NXT TakeOver is a chance for the WWE stars of tomorrow to shine on a bigger stage. They’re looking to make a name for themselves and capture a piece of the WWE fanbase as their own. They took over Chicago on May 20th and it was a very well put together show, to say the least.
This was set to be a great night of wrestling and the NXT fans in Chicago were ready to be entertained. They were pumped for a handful of title matches and hoping to see at least one of those belts to change hands.
Backlash might be seen as a transitional pay-per-view for the SmackDown brand, but TakeOver is always a big deal in NXT.
Roderick Strong vs Eric Young
Each one of these two guys was way over. Strong has a very clean cut look and it works well with him. It really compliments his smooth style. Eric Young is gritty and dangerous looking. It really compliments SAnitY’s insane appearance as well.
These two were squaring off in the only match at NXT TakeOver: Chicago that wasn’t a championship encounter. These two guys certainly deserve that kind of honor as well.
Roderick told Eric Young in the preshow to never mention his family again. Well, his dad is an Elvis impersonator — maybe Young should start making fun of that too. He could play Blue Suede Shoes and ask Roddy if he feels like he’s home again.
Roddy got started early by coming out of the audience and taking out the members of SAnitY that surrounded the ring. He’s one smart cookie. He took it to Young in the ring alone and as soon as the bell rang these two were at each other’s throats.
Strong knocked Young around the ring and tossed him outside. Young walked around the ring and Roddy followed beating on him until they both returned to the ring. Strong hit some stiff chops and followed it with some more punishing blows.
He threw Young in the turnbuckle but the leader of SAnitY reversed it and hit him with a punishing suplex. Eric Young took control and hit a big neckbreaker on Strong. He followed it with a torquing headlock to apply as much pressure as possible.
Roddy fought out of it and was tossed into the corner. He leaped over Young and took the match back in his favor. He applied a kick and bounced off to hit Young, with more damage, but Young moved and Alexander Wolfe got in the way to save his leader. Roddy jumped outside and Killian Dane hit him with a punishing cross body while the ref was distracted by Young on the inside.
Eric took advantage again and got on the top rope while he held Roddy’s head to almost choking him out from behind. Then he applied a vicious neck chop from the top rope.
Wolfe kicked Roddy in the head while he was on his knees and Young got a two-count. Roddy is really letting the numbers gave play to his disadvantage here. Young got Strong up and choked him with the middle rope.
“Let’s go Roddy” chants broke out, but it only caused Young to spit and apply more pressure on Roderick Strong. Eric Young got him down with a headlock and didn’t let him move for a bit. Once Roddy tried to fight out of it, he was chopped back down for a two-count.
Young wrapped Strong in the turnbuckle and chopped him before climbing behind him to choke him a little bit more. He jumped down to hit Strong, but Roddy caught him with a nice dropkick to the face. Both men were on the mat and looking hurt.
Eric charged to get Roddy but only hit turnbuckle. Strong turned every move around in his favor for a minute and hit a backbreaker. Then he hit a running knee and another backbreaker for a two count.
Young rolled to the outside of the ring to avoid further damage, but Roddy just followed him. Eric Young hit his signature neckbreaker out of nowhere on the outside leaving both men sprawled out on the thin mat on the outside. That looked rough to take. Loved it.
Roddy rolled in the ring and Young covered him for a two-count. They were slow to get back up after that wheelbarrow neckbreaker on the outside. Young took Strong down with a stiff right hand and climbed to the top turnbuckle.
Strong grabbed his left foot and applied a chop. Both men were on the top, but Young knocked him off. Eric Young delivered a beautiful elbow drop that would make Macho Man proud. 1-2-kickout!
Young tried for another wheelbarrow neckbreaker, but it was countered for a rollup pin. 2-count. Each member of SAnitY got involved at ringside and hampered Roddy for a moment. Young climbed to the top rope and Roddy joined him.
“Let’s go Roddy” chants filled the arena as the two men fought for an advantage on the top rope. Strong jumped down and delivered a sick knee to Young’s face that sent him falling down onto the other members of SAnitY at ringside.
Strong jumped outside and plucked Young off of his stablemates to quickly throw him back in the ring. Once they returned to the ring and after a very short move exchange, Roderick Strong hit his finishing backbreaker and got the win. SAnitY looked pissed.
