NXT TAKEOVER: CHICAGO – HOLT (Happenings Off Live TV) REPORT
MAY 20, 2017
CHICAGO, ILL. AT ALLSTATE ARENA
REPORT BY JOHN SPELICH, PWTORCH CORRESPONDENT
Here are some tidbits from last night’s show…
-I took my family to the show. It was my boys’ first time at a live PPV and I was excited to take them. I am really unhappy with the WWE product these days, and I was excited to take my boys to an NXT show since they never seem to have a bad show. As a whole, I wouldn’t say it is the best Takeover I have seen, but it was a solid show.
-Before the show started someone got a beach ball going in the crowd. After a short while a fan grabbed it and popped it. Then the entire crowd was chanting back and forth. Some were chanting “hero” and some were chanting “asshole.” It was funny.
-The pre-show matches were decent. They put over the new guy, Velveteen Dream. He performed well and successfully got the crowd against him with chants of “Let’s go jobber!” for the other guy.
-Drew McIntyre looked strong beating Wesley Blake.
-The Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young match was decent. People were chanting “Let’s go Roddy!” pretty loud.
-One thing I noticed at the NXT show was that the crowd definitely had their favorites, both faces and heels, but the wrestlers did a good job telling a story. The crowd would cheer some popular heels, but for the most part everyone was cheering the good guys and booing the bad guys. This is something WWE can’t seem to get right in their shows, but somehow NXT pulls off well.
-The U.K. Title match was, hands down, the match of the night. The crowd was hooked all the way. Personally, I wasn’t all that excited for this match going in, but that changed quickly. All the false finishes had the fans on the edge of their seats. In the end, I have become a fan of the U.K. Division. Really awesome match. Also, biggest pop of the night was probably when J.R. came out to announce it.
-The women’s match was a little bit of a let down. The crowd was initially excited with Asuka’s entrance, but the match itself was a little slow. Maybe they were trying to calm us down after the U.K. match. Also, I looked away for a second and missed the finish so that didn’t help. LOL.
-The Robert Roode vs. Hideo Itami match was pretty good. It was exciting to see his entrance in person. I liked the finish and the crowd seemed to be into it. Again, I really enjoy how, despite people cheering for Roode, Itami was getting a lot of cheers too. It’s not like watching WWE and seeing fans boo the faces and cheering the heels. The NXT crowd goes along with the storyline and it makes for an enjoyable experience. It’s not like watching Raw with my boys and answering their constant questions of “Why are they booing him?” At the NXT show, it was very clear and defined.
-Last match was fun. I knew it was probably going to get crazy as the match went on and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Some of those ladder spots were crazy. From my viewpoint I thought Gargano killed himself because it looked like he missed and dove head first to the ground (on the double jump spot). The crowd was funny chanting “Please don’t die!”
My only issue with this match was the beginning in which the AOP was so slowly climbing the ladder. I mean, come on. People all around me were groaning at the sight. Also, it is a little hard for me to buy into the reality of DIY’s punches and kicks having any affect on the much bigger men. But I guess sometimes you just need to go for the ride. Ultimately, the finish seemed appropriate to me.
-After that, a lot of people were starting to file out, thinking the show was over. After the turn on Gargano, it was like the air got sucked out of the arena. Pretty wild.
-All in all it was a great experience for me and my family and I was excited to reach out to you and share some of my memories. One of these days I am going to call into your show. You guys rock. Please keep up the awesome work.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST NIGHT’S FULL EVENT REPORT: NXT TAKEOVER REPORT 5/20: Ongoing coverage of event headlined with Itami vs. Roode live from Chicago