By John Moore
NXT TV on WWE Network
Taped April 5, 2017 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
After the opening theme, Tom Phillips opened up NXT from Full Sail University, Nigel McGuinness and Percy Watson were also on commentary. Nikki Cross ran into the ring in a craze for some strange reason. She knelt down onto the ringside announcer’s microphone and called out Ruby [Riot] to come out and play. Ruby Riot obliged and joined Nikki Cross inside of the ring. Nikki and Ruby brawled in the ring with Nikki Cross gaining the advantage on the outside. Cross hit some powerful forearms. The referee squadron tried to break this up but to no avail. Nikki Cross took down a security guard and Riot with a crossbody from the steps. The referees managed to break it up at a certain point. Cross ended up being the harder one to contain…
Phillips pulled things back to the commentary table. He hyped Tyler Bate vs. Jack Gallagher for the UK Championship in addition to Drew McIntyre and Aleister Black also being in action. Tom cut to a replay of the Hideo Itami and Bobby Roode confrontation from last week. Roode was interviewed by Kayla the interviewer. Roode took control and said Itami’s attack was unprovoked. Roode said things have changed since Itami was last around because this was now Roode’s NXT. Roode said Itami can challenge him anytime he wants, but first Itami has to earn such a glorious opportunity to challenge Roode for the championship…
Andrade Cien Almas made his way to the ring for his match against Drew McIntyre… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Even though I’m not quite sure of the motive on Ruby Riot’s end in terms of why she’s feuding with Nikki Cross, this was still a nice opening to the show that was different from the norm. It was a pull apart brawl to start off the show and a solid one at that.
1. Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Drew McIntyre. Almas played evasion early on in the match while also striking his tranquillo pose on the ground. McIntyre took a chop with a smile and whipped Almas into the ropes. Almas struck the Tranquillo pose on the ropes and Drew booted him off. Drew managed to pursue Almas around the ring. Almas gained an advantage by tripping Drew on the steps. Almas hit a stronger chop in the ring. Galloway fought out for a bit but Almas managed to quickly gain the upper hand with a chop.
Almas teased the double knees in the corner and instead feinted into a simple slap. Almas went for a slap on McIntyre but this fired up McIntyre who pummeled Almas in the corner. Drew hit Almas with a top rope clothesline. Almas and Drew traded chops in the ring. Drew caught Almas midair into a powerslam. Drew telegraphed and hit the Claymore kick to pick up the victory over Andrade Almas.
Drew McIntyre defeated Andrade Cien Almas via pinfall in 3:54.
They cut to William Regal in his office. Regal announced that Ruby Riot would be facing each other in this week’s NXT to settle their differences. Tom Phillips hyped Part 1 of a Roderick Strong documentary piece that was happening later on in this show… [C]
John’s Thoughts: I have to say I had much higher expectations for this match given the workers involved, but it was still good in making McIntyre look good. While it wasn’t as exciting as the epic encounter with Oney Lorcan, this match did its job and McIntyre still looks like a million bucks. Past that, this episode seems to be very packed. We’re getting and advertised Aleister Black squash, a Riot vs. Cross match, and a Roderick Strong documentary.
Roderick Strong was driving in his van talking about how he never thought he would be here and how he tries to move on past his emotions. Strong said he is the most precise and intense professional wrestler in a long time. He said he was showing the NXT Universe he is what he said he is, a champion. Strong talked about pushing people out of his life. Strong said he tried to show people that he lived the perfect life as a prime athlete but he did a lot to hide what his life really was. Strong talked about his mother having a drug issue while his father was an alcoholic who lived the rock and roll lifestyle.
Strong talked about how his mother shot his father with a gun one night. Strong assumed drugs and alcohol were involved. Strong sobbed while looking across at his childhood trailer home. Strong said he tried to lie to himself in saying that some random guy in the bar shot his father. Strong then said it was a crazy feeling going through such a traumatic event. Strong entered his childhood home where his mother hung up pictures of Strong’s accomplishments. Strong’s mom was shown at an event with strong saying how proud of him she was. Strong talked about finding wrestling and making his life better.
Strong walked over to the back of the trailer to show where his personal ring used to be. Strong talked about attending wrestling class together with his dad and how his father trained with Jim Neidhart. They showed clips of Strong training as a 13 year old wrestler. Strong said wrestling taught him how to love even though not everything is okay. Strong talked about wanting to become one of the best people to ever do this thing in wrestling. Percy Watson then hyped Part 2 for next week…
John’s Thoughts: Man, that was good. Damn good! This was something we got with Apollo Crews and Finn Balor in the past. The main roster could use a few of these as well, maybe for someone like a babyface AJ Styles or even a John Cena or Roman Reigns.
Kona Reeves came out to the ring first. He has a traditional Asian Pacific-Islander look to him. Aleister Black came out next with his cool entrance…
2. Kona Reeves vs. Aleister Black. Kona Reeves had the initial advantage due to size but Black managed to push Kona back with strikes. Black managed to lock in the right arm of Reeves to hit a kick punch combo on him. Reeves got knocked out with a back kick which Black used to sit down and meditate for a moment. Black hit the Black Mass Kick to pick up the victory.