Tyler Bate vs Pete Dunne (WWE United Kingdom Championship)
Let’s be honest, one of the coolest parts about this match is the fact Jim Ross called it. Having JR’s voice in our ears for any amount of time is an incredible thing. He’s one of the awesome things about the United Kingdom Championship Special and everything he touches has a certain top quality to it. Jim Ross also got an amazing pop from the Chicago crowd, even though they wouldn’t get to hear his commentary live they knew what an honor it was to be in his presence.
Pete Dunne is a fantastic heel and I honestly believe he could be the future of a lot of things in WWE. If he stays on the right track anything is possible for The Bruiserweight. Tyler Bate looked like he had grown a lot since he was first ordained as champion, maybe he was ready for that kind of challenge once again.
Pete Dunne took Bate down to the mat and kept him there. They wrestled around for a bit and Bate found himself stuck. He transitioned out of it and the two wrestled around in a seamless sequence of hold trading.
The cool thing about Pete Dunne is the fact that if he uses all of his wrestling ability, he can always result to throwing a child.
Pete used his wrestling ability expertly to keep Tyler Bate down on the mat. Bate got loose and got a few strikes on Dunne, so he rolled to the outside. Pete met him there and applied a vicious hold to his fingers and followed it up by stomping on his hand using the ring steps as a weapon.
Dunne hit a released suplex on the apron — that’s the hardest part of the ring! Dunne called that move the X-Plex. Once they got back inside Dunne took a moment to soak in his surroundings and then he went right to work on Tyler.
He wrenched on his arm while he applied pressure to his fingers as well. Tyler tried to scoot across the ring to leave, but Dunne held him there. Dunne punched Bate in the back of the head and stomped on him some more. Bate finally got pissed off and hit a release suplex throw.
Then Bate hit a running European uppercut twice, but Dunne met him with a dropkick on the third try. Dunne tried to hit a suplex, but Bate landed on his feet and hit a splash, he held on and hit a suplex with a bridged pin, 1-2-kickout.
Bate tried to hit another splash, but Dunne held on and got a triangle lock on. He pounded on the champion’s face and tightened his grip. Bate used his strength to pick Dunne’s weight up and slam him on the mat.
“This is awesome” chants erupted as Tyler signaled he was going to wrap it up. Bate got Dunne up and hit an airplane spin that lasted for about three hours. It was an awesome throwback! Love that! Two count.
Both of these guys were tired and dizzy. Bate made it to his feet first and went for a german suplex, but Dunne landed on his feet. Bate went for a dive but met a forearm to the face. Dunne hit Bate with a sitdown powerbomb 1-2-kickout.
More “UK” chants from the hot crowd. These two guys resulted in just picking the life out of each other. Then Bate finally hit Bop and Bang to Dunne’s face. Tyler went to get Pete up, but Dunne hit an enziguri.
These two guys slugged it out for a bit and traded a few outstanding moved before Bate won the exchange with a stiff clothesline that turned Dunne inside-out. 1-2-kickout.
Even louder “UK” chants broke out as both of these guys tried to get to their feet. “Fight forever” chants broke out. Not one ….dive though.
Tyler set up for the Tyler Driver but lost it and Dunne went for his Bitter End, but Bate reversed it into a sick DDT. “Holy s—” chants were very loud. Dunne rolled out of the ring. Bate went up and hit a springboard flippy moved. Yup. there’s the …..dive. There was another one when Bate threw Dunne back in the ring and hit a corkscrew 450 splash for a two count. The crowd was on fire.
Bate got to his feet slowly as Dunne rolled out of the ring. Tyler went for another ….dive, but Dunne shoved him aside and blocked it. Pete Dunne threw Tyler Bate in the ring and hit the Bitter End… pinfall and Pete Dunne is the new WWE United Kingdom Champion. He immediately put the title in his teeth! Guess the moral of the story is avoid that excessive diving.
Asuka vs Nikki Cross vs Ruby Riott (NXT Women’s Championship)
Asuka very well might lose that title here. It would be her biggest opportunity to because she can lose the title and never get pinned. She would keep her record going as “undefeated” with a small asterisk on that statistic. But who knows what these women could pull out in Chicago.
Ruby Riot got a huge reaction from the Chicago crowd. She looked pumped too. Nikki Cross caused the crowd to hush and they were almost mesmerized by her insanity. That Scottish lady scares the crap out of a lot of people. Cross and Riot got in each other’s face and almost went at it before the entrances were over. Then Asuka’s music hit.
Nikki Cross snarled her lip as the longest reigning NXT Women’s Champion made her way down the ring. She is the longest reigning current champion in all of WWE and there’s a reason to that. As scary as Nikki might be and as ruthless as Riot is, Asuka is even scarier and more ruthless.
