NXT Takeover: Chicago 2017 featured a night of fantastic matches and the shocking dissolution of a tag team. Find out what I thought inside!
Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young w/ Killian Dain & Alexander Wolfe
NXT Takeover: Chicago 2017 started off with the grudge match between Eric Young and Roderick Strong. These two have been having problems for quite a while going back to Sanity’s feud with Tye Dillinger before he left NXT for SmackDown Live. The latest issues between the two stem from the Sanity beatdown that Strong received two week’s ago after NXT went off-air. This went one step further last week when Eric Young mentioned Strong’s family when accepting the match at Takeover. Strong simply told Young to “never mention my family” in a quick interview backstage before the show.
The match started off in a peculiar way as Strong’s music played, but he was nowhere to be found. He then quickly came out through the crowd and attacked Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain before they could spot him. This gave Strong a nice boost at the start of the match, but Dain and Wolfe would get their shots in behind the referee’s back at different points in the match. Ultimately, Strong would knock Young off the top rope onto the other two members of Sanity and then hit the Strong Breaker on Young for the 3-count.
Winner: Roderick Strong
I don’t see this feud continuing from here, I don’t think there is much left for these two to fight over unless more people are added to the feud. At that point, it would be just like the feud was with Dillinger so it’s better to just move on. It was a good opening bout to start the show. I was really surprised at how big the reaction was for Strong when he came out and then when he won. He’s been getting really strong reactions as of late and I wouldn’t mind seeing him start to chase the NXT Championship. How great of a feel-good story would that be?
WWE UK Championship Match: Tyler Bate (C) vs. Pete Dunne
With every match between WWE UK competitors, they seem to win me over. WWE has done a fantastic job making me care about these new characters that I’ve only seen a few times. They have personality, I know what each guy is all about through vignettes and through how they act in the ring. I have a much better opinion now than the first match I saw. The match at Takeover was easily the best one yet.
I have to talk about what an intense individual Pete Dunne is. I’ve never seen somebody attack joints like he does in the ring. He differentiates himself so easily by pulling fingers apart and hyper-extending limbs. It looks brutal and I like that in an industry that everyone calls soft. Not only that, but Pete hits hard and doesn’t let his opponent rest. It’s nice to see someone worry about the little things as much as he does.
This match was the match of the night for me and the crowd seemed to think the same way chanting, “fight forever” and “UK” at different points during the match. It was a prototypical indie match for big portions with a lot of big moves and reversals and that was how it ended with a nice bunch of reversals ending with The Bitter End by Dunne and a brand-new WWE UK Champion.
Winner and NEW WWE UK Champion: Pete Dunne
It was great to hear Jim Ross on commentary for this match. It’s crazy how much one guy can add to a broadcast, but he adds so much to the match with his wit and analytical nature. I wish we could hear more of him each week, but I think he’ll only be doing special matches here and there. He certainly made Dunne’s title win that much more memorable. I will say that I was a bit surprised that Dunne won the title. I thought for sure they’d want a face champion when the new weekly series debuts on the WWE Network. I do think it was the right call, though. Dunne has been fantastic so far and I’d certainly like to see what he can do with a title reign.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Asuka (C) vs. Ruby Riot vs. Nikki Cross
Ember Moon being taken out of this match due to injury definitely took away some of the anticipation of it. I’m sure no one really expected Cross or Riot to take the title at this point in time. Asuka has held that title since NXT Takeover: Dallas in April of 2016. She’s had one of the longest reigns in recent memory and whoever finally dethrones her will be a made woman. For what it’s worth, Ember Moon did say that whoever wins this match would have to deal with her next on the pre-show.
Asuka wasn’t nearly as dominant in this match as she has been in some of her prior matches. I can feel her days being numbered as champion. I really think that Ember Moon would have won the title on this night if she could compete. I’ll hand it to Nikki and Ruby, though. They really impressed me in this match and pulled out all the stops. I’d like to see their feud continue and hopefully see Ember Moon move on to face Asuka at the next Takeover.
