0 of 4
All eyes were on the WWE Network on Wednesday night as the Superstars of NXT left their final impressions ahead of Saturday’s TakeOver: Chicago live event special.
NXT champion Bobby Roode confronted No. 1 contender Hideo Itami in one last attempt to build some momentum for himself at the expense of his challenger. Was he successful or did Itami continue to one-up The Glorious One en route to the biggest match of his NXT career?
Kassius Ohno sought to knock the arrogance out of Andrade “Cien” Almas as the two squared off in singles competition, and Drew McIntyre rounded out the rest of a card that shed some light on Saturday’s spectacular.
Relive Wednesday’s broadcast with this look back at the broadcast, complete with grades and analysis of all of the action.
1 of 4
Drew McIntyre returned to the NXT Arena on Wednesday night and squared off with Cruiserweight Classic alumnus Sean Maluta.
Maluta fired off two chops, but McIntyre responded with a massive chop that took his opponent off his feet. The Samoan competitor caught the Scot with a boot to the face and delivered a jumping Codebreaker from the middle rope that netted him a two-count.
A frustrated McIntyre tossed Maluta into the corner and unloaded with a fury of right hands. A defiant Maluta delivered one last chop before eating a nasty headbutt. The running boot ended his night and secured McIntyre his latest victory.
Drew McIntyre defeated Sean Maluta
This was a fun sprint of a match.
Not only was it hard-hitting—with Maluta busting open McIntyre’s right eye—intertwined was the story of a resilient and defiant young star resisting the oppressive onslaught of his larger, more physically imposing opponent until he simply could not muster anymore fight.
McIntyre looked like a world-beater, a Superstar ready to compete for the NXT Championship. Given the lack of depth at the top of the card, that benefits the brand exponentially.
A strong way to kick off the broadcast disguised as a squash match.
2 of 4
Two women building reputations for themselves in Florida as part of the weekly NXT live events took to the squared circle on WWE Network, squaring off in a match that would earn one of them an opportunity to boost their stock with the brand.
Sonya Deville was relentless in her attack early, spearing Lacey Evans to the ground and scoring a quick two-count. She trapped her taller opponent in a leg scissors, effectively cutting her down to size and negating that advantage. A nasty knee to the exposed ribs continued her targeted attack.
A hard right hand by Evans stunned Deville, knocking her off her feet and allowing the former servicewoman to mount her comeback.
A sudden running enzuigiri by Deville scored the former mixed martial artist the victory.
Sonya Deville defeated Lacey Evans
Neither Deville nor Evans is terribly experienced in televised action and it showed here. Both appeared apprehensive and nervous at times, screwing up the timing of the match. Add to it the fact that the action was basic, to say the least, and you have a bout that failed to inspire much excitement for either woman.
The rushed nature of the match did not help matters, nor did the almost comical intensification of Deville just prior to the finish.
3 of 4
A week after a backstage confrontation, Kassius Ohno battled Andrade “Cien” Almas in the night’s advertised in-ring main event.
The action was back-and-forth, with neither Superstar sustaining an advantage for too long.
Almas controlled coming out of the commercial break, but Ohno responded to an insulting slap with one of his own.
Almas delivered an inverted tornado DDT for a strong near-fall. Ohno followed moments later with a big boot in the ropes.
A defiant Almas slapped the chest of his opponent, to which Ohno responded with his forearm smash finisher for the pinfall victory.
Kassius Ohno defeated Andrade Almas
This was a fantastic wrestling match that did more to make these two look like stars than anything they have done recently. The nonstop action, the seesaw momentum shifts and the intensity shown by both helped make this one of the best televised matches WWE has produced in weeks.
Almas remains one of the most talented workers in NXT, and with a character fans can associate with now, it will benefit him exponentially going forward.
Ohno is over, but his creative to this point has been lacking. On the heels of an extraordinary performance such as this one, hopefully he can find a worthy program to sink his teeth into.
4 of 4
Bobby Roode made his way to the ring just days before his next NXT Championship.
He cut a promo about Hideo Itami, essentially making light of the Japanese star’s recent accomplishments. He vowed not to allow Itami to knock him out with the GTS again when they meet in Chicago. Roode poked fun at his opponent’s injury history before Itami’s music interrupted him.
Security, urged on by general manager William Regal, attempted to subdue Itami. Roode, sensing the danger had been thwarted for the time being, appeared more arrogant than ever—until Itami bolted to the ring and took him down.
Itami unloaded on the security, dropping them with GTS after GTS. He proceeded to withstand a sneak attack by Roode and planted the champion with one more of his finishers before standing tall over the fallen titleholder to close out the show.
This was a hot way to finish out the broadcast, and in the process, Itami looked like a complete badass. He tore through the security, laying waste to them and establishing his GTS as a deadly weapon.
Roode is an intolerable heel and his work here made fans want to see Itami dethrone him in Chicago. Whether that happens remains to be seen, but the fact Roode turned Itami into a red-hot babyface despite inconsistent ring time and lackluster booking is a testament to The Glorious One’s skill.