* Very good attendance for a NXT house show, despite the more wintry-like conditions that made for driving in both wet & dry conditions.
* Being used to seeing a WWE Merchandise truck at live events, I didn’t realize until intermission that the merch stand was on the south end of the arena. There was no Asuka tee in large size left, but I managed to find a Bobby Roode tee in that size. Given that I’ll have to refuel my vehicle before Thursday’s Women of Wrestling event in DTLA, I didn’t want to spend too much.
* No Way Jose v. Kona Reeves: Both men looked pretty decent in the ring at this time, but the fans are definitely digging Jose’s party guy persona.
* Ruby Riot (Heidi Lovelace) & Lacey Evans v. Mandy Rose & Bianca Blair: All four women looked very solid in the match. Lacey’s “1950’s pinup girl” persona was pretty interesting, which was a stark contrast to Ruby Riot’s own in-ring character. Bianca Blair, with her long braid, could be quite a weapon for her, or a means for her opponent to grab her by the braid for a vicious Hair Drag or Neckbreaker. Ruby got the pin off a Pele Kick.
* Oney Lorcan v. Kassius Ohno: These two really brought the house down. Oney wouldn’t yield to a submission hold on his picked apart left arm & shoulder, but was floored by the Ohno Blade.
* D.I.Y. v. Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss: Tino & Riddick cut a pretty good pre-match promo, flaming the city about its dreary conditions, and other things that, according to them, led to the Chargers leaving the city for L.A. The match itself was very good.
* Drew McIntyre v. Patrick Clark: For a man sporting a “pro wrestling version of Prince”, Patrick gave a solid performance in the ring. That didn’t prevent him from eating a Running Dropkick by Drew that led to the pin.
* Asuka v. Sonya Deville: Sonya held her own pretty well against the NXT Women’s Champion, sporting some stiff MMA-style strikes, and good wrestling moves, including an ability to work her way out of the Asuka Lock. Asuka hit a pair of her vicious Roundhouse Kicks for the pin. She may need to land plenty of those finishers to leave Chicago with the title at NXT Takeover on the day before Backlash.
* “The Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger & Hideo Itami v. NXT Heavyweight Champion “Glorious” Bobby Roode & Andrade “Cien” Almas: Very good tag team match, and the crowd was pretty much equally divided between Roode & “The Perfect 10”. Hideo hit the GTS on Andrade for the pin. In closing, Tye thanked the “WWE NXT Universe” for being a part of his final NXT appearance, even acknowledging Ryan “G.Q. Money” Katz in the process. Tye even relayed the fans “U.S. Champ” chant to Kevin Owens.
Very good show for my first trip to a NXT Live Event. The fans were really into it, especially when some of the top NXT talents hit the ring. Some of the talents that impressed me the most were:
Depending on when Kairi Hojo is ready to head to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, I’d like to see Asuka & Hideo Itami get Stardom’s “Pirate Princess” settled in, before Asuka gets the call up to Raw or Smackdown–preferably SD. I look forward to seeing which WWE persona they give to Evie, now that she’s ready to head to Orlando herself, after wrapping up her indie bookings.
1. Oney Lorcan / Kassius Ohno
2. Tye Dillinger & Hideo Itami / Bobby Roode & Andrade Almas
3. Asuka / Sonya Deville
4. D.I.Y. / Sabbatelli & Moss