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NXT Takeover Chicago Delivers Another Great Event

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NXT Takeover: Chicago delivered another knockout last night from the Allstate Arena. Takeovers have been a way to kick off the weekend of WWE pay per views and Takeover: Chicago was another stellar show for the brand.

Here are the quick results from last night’s show:

  • Roderick Strong and Kylie O’Reilly returned the NXT Tag Team Championship against Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch.
  • Ricochet defeated Velveteen Dream in a stellar match
  • Shayna Baszler retained the NXT Women’s Championship after she forced Nikki Cross to pass out in the middle of the ring.
  • Aleister Black defeated Lars Sullivan to retain the NXT Championship
  • Tomasso Ciampa avenged his loss to Johnny Gargano after he won their Street Fight.

From top to bottom, the card had quality matches that told great stories with a different narrative that stemmed from a question.

  • Can Lorcan and Burch, who have been a tag team for the last several months, win the “big one” and capture the NXT Tag Team titles?
  • Can Velveteen Dream back up his claim of “anything you can do, I can do better?” in his match against Ricochet?
  • How will Baszler, who has used intimidation and bullying, stop Cross who is one of the only women not to show fear in her presence?
  • Can Black lay out the big man with the Black Mass?
  • And finally, what lengths will Gargano and Ciampa go to destroy each other?

All of those questions were answered during the matches. Not every spot was perfect – there was even a moment during Black-Sullivan that resulted in a “you f***** up” chant. Messed up spots and botches are a part of wrestling and Black and Sullivan didn’t let the chant stop them from working the match. 

I want to point out Gargano-Ciampa. This was their second Takeover main event. While their match at Takeover: New Orleans was a five-star classic – pun intended – their Chicago match was beautiful in a brutal sense. Fans watched as Gargano went to dark places when he started to pick apart Ciampa.

The camera crew did a great job of showing the expressions on both Gargano and Ciampa throughout the match.

It wasn’t just the narrative that made NXT Takeover: Chicago great, but it was also the little details. Ciampa ripping up the ring and then later utilize it for the finish. Dream, wearing Prince Puma-inspired tights as a way to intimidate Ricochet, who was Prince Puma in Lucha Underground. It’s little details that wrestling fans, both longtime and casual, can appreciate.

Even wrestlers who weren’t competing made their presence felt. EC3 helped energize the crowd, Adam Cole attempted to interfere with the tag title match and Candice LeRae gave Gargano inspiration to destroy Ciampa.

NXT fans also saw Kairi Sane in the crowd, as well as the arrival of NXT’s newest acquisition, Keith Lee.

There’s just something special about being an NXT fan – and that’s because NXT is a different wrestling program. It’s more accessible to audiences than NJPW in that fans don’t have to sacrifice sleep and funds to watch events. It also doesn’t drag on like current WWE pay per views.

Fans and their families can gather around to watch Takeover for a couple of hours and have the rest of the night to themselves. They don’t feel like they lost the entire evening.

The next NXT Takeover event is scheduled for August in Brooklyn during SummerSlam weekend. The Takeover: Brooklyn shows are regarded as the brand’s biggest shows. Chicago didn’t leave fans with many questions regarding potential matches for the Brooklyn show. There’s a good chance the NXT Universe will see Gargano-Ciampa III, but it would have to be a big stakes match – possibly a Hell in a Cell.

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NXT UK Premiers on WWE Network October 17

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WWE has officially announced the premier of NXT UK on the WWE Network, in a Twitter post that appeared on Wednesday morning.

Per the announcement, the UK division of the NXT brand will debut on October 17th at 8pm BST and will air weekly, featuring male and female wrestlers in the UK.

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Lita Praises Bianca Belair

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WWE Hall of Famer Lita had some high praise for NXT superstar Bianca Belair, noting her “great attitude” and how “physically gifted” she is, adding that “when I very first saw her she had that intangible star quality that I just want to see more”, during an interview with The Sun.

“Down at the performance center, all the guys at NXT are in the ring every day and in class,” Lita said. “They have everything they need to learn and there is so much talent in regards to physical ability and thinking about their character. But for someone to have that intangible star factor… Bianca Belair, along with some other the others there, is very talented.”

Lita is also impressed with how Blair uses her hair as a weapon.

“It’s crazy, no-one has ever used their hair as a weapon. It’s so cool how she thought of that and how it works. She sure has that star quality and uniqueness.”

 

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Johnny Gargano Talks NXT, Dream Matches

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NXT superstar Johnny Gargano remains one of the most popular superstars on the brand and while his callup to the main roster seems imminent, he prefers to stay on the NXT brand, a brand he takes a lot of pride in.

“I do not see why not, everyone’s dream – and mine too – is to wrestle at WrestleMania, but right now NXT is such a special place” Gargano said of a potential call up, during an interview with the Daily Star.

“We are focused on building something wrestling fans can be proud of, and we are building it together.”

But Gargano, during a recent media session, discussed some dream matches he would want to make a reality when he does make it to the main roster.

“[…] so I’m going up to the main roster…after I win the NXT title and everything’s done. After that, man, I’m gonna say, obviously Daniel Bryan” Gargano said. “That’s a dream match that a lot of people would love to see now.”

“I think I just posted a Tweet recently that the internet went nuts for, and that’s me and Seth Rollins,” Gargano said. “Because, of course, I wore my Captain America Infinity War gear and he just wore the Thanos gear, so you never know what can happen there.”

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