9/6 Moore’s NXT Review: Asuka relinquishes the NXT Championship, Kassius Ohno vs. Hideo Itami in a no-DQ match, Lars Sullivan vs. three unfortunate enhancement wrestlers, Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Cezar Bononi

By John Moore

NXT TV on WWE Network
Taped in August in Orlando, Florida at Full Sail University

This week’s NXT Teaser focused on Hideo Itami’s turn to the dark side in search for respect. This led to his feud with Kassius Ohno who was the first person who tried to calm down the destructive Hideo. Highlights were shown of Hideo Itami destroying people leading up to the upcoming match against Hideo Itami. Kassius Ohno was presented in the highlights as the person trying to calm down the fire of Hideo…

The Mauro Ranallo voiceover introduced the viewers to NXT. Hideo hyped up the Kassius Ohno vs. Hideo Itami match as well as Asuka addressing her future. They cut to the in-arena commentator voices with Mauro, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson on the mic. Andrade Almas made his entrance and he had Zelina Vega with him. Zelina Vega joined the commentary table. Mauro tried to talk about Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole, and Bobby Fish. Zelina said she doesn’t care about how they are and instead hopes they stay out of Andrade’s way. Zelina then answered to Percy that her background with Andrade is that she knew him at Mexico and was brought in to improve his focus…

1. Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Cezar Bononi. Almas gave Bononi a loud slap in the corner and then put the boots to Bononi. Almas gave Bononi a knee and a dropkick. Percy tried to pry about the DIY shirt at takeover but Zelina brushed it of as some of her strategic secrets. Bononi made a comeback with a clothesline and a few more strikes. Bononi hit a nice high dropkick as he hulked up. Bononi tried to maintain an upper hand with a small package. Almas ended that sequence with a strong back elbow. Almas then hit a hanging backbreaker elbow drop combo. Almas gave Bononi forearms in the corner. Zelina yelled at Andrade to “Finish Him”. Almas gave Bononi the hammerlock DDT for the finish.

Andrade Cien Almas defeated Cezar Bononi via pinfall in 2:45.

Nigel talked about how Andrade got his win back from Cezar Bononi. Mauro said Almas has been en fuego since hiring Vega. The Mauro voiceover they recapped Adam Cole and his crew attacking Drew McIntyre last week. Regal then spoke to the camera saying that Cole, Fish, and O’Reilly understand that there are no more sneak attacks and that they understand that they would compete in the ring only… [C]

John’s Thoughts: Paint by numbers squash but it’s all a positive for Almas given that he had to eat so many losses for so long. I kinda expected Zelina to be better adding to commentary but I’ll just chalk that up to Percy asking subpar questions. Bononi has also looked better in the past when relying more on martial arts, but it’s fine given how Almas needs to be running through people at this point.

Asuka’s locker room had her mask on it as the backstage interviewer was waiting to hear an update on her future. Velveteen Dream Patrick Clark interrupted and said the ambiance is still not right for him to speak. Clark said he was compelled at Takeover by watching it and will speak soon…

Lars Sullivan made his entrance for his tree on one handicap match…

2. Lars Sullivan vs. Three enhancement guys in a handicap match. Sullivan wanted all three in tornado rules instead of tag rules. Sullivan tossed all three with ease with various suplexes. Sullivan gave them splashes in the corner and then hitting consecutive uranages. This led to the pinfall.

Lars Sullivan defeated enhancement wrestlers via pinfall in 1:20

Lars Sullivan didn’t end his onslaught but instead pummeled all three men with clubbing blows to the back of the head. No Way Jose suddenly danced on stage. Jose talked about being attacked from behind and ending the largest Conga Line that Brooklyn has ever seen. Jose said he thinks Lars is tough. The crowd gave Jose a loud Jose Chant in the tone of Ole. Jose then stood face to face with Lars. Jose gave Lars punches to the face and had the upper hand. Sullivan then ran through Jose and gave Jose the clubbing blows to the back…

John’s Thoughts: I liked the Lars beating tag partners better, but this guy is still a beast and is being built very well. He’s sorta NXT’s Braun Strowman without coming off as a lite version. Jose is doomed to go under here and he’s stuck in the spot that Andrade Almas and CJ Parker once inhabited, just as a babyface…

Nigel transitioned to a Johnny Gargano interview. Gargano talked about Brooklyn being cool. He was interviewed about the DIY shirt situation. Gargano said he lost focus and owns up to his mistake. Tino Sabbitelli and Riddick Moss came in to mock Gargano. Gargano fired back with a challenge to one of them in a singles match for next week. Gargano told the interviewers he hopes they accept and it doesn’t matter who steps up. A Sonya Deville vignette aired where she showed off her MMA gimmick… [C]

Clips were shown from last week’s attack on Sanity where everyone assumed it was Cole and his men. They then cut to a “video” from Sanity. Eric Young had red eyes. EY said he knows that Cole’s team dances differently and they will look back at takeover to see it as a mistake. EY said he doesn’t care about their background because the only thing Sanity cares about is… Alexander Wolfe yelled “CHAOS!!!!!”…

3. Zeda vs. Sonya Deville. Mauro and Nigel talked about Zeda’s MMA and modeling background. Sonya did that scripted shadow boxing that I hate. Sonya got a waist lock and Zeda countered with a victory roll attempt. Zeda wrenched Zeda down with the next wristlock. Zeda was sent outside. Deville tossed Zeda back in to avoid a rest period. Sonya gave Zeda a roundhouse and running knee to lead to her submission armbar triangle finish…

Sonya Deville defeated Zeda via submission in 1:44.

