It’s Wednesday, you know what that means – it’s time for the WWE NXT 07/05/17 recap, the 400th episode of NXT no less. This week’s episode will feature Bobby Roode defending the NXT Championship against Roderick Strong. NXT appears to be going through a cycle where we’re getting a series of title matches outside of a TakeOver build. And not the token “hey, a title match on weekly TV that’s really a squash or a no contest” thing. After last week’s Last Woman Standing match, I have high hopes for tonight’s Roode / Strong match and next week’s AoP vs. Heavy Machinery tag title match. The Asuka / Nikki Cross main event could have easily been a TakeOver match – it was that good.
Not a ton on the NXT news front this week, beyond WWE teasing that Asuka is off TV until a “worthy opponent is found”. I’m fine with that if they use it to either have Asuka vacate undefeated and move up to the main roster OR play off this to have the winner of the Mae Young Classic challenge Asuka for the title. There are a lot of different ways that NXT can play this “Asuka as Brock Lesnar” thing and most of them will make for some compelling TV. It’ll definitely be interesting to say the least considering the Mae Young Classic won’t air until after TakeOver Brooklyn III, leaving me to wonder who (if anyone) will face Asuka in Brooklyn.
Anyway, enough speculation on the NXT Women’s Championship, let’s get to the recap.
WWE NXT 07/05/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a Strong vs. Roode video package. Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped (originally taped 06/23/17) from Full Sail. Mauro welcomes us to the show and the announce team reminds us that Strong vs. Roode for the title is our main event.
“Earlier today”, we see Strong and his family arriving at Full Sail.
Kassius Ohno is out to kick off the show with a tag team match. His partner, Hideo Itami, is out next. SAnitY (sans Eric Young and Nikki Cross) are out last.
Match #1: Kassius Ohno & Hideo Itami vs. SAnitY
This is an interesting opportunity to check out what Wolfe and Dain can do as a tag team if given the opportunity. With Young missing this show due to bereavement leave (and Cross likely selling the match from last week) – we get to see this unit work without the “numbers game” trappings the faction lives and dies by. Also looming over this match is the continued downward spiral of Hideo Itami which makes this a fun watch. Hideo goes in peril, Ohno is distracted away from the hot tag by Wolfe, which leads to Itami refusing to tag Ohno in. From there, it only takes minimizing Ohno to the outside and a blind tag from Dain while Wolfe eats a GTS to give Dain the chance to nail Itami with a running crossbody for the win.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Not bad for what it tried to accomplish. It’s rare seeing SAnitY pull out a victory over established talent without the “numbers game” playing a factor. Surprisingly no “post-match words” between Ohno and Itami are shown, so that slow burn continues to burn slowly.
Meanwhile, “earlier today” the “press” (aka – a NXT microphone and some smartphones) are interviewing Ember Moon at the Performance Center. Moon starts talking Asuka, which prompts Ruby Riot to stop training in the background and tell Moon she’s next in line for Asuka. Moon blows this off and adds that she’ll take on anyone who “steps in my war path”. Hmm…
Next, we see Last Woman Standing footage from last week. We’re also shown Asuka’s tweet about not returning to NXT until a “worthy opponent” is found.
Later tonight? The title is on the line!
Back from break, a Drew McIntyre hype video airs. Christy is backstage with Drew and asks him about tonight’s main event. Drew puts over the match as “fantastic” but that the next time they talk, it will be about Drew’s title shot. Christy mentions Killian Dain, and even though this video was posted before tonight’s show it is not referenced, but Drew says he doesn’t care who the champ is – all roads lead to him beating whoever holds the strap.
Next, we see the Ciampa heel turn on Gargano from TakeOver Chicago. Johnny Wrestling returns to NXT next week!
Meanwhile, “earlier today” (seriously, a huge chunk of this show happened “earlier today”) Kayla is with the Iconic Duo. Royce cuts a promo on how no one celebrated Billie Kay’s recent birthday but her. Also, Billie Kay wants cake. The actual point here is that the “unnamed woman (aka – Thea Trinidad) and Andrade Almas are behind them having another argument. Kayla attempts to find out who the woman is and what Andrade is upset about, but he just wanders off.
Last week, there was apparently a Mae Young Classic Qualifying Match that happened in the aether. Either way, some footage escaped and Bianca Blair defeated Aliyah.
Up next? Wow, main event already with 30+ minutes left in the show!
Back from break, just kidding. Let’s pad this out with a feud hype video, and some pre-match interviews from Strong and Roode.
After the entrances, we see that Strong’s mother and his fiancé Marina Shafir are sitting ring side.
Match #2: Bobby Roode (c) vs. Roderick Strong (NXT Championship Match)
A few notes outside of the action. Mauro Ranallo has really added that “big fight feel” to NXT that it has largely been missing. It was excellent timing to have him take over the booth for a series of episodes with massive main events. Also, NXT heavily featured cut aways to Marina Shafir throughout this match and the post-match segment. The amount of TV time she’s getting leads me to believe she gets involved on NXT sooner or later.
Okay, as for the match. Not bad. I mean it’s no Last Woman Standing match, but this is one of Roode’s better NXT Championship defenses. I could have done without the Dusty Finish, but that got a decent pop from Full Sail, so I’m sure that’s why they did it. Either way, Strong mounts a great babyface comeback after Roode works the knee for a huge chunk of the match. The build to the Dusty Finish was great – however, Roode’s positioning near the ropes and the camera angle they chose gave away the “ref didn’t see the foot under the ropes” deal. From there, Roode goes into turbo heel mode, Implant DDTs Strong in front of his family on the outside, and then puts him away with another in the ring.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Bobby Roode’s title defenses have largely not been anything to write home about, but this one was not bad. Two weeks in a row we’ve had a “TakeOver quality” title match on the weekly show. Wow.
Post-match, Roode celebrates with the title. We go off the air alternating between shots of Roode on the ramp with the belt, and Strong consoling his family at ring side.