WWE NXT 07/26/17 kicks off the airing of the final tapings before NXT TakeOver Brooklyn 3 next month. Tonight, WWE’s promotional robots are focusing on Kassius Ohno “ending the talking” and facing Hideo Itami in action. I imagine this is Itami’s opportunity to finally – firmly – turn heel. Other than that, I’ve avoided the spoilers, so I have no idea what goes down. Let’s get to the recap.
WWE NXT 07/26/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Standard opening credits and we’re taped (originally taped July 12th) from Full Sail. Mauro welcomes us to the show and we focus on the announcers to start. We’re reminded that Itami takes on Ohno in the main event and learn that Drew McIntyre will be here a bit later on to address the crowd.
Ember Moon is out first to kick off the first match. Some random music hits and eventually Lei’d Tapa (pronounced “lady”) is out with no Titantron and some boos.
Match #1: Ember Moon vs. Lei’d Tapa
Your standard “NXT Special” squash match. Tapa starts out fire out of the gate, then Ember goes on a run and hits the Eclipse to go over.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Essentially a filler match to get us to the post-match segment.
Post-match, Ember gets on the mic and says she wants Asuka at TakeOver Brooklyn. Ember vows to give Asuka “everything she desires” and asks Asuka if she’s ready for Ember Moon.
Next, Mauro shows us a Tweet Roderick Strong made at Roode saying that Roode hasn’t seen the last of him.
Up next? Authors of Pain are in action.
During the break an Aleister Black vignette airs.
Back from break, David Ramos & Timothy Bumpers are already in the ring. Good luck, guys. AoP’s music hits and they’re out with Ellering. But wait, Nikki Cross appears and blocks their path on the ramp. Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe materialize in the ring and clear it of Ramos and Bumpers. Cross yells at AoP, but they no sell that and walk right past her into the ring. A face off between AoP and Wolfe / Dain ensues, with the expected brawl breaking out. AoP handles Dain and Wolfe and clears the ring. Dain wants to head back into the ring but Cross is the voice of reason and holds him back. Yes, I just called Nikki Cross the “voice of reason”. AoP gets heel heat from the crowd to end the segment.
Up next? Velveteen Dream is in action!
But, before that – here’s a Street Profits vignette.
Back from break, the announcers discuss the SAnitY vs. AoP feud that is brewing.
Next, we see the Andrade / Bononi / Thea Trinidad / Jose drama unfold by way of clips. “Earlier today”, Jose is accosted in the parking lot by Thea (now known by her NXT name of Zolita Vega). She admires what Jose did, but warns him that he’s lit a fire in Almas that Jose won’t be able to dance around.
Velveteen Dream enters next. Cezar Bononi enters last.
Match #2: Velveteen Dream vs. Cezar Bononi
Much like the first match on this show, Bononi starts out on fire, but this is really a Velveteen Dream squash match. Dream goes on a quick run, hitting a Death Valley Bomb, and following that up with his elbow drop finisher (aka – the Purple Rainmaker). I like Velveteen Dream and his finisher is one of the best looking “elbow drops from the top” we’ve seen in WWE in some time… but, it’s put up or shut up time with him. He needs a feud or something going forward because he’s been established enough at this point with squash victories. Give this man something to do!
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Much like the opener, this was a filler squash to get to the post-match segment.
Post-match, Kayla Braxton tries again (in vain) to interview Dream. This time his complaint is that amongst the ugliness of the NXT Universe is not the proper setting for an interview. He does call Kayla “decently dressed” though. Man, I love this feud but it’s not enough to carry Velveteen Dream as a character – he needs an in-ring feud too.
Next, Christy is in Regal’s office. She asks him about the women’s title situation and Regal responds by making a title match between Asuka and Ember Moon for TakeOver Brooklyn 3.
Up next? Drew McIntyre speaks!
Back from break, we get a graphic for the Women’s Championship match for TakeOver Brooklyn 3.
After that, Drew McIntyre is out in street clothes. He cuts a promo putting over his comeback by saying he became the “hardest worker in the world” and learned his lessons from his first run in the WWE. He puts over the NXT roster for pushing each other to be the best – except one person. Bobby Roode. McIntyre declares this isn’t Roode’s NXT – it’s everyone’s NXT and starts pointing out individual fans in the crowd saying it’s their NXT. He asks the crowd to stand with him and chant “WE ARE NXT!” A very effective promo from McIntyre this week.
Up next? The main event.
During the break, another Aleister Black vignette airs. Wow, two in one show? And he’s not even advertised as being “in action” next week.
However, what is advertised for next week is Bobby Roode’s response to McIntyre’s promo.
Also next week? Gargano returns to action facing off with Raul Mendoza. Kayla interviews Mendoza backstage and he suggests that maybe next week is less about Gargano’s return and more about Mendoza. He has lines shaved into his head so the “Mendoza Line” joke tells itself.
Next, it’s main event time. Hideo is out first. Ohno (in Sacramento Kings themed gear) is out last.
Match #3: Hideo Itami vs. Kassius Ohno
Yay. They finally did it. We get an above-average match from these guys here with more strikes and chops than you shake a stick at. After several near falls from both men, Ohno is looking to put Itami away with a Rolling Elbow and Itami simply kicks Ohno in the crotch. The ref calls for the bell and Ohno wins by DQ. Normally, I’d not be a fan of this finish, but it works perfectly as that action and post-match bit solidly place Itami in the “despicable heel” category. Perhaps, the one thing that can salvage Itami’s WWE run assuming he can remain healthy from here on out. Also, Mauro calls the low blow as a shot to the “peninsula south of the equator” in one of the best low blow calls of all time.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Ohno’s athleticism is on display in the main event again and Itami finally goes “full heel”. Definitely a win/win.
Post-match, as if there was any doubt in the heel turn (looking at you, Nigel McGuinness) Itami stomps and kicks at Ohno. Eventually he picks Ohno up for a pair of GTSs. Itami leaves, but heads back to the ring, pulls Ohno up again, but instead of a GTS on the floor he drops Ohno face first into the “unforgiving” steel stairs. Itami emotionlessly heads to the back and we linger on a “foaming at the mouth” Ohno as we go off the air.