Nigel went into the details of the triangle armbar. Sonya yelled “who’s next?”… [C]

John’s Thoughts: Another squash. We’re back into that mode of NXT, but at least the squashes serve a purpose and there is always forward movement. I wonder what WWE does with Deville if they end up signing the bigger name in Shayna Bazler, who also is more natural in her MMA gimmick, whereas Deville comes off as scripted (even though she’s a legit MMA fighter herself).

Mauro talked about “Connor’s Cure” and told people how to help fundraise via WWEShop.com items. Danny Burch, Oney Lorcan, Alex Dieter Jr., and a fourth guy I didn’t see the face of were sparring in the ring in front of William Regal. Ruby Riot then came to chat with Regal. Riot demanded a handcap match against Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. She justified it by saying she is trying to keep both women from interfering in the match. Regal said that didn’t make sense and instead said it made more sense for a tag team match. Ruby Riot accepted as long as she gets a match against her rivals…

John’s Thoughts: Thumbs up for logic and the GM figure not taking the babyface up on a stupid request!

4. Kassius Ohno vs. Hideo Itami in a No-DQ match. Kassius Ohno wore his Sacramento Kings themed shirt to the match. Kassius used his power early on. He gave Itami a body slam and leg drop. Nigel talked about seeing Itami pull out all the stops in no DQ matches. Ohno toyed with Itami with his boot. Ohno stopped a whip by flipping to the apron. Itami slammed Ohno’s head on the ringpost. Itami then slammed Ohno’s head on the steps. Nigel talked about Itami setting up for the GTS with the head strikes. Itami shook up Ohno with some stiff sounding kicks in the chest. Itami hit Ohno with a hesitation dropkick in the corner.

Itami brought a chair into the equation. Ohno grabbed the chair and pulled it away. Ohno gave a rolling elbow to Itami’s chair and saw the worst in the exchange leading to the commercial. [C]

Itami put the boots to Ohno after the break. Ohno powered up by noselling a few kicks to lead to an enziguri like boot. Ohno got a second wind and gave Itami a Shining Wizard followed by a running senton. Ohno escaped the GTS and put Itami to sleep with a carry into the rolling elbow. Itami rolled to ringside to recover. Ohno pursued Itami up the ramp. Itami ate an elbow up the ramp. Itami managed to sneak in a nice fisherman suplex on the heavier Ohno. Itami put a chair on Ohno in the corner and gave him a hesitation dropkick. Ohno kicked out at two. Itami yelled at the crowd to show him respect. Ohno recovered and gave an elbow to Itami. Ohno blocked a low blow but not an eye rake. Ohno escaped the GTS and gave Itami a low blow. This led to the rolling elbow and pinfall win.

Kassius Ohno defeated Hideo Itami via pinfall in 9::12.

Ohno celebrated his win afterward. Nigel and Mauro told the story about the low blow. Percy said the low blow was the secret weapon against GTS… [C]

John’s Thoughts: I was afraid that someone would have to take a loss here, especially Hideo who has a streak, and not much would be gained. However, the low blow by Ohno makes sense and possibly sets up for some sort of rubber match. This was an okay match but it didn’t kick to that next gear that both men are capable of. Hideo has reached higher gears in recent matches. The cheap finish has me confident that this feud isn’t over yet.

Back from the break William Regal was joined in the ring by NXT Women’s Champion, Asuka who was addressing her NXT future. Full Sail gave Asuka a huge Asuka Chant. Asuka talked about being in NXT for almost two years. She was all smiles. The crowd gave her a Thank You chant. Asuka said she fought so many great superstars. She said she loves NXT. She said she LOVES NXT! She said she grew so much in NXT and is grateful for NXT. Regal said Asuka has done nothing but defend the title with honor. Regal said Asuka risks everything and proved it at Takeover:Brooklyn. William Regal said Asuka is one of the greatest champions in WWE history. Regal said NXT knows that already but other people know that as well.

Regal announced that he and Asuka are in negotiations with Raw and Smackdown’s GM about Asuka’s future. Regal said that was bittersweet because Asuka was stepping down as champion. Regal said now the rest of the world will know what NXT already knows. Asuka took control and said they’ll know that “no one is ready for Asuka!”. The NXT Rosters walked out , heels and babyfaces, walked to the stage to give Asuka a final ovation. Asuka then soaked up the crowd chants to say “You are NXT… I Am NXT… and wherever I go, NXT Comes with me”. Asuka’s theme played as Mauro gave some final words about Asuka’s departure. Ember Moon walked down the ramp to the ring. The crowd chanted for one more match. Moon reached for a handshake. Asuka jokingly psyched her out. Asuka then hugged Ember Moon. Nigel talked about how this was all about Asuka tonight and Moon vs. Asuka would go down as a legendary rivalry. Triple H walked to the ring next to hand Asuka a bouquet of flowers. Hunter traded the flowers for the title as Asuka cried with emotion. Triple H said one last time he was giving everyone “The Undefeated 523 Day Reigning NXT Women’s champion. The empress of tomorrow, Asuka…

John’s Thoughts: Some might complain about Asuka breaking the heel character that she’s been playing in favor of reality, but this was a legit unforeseen situation. They even got the kayfabe in with the GM talk. This was very classy and that’s all I can really say. Asuka escapes NXT as “one of the greatest champions in WWE history.”



The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Brian Fritz of Sporting News and Between The Ropes discussing WrestleMania 36, WWE television from the empty WWE Performance Center, his own travel woes, NFL free agency, and more...


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