Asuka escaped with her championship after taking advantage of the fighting between Ruby and Nikki to dropkick Ruby in the face and pin both women at the same time. It seems like she has a tougher time keeping the title with every match that she’s in.
Winner and STILL NXT Women’s Champion: Asuka
NXT Championship Match: Bobby Roode (C) vs. Hideo Itami
I knew going into this match that Hideo Itami had little chance of winning the title. I don’t really think that he’ll ever be an NXT Champion. In fact, I don’t think Itami will be in NXT for much longer. He’s bound for the main roster and leaving him in NXT any longer probably isn’t a good use of a valuable asset. I think he deserves to move on up to one of the main brands.
I liked this match between Roode and Itami. It was full of impact moves and both men were nursing some kayfabe injuries by the end of it. Roode had a bad shoulder, Itami had a bad knee. Itami looked to have the match won multiple times with the GTS, but it wasn’t to be on this night. Roode would hit Itami with 2 Glorious DDTs and the match was over. This was certainly one of the best matches of the night and I felt like these two had some great chemistry together.
Winner and STILL NXT Champion: Bobby Roode
Roode continues his stranglehold on the NXT Championship, but I don’t know how much longer that’s going to last. We have Drew McIntyre, Kassius Ohno, Aleister Black, and a revitalized Roderick Strong who could all challenge credibly for that championship. I think the next Takeover event will be an exciting one for the championship picture alone.
Ladder Match for the NXT Tag Team Championships: The Authors of Pain (C) (Akam & Rezar) vs. DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa)
What a story it’s been for DIY. These two guys have been through everything together over the past year or so. From the Cruiserweight Classic to battles over the tag team titles, these two have done it all. The fans love them, everyone respects them, they’re two of the most popular people on the roster. So it makes sense for them to once again hold the tag team titles right? Yeah, that’s not quite what happened.
AOP and DIY had an absolute war in this Ladder Match. There was tons of action from the get-go and my concerns about a powerhouse team in a Ladder Match seemed needless. Honestly, I’ve really liked how adaptable AOP have been in any match. They’ve consistently turned in solid performances and it was nothing different on this night. These guys left completely punished with broken ladders strewn about. Paul Ellering even received a Super Kick from Gargano after he knocked Gargano off the ladder.
The end sequence started with Gargano sacrificing himself for Ciampa and getting a ladder on the chin for his trouble. Ciampa then hit a Uranage on Rezar off the ladder. Akam would then attempt to hit Gargano and Ciampa with a ladder, but they kicked it and his head ended up in the middle of it. DIY would hit Meeting in the Middle. They would climb the ladder, but before they could grab the titles, AOP took the ladder, then picked them up off the hanger and hit the Super Collider. AOP would then grab the titles for the win.
Winners and STILL NXT Tag Team Champions: The Authors of Pain
DIY was given a big reaction after the match in recognition of all their hard work in NXT. It was one of those reactions where you assumed they were moving on to the main roster. They hugged and got to the top of the ramp when Ciampa turned on Gargano and slammed him off the LED board. He then gave Gargano a huge knee to the face…then another which knocked him onto the announce table. He then leaped back and put Gargano through a set of production tables. DIY is no more.
I had a feeling something was going to happen with DIY tonight when I found out that this match was last. I’m sad because DIY was legitimately one of my favourite teams and I think they could have done so much more as a team. I feel a bit better about it knowing that these guys are going to have an amazing feud. The best teams create the most memorable feuds when they turn on each other. I wish they could have had some time together on the main roster first, but I give NXT credit for doing something completely unexpected. Everyone ate this up, it was a perfect time and a perfect moment. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
The Final Word
For a smaller NXT Takeover event, this one was pretty good. The quality of wrestling was superb even if the storylines were fairly vanilla. I enjoyed this show and I think all the matches are worth watching. This was a good show when nearly everyone didn’t expect much from it, that’s quite the accomplishment.