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ShittyLittleBoots

[2017-05-20-WWE-NXT Takeover: Chicago] Bobby Roode vs Hideo Itami

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This rocked my world. I was super excited for it because I am such a Hideo fanboy & I've been watching lots of his stuff recently - I didn't have too high hopes for the match though as Roode doesn't impress me at all. Thought his matches vs. Nakamura were absolute shite. But here, goddamn. The man gave such a great performance. The beginning w/ him going for the Glorious taunt only for Hideo to attempt the ultimate murder-death-kill machine that is GTS was, pun intended, glorious. Loved Hideo being one step ahead during the early stages of the match - real good stuff. Once it was time for Roode to get the advantage & work the heat on Hideo, I thought the match could die down because Roode has a long history of boring ass control segments, but fuck me, he was so great here. He worked over the neck of Hideo in fantastic, compelling fashion. Hideo's big comeback was great; coming back into things with a straight up pimp slap. Classic Hideo. Roode hurting his shoulder after hitting the ringpost was tremendous - that lead to ol' Hideo targeting that arm w/ his brutal kicks & submissions, naturally. Awesome. Roode's selling was perfect. His hope spot Spinebuster was great. Still selling the shoulder perfectly. The brawl outside the ring was so well done - great battle for control; Hideo running wild again, only for Roode to get the advantage after he ducked Hideo's big dropkick & Hideo hit the stairs, hurting his leg. Love it. Hideo's selling of the leg injury was really great - he hit a couple of moves where he used the leg, but every time he did that, he sold the damage done to his leg big time. The whole finishing stretch was tremendous w/ a nice strike trading section (which Hideo obviously won, as he should've), Hideo not being able to hit the GTS due to the damage done to his leg, him nailing Roode w/ that GTS, only for him Roode to roll out of the ring - very nice of them to protect the move, Hideo slapping the shit out of Roode, great counters. Tremendous stuff. Easy MOTN & my #2 WWE MOTY behind Reigns/Braun from Payback now. ****3/4

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Weird coincidence that we're both not nearly as high on each other's #2 MOTY. Roode and Itami's respective selling of their injured limbs was quite good especially down the finishing stretch. The work before that wasn't that great for me though. Roode continues to really bore me and Itami's strikes were good at points but he just didn't have the same cocky energy that got him so over with people in the mid 00s. This was decent, and I couldn't say much else about it.

 

***1/2

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Same ugly clash of styles the Roode/Nakamura matches had. There were some flashes of that old KENTA swag, but the fire is long gone in Itami. I'm so sick of the "guy hits finisher, doesn't make pin for a few seconds/opponent rolls to the floor, kick out" shit, as there is zero drama in it anymore. It felt extra cheap on this show because they wanted to get the GTS pop in Chicago, which didn't even work since 30% were chanting for Punk, 50% were booing those people, and the remaining 20% popped.

 

I was very irked at Roode's selling when he couldn't lift for the DDT, since the injured arm wasn't even the arm you lift with for that move. I'm also tired of matches built around taking away someone's ability to hit their finisher, them being unable to hit it at some point during match, then powering up at the end and hitting it anyway. In this case, two in a row. The rigidity of HAVING to win with your finisher or a roll up has worn on me in a way I didn't realize until this match. Why they have 40 year old 80s mid carder transplanted to 2017 Bobby Roode doing 20 minute "epics" with Nakamura and Kenta (and winning) is beyond my scope of understanding.

 

Even worse is they'll probably put him up against Tommy End next, so he can have another awkward match with a guy whose offense is mostly hitting really hard.

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This was really good. I don't follow NXT closely enough to know whether Roode's finally figured out how to wrestle as a heavyweights or he just meshed surprisingly well with Itami, but I was positively surprised at how well he played his role. This match accomplished everything it needed to-it showcased Itami as a threat while keeping Roode strong. Roode did a really good job of using simple offence like clotheslines, necbreakers as well as his surroundings like the ring ropes-everything he did looked crisp and tight, and it made for a good dynamic-Roode's essentially using Triple H style offence, and it only makes sense it works on a much smaller opponent like Itami. For Itami to overcome Roode and the size difference he really has to lay his stuff in and utiilize them to their full extent. The injury angles were ok-essentially they were just another tool in achieving delayed gratification, and allowing them to tease and protect their biggest moves as much as possible. Spots like Itami collapsing on a Go 2 Sleep and an opponent rolling out of the ring after being hit with a finisher aren't anything new, but the focused manner in which they were all connected here was an interesting adaption, and probably the first time Itami's dedicated so much to limbwork in that extent. Roode holding onto the DDT and hitting another was a nice touch and fit into nicely into the narrative of the match, but this needed something more than a finisher getting countered into a finisher to close-off as a great match. ***3/4

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I really liked this match. Bobby Roode works as champion for me, but that is really the only position on NXT that he has been interesting to me. Itami can and should have been a little more dynamic in his offense. He controlled the most important stretches and he did seem to get lulled into a match that just went one speed. Still. His offense looked good, especially some of the counter strikes the threw (that first overhand looked great). Roode's offense was limited in the body of the match, but it was targeted. I wish they picked up that Roode used the repaired shoulder of Itami a couple times to get out of jams through the match. They sold the damage late pretty well. It was kind of plastic and contrived selling from each, but they were doing what they needed to do. Those sell jobs, like the match, just felt a little too clean and rehearsed for me. Regardless, the story was really compelling. Itami came across as a guy who should probably get a shot down the road again. Roode looked like the champ that just gets it done. I ony wish Itami had been a bit more dynamic and added some pace to the match and that the match was a little rougher around the edges.

 

****

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Fantastic match. Easily one of the best NXT title defenses of all time. Roode's performance was great, his selling was top notch and his counters were really well timed. Itami shined with his excellent striking and his constant flurries off offence. Both showed great character work with their arrogant, cocky demeanors at the start of the match. Loved the way they excellent the false finishes, Roode being unable to get the pin due to his arm (that was injured early on in the match) and Itami knocking Roode out of the win with the GTS, then being unable to get him back in the ring in time to get a 3 count. Shorter than the recent "classics" on the Takeover shows but that's all it needed to be. Glorious match (ha) ****3/4

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