Welcome to NXT TakeOver: Chicago!
For the past several months, the general feeling has been that NXT had lost a little something with so many talents leaving and few stars being made in their wake. Last months NXT TakeOver: Orlando was a very good show but definitely a transitional one. Tonight in Chicago however, all the places have fallen in place and NXT is set to have its best show of the year.
NXT Champion, Bobby Roode, has reigned supreme since defeating Shinsuke Nakamura. There were a number of viable contender’s to Roode’s title, from Kassius Ohno and Roderick Strong, to Drew McIntyre and Eric Young. However it was the returning Hideo Itami who staked his claim as next-in-line. Itami has had a rough tenure in NXT thus far, having been injured for the majority of that time, but tonight looks set to be his crowning. Roode has been a great Champion so far but the time feels right for Hideo to finally assert himself as the man in NXT.
— Shane Thorne (@ShaneThorneWWE) May 18, 2017
Asuka is still undefeated! The Empress has been undefeated since her debut in NXT, and this is an amazing fact that WWE doesn’t play-up enough. Asuka has had a personality change as of late and she’s so much fun to watch. Tonight’s match was originally a Fatal 4-Way with Ember Moon, Nikki Cross, and Ruby Riot, however Moon injured her arm and was forced out of the match. So we’re set for a Triple Threat match for the NXT Women’s Championship and Asuka’s streak is once again on the line. This should be a great match but I would like to see Asuka retain again. Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot are more focused on killing each other, than they are the title, so I think it would make sense for Asuka to retain and look towards a new challenge. Maybe Asuka will face Ember Moon again, or maybe, and more exciting if you ask me, she will be challenged by NXT’s newest signee: Io Shirai. This Japanese phenomenon has wrestled for Lucha Underground and she would make for an amazing opponent for Asuka; imagine Asuka’s face when a rising talent from Japan comes to challenge her as she did several years ago, the story writes itself.
Next up we have the NXT Tag Team Championship match between D.I.Y and The Author’s of Pain. These two teams have been doing battles for months and tonight is set to be an end-cap on their rivalry, as they square-off in the first-ever NXT tag team ladder match! As is customary for D.I.Y, this match is expected to be an off-the-charts affair that blows the roof off of the All-State Arena in Chicago. We had a scare over the past 24 hours as Tommaso Ciampa was injured at a live event, however he has been cleared to compete and will look to win back the NXT Tag Team Championships with his partner, Johnny Gargano!
— Cathy Kelley (@catherinekelley) May 19, 2017
Another match on tonight’s card see’s the United Kingdom Championship be defended, as Pete Dunne challenges Tyler Bate. This match comes hot-off the heels of the first episode of the WWE UK show, in which Dunne defeated Trent Seven to become number one contender, and Bate overcame Mark Andrews in an insane match. Dunne and Bate were the two finalists of the United Kingdom Tournament, which saw Bate crowned as the first-ever UK Champion, and tonight we get the rematch. This match has all the makings of an instant-classic.
Elsewhere on the card tonight, Roderick Strong takes-on Eric Young in a bid to destroy Sanity once and for all. Strong has had a renaissance since WWE aired the 2-part series looking at his difficult life. Can he do what Tye Dillinger never could, and finally take-out the head of the beast? I expect at least one more match to take place on tonight’s show, possible a women’s match, or Aleister Black.
NXT TakeOver: Chicago begins at 8 PM ET, with the half-hour pre-show beginning at 7:30 PM. Which match are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments, be sure to check out the awesome Ringside News app, and enjoy the show!