Hideo Itami Attacked NXT Champion Bobby Roode
Roode is such the perfect throwback heel in that he does an exceptional job of solidifying his superiority over his opponents without verbally "burying" them while also shutting down any support he gets from the fans. He may not be the flashiest wrestler in the ring, but he doesn't need to be, which is why he is phenomenal in the role of champion. It's awesome to see Itami back after such a long layoff due to injury, so here's hoping he can stay healthy. He didn't really need to say anything here because the GTS he delivered to Roode said it all. That should be a hell of a main event for TakeOver: Chicago.
Andrade "Cien" Almas def. Danny Burch
Most fans will recognize Burch from the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament earlier this year, but he was actually signed to NXT a few years ago and served as an enhancement talent. This was a basic squash match for Almas, but I enjoy any chance he gets to showcase his skills because he's a fantastic heel. Here's hoping he finds a solid direction sooner rather than later.
Liv Morgan and Aliyah def. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce
I appreciate the effort to round out the women's division in NXT, but Aliyah and Morgan are just no good, or at least not yet. Aliyah has improved over the last year, whereas Morgan has remained rather terrible in the ring. Kay and Royce are a much better act in my opinion, which is why I was stunned when they lost this match clean. It was fine for what it was, but I liked the video package that aired for Asuka earlier in the evening discussing her dominance far more than this.
Tye Dillinger def. Eric Young in a Steel Cage Match
Steel Cage matches are far and few between in NXT, so this had a big fight feel to it. That said, this stipulation was befitting of the feud Dillinger and Young have had in recent months and it was the best bout to come out of the rivalry. Young bleeding, whether it was intentional or not, definitely added an extra element to it. Unfortunately, there was interference as expected from SAnitY, but I'd argue it made the match more enjoyable. Both guys put forth an excellent effort and produced a great main event. It's extremely rare anyone wins on their way out of NXT, but it's really cool that Dillinger did considering he has never won when it has mattered most.
For the second straight week, NXT delivered with an another awesome episode. The Steel Cage match is certainly worth seeking out, especially given it's Dillinger's farewell from the brand, but the rest of the show held up very well with Almas building momentum before his bout with Drew McIntyre next week and Itami returned to set up his feud with Bobby Roode. The women's match was mediocre at best, but the aforementioned Asuka video was really well done. Next week, we'll be treated to Almas vs. McIntyre as well as Tyler Bate vs. Jack Gallagher for the United Kingdom Championship, so this "new era" of NXT is already off to a strong start.
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