5/24 Zim’s WWE NXT TV Review: Drew McIntyre vs. Wesley Blake, Aleister Black vs. Curt Hawkins, Velveteen Dream debuts

By Zack Zimmerman

NXT on WWE Network
Taped May 20, 2017 in Chicago Illinois at Allstate Arena

A video package recapped the results of NXT Takeover Chicago from this past Saturday… The opening video played…

Inside the arena, Aleister Black made his entrance. Tom Phillips, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuinness checked in from the commentary table. Curt Hawkins was out next. A brief recap showed Black beating Hawkins on Main Event two weeks ago.

1. Aleister Black vs. Curt Hawkins. Black avoided Hawkins with a moonsault off the ropes early and caught him with a hard knee to the gut. A short time later, Black hit another knee lift, this one to the jaw. He set up for his finisher, but Hawkins rolled out to ringside.

Hawkins briefly got the heat on Black with shenanigans at ringside, but he went right to a rest hold back in the ring and Black made his comeback. He teed off with kicks and a lionsault to a standing Hawkins. Black put him away with the Black Mass spinning back kick…

Aleister Black over Curt Hawkins in about 2:51.

Drew McIntyre vs. Wesley Blake was advertised for later in the show… A recap of the NXT Championship match from Takeover was advertised for later… A “D-I-Why” video package was advertised up next…

Zim Says: Black has looked very impressive in his showcase matches so far. It’s about time they give him his first real program.

A video aired recapping the events leading to Tommaso Ciampa turning on Johnny Gargano, ending #DIY. It opened with a foreshadowing voice-over where Paul Ellering said his team would put an end to #DIY. The video continued into a lengthy recap of the tag title ladder match from Takeover, and the full post-match attack. It included a WWE.com video where Gargano was stretchered out and left in an ambulance…

A video aired showing Ember Moon sitting in an empty Allstate Arena with her arm in a sling. She said that she thought she’d come to terms with missing the show due to injury, but now it just sucks. She said that selfishly, she hoped Asuka would retain the title at Takeover so that she could defeat Asuka herself for the title. Moon closed by saying that time heals all wounds, but battle scars last forever…

A recap video aired showing the three-way match for the NXT Women’s Champion, which saw Asuka retain her title… Backstage after her win, Asuka was interviewed. She said that nobody can stand toe-to-toe with her and the NXT title is hers… A Velveteen Dream vignette aired advertising his debut up next…

A video recapped Roderick Strong defeating Eric Young at Takeover… After the match, Strong was interviewed backstage. The interviewer claimed that Strong was the first person to pin Eric Young ever. Strong said that he let everyone know that they can try whatever they want with him, but when someone mentions his family, he’s unstoppable…

Back in the arena, The Velveteen Dream made his entrance. Formerly Patrick Clark, he’s now doing a full Prince impersonation gimmick, but with Darren Young’s first NXT haircut. His opponent was already waiting in the ring.

2. Velveteen Dream vs. Robert Anthony. Dream showed some good speed running the ropes into a single-leg dropkick. He connected with a springboard chop from the top turnbuckle a short time later. Dream hit a hangman’s neckbreaker and then came off the top rope with a diving elbow for the win… [C]

Velveteen Dream beat Robert Anthony in about 2:25.

Zim Says: This isn’t a gimmick with legs. Clark looked to be improved in the ring from previous times I’ve seen him, but he still didn’t particularly stand out aside from the outlandish gimmick.

A video recapped the excellent match between Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne from Takeover, which ended with Dunne capturing the UK Championship from Bate… Backstage after his win, Dunne was interviewed. He said that he’s been watching Tyler Bate live the dream since January, knowing it belonged to him all along. He said now, everything belongs to him…

A video recapped Bobby Roode retaining his NXT Championship over Hideo Itami at Takeover… Backstage after his victory Bobby Roode was standing by. He asked how anyone could be surprised by him winning. He scoffed at the notion that Itami was even in his league. Roode said that he’s going to go home, lay by his pool, and put the title up on his mantle until he decides to allow another challenger…

Drew McIntyre vs. Wesley Blake was advertised up next… [C]

A “Glorious Celebration” was advertised for Bobby Roode next week when NXT returns to Full Sail…

Back in the arena, Drew McIntyre made his entrance to a good reaction from the Chicago crowd. Wesley Blake was out next.

3. Drew McIntyre vs. Wesley Blake. The commentators talked about how Blake has abandoned his flashy attitude and gone back to his tough Texas roots. McIntyre took him down with a hard clothesline in the opening minute and invited Blake to bring more of a fight.

Blake backed McIntyre into the corner and talked some trash, so McIntyre booted him hard right in the head. Blake tried to pick up some steam, but McIntyre ran in and tossed him overhead with a belly-to-belly throw.

A short time later, Blake hung McIntyre up on the top rope and took the heat going into a commercial. [C] Back from break, Blake hit what looked like a botched ‘rana, but was actually a really nice transition into a triangle/armbar attempt. Blake continued to target the arm. McIntyre fired back with some shots and another boot to the head.

McIntyre hit a clothesline in the corner and leapt to the top turnbuckle before coming down with a double sledge. McIntyre hit a wicked sit-out spinebuster for a near-fall. He looked to keep rolling, but Blake sent him shoulder-first into the ring post. Blake locked in a crossface, but McIntyre powered out.

McIntyre used a reverse Alabama Slam for another near-fall. He went to follow up, but Blake used a double-knee armbreaker to do some damage. Blake climbed to the top turnbuckle, but McIntyre did his signature tree of woe overhead suplex to send Blake crashing to the mat. McIntyre hit a wicked head block and then turned Blake inside-out with the Claymore Kick.

Drew McIntyre defeated Wesley Blake in about 8:50.

A replay of the finish aired and the show closed with McIntyre celebrating his win in the ring…

Zim Says: Basic match to end a basic show. McIntyre has looked impressive since coming back, but like Aleister Black, I’m ready to see him do something that moves him up the card and makes me care about his trajectory and potential.

Overall, this show was utterly skippable if you watched Takeover Chicago. The Black and McIntyre squashes were not much more than we’ve been seeing from them in the past couple of months, so unless you’re really curious about how well Patrick Clark can cosplay Prince, don’t bother. Looking forward to next week when they get back to Full Sail and aren’t in full recap mode. Tomorrow’s NXT audio recap will be All-Access which means it’s available to anyone reading this, so stop by again tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.



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