By David Dodgson (@DodgeeWriter)
I have mixed feelings about post-Takeover shows. On the one hand, it’s good that they have a little break instead of pressing on full tilt with new or renewed storylines like they do up on the main roster. On the other hand, these episodes are often throwaway affairs, taped before the live PPV, filled with recaps, and therefore of little significance. Nevertheless, three matches have been booked for this show and each has its own element of interest.
Nikki Cross v. Lacey Evans
We have not seen a lot of Nikki Cross lately, so it is good to see her back ready to put Lacey Evans in her place. Quite a contrast here between the unhinged, wild Cross and the 50s glamour girl throwback Evans. Sanity’s female cohort has the crowd pumped as she quickly traps her opponent in the apron and beats her down. When Evans does get some offence in, Cross laughs manically and is soon back in control after Evans misses a moonsault. One Swinging Fisherman’s Neckbreaker later and it’s all over. Winner: Nikki Cross
That was a fun sprint of a match acting as a strong showcase for Cross, who was super over with the Philly crowd. Not such a great outing for Evans though, out down in short order by one of the women she called out last week. This is NXT though, and she will have plenty of chances.
TM61 v. The Ealy Brothers
After a couple of week of hype packages, the Aussie duo return to the NXT ring. The fans sound very happy to see them too! The Ealy Brothers get a full entrance, but this is all about TM61. Shane Throne shows no ill effects of his knee injury as he hits a Frosby Flop dive over the top rope early on. That gets ‘NXT!’ and ‘TM61!’ chants going. The Ealys briefly gain control by pulling the twin trick for an illegal tag. Thorne and Miller hit Thunder Valley soon after for the victory. Winners: TM61
The result was never in doubt, but both teams played their parts well. Shane Thorne looked great, hitting high-flying moves and it is good to have the Aussies back to add more depth to the tag team division.
UK Championship No. 1 Contender’s Match: Tyler Bate v. Roderick Strong
So, it’s British Strong Style against, err… Strong. This is a high energy match as we have come to expect when Bate is involved. The first ever UK champ pulls out all his signature moves including the airplane spin and a standing shooting star press. It’s a testament to Bate’s rise in such a short time that Percy Jackson on commentary calls the 20-year-old’s sucker punch ‘classic Tyler Bate.’ Strong gets back into the match with a vicious backbreaker from the second rope. A springboard clothesline gets Bate a near fall and draws a deserved ‘this is awesome!’ chant from the audience. They engage in a series of reversals and counters but it all ends when Strong hits a Cedric Alexander style Lumbar Check on Bate. Winner: Roderick Strong
I initially wasn’t sure about this match – Dunne needs a challenger other than Bate, but I’d rather see another UK guy get that spot than Strong, good as he is. Still, Strong v. Dunne should be a great match whenever it takes place. Bate needs to start picking up wins – add his loss on 205 live in the Cruiserweight Title Tournament and he has not had a good run of TV matches of late.
It was the usual post-TakeOver fare. Strip out the recaps and interviews with the stars from the PPV and we only got about 20 minutes of in-ring action. However, the matches benefitted from being in front of a game TakeOver crowd. Nikki Cross and TM61 got their expected wins in short but fun showcases and Bate-Strong was an entertaining main event. They could easily headline a Takeover special given more time to tell their story. Normal service resumes next week!