The referee held up the belt and it’s a different one than what Asuka’s been touring with. Asuka immediately took Nikki and Ruby to hip attack city.
Nikki grabbed Asuka by the hair, but Asuka threw her out of the ring. Riot jumped in the ring to square off with Asuka. They circled the ring while “Asuka’s gonna kill you” chants broke out.
They traded some moves before Ruby lifted Asuka out onto the apron and hit her with a forearm sending Asuka to the floor. Riot went to jump on her, but Nikki Cross cut her off with a tackle. She beat her all the way around the outside of the ring as Ember Moon watched from above in an arm sling.
Nikki pinned Ruby against the turnbuckle and tried to cause as much damage as possible. Asuka soon climbed to the top rope and dropkicked Nikki while landing on Ruby for a splash. She almost missed the splash, but she hit it perfectly at the house show in Highland Heights when they had the same match.
Asuka hit an interesting jawbreaker on Cross and she rolled outside. Ruby ran up to take Asuka out and she soon found herself in a painful leg hold. Nikki snuck up from behind and hit Asuka but she didn’t let go until she got nailed twice.
Asuka was thrown from the ring and now Nikki and Ruby were alone in the ring while Asuka took a nap. Cross got up first and started punching Ruby but she returned with a couple thundering chops. Ruby was distracted by Asuka but hit a dropkick and a double knee move to Cross in the corner. Asuka was thrown from the apron but took Nikki out with a knee when she jumped on her. Ruby Riot then nailed Asuka with a suicide dive.
Ruby threw Nikki Cross back in the ring and climbed to the top. Ruby hit a nice senton and got a two count before Asuka came back into German suplex her for a two count of her own. Nikki fought out of a German from Asuka got a two count with her counter.
Asuka finally hit a German suplex on Nikki and then got kicked in the face by Ruby Riot. She climbed on the top rope and went for another senton. Asuka grabbed her instead and locked in the Asuka Lock.
But just as Riot was going to tap, Nikki jumped in and broke up the hold. “This is wrestling” chants broke out as Cross hit Ruby with a neckbreaker on the apron.
Asuka went for a baseball slide, but Nikki pulled the apron up and trapped her there while she pummeled her with crazy closed fists. It was brutal.
Nikki dragged a limp Asuka to the top rope and hit a hanging neckbreaker. The pin was broken up by Riot. Nikki went charging, but Ruby ducked and the two hit each other with a cross body. Now every woman was down.
Ruby got to her feet first but fell. Asuka began to rise and the other two got up at the sake time. They double clotheslined Asuka out of the ring and she went crashing to the floor. That was a smart move.
Then Nikki and Ruby traded moves until Ruby hit a Pele kick for a two count that was broken up by Asuka. The Empress Of Tomorrow ran in at the last moment and hit a sliding kick to Ruby’s face. Asuka covered them both 1-2-3 and that is a definitive victory.
Asuka’s smile was golden as she realized her undefeated streak, title reign, and legacy will continue to grow.
Bobby Roode vs Hideo Itami (NXT Championship)
It was time for NXT TakeOver: Chicago to get GLORIOUS. Hideo Itami got a lackluster response to be honest. He looked focused and ready to perform. The crowd was primed and anticipated an amazing entrance for Bobby Roode and boy did they get one.
The entire stage became a giant piano keyboard and the long piano version of his intro played. Each key highlighted as it was played. It was epic, but not as outstanding as when Bobby Roode took the stage and his actual music hit. It seemed like every fan in the building belted out each word of his theme song.
After Bobby stood on the ramp to soak up his choir, he made his way to the ring. He looked happy and confident. He looked like a true old-school champion. It was GLORIOUS.
The bell rang and Itami stretched as Roode sized him up. He pushed Hideo against the ropes and did his “GLORIOUS” taunt. But in the middle of it, Itami scooped him up and went for a GTS. Roode squirmed out of it and ran up the ramp to safety.
Bobby returned to the ring, but was bested by a stiff shot from Hideo, he applied a headlock on Bobby and kept him on the mat for a moment or five.
Bobby got to his feet and pushed him against the turnbuckle, Itami reversed it and hit some stiff shots followed by a knee strike to Roode’s stomach. Itami then hit a knee strike to a prone Booby Roode. Then Hideo did his own “Glorious” taunt, but Roode ran right into a kick from Itami.
Hideo backed Roode up in the ropes and it was revered. Roode sprung him into the opposite side of the ring, but Hideo lifted his foot into Bobby’s face. Roode hit a top rope blockbuster and took the advantage back in his favor.
