Open: “Welcome to the city of wind, the city where champions become legend. The city where underdogs defy the impossible, turning fairy-tale endings into reality. Tonight, true champions will be defined.” This is NXT TakeOver: Chicago.
Match #1: Eric Young w/SAnitY vs. Roderick Strong
Roderick enters from the crowd and shoves Killian face-first into the ring post, plants Wolfe spine-first on top of the barricade, slides into the ring and we’re underway. Strong fires away with right hands, Young comes back with a kick, tries to send him head-first into the top turnbuckle, Roddy blocks it, returns the favor and scores with stinging chops. He shoots EY to the opposite corner, elevated him with a back body drop off the rebound, Strong clotheslines him over the top, then goes out in pursuit. The Messiah of the Backbreaker unloads with more chops, Young fires back with a right, rolls him back into the ring and slides in, they exchange shots and EY hits the ropes.
Roderick explodes up with a dropkick, batters Young with more chops and clubbing blows, whips him to the corner and charges in, EY surprises him with a back elbow, then delivers a back suplex. He puts the boots to Roddy, bludgeons him with elbows to the back, hits the ropes for a swinging neckbreaker and gets a count of 2. EY grounds Strong with a chinlock, The Messiah of the Backbreaker finds his footing, Young clobbers him across the spine again, sends him to the corner and follows in. Roddy gets the boot up, looks to whip EY to the opposite corner, double reversal, Strong charges in and gets caught by a back elbow, staggers to the ropes and comes back with a clothesline.
He hammers Young with a series of strikes, EY stumbles to the corner, Roderick rushes in with a stiff right hand, then whips him across. Young flips himself to the apron, The Messiah of the Backbreaker rocks him with a big boot, hits the ropes for a baseball slide to Wolfe, ducks under a clothesline from Dain and sweeps EY’s legs on the apron. Killian flattens Roddy with a running crossbody out of the referee’s sight, Young steps out and drapes Strong over the apron, clocks him with a kick to the head, then slides back into the ring. He drags Roderick inside and drives him head-first off the top turnbuckle, goes to the 2nd rope and lifts him with a hanging dragon sleeper, allows Roddy to fall to the mat, then comes off with an elbow drop that gets 2. EY batters The Messiah of the Backbreaker with heavy shots, chokes him over the bottom rope, the official steps in to back him off, Wolfe delivers a cheap shot and Young covers, but again only gets a 2 count.
He sends Strong throat-first into the top rope for a 1 count, chokes him using the middle rope, snapmares Roderick over and wrenches away on the neck. Roddy works to a vertical base, gets dropped by a back elbow, EY hooks the leg for another 1 count, then rams him head-first off the top turnbuckle. Young corners Roddy and goes back to the 2nd rope, tries to hang him with the dragon sleeper again, The Messiah of the Backbreaker, fights his way out of it, EY tries to come off the 2nd rope, but gets hit mid-air by a dropkick. Both guys struggle back to their feet, Young charges near the ropes, runs into a back elbow, Roderick starts to build momentum with right hands and clotheslines, sends EY to the ropes and he hangs on, attempts to catch Strong walking in with a kick, but it’s blocked.
Roddy pulls Young into a modified backbreaker, measures him in the corner for a running knee, plants him with an inverted back suplex and goes into a lateral press, but only gains a near fall. Young wisely rolls out of the ring for a breather, Roderick reaches out through the ropes to grab him, EY drags him to the outside, then drops him on the floor with the Youngblood. EY tosses Strong in and rolls into a cover, The Messiah of the Backbreaker barely kicks out at 2, Young can’t believe it and hauls him back up. Roddy battles back with chops, gets immediately clobbered by a stiff forearm, EY looks to head upstairs, but Strong climbs up to meet him. Young knocks him to the canvas with a headbutt, leaps off the top with a flying elbow drop, hooks both legs and still can’t finish it off. He hooks Roderick for the Youngblood again, The Messiah of the Backbreaker reverses into a victory roll for a near fall, staggers near the ropes, catches Young charging in with a kick, follows with an enzuigiri, Killian climbs up on the apron, but gets sent back to the floor by a kick.
Wolfe hops on the apron and Roderick drives Young into him, lifts EY for an olympic slam, Young rakes the eyes to avoid it, then goes back up top. Roddy quickly staggers up and catches EY with fists, climbs up to deliver a superplex, Young battles his way out of it, then tries to superplex Strong to the floor. The Messiah of the Backbreaker slips out of it, rocks EY with a high knee, Young spills off the top onto Wolfe & Dain on the floor, Roddy coming outside to retrieve him. He throws Young into the squared circle, gets surprised by a stiff jab coming in, EY hits the ropes, Roderick explodes up with a high knee, then cracks him with the Strong Breaker for the win.
