The show opened with the opening video and music, in the arena Tom Phillips and Corey Graves welcomed everyone to the show. Samoa Joe makes his entrance and heads to the ring to address to live crowd and presumably Shinsuke Nakamura. He starts off apologetic for his behaviour whilst NXT champion calling it a disgrace and referencing the broken friendships and broken bodies he has left in his wake. He then says he will offer no apology for this as he did it to be the champion of the hottest brand in the WWE Universe (ugh!)
Time for the best music in wrestling, Shinsuke is in the house! Nakamura comes out to a huge pop, once in the ring Joe lays on some hyperbole about their match at NXT Takeover Brooklyn 2 and then transitions in to asking for his rematch for the title. Joe says he could go straight to William Regal and ask for his contractual rematch but he wanted ask Shinsuke to his face, Shinsuke says your on and then then the two men shake hands and Shinsuke plays to the crowd.
OK that’s not exactly how it ended but it makes sense to have Joe be a vicious beast to get rematch. I don’t see this leading to a match at Takeover in November. This will likely be a TV match or could even be a creative way to have Joe end up on the main roster with Regal terminating his contract and him being a free agent. I liked the aftermath of the beat down having Corey Graves and William Regal coming out to check on Shinsuke and having the feeling the show was in turmoil.
Liv Morgan and Rachel Fazio had the unenviable task of following the Joe/Shinsuke angle. The match was a basic showcase squash for Liv Morgan who after the match said she wants to face Asuka for the Women’s title! Good lord! The crowd chanted ‘Asuka’s gonna kill you’ and I can’t say I disagree. If this is truly the way the Women’s title picture is heading creative will have a lot to do to make Liv look credible. She’s very green in the ring and is obviously a work in progress but she has been susceptible to botches in her matches and these will need ironed out if she is going to be taken seriously.
Drew Gulak was out next to face off against Hideo Itami.
Hideo is picking up steam since his return from injury, his inevitable match with Austin Aries should be awesome and we will likely see him move up the card to the title scene. I definitely like Gulak and hope WWE will get him either on the Cruiserweight Division on Raw or on an NXT deal, he has natural heel/bully look and presence to him and could add something to either roster.
The Shield cos-players were out next, sorry I mean the Authors of Pain. Total squash match against a pair of jobbers and it’s definitely the type of matches AoP should be having to keep building them up. I do knock the ring attire but I like AoP as the unstoppable monster tag team, the issue is the tactical swat gear is synonymous with The Shield even more so if/when they get called up to the main roster. Some simple tweaks could fix this.
Tye Dillinger was backstage and talked about losing to Oney Lorcan (I hate this name, please change it back to Biff Buisick) and how it is a step back in his career but he is ready to take two steps forward as he is the perfect 10.
Main event time, No Way Jose was out first to a decent reaction followed by a glorious entrance by Bobby Roode who must have some spinning contraption on the stage now. I love this entrance but if he is to be a heel they may need to tone it down as he is getting over big time as a baby face.
A good match television debut for Roode, they seem to undecided on Roode’s finisher although the DDT was a hell of a lot better than the pump handle slam he used at Takeover Brooklyn. Roode seems to have a rocket attached to him and I’m very much of the opinion that he will face Shinsuke Nakamura in his backyard of Toronto at Takeover in November.
Overall a good show that reached its pinnacle right at the start with the Shinsuke stretcher job, a couple of showcases and a strong main event, NXT seems to be avoiding the post Takeover hangover they usually suffer.
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