Aleister Black defeated Kona Reeves via pinfall in 1:17.
Black went into his seated trance again as the commentators went over his quick match. Afterbuzz TV’s Christy St. Cloud interviewed Ruby Riot next. Riot was selling neck pain. Ruby talked about Sanity saying you have to rebel against the norm. Riot said she gets down with that. Riot said Sanity wants people to conform to their ways rather than rebel. Riot talked about pushing back against the pressure of Sanity and how tonight was going to be a “riot”…
John’s Thoughts: Aleister Black truly doesn’t need an NXT run, as his act will do well on the main roster. Just have him kick the hell out of people. I’m sure they can hit the reset button on the main roster, but this is main roster ready.
The backstage interview lady tried to interview Andrade Cien Almas who pushed her aside and instead entered an SUV with a bunch of women. Andrade invited the interviewer before finally driving off…
Ruby Riot made her entrance but was blindsided by Nikki Cross before the bell. The referee tried to break things apart to no success. Ruby Riot managed to turn the tide by giving Cross a suplex on the entrance ramp. Nikki Cross gained the momentum again as she whipped Riot into the stage area. The referee brigade showed up again in a similar scene as the opening. The broke things up for a second into Ruby Riot punched out a referee to give Nikki Cross a flying crossbody into the lower stage area. Security and referees managed to restrain Nikki Cross by each grabbing a limb…
Asuka was chatting with William Regal in his office. Regal said he was settling a matter next week to pick Asuka’s number one contender. Regal announced a Battle Royal for the number one contendership…
3. Tyler Bate vs. Jack Gallagher for the WWE United Kingdom Championship. The match had formal introductions for both the challenger and champion. Gallagher and Bate did the code of honor handshake to start the match. Tom Phillips hyped that a UK weekly show was on the horizon. Gallagher had the upper hand with a wristlock early on. Bate turned the tide with a kip up and side headlock. Phillips pointed out how Bate has a new bearded look. Gallagher escaped the headlock with a handstand walk.
Gallagher locked in a full nelson. Bate escaped by doing a yoga pose. Gallagher grounded Bate with an ankle twist and a wrist twist. Jack Gallagher contorted Bate into a cool looking arm trap pinning situation. Gallagher and Bate traded pin until they went into a stalemate… [C]
Gallagher had a wristlock locked in back from the break. Nigel McGuinness pointed out how this has been a very technical match. Bate tried to flip out several times but Gallagher wouldn’t let go of the wristlock from a kneeling situation. Gallagher kept it locked in after Bate tried to monkey flip Gallagher. Gallagher converted the wristlock to an armbar and armtrap combo. Bate kicked out of the pin when his shoulders hit the mat. Gallagher and Bate did a test of strength. Nigel pointed out how Bate must be going through shoulder pain at this point. Gallagher and Bate traded monkey flips in the test of strength.
Both wrestlers avoided pins by bridging their shoulders in stereo. Bate hit a deadlift German Suplex on Gallagher to earn a nearfall. Gallagher blocked a suplex with a dragon sleeper and converted it into a hammerlock. Bate powered through with the suplex and picked up a nearfall. Nigel painted this match as Strength (Bate) vs. Technique (Gallagher). Gallagher was punched down to the outside. Gallagher blocked a Tope with his signature headbutt. Gallagher hit a standing headbutt and fell into a nearfall.
Gallagher locked in the chickenwing again. Gallagher was pushed off as Bate hit a judo roll kick followed by the Tyler Driver 97′ (Tiger Bomb) to pick up the victory…
Tyler Bate defeated Jack Gallagher via pinfall in 10:06 to retain the WWE United Kingdom Championship.
The other UK guys were shown watching in the front row. This included people like Mark Andrews and Wolfgang. Pete Dunne was shown clapping and didn’t look pleased. The show ended with Bate celebrating his title defense…
John’s Thoughts: This was one of Bate’s better matches I’ve seen him in since he debuted in WWE. Not that I think Bate is terrible by any means, I just haven’t been hooked by him in the UK crop and have been more impressed by people like Wolfgang, Mark Andrews, Jordan Devlin, and especially Pete Dunne. On Jack’s end, I’m a huge fan of his when he ditches the comedy in favor of being a smart technical wrestler. I’m also a fan of the comedy, but the guy is really good at flipping the switch on a dime. Bonus points to the color commentary framing this match as a technical vs. power battle. This was a good UK Title match but the finish seemed a bit abrupt, almost like they were short on time and told they had to go home.
This was a really good show top to bottom with the Riot and Cross feud getting development, Black and McIntyre being built up with squashes, a UK Title match, and the highlight being that very emotional Strong documentary piece. I was right in predicting that NXT’s show quality would improve after WrestleMania with the creative forces now having a chance to sit down and write out these shows. Perhaps Triple H has more time to focus on his part of the process as well. I’ll have more thoughts to say in my All-Access Audio review on Thursday.
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