squash – this week’s victim is Cezar Bononi (w/ no entrance).
Match #1: Aleister Black vs. Cezar Bononi
Bonini manages to knock Black down with a dropkick and gets a zero count when he attempts to pin Black. From there, Black dissects Bononi with knee strikes before finishing him off in short order with the Black Mass.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – I’ll always prefer debuting a guy with a series of short squash matches over putting him in random talking segments (looking at you SmackDown and how you’ve handled Nakamura so far). That said, if this goes on too long it becomes boring, but as of now we’re right in the sweet spot with Black. So far, his handling is reminding me a lot of Corbin’s early days – but you’ll remember that “Corbin squashes developmental guy” went on for far too long.
Meanwhile, we’re shown footage of last week’s Women’s Battle Royal and Regal freaking out on Asuka and declaring a Fatal Four Way for TakeOver. We’re given a brief update on Ember Moon saying that she’s got a Grade 1 Shoulder Sprain and will miss four to five weeks – thus, no Eclipse in Chicago later this month. We get a brief interview with Moon as she leaves the trainer’s room where she confirms she’s a scratch for TakeOver but will return better than ever. We’re told the TakeOver match is now a triple threat between Asuka, Ruby Riot, and Nikki Cross.
Next, we’re shown Roderick Strong backstage prepping for the main event.
Later tonight? #1 Contender’s match.
Back from break, we learn that Pete Dunne has earned a UK title shot against Tyler Bate and that has been added to TakeOver Chicago. We see a Pete Dunne hype video.
Next, it’s time for another hype video – this one on Ruby Riot.
After that, we’re shown an attempt to do an “earlier today” interview with Nikki Cross. It does not go well. Nikki slaps at the guy trying to put a lavalier mic on her and eventually jumps on the guy’s back. We’re later shown her holding and talking into the lavalier mic and asking where Ruby Riot is and demanding “her championship”. Nikki continues to swat up at the overhead mic while yelling for Asuka and eventually gets in super close to the camera and threatens to take everything from Asuka. Some very entertaining character work from Cross here.
Meanwhile, Itami is backstage getting ready for the main event.
Now it’s time to start setting up next week’s show as we have Kayla Braxton interviewing Drew McIntyre. Drew is interrupted by Blake (remember him?) and Blake vaguely challenges McIntyre to a match.
Hey, here’s another “Velveteen Dream is coming” hype video.
Back from break, DIY are out to make a case as to why they should get another shot at the Authors of Pain and the NXT Championship. They’re quickly interrupted by Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli, who claim the line starts behind them – not behind DIY. Ciampa says if there was a line, that Moss and Sabbatelli just crossed it and he and Gargano rush them. DIY clear the ring, a ref appears, and it looks like we’ve got ourselves a tag team match.
Match #2: DIY vs. Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli
Wow, Moss and Sabbatelli look really good here. I think most importantly, this match is here to establish the TakeOver match in the post-match segment, but what a way to kill two birds with one stone. Riddick and Tino do an excellent job isolating Ciampa with quick tags and cutting the ring in half. With Revival gone, we needed another heel team to factor into the mix and I think Moss and Sabbatelli may be that team. Of course, Gargano gets the hot tag and DIY go over here with their finisher, but not a bad showing from Moss and Sabbatelli at all.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Very utilitarian by putting eyeballs on Moss and Sabbatelli before getting to the real meat of this segment.
Post-match, Regal comes out and begins to say that DIY has earned a title shot against AoP at TakeOver. Paul Ellering and the AoP are immediately out and Ellering threatens to end DIY’s career. Regal says that is a chance he’s willing to take and Ellering says DIY’s blood will be on Regal’s hands. As Ellering starts to leave, Regal drops the match’s stipulation – a ladder match for the NXT Tag Team Championships.
Meanwhile, more “next week” match making as Kayla interviews Kassius Ohno. This time, it’s Almas who interrupts, still working his “totally not Alberto del Rio” gimmick – he even calls Ohno a “perro”! Ohno cuts a promo on Almas for wasting the opportunity he’s been giving at NXT and demands a match with Almas next week. Almas agrees and leaves.
Up next? The main event.
Back from break, we get a video package on Tyler Bate.
Meanwhile, we see Strong getting interviewed by Christy St. Cloud before he enters for the main event. Next, we get some pre-match thoughts from Itami before he heads out and he vows that he’ll be going to TakeOver and that Strong will be going to sleep.
Match #3: Hideo Itami vs. Roderick Strong (#1 Contender’s Match for the NXT Championship)
WWE doesn’t do the “babyface vs. babyface” thing all that often, so when they do it’s a treat. This match is no exception. With neither guy really working as a heel, this felt a lot like a match from the Cruiserweight Classic and that is definitely a good thing. A very even paced match where each guy uses his strong suits to attempt to wear down his opponent. Roddy goes with backbreaker attacks and submission holds to weaken Itami so he can’t hit the GTS. Each time it looks like Itami may be out for the count, he fires back with a series of strikes. Overall a well booked match, but someone has to win and after some great selling, Strong staggers towards Itami, tries for one last punch, misses, and walks into the GTS.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – I’d be happy seeing either guy face Roode at TakeOver, but Itami really needs this shot more. He’s had so many false starts due to injury this is really “put up or shut up” time for him. Strong is so new to NXT, he’ll bounce back from this quickly as he seems to have a bright future ahead of him in WWE.
Post-match, Hideo helps Strong up before heading to the back.
After the show, but not shown on this episode, Roderick Strong is jumped by SAnitY. We also Roddy staggering through the backstage saying “I want SAnitY” to William Regal.
Looks like we may be getting Strong vs. Eric Young at TakeOver?