Tom’s Takes: NXT TakeOver – Chicago

Another 1am start for NXT TakeOver as the brand took over Chicago for a post-Wrestlemania/pre-Summerslam event – guess some storylines wouldn’t stretch that far? Anyway, a solid event with a genuine Match of the Year shout amongst them and a shocking end…here’s Tom’s Takes on NXT TakeOver Chicago.

It’s fair to say that I wasn’t expecting another TakeOver event prior to the Summerslam weekend event in Brooklyn (that’s my excuse for previous predictions not coming true…yet) but I don’t mind the whole “being up until 3am just to watch wrestling” when it’s NXT because they rarely fail to deliver.

Last night’s event was no different so here’s my thoughts on the five matches we saw during the show.

Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young

This whole story carries on but now it’s a three-on-one situtation for Roddy seeing that Tye Dillinger is no longer in NXT and No Way Jose is injured (I think???? Though did see him doing his dancing schtick on the NXT Instagram a couple days back…so…) so it’s Roddy vs. the World and the three members of Sanity – no, I can’t be bothered doing the capitals/lowercase thing with their name.

Decent opener, Strong upsetting the odds by picking up the victory. Still not a fan of his but this was a good match. Can we finally put Sanity in the running for the Tag Titles already and leave Eric Young to do whatever? No doubt they’ll put Strong in the running for the NXT Title in the lead-up to NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III.

Perhaps NXT needs a mid-card title for the ones with nothing to do to go after – like a TV title? But, considering it is on the WWE Network, something like the NXT Network Title? Hey, if that name sucks, it’s probably good I’m not the one who has to name these things.

WWE United Kingdom Championship – Tyler Bate (c) vs. Pete Dunne

WHAT AN ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC MATCH THIS WAS. You know how I mentioned a potential MOTY candidate in the introduction? Yeah, this was the match which I believe is worthy of such high praise. Simply superb wrestling by a pair of guys who flew the flag for British Wrestling superbly.

Back-and-forth action from the two youngsters who have an insanely bright future in the business, quite simply you couldn’t take your eyes off of whatever type of screen you were watching it on. To make it even better, they even brought out Jim Ross and his iconic voice to talk through proceedings – man, I miss hearing his voice on WWE programming.

Dunne won. Probably should have won it to begin with but I digress – made sense to give the younger guy (Bate) his moment in the spotlight and will no doubt set up a Dunne/Bate III down the line. NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III perhaps the logical place for it – would they add in a third guy as well? Someone like Trent Seven…for a British Strong Style triple-threat match? That’d have potential to steal the spotlight for sure. Make it happen, Paul.

NXT Women’s Championship – Asuka (c) vs. Nikki Cross vs. Ruby Riot

Asuka’s reign over the NXT Women’s Division continues as she saw off both women in what was an alright match – going on after something as special as the previous match is hard work for anyone.

It was decent in parts – loved the finish where Asuka ended up pinning both women at the same time. Indicative of her dominance over the division over the past year? Seems like it’s been that long.

Cross and Riot no doubt continue this feud they’ve got going on whilst Asuka beats up everyone else who challenges here on the road to Brooklyn. Where she and Ember Moon go one on one again…will they give Ember the title and have her be the one to end the reign of Asuka and have her go to the main roster after Summerslam? Certainly seems to be heading that way.

NXT Title – Bobby Roode (c) vs. Hideo Itami

Now here was a massive surprise, this wasn’t the main event? Well, they must be planning something shocking to end the Tag Title Match then…(spoiler alert; yes they did).

Anyway, this was a pretty good match. Hideo has been plagued with injuries since he originally signed with the WWE and, as such, hasn’t had too many matches that standout as being decent. This was one such match though, a very even contest with both competitors going close to winning throughout.

Being in Chicago though, the whole story seemed to revolve around Hideo Itami trying to hit his “Go To Sleep” finisher – which some guy from Chicago used to use as his – and pick up the title. He was able to hit it once but Roode ended up outside the ring. Typical.

Roode’s reign continues though as he ended up picking up the win with his own finisher. Solid match though, still don’t like Roode though. Sooner they put the title on someone else, the better.

NXT Tag Title Ladder Match – The Authors of Pain (c) vs. #DIY

So, this is the main event of the show? Interesting.

Nothing special as a match – some typically hellacious spots that you’ve come to expect from ladder matches; hitting guys in the face with ladders, slamming others into them causing them to break and then the leap from the top of a ladder onto another guy who’s laid atop another one. Ladder Match 101.

Authors of Pain retained after eventually being able to climb a ladder – did nobody think it through that guys of their…ahem…stature could struggle to climb one to get to the abnormally low down tag title belts? Bothered me a lot, that did.

What didn’t bother me though was the aftermath of the match. Both Gargano/Ciampa get a big ovation from the crowd and it looks like the end of the show – I mean we even got the WWE logo thing come up as well – and then Ciampa throws Johnny into the entrance thing and beats his former partner senseless. Eventually putting him through a table and leaving the crowd to chant things like “fuck you Ciampa.”

It had been coming though – in fact (humble brag time), I speculated about it happening in the lead-up to NXT TakeOver Brooklyn. That looks like it could definitely be on the cards now – have Gargano off screens for a while as he recovers and then bring him back to get a build-up going ahead of the event.

Man, this booking thing is easy.

So, with that being the end of NXT TakeOver Chicago, here’s what I think might be on the cards in Brooklyn…

NXT Title Match – Bobby Roode vs. Drew Galloway – Sticking with this idea because I really like it. Could they add someone else in it to maybe make it a triple-threat/fatal-four-way? Possible but that could really be anyone.

NXT Women’s Title – Asuka vs. Ember Moon – It’s obvious this is what it’s going to be, right?

NXT Tag Title Match – Authors of Pain vs. Sanity – Sticking with this one as the idea going forward. Now the Revival are gone, DIY are no more and TM61 are on the shelf, the NXT Tag Division really needs some new blood…Heavy Machinery could have a future but the likes of Riddick Moss/Tino Sabatelli? Hmm.

WWE UK Championship – Pete Dunne vs. Tyler Bate vs. Trent Seven – Adding this one to the card because I don’t think they’ll have a weekly show by then and, anyway, who wouldn’t want to see this match on such a big weekend as Summerslam Weekend?

Aleister Black vs. someone – That theme song deserves a match. Also he’s pretty darn good in the ring as well, give him another TakeOver Match.



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