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    Friday, August 25, 2017

    The NXT Grapevine, September 2017

    We're on the heels of another successful NXT TakeOver, which means we're back to tapings season! NXT returned to Full Sail earlier today to tape a brand new set of episodes, which should last up until the middle of September.

    As is the norm, we'll put our usual SPOILER WARNING here. The matches you'll see below have yet to be aired, so don't scroll down if you don't want to be spoiled. Also, these tapings sometimes go through heavy changes before the on-air product is released, so there may be matches and segments that won't be seen.


    Airing August 30:
    • New NXT Champion Drew McIntyre came out to kick off the show. McIntyre says that anyone can challenge him as long as they come out and say it to his face. This prompted Roderick Strong to come out and issue the challenge.
    • Peyton Royce (w/ Billie Kay) def. Ruby Riot.
    • Heavy Machinery (Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic) def. local enhancement talent.
    • Roderick Strong def. Bobby Roode. Drew came out and stared Strong down until Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish took out the champion again., 
    Thoughts: Strong positioning himself as the next challenger gets him right back in the thick of things, and a win over a former champion in Roode definitely helps his case for a title match. I suppose it's worth pointing out that Strong is also an alumni of ROH like Adam Cole (BAYBAY!), Fish and O'Reilly. I'm not saying he'll be hooking up with them, but it wouldn't look out of place if he did.

    Airing September 6:
    • Andrade 'Cien' Almas (w/ Zelina Vega) def. Cezar Bononi. Vega was on commentary for this match. 
    • Aleister Black (in a suit) came out to cut a promo, but was interrupted by the Velveteen Dream. Dream talked down to Black before making his intentions clear.
    • Johnny Gargano def. Riddick Moss (w/ Tino Sabbatelli). 
    • Lars Sullivan def. three local enhancement talents. No Way Jose came out to confront Sullivan, but Lars destroyed him again.
    • Sonya Deville def. Zeda via submission.
    • Kassius Ohno def. Hideo Itami in a no disqualification match.
    Thoughts: Jesus, Itami just can't catch a break, can't he? I'm glad that Ohno got a win to give him something moving forward, but Itami has just lost steam so fast. This new Aleister Black feud comes as a surprise, but the more I think about it, the more I love the matchup. Velveteen Dream can be left to be his unique self in the ring, and Black's just going to cave his chest in anyway.

    Airing September 13:
    • Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross def. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay.
    • Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) def. the Ealy Brothers (Gabriel and Uriel Ealy).
    • WWE United Kingdom Championship Match: Pete Dunne (c) def. Wolfgang to retain the championship. After the match, Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly once again came out and attacked Dunne and Wolfgang. Dunne managed to escape, and Tyler Bate and Trent Seven ran out to help Wolfgang fend off his attackers.
    Thoughts: Wait, is this really happening? The UK guys are getting actual storyline development now! I'll wait to see how the ROH trio explains their actions, but this is a nice way to get Dunne, Seven and the rest involved while the UK show remains in limbo. Dunne continues to play the extremely hateable heel very well, as evidenced by him bailing out on Wolfgang and not even helping out when Trent and Tyler came.

    Also, Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot in a tag team together is just weird. Someone took a page out of the Dario Cueto School on how to book tag team matches.

    Airing September 20:
    • Johnny Gargano def. Tino Sabbatelli (w/ Ridick Moss).
    • Bianca Belair def. Lacey Evans
    • Lars Sullivan def. No Way Jose.
    • Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly (w/ Adam Cole) def. Tyler Bate and Trent Seven. Cole laid out Bate outside, leading to Seven being pinned after a tag team move by Fish and O’Reilly. NXT Champion Drew McIntyre came out and attacked Cole, Fish and O’Reilly, followed by NXT Tag Team Champions SAnitY (Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain) coming out as well. McIntyre stood side by side with SAnitY as Cole, Fish and O’Reilly ran off.
    • NXT Womens’ Champion Asuka came out and officially announced that she was vacating the title. NXT GM William Regal then said that he has begun negotiations to send Asuka to either SmackDown Live or Monday Night RAW. The NXT locker room then came out to give Asuka her send off.
    Thoughts: Gargano facing off with Sabbatelli/Moss is a nice way to continue to build him up on his own. The NXT Championship scene is a little too early right now (and it's occupied, anyway), so expect Johnny Wrestling to continue building himself up in these singles matches. That tag team match is one of those matches nobody would've believed could ever happen in the WWE, and looks to be the match I'm the most excited for from this batch of tapings. I'm curious to see how explain SAnitY working together with McIntyre as well, because they've always looked like the group who'd rather not team up with other people.

    The big bit of news here, though, is Asuka relinquishing her belt. Okay, I suppose some of us were clued in when WWE announced her injury a couple of days ago, but it still feels surreal hearing that it actually happened. One can only hope that she comes out strong whether she's on the red brand or the blue one.


    What do you think of the coming episodes of NXT? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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    Item Reviewed: The NXT Grapevine, September 2017 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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