Winner: Roderick Strong (Strong Breaker)
- EA’s Take: Great open to the show here, EY is nowhere near the athlete he once was in his younger years, but he’s such a smart wrestler that he knows how to use simple tactics to get the job done. I’m pretty surprised Roderick got the win, I think SAnitY should have been left unstoppable until they ran into the “right guy” or another imposing figure, someone like a Drew McIntyre. I know they’ve been trying to get Strong going, especially with the recent vignettes about his life on NXT, but I just see more potential in SAnitY long-term.
Match #2 for the WWE United Kingdom Championship: Pete Dunne vs. WWE United Kingdom Champion Tyler Bate
Jim Ross has joined commentary for this match. A loud “Bruiserweight” chant breaks out, collar & elbow tie-up to begin, the challenger rides Bate to the canvas and hooks in a front facelock, Bate counters out to a wristlock, Dunne rolling out to a snapmare. He grounds the champion with a headscissor, Tyler goes into a headstand to spin out of it, they lock-up again and The Bruiserweight picks the arm, then starts to wrench away at the shoulder joint. Bate works back to a standing position, rolls himself free and scores with a dropkick, the challenger rolls out of the ring for a breather, the champion steps out in pursuit and gets clocked by a stiff forearm.
The Bruiserweight rips at Tyler’s fingers, tries to stomp his hand on the steel steps, Bate avoids it, connects with an uppercut, then comes off the stairs with a corkscrew uppercut. He sends the challenger back inside and slides in, Dunne rolls right out the other side, Bate comes out after him, gets decked by another heavy forearm, The Bruiserweight then planting him on the apron with an X-Plex. He tosses the champion back in and puts the boots to him, goes back to work on the arm, begins to tear Tyler’s fingers apart some more, then unloads with more forearms and kicks. Bate starts to absorb it, launches Dunne with a dead-lift exploder suplex, the challenger staggers to the corner, the champion charges in with multiple uppercuts, goes across the ring to build a head of steam, The Bruiserweight follows him in and flattens Tyler with a clothesline.
He hooks him for the X-Plex, Bate lands on his feet, takes Dunne out at the legs, follows with a standing shooting star press, then dead-lifts him with a bridging saito suplex for a count of 2. The champion pulls himself back to his feet, looks for a running shooting star press, The Bruiserweight catches him with a triangle choke to counter it, firing away with punches while maintaining the hold. Bate finds his footing, muscles Dunne up for a powerbomb to break the hold, then calls for the airplane spin, falls into a cover and almost puts it away. Both guys struggle back to a vertical base, the champion hooks Dunne for a german suplex, the challenger flips to his feet, swings wildly with a clothesline, Bate ducks under it, springs off the 2nd rope with a crossbody, but gets drilled in mid-air by a right hand.
The Bruiserweight powers Tyler up with a suplex sit-out powerbomb and nearly finishes it, they exchange shots rising back to their feet, the champion surprises Dunne with a stiff left, then grabs hauls him back up. The challenger surprises Bate with an enzuigiri, they exchange blows again, Tyler connects with a somersault mule kick, Dunne rebounds off the ropes with a boot to the jaw, tries to dump the champion over the top, but Bate bounces off the rope and floors the challenger with a clothesline, draping the arm over for a near fall. Both the champion and challenger drag themselves to a standing position, a “Fight Forever” chant takes over the arena, Bate hooks Dunne for the Tyler Driver 97, The Bruiserweight slides out of it and goes for The Bitter End.
Tyler counters it and spikes the challenger with a DDT, Dunne rolls to the outside to regroup, the champion hops to the apron, springs off the 2nd rope with a moonsault, then tosses him back into the squared circle. Bate quickly ascends the corner, comes off the top with a corkscrew 450 splash, hooks the leg, but Dunne it able to kick out at 2 again, then rolls back to the floor. Bate looks stunned, hits the ropes for a head of steam, flies over the top with a crossbody plancha, The Bruiserweight side-steps it, tosses him back in and delivers The Bitter End to take the title.
Winner and NEW WWE United Kingdom Champion: Pete Dunne (The Bitter End)
- EA’s Take: Absolutely tremendous contest and certainly a match of the year candidate. This had it all, technical skills, great psychology, power moves and high-flying. No complaints here. I had gone with Bate to retain, but primarily because I wasn’t sure WWE would go through with a title change before the weekly UK show even gets started. There’s no denying that Pete Dunne is a Superstar in the making, I love his intensity and aggression. For a 23-year old, Dunne has a very, VERY bright future ahead of him which could be coming sooner than expected. Mind you, that’s nothing against Bate who is only 20-years old, I just think Dunne is the complete package right now.