WWE NXT 05/24/17 features the matches taped prior to Saturday night’s NXT TakeOver Chicago event. Without factoring in spoilers, WWE has confirmed Drew McIntyre vs. Wesley Blake, the debut of Velveteen Dream, and Aleister Black “in action” for this week’s episode. With the next batch of tapings from Full Sail happening tomorrow night, you can expect tonight’s show to be padded with TakeOver clips and post-match reaction interviews. Let’s get to the recap.
WWE NXT 05/24/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a TakeOver Chicago highlight video package. Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped from Chicago (originally taped before NXT TakeOver Chicago on 05/20/17).
We’re immediately sent to Aleister Black’s entrance and the announcers welcome us to the show. Out next? Curt Hawkins (w/ footage of Black destroying Hawkins on Main Event a few weeks back).
Match #1: Aleister Black vs. Curt Hawkins
Well, this was less of a squash than I expected. Sure, Hawkins eats a Black Mass in short order, but I believe this is the hardest Black has had to work since his debut a couple of TakeOvers again. It’s nice to see him getting gradually more capable opponents. But, of course Black goes over strong here and I’m still on board.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Nice change of pace to have Black beat someone other than NXT developmental guys and have to work a bit to get the win.
Later tonight? Our main event – Drew McIntyre vs. Wesley Blake
Also later tonight? A recap of the NXT Championship match.
Up next? D.I.Why?
Back from break, we see a highlight package on the Tag Team Championship Ladder Match. After that we see footage of Gargano getting loaded into an ambulance and learn that doctors “refuse” to give an update on his condition after Ciampa’s heel turn.
Next, we get a promo from Ember Moon that she cuts from the bleachers at the Allstate Arena. The takeaway is that “time heals all wounds, but battle scars last forever”.
After that, we see a highlight package on the NXT Women’s Championship match. Which is immediately followed by Kayla’s interview with Asuka from after the show.
Next, we get the final Velveteen Dream vignette. He debuts… next!
Instead of a break, we’re sent to a video package on the Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young match from TakeOver. Immediately following that we get Kayla’s interview with Strong after TakeOver.
Back in the arena, Velveteen Dream enters. I actually think I prefer the music they used in the “coming soon” vignettes to his actual entrance theme. He’s facing “Robert Anthony” who is already in the ring.
Match #2: Velveteen Dream vs. Robert Anthony
Wow, Patrick Clark has come a long way with this character since I saw him work the live event I went to last October. He seems to really be owning this gimmick, for better or worse, and the guy is clearly quite athletic. The match is a total “debut squash match”. Dream hits a neckbreaker, goes up top, poses, and hits an elbow drop to get the win.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – I saw a ton of hate for this guy on my Twitter timeline during this match, but Velveteen Dream reminds me a lot of the more quirky characters we used to see back in the early days of NXT.
Up next? A Championship match recap. I don’t recap recaps.
Back from break, not the Championship match recap. Instead, we see a highlight package for the UK Championship match, culminating in Kayla’s interview with Pete Dunne from Saturday night.
Next, we get the NXT Championship recap, which is followed by Kayla’s interview with Bobby Roode after his victory.
Up next? Our main event.
Back from break, we learn that next week we’re getting another “Glorious Celebration” from Bobby Roode. I wonder who will crash it?
After that, Drew McIntyre is out. Wesley Blake (w/ new look and new music) is out next. I guess “Beautiful Blake” didn’t work out, so now he’s a “vaguely cowboy, vaguely biker” dude from Texas. Remember when he was billed as a “real life cowboy”?
Match #3: Drew McIntyre vs. Wesley Blake
I was actually impressed by Blake here. He was actually quite good (as was Murphy) in the Blake & Murphy tag team, so I’m surprised that neither guy has been doing much of anything since their break up. Blake does some classic “heel 101” stuff here and starts targeting McIntyre’s arm. Blake even busts out some submission holds, like a cross armbreaker and a crossface. However, Drew is able to show his strength by powering out of every submission attempt Blake slaps on. After an impressive “tree of woe” sequence, Drew hits a stiff head butt, and finishes Blake off with his single leg dropkick finisher.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Much like with Black earlier, it was nice to see McIntyre have a competitive match compared to the relative squashes we’ve been seeing on TV.
We go off the air with McIntyre standing tall in the ring. Not a bad episode considering it was one of those “post-TakeOver” video package heavy episodes.