He choked Hideo out with the middle rope and slowed the pace with a few stiff chops in the corner. Bobby hit a neckbreaker and pinned for a two count. Roode applied another headlock and Itami fought for the strength to break free.
Itami got to his feet and tried to separate himself with some elbows, but Roode reversed the striking attempt. Roode followed it up with a big clothesline and Bobby looked confident he was on the right track to retain his championship.
Itami sprung to life and he slapped the crap out of Bobby Roode’s face. Then the traded some stiff kicked until Itami won that exchange with a jumping kick to Bobby’s face. It’s never a good idea to challenge Itami to a kicking contest.
The former Kenta hit Roode with some more stiff kicks and then hit a spinning top rope choke move what was awesome. He leaped up on the top rope again and hit another kick for a two count. He went for the GTS, but Bobby reversed it. Roode went running to Hideo, but he moved and Roode took the ring post to the shoulder.
Itami hit some stiff kicks, but Roode ducked and tried to roll him up. Itami countered with an arm bar, then he pushed Bobby against the turn buckle. Hideo landed some more stiff kicks and got Bobby in position for a superplex.
Bobby fought out of the high-risk scenario and went for another blockbuster but missed. Itami hit a falcon arrow for a two count.
Itami hit some more stiff kicks to any place he wanted to on Roode, he backed up and went running right into a spinebuster. 1-2-kick out.
Bobby got to his feet first and looked like he was priming to go for the Glorious DDT, he tried, but Itami got out of it. Itami got him up for a GTS, but Bobby held the top rope and got down. Bobby went outside the ring and pulled Hideo out with him.
Bobby Roode threw Hideo Itami against the barrier and went to throw him into the steps, but Itami reversed it and The Glorious One’s shoulder ate steel. Hideo went for a dropkick, but Bobby moved and Itami went crashing into the steps.
The ref went to check on both of them as they writhed in pain. Roode got up first and limped around the ring. Itami still wasn’t on his feet but slowly got back in. Roode punched Itami in the face, but Hideo returned the shot. The two traded shots until Itami knocked Roode down. Itami hit his corner dropkick to a seated Roode and got him up for a GTS, but his leg gave out.
Bobby Roode hit his Glorious DDT 1-2-kickout!
The Glorious One looked pissed and focused. He clutched his arm and looked hurt, he approached Hideo to get him up, but Itami sprung to life and hit the GTS. Bobby was knocked out of the ring and Itami went in to get him. He immediately pinned him with he got back in the ring. 1-2-kickout!
Both of these guys had kicked out of each other’s finishers at this point.
Itami went for another GTS, but Roode reversed into a roll-up. Itami reversed that and got a two count. The fought again and Itami won the exchange. Hideo pulled his knee pad down and got Bobby Roode up for another GTS.
In the middle of the move, Roode reversed it into a Glorious DDT, but he held on and got the both back to their feet to hit a 2nd Glorious DDT on Hideo Itami. 1-2-3 and Bobby Roode retains.
That match was GLORIOUS!
The Authors Of Pain vs Team DIY (Ladder Match For NXT Tag Team Championship)
Just the fact that this match headlined the show should speak volumes as to how great it was going to be. Team DIY look hyped and ready for battle, but Akam and Rezar are outstanding opponents and the posses a force unlike anything in NXT right now.
As Paul Ellering brilliantly put it, “you can’t stop destiny” and it just might be AOP’s destiny to never lose those NXT Tag Team championships. The champions were introduced first in this match and those masks they were wearing are really useful. It made it even harder to tell them apart.
#DIY immediately started taking the punches to AOP as soon as the bell rang. They needed a jump start. They dumped both members of AOP out of the ring early on and went outside looking for ladders under the ring. Ciampa found all of them while Gargano kept searching. Rezar attacked Ciampa from behind and Akam took out Gargano. Both members of #DIY were thrown into the barrier on the opposite side of the ring.
Ciampa took out Rezar and Akam with a leg sweep and a dive one after another. Johnny Wrestling took out Rezar with a dive of his own. Then #DIY went up the ramp and brought in the big ladder at the entrance. They didn’t get it in the ring though because AOP stopped them. Johnny hit them with a suicide dive through the ladder. Is that seven years bad luck?
#DIY tried to set up a ladder, but they were stopped. Akam ate a ladder, and Rezar then took some shots and a double team move that resulted in a jumping knee strike from Ciampa that landed, but he landed on the ground. When Gargano went to splash him, he was caught and slammed against Ciampa on the mat.
