WWE NXT 05/31/17 is the first episode in the “post-TakeOver Chicago” taping cycle. We’ve only been promised a celebration from NXT Champion Bobby Roode (which, spoiler alert, allegedly wasn’t taped in front of the Full Sail audience). So, let’s see what the yellow brand has in store for us heading towards TakeOver Brooklyn in August.
WWE NXT 05/31/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Yet another new NXT video open with a new song (for reasons?) and we’re taped (originally taped 05/25/17) from Full Sail.
The announce team welcomes us to the show but, the crowd starts to boo. This is because Ciampa, in street clothes and on crutches, is heading down to the ring. Full Sail really lets Ciampa have it, but he cuts a promo explaining himself in between the boos and chants. The gist of it is that Ciampa was upset that within 24 hours of his injury, the fans had already begun thinking of “dream replacements” for him in DIY. He believed that Gargano would eventually replace him and Ciampa is not an “afterthought”. Ciampa reveals he felt something “pop” in his knee during the ladder match at TakeOver, so since he was going to be gone for a long time, he decided to make sure Johnny Wrestling was going to be gone for a long time too. Chicago was supposed to be special and be “DIY’s moment” but instead it became Ciampa’s moment. Ciampa vows to return to NXT bigger and better and stake his claim as the “most dangerous S.O.B.” at NXT. Tommaso Ciampa is professional wrestling, whether you like it or not. Mic drop.
Incredibly solid heel promo from Ciampa and it’s a shame he’ll likely be gone for quite a while rehabbing his injury.
Later tonight? Kassius Ohno & Roderick Strong team up against Eric Young & Alexander Wolfe
Up next? Pete Dunne takes on Danny Burch. A Danny Burch hype video airs before the break.
Back from break, we get a medical update on DIY. Ciampa needs major knee surgery and will be out for a while. Gargano refuses to give anyone an update on his condition so the announcers have no update on him.
Meanwhile, “earlier today” Roode is riding around in a car. He says he’s going to have a celebration, but it’s invite only and the cameras are not invited. He’ll be back at NXT new week.
Next, Danny Burch is out and the Bruiserweight follows.
Match #1: Danny Burch vs. Pete Dunne
I expected a squash here and was pleasantly surprised. I’m not super familiar with Burch, but he looked quite impressive here against the UK Champion. Considering this was a non-title match, it was conceivable that Dunne could lose here – however unlikely. They do a good job of making Burch look convincing and he even hits Dunne with a draping DDT meaning “Vintage Burch” is a thing now. However, Dunne recovers from that spot, German suplexes Burch into the turnbuckles and is able to hit the Bitter End for the win.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Once again, a UK Division match steals the show on an NXT episode.
Post-match, Dunne cuts a promo on Tyler Bate and mentions what a pleasure it was to beat Bate for the title at TakeOver Chicago.
Meanwhile, Kayla is backstage with the Velveteen Dream. She attempts to interview him, but he interrupts and says that the “ambiance is not right”. He suggests changes to the set and Kayla’s hair and says “maybe… just maybe” before leaving.
Later tonight? A main event. With tag teams.
Up next? Almas will be in action.
For an ad break, we get a Paul Ellering narrated hype video for the Authors of Pain.
Back from “break”, Almas is out. Already in the ring? Cezar Bononi.
Match #2: Andrade Cien Almas vs. Cezar Bononi
It seemed like this too was going to be a squash – before I remembered how they’re booking Almas lately. Sure enough, he goes on a decent run against Bononi, hitting signatures, and taunting him. Almas should take some advice from Drew Gulak however, because he showboats too much and it costs him. While attempting a vertical suplex, Bononi counters into a roll up and gets the win!
Verdict: Thumbs Up – I’m starting to enjoy the downward spiral of Almas’ character even if it seems like there is no end game.
Post-match, Almas freaks out and brings a chair into the ring while Bononi celebrates on the stage. By the time the replays have finished, Almas has calmed down and heads to the back like the loss was no big thing.
Up next? Tag team. Main event.
Back from break, Peyton and Billie are doing another of their Performance Center videos. The point of this one is that Ember Moon wanders in to “ruin” it. While she’s there, a guy comes out of an office and says Ember needs to sign her medical release papers. Ember signs and tells Billie and Peyton she’ll see them “soon”. Clever way to let us know that Moon has been medically cleared.
In two weeks, we’re getting a Triple Threat Elimination match for the NXT Women’s Championship between Asuka, Ruby Riot, and Nikki Cross.
Next, we see a clip of Itami freaking out in the dressing room at Kassius Ohno after losing at TakeOver. “Earlier today”, we see footage of Ohno and Itami talking in the Full Sail parking lot. They shake hands – giving the impression that they’ve worked things out. We learn that next week Itami will be facing Oney Lorcan.
Next, SAnitY’s music hits and they’re out (sans Cross). Ohno enters next, followed by Roderick Strong.
Match #3: Kassius Ohno & Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young & Alexander Wolfe (w/ Killian Dain)
It’s a main event tag team match on WWE TV. It’s enjoyable but nothing too ground breaking. Ohno goes in peril, Strong gets the hot tag and goes on a run, etc. However, the wrinkle here is that when Young is holding Strong signaling for Dain to get involved, No Way Jose runs in and takes out Dain. We haven’t seen Jose in a while, so this was a bit surprising. With the odds evened out, Roderick is able to hit the End of Heartache and pick up the win.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – This would have gotten a “Middle” ranking, but the return of Jose bumps this up a notch.
Post-match, SAnitY fume in the ring while the faces celebrate on the stage to end the show.
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