Fans filled the BB&T Arena at Northern Kentucky University and they were excited. Unfortunately, the place was not even half full. When we showed up to take our seats on the first row of the lower seating area, we were offered floor seats instead. From what I could tell this happened for quite a few people.
No Way Jose is very over. His energy is infectious and he was a great way to open the show. When Jose was taking off his vest he got a ton of cheers. There was a funny spot when Blake was taking off his vest he got a ton of boos and “put it on” chants started. When he put his vest back on people cheered and he threw a little fit.
The two had a decent match, but the ref called for the bell after Blake choked Jose with his vest. There was a post match beat down from Wesley Blake, but No Way Jose turned it around and ended up getting the upper hand. After Jose defeated Blake, he celebrated in Wesley’s vest. Wesley Blake also got a couple “you eat Sara Lee” chants… NXT fans are clever.
Next up Sonya Deville took on Lacey Evans. When Lacey revealed her booty shorts, there were quite a few people taken back by her back to say the least. Deville worked as the heel and really showed a tough side. The gloves eventually came off and Sonya won with a kick to the head.
Drew McIntyre is just as amazing in person as he is on television. He received some “chosen one” and “welcome back” chants. Drew defeated Patrick Clark who was on fire as a heel. At one point during the match Clark grabbed the microphone and yelled “Kentucky sucks!” But the joke was really on him because a majority of the people at the show were probably from Ohio since Cincinnati is only fifteen minutes away from Northern Kentucky University.
When it comes to superstars who have “it,” Aleister Black has it. He came out to quite a few “Tommy f—– End” chants. His fame has obviously preceded him. Black defeated Oney Lorcan in a pretty good match. Each man got a few good spots in, but in the end, Aleister Black came out on top. It was a very good match.
Auska defended her NXT Women’s Championship in a triple threat match. She had the old Women’s Title for some reason though. She faced off against Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross. These three had some pretty good offense and you can tell they’re working on spots for TakeOver: Chicago. Asuka won with a kick to the head as usual and worked as a babyface in the match.
Now comes the saddest part of the night. Before intermission, it was announced Team DIY would be taking on SAnitY and people were excited to see that match. But the match was called early when the referee threw up the dreaded “X” after Tommaso Ciampa went for a running knee dive off the apron. It looked like he hurt his ankle and it was bad. He went sprinting up the ramp hopping on one foot and Johnny Gargano followed close behind him looking worried.
Ciampa’s injury really deflated the crowd. Eric Young grabbed the microphone and started spouting off about “that’s what they deserve for messing with us” but you could tell he was freestyling. He called Killian Dain out to the ring. We can only assume Killian was supposed to run in and interfere with the match at some point but never got the chance to come out. After all, this match probably ended ten minutes too early.
He issued an open challenge for anyone to face Killian Dain and Kassius Ohno accepted. Ohno’s reception was lukewarm, but that probably had a lot to do with the fact everyone in attendance was wondering, “what is going to happen to the ladder match at TakeOver?” I heard several people ask each other that same question. People were still worried about Ciampa and it was hard to get the crowd back.
Killian Dain defeated Kassius Ohno in what was a pretty good match with little-to-no real reaction. Or at least, they deserved a much better reaction than what they received. Dain is a huge dude with great agility. SAnitY assaulted Ohno after the match and No Way Jose ran in to make the save. Again, we can only assume DIY was supposed to come down too, but they were obviously preoccupied.
In the main event Hideo Itami and Roderick Strong defeated Bobby Roode and Andrade Cien Almas. Bobby Roode was wearing the old NXT Championship too which was weird. It’s almost like whoever packed the belts for the road picked up the wrong ones because Asuka was wearing the old “Brad Maddox belt” too. Then again it might have just been as simple as the fact that they had the old belts at the merchandise table.
One thing several people noticed was the fact Itami and Almas didn’t seem to really be invested in the match. They almost looked like they didn’t want to be there. Itami hit some strong kicks and executed his usual move set, but a spark seemed to be missing. The same went for Andrade Cien Almas too.
Bobby Roode spent a majority of the match avoiding Itami and working with Strong when he was in the match. He’s such a great heel with an outstanding look of a champion. Hideo did end up catching Roode with some offense near the end though. Roderick Strong did a good amount of the work and he’s just outstanding. Almas ended up taking a GTS from Itami and that’s what ended the match.
This was a decent live show, but there were a couple of things hampering the event. One negative thing was the size of the crowd, there could have been a lot more people there, but it did have a very intimate feel to it. And of course, Tommaso Ciampa’s injury really dampened the crowd’s energy as well. There was a little boy at the end of our row who kept asking his dad all night, “when’s DIY coming?” When that match finally happened, the little boy got to witness Ciampa’s injury. That probably wasn’t a great memory for him. But all in all, it was still a good show.
If NXT is coming anywhere near you, I highly suggest you attend. Even if you have to drive a couple of hours NXT certainly registers as a ‘destination event’ in my book.