AOP started to climb the ladder but were taken out by Ciampa who had a ladder. Then Akam and Rezar took a ladder to the back from #DIY in a double team move.
Then Akam and Rezar started destroying DIY with a ladder. Both members of AOP started climbing up but were stopped. They got DIY up in their double powerbomb deal they do, but DIY started climbing the ladder. AOP tipped the ladder over and DIY went crashing to the mat.
They threw Ciampa into a ladder that was propped up in the corner and surveyed their damage for a moment. The placed a ladder against Ciampa and pinned him in the turnbuckle. They kicked the ladder and then sent his face into it before letting him crash to the mat.
AOP placed the ladder again and started to climb to the titles. DIY got to their feet, so AOP decided to go over and kick them down some more.
AOP held the ladder and went running through #DIY with it. That contact was brutal and sent DIY crashing under the ropes to the floor. Authors Of Pain got a much bigger ladder out from under the ring and put it in the ring as the crowd broke out in a “we want tables” chant.
Akam and Rezar placed ladders across the ring and the barricade. They would save those for later.
AOP brought DIY up to the apron and went for a powerbomb from the apron through the ladders, but DIY reversed it and got in the ring. Akam took a superkick to the face and then they were hit with duel superkicks from DIY.
Then they placed Akam and Rezar on the propped up ladders and went climbing up the tallest ladder they could find. The crowd was going nuts.
“Please don’t die” chants broke out as #DIY hit a double splash off the ladder onto AOP. Tommaso broke the ladder, but Gargano kind of bounced off and hit the ground hard. Tommaso didn’t land all that soft either. That was a sick spot.
Ciampa climbed back in the ring and started to pick up a ladder as “fight forever” chants filled the arena. Akam climbed in the ring and started to ascend the ladder on the opposite side as Ciampa as they both went toward the titles.
Johnny set up a ladder next to them and climbed up. Rezar started putting up a ladder too. Soon all four men were on top of three ladders. AOP and Tommaso were knocked off leaving just Johnny on the ladder. But as soon as he went for the titles, Paul Ellering jumped in the ring and made him jump down. Gargano hit Paul with a superkick but didn’t make it back up the ladder.
AOP beat Ciampa down and propped a ladder against the turnbuckle. They beat Tommaso against the ladder and punched him in the face. Then AOP took a second ladder and closed it. They picked Tommaso up using the ladder to prop him up. Gargano ran in the ring to save Ciampa but took a ladder to the face for his troubles HARD.
AOP climbed up the ladder, but Tommaso jumped up and german suplexed Rezar off the ladder and through the ladder that was propped up against the turnbuckle. The ladder snapped in half in a way we’ve never seen before.
Akam put a ladder over his head and tried to use it as a weapon. #DIY kicked him down and then hit a double kick to his head with the ladder still around his head.
Ciampa and Gargano were tired, but AOP remained on the mat. Ciampa helped Gargano up and they grabbed a ladder. Ciampa and Gargano slowly set up a ladder and started to climb toward the NXT Tag Team Titles.
They were both going for the titles, but instead grabbed the bar as AOP knocked the ladder out from under them and left them hanging. AOP caught #DIY and pulled them down to hit the super collider.
Then the Authors Of Pain had plenty of time to climb up and snatch their titles. What an outstanding match. Paul Ellering was still on the mat outside selling Gargano’s superkick.
#DIY were sitting in the middle of the ring as the crowd chanted for them. Tommaso wrapped his arm around his partner and they slowly got up. They received a great ovation of respect from the capacity crowd and took a moment to soak it all in.
They looked grateful for the applause and left the ring together. Tommaso and Johnny stood at the entrance ramp and held each other close while the crowd chanted for #DIY.
Suddenly Tommaso Ciampa rammed Johnny Gargano’s face into the entrance ramp and followed it up with a kick to the face. Looks like our reports were correct.
Tommaso got insane heat right away but didn’t look done with Gargano. He pulled his knee pad down and hit a running knee to Johnny Gargano. He sat over an injured Gargano as “F— you Ciampa” chants broke out.
Then Ciampa put Gargano on the announce table. He got his old friend to his feet by pulling on his face. He got a good chance to look him in the eyes in the process. Ciampa got Gargano into a fireman’s carry and hit a sick move through three tables on the floor below.
NXT TakeOver: Chicago ended with Ciampa sitting on the announce table looking very proud of what he had done. “Asshole” chants filled the arena as a shocked crowd digested the fact that #DIY was no more and they witnessed it happen.