It was the beginning of the WWE Chicago weekender that the WWE Universe were most looking forward to, NXT took over the Allstate Arena in The Windy City before WWE’s SmackDown roster take centre stage tonight for Backlash.
NXT delivered exactly as expected and whilst it was a completely solid show, with the UK boys once again doing The United Kingdom proud, and DIY deservedly being given the hook that their split deserved, there were some factors of the show that didn’t go as smoothly as they could.
Triple H knows how to put on a show and he always backs the right horse, but the structure of the card last night left a lot to be desired. Let’s be honest, Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne absolutely stole that show last night and they were second on the card. The poor women were sent out after it then, to defend a title that could well be considered bigger than the NXT Championship at this point and the crowd were mostly dead.
Why do the women always get the worst spots in Wrestling? It was the women that were sent out after Undertaker’s streak ended and the crowd were too stunned to even focus, it seems that no matter how much of a revolution WWE says there is, they still get put in the worst places on pay-per-view cards.
Eric Young and Roderick Strong had a fantastic opening match that could easily have gone after Bate vs Dunne instead because it wasn’t for a title and the crowd could easily get behind it.
The Tag Titles were then the main event in the only gimmick match of the night that led into the turn of Tommasso Ciampa but it still didn’t feel like it managed to overshadow Dunne versus Bate.
That match had the crowd into it the entire time, these two have been wrestling for more than a decade and they know each other so well that it just looked so smooth and with JR on commentary, it just felt so right. It was also the perfect time to give the title to Dunne because now The Bruiserweight can go on to be the NXT workhorse that the NXT Universe need right now.
Social media exploded after the win and it was pretty obvious that The Windy City had been blown away by the UK talent and the fact that the crowd chanted “UK” and “This is Awesome” three times in the match just proved how much they respected what was being presented to them.
The women’s match was obviously supposed to be a fatal-four-way but Ruby, Nikki and Asuka made the best of it, everyone was still on a high from Tyler vs Pete so it was hard to concentrate and it seems that the crowd thought the same. Ruby and Nikki are not on a level yet where anyone would even expect them to be able to dethrone Asuka and her undefeated streak, so it was a foregone conclusion that Asuka would come out on top.
The NXT Championship match was pushed down to the semi-main event last night as Hideo Itami looked to take the title from The Glorious Champion. Despite delivering a GTS in Chicago, which went down as well as could be expected, Hideo couldn’t capitalise and it took two Glorious DDT’s to finally put the Japanese star to bed. It was a solid match from two veterans, but maybe the amount of time that Hideo was on the sidelines for affected him a little more than we realised, although this could easily lead to another match in Brooklyn ahead of SummerSlam in a few months time.
The main event pitted The Authors of Pain against former Tag Team Champions DIY. It was such a good ladder match with a sweet split ladder spot and Johnny Gargano also delivered a perfect superkick to Paul Ellering for good measure. Gargano then took an incredible face bump off a ladder and whilst the former Champions look like they had it won so many times, they were finally put down by The Supercollider.
It was what happened after the match that the fans will be talking about all around Chicago today because when The Champions leave the ring before the challengers, there is always a damn good reason. It looked as though Gargano and Ciampa were saying farewell as they prepared to take their rightful place on the main roster, but instead just as they were about to walk through the curtain Ciampa unleashed an attack on his best friend that has left the WWE Universe shocked and emotional this morning.
The duo went to hell to try and win those Tag Team Championships and it seems that Ciampa blames Gargano for the loss. These two had one of the best matches of the year at The Cruiserweight Classic back in 2016 and if the NXT Universe think that they have seen some incredible things with these two as a duo, they haven’t even scratched the surface. This will be a feud the likes of which NXT has never seen before.
There is a new United Kingdom Champion, there is an incredible feud brewing between Ciampa and Gargano, Roderick Strong finally managed to knock off Eric Young and British Wrestling is no longer the best-kept secret in Sports Entertainment.
SmackDown Live….You’re up.